Do you have German ancestry and don’t know where to start, or have you hit a brick wall? Our professionals would love to help!
Challenges in German Genealogy Research
German family history research can be very confusing because of the bureaucratic and variable complex structures of the different types of archives. The organization and preservation of documents is not consistent, which sometimes makes locating a repository for the documents and records of your ancestors a challenge in and of itself. Church books, for example, are sometimes stored in the office of the tiny parish where they were created. Or sometimes they have been delivered to a church archive nearby. Other times microfilms of the originals have been archived at an even bigger church archive, and might or might not be available locally at all anymore.
Using Records to Trace German Ancestry
Luckily, depending on the religious affiliation of your ancestors, in recent years many church vital records have been digitized and are available online at sites like FamilySearch.org or Archion.de. However, you might search for your ancestor’s name and come up with multiple potential matches. So how do you narrow it down?
As with most places outside the United States, the first step in German genealogy research is to determine the exact city/town of origin for your ancestors. This generally requires looking at records in the location your German ancestors immigrated to (if they no longer live in Germany), and also often requires researching boundary and name changes to determine what that city/town is called now, and what country it is located in, as these things frequently changed over the course of history – sometimes more than once! Knowing where they came from will narrow down the results you might obtain from the databases of digitized records.
Our Team of Professional Genealogists Can Help
If you have German ancestry, our professionals can track down the city/town of origin of your ancestors, determine where that location actually is today, and identify where the records for that place are currently kept. For those areas that don’t have records available online our onsite agents can then visit that location to obtain any documents that are available.