Many people will have at some point in their Family Tree need to try researching german ancestry. These can be quite elusive if you don’t know where to look. Below are a 6 really useful websites that will help you find those missing German Ancestors and break down some international brick walls.
Probably the biggest free resource on the internet when it comes to parish/local records. This is great when you know exactly where your ancestors are from, you can search by town which shows you all of the different FHL Films available for it. These can be ordered in to your nearest Family History Centre. The advantage of ordering them in is that they come on Rolls so there are a massive number of records in the same collection which you can scan through which could include other people with the same surnames you’re researching.
The Meyers Gazetteer is an incredibly useful tool when you need to verify village or town information and locate the nearest church. Using the simple search function you can input part of a town name (If you can’t transcribe a particular record fully due to poor writing/quality) or the full name. Once you’ve found the town it has loads of free information such as Maps, Nearby Towns/Villages, Related places and You can add your email to a list interested in that particular town.
Archion is a database made by the Evangelical church to digitise all of their records. You can look if your parish has already been digitised for free and if it has then you can get a subscription to view the records. This can be quite a unique source and can give you a great insight in to your ancestors religious side.
Genealogy.net is the largest German genealogy website on the internet and is the go to for researching german ancestry. It not only has user-submitted data but also offers records from a number of other databases. Sometimes the site cannot show all the results it finds but if it cannot it will show links to the databases it is getting the information from. You can also read wiki’s on each page as it can be quite confusing and also sign up to different mailing lists.
Verwandt is a simple site that can be a powerful tool for German research. It allows you to see where your surname appears most. Particularly useful if your surname is quite rare and only found in a handful of places. It can narrow searches down massively.
This is the largest German forum online and does exactly what you’d expect from a forum. It’s full of helpful and incredibly knowledgeable members. It can only be viewed in German so can be quite hard to navigate if you’re not a native speaker, but you can use google translate to translate the entire page if you’re using the Chrome web browser.
Notes – Most Pre-1940s will almost definitely be written in printed Fraktur and handwritten Kurrent scripts, both are incredibly hard to read. Due to modernisation hardly any Native Germans below the age of 60 can read Kurrent without prior training. If you need any records transcribed, the forum’s members can be extremely helpful.
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