German Genealogy Tips and Links

Check back frequently to find tips, links, strategies and best practices for learning more about your ancestors in the historically German-speaking realms of Europe!


  • Link to an article by Kory L. Meyerink about online gazetteers useful in your pursuit of German Genealogy. Kory is one of the best “armchair” genealogists around. He’s extremely proficient at leveraging online resources to solve family history problems–why go to the library if you don’t have too!
  • More information about gazetteers to come.

  • Short for Archive Online. This is becoming an online repository for digitized European church records. If you know your German ancestor’s place of birth, this is one place you can look for church vital records.
  • Germany’s telephone directory online! If you have a rare surname, in a pinch, the telephone book can give you a clue as to where your ancestor may have come from. Entries in the book are from individuals who have agreed to have their numbers listed. To use this resource, simply type the surname into the “Wer/Was” search box near the top of the page, then click “Finden”. Caveat: you may need to try multiple spellings. Feel free to email me with questions about how your German ancestor may have spelled his or her name before coming to America.
  • A very useful German place name gazetteer, integrated with historical and modern maps. This gazetteer can help you know if your ancestor’s hometown had a parish church, but not necessarily which church parish people went to for life events (christenings, marriages, burials), and where the town’s civil registry office was (where vital events were recorded after January 1876 in all parts of Germany, and long before that in other parts–see this link). See this link for an excellent, succinct explanation of why the gazetteer was created, and for tips on searching this digitized version.
  • I presented at this conference in October of 2017.
  • I used this years ago while executing research in the city of Berlin. This site is useful as street names have changed over time, and can help you determine which parishes and civil registry offices individuals used.
  • This is a closed Facebook group – you will have to request to be a member. However, the members of this group are extremely knowledgeable and helpful! You can post most any German Genealogy question here, and you will usually get multiple answers within minutes. There is a similar page for Central European Genealogy.