Tip 4, Researching your Family in Germany

If you do not know the name of your ancestral village:

If you know your village here are a couple of valuable resources to check out:

  • First is Rolf Freytag's website which makes available for purchase a large number of German familybooks on CDROM (much like the Galician familybooks below). His site is in German. You can find information on how to order CDROMs for shipment to America there. We would also suggest using Chrome/Edge or the Google translator to translate descriptions on his pages to your native language. He also provides links to indexes of surnames found on his CDROMs.



Meyers Orts und Verkehrs-lexikon des deutschen Reichs
This is the most important of all German gazetteers. The goal was to list every place name in the German Empire (1871-1918). It gives the location, i.e. the state and other jurisdictions, where the civil registry office was, parishes if that town had them, and more. The entire gazetteer, hundreds of pages in old German script, is available at the Family History Library at: Meyers Orts-und Verkehrs-Lexikon des Deutschen Reichs.

However, this version of the book is hard to use.There is now a handy online tool that lets you search for a German village to get some of the high level information from Meyers without needing to read the old script. It also has a direct link to a copy of the actual page from the book. It is available at meyersgaz.org.  It has a help function, but we have permission to let you view/print (but not distribute) a 3 page summary and usage guide  written by Dr. Fritz Juengling, a German, Dutch, and Scandinavian Research Specialist at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.

Note that this Gazetteer only covers Germany per the map below, and not Galicia.

Meyers sample page


Area covered by Meyers Gazetteer


area covered byMeyers Gazetteer 

FamilySearch Research Resources

The FamilySearch Research Wiki has a lot of information about researching in Germany.  Notable are: