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3 Essential Websites for German Family History Research
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Facebook Twitter. Why Choose Genealogists. But what if you continue to painstakingly search online for an ancestor, and are repeatedly unsuccessful?
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The even better news is that if you cannot find your ancestor online, Genealogists. This is one reason why researching family history and genealogy offline is just as important as using online tools. Searching big ancestry and genealogy sites that have large databases is sometimes not enough to find those elusive ancestors. Sometimes, the records themselves actually have it all wrong! To preserve family records, digitize your documents, being careful not to damage them while copying and scanning. Adobe Acrobat.
Research Ancestors (Genealogy)
For the best results, use a scanner that scans in color and accommodates large documents. Search published genealogies. Before starting your own genealogy search , check to see if anyone i. There are many websites where you can search published family histories e. Be sure to use any publications you might find as a reference point for starting your research, and not as an irrefutable source of information; being published does not guarantee accuracy, so be sure to double check sources, look for reviews from credible genealogy journals and newsletters, and search for documents related to the information provided.
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Method 2. Getting started. Visit the genealogy section of the organization's website, which provides guidelines on how to start your search.
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The site also features a list of online resources for starting your search, including a list of the genealogical records that the NARA has online e. Fugitive Slave Case Papers, Determine what documents you need.
Free Genealogy Websites for a Free Ancestry Search
Based on your knowledge of your family history and information provided to you by relatives, determine what records you should be looking for first from the National Archives. Note that the NARA keeps only federal records, and that very few of these records pre-date the revolutionary War — Search online.
There are a number of ancestry websites e.
Many link to state archives to simplify your genealogical search. Online databases are constantly updated and will allow you to search for your ancestors across countries and time periods. For a cost, some of these otherwise free websites offer DNA testing to provide unique details about your background. Refer to a variety of online resources.
There are a range of genealogy-related resources available for free online that can offer dimension and insight to your ancestry search. These websites offer newspaper articles, birth, marriage, and death certificates, obituaries, census information, pictures and country-specific ancestry information. A few notable examples include:  NativeWeb Genealogy: online listing of Native American genealogy resources and databases  Illinois Digital Newspaper Collection: a collection of archived US newspapers, searchable online  Find a Grave: an online database of graves from cemeteries across the world  U.
Even though Germany didn't exist as a unified nation until , many German states developed their own systems of civil registration prior to that time, some as early as These "national" censuses were actually conducted by each state or province, and the original returns can be obtained from the municipal archives Stadtarchiv or the Civil Register Office Standesamt in each district. The biggest exception to this is East Germany , which destroyed all of its original census returns.
Some census returns were also destroyed by bombing during World War II.
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Some counties and cities of Germany have also conducted separate censuses at irregular intervals over the years. Many of these have not survived, but some are available in the relevant municipal archives or on microfilm through the Family History Library. The information available from German census records varies greatly by time period and area.
Later census records provide more detail. While most German civil records only go back to around the s, parish registers go back as far as the 15th century. Parish registers are books maintained by church or parish offices to record baptisms, confirmations, marriages, burials and other church events and activities, and are a major source of family history information in Germany. Parish registers are generally kept by the local parish office. If the parish is no longer in existence, the parish registers may be found in the office of the parish which took over for that area.
In addition to the original parish registers, parishes in most areas of Germany required a verbatim copy of the register to be made and forwarded annually to the district court - until the time when vital registration took effect from about These "second writings" are sometimes available when the original records are not, or are a good source for double-checking hard-to-decipher handwriting in the original register.
It is important to keep in mind, however, that these "second writings" are copies of the original and, as such, are one step removed from the original source, introducing a greater chance of errors. Other sources of Germany family history information include school records, military records, emigration records, ship passenger lists and city directories.