Deutsche Arbeitsgemeinschaft genealogischer Verbände e.V. (DAGV)/DAGV/Guide

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Guide to follow in case of genealogical inquiries in Germany

Many genealogists from abroad ask the DAGV for support for their family research. Such a question is reasonable seldom only. The DAGV is the common association of German genealogical societies. Its purpose is the lobbywork for the German family researchers and the coordination of genealogical research. It has no resources: no own library, data files or collections of charters, and it executes no research by order. The support given by the organisation is very restricted and consists only as an advice to direct the enquiries.

Archival sources in the home country

Before you search in Germany you should use whatever you may find in your home country. If you look carefully in all accessible church records you may find not only birth dates but birth places additionally. Likewise the location of origin is often written in records of immigration offices or ship passenger lists. Many of these records are accessible in printed form or in the internet. An overview you may find at

immigration lists into the US you may find at and

It may happen that you miss in these lists of records single people or groups of people or the originally noted location of origin is missing or obstructed by reading or writing errors. In such cases it makes sense to look in the films of the ship passenger lists which are in many archives. Try to get a copy of the original record in the passengers list which enables experts to propose possible readings. In case of problems may help:

Forschungsstelle deutsche Auswanderer in die USA Carl-von-Ossietzky-Universität, Institut für Politikwissenschaften II Postfach 2503, D-26111 Oldenburg, DEUTSCHLAND E-Mail:

A specially good English guide to understand north american immigration is the "Immigration and Ships Passenger Lists Research Guide" of Arnie Lang which you may find at

Family researchers from other regions should search likewise for their home archive sources of immigration.

Archive ressources for the emigration research in Germany

If you cannot identify the region of Germany wherefrom the families or people in question came by looking to sources in your home country you may search for archival sources of emigration in Germany. The ship passenger lists of the outgoing harbours contain in most cases the location of origin. The typical harbours to start the emigration were Hamburg, Bremen (Germany), Rotterdam (the Netherlands), Le Havre (France) and Liverpool (UK). The emigration ship passenger lists of Hamburg for the years 1850-1934 are generally saved; the are digitalized at present in the state archive of Hamburg. Scans of the lists organized in yearly manner and an index of the years 1890-1913 are accessible at

Members of the Genealogical Society of Hamburg will do additional research in Hamburg based on the microfilms for you based on a fee:

In Bremerhaven the ship passenger lists of 1920-1939 only are conserved and are partially digitalized. You may find them at

Research in the Internet

Before you start extensive research in Germany try to find out by the internet if the records you are looking for are published already there. Many church record books of Germany and the former German dwelling areas in middle, eastern and south-eastern europe (and of many other countries moreover) are taken on film by the Genealogical Society of Utah (GSU) of the Church of Latter Day Saints (mormons). Family researchers in the US, Canada, South and Middle America and other emigration areas may save a lot of time if they try to find out if the church books of the region in question are taken to film and accessible via the GSU. These films are then accessible for fee in the local Family History Centers which the GSU operates in many countries. The addresses you will find at

- the address of the GSU - or you may ask any other genealogical society of your home country. If this way is not open for you write to the central office of the GSU

Family History Center Support, 50 East North Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah 84120, USA, Telefon: 1-800-346-6044

Genealogical Research in Germany

In general the processing or redirection of genealogical inquiries is impossible if the location of origin in Germany is unknown. If you know the name of the location but not the identification by geographical coordinates or by its administrative relation use the location search FAQ of

which contains many hints for searching locations. Additionally, other data bases contain similar information:

Genealogical Location Base (GOV): JewishGen ShtetlSeeker - Town Search (für Mittel- und Osteuropa):

Start own research in Germany only after you exhausted these possibilities. If you know the right location you have to write your inquiries to the local civil registry offices or church book offices. Note, however: By German law civil registry offices and the charter offices are allowed to give information about direct predecessors (and descendance) only and not about relatives in general. Additional help you may find at state or regional archives.

The association of computer genealogy offers a huge set of tools at

which contain perhaps important information. You find there the member societies of the DAGV

and more regional genealogical societies at

These associations are associations of hobby genealogists who are interested in research exchange and will not do extensive research for others in generally.

There are some institutes which collect information about families and you may ask there to find out if they have information about your family

Sächsisches Staatsarchiv Leipzig, Abt. Deutsche Zentralstelle für Genealogie, Schongauer Str. 1, D-04329 Leipzig, DEUTSCHLAND

Institut für Personengeschichte, Hauptstr. 65, D-64625 Bensheim, DEUTSCHLAND,

Zentralstelle für Personen- und Familiengeschichte, Institut für Genealogie, Geschäftsstelle, z. Hd. Herrn Volkmar Leonhard, An der Kreuzheck 15, D-60529 Frankfurt/Main (Schwanheim), DEUTSCHLAND

Genealogical research in the former German eastern provinces

The genealogical research in the former German eastern regions and in the former dwelling areas in medium, east or south-east Europe are difficult in generally because of loss or move with unknown destination in consequence WW II. If the church books films of the GSU - mentioned in the section "research in the internet" - will not help, you may ask at

Die Arbeitsgemeinschaft für ostdeutsche Familienforschung e.V. unterhält Forschungsstellen, die Genealogen Hilfestellung für eigene Forschungen geben. Die Forschungsstellen Ost- und Westpreußen sind allerdings zur Zeit nicht besetzt.

Verein für Familienforschung in Ost- und Westpreußen e.V. Vorsitzender (Auskünfte): Reinhard Wenzel, An der Leegde 23, D-29223 Celle, DEUTSCHLAND

Evangelical church books from the former east regions are at Evangelisches Zentralarchiv Berlin, Bethaniendamm 29, D-10997 Berlin, DEUTSCHLAND

Some of the church books are saved in the bishops central archive in Regensburg where some church books of the former east regions of Germany are:

Bischöfliches Zentralarchiv, St. Petersweg 11-13, D-93047 Regensburg, DEUTSCHLAND

Many archival sources remained in the countries which comprise the old German territories today. So you have to ask there in offices or archives to find records. A guide for such research you find by

Herbert Sylvester: Wegweiser für Forschungen nach Vorfahren aus den ostdeutschen und sudetendeutschen Gebieten sowie aus den deutschen Siedlungsräumen in Mittel-, Ost- und Südosteuropa (Fünfte Auflage) Verlag Degener & Co. Neustadt Aisch 2000

Where we are not able to help?

- Getting charters of birth, marriage or death. You have to ask for them the the civil registry office in the villages or at the charter offices of the towns or country circles (Landratsämter). Civil registry offices exist in Prussia since 1.1.1874, in the German Empire since 1.1.1876 and in some territories even earlier. For times before you should ask the church offices. For cases in the territories which are not part of the German state territories you have to ask the offices of these countries which comprise the territories today. You may ask additionally at Standesamt I, Rückerstr. 9, D-10119 Berlin, DEUTSCHLAND

- Getting proofs of descendance of adoptive children - Getting proofs of military service, for prisoners of war, capture in a KZ-camp, foreign work etc. For this you have to consult

Deutsche Dienststelle (WASt) für die Benachrichtigung der nächsten Angehörigen von Gefallenen der ehemaligen Deutschen Wehrmacht, Eichborndamm 179, D-13403 Berlin, DEUTSCHLAND

Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge, BundHilpert-Str. 2, D-34112 Kassel, DEUTSCHLAND

(Gefallenen- und Totendatenbank mit Gräbernachweis online unter

Sonderstandesamt Arolsen (zuständig für Beurkundungen von Personenstandsunterlagen von KZ-Häftlingen und Zwangsarbeitern des Dritten Reiches)

Search for people in Germany

The DAGV cannot search for current location of relatives. There are no general accessible data bases of living or dead people. If all approaches to search ended unsuccessful you may - in case of near relatives ask at registration of address office (Einwohnermeldeamt) or the search office the the German Read Cross which have some lawful possibilities to help:

Internationaler Suchdienst des Roten Kreuzes, Große Allee 5-9, D-34454 Bad Arolsen, DEUTSCHLAND - you may put a search announcement in the "FN" of the Degener publishers Degener & Co., Am Brühl 9, D-91610 Insingen, Deutschland

- if the area of Germany of the location of origin in question is somehow known you may use the local newspapers to put an search announcement.

Professional genealogists

In case of extensive research it may make sense to hire a professional genealogist who works for money. In case of search for inheritances you should usem them always. A good choice you make if you ask the

Verband deutschsprachiger Berufsgenealogen, - Verteilungsstelle - Postfach 31 16 33, D-10653 Berlin, DEUTSCHLAND


Add to each query 2 international return bills. Letters with post stamps of the goal country are worthless because thy cannot used in Germany to adress you.

If you used all these directions of this guide and all were not successful then you may write your case to the DAGV. We will not answer your query but try to find somebody who might help you. The address is:

Deutsche Arbeitsgemeinschaft genealogischer Verbände e.V. Anfragenverteilungsstelle Postfach 50 04 08 D-45056 Essen DEUTSCHLAND

E-Mail: some mail

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