FIRST NAME


LAST NAME


LOCALITY




GermanRoots
German Genealogy

Basic Research Outline for German Genealogy

A Step by Step Guide for Americans of German Descent

by Joe Beine, German Roots Webmaster


These abbreviations are used on this page...
FHL=LDS (Latter Day Saints/Mormon) Family History Library in Salt Lake City
FHC=Family History Center -- local libraries where you can order records from the FHL -- you do not have to be a Mormon to use these facilities
NARA=National Archives and Records Administration -- many of their microfilmed genealogy records can also be ordered through your local FHC


Begin Your Search Search Vital Records Look in the Census
  • Census records group families together and provide valuable clues for further research.
  • Clues in Census Records will tell you what you can find in census records 1790-1940, along with links to online indexes (and online census images).
  • What Census Records Are Online? - this webpage has links to numerous online census indexes and images.
  • Year of immigration is provided in the 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930 censuses.
  • Be aware that census records occasionally contain errors.
  • US Census records from 1790-1840 only name the head-of-household. Other family members are grouped together by age and gender, but not named. When researching in this time frame, other records besides the census become increasingly important. See the next section for examples.
Other Records

Do a place search in the FHL catalog for your ancestor's county and/or city of residence and look to see what other kinds of records they may have such as...
  • Probate Records - wills list heirs (often spouse & children) and can help determine family relationships.
  • Land and Property Records
  • Church Records - you can sometimes find baptism, marriage and death listings.
Find your Immigrant Ancestor (tips for finding your ancestor's German hometown)

Before taking your research back to Germany you will need to find the name of the specific place (city, town or village) where your immigrant ancestor lived. Here are some suggestions for finding a German place of origin for your ancestor. Locating a German Place

Once you know the name of a town or city, you might try locating it on a map and determining the German state it is in.
  • This website's Finding Places Webpage has links to helpful information about German towns and villages, including an online Gazetteer.
Records in Germany

After you have determined the town or village where your ancestor lived in Germany, you might check to see if the Latter Day Saints Family History Library has microfilmed or online records available from that particular place. Other Resources



German Roots Main Page . . . Online Genealogy Records . . . German Resources & Records

Emigration & Immigration Records . . . Census Records . . . People & Places . . . Military Records

German Research Guide . . . Genealogy Resources . . . Privacy & Disclaimers




© 2000-2012 Joe Beine

you may print one copy of this page for personal, non-commercial use
commercial use or distributing multiple copies requires permission