Greg's Guide to German
Genealogy on the Internet

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[Map of German Empire in 1880.] German Empire, 1871-1918
Map source: Central Europe (189K jpeg) by W. & A. K. Johnston, Edinr and London, printed by Sullivan Brothers, Dublin, in Samuel Haughton's Introduction to the Study of Geography, 1880

All right, I admit you can't just sit at your computer and "do" genealogy ... yet,
but there are a few useful things you can do that might save you a trip to the library.

How to find your German ancestor's birthplace
Where to post your surnames for all to see ... and attract cousins
Search for web sites and newsgroup messages
Other Useful Sites (I'll organize 'em for you better later)

How to find your German ancestor's birthplace

For uncommon surnames, find out where people with that surname are living today, by using a German phone book
1. Click on the word "english" near the top of the page.
2. Click on "Telephone Book".
3. Type your surname and click Start Search.
You get a list of names with postal code, town, street and number, and phone number.
If many of them are living in towns with the same postal code, your family may have come from that area of Germany.

Where to post your surnames for all to see ... and attract cousins

Go ahead ... post your surnames/dates/locations on ALL of them!

Roots Surname List The largest and oldest research coordination list on the Internet. Over 120,000 names from around the world ... and it can be seen by genealogists around the world!

World GenWeb - Germany Germany is divided into states and counties. If you know the town your German family is from, you can follow the web links and post your query under their county ... and see who else has ancestors in your neighborhood!

Immigrant Ancestor Registry

Then, search the names that other people sent!

Newsgroups are like bulletin boards where your messages can still be seen for weeks after you leave; and they may be archived and searchable for years! Use soc.genealogy.surnames.german newsgroup for announcing your German surnames.
Most Important Guideline: Very few people open up and read ALL the messages. There are hundreds of them! So, PUT YOUR ENTIRE QUESTION IN THE SUBJECT LINE. This will attract the attention of someone who has the answer. Make sure your surname and location are in the Subject line, then you can repeat your question in the body of the letter.
Want more tips that'll increase the chance that you'll get an answer? Then scan through the guidelines for posting surnames on newsgroups, and the guidelines for posting German surnames.

Mailing lists are discussions in which your e-mail can be duplicated and copies sent to others who are interested in the same surname or locality. They're free and easy to sign up -- just find one of the surnames or counties you're researching in the Genealogy Resources on the Internet - List of Mailing Lists and follow the simple instructions to subscribe and then send your message. If you get tired of getting all that extra e-mail, it's just as easy to unsubscribe ... and try another surname or locality.
Even if you've missed the discussion, most of these messages have been archived! You can automatically search for your surname in all the RootsWeb mailing list messages that have been sent (since 1994) using their Archive of Surname Messages
. Find someone that mentioned your family line, and send him or her an e-mail!

Search for Web Sites and Newsgroup Messages

Try entering your surnames (one at a time) with the word "genealogy" and then with "family".
Then try entering the names of your ancestral towns in Germany.

Dogpile Search

Search and then
Wait a maximum of Seconds.

If you can read some German, try these German search engines. Type in your surname and the word "Genealogie" or "Ahnenforschung", which means "genealogy".
Der Erste deutsche Crawler im Internet

DINO-Online - Deutschland - Germany - Suche

What if I have any other questions about doing German genealogy?

See the excellent Frequently Asked Questions page by Jim Eggert. It gives advice on posting to the soc.genealogy.german newsgroup (are you aware that you shouldn't post just your ancestor's surname?), and answers almost any question you can think of, and some you haven't thought of. Lots of links to other useful pages!

Other Useful Sites

Keep checking back later, as I organize and tell you about them!

German Roots: German Genealogy Resources is a large collection of links for German genealogy, each with a one paragraph description, and organized into catagories.

FAQ for

AltaVista Translations Type the text you want to translate into the space they give, or the address of a web site, and it will roughly translate it from English to German, French, Italian, Portuguese or Spanish, or vice versa.

American Historical Society of Germans from Russia

FEEFHS FrontPage

German Embassy and German Information Center

Ger/Eng Eng/Ger Dictionary

German Genealogy Home Page

German/UK/Canadian info

Index of Resources for History

Internet Sources of German GenealogyAndreas Hanacek has a large list of links grouped by topic, but it's on one long page so it takes time to load, and the titles of most of the sites are still in German.
I) General / regional genealogical information
A) General information
B) Regional information
C) Genealogical associations
D) Emigration
II) Databases (updated 1988-03-08)
III) Secondary genealogical sources
A) Archives
B) Parish book lists online
C) Online libraries catalogues
D) Newspapers and Magazines
E) Publishers, bookstores, antiquarian bookstores online
F) Online town locator
G) Online phone books and CD-ROMs
H) Sources of supply for historical/detailed maps
IV) Newsgroups
V) Mailing lists
VI) Commercial offers
VII) Genealogy software
Appendix A) Other surveys to genealogy worldwide
Appendix B) Search engines

Lycos auf deutsch

Historical geography of Poland, including parts of Germany that are now in Poland

Vorstetten, Baden, Germany

This page was written and compiled by Greg Ullman. The links were last updated 16 Sepember 2010.

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