Researching our ancestors on the eastern side of the Atlantic can be a challenging endeavor for many U.S. family historians. The records are significantly different, and when you add a different language into the mix, it can become even more complex to locate and evaluate them. However, there’s good news – the Internet offers numerous resources that complement the printed materials found in libraries, archives, magazines, and our personal collections.
There are many German genealogical resources available on the Internet. There are vast collections of materials at both U.S. and German websites, along with online forums for reading and posting. While it’s impossible to compile an all-inclusive list, if you’re researching your German ancestry, you’ll find many resources listed here that could help you or point you in the right direction for further research.
First, it’s essential to note that some of the websites listed here are based in Germany and may be written in German. You can use Google Translate to translate the pages. While the translation might not be perfect, it will still give you a general idea of the content.
Family Search has a comprehensive collection of links to German resources, covering topics like general/regional information, databases (mostly surnames), secondary genealogical resources, newsgroups, mailing lists, commercial offers, and genealogy software. For beginners, the “Frequently Asked Questions” section on this site is particularly valuable. There are also numerous excellent resources in German that can be translated using the AltaVista method described earlier.
Another prominent site is CompGen – “Germany’s largest association for family research”. It offers a wealth of information for researchers, including detailed articles, links to other resources, and a bibliography. This site is available in both German and English.
For those interested in German emigrants and immigrants, German Centre for Integration and Migration Research allows you to submit, read, and search for queries related to surnames, ship names, and cities of origin and destination. Additionally, it provides information on nearly a hundred books about genealogy and migration, along with a collection of German genealogy links.
Of course, no list of German genealogy resources would be complete without mentioning the Germany GenWeb Project. Similar to the USGenWeb Project, this site has been developed by volunteers to expand the availability of free information on the Internet. It offers a wealth of resources, including general information, details about various regions in Germany, historical maps, some passenger lists, and information about the Kingdom of Prussia.
There is also the Digital Dictionary of Surnames in Germany. A research project aimed at offering a comprehensive overview of the current status of surnames in the Federal Republic of Germany. Conducted in collaboration between Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) and TU Darmstadt under the Mainz Academy of Sciences and Literature, this long-term endeavour strives to gather and register approximately 200,000 surnames found in Germany. The project aims to provide valuable information to the public as well as serve as a valuable resource for academic research by tracing the origins of these surnames. The results will be made available online, contributing to a better understanding of German genealogy and history.
There’s an abundance of information available on the Internet for German genealogy researchers. The examples provided in this article are just a starting point, and you should explore further using search engines like FAST Search. By combining online resources with traditional methods, you can unlock the secrets of your German ancestry and make significant progress in your family history research.