German research begins in the United States. A researcher must first find the U.S. documents naming the German village, county, and state from which the German ancestor came. The following sites will help you get started on your German genealogical research and extend it further once you have the village name.

St. Louis Genealogical Society has an active German Special Interest Group. For more information on the G-SIG, click here.

1. Genealogy Research How-to Information:

Family History Library (FHL, aka Family Search):

National Genealogical Society: Click Learning Center

National Archives: Also has how-to information and information on its publications

World Library Catalog:

Library of Congress:

Allen County (Indiana) Public Library

Find State Libraries:

Find State Archives:

St. Louis and Missouri research: Free four-page guide; Click here

2. Detailed Information on How to Research U.S. States, Foreign Countries, Ethnicities, Other Topics:

FHL WIKI: On the map, click the continent and choose the country, or type the topic into the search box, such as:


Austro-Hungarian Empire:


3. The German Genealogy Website: Ahnenforschung, Familienforschung, Genealogie. Der Deutsche Genealogieserver. (formerly: To get started, under Recherchieren (Research), click “Gen-Wiki,” and on that page, click Suche (Search).

4. East Europeans, Austro-Hungarians, Germans in Russia, Germans Elsewhere in Europe: Foundation for East European Family History Studies:

5. Switzerland, Find the Heimat (Citizenship) Town of a Surname in a Particular Time Period: Familienbuch der Schweiz:

6. Jewish: JewishGen:

7. Polish: The Polish Genealogical Society of America:

8. Maps and Gazetteers:

German States, Current and Historical:

Current German Place Finder, with Current and Historical Jurisdiction Descriptions:

Meyers Orts Gazetteer for the Second German Empire:

Ancestry (in German):

FHL (in German):

Independent Online (in English):

9. Regional German Gazetteers:

10. Converting German Names of Places no Longer in Germany to Language of Current Country:


Fuzzy Gazetteer:

11. Old German Script and Type:

A. Vocabulary: (See also the books listed below.)

B. Dictionary: and Translator:

C. Sütterlin Script:

1. Indiana German Heritage Society, Witter’s Deutsch-Englische Schreib-und Lese-Fibel und Neues Erstes Lesebuch für Americanische Freischulen, reprint of 1881 edition (Nashville: NCSSA Literatur, 1987) Buy for $5 (price valid in 2017) at; also online at

2. Edna Bentz, If I Can You Can Decipher Germanic Records (San Diego: Bentz, 1982)

3. Roger Minert, Deciphering Handwriting in German Docs (Provo: GRT, 2001)

4. Tutorial:

5. Scripts and script generator:

6. GenWiki (German website with free fonts):

7. Family History Library:

8. Script generator:

9. Free Old German fonts:

D. Fraktur type font is found on many of the same sites as above and

12. Find Ortssippenbücher, Ortsfamilienbücher, Dorfsippenbücher, local heritage books, etc.:

A. Online:

B. Or, on same site as “A” above, at Find lists by clicking “Regional,” “Regionale Forschung,” “Deutschland,” then the name of the state, and then “Ortsfamilienbüch.”

C. Worldcat:

D. Look in the catalogs of the Library of Congress (, Family History Library (, St. Louis County Library ( Be sure to search by the variety of names cited above.

E. Online books at websites like Google or in book stores in the U.S. and/or Germany

13. Online Parish Records

A. Family Search (free)

B. Ancestry ($ free at local libraries)

C. Archion ($ but free to browse)(Protestant only)

D. Matricula (free) (Catholic only)


Last modified: 21-Jan-2022 14:36