Humanities › History & Culture Records of Births, Marriages and Deaths in Germany Share Flipboard Email Print Westend61 / Getty Images History & Culture Genealogy Vital Records Around the World Basics Surnames Genealogy Fun American History African American History African History Ancient History and Culture Asian History European History Inventions Latin American History Medieval & Renaissance History Military History The 20th Century Women's History View More By Kimberly Powell Genealogy Expert Certificate in Genealogical Research, Boston University B.A., Carnegie Mellon University Kimberly Powell is a professional genealogist and the author of The Everything Guide to Online Genealogy. She teaches at the Genealogical Institute of Pittsburgh and the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. our editorial process Kimberly Powell Updated March 03, 2019 Civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths in Germany began following the French Revolution in 1792. Beginning with regions of Germany under French control, most German states eventually developed their own individual systems of civil registration between 1792 and 1876. In general, German civil records begin in 1792 in Rheinland, 1803 in Hessen-Nassau, 1808 in Westfalen, 1809 in Hannover, Oct 1874 in Prussia, and Jan 1876 for all other parts of Germany. Since Germany has no central repository for civil records of births, marriages, and deaths, the records may be found in several different locations. Local Civil Registrar's Office Most civil birth, marriage, and death records in Germany are maintained by the civil registration office (Standesamt) in the local towns. You can usually obtain civil registration records by writing (in German) to the town with the appropriate names and dates, the reason for your request, and proof of your relationship to the individual(s). Most cities have websites at www.[city name].de where you can find the contact information for the appropriate Standesamt. Government Archives In some areas of Germany, duplicate civil records of births, marriages and deaths have been sent to the state archives (Staatsarchiv), district archives (Kreisarchive), or another central repository. Many of these records have been microfilmed and are available at the Family History Library or through local Family History Centers. The Family History Library The Family History Library has microfilmed the civil registration records of many towns throughout Germany up to about 1876, as well as copies of records sent to many of the various state archives. Do a "Place Name" search in the online Family History Library Catalog for the name of the town to learn what records and time periods are available. Parish Records Often called parish registers or church books, these include records of births, baptism, marriages, deaths, and burials recorded by German churches. The first surviving Protestant records date back to 1524, but Lutheran churches, in general, began requiring baptism, marriage, and burial records in 1540; Catholics began doing so in 1563, and by 1650 most Reformed parishes began keeping these records. Many of these records are available on microfilm through Family History Centers. Otherwise, you'll need to write (in German) to the specific parish which served the town in which your ancestors lived.