How to Find Ancestors in Germany

by Ocean Malandra

Finding your ancestors in Germany is a relatively simple matter providing that you know the last name of at least one of your family members that immigrated. If you do not have that name then you will need search for ancestors from Germany in the many historical records that are kept by various organizations. Once your German ancestors and the town that they were from have been identified, you can make contact with relatives that may be living there to this day.

Search vital records like birth, marriage and death certificates for the location and name of an ancestor that was born in Germany.

Check the census record for the area and year your German ancestors might have lived in from your clues.

Once you locate your ancestor that was born in Germany, search ships passenger records, naturalization records and even church records to determine the German place of birth.

Once you locate the place of birth in Germany, search the International Genealogy Index for the last name of your relative and get a list of all of their relations in that region as well as their last name variations.

Research the history of the region, watching closely for the name variations of your German ancestors to find historical figures you may be related to.

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Items you will need

  • U.S. passenger arrival records
  • Internet access
  • Church records
  • Death certificates
  • Obituaries
  • Naturalization records
  • The International Genealogy Index

About the Author

Based in San Francisco, Ocean Malandra is a travel writer, author and documentary filmmaker. He runs a major San Francisco travel website, is widely published in both online and print publications and has contributed to several travel guidebooks to South America.