Darmstadt is a city in the German state of Hesse. American genealogists of German descent may discover that their ancestors immigrated from this part of Germany. Looking up the genealogy, also called a family tree or family history, of ancestors from Darmstadt, Germany, can pose some challenges, especially for genealogists who are not able to travel to Hesse. However, there are several ways of conducting genealogy research using the Internet and other published sources.
Gather as much information as possible about your German ancestors. Conduct interviews with living relatives. Search for additional lineage information in family bibles, letters and photographs. Critical information to collect includes names, and dates and locations of births, deaths and marriages.
Check out genealogy websites like Ancestry.com, FamilySearch.org and GermanRoots.com (see Resources). These sites may provide further information regarding the dates and locations of your ancestors' major life events, including births, deaths, marriages, emigration, naturalization and military service.
Search for vital records, obituaries and other records of German ancestors in the U.S. towns where they resided. These records may provide clues to the German city and parish in which they were born, baptized or married, as well as the names of parents who may have remained in Darmstadt.
Write to Darmstadt's civil registration office (see Resources), called the Standesamt, to request copies of birth, marriage and death certificates. Letters of request must be written in German and should include the name of the ancestor, the date the event occurred, the reason for the request and proof of your relationship to the individual.
If you know which German parish your ancestor belonged to, write to the parish to request more details about your ancestor's life. Parish records of births, baptisms, marriages and deaths may date back as far as 1524, depending on the religion. Letters of request must be made in German.
Travel to Darmstadt, Germany to visit the Standesamt or the Staatsarchiv (government archives) in person. Knowledge of the German language is important to genealogists traveling to Germany, since all records are written in German.
- Rose, Christine and Ingalls, Kay Germaine. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Genealogy. 2005
- German Roots: Basic Research Outline for German Genealogy
- Family Search: Genealogical Handbook of German Research
Jacky Gamble has been a freelance writer since 2008, and has written articles for Internet publishing companies, Ancestry.org and Families.com. She is pursuing an Associate of Science in business administration.