I hope that 2021 to be a better year for all of us. Did you squeeze any time for genealogy between the holidays? I found some time to explore my Luxembourg roots and that led me to look at German records. Some border towns were part of Luxembourg until demarcation shifts made them part of Germany. With more records online I delved into these records. And wished that I had census records for Germany. I thought I would share what I have discovered so far about German Census Records.
If you were hoping to find a magical online resource for German Census Records…sorry one does not exist. Because Germany was made up of little kingdoms before uniting, their census records may exist for your area but might be found only locally. Most census records are not online. I did discover that there is a book about German Census Records, written by A. G. Roger Minert, Ph.D. called “German Census Records 1816-1916: The When, Where and How of a Valuable Genealogical Resource.”
Publish in 2016 by Family Roots Publishing Co., LLC. This volume provides state by state the census records that are available and where to access them. Writing this book was no small feat, and I am looking forward to receiving my copy soon. Finding census records for your ancestors will require some good old-fashioned genealogy: writing for information, hiring a professional to view the information for you or when travel is allowed again…going there yourself. I am looking forward into delving into this area of my genealogy. I will let you know about interesting tidbits in the future.
FamilySearch comes through with an explanation and context about German Records and courses on researching in Germany. This landing page provides a great starting point to see what is available. You can learn more through the courses including one titled German Census Records 1816-1916. If you don’t have the time to listen to the entire webinar, most include a handout page which has key links and information. Remember too that as in case for Luxembourg, various countries ruled over the area. An example of this is Schleswig-Holstein which was under Danish control and you may find census records there. It is a lesson learned from my Luxembourg/Germany border. Even though the villages are now in Germany, older church and civil records were found in Luxembourg.
As part of my list of things to do in the new year, I plan to continue to update and confirm that my source records are up to date in Family Tree Maker. While doing this I have identified gaps and have found records that are now available. For example, I might have a parent’s age based on a child’s marriage record but now I can find the parent’s own marriage and birth records as more records come online.
We must use all the tools in the toolbox when researching. I hope that you will be able to find additional records for your German ancestors and even expand your skills by investigating German census records. While not easy, finding your family in a census can help solidify your research. Genealogy research is never done and looking back through previous research can help as we move forward, untangling the knots and learning more about our family.
With a lifelong passion for genealogy and history, the author enjoys the opportunity to share genealogy tidbits, inspiring others to research and write their family story.