Visiting Germany

This guide was last updated in 2009

Before you go to Germany to search for the records of your ancestors, you must know exactly where they came from.

You can use British sources to get that information – naturalisation records; German churches in the UK often recorded the place of origin of members; internment records; obituaries; military records; adverts in the local and trade press; and family papers.

Before you go, check which archive or archives the records are held in; what the opening hours are and whether they are open to the public. In some cases – for example, in Bremen – you may be better off going to the offices of the local family history society, Die Maus (the Mouse), as it holds copies of many records – saving you countless trips to many small village archives.

If you do not speak German or have problems with reading the script, you will need expert local help. You should contact the archives and ask if there is an English-speaking researcher willing and able to help.

On the other hand, if you know your family came from a village or small town, try contacting a local historian or newspaper there. You will probably find large numbers of cousins happy to welcome you 'home'!

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