Three German Genealogy Research Guides by Eric Kopittke – Now Printing in the USA

Family Roots Publishing recently began publishing the following three German research guides in the USA. The books are currently available at the FRPC website at 15% off. Each of the books retails for $12.95. They are just $11.01 at the website during the sale. The books are:

Following is a description of each title. Click on the links to purchase.

Researching in German Civil and Church Records; by Eric Kopittke; 2015; 44 pp; 5.75×8.25; paper; b&w & color photos, maps, bibliog, appendix, index; ISBN: 9781925323085; Item #: RUTP0202

Researching in German civil and church records’ answers the question ‘How can I obtain a birth or marriage certificate from Germany for an immigrant ancestor?’ What the new researcher may not realize is that in Germany the system of births, marriage and deaths by civil authorities, and the issue of associated certificates, has some significant differences to the system that the researcher may be used to.

Prior to the introduction of civil registration, churches kept registers of baptisms, marriages and burials, and such church records may allow the researcher to follow the family back for several hundred years.

This book is a practical guide that, with the aid of many illustrations, will allow the reader to become familiar with the types of information available on German civil certificates of birth, marriage and death and church records of baptism, marriage and burial. The book then explains how to access these records and build on the information given in the companion volume ‘Locating your German ancestor’s place of origin’.


  • Introduction
    • Background
  • Civil registration of births, marriages and deaths
    • Background to civil records
    • Identifying the appropriate ‘Standesamt’
    • Civil registration certificates
    • Obtaining the certificate
  • Church records of baptsms, marriages and burials
    • Background to the German religious scene
    • Identifying the appropriate parish
    • Church registers (Baptism records, Marriage records, Burial records, Confirmation)
    • Family registers
    • Accessing the church registers
  • An introduction to German handwriting
    • Confusing letters
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography
    • Websites
    • Books
  • Appendix: Keywords found in civil and church records
  • Index


Locating Your German Ancestor’s Place of Origin; by Eric Kopittke; 2011; 48 pp; 5.75×8.25; paper; Indexed; ISBN: 9780980874648; Item #: RUTP0201

Due to the large number of people emigrating from Germany, many of the current generation are now seeking to find out more about their German heritage.

A primary goal when researching people from Germany is to locate the places from which they originated. This is important because specific locations are needed in order to proceed further: to obtain civil or church records of births or baptisms, marriages, and deaths or burials, for example.

Unlike the British situation where births, deaths and marriages were recorded centrally, in Germany they were recorded and stored locally at the local Standesamt (civil registry office).

This book guides you through finding various records which will help in locating your ancestor’s place of origin.


  • Introduction
  • Birth, death and marriage certificates
  • Emigration records
    • Hamburg Auswandererlisten (Emigrant lists)
    • Württemberg Emigration Index
    • Baden Emigration Emigration Index
    • Danish Emigration Database
    • Swiss Overseas Emigration 1910-1953
  • Immigration records
  • Naturalisation records
  • Other records
    • Obituaries
    • Biographies
    • Cemetery records
    • Family bible
  • Resolving difficulties
  • Gazetteers
    • Meyers Orts- und Verkekrs-lexicon des Deutschen Reichs
    • Gemeinde Lexikon für das Königreich Preußen
    • Gemeinde Lexicon für den Freistaat Preussen
    • Deutsches Ortsvuerzeichnis
    • Kartenmeister
    • ProGenealogists
    • GOV – Das genealogische Ortsverzeichnis
  • Maps
  • Bibliography
  • Index


Introduction to German Family History Research for Australians; by Eric Kopittke; 2017; 68 pp; 5.75×8.25; paper; Indexed; ISBN: 9781925323733; Item #: RUTP0203

Perhaps the biggest hurdle for Australians in researching their family history from Germany, or a German speaking area, is knowing where and how to start. But once you’ve started you often find that the amount of detail that is available in German records exceeds that of comparable English records.

It goes without saying that some understanding of the history of the region helps the researcher better understand the lives of their ancestors (the same goes for any region), and this book helps with that.

It also takes the reader through the issues surrounding names of people and places that tend to confuse the beginner, and it points to records that can be accessed from within Australia as well as those overseas from Australia that are able to provide the foundation upon which research into our German ancestors can be built.

An increasing variety of material, including maps, gazetteers, census records, newspapers, passenger lists and some civil records of birth, marriage and death, and church records of baptisms, marriage burial have been digitized and indexed and are being made available online. This book gives guidance as to how to access these.

But it’s not all online by any stretch of the imagination, and the reader is reminded of the value of being part of a family history, genealogy or local history organization, both locally and overseas. Of course the German records are written in German, usually in old German script, but a range of tools exist that will help you to make sense of these … and there’s more than like a number of more experienced researchers in local societies who would be happy to help as well.


  • Introduction
  • A brief overview of German history
    • Holy Roman Empire
    • Reformation
    • Thirty Years War
    • Prussia
    • French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars
    • Zollverein – Customs Union
    • Schleswig-Holstein
    • German Empire 1871-1919
    • Between the wars
    • Following World War II
  • Getting started
  • Identifying the immigrant ancestor
  • German spelling and pronunciation
  • What’s in a name?
    • Surnames
    • Given names
    • Traps with names from German language records
  • German place names
    • Geogen
    • Meyers Orts- und Verkehrs- Lexikon des Deutschen Reichs
    • Kartenmeister
  • Maps
    • Historical maps of Middle Europe
    • Ravenstein Atlas des deutschen reichs 1883
    • Saxon State and University Library Dresden (SLUB)
    • Third military mapping survey of Austria-Hungary
    • GeoGRIEF – Griefswald
    • Mapster
    • Google Street View
  • German migration to Australia
    • Early Germans in Australia
    • Germans in South Australia
    • Germans in Queensland
    • Germans in New South Wales
    • Germans in Victoria
    • Gold rushes and other mining
  • Passenger lists
    • Departure lists
    • Arrival lists
  • Birth, marriage and death certificates from Germany
    • Accessing German birth, marriage and death certificates
    • The former German Eastern Territories
  • Church records of baptism, marriage and burial
    • Baptism records
    • Marriage records
    • Burial records
    • Confirmation records
  • Local family books (Ortsfamilienbücher)
  • German census records
    • Elsaß-Lothringer (alsace-Lorraine)
    • Hannover
    • Lübeck
    • Mecklenburg-Schwerin
    • Schaumburg-Lippe
    • Schleswig-Holstein
    • Westfalen
  • Cemeteries
  • Directories
  • Military
  • Newspapers
  • Genealogical and family histories societies
    • In Australia
    • In Germany
  • Conclusion
  • Index

About Leland Meitzler

Leland K. Meitzler founded Heritage Quest in 1985, and has worked as Managing Editor of both Heritage Quest Magazine and The Genealogical Helper. He currently operates Family Roots Publishing Company (, writes daily at, writes the weekly Genealogy Newsline, conducts the annual Salt Lake Christmas Tour to the Family History Library, and speaks nationally, having given over 2000 lectures since 1983.

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