In addition to the Black Sea German database, the following links will help you research your German ancestors in Germany before they immigrated to South Russia.
* Research Repository
* German Genealogy portal site (in German, some English translations)
* Finding your German village on a map
* FHL Germany Research Guide
* Cyndi's List German page
The Family History Library has a large selection of books related to German Genealogy research. Some are available on microfilm, but many of the reference books are available only at the library.
Researching Germany before South Russia
OverviewGerman settlers came to the Black Sea region from many parts of Germany, especially from Württemberg. Some came to escape the effects of war. Most came seeking land and better economic opportunities as large families decreased the land available for each subsequent generation.
Making the Leap from South Russia Back in Time to Germany
To research your ancestors in Germany, you first need to discover where they came from. Church death records or family registers often list a place of birth. Karl Stumpp's and Joseph Height's books include German village-of-origin information for many of the original settlers. Heimatbücher about villages in South Russia often include the German origin of families in that village.
If none of those sources give you a specific location, it's time for some guesswork. Many German states have indexes of inhabitants who emigrated.
Many families traveled together from their old homes in Germany to their new homes in Russia. Try searching German villages where other families (especially those with marriage ties to your family) in your South Russian village came from. You can also try searching in the birth location of the siblings of your direct ancestor.
Many church records from Germany are available on microfilm from the Family History Library. Search the FHL catalog for your village. Church records (including those not filmed by the FHL) are usually available in state or central church archives. They are only rarely available in the original village.
German State Archives
German state archives have many records such as civil registration, Turkish tax records, emigration lists, debtor lists, citizenship lists, and military records.
- * The Ludwigsburg archive has many records on immigrants to Russia
- * When researching in the Pfalz and Rheinland (aka Alsace or Elsaß), also try the French state archives
- * Find an archive in Germany
are books that usually contain history, photos, and
genealogy information about individual villages in
Germany. When available, they are a fabulous resource.
Many are available at the Family History Library.
Some of these book are available online; this list shows all registered books; and books for the Pfalz, Saarland, and Alsace areas are shown here. If none of these sources work, try contacting the village's town hall, museum, or a local historian.
The Ahnenstammkartei is a collection of genealogy records that spans several centuries and contains about 3 million individuals in over 11,000 pedigree files. See these surname index and master card index for the collection.
Making Contacts in Germany
Although many Germans speak English, you may get a faster response by emailing in German. If you don't speak German yourself, these sample letters or Google translator can help you.
When making contacts in your ancestral village, ask to be referred to a local historian since you can't assume that the pastor or town hall staff have the same interest in genealogy that you do.
If you plan to visit your ancestral village, the book Yes You! Yes Now! Visiting Your Ancestral Town may help you.