The ABCs of German Genealogy Research, N-Z

N: Neues allgemeines deutsches Adels-Lexicon, Volume 5

The Neues allgemeines deutsches Adels-Lexicon, Volume 5 is a book on German noble families, published in 1864. If your family was noble, you’re in luck – this book includes over 600 pages of information on noble rank, history, family crests, and more for specific surnames (in German, but you can always type it in to or have us translate it for you!). Type your surname into the search box on the side and see if it shows up!

O: Online Ortsfamilienbücher

This list of family history books on CompGen includes books (organized by town) with genealogical information about the inhabitants of that town. Definitely worth checking out if your ancestor’s town is among them! Also check out Ortssippenbücher: Important Sources for German Genealogical Research (Guest Post by Scott Holl) on our own site to learn more about these books!


P: Polish Archives

Are your ancestors from present-day Poland? Even if they lived in what was then Germany, you’ll want to check out the Polish archives for their records!

Q: Wild Card!

Well, it turns out there are a few letters that I can’t find a website for! If you have one, let us know in the comments. In the meantime, these letters will be wild card websites = any random letter of the alphabet!  features one-step guides and sites for locating various genealogical records and for gaining required skills in the world of genealogy. It also has a great section on researching passenger lists. 

R: RootDigger

Rootdigger is an emigrant database of those who left Schleswig-Holstein in the 19th century. Definitely worth checking out if your ancestors came from there!

S: Swiss Surname Register

Trying to figure out a Swiss surname? Check out this great database! There are almost 50,000 entries in this register. Is yours among them?

T: The Historic Gazetteer 

Also part of CompGen, The Historic Gazetteer allows you to search for a village or town and discover its coordinates, administrative level, related administrative districts (what is it part of?), and more!

U: United States Census 

Searching for your ancestors in the US (if that is where they immigrated) should be done before crossing the pond to Germany. You need to nail down that German hometown first before you can start looking in Europe! FamilySearch (sign-in required) has a great collection available for the United States census. For more information about finding your ancestor’s hometown, check out Before You Cross the Pond: Five Places to Find Your Ancestor in America.

V: Verlustlisten 1. Weltkrieg

Another win for CompGen! Here you can search a list of fallen soldiers in the first World War. 


This site on West Prussian research is in German, but has a great description of what is available for genealogists in West Prussia. If you don’t speak German, just paste the link in Google Translate to help you get the gist of what it is saying!

X: Wild Card!

Kalliope is not very well-known, but it is worth checking out.

provides a German database of personal papers, manuscripts, publisher’s archives, and more!
This database was set up by the Berlin State Library and the German Research Foundation in 2001, with the goal of creating an online catalog featuring information from libraries, archives, museums, and related institutions.

Y: Your DNA Guide

Have questions about your DNA or DNA tests?  Your DNA Guide has a free blog about a wide range of DNA topics!

Z: Wild Card!

One of my favorites! The Deutsches Zeitungsportal is the newspaper portal of the German Digital Library, which is a joint project of the federal, state, and local governments in Germany. Their digital collection includes historical newspapers from 1671-1952. The website has the ability to perform a full-text search of the newspapers in addition to searching by date or newspaper title. Have fun!

What websites would you include for certain letters? Let us know in the comments!

2 Responses

  1. I wrote to AGPV — Piedmont des Vosges Genealogy Association to find information on my Epfig, Alsace (Bas Rhin) ancestors. It is a group that researches the people of the Vosges mountains. They have Ortsfamilienbuch on villages in that area, including Epfig! I am in the process of purchasing the Family Book from them.

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