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Everybody who is a legal and permanent resident in Germany is registered with a “Meldebehörde” (registration office) and has to notify this office when he/she moves. It is thus theoretically very easy to find somebody. However, the “Meldestelle” does not have the right to pass information on to a third party unless there is a well-founded reason such as legal persecution, death or illness of a close relative, inheritance, or child support payments. Addresses of registration offices (Meldebehörde) can be requested from telephone inquiries in your own country. Generally, you might be able to locate your relatives or friends via the online telephone directory and other internet resources.
If you are interested in genealogical research and would like to trace your German ancestors, some of the most reliable websites can be found here:
- About the USA: Genealogy
- Ancestry Germany
- Family Search
- National Archives
- The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation (passenger manifests from 1820 until 1957)
- Transcribed Ships Manifests Departing from Germany
Additional Resources in Germany:
- Computer Genealogy (in German only)
This association provides information on regional resources, societies, clubs, databases of genealogy societies, emigration information, passenger ship lists, sample letters to churches, offices, archives, organizations and much more. There is also a step by step guide on how to perform genealogical research in Germany.
- Research Center German Emigrants in the U.S.A
The Research Center has at its disposal 1,586 rolls of microfilm with passenger lists, that have been preserved. These rolls from the National Archives, Washington D.C., are available to the public in the library of the Oldenburg University.
- Baden-Württemberg: Genealogy Research in Stuttgart Libraries and Archives
- Saarland ASF: Familienkunde im Saarland (in German only)
- Lower-Saxony: Archival information system Niedersachsen and Bremen