There are many exciting challenges when researching your family history in German documents. At Ancestry.com, key data such as names and gender is often indexed and therefore easily accessible through our search pages for each German language database. However, the records are in German, and you will naturally get the best results if you search keywords, occupations, and place names in German. There is often a wealth of information available in the images of the original documents that can help you pinpoint your ancestors or learn about their lives and families. We have provided some basic tools on these pages that can help you as you work in German records.
These glossaries contain words that you are likely to find in German genealogical records. Records in German often include Latin words as well.
Examples of German letters in printing and script.
Reading German Records
See example pages from German records showing where key information is located. Mouse over columns in the image to see the type of information they contain.
Free translation downloads (PDF)
When reading German records, it can be helpful to refer to a list of common German names.
Ancestry offers the German researcher many sources of help. Search the Ancestry Learning Center for articles, post a query on the German Community pages, or find Germany articles in the Ancestry Wiki.