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Welcome to the Nordrhein - Westfalen Germany GenWeb Site!
This site is a part of the WorldGenWeb project. Its purpose is to help bring together those researching families in the Nordrhein-Westfalen area through links (often in German), queries and surname lists. Queries can be posted in German or English. My name is Jim Hickman and I'm the host for this site. I live in Oregon. My genealogy web site is Jim Hickman's Genealogy Site. I come from the family line of Heckmann.

Any contributions, such as links, pictures or advice are welcome.

Nordrhein-Westfalen (Northrhine-Westphalia) is a state (Bundesland) of Germany. It will be of great help to understand how the German State System works. If you wish to do so click here.

NRW is boardered on the West by the two countries The Netherlands and Belgium, on the North and East by the state, Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony), on the South and East by the state Hessen (Hesse) and on the South by the State, Rheinland-Pfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate). Since borders have fluctuated and territories have changed over the years, it will be useful to study these areas too.

Nordrhein-Westfalen includes the former Prussian province of Westfalen, the northern portion of the Prussian Rheinprovinz, and the principality of Lippe - Detmold . Westfalen and Rheinprovinz were combined August 23, 1946 by the British military government and Lippe-Detmold added six months later.

The coat of arms of Nordrhein-Westfalen includes references to all three; the stream from Rheinland, the steed from Westfalen and the rose from Lippe. In 1949 Nordrhein-Westfalen became a member state of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Within the state are five districts - see Map of NRW. Each district is divided into Kreise (Counties, there are 31 in all with 373 communities) and 23 Kreisfreistädte (larger cities that do not belong to a county). Many towns are actually made of of a larger town and several smaller ones. Thirty cities have over 100,000 inhabitants. Click here to see complete list.

NRW has 17.8 million inhabitants, 52% female and 48% male and is the most densly populated state of the Federal Republic. Two thirds of NRW is lowland: The Lower Rhine and Westphalian Bay. One third is mountainous: Eifel, Hohes Venn, Saurland, Bergriches Land, Siegerland, Teutoberger Forest, Egge and Wessserbergland. See map.

The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany regulates the responsibilities for legislation between community associations and states. The NRW Constitution seperates powers into legislative, administrative and adjudicative. Legislation must be done by the people and the Parliment, administration by the government and judicial by independent judges. There are two regional councils (Landschaftsverbände), which are regional municipal associations of the towns and districts in NRW; Landschaftsverband Rheinland (LVR) and Landschaftsverband Westfalen-Lippe (LWL). They roughly correspond in area and influence to the old Prussian Provinvial Federations.

If you are interested in genealogical investigation resrouces, here are some suggestions. Subscibe to mailing lists where you can communicate your requests and information to others interested in the same thing yor are. Click here to find out about mailing lists.

You can find many genealogy tools and aids at the sites of RootsWeb and

You can access information on German telephone numbers, maps, translations (both done by computer and live people), locatons, history and much more at the Hessen GenWeb Site coordinated by Don Watson. He has provided access to much information on Germany in general as well as that specific to Hessen.

If you have a town name but are unsure where it is in Germany try The GEO server . There are only a few very small towns which you will not be able to find in this. Some of them and some good maps of the others are available at MapQuest. Some more German maps can be found at FEEFHS Map Room. If you don't know a town name, post your query in the first known residence in the US (USGenWeb ), or other country in WorldGenWeb or in the unknown county area on GermanyGenWeb.

Thank you Pat Cotter for your contribution to this site.

Jim Hickman's Homepage

What's New?
To see the most recent links and additions to this site Click Here!
Check out this Calendar of Genealogical Events!

Government Districts

To see a full sized map which inclides Kreise (Counties), click on the Map above, or Click Here..
Kreisfrei Städte
Mülheim an der Ruhr
Kreis Kleve
Kreis Mettmann
Kreis Neuss
Kreis Viersen
Kreis Wesel
Kreisfrei Städte
Kreis Aachen
Kreis Düren
Kreis Euskirchen
Kreis Heinsberg
Oberbergischer Kreis
Kreisfrei Städte
Kreis Borken
Kreis Coesfeld
Kreis Recklinghausen
Kreis Steinfurt
Kreis Warendorf
Kreisfrei Stadt
Kreis Gütersloh
Kreis Herford
Kreis Höxter
Kreis Lippe
Kreis Minden-Lübbecke
Kreis Paderborn
Kreisfrei Städte
Märkischer Kreis
Kreis Olpe
Kreis Siegen
Kreis Soest
Kreis Unna

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