The States of Germany

This page was last updated: Wednesday, 26-Mar-2008 15:30:15 MDT. Thank you.




Greetings! Thank-you for stopping for a minute to read this. The Germany Genealogy Page has been modified, so that there is now a volunteer for some of the present states. This was done to simplify the editing of the Surname and Query file entry lists, and to more easily organize information by location. This is especially helpful for people researching common surnames like SCHMIDT. They would rather find Schmidts in the area that their Schmidts came from, than somewhere else.

This means you need to understand how the German State system works. The list of the states on the main page represent thenames of the present states since 1991 when Germany was reunified.Post WWII StatesBetween 1945-1991, the German nations were the Bundesrepublik Deutschland (West Germany) and the Deutsche Demokratische Republik (East Germany). West Germany consisted of these Bundesländer (states) : Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bayern, Bremen, Hamburg, Hessen, Niedersachsen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Rheinland-Pfalz, Saarland, Schleswig-Holstein and West Berlin. East Germany had no Bundesländer during this time, but was divided in to Bezirke, or districts named for the city which adminstered the area. They were: Rostock, Schwerin, Neubrandenburg, Magdeburg, Potsdam, Berlin, Frankfurt-an-der-Oder, Halle, Leipzig, Cottbus, Dresden, Karl-Marx-Stadt (now Chemnitz), Gera, and Suhl.

Names of Pre WWII Lands

Between 1918-1933, the Weimar Repubic, Gemany consisted of these lands: Anhalt, Baden, Bayern, Brandenburg, Braunschweig, Hannover, Hessen, Hohenzollern, Lippe, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Nassau, Oldenburg, Ostpreussen, Pfalz, Pommern, Rheinland, Saar, Sachsen, Schlesien, Schleswig-Holstein, Thüringen, Westfalen, Westpreussen, and Wuerttemberg.

Previous to this time, these areas were more orless the same. Remember, this is a gross generalization. Some territorieswere aquired and/or lost, some borders changed, names changed or altered, but their geographic arearemained much the same.

Where they are Today?

Today, most of Ostpreussen (East Prussia), Pommern, Schlesien (Silesia), Westpreussen (West Prussia and Posen, are in Poland. If your research includes these areas, you should submit your sunames and queries on the Poland GenWeb Page. Elsass-Lothringen is a part of France, known as Alsace-Lorraine, and you should submit your surnames and queries on the France GenWeb Page. All other former areas are incorporated into the modern Bundesländer (states).

Things that may mislead you

There are two major things about German researchwhich could mislead you when trying to determine your ancestor's place of origin.

1. HAMBURG and BREMEN. These two cities are today, and in the past have often been provinces or states in their own right. Bremen is closely associated with it's port city, BREMERHAVEN. The vast majority of German migrants left Germany from one of these two cities. Before submitting information about your ancestors with Hamburg or Bremen as a place of origin, please try to determine as best you can, that oneof these cities is the place of origin, and not simply the point of departure.

2. SAXONY. There are three different states in Germany with the word Saxony in their name. The German word is SACHSEN.These areas are: NIEDERSACHSEN, SACHSEN, and SACHSEN-ANHALT. Please be sure that you are choosing the CORRECT Saxony. If you are not sure which one you want, look at a good atlas, or at the map I have provided on the main page (click on Bundesländer).

And last: If you come across the city Frankfurt, there are two: Frankfurt am Main in Hessen and Frankfurt-an-der-Oder in Brandenburg on the Polish border.

The Point of Reading this Page

The point is, as I said at the top, the division of the Germany Genealogy page into the States is to make it easier for YOU to find information, and for me to maintain. This means we are asking you to do a little homework, which is worth your while.

If you know the name of the town where your ancestor originates, but you do not know in which Bundesland (state) the town liesin TODAY, the PLEASE use GEOserv to find it. It is simple and fast. Its database is most complete for former West German towns. The East German towns are being updated. It only covers towns and cities for East &West Germany. If it did not lie within the post 1945 boundaries of eitherGermany, it can not find it. Alternative map site is Calle. This one go as small as a farming hamlet, even most obscure hamlets not found in other map sites.

Please understand, I know that you may not knowwhere they came from, or the town or village simply may not exist today. That is why the Unknown listings are provided.

One final word, please read the Surname Entryand Query Entry instructions CAREFULLY, either those on this site, or those on the volunteers' sites. They are not there to be picky, but to save us from needing to edit. Maintainers of these Surname and Query lists have the right to delete your submission if it does not meet the simple guidelines.This does sound picky, but it saves us a lot of time. I realize that most of the time it was not intentional; perhaps you just left your caps lockbutton on. It does not matter. If you do not see your submission by the end of the following weekend, submit it again, and do so CAREFULLY.

Thanks!

     Baden-Wurttemberg (Wuerttemberg)     Mike Pantel
     Bayern (secondary site is down)      Mike Rauck
     Berlin (City)                        Roger Kennedy
     Brandenburg                          Roger Kennedy
     Bremen (City)                        Klaus-Peter Wessel
     Hamburg (City)                       Hans-Peter and Kirsten Wendt
     Hessen (Hesse)                       Don Watson
     Mecklenburg-Vorpommern               Carol Bowen
     Niedersachsen                        Jens Th. Kaufmann
     Nordrhein-Westfalen                  Jim Hickman
Prussia W. David Samuelsen Rheinland-Pfalz Brandilyn Rae Ruppell Saarland W. David Samuelsen Sachsen (Saxony) Roger Kennedy Sachsen-Anhalt Annette Peebles Schleswig-Holstein Jesper Zedlitz Thüringen (Thuringia) Larry D. Dietzel

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