Ahnenforschungsstelle der Preußischen Armee

(Preußische Armee Family Research Center)

Purpose of Page:

This page has been created in response to the amount of requests we often get on your site in regards to German/Prussian Ancestry and military service of ancestors. Though we are not a historic site per say, we offer many historical aspects and information on our site, so along those principles we have created this page.

It is also to serve as a jumping off point for people doing research and are links compiled from follow up emails, links from research and reference librarians across the world, and also from people who work at various levels of libraries and archives in Germany and its sub-states.

We cannot guarantee an answer, but we can give you a starting point. Feel free to contact us with any places you find that may not be on this list. We are always looking for new sources of information for people.

Contact Scott Ludwig



Many thanks to Russ for his valuable help in his own research and keeping contact with me in his whole process and giving me data.

Also a fellow librarian Wolfgang, for his many valuable insights into the German Archives and Libraries. (Please contact me for requests to send a message to him.)

A lot below was provided by LIBREF-L list (Discussion of Library Reference
which is a Listserve from Kent State for librarians who do reference work. A German Ancestor question came up and some of the data below were the responses.

Important Note About Records.

The Preussisches Militärarchiv Potsdam lost almost all of it`s soldier, officer and unit files by an American air raid in April 1945. So the ability to find information maybe somewhat more complicated. There are certain ways around it if certain information is known.

Places to Look:

Mormon Latter Day Saints (LDS) Churches and Archives are very helpful and are a good jumping off point. It is strongly suggested you start here and then move to European contacts.


Family Search:














German Archives:

What they still have are the Militärkirchenbücher. If they had married at the time
they served in the Prussian Army, there is a good chance that their name, rank and
unit can be found there. If they were an officer it also a good chance that their name
will appear in the "Ranglisten" (a list of officer ranks). 



Other than that try the Krankenbuchlager, Berlin. It looks like they have
still files of the Prussian Military hospitals of this period for the wounded or sick.



As far as from the Archives homepages they need more than name and birthtown. They need also their birth date and when they died and information which leads to
their unit.


German Maps and Parish Guides et al:


Map Guide to German Parish Registers (which is a series containing over 40?
volumes) should be available at a nearby library; you can check WorldCat for
availability.  These will normally be reference items. (To be edited with WorldCat info.)


How to Read and Understand Meyers Orts- und Verkehrs-Lexikon des Deutschen Reichs: Meyers Geographical and Commercial Gazetteer of the German Empire.

Author: Wendy K Uncapher. 2003. 24 pages. Janesville WI

Description below the title, which reads: 1912 Gazetter of German placenames of the German Empire as they existed before World War I.

27 libraries have this work. Dewey 914.3/003. OCLC Accession Number: 52964342.

According to Willow Bend Books, an Internet source for genealogy ref. materials, the book also "includes tips for deciphering the Gothic print, how to find your town in the gazetteer, abbreviations translated, examples translated, glossary and more."



German Genealogy:

In researching married names, good sources of
information for German Places/names history are several German
heritage sites.  - Some of these sites include a  cultural, language &
religion breakdown of  of towns in the Germany/Poland/France regions -

Previous names are also noted in the timelines:



Germanic Genealogy Society:



Hamburg Emigration Office:



German Roots:



Palatines to America:



Public Works on Jewish Genealogy:

At http://www.avotaynu.com are a bunch of gazetteers but the most
appropriate one is this one: http://www.avotaynu.com/books/kredel.htm
and it also has reproductions of 19th century and earlier maps for sale at:
http://www.avotaynu.com/maps.htm which includes Germany.


The Immigrant Genealogical Society:

Which has excellent links:



Atlas des Deutschen Reichs (aka Ravenstein Atlas):

  It's only the 1883 edition, but it's very helpful to most genealogists.



Foundation for East European Family History Studies:



The GeoNet database at the National Geospatial Agency:

Has an online listing of foreign place names. Their site says: "The GEOnet Names Server
(GNS) provides access to the NGA database of foreign geographic feature
names. The database is the official repository of foreign place-name
decisions approved by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (US BGN).
Approximately 20,000 of the database's features are updated monthly." You can
access this site at: http://geonames.nga.mil/gns/html/

The Board of Geographic Names published a blue gazetteer on West Germany in 1960, and one on the DDR in 1983. All updates since then have been placed online at the NGA, which was formerly the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) and before that the Defense Mapping Agency (DMA) and before that the Army Mapping Service (AMS).

Remember that Germany has several unique problems regarding place
names. The borders have changed over the years among different language
groups and governments. Thus, the same town may have an official or
unofficial place name in Latin (often used in church certificates of baptism,
marriage, etc.), in local dialects, in Polish or German, such as the town
with many names: Gedania (Latin), Gdunsk (Kashubian), Gdansk (Polish) and
Danzig (German). Don't know if there was a separate name for the city among
the Jewish or Gypsy populations prior to WWII.

Tradition also has some charge over what cities in Germany are
called. In English, we know the town of Cologne by the French name, but the
Germans know it as Koln, or the French town of Aix-la-Chappelle which is
known to the Germans as Aachen. Further east, many towns and cities have
multiple names in multiple languages, such as Austria's capital, Vienna,
which is known by many names: German: Wien; Croatian and Serbian: Bec, Czech:
Víden, Hungarian: Bécs, Romanian: Viena, Romany Vidnya, Russian: ????,
Slovak: Vieden, Slovenian: Dunaj.

Internet Public Library:   

If you have a place name that can't be found by the basic
search items and gazetteers, try the German collection of
the Internet Public Library at: http://www.ipl.org/div/news/browse/DE/


Staatsbibliotek zu Berlin:



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Last Updated: October 10, 2016 12:02