German Genealogy Reference Books

The following books may be useful to anyone researching German ancestry:

Atlantic Bridge to Germany

New editions of the popular series, The Atlantic Bridge to Germany, authored by Charles Hall, are being published. Alsace-Lorraine was first, Baden is the second volume and Pomerania is now available.

Books in the new Atlantic Bridge to Germany begin with a brief history of the region, as well as information on geography, books of interest, and more. Many large and small place names are listed in these volumes together with maps dating from the late 1800s. Names of counties (Kreise) and government districts (Bezirke) are given, as well as what church records are available at the Family History Library.


Deciphering Handwriting in German Documents

 Analyzing German, Latin, and French in Vital Records Written in Germany, by Roger P. Minert, GRT Publications, 2001. This book contains many photos showing different styles of handwriting.

Encyclopedia of German-American Genealogical Research

Written by Clifford Neal Smith, The Encyclopedia of German-American Genealogical Research is often regarded as the best book for surveying "the material available to the genealogist seeking to link American lineages with their origins in German-speaking Europe." The emphasis of the work is on German genealogical research in America, with special focus on immigration records, German ethnic religious bodies in America, and manuscript and published source materials, both in America and Germany.


Finding Your German Ancestors: A Beginner's Guide

Written by Kevan M. Hansen, Finding Your German Ancestors: A Beginner's Guide provides a valuable introduction for researchers who have not previously worked with German records, highlighting excellent sources for researchers who may have "cold feet" about researching in Germany or with German records.    


German-American Names

Written by George F. Jones.


Germanic Genealogy: A Guide to Worldwide Sources and Migration Patterns

Written by Edward R. Brandt, et al.

German Immigration into Pennsylvania Through the Port of Philadelphia from 1700 to 1775, and the Redemptioners by Frank R. Diffenderffer.

This important historical study deals with the background of German immigration, especially that of the Palatines, the causes, migration patterns, the leading figures in the movement, and the disposition of the immigrants. Much of the book deals with the redemptioners, those who bound themselves to service as payment for the trip to America. It covers the types of bond servants and evaluates their role in the development of the German settlements, with accounts of their rise, progress, and place in American Society.


The German Research Companion, by Shirley J. Riemer. Sacramento: Lorelei Press, 2000.

Encyclopedic coverage of a wide range of topics of interest to German researchers: historical German territories, emigraton and immigration, vocabulary, German records, German archives, and other resources.


Germany: a history, by John E. Rodes, Occidental College, New York:  Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1964.

Professor Rodes surveys German historical development from the early middle ages to the present day.  The author profides a well-balanced examination of the past as a framework for his analysis of the present.


If I Can You Can Decipher Germanic Records, by Edna M. Bentz.

How to decipher old German script, with many examples.



In Search of Your German Roots: A Complete Guide to Tracing Your Ancestors in the Germanic Areas of Europe

 Authored by Angus Baxter, In Search of Your German Roots is designed to help genealogists trace their German ancestry not only in Germany but in all the German-speaking areas of Europe.


System administrator's note: Please feel free to add more books to the above list. I suggest the list be kept in alphabetical order.