Sources in this guide are strongest for the 19th and 20th centuries. You can search by Subject in our Primo VE catalog using the “Advanced Search” function to the right of the search bar. Select “Subject” in the drop-down menu of search features in place of “Any field.” To research Germans in this country, use the subject heading “Germans – [location]”. When researching Pennsylvania Germans, search both “Germans – Pennsylvania” and “”Pennsylvania Dutch”. Other helpful subject headings include: “Germany – Genealogy” and “German Americans”.
Results can be filtered by Material Type, Language, Date, Author, Title, etc. prior to searching by using the drop-down menus in the search panel. If your search produces too many options, you can also narrow results using the faceted options on the left-hand side, under the heading “Refine your results.” Clicking on one of these filter terms or the box to their left will limit results to only those that fit this criterion, while clicking on the red box to the right of the term will exclude those results. For more information about searching in our online catalog, please see our Guide to Primo VE.
You may also wish to consult the LDS International Genealogical Index and the Family History Library Catalog. Both are available online. Through a loan program with that library, microfilm and microfiche of German records can be ordered for use at the Newberry. Inquire at the reference desk.
Guides and Bibliographies
Baxter, Angus. In Search of Your German Roots: A Complete Guide to Tracing Your Ancestors in the Germanic Areas of Europe. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1994. Call # Local History Ref CS614 .B39 1994 (2nd floor open shelf).
Germanic Genealogy: A Guide to Worldwide Sources and Migration Patterns. St. Paul, MN: Germanic Genealogy Society, 1997. Call # Local History Ref CS614 .G47 1997 (2nd floor open shelf).
Thode, Ernest. Address Book for Germanic Genealogy. 6th ed. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Pub., 1997. Call # Local History Ref CS611 .T48 1997 (2nd floor open shelf).
Wright, Raymond. Ancestors in German Archives : A Guide to Family History Sources. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2004. Call # Local History Ref CS614 .A55 2004 (2nd floor open shelf.)
Atlases and Gazetteers
Andrees Allgemeiner Handatlas. Vienna, 1913. Call # +G10.03. No photocopying from originals. Some central/eastern European plates available for copying from microfiche. Call # Microfiche 2818.
Atlas of the German Empire, 1892. Bountiful, Utah: Thomsen’s Genealogical Center, 1989. Call # G1912.2.A8 1989 (in map/atlas display area on top of shelves, 2nd floor).
Meyers Orts- und Verkehrs-Lexikon des Deutschen Reichs. Leipzig: Bibliographisches Institut, 1912-1913. Call # Microfilm 1187. More detailed than Neumanns.
Neumanns Orts- und Verkehrs-Lexikon des Deutschen Reichs. Leipzig: Verlag des Bibliographischen Instituts, 1905. Call # Local History Ref DD14 .N48 1905a (2nd floor open shelf).
Deutsche biographische Enzyklopädie (DBE). München; New Providence: K.G. Saur, 1995-2000. Call # Ref CT759 .D48 1995 (3rd floor open shelf).
The New Cassell’s German Dictionary. New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1962. Call # Local History Ref PF3640 .N47 1962 (2nd floor open shelf).
Thode, Ernest. German-English Genealogical Dictionary. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Call # Local History Ref CS6.T48 1992 (2nd floor open shelf).
Emigration and Immigration (see also the Passenger Lists pathfinder)
Germans to America: Lists of Passengers Arriving at U.S. Ports. Wilmington, Del.: Scholarly Resources, c1988-. Call # Local History Ref E184.G3 G38 1988 (2nd floor open shelf). Covers 1850-1897. Earlier years 1840- 1848 covered by call # Local History Ref E184. G3 G39 2002 (2nd floor open shelf).
Hacker, Werner. Eighteenth Century Register of Emigrants from Southwest Germany (to America and other countries). Apollo, PA: Closson Press, 1994. Call # Local History Ref CS614.H33 1994 (2nd floor open shelf).
Schrader-Muggenthalter, Cornelia. The Baden Emigration Book: Including Emigration from Alsace. Apollo, PA: Closson Press, 1992. Call # Local History Ref E184.G3 S376 1992 (2nd floor open shelf).
The Wuerttemberg Emigration Index. Salt Lake City, Utah: Ancestry Inc., 1986-. Call # Local History Ref E184 .G3 S34 (2nd floor open shelf).
Siebmacher, Johann. J. Siebmacher’s Grosses und Allgemeines Wappenbuch. 82 volumes. Nurnburg: Bauer und Paspe, 1856-1938. Call # Local History Ref oCR1179 .S53 1856 (2nd floor open shelf). Index to surnames in General-Index zu den Siebmacher’schen Wappenbüchern, 1605-1961. Call # Local History Ref CR1179 .S53 1856, Index 2 (2nd floor open shelf).
The Newberry holds several 19th century German language Chicago newspapers which ran detailed obituaries. Holdings are not complete for years listed; consult catalog for details.
- Abendblatt (evening edition of Illinois Staats-Zeitung), call # Microfilm 1408. 1893-1899.
- Abend-Presse, call #A6.16091. 1896-1898.
- Chicago Sonntags-Zeitung (Sunday edition of Illinois Staats –Zeitung), call # Microfilm A6.16645. 1862-1867.
- Chicagoer Freie Presse, call #A6.1609. 1889-1896.
- Chicagoer Arbeiter-Zeitung, call #Microfilm A6.1603. 1879-1889.
- Illinois Staats-Zeitung, daily edition.
Call # Microfilm 1405. 1862-63, 1866-68.
Call # Microfilm 1406. 1864, 1869, 1870.
Call # Microfilm 596. 1871-1880.
Call # Microfilm 1392. 1880-87, 1888-1900.
Call # Microfilm 1407. 1888.
- Illinois Staats-Zeitung, weekly edition. Call # Microfilm 1409. 1863-64, 1871-79, 1881-84, 1886-99.
Deutsches Geschlechterbuch. Gorlitz: C.A. Starke, 1911-. Call # CS621. D58 (index volumes on 2nd floor open shelf). Collected genealogies of generally upperclass families. Every surname indexing in each volume. Cumulative indexing of families who are subjects of articles in volumes 1-185 in Stammfolgen-Verzeichnisse: Genealogische Handbuch des Adels und Deutsches geschlechterbuch. Call # Local History Ref CS621 .D58 (2nd floor open shelf).
For a overall guide to the Starke genealogical sets (including paging instructions) see Guide to German Genealogy Books Published by C.A. Starke-Verlag : Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels, Adelslexikon, Deutsches Geschlechterbuch. Call #Local History Ref CS621 .D58 Guide (2nd floor open shelf.)
German Genealogical Digest. Pleasant Grove, Utah: Jensen Publications, c1985-. Call # CS610 .G47.
Printed Birth and Baptismal Certificates
In 2004, the Newberry Library acquired the Stopp collection of fraktur - printed birth and baptismal certificates created by German-Americans. These certificates are indexed by The Printed Birth and Baptismal Certificates of the German Americans by Klaus Stopp. Call # Ref E 184 .G3 S83 1997 (3rd floor checklist area). Copy reference from book and take to Special Collections on 4th floor to view originals. Further information on these certificates is available at the Genealogy Reference Desk, 2nd floor.
Selected German Interest Collections
The following manuscript collections are held in the Special Collections Department on the 4th floor. A longer version of this list is kept in the Modern Manuscript descriptions binder at the checklist table, 3rd floor.
Reactions of the Chicago community to German-based clubs and institutions, pre-WWI.
Alma Schmidt Petersen
Wealthy Chicago family making adjustments to impending war with Germany, 1914.
Chicago German language newspaperman; ‘48er.
Chicago German language newspaperman; ‘48er.
Civil War diarist; Chicago German-American 82nd Regiment, Illinois volunteer.