14 August 2015

Hints and Tips: German family history - historical newspapers

I have always found that historical newspapers can be very important sources of information when researching family history. In an English speaking world that can be reasonably easy, however switching to other languages can make it more difficult.

I have a considerable amount of German ancestry, and have in the past, on the suggestion of Pauleen Cass from Family History Across the Seas, researched German newspapers with Google Books by guessing newspaper names e.g. Blatter, Zeitung and putting it with location names. It's hit and miss, but can yield some wonderful results.

The other day I found a fantastically useful book to assist with German historical newspaper research: Zeitungs- und Zeitschriftentitel- Register by Gert Hagelweide, published by de Gruyter in 2007. It is available (though with limited pages) on Google Books. If you want to buy the e-book it will only cost you €269...

Of course, you still have to find access to those newspapers, and not all of them are available online. Your best bet is to start by searching Google Books and also Internet Archive for the online ones. Look for newspapers with the town/city/region name in them. Once you've found some search the newspapers for the surname(s) that are relevant to your research. If you find the surname, and assuming you don't know German, use Google Translator to get the gist of the information. Then you should be able to work out if it is useful, even if the sentences only vaguely make sense!

Good luck!


  1. Thanks for the mention Prue. Doubt I'll be buying that book ;) Will look at Google Books.

  2. Yeah, its just a little bit out of my price range too!