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German Genealogy

German Censuses

Censuses were not taken nationally in Germany. What few local records do exist are general, often inaccurate, and rarely accessible to the public. With the development of the Personenstandregister (registry of vital statistics) in the 1870s, censuses became unnecessary because a continuous record of inhabitants was available.

In Württemberg there was a Familienregister (family register) beginning in the 16th century and in the 19th century a listing of residents.

Throughout Germany there are Seelenregistern (lists of souls), usually prepared by parish priests or ministers. (Smith, Clifford. Encyclopedia of German-American Genealogical Research).