Book Review: German Census Records 1816-1916

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

German Census Records 1816-1916
The When, Where, and How of a Valuable Genealogical Resource
by Roger P. Minert. Family Roots Publishing Co. 2016. 250 pages.

Apparently, there is no other reference book out there addressing these kinds of records. At least, not in this broad, comprehensive form, covering the history of German census-taking and each province affected by the census decrees and practices.

Mr. Minert spent six months in Germany looking for these records, and his book documents the existence, or non-existence, of German census records, as well as he could determine given the complex histories of the provinces.

The introduction describes the history of, and reasons for, German censuses. This advanced my own familiarity with German records; my ancestors came from Pommern and Silesia, now Polish provinces, but formerly German territories, so anything more I learn about German history aids my own Polish research.

Indeed, a survey of census records includes the states, duchies, and provinces that were formerly of German sovereignty, but are now independent. As well as the current regions of Germany.

Separate chapters describe each province, or state. Explanations include the geographic location of the state; the status of census enumerations from there (when and where enumerations took place); specific instructions to the enumerators; content of these enumerations; accessibility of the records, whether online or in repositories; and an image of a representative census, when available. There are thirty-eight chapters for thirty-eight states.

If your ancestors were from Elsaß-Lothringen (Alsace-Lorraine), then you’re in luck. Lots of census records from there, and this chapter tells you where to find them. If your ancestors were from Schlesien (Silesia) as mine were, then you and I are out of luck. Silesia is now in Poland, and census records are hard to find: so far there are none microfilmed by the Family History Library and none found online. Well, that’s good to know, and using his book helped me figure out where to spend my time and where not to.

Mr. Minert does offer a thread of hope to the luckless ones: he provides an appendix explaining how to write to archives in Poland and France.

This is an exceptional work, one of a kind, and requisite in German research. I hope Mr. Minert took time to enjoy one or two Berliners while he was overseas. Every one of us who finds an ancestor by referencing his book should send him one.

German Census Records 1816-1916 – The When, Where, and How of a Valuable Genealogical Resource is available from the publisher, Family Roots Publishing Co., at as well as from Amazon at


Berliner Weisse? if you heard his talks, you understood he is part of the Mormon culture . . . their tastes vary from those of the rest of the world . . .


“Apparently, there is no other reference book out there addressing these kinds of records.” Apparently not, which piques my curiosity. So, how does one search pre-formation of the counties of Germany and France?
My ancestors are from Alsace Lorraine. The first to arrive in the port of New York in 1833. Can I trace them with the help of this book?


    The French departments of bas-Rhin and haut-Rhin (Alsace) have marvelous on-line free access websites with digital images of vital records that go back to at least the 1790’s. I’ve found a ton of information there on my ancestors from Alsace.


My ancestors came from the former principality of Saxe,Coburg und Gotha, does this book cover that area, now in Theuringen?


This proved to be a good purchase. I bought the book a while ago and contacted the Hamburg authorities using the book’s model letter to locate any further records. The folks in Hamburg sent a very detailed e mail in reply concerning where some records can be found.


Is there any information from the Koenigsberg area or the village of Kollkeim, East Prussia, Germany? This area is now north-west Poland. Thanks


When will this book be translated and published in German?


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