Take a Walk on the Wild Side!

Today I want to write about something wild and crazy! And what is better than writing about the Berlin directories?  About the wild and crazy Berlin directories?

Some of you might have worked with the Berlin directories before and got a bit confused by the way of sorting. For those who haven’t, I have good news. The Berlin directories sort the names in alphabetical order. So if you know the German alphabet there should be no problem.


An Unconventional Way of Sorting

Should. Because while other directories sort by surname and then first name, the Berlin directory sorts by surname and then occupation and then first name. Oh, and the first name is mostly abbreviated. And before I forget, first come the gentlemen and then the ladies. No, I’d better say first come the men, then the married ladies and then the Fräuleins. Each group of women is sorted by their occupation as well. If the widow had an occupation of her own (like seamstress, midwife or sales women), she is listed by her profession. If she has no occupation, she is listed by her late husband’s profession. But what is the husband’s profession is unknown? Then she is listed by her status as a widow (Ww. = Witwe).

This can be a rather disappointing experience when you are looking for a rather common name and don’t know the occupation. You have to go through many pages and in the end will not be any wiser. And if you need to search a period of time of 20 years it will leave you rather frustrated. Of course you can save a lot of time if you know the occupation and are looking for baker (Bäcker) or a pharmacist (Apotheker).


Which is Which?

But sometimes it gets really tricky. We’ll just take a look at the name Krause in the directory of 1880. We have 4 pages of Krause, none of them related to me (I think).

You are looking for Heinrich Krause, an honorable importer of good Cuban cigars? Try your luck with looking for importers (Importeur). Nope, not there. Next try – merchant (Kaufmann) maybe? Looks like you’re running out of luck! Why not check cigar, and there he is – Cigarren- und Tabak-Importeur – listed under the letter C, right where it belongs (or not).

Let’s look for Wilhelm Krause, a Schuldiener (school servant). Of course you have learned from your first experience and look at school (Schule). Wrong again! He is listed together with the other servants (Diener), where else would he be listed !?!

Things Changed for the Better

Good thing is that from 1925 on things are handled normally. First surnames, then first names.

Thankfully, most of the  directories of other towns are organized “the normal way” and much easier to work with.  But Berlin has always and will always be known for its wild and unconventional ways. So, when doing research in Berlin you have to be ready to take a walk on the wild side!

If you’re ready for this adventure start here…..


DearMyrtle’s German Genealogy Study Group

Don’t miss DearMyrtle’s German Genealogy Study Group with  Ursula C. Krause on April 19th and 26th, 2017 at noon EDT! Register now!

For registration for April 19, 2017 follow this link.

For registration for April 26, 2017 follow this link.

See you there!

P.S. DearMyrtle offers so many great hangouts on genealogy, I am sure you will find more you will want to take part in – just check out her website and join! They are fun, absolutely helpful for your research and free of charge (but you can donate if you feel you learned something new!).

The Neumark


Did your ancestors come from the area called Neumark (today Poland)?  Let me just introduce some sources to you so you know where to start.

You will find the villages and towns that  belonged to the Neumark listed here. As many of the church and other records were destroyed in the last days of World War 2, secondary sources are very important. Therefore, you should definitely check the Neumark database.  The many volunteers who helped fill this database with loads of information worked with many sources now being available online or in German libraries.

Also, an important source for researchers are the many Heritage Books of the Neumark, that can be found online.

If you want to look for records in Polish archives (and more and more is available online), you can search the website of the Polish State Archives.

German archives holding information from the Neumark are the Landeshauptarchiv Brandenburg in Potsdam and the  Geheimes Staatsarchiv in Berlin, the latter is important if your ancestors were among the settlers who colonized the Neumark. These archives do not have any records available online, except for those who were filmed by Familysearch/Ancestry.

Research in the Neumark can be a bit tricky and you need to know the history of this area. If you need help, why not contact us and see if we can assist you with your search for your ancestors.

The featured pictures show the village of Lubiath, County of Friedeberg where my ancestors owned a mill. This is the house my ancestors lived.

The German Genealogy Girl’s Podcast


Did you know that our Ursula C. Krause is the German Genealogy Girl behind the popular German Genealogy Girl’s Podcast? If you are of German descent and love doing research, this is the podcast to listen to! The German Genealogy Girl’s Podcast helps you make the most of your research time, by providing helpful techniques and a deeper insight into German research. Together with her guests from all over the world, she guides you through numerous websites, best practices, German history, pesky German grammar and language and best resources available. Her and her guest’s experience and knowledge will enlighten you and give you tools needed to advance your genealogical search. Join her monthly as they delve into the world of German genealogy!

Keep Yourself Updated!

Did you know that Katherine R. Willson  from Social Media Genealogy   has a list of all facebook groups on genealogy? Check out this list with more than 10,600 entries!


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