Finding living Relatives

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Another good way to start your research in the old country would be look for living relatives. People didn't move around too much in the earlier times and usually stayed around the same place or area for many generations. Therefore it is quite possible you may find some relatives of yours still living in the same house where your ancestors used to live.

Of great help would be the German Telephone Directory, which is multilingual and pretty well self-explanatory.

Here is a mini-tutorial on how to use it:

When you click on the above link, this is what it should look like:

File:German Telephone Directory2.jpg

Enter your Name and click on the "Start" Button. However, this only makes sense when the name you are searching for is NOT very common in Germany and there are not more than 400 or 500 listings.

  • You can also use wildcards if you are not too sure about the spelling of the name. Just enter the first few letters you are sure about and then add the * symbol. For example if you enter into the the Surname field "Wal*", you will get ALL names starting with Wal.... and that will be a large amount.

Just as an Example, enter the Surname of Tittmann and you will get 492 hits and it will look like this:

File:German Telephone Directory4.jpg

Now let's examine this a bit further:

File:German Telephone Directory8.jpg

Below is what the envelope should look like:

Your Name
            Your Address
Your City, State, Zip Code
Frau 1

Angelika Tittmann
Kant Str.26 2
03050 Cottbus 3


1  change to Herrn if it is addressed to a male
2  the street number goes after the street name
3  The postal code goes before the city name

Of course, you have to insert your own data
Please do NOT send all your letters to "Angelika Tittmann", it's a fictional name, but she might exist ;-)

Do you need information how to write a simple Introductory letter ?

If the name you are looking for is a very common one, you should narrow down your selection.

More about this in Part 2

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