With the introduction of registry offices (Standesämter) in 1874, Berlin gained more than 20 institutions of this kind, and dozens more were added with the incorporation of suburbs in 1920. The areas that these offices were responsible for changed again and again in the course of the decades; offices were divided, consolidated, etc., so that some places were even assigned to different registry offices multiple times. Here you can find a list of places and areas in Berlin with the corresponding registry office.
There are more than 150 different registry office records in total. Here you can find an overview of these registry office records.
There is no comprehensive name card index for these holdings. Instead, individual name directories were compiled in each office, for every type of record (birth, marriage, death), separated by year. Name directories are organised according to the first letter of the surname.
If you know the responsible registry office (approximately), you can look through the office lists for names. Here, you can carry out a search yourself using the name directories of the registry offices.
A list of areas in Berlin provides help in the search for the responsible registry office. For today’s city centre (‘Alt-Berlin’), you can use the street directory showing areas of jurisdiction; there is a map of the registry office districts from 1874 to 1931.
The name directories give a document number for each event. The document number includes the registry office (Standesamt), type of document (death/marriage/birth), the number, and the year.
For example: document 115, found for 1903 among the death certificates (Sterbeurkunden, SU) from Spandau, is called Standesamt Spandau SU 115/1903.
Here you can find an overview of the contents of personal records from different years.
A request for copies should include the full document number (registry office [Standesamt], kind of event, consecutive number, and year). There is a
form available for such requests.
The genealogical company ‘ancestry’ has partially digitised the Berlin Registers in the Landesarchiv (births until 1899, marriages and deaths until 1920), and this information is gathered in a database. You can search for names online at ‘ancestry’. There is a fee for this service.
If you are looking for births, marriages, or deaths before 1874, you will need to use the records of religious institutions. These primarily include the ‘church books’ of Protestant and Catholic congregations. These can be found in the locally responsible church archives. In Berlin these are the Landeskirchliches Archiv Berlin (EKBO) and Diözesanarchiv Berlin.
There are records on Berlin’s Jewish congregations in the Landesarchiv, or you can contact the Centrum Judaicum.