Family of the district chimney sweep around 1911, source: Landesarchiv Berlin, F-Rep. 290 Nr. 0315622

If you want to know whether someone lived in Berlin, you can consult the printed (and later telephone books).

Additionally, you can commission a search in the historical Berlin registration card index. The card index is not complete, however. You can find further information on our

Only limited general personal records are available at the archive, when the person in question had something to do with city authorities. This relates to ‘official’ occurrences, not private events.

The largest group of these records are registry office records. If you would like to search these records, you can find information on our

Additionally, there may be records on the registration and operation of companies, the sale of buildings, criminal proceedings, medical records, denazification, etc. Information on such archive records can be found in our central archive database, which we can search for you.

There are also several larger card indexes that can be used to search for a person:

  • The denazification card index: contains information on people who lived in Berlin after 1945 and were ‘denazified’ there, meaning they had to provide information on their activity during National Socialism.
  • The card index of the Notaufnahmelager Mariendelde (Marienfelde Refugee Centre): contains information on people who left the GDR via Berlin between 1948 and 1990, who then lived in the centre or immediately fled further.
  • A card index of the Präsidium der Volkspolizei (people`s police department) in Berlin: contains information on people who illegally left the GDR between 1948 and 1990; letters D–Z are preserved.
  • There are card indexes of different jails in Berlin, documenting prisoners between 1935 and 1945.

Generally, it depends on the life story of the person in question whether or where files were generated – and whether these were later kept. Very often this is not the case, and then there is nothing in the archives. 

If you are looking for information on a person, write us an email at info [at], or send a letter or fax with:

  • the name of the person you are looking for
  • his/her date of birth