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Registers of births, marriages and deaths

By the year 1876, it had become mandatory for all authorities in the German Empire to keep registers of births, marriages and deaths, covering all individuals.

Public access is permitted as follows:

  • Births after 110 years
  • Marriages after 80 years
  • Deaths after 30 years

– subject to compliance with the relevant legal provisions for archives. 

Furthermore, the Civil Registry Archives comprise all birth records until 30 June 1938. They can be accessed under the relevant regulations for registers of births, deaths and marriages. Later records are held by each civil registry office, where they can be accessed under the same regulations.

What details do I need?

You need the full name of the person you are looking for, as well as the place and year of their birth, or the place and date of their marriage, or the place and date of their death.

How can I access the registers?

There are various way to conduct a search in auxiliary registers of births, marriages and deaths. First of all, you can search through the online resources of the Civil Registry Archives of Westphalia-Lippe.

Click here to get to the resources. You can then access the relevant registers in the Reading Room where you can also order copies against payment of a fee. Secondly, you may wish to send an enquiry to our Civil Registry Archives. The staff at our Civil Registry Archives would be pleased to help you in your research. However, please remember that your free research period is limited to 30 minutes. More complex enquiries are subject to charges, and so are any copies you may wish to order.

Digitised collections

Working together with FamilySearch, the State Archives are currently in the process of digitising auxiliary death registers until 30 June 1938. You will find a list of digitised collections under Digital Family Research.