Search the Meyers Gazetteer

The Meyers Gazetteer is a useful tool for genealogists who are trying to do research on their German ancestors. It is designed to help you find German places. The Meyers Gazetteer functions like you would expect a search engine to. The difference is that this search engine is specialized and focused on German places.

The Meyers Gazetteer is a free website that is the result of 20-plus years of work by genealogist Marion Rainey and computer programmer Brad Coleman. They created this searchable database from the leading geographical dictionary of pre-WWI Germany.

There are other names for the Meyers Gazetteer. It is also called “Meyers Orts-”, which is an abbreviation of Meyers Orts- und Verkehers-lexikon des deutschen Reichs.

It is the most important of all German gazetteers. The goal of the Meyer’s compliers was to list every place name in the German empire (1871- 1928). It gives the location (for example, the state and other jurisdictions) and where the civil registry office was located. It also lists parishes (if a town had them). In addition, it gives you lots of other information about each place.

Tips for using the Meyers Gazetteer:

Start by typing the name of a German place into the search box.

Use an * in your search for better results. Example: *gheim will bring up information on Balgheim, Bergheim, Bietigheim, Billigheim, and anything else that ends in gheim.

Type the beginning of a name, and it will show you all places that begin with those letters. Example: If you type Neu, you will get Neu Abbau, Neu Abschawanger, Neuacker and more. This could be helpful if you aren’t sure how to correctly spell the name of the place you are searching for.

You do not need to include umlauts when you search the Meyers Gazeteer.

You can select “Filter results by region” from the drop-down menu. The regions are various states/provinces of the Second German Empire (1871-1918). Filtering will help you determine the correct town by narrowing the number of results you get.

If you click on “Ecclesiastical”, you will see parish information. The Meyers Gazetteer will show you where the Catholic and Protestant parishes for your town are located.

You can zoom in and out on maps by using your mouse. It is also possible to switch from the maps in the Meyers Gazetteer to Google Maps. This is especially helpful if you are searching in Poland or other areas of the former German Empire that are now in other countries.

Related Articles at

* Your Ancestral German Towns and Cities

* Germans Recruited to Come to Michigan

* Using ‘GermanRoots’ Web Site

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