Source Information

Ancestry.com. Meyers Gazetteer of the German Empire [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.
Original data: Erich Uetrecht. Meyers Orts- und Verkehrs-Lexikon des Deutschen Reichs. 5th Edition. Leipzig, Germany: Bibliographisches Institut, 1912-1913.

About Meyers Gazetteer of the German Empire

This database contains Meyers Geographical and Commercial Gazetteer of the German Empire (or Meyers Orts- und Verkehrs-Lexikon des Deutschen Reichs in German). This gazetteer of the German Empire is the gazetteer to use to locate place names in German research. It was originally compiled in 1912. This gazetteer is the gazetteer to use because it includes all areas that were part of the pre-World War I (WWI) German Empire. Gazetteers published after WWI may not include parts of the Empire that were lost to bordering countries. Overall, this gazetteer includes more than 210,000 cities, towns, hamlets, villages, etc.

Why use Gazetteers?

Gazetteers are very important to use when doing family history research. They not only help you pinpoint a specific place and associate them with the jurisdictions to which they belong, but they can also provide interesting facts about the community and help you to know where to look for additional records. For example, from Meyers Orts you may learn about the size of the town, if there was a post office, where the nearest train station was located, and wehre the civil registration office was located.

How to Use Meyers Orts:

Place names are listed alphabetically and are arranged in the following manner:

  • Volume I: A-K
  • Volume II: L-Z
  • Volume III: Supplement (contains additions and corrections)

Each entry contains a paragraph of information. If all of the information is available it will include the following things and appear in the following order:

  • Name of place
  • Place type
  • Name of state to which it belongs
  • Government district
  • Population
  • Post Office and other Communications information
  • Railroad information
  • Courts
  • Consulate
  • Embassy
  • Churches
  • Schools
  • Institutes
  • Military
  • Financial
  • Business Institutions
  • Trades and Industries
  • Shipping Traffic
  • Local government services
  • Dependent Places

The paragraphs of information are full of abbreviations, which were used to save space. At the beginning of Volume I is an abbreviation list. This list will help you immensely in reading the entry.

Another difficult thing about using Meyers Orts is correctly deciphering the Gothic script that the work was printed in.

Some of the above information was taken from Uncapher, Wendy K. How to Read & Understand Meyers Orts- und Verkehrs-Lexikon des Deutschen Reichs. Janesville, WI, USA: Origins, 2003.