Beginner Research

Use the menu below to visit other pages of the Bavaria Gen Web website.

Suggestions for this page should be sent to Joanne Parmley, the Bavaria Gen Web coordinator, at:

NOTE: Due to time constraints and the volume of e-mails received, I am unable to respond to individual research questions. Any research-related questions or problems you have but cannot find answers to at this website should be directed to the FREE BAVARIAN-ANCESTORS mailing list. Visit the webpage and follow the directions to become a subscriber. Then, post your questions (Fragen in der deutschen Sprache sind auch willkommen) to the mailing list to be read by hundreds of fellow Bavarian genealogy researchers.


BAYERN (in the German language), BAVARIA (in the English language) is a Bundesland (a State within the Federal Republic of Germany), but calls itself a "Freistaat" (Free State) based on its earlier historic standing. Bayern is divided into 7 Regierungsbezirke (Districts): Oberpfalz, Niederbayern, Oberbayern, Unterfranken, Mittelfranken, Oberfranken, and Schwaben. Bayern has 71 Landkreise, sometimes shortened to "Kreise" (similar to US counties) plus Kreisfrei Städte (cities large enough to be administered at the county level). There are a total of 373 Gemeinden (similar to US townships). In addition, there are 23 Städte (cities). Each Gemeinde or Stadt is a local administrative division.

The southern portion of today's German State of Rheinland-Pfalz was once owned by Bavaria for a very long time and was / is referred to as the "Rheinpfalz", "Rhennish Pfalz", "Rheinbayern" or "Palatinate", but it is no longer a part of modern Bavaria / Bayern.

To see a map of Germany and Bayern / Bavaria's place in it, click HERE.

To see a map of Bavaria when it owned Rheinpfalz, click HERE.

For a concise tutorial about Bavarian genealogy research, visit Michael Rauck's webpage:

How to Find Ancestor Records in Bavaria

Wilhelm Kemendic's GATEWAY to Bavarian Genealogy is another useful resource with links to the Bavarian Surnames Index, the Bavaria FAQ's listed below, a List of Places in Bavaria, and more.

For detailed help in learning the basics of genealogy research in Bayern and how to locate the exact place of birth for your Bavarian ancestor, please visit the following website which should answer many of your questions about where to begin:

Bavaria FAQ's

Another page, Genealogical Research in Bavaria by Friedrich R. Wollmershäuser, gives a summary of records and their locations.

A very good article to read for help in understanding the details of Bavarian Research that also gives many titles of useful texts (papers, books) for Bavarian genealogy researchers:

A translation of a reprint from the "Mitteilungen fur die Archivpfege in Bayern." (Report on the Archives in Bavaria).

Also see:

Determining Place of Origin in Germany

A Handbook of German Research

Germany Research Outline

Are you new to online research in general? Here's a list of links that will help you understand the process of using the Internet for family history research.

Internet Stuff You Need To Know

Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet
Your genealogical research portal onto the Internet


See the RootsWeb Help Desk:


Surname to Soundex Code