German Records at the National Archives

I have taken a few trips to the local National Archives building recently. On Friday I began skimming through the catalog of materials that are available. I discovered one group, known as Record Group 242, that has a lot of German records, seized by the U.S. or other governments during and after World War II.

I have been asking people on various mailing lists if anyone has ever looked through some of these, but have yet to find anyone who has.

Captured German and Related Records on Microform in the National Archives
National Archives Collection of Foreign Records Seized (Record Group 242)

Here are two from under the heading Civil Records. These could have a good deal of personal information, including passport files.

  • Miscellaneous German Records Collection, 1892-1945
  • Records of Former German and Japanese Embassies and Consulates, 1890-1945

Another heading, Records of Private Individuals and Enterprises, sounds intriguing. Some of this will be cronies of the Nazis et al.

The most interesting to me, and perhaps the most genealogically useful, is from the subgroup titled German Military Records Antedating World War II. Among the groupings are:

The Prussian Mobilization Records are broken up into time periods relating to wars. The first roll of microfilm is from 1866, when Prussia declared war on Austria. This was a sort of German civil war per se, with various factions aligning with one side or the other.

The second roll is documents from the war against France in 1870. Upon the defeat of France, the German Empire was declared and a unified German state emerged for the first time since the zenith of the Holy Roman Empire.

The final three rolls of microfilm are about World War I.

I’ll be writing more about this extensive collection in the coming days. One section has a collection of letters and documents of Bismarck’s son Herbert.



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