My grandfather (Emil Schweiss born February 1864) was interned during the 1st World War and repatriated to Germany in I think 1919, but I have never been able to find out when he died, where he died, why he died. What records are there in Germany for me to research to hopefully answer my queries please?

He was repatriated probably 1919 to Rotterdam where many internees were landed then a route to most likely Freiburg, Breisgau where his married daughter Louisa Leppert lived. I think this is in the Baden Wurttemberg region.


2 Answers 2


The only online register of German death records I am aware of is provided by Das digitale historische Archiv Köln (you can search it using a newly created indexing project) and covers deaths between 1938 and 1978 in the city of Cologne.

You need to establish a place of residence and narrow down the possible time of death first before doing research offline. This means: Contacting the local registration office and/or local archives (since 2009 death records can be given to archives 30 years after they were closed ) and ask them to look for the record. The fee depends on the time needed by the staff to trace your records, so you better do as much research as possible before asking.

Maybe it helps to look in city directories of certain cities or regions to find your ancestor. A lot of these books are available as pdf files on the internet from local libraries, you can try to locate them using these categories (looking for the city, then the year). If you are lucky and find your ancestor you might also narrow down the time of death when he isn't mentioned in later address books anymore.

You can also search a database containing records from address books, but I am afraid it doesn't cover enough places and years.

If your ancestor died in World War II, you might find his grave using a specialized search engine provided by the Volksbund. Using the meta-search by genealogy.net (Verein für Computergenealogie, the largest genealogy association in Germany) you also can look for other graves that were recorded over the last years. Please note that most graves don’t exist longer than a few decades on burial sites in Germany.

Maybe we can help you here as well narrowing down your research if you can provide more details like name, region, occupation, birth year and/or participation in World War II.

Good luck!

  • 1
    I wonder if the the internment release and re-patriation documentation (from whichever country was applicable - USA or Canada or ...?) contain details of where the grandfather was to be sent.
    – bgwiehle
    Oct 8, 2013 at 17:26

A good starting point to get a feel for what records are available on-line in a particular jurisdiction and/or time period is the Family Search Collections list. You can apply filters selected from the left side of the page to narrow your search and see what options are left.

In your case Germany Deaths and Burials, 1582-1958 appears to hold 370 years of records but actually contains only 3.5 million entries; so the "coverage" is obviously very limited.

But, you might be lucky.

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