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Surnames/tags: Bavaria Bayern Germany
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Bavaria, Germany/Bayern, Deutschland

This page was created to offer a place to collaborate on Bavaria research. You can ask questions in the comments below or offer suggestions on new resources to attach to our resources list.

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  • UNSOURCED PROFILES: to get a list of unsourced profiles that need reliable sources added, click HERE to search "Bavaria" and HERE to search "Bayern". For more information/instruction on sourcing, see Germany Project Sourcerers Team
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Overview of Bavaria

Flag and Coat of Arms:
State of the Federal Republic of Germany: 1949
Capital: Munich
English: Bavaria, Free State of Bavaria
German: Bayern, Freistaat Bayern
Bavaria within Germany
The Free State of Bavaria is a federal state of Germany. It is the largest by area and second largest by population, with 12.5 million inhabitants. Bavaria's main cities are Munich, its capital and largest city, Nuremberg and Augsburg. Other large cities include Regensburg, Würzburg, Ingolstadt, Fürth and Erlangen.
Bavaria has a long history beginning in 555. It has been a Duchy, a part of the Holy Roman Empire, a kingdom, and after World War II part of the new German Federation. It includes parts of the historical regions of Franconia, Upper Palatinate and Swabia. It is considered a wealthy state with the second highest GDP. Two major rivers flow through the state, the Danube (Donau) and the Main.
Three German dialects are spoken in Bavaria - Austro-Bavarian in Old Bavaria (South-East and East); Swabian German (an Alemannic German dialect) in the Bavarian part of Swabia (South West); and East Franconian German in Franconia (North). In the 20th century an increasing part of the population began to speak Standard German, mainly in the cities.


Bavaria is a landlocked state in the southeast of Germany. With an area of 70,550.19 square kilometers (27,239.58 sq mi), Bavaria is the largest German state by land area, comprising roughly a fifth of the total land area of Germany. Bavaria shares international borders with Austria, the Czech Republic, and Switzerland (across Lake Constance). The Bavarian Alps create a natural border with Austria and within the range is the highest peak in Germany, the Zugspitze. The Bavarian Forest and the Bohemian Forest create another natural border with the Czech Republic. Neighboring states within Germany are Baden-Württemberg, Hesse, Thuringia, and Saxony.
Maps Coordinates: 48°46′39″N 11°25′52″E
  • Google Maps: Bavaria Map
  • Geoportal: Bayern - If you go to "Thema wechseln" - "Verwaltungsatlas" - "Kirchen" (on the left) - "kath. Kirche" you can display the parish boundaries. It is ideal to find the possible parish. Or you can change to an historic map. On the bottom right "Hintergrund" change to "Historische Karte"
  • Meyers Gazetteer: Bayern (Bayern, Traunstein, Oberbayern, Bayern)
  • Wikipedia: The Kingdom of Bavaria in 900
  • Wikipedia: Bavaria in the 10th century
  • Wikipedia: Bavaria in the 19th century and beyond
  • Wikipedia: Administrative districts (Regierungsbezirke and Bezirke) of Bavaria
  • Wikipedia: Map of the Landkreise of Bavaria
  • Wikipedia: Bavaria is one of Germany's least densely populated states.


The Duchy of Bavaria dates back to the year 555. In the 17th century, the Duke of Bavaria became a Prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire. The Kingdom of Bavaria existed from 1806 to 1918, when Bavaria became a republic. In 1946, the Free State of Bavaria reorganized itself on democratic lines. Bavaria has had a major influence on many events throughout European history. This link - History of Bavaria - is the source for almost anything you want to know about Bavaria's history.


Bavarians foster different cultural identities: Franconia in the north, speaking East Franconian German, Bavarian Swabia in the south west, speaking Swabian German and Altbayern (so-called "Old Bavaria", the regions forming the "historic", pentagon-shaped Bavaria before the acquisitions through the Vienna Congress, nowadays the districts of the Upper Palatinate, Lower and Upper Bavaria). In Munich the Old Bavarian dialect was spoken, but nowadays mainly High German.
Bavarian culture (Altbayern) has a long and predominant tradition of Roman Catholic faith. Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI (Joseph Alois Ratzinger), was born in Marktl am Inn in Upper Bavaria and was Cardinal-Archbishop of Munich and Freising. Otherwise, the Franconian and Swabian regions of the modern State of Bavaria are historically more diverse in religion, with both Catholic and Protestant traditions. As of 2010, 54.4% of Bavarians still adhere to Roman Catholicism, though the number is on the decline; 20.4% of the population adheres to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria; Muslims make up 4.0% of the population; and 21.2% of Bavarians are irreligious or adhere to other religions.
Bavarians emphasize pride in their traditions. Traditional costumes collectively known as Tracht are worn on special occasions and include, in Altbayern, Lederhosen for males and Dirndl for females. Centuries-old folk music is performed. The Maibaum, or Maypole (which in the Middle Ages served as the community's yellow pages, as figurettes on the pole represent the trades of the village), and the bagpipes in the Upper Palatinate region bear witness to the ancient Celtic and Germanic remnants of cultural heritage of the region. There are a lot of traditional Bavarian sports disciplines, e.g. the Aperschnalzen is an old tradition of competitive whipcracking.
Cuisine in Bavaria has many dishes in common with Austria and Switzerland. It is known for its beer gardens, pretzels, potato dishes and beet dishes. Meats and noodles, coffee cakes and fruit cakes. Oktoberfest, beer gardens, castles, wood working, and alpine sports are all part of Bavarian culture.

Research Help and Regional Resources

Online Resource Compilations

Vital Records

Religious Facilities


Local Cemeteries


Colleges and Universities

They often have local records and have professors who are versed in local lore so can be a wonderful resource and many are multilingual.

Local Phone Books

Local Genealogy Groups

  • WikiTree: List of Addresses for Family Research in Germany

WikiTree Free Space Pages and One-Place Studies

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WikiTree Categories

Translation Aides

In Germany a number of different written languages and dialects were used. Below are some links to sites which may help you with old documents.

This is an active Germany Project page with up-to-date information.
Last updated by Traci Thiessen: 19 Jul 2022

Images: 1
Flag of Bavaria
Flag of Bavaria

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Comments: 23

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Hello, I have many letters that are written I am told in either high or low german. My Bergtholdt and Hohl family came to the U.S. from Bavaria back about 1850's. My gr. gr. grandfather was born in Bavaria about 1832.
posted by Karen (Newman) Vinzant
edited by Karen (Newman) Vinzant
From Dieter Lewerenz (sent to Google Group):

If he is from Bavaria and they are written in dialect, the writing will be neither in High German nor in Low German.

Low German is spoken in the North German region, High German is the German high language as spoken and written according to Duden.

In Bavaria, Upper German dialects are spoken. Depending on where the person comes from in Bavaria, it could be North Upper German (East Franconian or South Franconian dialect) or East Upper German (Upper Palatinate, Danube Bavarian or Alpine Bavarian dialect) or even still West Upper German (East Alemannic/Swabian dialect).

posted by Traci Thiessen
Hi Bavaria Team,

the "Bayern Atlas",122 is a verry good map. If you go to "Thema wechseln" - "Verwaltungsatlas" - "Kirchen" (on the left) - "kath. Kirche" you can display the parish boundaries. It is ideal to find the possible parish. Or you can change to an historic map. On the bottom right "Hintergrund" change to "Historische Karte"

The map is only for Bavaria!!

Greetings Monika

posted by Monika (Eschenbaum) B.
Thanks Monika! I added a link under the Maps heading above.
posted by Traci Thiessen
For info: Genealogy and house chronicles in the area northwest of Munich -
posted by Traci Thiessen
Another handy resource that might fit here (and other areas of wikitree, too) is: . Once you register for an account, you get access to databases containing records in Vienna, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Passau, Nuernberg, Bayreuth,etc. I found a record for my great-grandfather in the Passau database, but a few details seem to differ slightly from the birth certificate I have for him.
posted by Glenn Wright
Thanks Glenn I added the URL to the Vital Statistics Section.
posted by Laura (Pennie) Bozzay
Interaction with a brand new volunteer introduced me to "church registers (mostly books of birth, marriage and death) from bvarious European countries (currently Austria, Germany, Poland and Serbia)." I thought you might want this for the Bavaria Project resource page.
posted on Bavaria (merged) by Debi (McGee) Hoag