A Visit to the Kreisarchiv Bitburg-Prüm in Bitburg, Germany

On Friday I took another one of those wonderful excursions with my genealogy society luxracines. I’d been looking forward to this trip for a long time.

In the morning we visited the District Archive of Bitburg-Prüm or Kreisarchiv Bitburg-Prüm in the city of Bitburg where we were greeted by Tabea SKUBSKI, the district archivist.

Tabea SKUBSKI, Kreisarchivarin

She presented the archive to us with great enthusiasm. Inaugurated on 19 April 2007 it is run full-time by Tabea SKUBSKI and her colleague Gaby THOMASER.

It is a joint archive for the Eifelkreis Bitburg-Prüm, the five Verbandsgemeinden (Arzfeld, Bitburger Land, Prüm, Speicher, and Südeifel), as well as the city of Bitburg. Eifelkreis Bitburg-Prüm is the district in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. A Verbandsgemeinde is a low-level administrative unit typically composed of a small group of villages or towns.

Previously found in Koblenz, the original records of the municipalities of this district were returned to the district archive and are in very good condition. For an annual fee of 15 euros, permission is granted to take photographs of the records without flash. It is advised to use gloves and/or sanitize hands before and after handling records. Gloves and a hand sanitizer are found in the reading room where beverages and food are not allowed. The only writing utensils allowed are pencils. First-time users are required to fill out an application form for the use of the archive and another permission form for photography.

Mrs. SKUBSKI explained the archival content, the geographical boundaries, opening hours, and use and handling of the records before taking us behind the scenes into the actual archival storage area where specific climatic conditions are regulated to best suit the preservation of the records.

Enough time remained after the presentation to browse through the registers, reference material provided, and even to do some serious record searches.

Many Luxembourgers have family roots in the Eifel as it was once part of Luxembourg. In 1815 as a compensation for damages suffered by the French this area became part of Germany (darker green area in the map below).

By Spanish_Inquisition (LuxembourgPartitionsMap_english.jpg) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons
My main interest is the civil registers of the towns in this region. They are of great importance to my family history research as my maternal grandfather came from Ernzen, Germany. The registers available to the public are available from about 1798 for births, marriages, and deaths. Due to privacy laws, the BMD records are accessible only up to a certain year: for births older than 110 years, marriages older than 80 years and deaths older than 30 years.

After filling out the required forms I asked for the last Bollendorf birth register which would include the year 1906 when my maternal grandfather Nicolas WILDINGER was born in Ernzen. The village of Ernzen had their own records only until 1854 and then it was included in the registers of Bollendorf. Unfortunately, this register had already been requested by someone else in our group. However, on a closer perusal of the list of BMD registers for the Standesämter (civil registration offices) showed that Bollendorf births are only available at the archive up to 1900. Several years before the 110 years cutoff for births have not yet been deposited with the archive as they are included in a register which ends after the cutoff.

I’d come well prepared and had a list of more records I wanted to access. I decided to go to the bottom of the list and check on the earliest birth record. I requested the Ernzen birth register (1799-1825) and photographed the entries for two 3rd-great-grandmothers: Elisabeth WELTER 1807 and Catarine SCHRAMEN 1812. I was a bit stumped when I couldn’t find Hubert WEIMANN’s 1805 birth in Ernzen. Either I was too excited and missed it or I have the year and/or place of birth wrong.

Then I asked the archivist to pull the next Ernzen birth register (1826-1854) which is huge. Seeing my surprise she said it is one of the largest books in the archive. In it, I found my great-great-grandparents Bernard WILDINGER 1838 and Maria WEIMANN 1839.

My last request was for the Mettendorf birth register which would include the years 1842-1843 and was given the 1834-1850 book (below). In it, I found the 1843 birth record of Mathias PÖPPELREUTER (as spelled in the record, later spelled PÖPPELREITER) and the 1842 birth record of his wife Magdalena WAGNER.

Geburtsregister Burgermeisterei Mettendorf 1834-1850

Time flew and it was time to take a short walk to the restaurant we had reserved. After a leisurely lunch in the heart of Bitburg, we gathered for an official group photograph.

luxracines members who participated in this field trip.

Following a short walk through the beautiful pedestrian zone, we continued our trip to Irrel to visit a World War II bunker.

Photos by Rob Deltgen used with permission.

To be continued…

© 2018, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

Author: Cathy Meder-Dempsey

When I’m not doing genealogy and blogging, I spend time riding my racing bike with my husband through the wonderful Luxembourg countryside.

25 thoughts on “A Visit to the Kreisarchiv Bitburg-Prüm in Bitburg, Germany”

  1. What fun! I have relatives from the Rhine-Palatinate region. Perhaps someday the records from my towns (Gau-Algesheim, Gaulsheim/Bingen) will be digitized….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The records they have in the Kreisarchiv Bitburg-Prüm have not been digitized so I am glad it is only a 20-minute drive. I’m going to have to make a list of all the records I need to look up. I hope the records you need will be digitized soon, Amy.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Good night, Cathy!
    How long!
    I’m here reading your post and needless to say that I found it fantastic.
    It has everything to do with me and my Kapps from Ernzen!
    I continue here hoping for the success of your research! Congratulations! Big hug!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Miguel. It’s wonderful to see you are still following and read my post about the Kreisarchiv Bitburg-Prüm. It is the only place for now for us to find the civil records of our ancestors from this area. All my best to you.


  3. What a wonderful visit!
    Can you recommend any professional genealogists who are based in your area, especially ones who would be familiar with the archives in Bitburg? I’m interested in seeing if the records contain information about my German/Germann ancestors. Thanks!


    1. Marsha, I don’t know of any professional genealogists based in my area. Most of the towns in the area covered by the Bitburg archives have had family books published. The authors. for the most part. obtained their information from the church and civil records as well as publications on emigration. The books are a good place to start out. When I visited the archives in May 2018 we were allowed to take photos of documents for personal use only. I spoke to the archivist about the possibility of sharing images on my blog but she could not give me a clear answer on how this could be done. I have not been back to the archives to do research and therefore am not up to date on the terms of use. I’m sorry I can’t be of more help to you.


  4. Hi Cathy, I found your amazing and lovely website while researching Ferschweiler, Prussia. I am researching my Schmidt ancestors that emigrated from Ferschweiler to Illinois, USA in 1855 and then to outer areas of Waterloo, Black Hawk County, Iowa, USA. Recently, I discovered my great great grandfathers brothers family through old newspapers and slowly been finding all the other families. Through your website that mention the German baptism records on family search.org I found his brothers baptism at Saint Lucia Catholic Church at Ferschweiler in 1851 and his siblings and parents with the name spelling as Schmitt. Thank you so much. Sometimes, you just need a little direction.
    I am curious about the Family book you mention in your post the 52 Ancestors and #42 (By the way, I to follow and enjoy Amy Johnson Crows blog) and the book you mention is by Richard Schaffner, family book of the Sancta Lucia Ferschweiler. I am wondering is this for all of the families baptized at the church or was this a specified named family book?
    Also, the archives you visited in Bitburg-Plum, would they have the archives for Ferschweiler? If not, can you point me in the correct direction?

    Thank you so much and hope to hear from you.


    1. Hello Robin,

      Sorry for the long wait for a reply to your comment. The Ferschweiler family book is for all families in Ferschweiler for the period 1680-1899. The compiler used the church and civil records for birth/baptism, marriage, and death/burial dates. In some cases, emigration records were used and the place a family member went to (America, Brazil, etc) is noted.
      The Bitburg-Prum Archive houses all of the civil records for the area including Ferschweiler. I don’t know if they do lookups. At this time, they can be visited only with a prior appointment.


      1. Thank you Cathy for your reply. This has been a interesting and fascinating learning experience about Ferschweiler.
        I look forward to contacting the archive.
        Take care 😊

        Liked by 1 person

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