The Southwest Florida Germanic Genealogy Society, Inc.

ORT means place          SIPPEN means family/relations          BUCH means book
ORTSIPPENBUCH is a book about the families of a particular place... the study of the genealogies of the families in a given community.
Other names are Familienbuch, Dorfsippenbuch and Familienchronik.
Ortsippenbücher (books) are written by genealogists who belong to German Genealogy societies and research as a hobby or professionally.  Their sources of information are Archives, church books, civil records, tax lists, court & land records, etc.
History: Priests began recording information about families in church books in the 16th century.
  • 1807 – Congregations in Württenberg were required to maintain a family register.
  • 1889-1932 saw 77 volumes published.
  • Dorfsippenbuch Project of 1937: Planned to index every parish in Germany to provide vital information for every individual in the parish and to link each family members and each generation. Series A was 122 volumes; Series B was 33 volumes.
Not every parish has an Ortsippenbuch.
The books are relatively standard with table of contents, brief history and male surname and locality index, dates & places of births, marriages & deaths listed in the entries, sometimes citizenship and occupations listed.
Many are availabe in the Family History Library in Salt Lake.  You can contact the German town and ask if they have such a book.  With many territorial changes in Germany, it is important to be able to locate the town. German occupation resulted in country boundary changes for Eastern Europe, Poland & Russia, Czech Republic & Hungary, France & the Netherlands. The Jewish Gen Gazetteer may help with town location (  
You may be able to Locate the Ortsippenbuch (OSB) indexes online at The site is in German. Use your Google translator. Lists of online and in production OSBs are there.
Watch for name changes: May be anglicized. Copy any document where the information matches except the spelling of the name. Additional changes occurred between Baptism, Marriage and Death. (Baptized – Elizabetha Katarina Dorthea; married as Katharina Elisabeth; after marriage, went by Trina; death records reflect name of Trina.)  Additionally, watch for Rufname (name person is known by) and Spitname (nickname).
OSBs are usually published in small numbers and are not reprinted. Inquire through the town hall of your ancestor’s home town as to whether the book exists.
Helpful references
  • Larry O. Jensen, “Dorfsippenbücher,” German Genealogical Digest, Vol. VII, No.2, 1991.
  • Heinzmann, Franz, Bibliographie der Ortsippenbücher in Deutschland. (Lists 668 village lineage books alphabetically Heinzmann, Düsseldorf, 1991.
  • Ribbe, Wolfgang and Henning, Eckart, Taschenbuch für Familengeschicihtsforschung, 13th ed., Verlag Degener & CO., Neustadt an der Aisch, 2006 (Almost 1000 OSBs listed)
  • Die deutsche Zentralstelle für Genealogie in Leipzip (many OSBs held here)