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Learn more in Tips for Finding the Birthplace of Your Immigrant Ancestor After you've determined the immigrant's hometown in Germany, you should next locate it on a map to determine whether it still exists, and in which German state.

Online German gazetteers can help locate the state in Germany in which a town, village or city can now be found.

Other common sources for locating an immigrant's hometown include vital records of birth, marriage and death; census records; naturalization records and church records.

Once you've used a variety of genealogy records to trace your family back to the original German ancestor, the next step is to find the name of the specific town, village or city in Germany where your immigrant ancestor lived.

Since most German records are not centralized, it is nearly impossible to trace your ancestors in Germany without this step.

Prussia existed as an independent state from the 17th century until 1871, when it became the largest territory of the new German empire.

Prussia as a state was officially abolished in 1947, and now the term only exists in reference to the former province.

The information available from German census records varies greatly by time period and area.

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