The German Family History Library


Short for Forscherkontakte, which translates to researcher contact. It is a project of DAGV, a German genealogical association for obtaining genealogy information from Germans living in Germany, for those with a German background who live elsewhere. There are two opportunities for its use:

1) The search function
2) The data entry function

The search function is where everyone begins. FOKO prohibits data entry by, or on behalf of, any person other than yourself. DAGV members living in Germany have to date contributed more than two million surnames and locations.

The project accepts online searches and through them identifies contributors/researchers who are researching YOUR ancestral line in YOUR ancestors village, town, or city. You should KNOW your ancestors surname and the town he/she came from,  and have a specific time frame of interest, in advance of using FOKO. You must be prepared to enter into an information exchange with your contact in Germany. That is, it is not a one-way street. You cannot expect to receive information if you have nothing but guesses to offer in exchange.

If there is a "hit," you can request information by sending your E-Mail address to the computer. The response will be the identity number, name, and address of the DAGV member to contact for details. If there is no E-Mail address you make all your contacts thereafter by regular mail. At some point you may be provided the German researchers personal E-Mail address, to accelerate information exchanges. That is up to them.

Before attempting to become a guest or official member of FOKO, use the search function. When there is a "hit", contact the submitter of the data by E-Mail or letter (including your typed, self-addressed envelope and German postage). If you do not, you will not receive a response. Once you get a handle on what you are doing (and the rules), you can consider guest membership and data input. Some of the information available can be found via other free, online/offline resources; therefore, FOKO is not an exclusive database. The difference with FOKO is that you have a personal contact person who may be related to you, researching YOUR family tree (if you use the system properly).

The FOKO record of a person contains among other things the following data fields:

-First name
-Type of register, where found, and the oldest document available.
-Earliest mention of the person by year and location.
-Confession, Religion, Faith, Denomination.
-State or Province or District or Territory or Duchy within the country.
-Postal Zip Code
-Community, Village, Town, City; there may be several "pages" for the person within the  record, indicating residence changes.
-Identity of the genealogical association and membership number of the submitter.      Non-members are identified by a guest number.

If you get an "insufficient information" response, or a "sorry, found nothing" (Leider Nichts Gefunden) response, eliminate data fields one at a time from the bottom up until you either find persons by the surname and location you are looking for, or strike out completely. Please do not abuse the system by attempting to contact everyone named Schmidt anywhere in Germany between the Garden of Eden and today. Specific person(s) in specific location(s) in specific time period(s) which the German contact is ALSO researching is what FOKO is all about.

There is no one that you can send a question to. There is no research assistance person. There is no one to ask generalized questions or to ask for help with your research. You can send comments on the system, but help with your research is found at Rootsweb websites and mailing lists for Germany, not by overloading the nice folks at DAGV/FOKO. The most productive German genealogy research tool on the internet is found at....


and at Research 101


1. Use FOKO at to contact a researcher. The letter "D" in front of the postal zip code indicates "Deutschland," the German word for Germany. If you find a researcher researching YOUR surname in YOUR town in a same or close to same time frame, put a check mark in "Info" on the form and click on "Info Anfordern" at the base of the form. That sends your E-Mail address to the person in Germany who is researching that line. You'll get an E-Mail response from that person. In some cases there will not be a block to put your check mark in. In those cases, the word BUCH will be highlighted in the column to the left. Click on BUCH to be taken to additional information concerning printed materials, CD-ROM disks for births, marriages, deaths, and so on. These are "for sale" books and CD-ROM disks. Scroll to the bottom of the page and insert your E-Mail address into the rectangular block. That will include you in the FOKO mailing list for updates and news concerning FOKO. Make no attempt to contact researchers who are not researching your ancestry in your town. You will have to operate in the German language version. A translation of the searchable database is offered, below, and remember that we have language translation at ./index.htm.

2. Use FOKO at for data entry only. You must be an official or guest member and you must have a password. Data entry must be according to a prescribed format. There is an English language option.

Translation of the searchable database entry point

FOKO - Die Aktion Forscherkontakte der DAGV

Nachname (Surname)

exakt Beginn des Namens Soundex-Suche (Exact or Beginning of the Name or Soundex-Search)

Zeitraum (von): (Time Period [from])

Zeitraum (bis): (Time Period [until])

Staat: (Country) (Letter  D  for Germany)

Territorium: (State) (Two letter abbreviation for one of the 16 German states. The abbreviations are provided)

Ort: (Village, Town, City)

      exakt  or  Beginn des Namens (Exact Town Name or Beginning of it)

Ortskennung: (Location Identifier [skip])

Konfession/Religion: (Confession/Religion)

Ergebnisse pro Seite: 10 20 50 100  (Number of hits you want to see, per page)


A service known as GOV provides the following information in a searchable database:

Geographical location of German cities, towns, and villages.

Postal zip codes, municipal identifiers used by German computers, and other identifiers.

Former names of cities, towns, and villages, other names known by, and administration.

Sources of information, files, literature, historical data.

Boundaries and boundary changes over the centuries for civil and church government, county, district, and regional identification.

The link is found at

Type in, for example, the town name (Ortsname), and it will give you the other town identifiers. Type in the zip code (PLZ), and it gives you the other two blocks. The word Bundesland stands for the German state you will be researching in. We already have these capabilities under Town Locator in our Table of Links. However, GOV promises to bring them all together in a single website. GOV is not for guess-work. You must get your facts in order before using it.


GEDBAS is one of the awesome tools being provided in Germany by Germans for genealogical research. Similar to FOKO, it is open for all to use in researching the family tree. It translates to Genealogy Database. It is there for information exchange between researchers in Germany and elsewhere who are researching the same or similar family trees. It is not there for guess-work. Exchanges must use only the GEDCOM format, or an html editor. Any person born 95 years ago or sooner must be electronically deleted from your database. Any information coming from Germany will have those persons deleted. Your data must include your own name, address, city, state, zip code, and telephone number. If you are a member of the German Genealogy Union, include your membership identification number.

Vorname = First Name   Nachname = Surname    Vater = Father      Nachname = Surname
                                            Check Exact  or  Beginning of name
                                                                                        Mutter = Mother   Nachname = Maiden Name or Married Name

Ehepartner = Spouce      Nachname = Surname

                                            Datum = Date      Ort = Location (Town, Province, State)

Ergebnisse pro Seite: ___ Number of Responses per page: ___

Benutzer-Kenniunen ausschliessen - Skip

Suchen = Start    Zurücksetzen = Clear

The column on the left is informational.
Suche = Search
Statistik = Statistics
Nachnamen = Alphabetical list of database surnames
FAQ = Frequently Asked Questions
Teilnehmer = Member Logon (for data entry)

METASUCHE (MetaSearch)

Permits you to search the entire country of Germany using all the online, computerized databases in Germany. Some surnames may overload the system, which will then time out. Result? No response. Here are the options you will see at the website:

Nachname = Surname
Ort = Town, City Name
Suchen = Search

The name of the city or town is necessary in order to narrow your search. Otherwise, you may get a response that is nowhere near your location, sending you off on a wild-goose chase.

HADIS is the German computerized database for genealogy in the German state of Hessen. Click on the link to the introductory page at HADIS,


Once there, click on HADIS in the left column, then click again on the very first line on the page you come to. After you do that, you'll notice over on the left the following options:

Staatsarchive            State Archives
Kommunalarchive    Community Archives
Kirchenarchive         Church Archives
Familienarchive        Family Archives
Wirtschaftsarchive   Business Archives
Medienarchive         Media Archives
Universitätsarchive  University Archives
Sonstige Archive      Miscellaneous Archives

In the German language, Archiv is singular, Archive is plural. The pronunciation is ar-keev' and arkeev'-feh.

The site is entirely in the German language. I can't legally create a mirror site in English -- and that would be far too great a task for me. So for now, only our German speakers will be able to understand and utilize it appropriately. Hopefully, the Germans will see fit to publish some instructions in English for HADIS. By following the instructions for the other databases listed in our Table of Links (FOKO, GOV, GEDBAS, METASUCHE) you'll be able to use those without knowing the language. Remember our language translation page, located at ./index.htm. Just scroll down the page.

HADIS represents a merger of information from the former Hessen-Kassel, housed in Marburg; info from the former Hessen-Darmstadt, housed in Darmstadt; info from some smaller territories; and items concerning the whole of the present Bundesland Hessen (state of Hessen), housed in Wiesbaden. If you know the names of the villages or towns your ancestors came from, you can find out what type records still exist of these places. Just type in the name of the town or village in the box below the word 'Schnellsuche'." (Use the down arrow by the word 'Schnellsuche' to get to the box.) Click on the magnifying glass to start the search. 'Schnellsuche' means 'Rapid Search.'

You won't be able to view actual documents, just the types of documents that are found in this centralized archive. You can visit one place online instead of three. If you know the town or village and the type archive you are looking for, this could save you some time and effort in identifying your ancestor(s). Remember that we still have.......

GEOGEN Simply enter the surname you are searching for.,


./telephones.htm , and for Hessen-Kassel Evangelical-Lutheran-Protestant ancestry, DO NOT overlook

./q-a2.htm The German Family History Library Home Page