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Ortssippenbücher (OSB) can be loosely translated as "Books of Local Families".  The singular form is Ortssippenbuch. The OSB are one of the most valuable research tools for Schmieheim researchers and other nearby communities, where you can readily find many generations of family relationships. Although written in German, a command of German is not necessary. They are consolidations of vital and sometimes even emigration records of Jews and Christians for towns in Germany.  They were first initiated by the Nazis who sought to identify people who were not of pure Aryan ancestry.  Thirty of these were produced by 1940, when production was stopped because of the war.  Another 70 were produced after the war years, although no longer for the purpose of genocide.  Several OSB, including those for Altdorf and Schmieheim, have separate sections for the Jewish population.
Entries are broken down by marriages, which are best described by an illustration (this one from Altdorf):

OSB Example

Entry number 3988 describes the family of Jakob Dreifuß and (u.) Jeannette Bernheim who were married (indicated by ∞) on May 31 1882.  After Jakob name <aus 3975> means "see entry 3975", where you can look to see his parents' record listed 13 entries earlier.  "Viehhändler" was his occupation (a dealer in livestock). * means "date of birth", followed by the date.  + (sometimes appears as a cross symbol) indicates the date of his death.  Jeannette was a housekeeper who was born in Schmieheim on March 1, 1859.  She died in Altdorf on February 9, 1936. Then it gives the children (Kdr) followed by their birthdays.  Additional information is given after the child's name in German using  the same symbols described above.  Further information on symbols and abbreviations can be found here.

Unfortunately, OSB are not easily obtained.  The Altdorf Ortssippenbuch (Ortssippenbuch Altdorf- Stadt Ettenheim, Ortenaukreis in Baden by Albert Köbele and Hans Scheer, 1976) can be obtained through one of the FamilySearch Centers
It should be available at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York but I have not been able to find it in their online directory.  Specific look up requests for the Altdorf and Schmieheim OSB are available upon request from Peter Dreifuss ( or Jeff Dreifuss (

Compiled by Pete Dreifuss (
Last updated 26 August 2012
Copyright © Peter A. Dreifuss 2012
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