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Research Tools: Finding Genealogical Information on Your Schmieheim Family

Ortssippenbücher (OSB)

her 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 secondary records that have been compiled from primary records, extracted from 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.  Following the practices of recorded primary records, OSB have separate sections for the Jewish population.
Entries are broken down by marriages, which are best described by an illustration (this one from Altdorf):

Ortssippenbucher 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 like 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.  See Books for information on libraries where these are available.  There are over 2,000 books categorized as "Deutsche Ortssippenbücher" at the WorldCat, where information on libraries is also available.
Specific look-up requests for the Altdorf and Schmieheim OSB are available upon request from Peter Dreifuss ( or Jeff Dreifuss (  We do not charge for the service but appreciate any donation to Jewishgen at the JewishGenerosity site.

Landesarchiv Baden-Württemberg

These records contain original handwritten vital records for most towns in the German state that is now known as Baden-Württemberg.  Images of the birth, marriage and death records for the Jewish Community in Schmieheim can be viewed and downloaded at two sites depending on the year: 1819-1843 and 1844-1870.  These sites contain 151 and 365 thumbnail images (Bild in German), respectively, which can be selected to produce an original sized image.  I recommend you use a browser that has the ability to translate the website navigational tools from German to English.  The birth, marriage and death records at both of these sites are found in three separate books with entries found chronologically.  If you cannot find a record for which you have a reliable record, it is most likely because you are looking at the wrong book. So skip ahead through the pages until the dates start at the beginning.  Although the images are difficult to read without a good background in old German script, they can be readily interpreted and translated for you by volunteers at ViewMate.  If that is not successful I have had great success with skilled interpreters/translators who did a good job without great expense.

An example is given below for a search I conducted for the birth record of my great great grandmother Rosa Bernheimer, who was born March 28 1821.  Her birth record was found at the third record on the left hand page found on image # 11 and is shown below.
1821 Schmieheim
                        Birth Records

This was first transcribed into German:

Nr. 3  Mädchen  Bernheimer
den acht und zwanzigsten März, Nachmittags zwischen drei und vier Uhr geboren: Rosen, der Vater ist Salomon Bernheimer, der hiesige Bürger und die Mutter Ella Scheurmann.
Zeugen sind Isaak Hofmann und 2. Lazarus Gunzburger, beide Bürger von hier.
Schmieheim 29. März 1821   T: A. Wenzler

and then translated into English to provide the following:

Number 3  Bernheimer Girl
(On) the 28th day of March, between three and four clock in the afternoon was born: Rosa, the father is Solomon Bernheimer, the local citizen and the mother Ella Scheurmann.
Witnesses were Isaac Hofmann and 2. Lazarus Gunzburger, both citizens of here.
Schmieheim 29 March 1821 T: A. Wenzler

Der juedische Friedhof in Schmieheim

This book by Naftali Bar-Giora Bamberger (discussed under Books) combines both primary records (e.g. date of death and fathers name as recorded on the grave stone) and secondary records (the author uses other sources including the Schmieheim Ortssippenbuch).

The Jewishgen Locality Page for Schmieheim. 

On this page you'll find links to search the following databases:

The JewishGen Family Finder
(find others interested in Schmieheim)
JewishGen Germany Database for Schmieheim

The contents of the entire Jewishgen website for Schmieheim

Nearby Jewish communities
Other useful information

The Gedenkenbuch.

Here you can search Germany's own Memorial book for Jewish Victims of the Holocaust from Schmieheim (or anywhere else).  This is often very useful.

Compiled by Pete Dreifuss (
Last updated 13 November 2013
Copyright © Peter A. Dreifuss 2012
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