The area of Berlin was settled first by Slavic tribes in the 700’s. Berlin received city rights in 1242. In 1701 Berlin was the capital of Prussia. The Swedes occupied Berlin from 1618-1648, the French in 1806, and the Russians in 1945. The siege of Berlin in WWII wrecked 70% of the city. After WWII the capital of West Germany was moved to Bonn in 1949. The capital of East Germany remained Berlin. The Berlin Wall, built in 1961, was crossed on November 9, 1989. German reunification, which many of us thought would never come in our lifetime, came on October 3rd, 1990. In June 1991, the German Parliament voted to move the German capital from Bonn back to Berlin. Government Offices moved back from 1997 to 1998:

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Maps showing the districts of Berlin 1738 to 1999 Detailed 1809 map 1938 map, click on the square you want 

Archives and Records

Many records exist for "Do a Place Search" here:

The GGS collection of Germanic Genealogy Books at Concordia University in St. Paul, MN has 7 books specifically on Berlin genealogy, of those 7 books 4 are in German.