This site was last updated: Monday, 28-Jul-2003 21:48:16 MDT. Thank you.

GEOserv- a German town locator
(by Arthur Teschler)

This service is intended to give you placenames, locations, postal codes and other informations on towns and villages in Germany today. I use a database of currently about 50000 entries, based on the 'Postleitzahlenbuch' (post code book) of the German mail service.

Send a message to [email protected]

There are three ways to search:

  1. Prefix Search
    Give the desired placename on a line
    example: Altenberg will give several 'Altenberg' as well as 'Altenberga' and 'Altenbergen'
    only the first ten letters are used in the search. This exact search gives additional information on County, Zip etc (see below)
  2. Substring Search
    An asterisk (*) may be used to denote ANY arbitrary letter combination
    Alt*berg (gives all places starting with 'Alt' and ending with 'berg' *burg (gives all places ending with 'burg' substring search is generous about umlauts and German sharp-s
  3. Soundex Search
    Preceding the query with a '?' switches to soundex mode.
    This means:
    a,e,i,o,u,h,w,y and umlauts are ignored b,p,f,v are considered equal as well as (c,s,k,g,j,q,x,z,"s) (d,t) and (m,n) double consonants are treated as one.
    The first letter is kept as given, capitalization matters for the first letter only. The resulting pattern is used for a substring search.
    A very short SOUNDEX pattern gives a huge number of matches which sometimes seem to have nothing to do with the entered pattern. Use method b) instead

How to interpret the results:
(search line was 'Altenberg')

Altenberg (Erzgeb)
GKZ : 14 0 20 010
County : | +---- Dippoldiswalde [DW]
Land : +--------- Sachsen
ZIP : 01773
Popul : 3595
Locat : 50d45m N 13d44m E
Maps : TK25 5248
TK50 L5348

Altenberg (Kr Dillingen a d Donau)
Part of: Syrgenstein
GKZ : 09 7 73 170
County : | | +---- Dillingen [DLG]
RegBez : | +------- Schwaben
Land : +--------- Bayern
ZIP : 89428
Popul : 989
Locat : (Syrgenstein) 48d39m N 10d18m E
Maps : TK25 7327
TK50 L7326

[... and more ...]

The first line gives the official name, with an added description to distinguish it from other places with the same name.

If the place is now part of another town or village this is given in the second line.

GKZ (Gemeindekennziffer) is a number assigned to all municipalities

County(Kreis) gives the County name and the County's automobile license plate designator. Some larger towns are not part of a county, they are 'kreisfrei'

RegBez (Regierungsbezirk) is another administrational unit, usually consisting of several counties. Not all Lands are divided into Regierungsbezirke.

Land is one of the sixteen federal states which make up the Federal Republic of Germany.

ZIP is the new German postal code consisting of 5 digits. If you want to write to the Standesamt or Church usually the ZIP code is enough. For larger towns you'll get a range of ZIPs or the last digit(s) as ?. To get the correct ZIP you need also the street or mailbox number.

Popul gives the number of inhabitants as of 1989.

Locat gives the location in Latitude/Longitude notation. If the Database does not contain the location for the place itself I give the next larger town or the county's capital.

Maps gives the numbers of the 1:25000 (TK25) and 1:50000 (TK50) topographical maps. TK25 are 10'x6' (11x11km) TK50 are 20'x12' (22x22km). The actual size depends on the latitude. But see below on drawbacks.

Search modes 2) and 3) give the matching names only with a preceeding count.


Due to political changes in East-Germany (former DDR) the names of counties in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Brandenburg, Sachsen, Sachsen-Anhalt and Th"uringen are likely to be wrong. I'll put in the actual data as soon as I can get hold of it.

The database contains the locations of only about 15% of the places. Sometimes the county's capital is rather far away. The location is merely given for orientation purposes, do not rely on it. As the map numbers are calculated from the location they may actually denote the neighboring map.

As there is still no common standard to represent European special characters on PC's, Mac's and UNIX-Boxes I give German umlauts as "a,"o,"u and German sharp-s (looks like greek beta) as "s. This is the so called TEX notation. It looks ugly.

I put a size limit of 13kB for each message. Do not try looking for all prefixes 'A' ;-)


Many genealogists do research in what was East-Germany before 1945, which is now Poland, Czech Republic or Russia. The database only contains places in Germany of today. Austria, Alsace-Lorraine and Switzerland are not in the database, either.

Do not add additional descriptions to the placenames like 'Frankfurt/Main' or 'Linden,Hessen'. Just put the plain name on a line and pick out the one you seek.

You may put more than one query in a message and may mix the three search methods, but the response will be cut off at about 13Kb. Put each query on a separate line.

Separate your signature from the query with two dashes (--), if you cannot remove it completely. Otherwise the service will search for places sounding like your eMail adress, name etc.

If you didn't get anything:

Is it a German place name? If not you have to try other sources. Is it an area like 'Rheinhessen', 'Bayern' etc? You have to take a map. Are you sure about the spelling? Not? Try method b) or c)

Still nothing? Perhaps the place does not exist anymore or is just too small to be mentioned in the 'postal code book'. Or the spelling is totally off.

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