Friederich Wilhelm I (1713-1740) divided Prussia into recruiting districts called cantons. Each canton was to supply men for one specified regiment.
The Prussian Army went through a reform from 1862 to 1867, led by General Albrecht Roon. The development of a modern General staff by Helmuth von Moltke and the sponsorship and utilization of the railway system to move and concentrate large numbers of troops ensured victory over Denmark, Austria and France from 1864 to 1871. Obligatory universal service without substitution was introduced. At age 20, a young man served three years in the regular army, followed by four years in the reserve. The 27-year-old then passed to the Landwehr where he remained liable to call-up for another year. A further four years of service, under the direct supervision of the regular army, remained. In 1870, the army could call on all males between the ages of 20 and 28 producing an army of 730,000 men with almost another 200,000 in the Landwehr as a second line of reserfve. (From: Gravelotte-St Privat 1870, End of the Second Empire, by Phillipp Elliot-Wright, Osprey Publishing).
There is no central archive for German military records.
German states each had their own system of keeping military
records before 1867. These records are now stored in several
German state archives. In 1867 the armies of all but four
German states were integrated into the armies of Prussia.
From that time on, soldiers of any German state (except
Bayern, Sachsen, Baden, Württemberg) were recorded only in
the military records of Prussia. Unfortunately, most
Prussian military records of the Heeresarchiv were
completely destroyed in 1945 by British planes.
For Prussian military information, one has to rely on pre-1945 publications. There are, however, military church books maintained by the military chaplains for individual regiments which have been filmed by the LDS Family History Library. The following pamphlet lists the archives where existing military records for each state are found:
- Reschke, Horst A. German Military Records as
Genealogical Sources. Salt Lake City, Utah: Reschke,
1990. (FHL book 943 M2r; fiche 6001596;computer number
- Von Lyncker, Alexander. Die preussischer Armee,
1807-1867 und ihre sippenkundlichen Quellen. 372 pages.
3-7686-3028-5. Verlag Degener & Co., Nuernberger Str. 27
D-91413 Neustadt/Aisch, Germany. Contains information on
all Prussian regiments, their participation in battles,
the places of the church records, the garrisons, area of
- Bundesarchiv, Abteiling Militararchiv, Postfach,
D-79024 Freiburg. Write for military records after 1867.
- Deutsches Staatsarchiv, Archivstrasse 12-14, D-14195
Berlin. Write for military records before 1867.
- Geheimes Staatsarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz,
Archivstr. 12/14, D-14195 Berlin. Prussian military
Central European Garrisons. Maps of garrisons.
Compulsory Military Service. Excerpt from 'Lehrbuecher
fuer Militaeranwaerter zum Selbstunterricht' (1901)
German Military Grave Database. Search over 2
million names here from WW1 and WW2. (In German)
Imperial German Army - Pre 1914 . Including orders
of battle, names of officers, and some photos.
Bunker. Artifacts from Imperial Germany 1860 to
Mecklenburg Franco-Prussian (1870-71) War Dead Surname
Index Links to Surname and Home Town versions of the
- Michaelis, Rolf, and Christine Wisowaty. The 10th
SS-Panzer-Division "Frundsberg". Atglen, PA:
Schiffer Publishing, 2008. The 10th Waffen-SS Division "Frundsberg"
was formed at the beginning of 1943 as a reserve for the
expected Allied invasion of France. However, their first
campaign was in the Ukraine in April 1944. Highly
motivated after combat success in Ukraine the unit was
then transported back to the west where they fought the
Allies in France and Arnhem. The division was later
transported to Pomerania then fought southeast of Berlin
in the Lausitz area to the end of the war.
- Militärgeschichtliches Forschungsamt, Zepplinstr.
127/128, D-14471 Potsdam. Write for information on the
history of military brigades.
- Sächsisches Staatsarchiv Leipzig, Schongauer Str. 1,
D-04329 Leipzig. Military archives.
Sverige. Försvarsdepartementet (Smålands husarregemente).
Generalmönsterrullor, 1692-1884. Stockholm : Filmat för
the Genealogical Society of Utah av Rekolid och SVAR,
1956-1957, 1993. General muster rolls of the Royal
hussar regiment of Jönköping and Kronoberg counties,
- Der Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge e.V. National Society for the Care of German War Graves. Search for the graves of German soldiers by name or village. If searching by surname, you can click on name and get additional information such as birthplace, military rank, place of death, etc. (In German)