Standard search

The standard search offers an auto-complete function when persons, professions or locations are input. Suggestions from the expected search result are displayed with reference to your current input and can be selected directly.

Search approach via the map

On the map displayed on the homepage, one or more rectangular areas can be chosen as desired (e.g. by using the rectangular symbol on the top left or by double clicking), which contain(s) all persons with a location entry in this area. A polygon selection is abandoned by clicking on the starting point.

By selecting an event symbol, persons with a matching location in a rectangular area can be chosen. Multiple selection is possible, resulting in an AND relation.

Following an initial search, the search can be further limited on the result page by selecting a rectangular area on the map next to the hit list.

Symbols on the map

Place of birth Place of activity Place of death Place of interment

The places of birth, death and interment from the headers of the NDB articles have been localized. The places of activity have been ascertained by means of computer-linguistic analysis of the NDB article texts, the geographic coordinates merely having been adopted from the headers. Among the location indications for all other entries, those with geographic coordinates come from the GND. Due to the different reference bases, it may occur that the hits for one location cannot be consolidated reliably without fail.

Search results

The results of a search are displayed in the form of a table. For each hit, the name data set, the vital statistics and the profession(s) or position in life are stated.

The search result is sorted in accordance with relevance by default, meaning that the articles from the NDB or ADB are on top, but they can also be re-sorted alphabetically according to name or chronologically according to year of birth.

The search form with the search parameters input last is shown again. It is also possible to reset the search form here (by clicking on "Zurücksetzen").

The search result can be further filtered with the aid of the map selection, the list of professions, locations or the partners' services in the column on the right. For this purpose, a rectangular area can be selected on the map, followed by the types of location, or individual professions, locations, partners' services can be clicked for limitation. The selected filter(s) is/ are shown above the map selection and can be removed again by clicking on "x". The types of location correspondingly function as selection boxes on the map.

Person entry

Clicking on the name in a hit list or browsing list takes you to the person entry. A person entry includes tabs with the "NDB" article and the "ADB" article on the person, as far as available, but always includes the index entry with information about the person, lists of links to relevant library, biographical or historical services available in connection with the person, the person's network and places of activity, as far as ascertainable. Links to other services are pinpointed as accurately as possible with the aid of the GND identification. Partnered services are marked with a "*".

Links and ego-network visualization

Under the heading "Netzwerk" (network) persons are listed with whom the biographed person apparently was in a relationship that has not yet been defined more precisely, since these persons are mentioned in the genealogy or articles or other sources. These data are generated automatically by means of computer-linguistic analysis from the articles in the ADB and the NDB, and for this reason may also include persons who have no register entry in the Deutsche Biographie. In individual cases, erroneous hits or duplicates may occur. Persons from the index who could be identified uniquely are represented in the form of a blue link in the relations list. Clicking on this link takes you to the corresponding person entry.

A special type of representation can be obtained by clicking on the button "Visualisieren" (visualize). This generates a diagram/ ego-network of the person's relations. In this network the persons are represented as nodes and their relations among each other as connecting lines. When the mouse pointer is moved over a node, further information about the corresponding person will be displayed above the diagram. You can zoom in and out by using the scroll wheel. A click with the right mouse button fixates the node and its information box.

The network can be expanded by clicking on individual nodes. Their color provides information about their exact function:

  • Green: The root of the diagram, i.e. the person whose network is shown. Clicking on this node will reduce the network again to the immediate relations of this person.
  • Blue: Nodes to which a person from the register can be allocated. Clicking on these nodes will expand the network by the relations of the corresponding person, provided that such information is available.
  • Red: Non-root nodes whose relations are currently shown. By clicking on such a node, these relations can be hidden again.
  • Grey Nodes to which no person from the register can be allocated. These nodes cannot be clicked on. .

The lines also have the color of the type of relation. The types of connecting lines can be filtered by using the color-coordinated buttons "Verwandt" (related), "Leben" (life), "Lehrer/ Schüler" (teacher/ student) and "Literatur" (literature). The diagram shown will be reduced or expanded by the selected types when the filter is applied.

Currently, only relations from the NDB can be visualized.

Indication of locations

On the maps in the result view, locations of the life of persons are represented as pins. The color of the pin and its symbol indicate the type of location.

  • blue/ star = place of birth
  • orange/ house = place of activity
  • violet/ plus = place of death
  • green/ monument = place of interment

The places of birth, death and interment have been localized in each case. The places of activity have been generated by computer-linguistic analysis and adoption of the geographic coordinates. The places of activity have not yet been ascertained completely in the NDB, but are also geographically represented to the extent possible. Complementary information about locations has been gathered from the GND.

In case that several pins are very close to one another or overlap, they can be fanned out by clicking on the topmost pin. The pop-up associated with the pin that appears upon clicking shows the name of the marked location. The name of the location can be clicked on the result page, which leads to a filtering of the search result by means of the corresponding location. In the person entry, clicking on the location name will lead to a search for the location.

Structure of an article and further functions

By clicking on the button above the person's name, you can thumb to the preceding or successive entry in the printed volume. The article is structured as follows:

  •   – Name and header,
  •   – genealogy,
  •   – description of life,
  •   – literature,
  •   – works,
  •   – portraits,
  •   – awards/ honors,
  •   – sources,
  •   – author,

provided that these fields were distinguished in the underlying document. Below the highlighted name of the person and the header, the subdivisions can be selected.

The genealogies of the individual NDB articles have the following structure:

  •   – Father (V), of ... and of ... (with years of life and specification of profession in each case)
  •   – Mother (M), daughter of ... and of ... (with years of life and specification of profession in each case)
  •   – Where applicable important relatives such as great-grandparents, uncles, aunts, siblings, e.g. paternal great-grandfather (Ur-Gvv), paternal uncle (Ov), brother (B), sister (Schw) (with life data and specification of profession in each case)
  •   – Spouse, daughter/ son of ... and of ... (with place and year of marriage, years of life and specification of profession in each case)
  •   – Sons (S) and daughters (T) (in dependence on their importance also with name, years of life and specification of profession)
  •   – Where applicable further important descendants or other relatives, e.g. grandchildren (E), nephews and nieces (N) (with years of life and specification of profession in each case) .

The literature on the NDB articles is cited in the following order:

  •   – ADB (with specification of volume)
  •   – Secondary literature in chronological order
  •   – Further encyclopedias in chronological order.

The awards, catalogue raisonné and portrait sources are likewise in chronological order.

At the end of each article, you will find a recommendation on the source citation, containing an indication of the printed source.

Under the article header on the right side there are references to the scanned book pages ("Quelle/ Vorlage" – "source" makes reference to the version of the article in the book).

The article can be output in the RDF or PDF formats (for printing) and the PDF file can be stored subsequently by clicking on the file symbol.

GND/PND – Persistent identifiers and permanent links

The number of the person in the common authority file (gemeinsame Normdatei, GND, formerly personal name file, PND) of the German National Library offers the possibility to permanently link register entries or articles of the NDB and ADB (permalink). This link is formed with this ID and the prefix "gnd", and alternatively, like so far, with the abbreviation "pnd".



With a click on "Blättern" (browse) you can call up the articles in the NDB or ADB directly by means of alphabetical lists. Selecting a letter of NDB or ADB yields an alphabetically arranged list of all persons entered under this letter.

Expert search = Detailed search in the NDB and ADB

Click on "Erweiterte Suche" (extended search) in the navigation bar. The form at the top can be used for searching in the register. Numerous selection criteria, such as classification of profession, gender, religious affiliation, place of birth and place of death, as well as the year of death will help you find persons in the NDB or ADB in a targeted manner. There is also an option to search for a GND number or the name of the author.

To extend your search request you can use the truncation symbol *. This will yield for example plural forms or various complemented spelling variations of names, professions and locations.

Truncation is possible only on the right, meaning that the first letter must always be input explicitly.

Links to partners and further services – with the aid of the GND

The GND number can also be used to search library catalogs and further information services and can be called up in each case as a link in the index entry below the person's core data. We intend to expand the information content about the individual person step by step with the aid of these authority data. We are likewise interested in being linked up with other services. For this purpose, lists of the GND numbers accessible via our service are made available at You are highly welcome to set up a link to this website and network with us. Please send us a brief notification in this case.

Abbreviations and short titles

The article texts of the NDB contain recurring abbreviations which have explanatory pop-ups in the background, as far as automatically resolvable. The explanation is shown when you guide your mouse over the abbreviation. There is also an updated list of abbreviations used. In the literature and in some cases also in genealogies, reference works are referred to by short titles. These are linked with the updated list of short titles and explained there.

Representation of special characters

The article texts from the NDB contain special Unicode-coded characters indicating birth, death, killed in action, location of interment, marriage, separation and civil partnership.

We are not aware of any problems with the representation of Unicode characters in current Linux distributions, Windows and Mac operating systems.

In older Windows versions these characters are missing in the standard font of your browser and are either not shown or shown as a square with the Unicode number of the character. Positioning the mouse pointer over the character will open a pop-up with the respective meaning, though.

To avail yourself of the advantages of the Unicode coding also on computers with such an older Windows version, we recommend installing a font that largely supports the Unicode standard, and defining this font as standard font for your browser.

In case the fonts "Arial Unicode MS" or "Times New Roman Unicode MS" offered by Microsoft are not installed, we recommend installing the free-of-charge fonts Gentium or DejaVu. For this purpose, please copy the *.ttf files contained in the downloaded packet to the fonts folder of your Windows system folder (e.g. C:\\WINDOWS\Fonts).

In case the special characters are still not shown correctly, please check the standard font of your browser. The standard font of your browser can usually be determined under

  •    Extras > Options (Internet Explorer) or
  •    Extras or Configure > Settings (Mozilla, Firefox).

In case you encounter problems with the representation of characters or have any tips and suggestions for improvements, please let us know by e-mail to: