Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Unusual birth circumstance yields a treasure trove of genealogical information.

I was born in Stuttgart, Germany yet I am an American citizen and have been since the moment of my birth. You may wonder how this is possible.

My dad was in the US Army and was serving there at the time.

Four documents establish my birth and citizenship. Let’s look at each one and see what genealogical information they contain. (Since these are my personal documents in the current climate I will not be showing scans.)

The first document is my German birth certificate or Geburtskunde. This was issued by Stamdesamt Stuttgart-Bad Constant. This document shows my full name, my birth date, where I was born and who my parents are. Also, what religion they were (Catholic) and my mother’s maiden name.

According to the Immigration and Nationality Act, Effective December 24, 1952: “The following shall be citizens of the United States at birth: (3) a person born outside of the United States and its outlying possessions of parents both of whom are citizens of the United States and one of whom has had residence in the United States or one of its outlying possessions, prior to the birth of such person”.

In order to prove their citizenship and residence my parents had to submit the following forms:

Form FS-240, Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of The United States of America, which provided the following information for each of my parents:

Full name
Date of birth
Place of birth
Present address (at that time)
Address in the United States
Evidence of U. S. Citizenship (my father provided a birth certificate, my mother a passport)
Precise periods of physical presence in the United States
Place of Marriage
Date of Marriage

AE Form 360, Report of Child Born Abroad of American Parent(s), which provided the following information for each of my parents:


Full name
Present Residence Address
Precise periods and Places of Residence since birth


Full name
Name before Marriage
Passport Number, Issue Date, Expiration Date
Present Residence Address
Precise Periods and Places of Residence since birth

My parents submitted my German birth certificate and these forms (plus a statement from my father explaining why he used the middle name “Robert” when his birth certificate stated that his name was “William Hunsicker”) to the American Consulate General in Stuttgart-Bad Constatt, Germany and received Form FS-545, Certificate of Birth, Issued by the Department of State, Foreign Service of the United States of America. This form shows my full name, gender, place of birth, and date of birth. This form alone is what I use as my birth certificate when I renew my driver’s license.

If my father had not happened to be serving in the US Army in Germany when I was born all of this information would not be conveniently in one place.

The Genealogy section of has more information here. 

Apparently obtaining copies of these documents for genealogical purposes if you are not the person involved or parents of that person would be extremely difficult.

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