The Archives of the Civil Status Register (Personenstandsarchiv) in Brühl, a branch of the State Archives Administration (Landesarchiv) for North Rhine-Westphalia, is a special archive that exclusively holds and looks after records relating to personal status (parish registers, civil registers and registers of births, deaths and marriages). Geographically, it is responsible for covering the administrative districts (Regierungsbezirke) of Cologne and Düsseldorf. Since 1942, the Rhine Province collected the church registers and duplicate civil registers of its region originating from the period prior to 1900 at the fortress of Ehrenbreitstein. Extensive filming of the material was also carried out alongside this. After the Second World War, the documents and records were taken over by the new Archives Administration of the Rhine Province (Archivverwaltung der Rheinprovinz) and its successor, the State Archives Administration for North Rhine-Westphalia, as the so-called Archives of the Civil Status Register. By this, it has been possible not only to safely and professionally store all documents relating to personal status in one place but also to make them available for the purposes of the administration, civilians seeking justice and, of course, for research.
In 1946 the parish registers were probably deposited at Schloss Gracht (Erftstadt-Liblar), whereas the civil registers remained at Ehrenbreitstein. In accordance with the newly created political borders, record groups belonging to the state of Rhineland-Palatinate had to be handed over in 1953. All parish registers that had been ecclesiastical property at the beginning of the war, had to be handed over as well. In 1954/55 the parish registers were moved to Brühl together with all other parts of the archives.
Since 1999, the State Archives Administration for North Rhine-Westphalia – Archives of the Civil Status Register in Brühl has been gradually digitising its entire inventory of about 4000 older church registers from the period up to 1809. It is doing this for reasons of preservation. Once digitised they can only be used on screen as digitised copies in the reading room of the Archives (of the Civil Status Register). The present and newly established series of DVDs is meant to encourage sustained interest in this type of source and at the same time to facilitate the continuation of card-index projects which, for instance, have been worked on for years by members of genealogical societies.