The following information is not only interesting but you may find it helpful conducting German research. The information was taken from the book, The German Research Companion, by S. Riemer, R. Minert, and J. Anderson.
Chronology of Events in German History
1000-100 B.C.: The Germani tribes occupy the lands from the Baltic Sea to the Danube River, and from the Rhine to the Order River.
9 B.C.- 9 A.D. The Romans move eastward to the Elbe River. In 9 A.D. they withdraw to the Rhine.
481-511: The king of the Franks, Clovis, establishes the Frankish Empire.
768-814: Charlemagne (Karl der Grobe) rules what is to become the Holy Roman Empire.
800: Charlemagne crowned in Rome as emperor of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation.
843: Treaty of Verdun; empire divided among Charlemagne's three grandsons; Charles the Bold – West Franks; Louis the German – East Franks, (nucleus of the future German state); Lothar – Middle Kingdom (Alsace-Lorraine)
919-1024: German tribes unified.
925: Lorraine becomes a German duchy.
936-973: Otto I rules.
962: Otto I crowned (Holy Roman) Emperor in Rome, founding Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, lasting until 1806.
1000-1500: Jewish expulsions: from German areas (1000-1350), from Hungary (1300's), and from Austria (1400's).
1096: Beginning of first Crusade
1123-24: Plague sweeps France and Germany.
1141-81: “Saxons” (mostly Franks) invited to settle in Transylvania to defend Hungary's eastern border.
1152-90: Reign of Frederick I (Barbarossa), of the Hobenstaufen dynasty, who converts the Slavs to Christianity. Age of chivalry.
1190: Teutonic Order founded.
1200: Early Gothic period begins (Rheims, Cologne, constructed).
1241: Hanseatic League formed.
1273-1806: Hapsburg dynasty begins; ends with abolition of Holy Roman Empire by Napoleon in 1806.
1348-65: More than 25 million Europeans die in the Bubonic plague.
1356: The Golden Bull, an ecclesiastic document, laid down rules for election of the king, to be elected in Frankfurt and crowned in Aachen.
1417: Frederick of Nurnberg of Hohenzollern family appointed Elector of Brandenburg.
1440: In Mainz, Johann Gutenberg invents the art of printing with moveable type.
1500: Surnames are in common use throughout German territories of Europe by 1500.
1517: Protestant Reformation begins; Luther said to have fastened 95 theses on Wittenberg church door. First significant non-Catholic religions among Germanic people.
1518-23: Ulrich Zwingli begins Reformation in Switzerland, leading to formation of Reformed (Calvinist) Church.
1520: Anabaptist movement develops in Switzerland and Germany.
1521: Luther’s arrest by Charles V, for Diet of Worms. Luther translates New Testament into German, devising new written form of German.
1524-26: Peasants Revolt. Peasants influenced by Luther's teachings rise up against their feudal overlords and 5,000 peasants are massacred.
1524: Protestant church records begin in Nurnberg.
1530: Augsburg Confession (creed) adopted by Lutherans.
1534: A standardized German language is established with the publication of the Old Testament in Luther's translation of the Bible from Hebrew and Greek into vernacular German.
1536: Menno Simons leaves the Church and begins “Mennonite” preaching.
1541: Reformation introduced in Switzerland by John Calvin.
1545: Catholic Counter-Reformation begins.
1555: Peace of Augsburg: Doctrine of cuius regio, eius religion adopted, meaning that the religion of the prince determined the religion (Catholic or Lutheran) of his subjects.
1556: Palatinate becomes Lutheran.
1562: Wars of Religion in France between Catholics and French Calvinists (Huguenots, of French “Reformed” faith).
1563: The rulings of the Catholic Council of Trent require priests to include more detail (principally the names of sponsors and witnesses) in the baptism and marriage records they are already keeping.
1568: Protestants in the Spanish Netherlands, including Belgium, are persecuted by the Duke of Alva. Waloon Calvinists flee, especially to the Palatinate, Hessen, and Brandenburg; Dutch Flemish-Frisian Mennonites flee to Danzig area.
1583: Gregorian calendar is adopted by most Catholic countries of Europe – by Prussia in 1612, by most Protestant countries in 1700, by Great Britain in 1752, and by Russia in 1917.
1598: In France, Edict of Nantes gives Huguenots political and some religious rights in some places.
1618-48: Thirty Years War devastates Holy Roman Empire. France emerges as Europe's leading power. Some records are burned. Population drops from 20 million to 13 million.
1622: Pfalz suffers great destruction in the war. January 1 declared as beginning of the year(previously began March 25).
1633: Outbreak of plague in Bavaria.
1639-60: Grain crisis in Europe.
1648: Peace of Westphalia ends Thirty Years War. Holy Roman Empire dissolved. France gets Alsace-Lorraine. By this time, there are 350 different German states. Switzerland officially recognized as independent from the Holy Roman Empire. Reformed Church members granted same rights as those Lutherans had been granted almost 100 years earlier.
1650: Essentially all Catholic and Protestant churches are keeping vital records in the German-language territories of Europe.
1652: Famine in Lorraine and surrounding lands.
1653: Germans from Heidelberg introduce vineyards and wine making to America.
1654: Spain occupies Palatinate.
1671-77: William Penn first visits Germany to propagate Quaker faith.
1681: William Penn founds Pennsylvania.
1683: First permanent German settlement in the United States is founded at Germantown, Pennsylvania. Encouraged by American Quaker William Penn, Franz Daniel Pastorius organizes the immigration of 13 Mennonite families from Krefeld, beginning German group immigration to North America.
1685: King Louis XIV of France revokes the Edict of Nantes (see 1598). Persecution and forcible conversion of Huguenots (French Protestants) causes flight to Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, Great Bititian, and North America. Friedrich Wilhelm, the Great Elector, helps many immigrants to Brandenburg.
1687-97: Invasion of France into the Palatinate.
1689-97: War of the League of Augsburg results in French burning down many towns in the Palatinate and mass flight of the population.
1694: Johann Kelpius leads a group of German mystics to America and forms a brotherhood on Wissahickon Creek near Philadelphia.
1700: The last German Protestant areas finally switch to the Gregorian calendar.
1701: Frederick III, elector of Brandenburg, renames his duchy the Kingdom of Prussia, and he becomes King Frederick I.
1701-14: War of Spanish Succession; Palatines leave for England.
1708: Joshua Kocherthal brings 61 Protestant emigrants from Rhenish Palatinate to America.
1709: Thousands more of the Palatine Germans, fleeing destruction caused by the invading French, emigrate to the Hudson River Valley and Pennsylvania. Large numbers of emigrants, called Palatines (Pfalzer), leave the Pfalz region of Germany for England and America.
1710: A group of German and Swiss immigrants settle New Bern, North Carolina.
1710-11: First relatively large-scale immigration of Swiss and Palatines to American colonies.
1711: An estimated 500,000 die of plague in Austria and German areas.
1714: Christopher von Graffenried brings miners from Siegen, Westphalia to Virginia to work Governor Spotswood's iron mines.
1719: Peter Becker brings the first German Baptist “Dunkers” to Germantown. The sect's founder, Alexander Mack, comes to America with another group ten years later.
1727: The German population of Pennsylvania numbers around 20,000.
1727: Beginning of Philadelphia port records.
1722: Austria-Hungarian monarchs begin inviting Germans to settle parts of their empire.
1730: Beginning of community at Ephrata (Pennsylvania)
1731-38: Expulsion of Salzburg Protestants, some of whom come to America, most going to East Prussia and other European areas.
1732: Benjamin Franklin publishes the first German language newspaper in America, the Philadelphische Zeitung.
1732: Conrad Beissel, a Seventh Day Dunker from the Palatinate, founds the Ephrata Cloisters near Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
1733: Members of the Schwenkfelder sect from Silesia settle in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.
1734: Refugees from Salzburg arrive in Savannah, Georgia.
1736: The Herrnhuters, or Moravians, found their first settlement, in Georgia, under the leadership of August Gottlieb Spangenberg.
1740-86: Under Frederick II of Prussia(Frederick the Great), Prussia becomes a great power.
1740-48: War of Austrian Succession between Prussia and Austria; Prussia wins new territories, thus becoming a major European power.
1742: Silesia becomes part of Prussia in the war with Austria.
1742: Nikolaus Lugwig, Count of Zinzendorf and Pottendorf, founds the Moravian settlement of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
1743: Christopher Saur of Philadelphia prints a German-language Bible; the first complete Bible published in America.
1748: George Washington first encounters German immigrants in the Shenandoah Valley.
1749: Settlement of New Germantown(Braintree), Massachusetts.
1749-53: Peak of Germanic immigration to colonial America, mostly from near the Rhine Valley about 1750.
1750: Beginning of Pennsylvania-German emigration to North Carolina. Also, the first Germans arrive in Nova Scotia.
1753: Europeans found the town of Lunenburg, to become the most important ship-building center of Nova Scotia. Moravians begin settlement on the Wachovia tract, North Carolina.
1754: The Schwenkfelder sect of Pennsylvania establishes the first Sunday School in America.
1755: Beginning of French and Indian War.
1756-63: Germans play a significant role in fighting the French in the French and Indian War.
1756-63: Seven Years War. An Anglo-Prussian alliance faces off against a coalition of Austria, Saxony, France, and Russia. Prussia wins more territory and goes on to become a great power.
1759: Michael Hillegas opens America's first music store in Philadelphia
1763: Catherine the Great begins inviting Germans to settle in Russia, granting them free land, freedom from military service, and many other special privileges.
1764-67: Heavy immigration of Germans to Volga River region in Russia.
1766: France acquires Lorraine.
1771: Patronymic naming system is to be abolished in Schleswig-Holstein.
1772-95: Partition of Poland by Russia, Prussia, and Austria in three stages; 1772, 1793, and 1795. Poland disappears as an independent country until 1918.
1775-83: American Revolution, with independence declared in 1776; 30,000 Hessian and other German mercenaries fight for Great Britain. Thousands remain in United States and Canada.
1776: Henry Miller's Staatsbote is first American newspaper to print news of the Declaration of Independence.
1778: General Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben takes over the training of the Continental Army.
1781: Palatine emigration (since 1709) to U.S. Continues.
1781: Freedom of Religion guaranteed in Austria, opening the way for immigration of Protestants.
1781-1864: Feudalism is phased out in northern Europe. Key dates: Austria (1781, again in 1848 after being reinstituted); France (1789); Prussia (1807); all German territory (by 1848); Hungary (1853-54); Russia (1861); Russian Poland and Romania (1854).
1782-87: Heavy German immigration to Danube region of southern Hungary, Galicia and Bukovina, all recently acquired by Austria under Emperor Joseph II
1783: German is decreed as the language of all church records in Austria (replacing Latin in many cases).
1783: German Loyalists settle in Upper Canada, where the town of Berlin (whose name was changed to Kitchener during World War I) would become the center of a predominately German area
1785-1844: Jews required to adopt family names in all Austrian-ruled lands except Hungary (178587), in France and Germany (1802-12), and in Russia and Poland (1844).
1786: German Mennonites from Pennsylvania begin to emigrate to Ontario, more heavily after 1807.
1789: Paris mob storms Bastille; Declaration of Rights of Man and of Citizens is published. French Revolution begins.
1789: Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg becomes fist Speaker of United States House of Representatives.
1789-1824: Heaviest German immigration to Black Sea region of Russia (now Ukraine).
1789-1917: Jews emancipated, being granted equality by law in France (1789), Prussia (1850); Austria-Hungarian Empire (1867); Germany (1871); Switzerland (1874) and Russia (1917)
1792: France starts civil registration in German territories west of the Rhein.
1792: French Republican Calendar begins, used 8-13 years in some areas.
1792-1815: Napoleonic wars against revolutionary France by Prussia, Austria and other countries. Napoleon forces end Holy Roman Empire in 1806. Hapsburg family continues to rule Austria, but no longer influential in German lands. Rhenish Confederation founded in 1806.
1794: Changing of surnames is forbidden in Prussia.
1795: Franco-Prussian War. Prussia defeated.
1798: Switzerland declares neutrality.
1800: Industrial Revolution underway.