By - acrossthe_ocean
Section 5? I don't understand how that applies to you.
Have you ensured everyone in that line has held citizenship? It's a direct paternal line and no one served in the military prior to the next generation being born?
The law changed a month ago, the English translation is not up to date: https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/stag/__5.html
The law is a form of restitution for the former discrimination that only allowed paternal descendants to become German citizens and gives maternal descendants a 10-year window to get German citizenship.
Sorry, I meant [this provision,](https://www.germany.info/us-en/service/03-Citizenship/-/2479488), which would apply to me as long as I can prove my great-great-grandfather was German.
The site you linked has several groups to which the law applies. Are you a descendant of
1) children born in wedlock prior to January 1st 1975 to a German mother and a foreign father or children born out of wedlock prior to July 1st 1993 to a German father and a foreign mother
2) children whose German mother who lost her German citizenship through marriage to a foreigner prior to April 1st 1953 pursuant to Section 17 (6) of the Reich and Nationality Act (old version), or
3) children who lost their German nationality acquired by birth through legitimization by their foreign father foreigner prior to April 1st 1953 and valid under German law pursuant to Section 17 (5) of the Reich and Nationality Act (old Version)
You write that your great-great-grandfather was a German and did not become French, at least not before your great-grandfather was born. How would the birth of your great-grandfather apply to the specific circumstances that are listed in this section of the law?
My great-great-grandfather and great-great-grandmother were married at the time of my great-grandfather's birth (pre-WWI), so I figure he would've passed on German citizenship in that way. As for the new law itself, I am a descendant of a person in one of the situations described in the list, though I don't know how wise it necessarily is to post my entire family setup on reddit.
you can get a burner account that you just use for this topic. German nationality law is quite specific for different circumstances which means that useful advice can only be based on knowing those circumstances.
Why not contact both the relevant authority in Alsace-Lorraine and the registry office in Berlin? No harm in asking and one of them might point you in the right direction.
Also, if your great-grandfather spent several years in Germany, could he have a German passport? Or perhaps your great-great-grandfather was registered as a citizen there. I would also contact the local registry office of wherever they were in the interwar period to see if they have any records of either your GGF or GGGF.
A final question is whether your GGGF ever naturalised in the US, and if so, whether you can get his US naturalisation certificate. The certificate should show that he was originally German.
I'd say get creative and get whatever you can to prove his German nationality. I just went through this process and found the BVA to be very friendly; I was missing a birth certificate for one of my relatives but submitted alternative evidence and they were fine with that.
I've managed to find them in the Melderegister of the town in Germany where they lived before permanently returning to the US, but I'm not sure if that would count as definitive proof of citizenship. It can't hurt to reach back out to see if they have more records, though. As for naturalizing, I don't believe my great-great-grandfather ever naturalized in the US, and I haven't been able to find any record that suggests he did. I do know that his wife (my great-great-grandmother) naturalized, but not until several years after he had died.
Definitely see what you can get from the Melderegister. You might also look for census records, I submitted a US census record for my great grandparents that listed their nationality (iirc).
Also, if this is the only thing stopping you, it might be worth going to your local embassy or consulate anyway. They will go through your application and let you know if you are missing a key document before they send it to the BVA. The people I spoke to at my Embassy were super friendly and let me come back a couple of times to submit additional documents. You never know, they might say your GGGF's birth certificate is enough to prove his nationality in this case.
One thing to look into : you said your family stayed in Alsace-Lorraine after WW1 but didn't have French citizenship. I'm afraid that was not really possible, people living in Alsace-Lorraine at the time were either "reintigrated" into the French citizenship (they got the French citizenship and renounce to the German one) or were asked to leave. Of course, those were the general rules and there could have been exceptions and all.
I would advise to contact the Mairie (town hall) of the town they lived in and ask to check if your family appears in the reintegration registers (if they still have them, some town do some don't) to be sure about their standing in terms of French citizenship.
Alsace-Lorraine archives: https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Elsass-Lothringen_Archives_and_Libraries
You gave no dates! Prior to May 23, 1949, the rules are unchanged. See RuStAG 1913.
Your ancestor cannot have left what was German territory before 1904 (nineteen zero four, just for clarity).
Prior to May 23, 1949, a child born in wedlock can only inherit German citizenship from their father.
The first generation born in the USA, for example, must be born before the immigrant German parent naturalized.
> it's my understanding that [a birth certificate] isn't definitive proof of German nationality on its own.
A pre 1914 birth certificate issued on what was German territory at the time generally is. In fact, it is the basis for many claims.