FamilySearch Wiki explains:
A gazetteer is a dictionary of place names. Gazetteers may describe towns and villages, parishes and counties, states and provinces, rivers and mountains, and other geographical features. They usually include only the names of places that existed at the time the gazetteer was published, but may reference name changes. The place names are usually listed in alphabetical order, similar to a dictionary. Common German words for gazetteers include "Ortsverzeichnis" (listing of places) and "Topographie" (usually more descriptive; may also contain historical information).Meyer's Gazetteer (often referred to as Meyers Orts) lists the names of places as they existed in Germany from 1871 to 1912. It gives the name of the state or province where each town was located at that time. The gazetteer is written in Gothic print, which can be hard to read.
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