Access to Records: Are German Archives Changing? #germany

Jeanette R Rosenberg OBE

Dear GerSiggers

Since Roger has found time to share the URLs >from his talk with you,
it must be time for my own offering. Here are the URLs for things
that cropped up during my talk. I am using as the basis for this
email an edited version of the conference handout I submitted for my
talk. I have tried not to duplicate URLs for sites Roger has already
mentioned. I apologise in advance for the length of this email.

The starting point for my presentation was that the legal situation
relating records access in Germany changed >from January 2009. The law
now provides theoretical access to records as follows. Birth records
after 110 years, marriage and civil union records after 80 years and
death records after 30 years. However what actually happened has not
been as simple as that, and my presentation explored some of the
reasons why. These included:

_The collapse of the Cologne city archives in March 2009 and
subsequent conservation work undertaken by the Marburg Archive School
_The growth and developments of the internet and trends in
digitisation of records
_The "Who Do You Think You Are?" effect or Das Geheimnis meiner
Familie which means My family secrets and which is the German
_The influence of the AG Juedische Sammlungen group in Germany and
_Archival access to records where present day Jewish communities exist
in Germany, for example, The Central Archives for research into the
history of Jews in Germany in Heidelberg
_That many people are perpetuating mistakes in research and what
happens when people digitise and transcribe records they don't really

The presentation used examples drawn >from my personal experience of
genealogical research visits to Germany, where I have visited a
variety of different regional and local archives, some larger and some
smaller, some bureaucratic, and some very informal. The presentation
also signposted people to a number of more advanced and not
specifically Jewish Genealogy oriented resources, which included the
following books, in which I have no interest, other than as a reader.

Ribbe, Wolfgang and Henning, Eckart (2006, 13th Edition). Taschenbuch
fuer Familiengeschichtsforschung, Germany, Degener Verlag.

Brandt, Edward R. Ph.D., Bellingham, Mary, Cutkomp, Kent, Frye, Kermit
and Lowe, Patricia A.(1997, 3rd Edition). Germanic Genealogy A Guide
to Worldwide Sources and Migration Patterns, USA, Germanic Genealogy

Riemer, Shirley J, Minert, Roger P. and Anderson, Jennifer A (2010,
3rd Edition). The German Research Companion, USA, CA Lorelei Press.

Archive in Deutschland, Oesterreich und der Schweiz, by Verband
deutscher Archivarinnen und Archivare, published by Ardey Verlag.

By way of practical example, I described the current situation in
North Rhine-Westphalia, (NRW) where records are held on a centralised
basis,, and in Rhineland-Palatinate,
where the organisation is dissipated or fragmented, with records
remaining at local level. I also provided information about the
approach in Hessen, where a more hybrid approach operates, and in
Baden-Wuerttemberg, (Ba-Wu) where the emphasis has been towards free
online access. I explored also the way that local history is
impacting on archival access in Germany and how local museum-based
archives are contributing to broader access, giving details of an
example of good practice >from Weinheim in Baden

Resources >from NRW that I mentioned were Der richtige Weg zu Ihrem
Stammbaum "The right way to your family tree"
This contains details of finding aids P2 Detmold, P5 Arnsberg & P8
Muenster, with approximately 900 different record collections covering
the years >from 1801 to 1874.

Index to the Gatermann Films (Reproductions by the Reichssippenamt )
held at Landesarchiv NRW Abteilung Ostwestfalen-Lippe in Detmold.
Findbuch P10. The films cover Arnsberg, Detmold and Muenster for the
years 1697-1942.
The Gatermann diagram that I displayed came >from this website

My presentation also included a discussion of some of the ongoing
digitisation and conservation projects underway and insights into the
use of archival finding aids and also a tour of relevant archival
sources both in Germany and elsewhere, with particular emphasis on
access to Jewish communal records. The examples given signposted to
some of the lesser used sources for Jewish family research in Germany,
for example some of the classes of records identified by Angelika G
Ellmann-Krueger in Stammbaum (19) pp. 1, 4-8).

1. Handelsregister (Trade registers)
2. Handwerksrolle und Lehrlingsrolle (Registers of Craftsmen and Apprentices)
3. Amtsblatt (Official Journals or Gazettes)
4. Fahndungsblatt (Wanted persons lists)
5. Hebammentageb├╝cher (Midwife diaries)
6. Orts- und Verkehrs-Lexikon (Topographical and location directories
and gazetteers)

I also mentioned:
_ITS Arolsen records
_The online German Gedenkbuch
_Yad Vashem Central Database
_Germania Judaica library at Cologne, Germany
_The work undertaken by local history societies in Germany eg
_The Wiener Library in the UK
_The Central Archives for the history of the Jewish People in Israel
_The Jewish Museums network, eg in Frankfurt

I raised the issue in passing that maybe at least some knowledge of
the German Language is a requirement for German Jewish Genealogy. I
left this as much for people to think about, as anything else, and
provided examples of options available if people do not speak German.
These included Portraits of Our Past by Emily Rose and Our Daily Bread
by Teva J Scheer.

My presentation ended with a short personal case study showing how I
have used some of the resources I have found in a Jewish Genealogy One
Name Study which is focussed on records >from NRW,

Jeanette Rosenberg, GerSig Director Usually in London UK

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