Re: Germany, Hesse, Civil Registration, since 1874 #germany

Roger Lustig

Thank you, Gerhard, for simplifying the matter. There are indeed several
ways to access the Hessian Archives' vital-records holdings.

One small detail, though: The Standesamt system did indeed begin on
October 1, 1874--but only in Prussia. The Hessian State Archives'
on-line collection begins on January 1, 1876, the day that all of
Germany went over to the new system. At that time, Prussia included the
state of Hessen-Nassau, but not the rest of today's Hessen. So where are
the Hessen-Nassau books for the first 15 months?

Why, at, of course! The originals are or were in the
Hessian State Archive in Marburg, where LDS filmed the collection of
miscellaneous vital records. That collection is now on line as "Germany,
Hesse-Nassau, Civil Registers and Church Books, 1701-1875." In reality,
it covers only the Kassel district of Hessen-Nassau.

As I mentioned a few posts ago, this collection is almost impossible to
use on line. The localities (over 500 of them) are listed
alphabetically, with few indications as to the county, etc. In Hessen
this can be vexing, given the number of places with non-unique names.
Note that the 1876ff. records are grouped by county (Kreis). In 4 cases,
a town and its records appear twice. A few town names are spelled wrong.

Within a locality, the records are grouped by author. Alas, this was
done inconsistently and often just plain wrong. Most of the 120
localities that have 1874-5 records have them listed under
"Standesamt"--but others are under "Buergermeisterei" or "Amtsgericht".
In one case, a book of birth records >from Huenfeld is cataloged under Fulda.

The 1874-5 Standesamt records are one of four main sets of records in
this collection. The other two are: civil vital records >from the era of
the Kingdom of Westphalia (c.1808-13); marriage contracts and annexes,
some going back even before 1701; and miscellaneous Jewish records,
mostly >from 1825-1874.

The Kingdom of Westphalia records are wonderful in their Napoleonic
detail, and in that they treat Jews like everyone else. In most places,
each denomination had its own registers, but the reporting was done the
same way for all. I have made great headway in researching my own family
by using these. Unfortunately, they are listed under any number of
different headings: Standesamt, Buergermeisterei, Justizamt,
Amtsgericht, and the various religious denominations. In some cases,
Jewish records are bound together with others without mention of them
being made; in others, purely Jewish records are listed as "Evangelisch."

The 1825-1874 Jewish (and "dissident") records, too, appear under many
different authorships: Polizeiamt, Buergermeisterei, Standesamt,
Juedische Gemeinde. Many of the descriptions (date, type of record) are
inaccurate, sometimes seriously understating the contents.

For those of us who worked on the Hessen Gatermann project, Phase 1, the
1825-1874 records are important in that they contain quite a few vital
registers that the Nazis missed! Especially in Schluechtern and
Ziegenhain counties (Kreise), there are many "other shoes" waiting to
drop. >from Schluechtern we have records for Mittelsinn, Heubach,
Hintersteinau, Salmünster, Sterbfritz, Vollmerz and Züntersbach; >from
Ziegenhain: Großropperhausen, Neukirchen, Röllshausen, Schrecksbach and
Ziegenhain itself. Rueckingen (Kr. Hanau), Eiterfeld (Kr. Huenfeld), and
Erksdorf and Schiffelsbach (Kr. Marburg) are also represented.

Finally, one should remember that the vast majority of Hessian and
Nassovian church books >from the 18th and 19th centuries are not included
here at all. They may be found in various diocesan and other archives in
Kassel, Fulda and elsewhere.

I have struggled in vain for over 2 years to bring these problems to the
attention (or rather, interest) of The collection
would benefit greatly >from being broken up into a few sections, each of
which with a title that described its contents accurately and
succinctly; and >from being recataloged in a consistent manner.

By the way, there are no *intentional* restrictions on the use of this

Roger Lustig Princeton, NJ USA research coordinator, GerSIG

On 8/23/2015 3:20 PM, Gerhard Buck buckidstein@... wrote:
The confusion about how to find access to the Civil Vital Registers of
Hessen can easily be abolished. These Standesamtsregister begin in
1874, are still in use and belong to the Federal State of Hessen. The
older copies, which are no longer subject to privacy laws, have been
transferred to a new central archive since 2011. It is part of the
State Archive of Marburg. At the beginning, shelves with a length of
1,500 meters were needed.

To make the documents accessible to the public in the easiest possible
way, the State of Hessen has come to an agreement with FamilySearch.
This institution digitizes the whole and steadily growing collection
in the new archive. Two identical copies are in the course of being

One copy is given to the State that publishes all of them on the joint
website of its archives. Until February 2015 its name was HADIS; since
then it is called Arcinsys. This website is
accessible to everybody without any restrictions. There are two ways
to find the desired localities.

One was already mentioned by Roger Lustig. You first go to another
website with historical information about Hessen: LAGIS. With the
(English!) link
you are lead to the search function. The advantage of this indirect
way via LAGIS: you get an excellent survey of all the available places
and years to which you get with the next step.

The direct way is:
Here you find the register for all places.

Another copy of the digital images becomes the property of
FamilySearch. They have their own, less favorable rules concerning the
access which is influenced by the fact that this firm plans to index
all the entries.

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