The research and the archives
Even in the 19th century Germany had been divided into more than 350 different territories, often with their own currencies and units of measurement. There was nothing like a central government or a central registration. Till 1871 it was the task of the parish to register the birth, marriage and death of the people. Often, the church books are going back to the 16th century, depending on whether they could be saved from the impact of wars and political unrest.
Parallel to the church books, there are interesting documents in the state archives. In the registry offices, town archives or the central state archives there are citizen lists, military lists, tax books or Iventuren und Teilungen – similar to contracts of inheritance – and so on.
Because of so many small countries in a relatively small region, e.g. like Baden-Württemberg, it could be almost an emigration to go to another town to marry the partner in life or to find a new job. In cases the people had to change the dominion, they had to ask for permission and to apply for a new citizen ship. The documents, and many others, are often hold by the regional or town archives.
For a genealogist this means to follow the trace of the ancestors through the different archives. The first step is always to visit the church archives. For the second step the state, town or regional archives hold the interesting documents. Therefore not only a profound knowledge of the archive collection is essential, but also of the historical background of the parishes, towns and region.
Basis of genealogy is the research in the archive. The following list gives an overview of the different kind of archives:
First step – the church books
Church archives of the Protestant Church:
Landeskirchliches Archiv in Stuttgart (church books of Württemberg)
Landeskirchliches Archiv in Karlsruhe (church books of Baden)
Church archives of the Catholic Church:
Diözesanarchiv in Rottenburg (church books of Württemberg)
Erzbischöfliches Archiv in Freiburg (church books of Baden)
If necessary, it is always possible to visit the parish itself.
Second step – state archives
For a deeper research, the state archives hold a variety of interesting documents like citizen lists, military lists, Lagerbücher (similar to tax books) as well as Inventuren und Teilungen (similar to contracts of inheritance) … and much more.
State Archives (Staatsarchiv):
Summarized as Landesarchivs Baden-Württemberg there are:
Among the state archives there are also the regional archives and the different town archives.
Only the intense research in the state archives changes Data into a living family history.
Join the fascinating search for traces!