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Stadtbuch

A Stadtbuch is a record a city kept, starting in medieval times. It is a collection of written pages, first in Latin later in the vernacular of the area.


The content of a Stadtbuch varies with growing literacy. The oldest records contain a mixed variety (Stadtbuch mit vermischtem Inhalt), such as laying down the law for the city, collecting judgments. Legal certainty was created and citizens received parameters by which to interact with the city administration, legal issues, business affairs etc. For instance, land records were created by town clerks and stored by authority of the city council. Such records then received public credibility and became evidential. Since the 14th century city records became more categorized. The matters of the city council were kept separate from business between citizens, such as property issues and marriage contracts. There was a book for financial matters, statutes, city law and ordinances as well as for judicial protocols, in and outgoing correspondence, citizenship records and expatriations.
A Stadtbuch allows a glimpse into the life of citizenry and touches on the development of city law, politics, social structure and population statistics.


Source: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stadtbuch


It has become the project of a group of people to evaluate and establish an inventory of Stadtbücher from the beginning to 1800 for the states of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Brandenburg, Berlin, Sachsen-Anhalt, Thuringia and Saxony. A list of Stadtbücher that already have been evaluated can be looked at here. The list basically explains which records are available for a given town. The documentation is a work in progress. More can be read about it here.


 

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