Prussia-Hannover Archives and Libraries
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Background information to the Landeskirchliches Archiv Hannover (Evangelical Church Archive)
In October 1943 a heavy bombing destroyed the Landeskirchenamt (church archive). Two thirds of the archival materials burnt, one third of all documents had been evacuated at this point and was saved. According to common consent all materials of interest for research were destroyed, therefore, hesitation to give archival records to a centralized location abounded. Records remained on site for the time being. Only in 1957 with the establishment of the new Archive in Rote Reihe in Hannover (address) the last items from the evacuated documents were returned. Great emphasis was put on organizing the archival materials from the parishes.
Today the Landeskirchliche Archiv continues to receive documents from parishes. The reason for this is the closure of churches due to the drop in church membership. The homes of parish priests have to be disposed of and the archival materials safely guarded. Thus, the Landeskirchenarchiv becomes the record keeper. Before research is pursued, the family historian is well advised to check what is available at the archive. Compare also the listings of filmed churchbooks at
www.kirche-hannover.de/kirchenbuchamt/archivbestand.html (see article on how to use this site here)
Source: Hans Otte.Die Archivalien sind selbst in die Hand zu nehmen. Zur Geschichte des Landeskirchlichen Archivs Hannover. Aus evangelischen Archiven. Nr. 49, 2009
Research in Lower Saxony’s State Archives
The most important responsibility of a state archive is to prepare and make available scientific, local historical, and genealogical sources. The archives aim to evaluate their stocks. This they do by working together with others such as societies, archives, or private authors. In ensuing publications they offer inventories and source editions. They do orientations about general aspects of archival functionality and publish books on research topics. One can find so called Findbücher (detailed explanation of what a certain record type contains and what time frame it covers). A state archive will also do exhibitions, invite guest speakers, and offer classes in which the history and application of a record type will be explained.
Of interest is to know what the archival catalog online is based on. The criteria on what materials are archived are as follows:
The principle of provenience applies. All materials are organized by epochs and tectonics:
Old Archive (Altes Archiv)
Middle Archive (mittleres Archiv)
Documents and Files
New Archive (Neues Archiv)
Archival materials of interest (family history is not of public interest in the archive’s estimation) are among others:
State issues, especially important documents like treaties
Sensational cases (criminal law)
Court cases (i.e., they become public 10 years after the death of the offender)
As an example the archival material for the Amt Diepholz is organized as follows:
1. General concerns (Generalia)
2. State issues (Hoheitssachen)
3. Military issues (Militaersachen)
4. Tax and customs
5. Dominialsachen (anything to do with the land)
6. Church and school matters
7. Local administrative issues
8. Police matters
9. Matters concerning Amt Diepholz in regards to outside issues.
Of all archival materials offered to an archive only a minute percentage is kept.
The rest is shredded. The reasoning of what should be kept is very subjective.
The inventory of the Niedersächsische Staatsarchive (Lower Saxony State Archives) can be found online at Clicking on “Online-Recherche”, then on “AIDA-online”, choosing “über Archive und Beständegruppen” one can select any archival name. When selecting an archive, “Dokumente” and “Akten” are the next choices. Dokumente (documents) deal mainly with official documents bearing seals, while “Akten” (folders) are concentrating on documents having to do with all kinds of administrative activities. Concentrating on “Allgemeine und gebündelte Verwaltung”, “Polizei und Justiz” as well as “Kirchen und Schulen” most likely contain information pertinent to the family historian.
Under Allgemeine und gebündelte Verwaltung one can find the documents of each Amt (administrative jurisdiction). Each Amt in the former territories of Hannover was responsible to look after the affairs of state as well as deal with the poor and needy.
Choosing an Amt from the drop-down list gives the researcher another list. “Gliederung” classifies all subjects with which the Amt was concerned. If one wants to know what exactly the archive houses in regards to “Armensachen” (matters of the poor), a click on the classification number would hi-light a text explaining the content. If one was to take a look at the document, the order number is given as well as the signatur. Knowing these facts about a document makes it easier for the archival staff to retrieve it when visiting the facility. If the item is not what was wanted, a glance further down the list will provide more clues of what the archive can provide re. Armensachen.
Under the Amt one can also search by other terms, such as Archivalien, Konkordanzen and Indexbegriffe. Archivalien (records) show the same tables as shown in the link. Konkordanzen (concordances) are listed by older registers or older classifications, and Indexbegriffe (index) list alphabetically concepts pertaining to the Amt’s documents. Here one can find at a glance what is available when, what the content and what the ordering number is.
Going back to the Allgemeine und gebündelte Verwaltung one does find other research categories. Depending on the area and time frame one could choose “Landdrostei Aurich” or “Landkreis Aurich” which will list archival material according to the administrations of the day, i.e., Landdrostei Aurich existed from 1823-1885, Landkreis Aurich since 1885. There is also a category “Personenstandsregister” which lists all registers for births, marriages and deaths when civil registration was implemented.
Family Research in the city archive Hildesheim
The archive has a variety of genealogical sources appropriate for genealogical research.
Civil registration records
Information gathered by civil authorities started in 1875 in Hildesheim. These records become archival records after a certain time frame and are then stored in the city archive. They are available if one has a reasonable interest in historical or family related issues and time frames. These are:
Birth registers older than 110 years
Marriage registers older than 80 years
Death registers older than 30 years
For each year of an event exists a register of names in alphabetical order, however, names then appear in chronological order.
City registration records
The city has registration records from before 1946. These records are freely accessible when 100 years after a person’s birth have passed and after 10 years from a person’s death date. Information will be supplied by the archive.
Up to 1875 individual’s birth, marriage, and death were registered by the church. The law ordered duplicates for such records which are available at the archive for the years 1853 through 1874. The researcher is free to browse through them himself. If the information is not available in the duplicate records the researcher should contact
For Catholic records the Bistum Hildesheim and for
Evangelical records the individual parishes. There also exists a research center in the Martin-Luther-Kirchengemeinde Nordstadt-Drispenstedt, Peiner Strasse 53, 31137 Hildesheim. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
The city archive has Jewish records from the years 1808-1815 and 1844-1874.
They are available for the year 1827 and then again from 1840-1998. They just list the head of household, not entire families.
Other sources helpful for family research
Such records are not listed by names but rather by subject. Further clues about a person can appear in
• Urkunden (documents)
• Amtsbücher (administrative books)
• Akten (briefs)
• Nachlässe und Familienpapiere (wills and family papers)
• Genealogische und heraldische Sammlungen (genealogical and heraldic collections)
Further information is provided here.
Simone Benne. Anleitung zur Familienforschung. Eine kleine Stammbaumschule. Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung.
Other Lower Saxony archives can be accessed here Select a district on the map.
Prussian province of Hanover records in State archive Hamburg
It is a little known fact that some records of the former Prussian province of Hannover are housed in the state archive of Hamburg. They can be found under archival number 430 (Bestandsnummer). Their content can be viewed online at
Scroll down to number 430, then click on the hyperlink.
Places involved are:
430-36 Gemeinde Langenbek
430-39 Gemeinde Kirchwerder - preußisch
430-50 Provinzialsteuerdirektorat Hannover
430-51 Finanzdirektion Hannover
430-52 Konsistorium Hannover (ev.-luth.)
430-53 Konsistorium Hildesheim (kath.)
430-54 Provinzialschulkollegium Hannover
430-55 Generaldirektion des Wasserbaues Hannover
430-58 Amt und Landratsamt Jork
430-60 Amt Wilhelmsburg
430-62 Katasteramt Harburg
430-63 Domänenrentamt Harburg
430-65 Hochbauamt Harburg
430-72 Behörden (aus der Zeit) der westfälischen und französischen Verwaltung in Harburg
430-75 Strafvollzugsamt Celle