Schleswig-Holstein Church Records

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Births baptisms marriages and deaths

Entries about children at the beginning of church record keeping are most likely pertaining to baptisms. Later entries additionally cover the date of birth. A child typically was baptized within a couple of days after birth, usually on a Sunday when witnesses or godparents were available to take on their responsibility as helpers in guiding the child, or as guardians in case the child is orphaned. Earlier records may not provide the name of the mother or her maiden name. There also may not be any record of witnesses or their place of origin. Births and baptisms are recorded in books according to years as the events occurred. The entries are handwritten in Kurrent which is the official style of the time (until 1920s). Intermixed with the German language are Latin phrases, abbreviations, and archaic terminology, as well as other languages depending on temporary foreign occupancy. The entries themselves are organized in paragraph or column format, but basically contain the same information: Date of birth, date of baptism, name of child, gender of child, name, profession, and residence of parents and witnesses, see online class. Sometimes additional information is given. The child was baptized immediately by the midwife, the child was stillborn, the child died, the child was illegitimate, and the mother may or may not know who the father was or would not reveal the name of the father.

Marriage records give information about bride and groom, their place of origin, their parents, the ages of the couple, their professions,dates of proclamation (banns), sone sometimes a remark about impediments (due to cousin marriages).

Burial records can be very sparse with just the date of death and burial and sometimes reference to parents and spouses.

Additionally, scribes recorded confirmations. Typically, boys and girls were listed by names with their birth dates, their fathers' names and place of residence.

The dominant religion of Schleswig-Holstein was Protestantism after the Reformation. There are very few Catholics. Jewish congregations are also represented. If a birth, marriage or death occurred after 1874, they were recorded at a civil registration office (Standesamt) as births, marriages, and deaths only.

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