Germany, Hesse-Nassau, Civil Registers and Church Books (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Access the records: Germany, Hesse-Nassau, Civil Registers and Church Books, 1701-1875 .

Title in the Language of the Records

Deutschland, Hessen-Nassau, Personenstandsregister und Kirchenbücher 1701-1875 (FamilySearch Historische Aufzeichnungen)

Image Visibility

Whenever possible, FamilySearch makes images available for all users. However, ultimate rights to view images on our website are granted by the record custodians. German Data Privacy rules prohibit viewing the following records: All birth images must be 110 years or older; all marriage images must be 75 years or older, and all death images must be 30 years or older.

If any record on a digital folder contains birth records from the last 110 years, for example, the entire digital folder is restricted.

The Historical Records collections will be updated each year to show new unrestricted records. FamilySearch respects and strives to adhere to all privacy laws respective to preserving and providing access to genealogical records in its collection.

Record Description

Civil and church records were created to record important events in the lives of the people of the land. This recording of data also helped provide citizenship benefits and statistics for civil authorities. Such records records are the most reliable and accurate family history sources.

This is a collection of images of civil vital records and church books preserved in, and filmed at the Marburg State Archive. They pertain to places that were incorporated into the historical German state of Hessen-Nassau. Today, Hessen-Nassau is located primarily in Hessen with portions annexed to Rhineland-Palatinate and Thuringia. Most of theserecords were handwritten in narrative style, others in tables. Some of the later ones were written into forms. The text of the records is in Gothic German.

The bulk of church records for this region are held elsewhere. The Evangelische Kirchenarchiv Kurhessen und Waldeck / the Lutheran Church Archives for Kurhessen and Waldeck at Kassel includes 1,819 church books of vital records for church units in Hessen (Kurhessen, Hessen Kassel, Hessen Darmstadt, Hessen Nassau, & Waldeck) reaching into the 1500s. The Diocesan Archive (Diozäsanarchiv) in Fulda holds many Catholic church records, and there are other archives as well.

A large portion of the registers in this collection constitute two groups, each from a narrow time period.

The first group is universal civil vital records from the 4th quarter of 1874 and the year 1875. (Hessen-Nassau was part of Prussia, which introduced universal civil registration on October 1, 1874. The rest of Germany initiated such record-keeping on January 1, 1876.)

The 1874-75 registers for 120 localities in Hessen-Nassau, including the cities of Hanau, Marburg, Fulda and Rotenburg/Fulda, are represented here. They are usually described as “Standesamt,” but a few are listed under “Bürgermeisterei” (e.g., Heringen) or “Evangelisch” (e.g., Zierenberg).

The second large group of records was created in 1808-1813, when the northern portion of what later became Hessen-Nassau was part of the Napoleonic Kingdom of Westphalia. Over 300 localities are represented in this group. These records are often remarkably detailed and can include marriage banns and annexes (i.e., supporting documents).

The records in this group are civil records, but most of them were kept by local clergy who had been appointed as registrars. Most of them are separated by religion, i.e., there are separate books for Lutherans and Jews, and occasionally for members of Reformed or Catholic parishes. The records may be found under any of the following descriptions: Amtsgericht, Bürgermeisterei, Gerichtsamt, Justizamt, Standesamt, Evangelisch, Katholisch, Französisch-Reformiert, Jüdische Gemeinde.

In this group, records for several Jewish communities are not listed as such, instead appearing under one of the other rubrics. Jewish records for Abterode, Bischhausen, Gensungen, Grebenstein, Gudensberg, Herleshausen, Netra, Schmalkalden, Spangenberg, Wichmannshausen and Wolfhagen are included under „Evangelisch.“ Those for Bettenhausen and Niederklein are found under „Bürgermeisterei“. Jewish records for Iba are under both „Standesamt“ and „Evangelisch“; the records from there seem to have been filmed twice.

Separate Jewish records from 88 communities, primarily from 1825-1874, are present as well. Some of these are not designated as such, appearing instead under “Bürgermeisterei,” “Standesamt” or “Polizeiamt.”

Researchers should consult the Family History Library catalog and the "Known Issues" page when using these records. Many catalog entries for the filmed versions contain more detail, such as the existence of Jewish records or the presence of records from neighboring villages.

For a list of records by localities, document type, and dates currently published in this collection, select the Browse link from the collection landing page.

Record Content

Birth or baptismal records generally contain the following information:

  • Names of the child, parents, and witnesses or godparents
  • Date and place of birth and baptism
  • Residence and religion of the parents
  • Occupation of the father
  • Legitimacy

Marriage records generally contain the following information:

  • Names of the bride, groom, their parents (usually the fathers), and witnesses
  • Date and place of marriage and marriage proclamations or banns
  • Ages of the bride and groom
  • Sometimes the dates and places of birth
  • Residences of the bride, groom, and their parents
  • Religion of the bride and groom
  • Occupations of the groom and the fathers

Death records generally contain the following information:

  • Names of the deceased, the spouse, and the parents
  • Date and place of death and burial
  • Age and residence of deceased
  • Sometimes the date and place of birth
  • Cause of death

How to Use the Record

In order to find data in this collection, it is necessary to know the name of the ancestor, the religion, town of the event, and approximate date of the event.

Search the Collection

To search the collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒Select "Browse" link in the initial search page
⇒Select "Place" category
⇒Select "Religion or Civil Registration Office" category
⇒Select "Event Type" category which takes you to the images

Look at the images one by one comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine which one is your ancestor. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to make this determination.

For Help Reading These Records

These records are in Gothic German. For help reading the records, see the following wiki articles:

Known Issues with This Collection

Important.png Problems with this collection?
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

Related Websites

Related Wiki Articles

Contributions to This Article

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.


Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

Citations for individual image records are available for this collection. Browse through images in this collection and click on the "Show Citation" box: Germany, Hesse-Nassau, Civil Registers and Church Books, 1701-1875

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.

A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the wiki article Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.

Citation for This Collection

The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in Historical Record collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.

"Germany, Hesse-Nassau, Civil Registers and Church Books, 1701-1875." Images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2013. Citing Stadtarchiv Marburg.

Suggested citation format for a record in this collection.