Prussia-Hannover Civil Registration
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The supplements of civil registration records
The civil registration offices did not just record births, marriages and deaths but also kept so called Belegakten aka as Sammelakten. These were files containing documents which ratified an entry recorded by the registrar. For a marriage entry, the Belegakte could hold birth records of the couple or just one person who was a non-local, whose birth record had to be retrieved. Often other records can be found in Belegakten, i.e., death records of parents and/or grandparents, divorces, and names and places of witnesses.
Belegakten for Lower Saxony were kept since 1876. Regulatory laws from 2009 state that civil registration documents and their duplicates have to be permanently kept, while the Sammelakten should be offered to archives to determine archival safekeeping. It was concluded that civil records, their duplicates and supplementary records should be offered first to communal archives and if these cannot house them, to the state archives. In most cases, the original records are kept at local archives, such as city archives and the duplicates go to the respective state archive. At www.nla.niedersachsen.de under “Behördendienste“ one can determine what records are available for what time frame at the state archives. If an archive cannot take in the new acquisitions, it is also feasible that the civil registration records remain temporally at the civil registration office.
Note: Before 1876 the pastor of each parish church in the Kingdom/Prussian Province of Hannover was instructed to keep a duplicate church record. These books were passed on a yearly basis to the consistory and since 1853 to the local administration (Amt). In this context, the duplicate church books are considered civil registration documents because they had the same function. Diverse church duplicates also became part of civil registration files. Such files are to be handed over to a state archive. In the former territories of Braunschweig, Oldenburg and Schaumburg-Lippe church duplicate records were neither kept or have already been transferred over to the respective state archive.
Source: Recht und Gesetz in Niedersachsen. Personenstandsrecht; Archivierung der Personenstandsbücher und Sammelakten sowie Verwendung eines Dienstsiegels.
Foreign occupation of the Electorate of Hannover
After the Prussians were defeated by Napoleon at the Battle of Jena and Auerstädt (1806), the Electorate of Hannover became French territory. In 1807 Napoleon created the Kingdom of Westphalia which was enlarged by annexing Hannover territories.
The administrations of Ämter and Amtsvogteien were dissolved and French norms (departement, arrondisement, canton and mairie) established. For instance, Arsendorf and 24 neighboring villages formed the Mairie Garlstorf. The administrators of the mairie had to conduct business for and negotiate contributions each village had to render. The entire administration was run according to the Code Napoleon. Introduced was civil registration. All pastors were installed as civil administrators and had next to their own church books to keep the civil registration registers. These measures lasted until the French finally retreated in 1814 and the old administrative forms were re-installed. Here is a link to the State Archive Hannover's collection of civil registers from this time of various locations. Choose "Hauptstaatsarchiv Hannover" on the left, then click "Abschriften aus Kirchenbüchern", then click "Archivalien" and browse the items labeled "Zivilstandsregister".