Hessen-Nassau Church Records
Aufgebote (proclamations, public notices)
People form German rural areas often married later in life: men at 29 years, women at 26 years of age. Usually men are about 2 to 3 years older than their wives. In elevated circles the marriage age differs from the rural examples. Girls under age 20 marry up to 8 years older partners. 30 year old women usually marry men their age or younger. Among widowers the same trend can be observed. If a widower marries a single woman, she tends to be younger (about 8 years). A third of widowers tend to be older than their wives, if she was a widow. The more children a widow has, the more likely she is to remarry quickly. Widows remarry less on average than do widowers.
Before a couple marries for the first time, they need to have permission to do so. Men are required to obtain consent from their parents up to the age of 25, women up to the age of 21. The men had to secure proof of gainful employment (Erwerbsfähigkeit) which the lower court would issue. The intention of getting married also had to be reported to the authorities. As an example, a man from Kassel who intended to get married in 1839 had to come before the Kurfürstliche Justizamt (court) and declare the following: His intent as citizen and miller, and the son of the deceased small farmer so and so and his deceased wife, 30 years old and of reformed religion was to marry the single citizen so and so, who was 31 years old and was a Catholic. Both groom and bride had to make a statement that they of their own free will wanted to marry, they had to confirm that they were in no wise blood relations or were related by marriage. Since the groom was not local he had to bring various certificates of identification and proof, such as his baptismal record, his parents' death certificates, a confirmation that he was indeed a citizen of Kassel, proof from the city of Kassel that he is able to support a family and finally, he had to show proof that he had obtained permission for his bride to become a citizen of Kassel and that he had paid the necessary fee. After all this was taken down in a protocoll, he and she as well as the official had to sign.
If church records cannot be obtained from a certain parish, Aufgebote or Erwerbsfähigkeitsbelege should be perused for information. Some of such records can be retrieved through www.familysearch.org Family History Library Catalog, Hessen-Nassau, Keyword Search: Aufgebote, Personelle Angelegenheiten.