Württemberg Church Records
When doing research in Württemberg church records, it is advisable to look up information first in family registers. These serve as a sort of index where information can be retrieved for three generations at a glance. The registers were established in 1808 and contain information from the 1700s. There are older family books available, usually called Seelenregister. Not only do they link generations but additionally, the local priests often put in remarks where a parishioner may have moved to, either to another town or out of the country, i.e., moved to America, etc. Even though information is provided in the family registers, it is still a good idea to check the individual entries for persons in the actual church records, because people do make mistakes. Most parishes had family registers and the majority of records have been filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah and can be accessed through the catalog at www.familysearch.org
Some areas of Württemberg have deposited their books at district archives. This is mostly the case with Catholic church records. For many places duplicate records for the time frame 1808 to 1875 are located in the State Archive of Ludwigsburg.
During WWII some records were destroyed.
(http://www.schule-bw.de/unterricht/faecheruebergreifende_themen Arbeitskreis für Landeskunde/Landesgeschichte RP Freiburg)
Besides church books, the so called Kirchenkonventsprotokolle, (starting in 1644) are a good source for genealogical research. These books deal with illegitimate births and indecent assault cases. Cases were judged by the local priest, the mayor, the deacon and the village judge. Theologians and reformers viewed the 30 Years War as the judgement of God and in order to not repeat such punishment, they concluded that the whole parish had to heed God's commandments. The goal was to achieve reconciliation between God and man. Emphasis was put on illegitimacy. The Konvent saw to it that the father of the illegitimate child would honor his marriage vows. Also, the Konvent endeavoured to putty broken marriages due to brutality or drink. In cases of denomination, the Konvent had strict rules. If a Protestant girl was intending to marry a Catholic boy, the parents had to intervene. If young people went dancing at festivities of the opposite religion, the Konvent came down hard on them. They had to pay a fine. The protocolls are stored with the individual parishes. Few have been filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah and are available through www.familysearch.org
If there is a need to contact the Evangelical Church Archive in Württemberg, here is the link
Max Cramer Extracts
For many parishes of Wuerttemberg, professor, Max Cramer has done extracts of births and marriages within a particular parish. Without an understanding of some of his abbreviations these can be difficult to use. But with a little time and practice, these extracts can be helpful for those who have difficulties with old German script. These records were typewritten, making reading less difficult.
Some of the abbreviations used follow as an example. You can usually easily determine most of the names by the standardized abbreviations that he uses.
Barb = Barbara
Stoff = Christoffel, Christoph, Stoffel
Cath = Catharina
Chph = also Christoph
Endr = Endres, Andreas
Ha = Hans
Jak = Jacob, Jakob
Pet = Peter
Ros = Rosina, Rosalia
Seb = Sebastian
Sim = Simon
Steff = Stephan, Steffan
Velt = Velten, Valentin
For double given names, his abbreviations will be seen similar to these below:
AMar = Anna Maria
HJak = Hans Jakob
HGg = Hans Georg
MMagd = Maria Magdalena
When an abbreviation is followed by a period, such as J. (Johann) it would be the male version of the name, and without a period, it would be the female version. (Johanna)
The pattern that is used for baptism (Taufen) records is as follows:
The year is mentioned once ahead of the baptism entries for that given year.
The date is at the far left written in this manner: 10.4 or 10 Apr. The month is always the second number.
The next column is the page number on which this entry appears for that year.
The father's name follows, last name first and usually also his occupation is included and again abbreviated.
The mother's name follows, sometimes with only a given name. If the original record contains her maiden name, it will also be included in the extract. No witnesses are included in the extract.
In the marriage records, the pattern is quite similar, with the date written in the same format as the baptisms, day and month. The page number and the names of the couple. On the far right, the name of the groom's and bride's father is given. It may contain a symbol + prior to the name, indicating that the father of the groom or bride was dead at the time of the marriage.
In the case that there was a previous marriage for the bride, it will have v. d. (widow of) and the first name of the previous husband. In this case, the surname of the bride would usually be given only as the last name of the previous husband.
When the groom had a previous marriage, his name is followed by v. d. (widower of) and then the name of the previous wife. In the case of previous marriages, seldom will the original records show the name of the father.
Although these records do not give all the information that may be listed on the original records, it is a very useful way to quickly find the birth or marriage dates of the person you are searching for. In the FamilySearch Catalog, these records are listed in the Church Records category as Kirchenbuchauszuege.
Proklamationsbuch/Proclamation Book or Marriage Banns
Some marriage banns in Württemberg began as early as the 1500's. Marriage banns were required by church law in 1559. It was mandated that couples intending to marry post their intentions on the church door. This was done on a Sunday followed by postings for two more weeks, thereafter. The purpose of this was to determine or the parishioners to determine, if there was any impediment to marriage. Some impediments may be that the couple was blood related, that there were no bigamy marriages.
There are records that were kept and some preserved such as the Calwer Proklamationsbuch. This book covers the years 1613-1699. The early start of these books, is helpful to researchers since early marriage records were burned. In these early years, no civil marriage was held following the church marriage. This marriage was the only marriage. So the proclamation books can be of help as they were posted both at the bride and grooms parish and recorded in the church books, often in the marriage book itself and noted where the marriage occurred.
These records contain:
- Bride and groom's names
- Parent's or father's names
- Occupation of father
- Residence or birthplace