Bavaria (Bayern) Court Records

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Court Records

Grundbuch (land register)[edit | edit source]

Each property owner or person interested in a property can, with proper ID, obtain an extract from a land register or can authorize someone to do so if a justifiable interest exists. The extraction from a land register is a copy of an entry regarding land ownership. An extract of such an entry can be obtained through the Grundbuchamt, attached to the lower court (Amtsgericht). The administration of the Amtsgericht will issue certified or uncertified copies, costing 10 or 18 Euros. In many federal states of Germany the land registers have been digitized, and a notary public as well as other authorized persons have access to the records online. Going through this process is true for people who want to buy property or who need such documentation for other reasons, i.e., inheritance etc.

If one wants to find out whether an ancestor owned property in passed centuries, one would have to look for such a record in an archive. For instance: A certain property owner lived in Hainersdorf/Saxony in 1850. The documentation of his ownership can be found today in the State Archive Dresden. Why? Hainersdorf belonged to Amtsgericht Sebnitz. All older records of this court were given to the State Archive in Dresden because it has jurisdiction over Sebnitz.

Older documents showing property ownership usually contain information about the owner, his profession, the name of the property, its size, the locality, when the property was obtained, what transaction took place and when. Such information could be crucial when exchanges in property took place especially among namesakes.

The Family History Library has a copy of the land register from Augsburg for the 16th-19th century. It is available through film number 0409556. Films can be ordered through the Family Research Centers worldwide at

Briefprotokoll – record of the lower courts[edit | edit source]

In the archives of Bavaria are deposited Briefprotokolle which contain the business dealings of the people in city and country, such as marriages, transfer of farms, inheritances, purchases, exchanges, guardianships and others. Such records have been preserved since the 30 Years War and were established in the lower courts, (the administrations of the sovereign lords, manor lords, cities, and monasteries. In 1862 the offices of the notary public took over the documentation of the populations’ business dealings.

The genealogist interested in extending his research beyond church records and verifying facts should get acquainted with this record type. Today they can be found in state archives, rarely in city archives or nobility archives.

Source: Joachim Wild: Anleitung zur Familienforschung in Bayern. Sonderdruck aus den „Mitteilungen für die Archivpflege in Bayern“ 25./26. Jahrgang – 1979/1980 in überarbeiteter Form (Stand: Mai 2001).

Here is a list of Briefprotokolle databases in Bavaria.

Notarial Records[edit | edit source]

A notary public (Notar) is a person who studied law and who after thorough examination is historically appointed by the highest authorities (emperor and other rulers) to draw up documents, contracts, wills, power of attorney, examination of witnesses and other legal actions in stipulated form. Thus documents carrying the seal of a notary public have full legal power such as documents issued by the emperor or the pope and can serve as evidence. A notary public can only serve in his designated area, if he does work elsewhere, he will be punished.
Here is a list of legal documents in which a Notar would have been involved.

Acknowledgement of paternity – Vaterschaftsanerkennung
Attestation - Atteste
Auctions - Auktionen
Bail bonds – Kautionsbestellungen
Bonds – Bürgschaft , Wertpapiere
Canellations - Löschungen
Certificates – Gutachten
Certificate of living identiy – Lebensattest
Changes in property - Besitzveränderungen
Court order – letztwillige Verfügugung
Declarations of consent - Einwilligungserklärungen
Deposits – Hinterlegungen
Discharges of debits – Ablösung von Grundrenten
Divestures - Teilungsverträge
Dowry - Aussteuer
Dunnings – Mahnungen
Endowments - Schenkungen
Executed copy – Abschrift, Ausfertigung
Extensions of obligations – Stundung von Schulden
Extracts – Extrakte
Gifts – Geschenke
Ground annuity - Grundrente
Inheritance contracts – Erbteilungsverträge
Last will – Testament
Legalizations – Legalisationen
Liquidations of mortgages – Löschen einer Hypothek
Mortgages - Hypotheken
Notarizations – Beglaubigung einer Abschrift, Unterschrift
Notes of cancellation - Kündigungen
Obligations - Schuldbriefe, Schuldverschreibungen, Obligationen
Parental agreements – Zustimmung der Eltern
Pawnings - Pfandbestellungen
Prenuptials – Eheverträge
Ratifications – Ratifikatorium
Record vault - Deponierung von Urkunden
Revocation - Widerruf
Settlements – Vergleiche
Summons – Ladungen
Tenancy agreements - Mietverträge
Testamentary contracts – Erbverträge
Testamentary dispositions – Letztwillige Verfügungen
Testimonies - Zeugnisse
Transfer of title – Eigentumsübertragung
To make contracts supporting illegitmate children – Alimentenverträge
Power of attorney – Vollmacht
Waiver – Verzicht
Witnesses – Zeugen

The notarial records of the office of Notar Kandel in Höfen from 1710-1781 were extracted by Rudi H. Kaethner Gemünden from original records housed in the Staatsarchiv Speyer. It represents a cross section of the work this particular notary public did in and around Höfen. The records can be retrieved through Family History Library Salt Lake City, Utah, Catalog, call number 943.43/K4 S2k.