Hesse-Nassau (Hessen-Nassau), German Empire Genealogy
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Guide to Hesse-Nassau (Hessen-Nassau), German Empire ancestry, family history, and genealogy before 1945: birth records, marriage records, death records, both church and civil registration, compiled family history, and finding aids.
Historical Background[edit | edit source]
The Province of Hesse-Nassau (Provinz Hessen-Nassau) was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia from 1868 to 1918, then a province of the Free State of Prussia until 1944. Hesse-Nassau was created as a consequence of the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, by combining:
- the previously independent Hesse-Kassel,
- the Duchy of Nassau,
- the Free City of Frankfurt,
- areas gained from the Kingdom of Bavaria, and
- areas gained from the Grand Duchy of Hesse (including part of the former Landgraviate of Hesse-Homburg).
In 1935, the government abolished all states, so the provinces held little meaning. In 1944, Hesse-Nassau was split into the provinces of Kurhessen (formerly Hessen-Kassel) and Nassau. In 1945, after the end of World War II, the new state of Hesse (Hessen) was formed by combining:
- the province of Kurhessen,
- the province of Nassau, and
Part of Nassau (the former Westerwaldkreis) was also moved into the Rhineland-Palatinate. Wikipedia
Getting Started[edit | edit source]
Getting Started with Germany Research
Links to articles on getting started with German research:
Germany Research Tools
Links to tools and websites that assist in German research:
Historical Geography[edit | edit source]
Understanding the Different Meanings
This map shows the area included in the modern state of Hesse (Hessen), as it was in 1900. The Duchy of Hesse (Hessen) included the areas of Oberhessen, Rheinhessen, and Starkenburg. The rest of the areas belonged to Hessen-Nassau.
Finding Birth, Marriage, and Death Records for Hesse-Nassau (Hessen-Nassau)[edit | edit source]
Most of the information you need to identify you ancestors and their families will be found in two major record groups: civil registration and church records. To locate these records, follow the instructions in these Wiki articles.
1. Find the name of your ancestor's town in family history records.[edit | edit source]
Records were kept on the local level. You must know the town where your ancestor lived. If your ancestor was a United States Immigrant, use the information in the Wiki article Germany Finding Town of Origin to find evidence of the name of the town where your ancestors lived in Germany. Also, see:
- Hessen State Archives, Emigration Evidence, alphabetical.
- Auswandererkartei 1800-1900. Emigration card indexes for the Grandduchy of Hessen, Germany. Includes general indexes of Hessen and specific indexes which cover emigration from the modern districts of Dieburg, Bergstrasse and Erbach.
- Auswanderungsakten, 1819-1880. Emigration records from Darmstadt, Hessen, Germany.
- Auswanderungsakten des 18. Jahrhunderts Emigration records of the 18th century, including emigrations to America from Hanau, Preußen, Hessen-Nassau, Germany.
- The Nassau-Dillenburg emigration to America in the 18th century: The behavior of the government and the subsequent fates of the emigrants
- Nassau farmers and other German settlers in East Prussia: name lists from the 18th century digital book.
2. Use gazetteers and/or parish register inventories to learn more important details.[edit | edit source]
Your ancestor's town might have been too small to have its own parish church or civil registration office. Find the location of the Catholic or Lutheran (Evangelical) parish that served your ancestor's locality. Find the name of the civil registration office (Standesamt) that serves your ancestor's locality. Use the Wiki article Finding Aids For German Records for step-by-step instructions.
Germany was first unified as a nation in 1871. An important gazetteer, Meyers Orts- und Verkehrs-lexikon des deutschen Reichs, "Meyer's Gazetter" for short, details the place names of villages, towns, counties (kreise), and higher jurisdictions used at that time. In the Research Wiki, FamilySearch Catalog, and FamilySearch Historical Records, the records of Germany are organized using those place names.
You can also consult Hesse-Nassau (Hessen-Nassau) Parish Record Inventories to learn the Lutheran or Catholic parish that would have kept records for your town.
At the end of both World Wars, the boundaries of the states were changed dramatically, as areas of Germany were distributed among the Allied nations. Eventually, after re-unification in 1990, the states of Germany settled into what they are today. It is also necessary to understand Germany by this system, as it affects the locations of civil registration offices, archives, and mailing addresses used in correspondence searches.
3. For birth, marriage, and death records from 1803, use civil registration.[edit | edit source]
Follow the instructions in Hesse-Nassau (Hessen-Nassau), German Empire Civil Registration.
4. For baptism, marriage, and death records, use church records or parish registers.[edit | edit source]
Follow the instructions in Hesse-Nassau (Hessen-Nassau), German Empire Church Records.
More Research Strategies and Tools[edit | edit source]
- Germany Online Classes and Tutorials
- Reading German Handwritten Records Practice exercises to build your skills and confidence.
- Old German Script Transcriber (alte deutsche Handschriften): See your family names in the script of the era. Type your name or other word into the font generator tool. Click on the 8 different fonts. Save the image to your computer and use it as you work with old Germanic records.
- Finding Aids for German Records
- Research Tips and Strategies
- Print these handouts for ready reference when reading German Handwriting:
- Kurrent Letters Handout
- Numbers Handout
- Birth Records Handout
- Marriage Records Handout
- Death Records Handout
- Days and Months Handout
- Common Symbols Handout
- Common Abbreviations Handout
- List of Names in Old German Script A comprehensive list of German given names, written in old script, with possible variations.
- Fraktur Font--Many forms and books are printed in this font.
- German Research, BYU Independent Study, no cost.