Saxony (Sachsen) Court Records

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Saxony (Sachsen),
(Kingdom of)
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All legal matters, including criminal cases in Saxony were originally handled by the local courts, the Amt, the cities and the patrimonial courts. They handled cases concerning taxes, matters of compulsory services, jurisprudence, police and military services. The documents for this time are housed in the State Archives of Saxony under administrations of the Erblande (see here and choose Saxony before 1831). Under the topic "1.5.3. Justiz" are listed the institutions and their archival identification numbers (Signaturen) from the 1500s on. As the state of Saxony evolved and changed administrations, so  their names changed. All cases were then handled by Ämter. They are listed with their ID numbers under 1.5.2 and later as Gerichtsämter (courts).

Since most of the Saxon population were people of the land, the likelihood is that their names are mentioned in land records (buying or exchanging land) inheritance cases (Heergeräte = inheritance of a man and Gerade = inheritance of a woman), mortgage matters etc. Such records can be of great value to the family historian because detailed information is given in sales contracts and inheritance cases. Such facts will enhance the research and cement it.

An advantage is that court records with such invaluable information were filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah and can be retrieved through the FamilySearch Catalog  It is important to know which Amt or court was responsible for a given village. The Historical Gazetteer of Saxony online  is a great help in locating the correct administration throughout history. Once the court is identified, it needs to be matched up with its name in the FamilySearch Catalog. Before any research can be conducted, the so called "Findbuch" (archival index)  has to be studied. In the Findbuch are listed all records for a lower court (Amt, Gerichtsamt, Amtsgericht). Attention has to be paid to archival numbers (Signaturen). They may not agree with modern Signaturen assigned by the archives. Once the Signaturen in the Findbuch have been matched with film numbers in the FamilySearch Catalog, films can be ordered and a search conducted through a family history center  nearby.

A typical recorded land purchase will take place between sons and fathers, in-laws or other relatives. Children will be represented by their guardians who may be relatives. Women usually had no legal capacity and were represented by someone else, often a relative. Exact details of the property will be given which could clarify otherwise unclear relationships, since in former days many people shared the same names.