Saxony (Sachsen) Jurisdictions

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Jurisdictions in Freistaat Sachsen[edit | edit source]

The administrative jurisdictions of Saxony were embossed by historical ideas and carried out well into the 19th century. In the cities usually qualified personnel took care of administrative measures. In the country it was different and can only be understood if one keeps in mind that the general administration and the judicial administration were not separate issues until 1873/74. Questions on all levels were handeled through royal or ducal or patrimonial courts. These administrations were controlling authorities not regulatory entities. Therefore, manifold matters of judicial, general and ecclesiastical nature as well as tax issues descended on these administrations, and it was not always clear where one competent authority had jurisdiction and where not. We see frequent changes in territorial relations, borders were uncertain. This called for reforms and between 1815 and 1835 Saxony was divided into 5 Kreise (districts), 11 Amtshauptmannschaften and 54 Ämter (administrations) An Amt was known by various titles and the leading administrator was known as the Amtmann. He was responsible for matters of legal and criminal nature at the lowest level.

In 1835 another administrative division within Saxony took place. The five old administrative districts were resolved and four new ones established: Dresden, Leipzig, Zwickau and Bautzen. This caused immense shifting within jurisdictions which can be viewed on page 75 of the attached article Zur Verwaltungsgliederung Sachsens im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert. Also, for cities, a new homogeneous constitution was established. The cities were now under the jurisdiction of Amtshauptleute. The situation was different in the country. Villages were generally not units with political administrative powers. They came under the jurisdictions of manor lords or patrimonial courts, however, there could exist in a village a sort of autonomy known by various names.

In the years 1835-1855 the outside border of Saxony shifted as well. For more information see the above mentioned article on page 77.

In 1855 all Ämter (Amtsbezirke) were dissolved and Gerichtsamtsbezirke (courts) established. The separation of jurisprudence from general administrations continued. Administration of justice went public. The patrimonial courts were abolished.

In the years 1873/74 the most trenchant changes took place in Saxony's administrative structure. Through law (21st April 1873) the separation of justice from the general administration took place. The Gerichtsamtsbezirke are now called Gerichtsbezirke. In 1879 Saxony took over the justice structure of the German Reich with lower courts (Amtsgerichte) and courts of appeal (Landgerichte) and so on. The jurisdiction of a lower court was known as a Amtsgerichtsbezirk, the lowest general administration level districts were called Amtshauptmannschaften.

Source: Oettel, Andreas. Zur Verwaltungsgliederung Sachsens im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert. Statistisches Landesamt des Freistaats Sachsen. See