Silesia (Schlesien) Using Court Records

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Acta Urbarium

These are indexes counting properties and taxes. They are the oldest records concerning landownership, originating with ecclesiastical property owners.  The secular administrations adopted the Urbarien showing properties and income of fiefs. With more regulated financial administration in German territories new versions of the Urbarien appeared beginning with the 15/16th century. Their use and titles were different from territory to territory. In Saxony such books were known as Erbbücher, in Brandenburg they were called Erbregister, in Anhalt Land- und Amtsregister, also Anschlag- or Salbücher. In Southwest Germany they were known as Lager and Jurisdiktionalbücher.  Such books list next to properties and taxes, descriptions of economical and judicial entities, such as contracts of employment of serfs for the duration of one year. The obligations connected to each property are listed and stipulations enumerated as they occur.

Urbarien exist for Schlesien.  Familysearch has the Acta Urbarium von Cammerswaldau in their Family History Library collection, call number 943.85/K2 R2j.


In a Schöppenbuch are listed all transactions made by buyers and sellers of properties belonging to farmers. The administrator with judicial rights (Schöppen=Rechtspfleger) of a village would take care of the business between villagers, i.e., entering all sales and financial details in the Schöppenbuch. Sometimes creditors are listed as well as relatives who still are entitled to sums of money. From time to time services to the manor lords are listed. Schöppenbücher are helpful in finding persons, when church books have insufficient information.
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