Schleswig-Holstein Social Life and Customs

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Social Life and Customs

Hausmarken[edit | edit source]

Hausmarken are personal brands consisting of single strokes (see They appeared at the end of the 13th century, set in stone above an entry way, in a window, on a head stone or they were used as boundary markers. With time Hausmarken appeared everywhere as proof of ownership. Some examples are Hausmarken on agricultural equipment, fishing nets, boats, farms, animals, church windows, baptismal fonts, notary protocols etc. A Hausmarke was used as a legal transaction symbol for a given owner and his property. Hausmarken were transferred to heirs, consecutive sons used the same Hausmarke slightly modified, signifying affiliation to the family.

How a Hausmarke was used, differed from locality to locality. There could be the use of the Hausmarke which evidenced affiliation of a house, a clan. Then there was the use of a “Hofmarke”, suggesting connection with property but not with people.

A Hausmarke is not a crest. The Hausmarke evolved before and parallel to the family crest. The Hausmarke became a symbol, the sign of a clan which was often incorporated as a motif into the family crest. (see

A collection of Hausmarken is not available. To identify Hausmarken used by our ancestors, one has to peruse secondary literature, especially papers published through regional historical societies or conduct on-site research.

There are two articles and actual Hausmarken in Familienkundliches Jahrbuch Schleswig-Holstein, Jahrgang 20. One article is by Erwin Freytag  listing Hausmarken (1584-1608) and their owners from the Meldorfer citizenship records, the other article is by Karl Boie, listing Hausmarken (1575-1817) and their owners of the parish of Meldorf. The book is available through the Family History Library, Salt Lake City, UT at the International Floor. The reference number is 943.51 B5fj.


Familienkundliche Blätter. Hausmarken im Trierer Land. Jg. 1-1970 Seite 25-31.]