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9th century

In order to protect themselves from invading Saxons, the Danes in the north built the DANEWERK and the Saxons built a protection against the Wenden (Slavs), the LIMES SAXONIAE, running from Kiel south to the River Elbe, through Lüneburg. In Wagrien (now Ostholstein, Probstei) we still find traces of Wendish influence, i.e. the name of the village Wenddorp (Wendtorf), some Wendish family names, like Jessien, Puck and Steffen. Names ending in –iz, -ow or –in are usually names of Slavic origin.


Wagrien, land of the Slavs is conquered by the Holsten and Storman. The Slavs lose their independence, become Christians and assimilate with their neighbors, who were recruited from Flanders, Holland, Westphalia and Friesland.


Beginning of dyke building, first under the supervision of the church, then it became privatized. In the 1600s this lead to more reliable structures, i.e. people from the Netherlands brought techniques with them for considerable improvements.


The land north of the river Elbe becomes Danish


Stadtrecht (privilege of towns to have separate laws than the rest of the country) in Schleswig and other cities, like Mölln and Lübeck, Oldenburg, Plön, Itzehoe, Kiel, Eutin, Lauenburg. The Bürger (citizen) comes into being. Next to tax records citizenship records were kept.


Battle of Bornhöved signified the end of Danish rule in Holstein


Holstein was divided into 5 duchies: Kiel, Segeberg, Plön, Rendsburg and Pinneberg


The first Black Death epidemic swept over Schleswig-Holstein, the last one occurred in the middle of the 1700s. It wiped out up to 50% of the population in some areas.


The Hanse (an alliance of merchants) with the seat in Lübeck flourishes in the Baltic region, to be reduced in influence by Dutch enterprising and Hamburg’s outreach to the West in the 1600s.


The great tidal wave “De grote Manndränke” claimed more than 100.000 deaths, 34 churches and the city of Rungholt. After this tragedy, the race for land reclamation started in Northern Frisia.


Death of Duke Adolf VII. He is the last Schauenburger.


Election of Christian I, Duke of Schleswig and Earl of Holstein. Privilege of Ripen, a promise that the territories of Schleswig and Holstein will not be divided any more.


Husum receives the status of Flecken. A Flecken is a settlement between the seize of a village and a town, also known as Blek. Flecken were rural villages centrally located. They had guild privileges for journeymen, exemption from military service and the right to hold market days.


First printing press in Lübeck


First printing of the Bible in Lübeck


Vierstädtegericht (four city courts) In order to get away from Lübeck law (Lübeck had the court of ultimate resort) the Danish King Johann and Duke Friedrich I established a new court system.


Beginning of Reformation in Husum.


Beginning of witch hunt with first burn-up in Kiel, comes to an end in 1734


Acceptance of the order of the Lutheran Church in Schleswig and Holstein. Founding of state church. Pinneberg and Lauenburg are stragglers. They accept Lutheran order in 1561 and 1585 respectively. Church books with sometimes marriage records first and then birth and deaths information are kept.


Dithmarschen was divided into North- and South Dithmarschen


The first known protection of Jewish citizens in Altona proclaimed Jewish citizens were few in Schleswig-Holstein. They were mainly accepted in towns and Altona had the greatest contingent. Portuguese Jews, the Sephards settle in Glückstadt in the early 1600s.


Serfdom accepted by Schleswig-Holstein’s governing forces. Serfdom came into being through wealthy landowners buying surrounding land belonging to farmers. With the purchase of their land the farmers had to give their services to the land owner and were bound by the “Schollenband” (no freedom to move). Services given to the wealthy land owners started at 6 years old. The land owner had total control over his serfs, gave permission to marry and was also responsible for his subjects’ conscription.


The 30 Years War reaches the North. Jutland and Schleswig-Holstein were occupied by Wallenstein’s troops and by 1629 the land was devastated because the soldiers lived off the land.


Swedish-Danish War. The war was instigated by Christian IV, who imposed tariffs. The Swedes saw this as a threat because Denmark interfered their trading with the Netherlands and Hamburg. A new devastation of the land followed


Around this time Holländer (Dutch citizens) start dairy farming in Schleswig-Holstein


Danish-Swedish War until 1660 when in Denmark Absolutism (the legislative, judicial and executive authority was in the hands of one sovereign) was introduced which spread throughout Europe and ended with the French Revolution, which basically questioned the appointment by divine right.


Abolishment of serfdom starts in Schmoel. By 1805 serfdom was altogether abandoned.


Bannmeilenverordnung. To protect the urban trade from the rural one, the authorities put a one-mile ban around the city. Working ones trade was only possible within a certain perimeter.


The Danish crown receives the Gottorf part of Schleswig


The Danes get Rantzau, 1761 Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Plön becomes Danish. Kolonisten (colonizers) from  Southern Germany arrive in Southern Jutland and Schleswig-Holstein.


First census taken in the Duchies controlled by the Danes


No more use of patronymics in Schleswig by royal decree


Duchies of Schleswig and Holstein become permanently Danish, 1815 the Duchy of Lauenburg also becomes Danish.


First address book for Lübeck


Before this date seamen and adventurers would emigrate, but at the beginning of the 19th century emigration from Schleswig-Holstein would really pick up among the population, peaking in 1880 with 12000 to 14000 people leaving, many via Hamburg starting 1850

The population starts to choose German as their language rather than Danish. The German language advances to Flensburg in the first decades


Duchy of Lauenburg occupied by Napoleon


Census taken


Principality of Lübeck is occupied by Napoleon I until 1813, after which it becomes part of Oldenburg again


City of Lübeck becomes part of France, Lauenburg too


Immunization mandatory


School becomes mandatory


Duchy of Lauenburg becomes Danish


Steam ship line Caledonia Kiel-Copenhagen opens


Census taken


Census taken


Census taken


Revolt of the German Schleswig-Holsteiners against Denmark


Census taken


Census taken


After several military turmoils Denmark abdicates the three Duchies of Schleswig, Holstein and Lauenburg.


Schleswig-Holstein becomes a Prussian province


Civil Registration begins


Lauenburg becomes part of the Prussian province Schleswig-Holstein


Helgoland becomes part of Schleswig-Holstein


Poll taken in the area north of Flensburg and south of Tondern to decide whether to remain Danish or become German. Approx. ¾ of the population opted to be Danish. The border between Denmark and Germany runs just north of Flensburg to this day.


A good source for local history timelines can be found in village chronicles. These are taking historical developments of specific areas into account, and let the researcher have a glimpse of ancestors' lives from various points of view. Ortschroniken can usually be retrieved through a mayor's office or historical societies. A Google search may assist with availability.

Here is a link providing historical developments in Germany at any given time period.