German Family Research
Presented by Dr. Roger P. Minert
Status in German Society 1500 to 1800: Where Did Your Ancestors Fit In?
Thanks to a great extent to the very well-developed and rather inflexible feudal system in Germanic territories in Europe, our ancestors were quite stable in their social and economic status. The structure of classes (from the highest to the lowest) is described in this presentation, with an emphasis on correctly placing our ancestors on that social scale continuum. Advantages and disadvantages for our ancestors are discussed, as well as the advantages for modern historians searching for their ancestors in that world.
Census Records in Germany 1816-1916
This presentation is based on the results of my sabbatical stay of six months in Europe in 2015. The traditional mystery of German census records can now be explained: they are in many ways unlike their counterparts in the U.S. Frequency, content, methodology, and accessibility of these records in the thirty-eight states of the German Empire will be explained and illustrated.
Residential Registration in Germany
From the sixteenth century on, local authorities monitored the comings and goings of strangers and foreigners, keeping ever more detailed records of newcomers—primarily for the safety of local residents. The personal details contained in such records make them a valuable resource for family history research. This presentation exhibits the form and content of residential registration and traces the historical development up to the late nineteenth century; by then, in most states every man, woman, and child was registered—whether local or from elsewhere.
Which Hessen is Which?
Hessen, Hessen-Nassau, Hessen-Kassel, Kurhessen, Rheinhessen, Oberhessen, Hessen-Homburg? All of these names applied to political entities in the German-language realm in the nineteenth century and some survive even today. This presentation will clarify the status of each "Hessen" and assist genealogical researchers in determining how to access records in those territories, as well as how to correctly record place names for the events in ancestors' lives.