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Friedrich R. Wollmershäuser, Oberdischingen, Germany

Unusual Genealogical Sources in Germany

1. Depositions of witnesses (Zeugenverhoere) 1490-1600

Found in records of large court trials, often such about borderlines or local privileges. Often include the name, age, occupation, property, place of birth and place of residence of the witnesses.

Preserved at state archives, often in files of the Imperial Chamber Court (Reichskammergericht).

2. Records on bonded serfs (Leibeigenschaftsakten) 1500-1815

- Listings of bonded serfs (Leibeigenenbuecher).
- Annual name lists of the duties of serfs (Huehnerregister).
- Documents about the submission into bonded serfdom (Ergebung).
- Documents about the discharge from serfdom (Manumission).

Preserved at state archives or archives of noble families.

3. Proceedings of the peasants courts (Ruggerichtsprotokolle) 1650-1800

Include annual listings of all peasants, penalties, receptions of citizen and residents.

Mostly preserved at state archives, some at local archives.

4. Records on the inspection of parishes (Kirchenvisitation) 1600-1800

Include detailed biographical data on clergyman and schoolmasters, mainly within the protestant church.

Preserved mostly at the state archives, for a small part at the archives of the state churches (Landeskirchen).

5. Amtsrechnungen (annual accounts) 1500-1850

May include payments of death tax (Hauptfall), penalties, property removal tax (Abzug, Nachsteuer), money claimed from deserters, etc. Enclosures (Beilagen) are doucuments to prove the entries of the main ledger, with additional data, often with name lists.

Stored at state, community and noble archives.

6. Listings of people taking the oath-of-allegiance (Huldigungslisten)1600-1820

Include all men over 16 years or so who took the oath-of-allegiance to a new ruler. Sometimes, those who did not appear to this action were omitted, some listings only include the absent ones.

Preserved at state archives, filed at various keywords. Some of these lists were published in print.