Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Archive Record Access to Birth, Marriage and Death records for Hessen towns

In 2013, Hessische Hauptstaatsarchiv, the Hessen state archive in Wiesbaden, made available online, images of microfilmed records for a great number of Hessen towns. These include items from Bestand (a group of records in the archive) 365 and Bestand 915, 920, etc.

A caution:  My description below of these files is based on empirically gathered information and may not be representative of everything you may find.
Bestand 915, 920 etc includes links to microfilm images of the records of the requested town and other nearby towns whose records were kept together.  For each town, there are three links to files for each year to the birth (in German: Geburts), marriage (Heirats) and death (Sterben) (BMD) record images. These records include all registered BMD events, Jewish and non-Jewish.  There is usually an alphabetical index at the end of each file.

For example if you query the town of Amöneburg you will find that for the year 1874 there are eight links provided: birth, marriage and death files for Amöneburg,  and the nearby towns of Mardorf(Amöneburg) and Rossdorf(Amöneburg.) There is no link for births in Rossdorf indicating either that there were no births that year or that that particular file does not exist or is not available.

A translation of the Birth, Marriage and Death Record form templates can be found here:

Bestand 365 includes links to a set of records known as the Gatermann films.  These records include BMD records for the Jewish communities of Hessen,  Here is a history of how these films came to be:

Volunteers for the German Special Interest Group (GerSIG) of have indexed the names of the individuals mentioned in these records by to make them more useful to researchers.  The volunteers transcribed the old German script in which most of the records are written which makes more of the information available, even for German novices.  A description of the database and indexed records are available for searching here: with a link to the database.  Membership in GerSIG is required for database search access.

In the meantime, the great majority of Hessian Gatermann film image records is available, but unindexed, except by town name at This link gives access to the the Bestand 915, 920, etc. records as well.

Here's what it looks like:

If for example you're looking for the records of the town of Amöneburg, then enter "Amöneburg" in the search box.  (You can type "oe" instead of "ö"

You will then get this page:

In this example, each line represents one year's records.  Line one links to the Amöneburg register for weddings in the year 1888.  You may alter the order by clicking, for example, on the "time span" button or one of the adjacent buttons.

While the records in Bestand 915 typically have more information, typically more than one page for each BMD event, if you're looking just for Jewish records in the Gatermann films, your query can include the town name and "Juden". but there will generally be multiple BMD events per page.  If you query "Amoeneburg Juden" here is the result:

Finally, if you click on item 2 in the screen above, you will be presented with the first page of the film:

Navigation is in the blue loop.  It's fairly easy but takes some getting used to.  The double arrow buttons will take you forward or back 5 images; or you can advance to a particular image by number.

Happy Hunting!

No comments:

Post a Comment