Mainz-Bingen Kreis (formerly Hessen), Rheinland-Palatinate Genealogy

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A genealogy guide to Mainz-Bingen Kreis (formerly Bingen, Mainz, and Oppenheim Kreise with Mainz City), Hessen, Germany civil registration and church records to trace ancestry and compile family history.

Modern Mainz-Bingen Kreis Was Formed From 1871 Bingen, Mainz, Mainz City, and Oppenheim Kreise

Within Hesse, the two districts of Mainz and Bingen were founded in 1835, and the city of Mainz was separated from the district of Mainz as a district of Mainz-Stadt. In 1852, Oppenheim was created. In 1938, Oppenheim was dissolved and distributed to the counties of Mainz and Alzey. The two counties Mainz and Bingen were merged in 1969-70, with some areas of the counties Kreuznach and Sankt Goar. In 1974, Dorn-Dürkheim and Wolfsheim from Alzey-Worms were added. --Wikipedia
For the researcher, this means the following:

1. Towns, parishes, villages, etc. will appear in the 1871 Meyers Gazetteer as belonging to Bingen, Mainz, Mainz City, and Oppenheim Kreise.
2. Because the Family History Library is catalogued according to Meyers Gazetteer, place names in the catalog will use Bingen, Mainz, Mainz City, and Oppenheim Kreise.
3. The civil registration districts in FamilySearch Historical Records are organized using Mainz-Bingen Kreis.
4. Archives in Germany, particularly LAGIS, will list these records under Mainz-Bingen Kreis.
5. If you are searching in a collection and are not sure which Kreis names to use, just make sure to check under both the modern and 1871 designation.

How to Find Birth, Marriage, and Death Records for Mainz-Bingen Kreis

Most of your genealogical research for Hessen will be in three main record types: civil registration, church records, and, when available, a compiled town genealogy ("'Ortssippenbuch" or "Ortsfamilienbuch" in German). This article will teach you how to use these records

  • on digital databases,
  • as microfilms,
  • or by writing for them.

Town Lists and Maps

Maps and Gazetteers

Towns and Municipalities

Click on the town for microfilmed church records and civil registration listings.

1871 Bingen Kreis


1871 Bingen Kreis (cont.)


1871 Mainz Kreis


1871 Mainz Kreis (cont.)


1871 Mainz City Kreis


1871 Oppenheim Kreis


1871 Oppenheim Kreis (cont.)


Town Compilation of Records (Ortssippenbuch or Ortsfamilienbuch )

See class Online Ortsfamilienbücher at Genealogy.net.

  • An Ortssippenbuch (town lineage book) or Ortsfamilienbuch (town family book) generally includes birth, marriage, and death data for all persons found in the local records during a specified time period, compiled into families. If one is available, it can act as an index or guide to finding the original records. However, they may contain errors, so it is best to verify their information in original records.
  • Sources may include the local parish registers, civil registration records, court and land records, and sometimes published material. In the printed book, this information is then arranged in a standardized format, usually alphabetically by surname and chronologically by marriage date.

Finding an OFB

  • Click here to see the hundreds of OFBs at GenWiki. These are indexed and searchable. Links to a town with a searchable OFB are added in the town list above, if available. OFB Instructions.
  • A map containing information on the status of family history research in the individual Hessian communities is available at Hessian Family History Association. From the Bearbeitungsstand (German) or Processing Level (English) page, click on the LINK in the section with this logo: Hessen-Karte.png. A pdf map will download. Enlarge the view. Towns with published books will display a Book symbol.png symbol. Hover over the symbol, and the book title will appear. A color key indicates where the book is available.
  • This link will take you to a listing of the online books of the Hessian Family History Association.

Civil Registration (Standesamtsregister, Zivilstandsregister, or Personenstandsregister)

  • Civil registration records are government records covering birth, marriage, and death. They are an excellent source of names, dates, places, and relationships.
  • Civil registration began in Hessen in 1876. Online databases have made it available to search generally up to 1984.
  • Find the location of the Standesamt (civil registry office) used by your locality by consulting Meyer's Gazetteer Online. The abbreviation "StdA" is followed by the name of the Standesamt.

1. Online Digital Records for Civil Registration

Digital copies of civil registration can be searched online. "Geburten" are births. Heiraten are marriages. "Verstorbene" are deaths.

2. Microfilm Copies of Civil Registration Records in the FamilySearch Catalog

Try to find records in the collection of the FamilySearch Library. Many microfilms have been digitized for online viewing. Gradually, everything will be digitized, so check back occasionally. Some have viewing restrictions, and can only be viewed at the Family History Centers near you. To find records:

a. Click on your town name in the above list.
b. Click on the "Civil registration" topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
c. Choose the correct record type and time period for your ancestor. "Geburten" are births. Heiraten are marriages. "Verstorbene" are deaths.
d. Some combination of these icons will appear at the far right of the microfilm listed for the record. FHL icons.png. The magnifying glass indicates that the microfilm is indexed. Clicking on the magnifying glass will take you to the index. Clicking on the camera will take you to an online digital copy of the microfilm.

3. Writing for Civil Registration Certificates

  • If the records are not online or on microfilm, civil registration records for Germany can be obtained by writing to the local civil registry (Standesamt). Research your town name in MeyersGaz.org to find the location of the Standesamt. It is indicated by the abbreviation "StdA". However, some of the offices were merged in 1970's, so the record location might be different than that listed in MeyersGaz.
  • For a municipality:
  • To find the current Standesamt, go to the German Wikipedia, and enter the name of the town in the search box. An article about the town will start with a first line such as: "Besse with about 3200 inhabitants is the largest district of the municipality Edermünde in Hessian Schwalm-Eder-Kreis ." It is probable that the Standesamt is now located in the municipality (in this example Edermünde). If you are looking for records from the 1970's to 1984, return to the online records section above and search the municipality for your records. If that fails or you are looking for more recent records, continue with these instructions.
  • Email the municipality to verify that the civil registry for your town is there. From the town article, click on the name of the municipality that links to that article. There will usually be an infobox on the page that lists the address and the website of the municipality. From the website, look for Kontakt (Contact) information with an email address.
  • For a town:
  • Follow the same instructions as for a municipality. However, in this case, the first line will read, for example: "Borken is a town in the Schwalm-Eder-Kreis with about 13,000 residents.
  • The infobox with the website will appear directly on a town page.

Write a brief request in German to the proper office using this address as guide, replacing the information in parentheses:

An das Standesamt
(Insert street address, if known.)
(Postal Code) (Name of Locality)
GERMANY

How to write a letter: Detailed instruction for what to include in the letter, plus German translations of the questions and sentences most frequently used are in the German Letter Writing Guide.

Church Records (Kirchenbuch or Kirchenbuchduplikate)

See Germany Church Records to learn more.

  • Entries for baptisms, marriages, deaths, and burials in the local church records are the main source prior to 1876, when civil registration began. Often two and sometimes three generations are indicated in the registers, with personal information on the family.
  • You should try to determine whether your ancestors were Catholic or Lutheran (Evangelical).
  • You will need to determine the parish that had jurisdiction over your town. Praetorius Kirchenbuecher 1939 (Kirchenbücher und Standesregister für alle Wohnplätze im Land Hessen) is a parish inventory on GenWiki has an excellent list of towns and their respective parishes in Hessen.
    • On the project page, use the Alphabetical Navigation in the right sidebar to find the town name.
    • After the name, a bold "e" indicates that the locality has its own Lutheran parish, as does a bold "k" indicate a Catholic parish. The years for which records exist follow that.
    • A lower case "e" (Evangelical or Lutheran) or "k" (Catholic) will be followed by the name of the parish that has records for a locality that did not have its own church.
    • For a full explanation of the abbreviations used, Click here.

1. Online Church Records

Many records for the Lutheran (Evangelical) church are digitized and available online through Archion.

2. Microfilm Copies of Church Records in the FamilySearch Catalog

Try to find records in the collection of the FamilySearch Library. Many microfilms have been digitized for online viewing. Gradually, everything will be digitized, so check back occasionally. Some have viewing restrictions, and can only be viewed at the Family History Centers near you. To find records:

a. Click on the town name in the above list.
b. Click on the "Church records" topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
c. Choose the correct record type and time period for your ancestor. "Geburten" are births. Heiraten are marriages. "Verstorbene" are deaths.
d. Some combination of these icons will appear at the far right of the microfilm listed for the record. FHL icons.png. The magnifying glass indicates that the microfilm is indexed. Clicking on the magnifying glass will take you to the index. Clicking on the camera will take you to an online digital copy of the microfilm.

3. Writing to a Priest for Church Records

  • Baptism, marriage, and death records may be searched by contacting the local Catholic or Lutheran church.
  • Click here for a searchable address list of Lutheran parishes.
  • Mainz-Bingen Kreis lies within the Catholic Diocese of Mainz.

Write a brief request in German to the proper church using this address as a guide, replacing the information in parentheses:


For a Protestant Parish:

An das evangelische Pfarramt
(Insert street address, if known.)
(Postal Code) (Name of Locality)
GERMANY


For a Catholic Parish:

An das katholische Pfarramt
(Insert street address, if known.)
(Postal Code) (Name of Locality)
GERMANY


How to write a letter: Detailed instruction for what to include in the letter, plus German translations of the questions and sentences most frequently used are in the German Letter Writing Guide.

Other Religious Groups

  • To learn how to determine the location of other religious records, namely Jewish, French Reformed, German Reformed, etc., watch Hansen’s Map Guides: Finding Records with Parish Maps beginning at 48:00 minutes, to learn how to locate these congregations. Then go back and watch from the beginning to understand how to use the reference book. This course teaches you how to use a set of reference books found at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. If you are not in Salt Lake City, use the Contact Us feature to request information from the books.

Jewish Records

Huguenots (French Protestants)


*German Huguenot Society eV , index.

Reading the Records

  • It's easier than you think! You do not have to be fluent in French and German to use these records, as there is only a limited vocabulary used in them. By learning a few key phrases, you will be able to read them adequately. Here are some resources for learning to read German records.
German Genealogical Word List
German Handwriting
  • These video webinars will teach you to read German handwriting:
  • Also online interactive slideshow lessons are available to help you learn to read these records:

This converter will show you how any phrase or name might look in German script:

  • Kurrentschrift Converter (enter German genealogical word, click on "convert", view your word in Kurrentschrift (Gothic handwriting)

Latin Records

Records of the Catholic church will usually be written in Latin:

Search Strategy

  • Search for the relative or ancestor you selected. When you find his birth record, search for the births of his brothers and sisters.
  • Next, search for the marriage of his parents. The marriage record will have information that will often help you find the birth records of the parents.
  • You can estimate the ages of the parents and determine a birth year to search for their birth records.
  • Search the death registers for all known family members.
  • Repeat this process for both the father and the mother, starting with their birth records, then their siblings' births, then their parents' marriages, and so on.
  • If earlier generations (parents, grandparents, etc.) do not appear in the records, search neighboring parishes.