Bavaria Marriage Proclamation and Residency Records
Bavarian Marriage Proclamation and Residency Files
Many valuable documents are located in the state and city archives of Bayern (Bavaria), Germany. Some of these important record collections have been microfilmed and made available to researchers in the United States by cooperation between archives in Bavaria and the Genealogical Society of Utah. This article will describe several important collections for Bavaria that are available on microfilm.
Marriage Proclamation Records
The Verehelichung and Heiratsbelege contain documents which were presented to authorities for banns before a marriage could take place. Although the actual marriage date is usually not included in these records, other important genealogical information is often recorded, such as birth documentation.
Another document group currently being microfilmed is the Ansässigmachungsakten. These were the papers presented in order to take up residency. Since change in residency was often connected with marriage, these documents are closely linked to the Verehelichung or marriage proclamation/intention files.
Genealogical Content of Document Files
The record collection Verehelichung und Ansässigmachungsakten was named such on 11 September 1825 and major revisions to the law were made on 16 April 1868. A complete file may contain the following documents:
1. Bekanntmachung or Protokoll (Public announcement, publication, proclamation). (Illustration 1). This document usually contains the following information:
- a. Vor= und Zuname des Bräutigams (given and surname of the bridegroom).
- b. Religion
- c. Ort, Tag, Monat und Jahr der Geburt (Place, day, month and year of birth).
- d. Civilstand – ob ledig, verwittwet oder geschieden (civil status – if single, widowed, or divorced).
- e. Stand oder Gewerbe (status or occupation).
- f. Wohnort (Place of residence).
- g. Heimath (hometown).
- h. Sohn des (son of).
- i. Stand (Status)
- j. Wohnort oder Sterbeort (place of residence or place of death
- k. und dessen Ehefrau – Wittwe (and his wife or widow).
- l. Angabe ob am Leben oder Verstorben (statement indicating whether still living or deceased).
- m. Vor- und Zuname (given name and surname).
- n. Wohnort wenn Wittwe (place of residence if widow).
- o. Vor- und Zuname des Braut (given name and surname of the bride).
The same information is given for the bride as for the bridegroom.
2. Geburtszeugniss (Birth certificate) or extract from parish register. These documents usually include the names of bride or groom, birth and christening dates and places, names of parents, occupation and residence of father, sometimes the witnesses.
3. Militär Entlassschein (Military discharge certificate). May contain the following items:
- a. Name
- b. Birth date and place
- c. Religion
- d. Dates of military service
- e. Name of regiment, battalion, etc.
- f. Physical description including height (grösse), hair (Haare), description of forehead (Stirn), eyebrows (Augenbräun), nose (Nase), mouth (Mund), beard (Bart), chin (Kinn), face (Gesicht), complexion (Gesichtsfarbe), build (Körperbau), distinguishing marks or characteristics (Besondere Kennzeichen), personal signature (Eigene Handunterschrift).
4 Leumunds-Zeugniss (character reference).
5 Vermogens-Zeugniss (financial standing)
6 Schul=Entlassungs=Schein (school discharge certificate). These may include such detailed information as: birth date, place of birth, parents, years and places of school attendance, grades in religion, reading, spelling, composition, arithmetic, exact sciences, penmanship, singing, needlework, etc.
7 Impfungs-Schein (vaccination certificate). This document may list the birth date, the name of the father, and date of vaccination.
9 Beschluss (conclusions).
A document file for a particular individual may not contain all of these documents. Documents vary according to the time period and locality. In some cases only the first few pages of the file were filmed. If you locate your ancestor in these records and the file seems incomplete, a letter directed to the archive in Bavaria where the records were filmed may produce additional documents from a file.
A basic knowledge of the ordinances of residency and marriage will be helpful to the understanding of the various documents included in these files. The laws of Bavaria as early as 1616 put restrictions on the population and made it harder to get married if you were poor. If you find children on your pedigree being born out of wedlock in Bavaria, it is probably not as much a sign of immorality as of poverty. Early decrees read, “No two poor people may get married.” If a minister or official performed such a marriage, he would be responsible for their support.
The burden of supporting the poor was upon the church and the village. A native beggar, who was unable to work or was ill, was tolerated; but if a stranger came to a village as a beggar, he was put on the same level as a criminal vagabond. According to the ordinance of 1751, a strange beggar could be branded with the letter “B”. A decree given in 1780 demanded that a poor person had to wear a square brass plate. This was to be worn in sight as a sign of his or her poverty. In the year 1770 in the revenue districts of München, Landshut, and Burhausen there lived more beggars than craftsmen (about 10,000 beggars compared to 8,400 craftsmen).
Once could not get a marriage permit in Bavaria without proof of residency. In Bavaria you could not just become a “resident.” Residency was granted only after showing sufficient income and personal possessions. Someone poor could not become a resident of a village, he could only dwell there. A son of a farmer, or a shoemaker, became a “resident” once he took over the farm or the business of the father. The deciding factor in becoming a resident was in showing sufficient income.
The village where the father resided was responsible to support the poor in case of sickness, not the village of birth unless he received the status of a resident elsewhere. Servants could claim residence after 15 years of continuous service in a village. Servants who wanted to get married needed the permission from the village council in the father’s residence, unless they wanted to wait those 15 years. This was changed in 1808. After this date they had to get permission from the county court, providing they could prove they could support a family. The permission of the village was no longer needed. After this date they did not have to pay any additional marriage fees so there would be no additional hardship on them.
Although this law was intended to be favorable, it did not make it that much easier to get married. On 17 November 1816 the authority was placed back in the hands of the village council which was comprised of the policeman, the mayor, the parish ministers, the doctor, and council members of the poor. The head of the committee was the pastor.
A new more liberal decree was issued again in 1825. The decision of conflict matters was given to the county courts or city councils. The influence of the villages was taken away. The decree of “Ansässigmachung” was issued and received a new definition. Usually only the owner of land could take out residency. If he paid at least 40 Kr. for taxes, residency had to be granted him. All others had to prove that they could support themselves. Normal laborers could be granted residency if they could prove opportunity to work, desire to work, and efficiency. Servants who served loyally without much changing of their workplace for 10 years and who served with loyalty and diligence and showed good living standards should be able to become residents. Other pre-conditions were:
1. There should be no obstacles with the civil law.
2. There should be no obstacles with military law or special laws for being Jewish.
3. The village had to testify as to the good character of an individual.
4. Individuals had to have attended normal school and religion classes.
5. Individuals had to have sufficient knowledge in such things as religion, reading, writing, and mathematics.
Taxes to move in and out of a village were not to exceed 100 fl.
Because of this more lenient law, more marriages were performed among the poorer population. This caused financial burdens on the villages. Growth in population burdened the villages and the businesses within the villages. A revision of the law in 1834 gave power back to the village council. They could totally deny requests. Permissions were granted only if an individual could provide enough to support a family. Because of the denying of marriages to the poor, an increase of illegitimate children occurred. These children were easily neglected because the parents lived separate and no one took care of them.
Good craftsmen migrated to cities since that is where the factories were located. It was often easier to work in a factory than to be a laborer on a farm or a servant. Many emigrated overseas during this time, especially from the Franken and Palatinate areas.
After the revolution in 1848 the village lost its veto power and on May 28, 1862, it was dismissed totally. On 16 April 1868 a new law was established. The much criticized law of residence was lifted; however, there was still the concern of supporting the poor and overburdening the villages. Now a veto to marriage could be given if the person to be married used financial support of the village during the past three years, and he did not pay back his debt to the village.
In northern Germany there were no restrictions towards marriage at this time. They believed “that no one should be denied marriage because of possessions, permissions from the village, the poor society club, or anything else.”In Bavaria this could not get passed the Senate. Bavaria did not even unite with the Palatine in a marriage law. In Bavaria, according to the new law, you could get married:
1. As long as it did not conflict with military or civil law.
2. If the proposed marriage intention was posted for 10 days in the village.
3. If you had the permission of your employer.
Under the new law of 1868 residency could be obtained by buying the right to be a resident. If someone had lived in a place for 10 years and had not received support for the poor during the previous five years, he could become a resident.
Few changes were made to this law until the end of the year 1915.
Marriage Proclamation and Residency Files are usually cataloged in the Family History Library microfilm collection by the name of the Bezirkamt (B.A.). To identify the Bezirkamt for your locality,use the German gazetteer Meyers- Orts- und Verkehrslexikon. Records are available in the Family History Library for the following places:
Aibling B.A. (Oberbayern). Film numbers for Heiratsbelege (1785-1914).
Aichach B.A. (Oberbayern). Film numbers for Heiratsbelege (1787-1877); film numbers for Heimatakten (Landratsamt) (1815-1909).
Altötting B.A. (Oberbayern). Film numbers for Heiratsbelege (1810-1903); Film numbers for Heimatakten (Landratsamt) (1819-1911).
Alzenau B.A. (Unterfranken).
Amberg B.A.(Oberpfalz). Film numbers for Verehelich u. Ansäßigmachungsakten (1789-1918); Heimatakten (1806-1862); and for Heimatakten (1862-1926).
Ansbach Stadt (Mittelfranken).
Ansbach B.A. (Mittelfranken). Film numbers for Heiratsbelege (1818-1915) see here; additional Heiratsbelege (1818-1915) see here.
Aschaffenburg Stadt (Unterfranken)
Augsburg Stadt (Schwaben)
Augsburg B.A. (Schwaben)
Bayreuth Stadt (Oberfranken)
Bayreuth B.A. (Oberfranken). Film numbers for marriage proclamations and permission to change residence (1811-1915) see here.
Bergzabern B.A. (Pfalz). Film numbers for marriage banns and marriage supplements [Eheverkündigungen, Heiratsbelege] 1804-1837.
Berneck B.A. (Oberpfalz). Film numbers for Marriage banns, proclamations and permissions to change residence [Ansässigmachungs- und Verehelichungsakten] 1846-1901.
Bogen B.A. (Niederbayern). Film numbers for public notice of marriages, marriage supplements, and permission to change residence 1803-1915 [Verehelich u. Ansäßigmachungsakten]
Brückenau B.A. (Unterfranken). Film numbers for public notice of marriages, marriages supplements, and permission to change residence [Verehelichungs- und Ansässigmachungsakten 1792-1915], [Ansäßigmachung u. Verehelichungsakten - 1800-1862], and [Heimatakten - 1847-1915].
Cham B.A. (Oberpfalz). Film numbers for marital banns [Verehelichungs- und Ansässigmachungsakten - 1761-1913] and permission to change residence [Heimatakten - 1796-1862] [Heimatakten - 1823-1914].