Germany Land and Property

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Land records often provide a chain of land ownership from father to son (or to daughters and sons-in-law) over several generations. This information can be very useful, especially when other records do not exist or fail to give needed information. However, German land records are seldom used for research since they tend to be about the nobility or wealthy. Better sources, such as church records and civil registration records, are available.

German land records are not easily accessible. Where available, land records are found at state archives. You might be able to use land records for your research if you can visit the German archives in person or hire a local research agent.

The Family History Library has few German land records. They are found in the Locality Search of the catalog under the name of the Place and the Subject LAND AND PROPERTY. House owner books are explained under the “Dwellings” section.

Land Terms and Measurements

  • Hufe: The amount of land deemed neccesary to sustain a multigenerational family. Usually between 30-200 Morgen. Equivalent to the English term "Hide." Hufe also referred to the tax obligations of such a land holding to the noble who owned the land. Farmers and Brandenburg and East Prussia often held two Hufe.
  • Morgen:-about 2/3 an acre or 1/4 a hectare.
  • Rod: length of the sum of the left feet of the first fifteen men out of church on Sunday. Usually about 5.5 yards.
  • Bauer: Farmer who had a full Hufe.
  • Halfbauer: Farmer who had half a Hufe.
  • Kossaethen Had 10 Morgen.
  • Knecht: Hired Field Laborer
  • Cottage: Had about 10 Morgen.