Hamburg Civil Registration

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Until 1811 the police force in Hamburg was known as Wedde. The word "Wedde" means "Strafgeld" (fine). The original duty of the Wedde was to inforce all decisions made by the council (Rath, Senat) and to impose fines if these were not observed. In the 17th and 18th century the Wedde had to oversee the market, trade, propriety and foreigners. Archival records of the Wedde include also announcements of weddings within the city and so called "Hochzeitsbücher" (marriage books) are a substantial part of these records. In 1814 the Wedde lost its character as security police and became the forerunner of the civil registration office, the Zivilstandsamt. It still was responsible for overlooking marriages, installing new citizens and overlooking Jewish congregations.

Hamburg was occupied by France and from 1811-1815 civil registration was mandatory. This procedure was not followed from 1815-1866. From 1866 on vital records were established in Hamburg.

Vital records will be issued by the Standesamt (civil registration office) if a lawful or justified reason is at hand, such as family history. Here is a link explaining how to obtain in general a civil registration record from Germany:

Note: The above website is in German. You may want to consider using Google language tools for a rough translation. Hilite the above URL, then go to Google, click on translation tools, choose "translate a website", paste in the URL, choose your languages (German to English).

There exists a general register for civil registration records from Hamburg. It will cost a fee to search for such a record.

Here is the link: