Hamburg Court Records

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Land records (Grundbücher) are being kept by the individual Bezirke in Hamburg. Note: There are seven of them (see Older records are kept in the State Archive Hamburg.

are one of the oldest records which tell us among others about personal relationships in medieval times. They are not abundantly available because only testators of the elevated population were able to pass on self-obtained goods. Inherited property was not to be bequeathed. Poor people were usually not in a position to pass on anything. Last wills were drafted by a notary and documented by the Ratsherren (city administrators) in medieval times. One copy went to the testator or his executor, another copy remained with the city officials.
The Staatsarchiv Hamburg published its oldest testaments ranging from 1351 to 1400 in 1970 by Hans-Dieter Loose and are available at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, UT on the International floor under the title Hamburger Testamente 1351 bis 1400 call number 943.515/H1 B4v volume 11. The book is organized by years and names and is written in Latin, later in the vernacular of the time.