Hessen-Nassau Court Records

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== Vormundschaft (guardianship)==

Illegitimate children were without rights and to legitimize their interests were unknown in the beginning of German family law. They could not be guardians nor could they have a guardian. They did not even have any rights towards their mother, but did have a right to be supported by their progenitor. Guardianship concerning the elderly as well as the insane or encumbered persons did exist. A guardianship did then not exist for squanderers or missing persons. In the Southern part of Germany evolved the attentive care guardianship together with a mandate of accountability. This trend spread to Northern Germany as well. Hand in hand with this development emerged the guardianship overlooked by the government. First a guardian was installed according to recommendations of the father, later according to recommendations of the judge. Helpless people who did not have a guardian were assigned one by the judge. To install mothers as guardians over their children came much later. However, she received the rights for personal care for her offspring, which left the installed guardian to look after the administration of the wealth.

Source: R. Schröder. Lehrbuch der deutschen Rechtsgeschichte. Leipzig 1898

Guardianship records are available for Hessen-Nassau through www.familysearch.org Family History Library Catalog, film number 810899.