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Birth records of Trier from before 1600
German cities in medieval times saw a lot of migration movements on behalf of journeymen, merchants and female servants. The city of Trier was no exception. After some journeymen learned their trade in other cities under master craftsmen, they often found a bride and opportunity for employment away from home. In order to settle elsewhere they needed a birth certificate stating their roots. This practice was especially important because family names as such were not firmly in place, yet. For instance, Matthias Müller from Welschbillig, who was a baker in Trier had a son, who after receiving some education called himself henceforth Johannes Pistoris Welschbillig. Another possibility is that women’s family names become the name of the men they married, so that a son was named after the mother’s surname. Clemetten Hans von Angelsberg, the son of Schneider Claus from Christnach and Clemetten Else from Angelsberg, was such a case.
The author Heinrich Milz has extracted the information found in "Briefbücher" of the city of Trier and published his findings inArchiv für Sippenforschung, 11 Jahrgang, Heft 8 (1934) beginning with page 250. The periodical can be found at the Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah, International Floor. The call number is 943 2as.
Birth certificates of Trier 1548-1796
Before the 1800s when people wanted to move in or move out of a city, when they wanted to become a citizen or marry, when they applied for membership in a guild or took an office, a birth certificate was the necessary document to show to the authorities. Such documents were also known as “Abstammung”s-, “Führungs”- and” Leumundszeugnis”.
The author Heinich Milz already published some of these documents in earlier editions of Archiv für Sippenforschung (see above article) Now Mr. Eduard Lichter expanded this research by an additional 113 documents. The documentation thus published, gives the researcher a glimpse into the migration patterns in the Trier area. The birth certificates do not only show from where new citizens came but also show to where craftsmen from Trier migrated to and where young girls from Trier moved after they married.
The birth certificates of Trier are not just of interest to a genealogist, but also to a historian, because they give clues about old jurisdiction boundaries, they reveal names of administrators, give evidence of place and family names. They give clues about seals. Now and then we do not find signatures but private brands or marks, because even in the 18th century some officials were still illiterate.
Mr. Lichter’s list of birth certificates was published in Archiv für Sippenforschung, year 53, Heft 105 (1987), starting with page 1. The periodical is available at FamilySearch, Family History Library Catalog, call number 943 B2as.
More birth records are available in Archiv für Sippenforschung, Jahrgang 43, Heft 67 (1977), starting with page 209.