Württemberg Using Court Records

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Heiratsverträge or Heiratsprotokolle [Marriage Contracts or Marriage Protocol]

Heiratsverträge or Heiratsprotokolle are prenuptial agreements which are ratified by the Obervormundsgericht.

Such contracts contain:

  • a statement that bride and groom intend to marry or already are married
  • information about previous marriage partners
  • a list of children from a previous marriage
  • the estimated sum of the previous partner's fortune and the distribution of it among his children
  • the fortune of the new groom or husband
  • a statement that in case of either partner's death, the children of the previous marriage obtain their father's inheritance
  • a statement that the subtraction of obligations accrued during the marriage will occur before the surviving spouse and children will inherit.

Here are some sample pages of a Heiratsvertrag. Click here.

Court Protocol in Urach

A book can be found In the City archives of Bad Urach containing the court protocol  of Urach for the years of 1534-44.  This book contains 262 pages.  The records that are contained include things such as personal injuries caused by others, inheritance and merchant disputations, and breaking various local laws.  These records can be used to enhance family research by adding interesting information which goes beyond simply have the dates from  church records.  Dr. Richard Frank put data into a card index format for those people mentioned in these records that were not local people.  Between the years 1534-44 there were mentioned approximately 500 persons from about 60 other localities.  In the periodical Südwestdeutsche Blatter für Familien und Wappenkunde v. 17 page 522 you can find the names of these people and their previous locations.  These records would, therefore, be a most useful early migration source.

Heiratsprotokolle in Ilshofen

The court records of Ilshofen which are available at the Family History Library are good examples of records which can help to fill in information on your family  tree.  You can find an index at the beginning of each year of records.  For this locality,  there are records from 1565-1804.  In many cases, these records might precede baptism records in the parish.  This is why it is a good source to check and to not overlook in your research.

The alphabetical index includes the name of the person, last name first and the page number where this record can be found.

It is often true that the court records are more difficult to use than church records.  This is because the long paragraphical style in which they are written, the more legal language that is used and of course, handwriting issues. However, it may be well worth the effort to find these, if the hold the keys to more family information.

Why it's useful:

  • Family relationships can be determined
  • Detailed marriage information
  • Home villages of the couple
  • Assets and holdings of the couple
  • Financial status of the family and inherited properties
  • Previous marriages
  • Children of previous marriages
  • Guardianships
  • Signatures of ancestors
  • Lists assets brought into the marriage