On our Rhineland trip this year (2013) we visited and toured the Evangelische Archivestelle Boppard (the Evangelish Church Archives in Boppard) This depository has microfilms and many books for the Protestant church records in the Rhineland, we were shown their collection of Familienbuchs and were taken down into the stacks where we were shown some of the original church books. A couple of our tour members were able to find some entries for their families, which was exciting. We were joined by a very interesting local historian from Boppard, Dr. F (we will keep his name private) who has written many Familienbuch's over the last 30 years or so. I asked him if he would take a little time and tell us what all is involved in putting together these books and we had a wonderful impromptu lecture on the subject which was fascinating.
Here is some of what I learned from this:
|My prized possession|
There are 3 different names these books can be called, a Familienbuch (family book), a Burger book (citizen book) or Ortssippenbuch (inhabitants of a place book). Of course the first and foremost important things for these books are records from the churches. Without church books you can do nothing.
The two major religions of Germany, Catholic and Lutheran’s records mostly began in the 16th century, about 1570 but these records are sketchy and not too many have survived the Thirty Years War (1618-1648) so books usually start in mid-1600's. Sometimes you may find a couple of Familienbuch's for the same town, this could be because one book was written for the Catholic Church families and the other for the Lutheran church. (If the town has more than one denomination in town.) We were shown 3 books for the same town, which was the Catholic, Evangelish and the Evangelisch Reformed church records. Also you may find that the books contain records for surrounding villages if this was the parish that a village was part of. (I suggest you use the books by Kevan Hansen'a "Map Guides to German Parish Registers" available in the States. These books help tell you what parish your village belonged to. They also will tell you what microfilm to order from the LDS library in Salt Lake to find your people's church records).