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Translations of Old German Historical Archives

"Ortssippenbücher" (Village Family Books)

Also known as Village Lineage books, "Ortssippenbücher" are a major source for establishing family relationships in German Genealogy. 

 

The singular form of the word is "Ortssippenbuch."

 

Other German terms are the following:​

  • "Ortsfamilienbuch"   

  • "Dorfsippenbuch" 

  • "Familienbuch" 

  • "Geschlechterbuch"

  • "Die Einwohner von ….." (The Inhabitants of …..)

"HistorischeAdressbücher" (Historical Address Books)

They are the forerunners of our phone books and an often overlooked German genealogical source. The first German Address Book was published in 1701 for the city of Leipzig.

 

In general, the following information can be found in these books:

  • Names of all of the inhabitants of a town

  • Names of the inhabitants sorted by streets and trades 

  • Names of all of the businesses, government agencies, churches, restaurants, inns, bath houses, civic organizations, and newspapers

  • Town maps and advertisements

Tax Records and Mill Lists for East and West Prussia

Doing research in the former territories of East and West Prussia, now Poland, is especially difficult, since a large number of Church Books and Civil Registers were destroyed during the Second World War (1939-1945). 

"Praestationstabellen" or "Grundleihbücher" (Tax Records)

Established by the East and West Prussian administrations in the middle of the 18th Century through the first half of the 19th Century, "Praestationstabellen" (Latin: "praestanda", meaning "to be obligated to") cannot replace a church book, but make it possible to see if one's ancestor lived in a certain town. 

 

These lists are of property owners or renters who had to pay taxes to the Royal House or a noble family. About every six years, only those who owned or rented property had to submit their information to the authorities about every six years. Day laborers, service personnel, wives and children were not included.

"Mühlen-consignationen" or "Mühlen- or Mahllisten" (Mill Lists)

"Mühlenconsignation" give the names of all of the household heads living in town. These lists also indicate how many people there were in each household and if the family employed servants. Names of wives and children are not mentioned however.

 

In those days, people were forced to have their wheat and corn ground at a specific mill, owned by nobility, and they were taxed for this. It was therefore important to make lists showing how many people a household had.

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