As the search for my family continued, I found some incredible resources for Hesse, Germany that I want share with you. If you have ancestors from this area, you’re in luck.
The first source is called, The Hessian Regional History Information System (LAGIS). Through this system, I was able to find ancestral records for the years 1808-1813. The holdings that were available for my own personal research covered the 19th and 20th century but this website contains records well beyond that parameter. I’m only going to discuss a small portion of what this site has to offer. There’s a wealth of information and it’s worth investigating.
The first step is to go to their homepage: http://www.lagis-hessen.de
Next, go to the Sources column on the far right side and click on the bottom link, Archive System HADIS. When the search page shows up, enter the name of the town you would like to research. The town of Kassel will be used throughout this demonstration.
Once you see the screen below, click on Kassel, Stadt located in the center on the right side.
I selected Kassel (21) on the right side of the next page because it provides the oldest birth, marriage and death records for my family.
Next, I selected item number 12 because it contains a family record.
After clicking on number 12, a smaller window will open up. On the top far right side you will see the word media. Click on that. It will bring you to the metric book. The record that I selected is on Seite (page) 18.
Frankel birth – 1811 Kassel, Germany
A man named Omer generously volunteered his time to translate this record for my cousin. Omer transcribed the document to English with the same style of writing as the original.
In the year 1811, on May 18, at 9 a.m., standing before the mayor and civil officer of the Jewish Community of Kassel, in the Fulda District of the Kingdom of Westphalia, Joseph Simon Fraenkel, 69 years old, Jewish hospital attendant in Kassel declared that on Saturday, May 8, 1811 at 6 p.m., a male child was born, which had been conceived by his son, Seligmann Fraenkel 27 years, at the moment residing in the camp at Catharinenthal and his wife Caroline Israel, and which the child, due to its great congenital weakness, had not been able to be recorded in the birth register, died on Friday May 17, 1811 at 1:00 p.m. at the age of 7 days, in the rented part of the house Nr. 1071, the rented mill place, belonging to the innkeeper Metzler.
This announcement and declaration occurred in the presence of Mr. Conrad Mergard, commissioner from Kassel, 50 years old, and of Mr. Jacob Pfannschmied, cabinetmaker from Kassel, 29 years old, and after we had been convinced about the deceased from the town surgeon, Kampfmüller, we made this account, which after reading over a second time had been signed by the witnesses. Joseph Simon Fraenkel declared that he was unable to sign the document because he was not permitted to write on the Sabbath.
Jacob Pfannschmidt, Mayor
Based upon previous research, I knew that Seligmann Fraenkel, my 3rd great-grandfather was away while his baby was born. This record was very helpful because it provided new information which eventually helped answer some questions. Seligmann played a role in the Napoleon campaign but the information that I had prior to this record contradicted what his role entailed. A couple of clues in this birth entry helped point me in a direction which enabled me to delve deeper into Seligmann’s story.
There was one discovery in particular which I found through this website that was a nice surprise. My 4th great-grandfather’s headstone is not only intact but it is in good condition. The probability was high that his grave, like so many of my other ancestors would have been destroyed during WWII. The transcription of the headstone was found on the website in both Hebrew and German.
Joesph Simon Frankel 1815
German to English translation from Google:
Here rests Torah scholar Joseph Abraham, son of the venerable servant Simon of blessed memory of the association for visiting the sick in Kassel. Died on Monday, 26 Shevat, Feb. 6, 1815 and was buried on Tuesday, 27 the same month 5575 [Hebrew calendar]. His soul is bound up in the covenant of life.
Joseph Simon is buried next to his second wife at the Kassel-Bettenhausen Jewish Cemetery grave no. B258.
When all of the information was gathered from different resources, everything reconciled to prove without a shadow of a doubt that this was the correct headstone for my ancestor.
In a future post, I’ll provide other valuable resources which contain Hesse, Germany archival holdings.
This is the homepage for The Hessian Regional History Information System (LAGIS).
This link will take you to the archive system’s search page. Enter the name of the town that you would like to research.