Source Information

Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016.
Original data: Sterberegister und Namensverzeichnisse. Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv, Wiesbaden, Deutschland.

About Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

About this collection

This collection contains death registers from numerous communities that are today part of the German state of Hesse. Years and localities covered may vary. Records for Frankfurt start in 1851. For some other communities only a few years are available. Additional records are planned to be added in future updates. To see which locations and year ranges are currently available, refer to the box "Browse this collection.”

Hesse, beginning in the 13th century, was a Landgraviate or principality of the Holy Roman Empire. Upon the death of Philip I the Magnanimous in 1567, it was divided among four of his sons (Hesse becoming Hesse-Kassel, Hesse-Darmstadt, Hesse-Marburg, and Hesse-Rheinfels). When the descendent rulers of Hesse-Marburg and Hesse-Rheinfels died childless, those territories were incorporated into the other two. The Hessian territories, each with an eventful history, were not fully re-united until the formation of "Greater Hesse" in 1945 and the establishment of the German federal state of Hesse in 1946.

Beginning on October 1, 1874, local registry offices were made responsible for creating birth, marriage and death records in the former Prussian provinces, which included many of the Hessian communities in this collection. The collected records are arranged chronologically and usually in bound yearbook form which are collectively referred to as "civil registers." Civil Registry records from Hessian communities that were not part of Prussia begin as early as January 1st, 1876. Complementary alphabetical directories of names may also have been created. While churches continued to keep traditional records, the State also mandated that the personal or marital status of the entire population be recorded.

What you can find in the records

Death records were created using preprinted forms that were filled in by hand by the registrar. In each record the date of death usually differs from the date it was registered. Depending on the individual form or on the formulations used by the registrar, you may find:

  • Sequential or Certificate Number
  • Informant: Given Names, Last Name, Maiden Name, Occupation, Residence/Address, Denomination
  • Deceased: Occupation, Given Names, Last Name, Maiden Name, Age, Denomination, Residence/Address, Place/Date of Birth, Spouse/Parents, Place/Date of Death, Time of Death
  • Beginning in 1938, the records may also cross reference to corresponding birth and/or marriage registers
  • From 1938 to 1957, the Cause of Death is often included
  • Signatures

More about using this collection

Generally, each record comprises one page. Additional events from the life of the deceased were sometimes recorded later on in the margins. These notes, sometimes referred to as "narration," can contain very useful information but they have not been indexed. As a result, information from the notes will not found via the search form. The “Informant” was usually a relative of the deceased. In later years death information was often submitted by hospital administrators or by an undertaker.

These records also document casualties (Kriegssterbefälle) from the Second World War. Records for some of the dead were only later made available by the "German Office for the Notification of Next-of-Kin of Members of the Former German Armed Forces who were Killed in Action" (WASt) in Berlin.

Under "Browse this collection,” select the Register Type, Civil Registration Office and Year Range of the register desired. Name directories are bound separately and appear at the end of the Year Range lists.

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