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German Genealogy

German Municipal Records

Records for some towns in Germany begin in the 11th century. Much of this information is similar to court records. Many of the towns had imperial charters and as a result conducted their affairs independently from surrounding principalities. There were 83 such free cities - some no more than villages. The Ratsrechnungen (municipal accounting records) are useful for the genealogical researcher. They includes the tax lists, records for welfare payments (alms) made to emigrants, and numerous payments for transporting indigents and convicts to America. These materials are usually not indexed. (Smith, Clifford. Encyclopedia of German-American Genealogical Research).