Contents: Q1: Where is Westfalen (Westphalia)? Q2: What was Westfalens's recent history? Q3: What were the administrative areas of Westfalen? Q4: What were the court districts in Westfalen in 1890? Q5: How do I find locations and maps for Westfalena? Q6: When were civil registers introduced? Q7: Is there a listserv for Westfalen family researchers? Q8: Any websites of interest to Westfalen researchers? Q9: Were there Mennonites in Westfalen? Q10: Are there emigration records available? ====================================================== Q1: Where is Westfalen? A1: Westfalen (pronounce:vest-FAA-len) was a Prussian province since 1815 in the western part of Germany and Prussia, (NOT part of West Prussia which was in the Eastern part of Prussia). Capital: Muenster. Westfalen today is part of Land Nordrhein-Westfalen of the new Germany. The industrial Ruhr area is part of Westfalen. Q2: What was Westfalen's recent history? A2: In 1807-1813 part of Westfalen was part of the Napoleonic Kingdom of Westphalia with Napoleon's younger brother Jerome as king. In 1815 most of Westfalen became Prussian, Osnabrueck and the northern Muensterland went to Hannover and Oldenburg. Until the secularisation in 1803 the Catholic church held the largest area under her sovereignty (dioceses of Muenster,Paderborn,and Koeln). In 1895 the population was 48% Evangelical,51% Catholic, 0.7% Jewish. Predominantly Evangelical were the 6 northern Kreise of Reg.Bez.Minden (Minden,Luebbecke,Herford,Halle,Bielefeld-Stadt and B.-Land) and Kreise Altena,Hagen-Land,Schwelm,Siegen,Wittgenstein of Reg.Bez.Arnsberg. Mostly Catholic were the Reg.Bez.Muenster(except Kreis Tecklenburg), the southern part of Reg.Bez.Minden (Kreise Wiedenbrueck,Paderborn,Bueren, Warburg,Hoexter) as well as the Kreise of the former Duchy of Westfalen in Reg.Bez.Arnsberg. Q3: What were the administrative areas of Westfalen? A3: In 1890 Westfalen consisted of 3 districts and 43 Kreise (counties): Regierungsbezirk (district) Arnsberg with 21 Kreise (counties): Altena,Arnsberg,Bochum-Stadt,Bochum-Land,Brilon,Dortmund-Stadt, Dortmund-Land,Gelsenkirchen,Hagen-Stadt,Hagen-Land,Hamm,Hattingen, Hoerde,Iserlohn,Lippstadt,Meschede,Olpe,Schwelm,Siegen,Soest, Wittgenstein. The district population was 55.6% Evangelical,43.3% Catholic,0.7% Jewish. Regierungsbezirk (district) Minden with 11 Kreise (counties): Bielefeld-Stadt,Bielefeld-Land,Bueren,Halle,Herford,Hoexter,Luebbecke, Minden,Paderborn,Warburg,Wiedenbrueck. The district population was 62.5% Evangelical,36% Catholic, 1% Jewish. Regierungsbezirk (district) Muenster with 11 Kreise (counties): Ahaus,Beckum,Borken,Koesfeld,Luedinghausen,Muenster-Stadt,Muenster-Land, Recklinghausen,Steinfurt,Tecklenburg,Warendorf. The district population was 11.5% Evangelical, 88% Catholic,0.7% Jewish. Each Kreis was headed by the Landrat who presided over the Landratsamt. The Landratsamt records are deposited in the state archives. The Landrat was in charge of passport and emigrations matters and reported to the district Regierung who in turn gave data to the provincial Oberpraesidium in Muenster. Q4: What were the court districts in 1890? A4: The highest provincial court in Westfalen and for the Rheinland Kreise of Duisburg,Essen,Muehlheim,and Rees as well as the principality of Lippe Amt Lipperode and Stift Kappel was the Oberlandesgericht in Hamm. http://www.jura.uni-sb.de/laenderberichte/nrw.htm The lower courts (Landgerichte) and lowest courts (Amtsgerichte) were Landgericht Arnsberg with (19) Amtsgerichte: Arnsberg,Attendorn,Balve,Berleburg,Bigge,Brilon,Burbach,Foerde, Fredeburg,Hilchenbach,Kirchhundem,Lasphe,Marsberg,Medebach,Meschede, Neheim,Olpe,Siegen,Warstein. Landgericht Bielefeld with (14) Amtsgerichte: Bielefeld,Buende,Guetersloh,Halle,Herford,Luebbecke,Minden, Oeynhausen,Petershagen,Rahden,Rehda,Rietberg,Vlotho,Wiedenbrueck. Landgericht Bochum with (5) Amtsgerichte: Bochum,Herne,Recklinghausen,Wattenscheid,Witten. Landgericht Dortmund with (8) Amtsgerichte: Dortmund,Hamm,Hoerde,Kamen,Kastrop,Soest,Unna,Werl. Landgericht Hagen with (11) Amtsgerichte: Altena,Hagen,Haspe,Hohenlimburg,Iserlohn,Luedenscheid, Meinertzhagen,Menden,Plettenberg,Schwelm,Schwerte. Landgericht Muenster with (18) Amtsgerichte: Ahaus,Ahlen,Beckum,Bocholt,Borken,Burgstgeinfurt,Duelmen,Haltern, Ibbenbueren,Koesfeld,Luedinghausen,Muenster,Oelde,Rheine, Tecklenburg,Vreden,Warendorf,Werne. Landgericht Paderborn with (17) Amtsgerichte: Beverungen,Borgentreich,Brakel,Buehren,Delbrueck,Erwitte, Fuerstenberg,Geseke,Hoexter,Lichtenau,Lippstadt,Nieheim, Paderborn,Ruethen,Salzkotten,Steinheim,Warburg. Of special interest are the land deed records with no published survey known todate. Land records are also deposited at Preussische Generalkommission in Muenster. Last testaments and wills, Erbscheine, orphan records would be deposited in the local Amtsgericht (in the Hypotheken-Acta, if land ownership and remarriages were involved). A remarriage of a widower/widow was always documented in the Amtsgericht stating in detail the estate rights of surviving children as well as rights and duties of parents and step parents. This is a source at the Amtsgericht which is widely unknown and untapped (and unfilmed by the LDS). Q5: How do I find locations and maps for Westfalena? A5: An atlas is usually not the best tool to locate small towns or villages. Maps of scales 1:25,000 (Messtischblatt) or 1:100,000 (Karte des Deutschen Reiches and Kreiskarten) and gazetteers (Ortsverzeichnis) are. The best German gazetteer is Meyers Orts- and Verkehrslexikon des Deutschen Reiches,1912 edition, which is available on microfiche in the LDS Family History Centers. There is LDS microfilm #068814 available of Karte des Deutschen Reiches, scale 1:100000, 1km = 1cm which may be loaned thru the LDS Family History Centers. It covers Germany for 1914-1917. Topographical maps (Messtischblaetter 1:25000) may be purchased from Landesvermessungsamt Nordrhein-Westfalen Muffendorfer Str. 19-21 Postfach 20 50 07 D-53170 Bonn (Ask for their map catalog or Kartenverzeichnis) Q6: When were civil registers introduced? A6: Civil registers of births,marriages,deaths were introduced in Westfalen by the French in 1808. The Civil registry office is called Standesamt. Q7: Is there a listserv for Westfalen family researchers? A7: There is a mailing list westfalen-l for Westfalen. To subscribe send text: subscribe westfalen-L to: email@example.com Q8: Any websites of interest to Westfalen researchers? A8: http://www.genealogy.net/gene/reg/rindex.htm http://w3g.med.uni-giessen.de/gene/reg/rindex.htm * Staatsarchive in Nordrhein-Westfalen http://www.archive.nrw.de/ * Staatsarchiv Detmold http://home.t-online.de/home/NWStADetmold/welcome.htm E-Mail: NWStADetmold@t-online.de If you have no access to the Web (www), you can direct web files to your email box by sending a request to firstname.lastname@example.org or to email@example.com with the message HELP or get http://..... Consult also Germanic Genealogy (by Edward R.Brandt et alii), 2nd edition. 1997, St.Paul MN, 517 pp.,1st edition, 1995. Q9: Were there Mennonites in Westfalen? A9: Westfalen and Muenster have been associated with the Anabaptist uprisings of the 16th century. Since those days, no Anabaptist nor Mennonite congregation was found in Westfalen until recently. Here are some statistics for Mennonite individuals in the 3 districts of Westfalen: (see Mennonite Life,April 1969,83-86) 1821 1831 1843 1852 1861 1871 1880 1890 1900 1925 ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Muenster - 1 8 13 32 31 29 52 68 131 Minden 29 63 49 66 71 11 10 6 15 16 Arnsberg 78 72 50 30 26 17 15 19 31 159 ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Q10: Are there emigration records available? A10: The state archives have many emigration records which were filmed by the LDS FHL. For details see: Learned, Marion Dexter, 1857-1917: Guide to the manuscript materials relating to American history in the German state archives, Washington, D.C., Carnegie Institution of Washington. Publication no. 150 , 1912, 352 p.: -also Kraus reprints NY 1965- p.150-153:StA Muenster (there are a number of updates done by the LOC Manuscript Division, call no.L173.L4 Suppl. 1929-1932, vol.1 p.259-267 for Muenster).