Archives in Schleswig-Holstein
A few notes about
facilities and conditions of research in our country:
The "Schleswig-Holsteinische Landesbibliothek"
D - 24103 Kiel
holds a stock of books and other printed or handwritten material (maps,
documents) that are in whichever way related with Schleswig-Holstein, be they
printed in the country, about it, or by authors that call it their home. It
is probably the best stocked library in Schleswig-Holstein.
The use of their facilities is free of charge. Open daily.
The "Schleswig-Holsteinisches Landesarchiv"
D - 24837 Schleswig
is THE central archive for Schleswig-Holstein, with a collection of
records, maps, books, deeds, of all parts of Schleswig-Holstein of all times.
Especially interesting for genealogical research: census lists, applications
for permits for emigration, probate records, land records, lists of taxpayers,
local history (chronicles).
Finding a specific record can be a matter of days, as the catalogues
(indexes) they give you are not very detailed. There is certainly no way of
ordering "probate record of Hans Freese who lived in Selent around
1827". Procedure: get the catalogue for the district. Look out for
records that seem to have to do with the place Selent. Of those, choose the
ones that look like they might hold probate and/or land records. Order five
of them to see what time frame they cover, and if their registry is
chronological. Once you have the correct time frame, start reading the
volume, page 1 to 1000 + X, handwritten records, of course, probably not
indexed in the old hidebound volume itself. If indexed at all, it may prove
to be very incomplete, and it can be worthwhile going through all those
records, one by one. As the archive certainly does not have all records that
have ever been written in Schleswig-Holstein, your research may turn out to
be a completely futile, but time-consuming endeavor.
Records are handed out at four certain hours only, not continuously, on
The use of the facilities of the "Landesarchiv" is free of charge.
The "Staatsarchiv Hamburg"
D - 22041 Hamburg
has the original passenger lists of the port of Hamburg, outgoing vessels,
starting about 1850.
Most emigrants who had their last residence in Schleswig-Holstein embarked in
The lists are on microfilms, and they are badly indexed.
Films and microfilm readers need booking well in advance.
The use of their facilities costs a nominal fee. Open daily.
The "Nordelbisches Kirchenarchiv"
Winterbeker Weg 51
D - 24114 Kiel
has a lot of material regarding church matters of Schleswig-Holstein and
Hamburg. It is also from there that the continuous micro-filming of parish
records for conservational reasons is organized, for all parishes in the area
mentioned above. The master-copies are stored in their facilities, but they
are not available for genealogical research there. Copies will be handed over
to the regional parish archives and/or the parishes themselves. They can not
be purchased. There will not be, as far as I understand their policies, any
reproductions of films or fiches for sale, except singular prints on paper for
documentary reasons. They do not deal with genealogical queries.
The archives of the "Kirchenkreise" (regional archives for the
parishes of a district)
The districts in the area of the "Nordelbische Kirche" (Church
north of the Elbe-River) are:
Kirchenkreis Herzogtum Lauenburg
Kirchenkreis Nordschleswig (Nordschleswigsche Gemeinde)
Some of these have been merged in the past few years, like Norder- and Süderdithmarschen,
Angeln and Schleswig, Rantzau and Münsterdorf.
It is in the archives of
these institutions that genealogical research can be conducted, under certain
conditions: due to limited staff and facilities, a booking well in advance is
required in almost all of these archives. The times the archives are open for
visitors range from three hours per week and one person at a time, to daily
openings for an unlimited number of researchers. Researchers who have not
made a prior arrangement for their visit may not expect to be granted a warm
welcome. The supervising staff in the parish archives may be people who have
nothing at all to do with genealogical research, but it is their physical
presence that is required. Fortunately, in many cases experienced volunteers
have been persuaded to attend the archives when open, giving helpful
assistance when it comes to reading and
identifying the name of a place that is given in a record, and that only
locals may have heard of.
Common features of all these archives: