About this collection
This collection contains death records and name directories from Menden covering the years 1874 up to and including 1986. Menden is located on the Hönne River about 10 miles southeast of Unna, in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, and in the northern part in of the Sauerland region. The city was first mentioned in a document from the year 1276. Because it was located on the former border of the Duchy of Westphalia, which belonged to Electorate of Cologne, the city was often the site of armed conflict and had to be rebuilt multiple times. In the old town can be found numerous half-timbered houses along with the remnants of the city wall and two defensive towers which bear witness to the turbulent history of this market town. During the time period of this collection, Menden belonged, until 1946, to the Prussian Province of Westphalia. Also included in this collection are records from the communities of Böingsen, Lendringsen, Holzen and Sümmern. The date ranges of records from these communities may vary.
Beginning on October 1, 1874, local registry offices were made responsible for creating birth, marriage and death records in the former Prussian provinces. The collected records are arranged chronologically and usually in bound yearbook form which are collectively referred to as "civil registers." For most of the communities included in the collection, corresponding alphabetical directories of names were also 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 initially filled in by hand by the registrar. Later, the forms were completed by typewriter. 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
Depending on the form used, the name directories are generally grouped alphabetically according to the last name of the deceased with entries chronological by year. They are generally bound as separate volumes covering several years each. They contain the following details:
- Sequential number
- Last Name, Given Names of the deceased, Death Date or year-range
- Occasionally, for casualties of war, the deceased's Denomination is also noted in the comments.
- Cross-reference to death register
More about using this collection
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 or a hospital. These records also document casualties (Kriegssterbefälle) from the Second World War. Occasionally, records for some of the dead were also 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. Between 1943 and 1945, this institution was temporarily located in Saalfeld.
Under "Browse this collection,” select the Civil Registration Office and Year Range for the desired records. When name directories (Namensverzeichnis) are available for a registry office, they are separately displayed and selectable at the end of the list.