User:Bamblrothenburg ob der Tauber/sandbox

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History and Geography[edit | edit source]

Rottenburg am Tauber.jpg

The name "Rothenburg ob der Tauber" means, in German, "Red fortress above the Tauber". This is so because the town is located on a plateau overlooking the Tauber River. As to the name "Rothenburg", some say it comes from the German words rot (red) and burg (burgh, medieval fortified settlement), referring to the red colour of the roofs of the houses which overlook the river. The name may also refer to the process of retting ("rotten" in German) flax for linen production. The English spelling is Rottenburg.

  • In 1070, the counts of Comburg-Rothenburg, who also owned the village of Gebsattel, built Rothenburg castle on the mountain top high above the River Tauber.
  • In 1170, the city of Rothenburg was founded at the time of the building of Staufer Castle. The centre was the marketplace and St. James' Church (in German: the St. Jakob). The development of the oldest fortification can be seen, the old cellar/old moat and the milk market. Walls and towers were built in the 13th century. Preserved are the “White Tower” and the Markus Tower with the Röder Arch.
  • From 1194 to 1254, the representatives of the Staufer dynasty governed the area around Rothenburg. Around this time, the Order of St. John and other orders were founded near St. James' Church and a Dominican nunnery (1258).
  • From 1241 to 1242, the Staufer Imperial tax statistics recorded the names of the Jews in Rothenburg. Rabbi Meir Ben Baruch of Rothenburg (died 1293, buried 1307 in Worms) had a great reputation as a jurist in Europe. His descendants include members of the dynastic family von Rothberg, noteworthy in that they were accorded noble status in the 19th century, becoming the hereditary counts of Rothenburg (Rothberg). The family is survived by its last living descendant, Andrew Sandilands Graf von Rothberg, 9th Count of Rothenburg (born 1972), who resides in the United States.
  • In 1274, Rothenburg was accorded privileges by King Rudolf of Habsburg as a Free Imperial City. Three famous fairs were established in the city and in the following centuries, the city expanded. The citizens of the city and the Knights of the Hinterland build the Franziskaner (Franciscan) Monastery and the Holy Ghost Hospital incorporated into the city walls. The German Order began the building of St. James' Church, which the citizens have used since 1336. The Heilig Blut (Holy Blood) pilgrimage attracted many pilgrims to Rothenburg, at the time one of the 20 largest cities of the Holy Roman Empire. The population was around 5,500 people within the city walls and another 14,000 in the 150 square miles of surrounding territory.
  • The Staufer Castle was destroyed by an earthquake in 1356, the St. Blaise chapel is the last remnant today.

Online Records[edit | edit source]

  • FamilySearch This link takes you to the catalog list of microfilmed documents for civil records of marriage proclamations, marriage supplements, genealogies, obituaries, military records, etc., Bayern, Germany. They are arranged in alphabetical order according to the last name of the husband. Digitized films (camera icon) can be viewed at a family history center or affiliate library.
  • There is some Rothenburg information at Find A Grave
  • Bavaria, Germany, WWI Personnel Rosters, 1914-1918 includes information on some soldiers from Passau on This source is most useful when you are able to enter the ancestors full name and place of birth. However if you don't know all those details enter what you can and you may be pleasantly surprised.
  • Various records can also be found through the Meta-search tool on the website of the German Society for Computer Genealogy. You just need to enter Rothenburg as the place name then click "start search" and it will provide an alphabetical (by last name) list of all the information on this data base from that city.

Civil Registration[edit | edit source]

Rottenburg am Tauber Rathaus.jpg

The Rathaus (town hall) is a notable renaissance building. The rear Gothic part of the building dates from 1250, and the attached front Renaissance building was started in 1572. This building served as the seat of government for the city-state during the medieval ages and for the city of Rothenburg since the formation of the federalist government. The town hall tower of Rothenburg ob der Tauber is one of the only accessible towers in the town of Rothenburg. The other is the Roedertor tower at the east end of the city, and is open daily for visitors to climb. It is almost 61 meters (200 feet) tall. At the top of the tower, an admission fee of 2 euros is charged to enter the room with a scenic view of almost the entire town. The room also contains manuscripts providing the visitor with historical information about the construction and relevant history of the city wall. If you are seeking informationn concerning your family prior to that time it is necessary to go to church records.

Rothenburg Standesamt/Rathaus
91541 Rothenburg
Bavaria, Germany
Phone: +49 09861 404 0
Fax: 09861 404 109
Various civil records are available from the Rathaus through the town hall services (including birth, death, marriage records) Also, you may contact city hall directly through their e-mail address.

Catholic Church Records[edit | edit source]

There is one Catholic church in the town of Rothenburg.

Catholic Parish Church St. Johannis
Untere Schmiedgasse 1
91541 Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Catholic Rectory Office St. Johannis
Burggasse 20
91541 Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Phone: +49 09861/5011
Fax: 09861/4256

Lutheran Church Records[edit | edit source]

Bavaria was and is predominantly Catholic. If your ancestors lived in Rothenburg, there is a chance they affiliated with the Catholic Church. However, if you do not find them in Catholic records, you should search the Lutheran records.

  • According to Meyer's Gazetteer, the Lutheran church has been in this area since at least 1871.

Today there are three Lutheran Parishes in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. It appears that they are have a close association since they list the same website addresses when you search for them on google maps.

St. James (German: St. Jakob) is the historic church which is on the pilgrimage route to the St. James Church in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

St James Church
Klostergasse 15
91541 Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Phone: +49 9861 700610

Church of St Peter & Paul, Detwang
Detwang 24
91541 Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Phone: +49 9861 3113

91541 Rothenburg (Tauber)
Phone: +49 9861 700620

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

As you can see on Google Maps there are several cemeteries in the Rothenburg area. Click on this link that goes to see all of them. Select one and click on it in the column on the left. This will bring up the address and phone number of that particular cemetery.

  • The old cemetery in Rothenburg is located on the eastern side of Erlbacher Strasse, across from the new one. The main gate is located at Ansbacher Strasse/Erlbacher Strasse, at its most northern tip. The cemetery is owned and maintained by the city of Rothenburg. The northern part of this cemetery is managed by the Lutheran St. Jakob congregation of Rothenburg, which had been given a perpetual lease for that part by the city in 1911. It has the oldest graves in it. There is a WAR GRAVE SECTION with graves of soldiers and civilian victims of both world wars. Often two individuals are buried in one war grave, who are not related.
  • The new cemetery in Rothenburg is located on the western side of Erlbacher Strasse, across from the old one. Also known as the "Städtischer Friedhof Rothenburg" In the middle of the cemetery, under a group of large trees, there is the Children's Corner, an area for burials of infants and children. Many of their grave markers display no last names.
  • However in a city this size walking through cemeteries would be very time consuming, unless you know which cemetery to go to and use the cemetery map to find the grave of your relative.
  • If you want to find information on your ancestors in a cemetery, keep in mind that in most German cemeteries the grave plots are re-used as often as every 25 years. (sometimes 50 -100 years). For this reason church and civil records are a better genealogy source, unless you find a cemetery that has kept a record of all those buried there in the past.