A Hesse Marriage Contract

Translated by Rosina T. Schmidt

In the Marriage Contract below the young widow, whose husband left the family farm to their only child, is remarrying. The new spouse will be looking after the farm and in exchange receives certain rights. All the names have been removed for privacy reasons. The descendants of the same family are still living on the same premises in the State of Hesse, Germany. Even the 170 year old barn in which the harvest was stored -as per the contract below- is still standing strong.

Subject : Marriage contract XYZ-XYZ 

Staatsarchiv Marburg

  • Location: XYZ, the 17thOctober 1842
    Present: the honorable court officer XYZ
    Presented themselves in front of the Kurfürst’s local court:

–         1.  Bachelor and Ackerman XXX from XYZ, 30 years old, protestant, legal son of the deceased Ackerman and church elder XYZ and his also deceased wife XYZ, nee XYZ.

–         2.  Widow of the deceased Ackerman XYZ and XYZ, nee XYZ from XYZ, 30 years old, protestant, legal daughter of the Auszüger XYZ from XYZ and his deceased wife XYZ, nee XYZ,

–           They are notifying the court that they are engaged and to be married of they own free will and are requesting with this proclamation of the marriage to be given the permission to marry and at the same time to establish a marriage contract.

The father of the bride, who is also present, is giving his permission to this marriage.

The engaged couple declares, that they are not related to each other and did provide the necessary documentations.

A- Groom’s christening certificate.

B + C- Death certificate for the groom’s parents as well as the bride’s mother.

D- Death certificate for the bride’s first husband.

E- Groom’s military discharge papers.

F- Groom’s proof of income.

G + H- Receipts for the required fees paid.

J-  Receipt for the marriage taxes.

As the assets of the bride’s first husband were inventoried and the child has a legal representative, there are no known reasons why this marriage should not take place.

Read and signed

Groom XXX

Bride XYZ

Bride’s Father XYZ

Witness: XYZ

The requested permission is to be given.

Kurfürstlich Hessien Court XYZ

XYZ, 25th October 1842

Judge present

As well as

  1. Ackermann XXX from XYZ, son of the deceased XYZ and his also deceased wife XYZ, nee XYZ.
  2. His bride, the widow of XYZ, XYZ, nee XYZ from XYZ.
  3. By the court ordered legal representative XYZ from XYZ,  of the child from the bride’s first marriage, XYZ.

    They declare that they do agree to the following marriage contract:


    The bride, the widow of XYZ, will take her groom XXX to her property left to her by her first husband in the jurisdiction of the town of XYZ, which are deeded to her child from that marriage, XYZ. In return the groom XYZ will contribute a amount of

                Three hundred Thaler

    Besides other goods as customary in the country establishment.


    The child’s legal representative XYZ gives to the couple the administration of his foster child XYZ legal property until the child reaches the age of 25 years. In exchange the couple has the responsibility to raise this child well and to deliver to him his property in good condition and to cover all the necessary expenditure and due interest during their administration.


    At the time of the roll over of the property, as mentioned above, the couple will receive from the property owner XYZ the following lifelong Einsitz and Auszug.

  1. For the living accommodation the Auszugshaus.
  2. The necessary space for their harvest in the only existing barn.
  3. Of the fields the following parcels:
  4. 2 Mesten fields located in the Hohl, next to XYZ.
  5. 2 Mesten fields located in the rothen Felde in the XYZ next to XYZ.
  6. 1 Meste in the Haunbacher field, the upper path next to XYZ.
  7. 1 Meste known as Krehgrund next to XYZ.
  8. ½ Meste below the village next to XYZ.
  9. The community common ground known as Auf der Heide, ½ Meste large next to XYZ.
  10. 6 Mesten field auf der Hohlbänk, as per their choosing.


  1. Harvests:
  2. 2 Mött corn, Marburg’s measurements
  3. 2 Mesten barley
  4. 3 Mesten  oats
  5. 1 Meste wheat
  6. 1 Meste peas
  7. 1 Meste seeds
  8. ¼ Meste pealed millet

Everything in Marburg’s measurements.

  1. 1/3 basket from all fruit
  2. 4th part of the vegetables from the front garden.
  3. The property owner has to plant two Mesten flax seeds in well prepared and manured field. The Auszüger have to provide the seeds.
  4. The property owner has to keep three sheep for the Auszüger together with his own.
  5. Yearly at St Peter’s a ¼ year old pig.
  6. The property owner supplies the Auszögers with necessary straw material.
  7. On pastureland and gardens the Auszüger can use the following:
  8. ¼ acre before xyz next to XYZ, the upper part
  9. 9 rods of the upper Wiesenhof next to XYZ.
  10. ¼ acre pasture of the Helbrückpasture next to XYZ.
  11. 1/8 acre vegetable garden next to XYZ.
  12. 9 rods of the new garden next to XYZ.
  13. The property owner has to till the land at the appropriate time, thresh the harvest and provide all the necessary transportation to bring in the harvests, without costs and provide the Auszüger free to the house with firewood.


After the death of one of the Auszüugers the other one continues with the life long Einsitz and the following Auszug:

  1. The Auszugshaus as living accommodation.
  2. From the harvests:
    1. 4 Mött corn
    2. 4 Mesten barley
    3. 6 Mesten oats
    4. 3 Mesten wheat
    5. 1 Meste peas
    6. 1 ½ Meste seeds
    7. 1 Sefter pealed millet
  3. Yearly 3 pounds wool – remarks: the 3 sheep in the above paragraph, position 7 is now returning to the ownership of the property owner.
  4. Yearly one 3-month-old piglet at St. Peter’s day.
  5. The third part of all fruit, which has been harvested.
  6. The property owner has to plant 1 Meste flax seeds on a well prepared and manured field.
  7. Also one Meste field of potatoes.
  8. The property owner has to keep a stall free for one cow for the Auszüger
  9. The property owner has to supply the Auszüger with the necessary firewood, which means he has to fell the wood in the forest and deliver it.


The property owner has to burry both Auszüger as the customs require and in exchange receives a cow.


From the 300 Thaler, which the groom contributes, the 125 Thaler are to be invested for the benefit of the child XYZ of the bride’s first marriage in exchange for the groom receiving the lifelong Einsitz and Auszug rights.


If the couple should die without own children than the property shall be considered as in joint tenancy and the one living the longest shall inherit all of the common property.


Should the child of the bride’s first marriage XYZ die after his mothers death, than the groom XYZ will be the only heir.

Present are the grandparents:

  1. The father of the bride XYZ from XYZ.
  2. The parents of the deceased husband of the bride, XYZ and his spouse XYZ, nee XYZ from XYZ.

They are accepting this marriage protocol as far as it is required in respect to their own interests and renounce here their own privileges. Everyone present requests consensus to this contract and validations of the same.

The mother of the bride, as per sworn affidavit, is deceased already.

Read and signed

Groom XXX

Bride XYZ

Witness XYZ



Groom XXX

Hand sign +++ of the wife of XYZ

Bride’s father XYZ

Witnesses: XYZ

This agreement has been approved by the court as well as the necessary changes to the deed in the registry book for the Einsitz and Auszug on the page XYZ of the XYZ land registry book.

XYZ as above                                 Kurfürstliches Courthouse – XYZ


Note: Auszüger = retired farmer

Einsitz = right to occupy part of premises