Did Catholic and Protestant Germans generally NOT intermarry in the 1700s-1800s?

+5 votes
I know it was generally a big NO in other cultures, but I am starting to familiarize myself with the Germans in my ancestry, and it can get kind of confusing, what with the multiple middle names, going by the first and/or 2nd middle name, etc.  Added to that is the "Evangelische/Katholische" designation.  I have what appeared to me at first to be perfect matches, however now that I am taking a closer look I have inter-faitih-married some of them, and I might have to undo the whole house of cards!  Any help appreciated,

in Genealogy Help by Alycia Keating G2G6 (8.2k points)

2 Answers

+3 votes
Best answer

From 1555 on (Augsburger Reichs- und Religionsfrieden) the law in the Holy Roman Empire was cuius regio, eius religio (whose realm, his religion) leaving as the only option for people with other confessions than their sovereign who didn't want to convert to emigrate to a state with their religion. There were some exceptions for a few Reichsstädte (Imperial cities) and by the 18th century things started loosening up. Enforcement continued here and there, especially in the Habsburg lands until the Tolerance Edict from 1781. As a result, though, especially in rural areas the confessions remained separate and regionally quite uniform, often way into the 20th century1. Interconfessional marriages in the 18th and 19th century would have been quite rare and would almost certainly have involved one of the partners converting. In other words, while not impossible I would like to see strong proof from other sources that such a marriage really took place.

1 I used to live in a town that was the result of a merge of two villages in the 1940's, the Southern part had originally belonged to the Kingdom of Württemberg and was protestant, the Northern part belonged 1/3 to Württemberg and 2/3 to the Bishopric of Würzburg and was catholic. Even in the 1960's the Catholics had their processions stop in the middle of the bridge over the river separating the two parts of town and turn around.

by Helmut Jungschaffer G2G6 Pilot (552k points)
selected by Alycia Keating
Awesome bit of history, thank you!
+2 votes
Hi Alycia

I can only go by what I know about German royal families and inter-faith marriage between Catholic and Protestant families was pretty rare during that time period.

Perhaps it was a bit more easier for 'ordinary' families, but my overall feeling is that it would be difficult for them as well.
by John Atkinson G2G6 Pilot (536k points)

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