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Surnames/tags: Hesse Germany Hessen
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Hesse, Germany/Hessen, Deutschland

This page was created to offer a place to collaborate on Hesse research. You can ask questions in the comments below or offer suggestions on new resources to attach to our resources list.

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Overview of Hesse

Flag and Coat of Arms:
State of the Federal Republic of Germany: 19 September 1945
English: Hesse
German: Hessen
Capital: Wiesbaden
Previous locations: After WWII Hesse was partitioned into Rhineland-Palatinate and the state of Greater Hesse (Groß-Hessen) was formed, out of Hesse-Darmstadt and most of the former Prussian province of Hesse-Nassau. In 1946 Greater Hesse was renamed Hessen
Hesse Location in Germany
Hesse borders the German states of Lower Saxony, Thuringia, Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate, and North Rhine-Westphalia. The majority of the people live in the Southern part while the rural areas in the center and northern areas are more sparsely populated. It is the 7th most populated German State. And the 7th largest State by area. Divided into three administrative provinces Hesse has Kassel in the north and east, Gießen in the center, and Darmstadt in the south. In 2018 Hesse ranked 5th in terms of German gross national product.


Hesse is divided into 3 Regierungsbezirke: Kassel in the north, Darmstadt in the south, and Gießen in the center
These are then divided into 21 Kreis and 5 independent cities
  • Kries: Bergstraße, Darmstadt-Dieburg, Groß-Gerau, Hochtaunuskreis, Main-Kinzig-Kreis, Main-Taunus-Kreis, Odenwaldkreis, Offenbach, Rheingau-Taunus-Kreis, Wetteraukreis, Gießen, Lahn-Dill-Kreis, Limburg-Weilburg, Marburg-Biedenkopf, Vogelsbergkreis, Fulda, Hersfeld-Rotenburg, Kassel, Schwalm-Eder-Kreis, Werra-Meißner-Kreis, Waldeck-Frankenberg
  • Independent cities: Darmstadt, Frankfurt am Main, Kassel, Offenbach am Main, Wiesbaden
Coordinates: 50°39′58″N 8°35′28″E


The story of Hesse goes back over 2,000 years. During the Roman Empire the first recorded entry of a location within what today is the German State of Hesse was in 782, a town called Eberstadt, later Eberstadt im Rheingau is mentioned when a man named Walther and his wife Willswinde gave their entire property to the Lorsch convent. This resides now in the Darmstadt region of Hesse. Under the rule of Philip I the Generous (1504-1567), Hesse was unified until his death when it was split among his four sons. Hesse, like most of the Northern States, switched to Protestantism and in Hesse-Kassel Calvinism was also followed. In 1605 Calvinism was made the official religion of Hesse-Kassel. The Revolutionary Wars that plagued most of what today is known as Germany spared most of Hesse except for the siege of Verdun at Frankfurt-am-Main in 1792. Peace was made with France by 1801. Under Napoleon Hesse-Darmstadt grew larger and more powerful. However due to resistance in Hesse-Kassel it was disbanded and absorbed into Westphalia. After Napoleon and the French were pushed out by 1814 during the Congress of Vienna 3 main regions existed Hesse-Kassel, Hesse-Darmstadt, and the duchy of Nassau. During the rise of Prussia many people left Hesse and moved to America and to a lesser extent Britain. During the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, the territories of Hesse supported the defeated Austrian monarchy, and had lost to the Prussians. Only The Grand Duchy of Hessen-Darmstadt was allowed to retain its independence in spite of some minor territorial losses. After WWI Germany was reduced in power but many of the prior noble families retained their strongholds. The House of Hesse-Darmstadt died out in 1937. Hesse-Kassel is the last remaining German noble house and continues into modern times. Hessen-Battenberg morphed into Mountbatten due to its ties to the royal family of Britain. During the Weimar Republic Hesse-Nassau remained as part of Prussia. Hesse-Darmstadt became part of the Republic of Hesse. After WWII under the US zone administration Hesse-Nassau and the Republic of Hesse were combined to create the new Federal State of Hesse.


Germany has a number of different cultures. Hesse combines cultures of North and South and East and West in one region. Its urban areas are primarily in the South. It has a number of mountainous regions and several major rivers. 42% of the land is forest.

Research Help and Regional Resources

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Vital Records

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Colleges and Universities

They often have local records and have professors who are versed in local lore so can be a wonderful resource and many are multilingual.

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WikiTree Free Space Pages and One-Place Studies

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WikiTree Categories

English Category:Hesse


English: Category:Hesse, Germany


German: Category: Hessen, Deutschland


Translation Aides

In Germany a number of different written languages and dialects were used. Below are some links to sites which may help you with old documents.

This is an active Germany Project page with up-to-date information.
Last updated by Traci Thiessen: 19 Jul 2022

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Comments: 14

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Looking good! Very happy with everything.
Please remove the link to [[Category: Hesse, Germany, Name Studies] since it is being deleted. It appeasr as a link in the text of this page:

Subcategories: Category:Hesse, Cemeteries (3 subcategories) Category:Districts and Independent Cities of Hesse (28 subcategories) Category:Hesse, Germany, Name Studies (1 subcategory) <-------there.

Thanks, Natalie, Categorization

posted by Natalie (Durbin) Trott
Done! Thanks for the heads up Nat!
posted by Traci Thiessen
You're welcome. Thanks for fixing it.


posted by Natalie (Durbin) Trott
I am interested in the Principality of Waldeck-Pyrmont. I believe my 4th-g-grandfather, Balthasar Kaltwasser, was a Hessian conscript born there ~1757 and then shipped to America during the Revolutionary War. I hope this project may develop/identify research sources for 18th century Hesse so I can pursue ancestral research there. Thanks for creating these German state projects.
posted by Weldon Smith
I am new to this group. Like many Texans, I have ancestors who came to Texas around 1850 +/- 15 years. I know comparatively little about my Great-Great-Grandparents Carl/Karl Kappas/Cappes and Maria Grosh. However, I do know Maria's birth date and place of origin: b. 1802 - Obergleen at Alsfeld, Grand Duchy of Hessen. Thus, it seems that I should join this group. Carl was born in 1800 in a place unknown in Germany and supposedly came to Texas alone. They both resided in Sabine Pass, Texas, until their death at undetermined dates. Their daughter, Sophia Margueite Kappas (b. 1828, Germany; d. 1911, Beaumont, TX), married my Tennessee born grandfather, William Edward Rogers, living first in Sabine Pass and later in Beaumont, Texas. I know nothing about researching German origins, though I see a number of potentially useful resources in these groups. Any help or advice will be appreciated!

Roger Moore Houston, TX

posted by [Living Moore]
Hello Roger,

Do you have a birth date of Maria Grosh? I have been working on the parish records of Ober-Gleen, and as far as I am aware, there was no birth there that would fit your ancestor. There was a Groß family that moved back and forth between Ober-Gleen and Kirtorf, but I can't make a connection without further information. Best wishes, Daniel Bamberger, Marburg, Germany

posted by Daniel Bamberger

I am in the process of uploading a ton of relatives off a family tree from 1830 back to 1583, that are all from either Neider Wildungen or Alt Wildungen area, (which didn't merge and become Bad Wildungen until 1906) within the Principality of Waldeck-Pyrmont. Then in 1929 it became part of Hesse. Here is a very short history (from,_German_Empire_Genealogy) "Waldeck was a county within the Holy Roman Empire from about 1200. In 1625, the small county of Pyrmont became part of the county through inheritance. The independence of the principality was confirmed in 1815 by the Congress of Vienna, and Waldeck and Pyrmont became a member of the German Confederation. From 1868 onward, the principality was administered as part of Prussia, but retained its legislative sovereignty. In 1871, the principality became a constituent state of the new German Empire.Waldeck was formally absorbed into the Prussian province of Hesse-Nassau in 1929, which is today in the modern state of Hesse (Hessen)."

(I have posted a public domain map of the principality on my profile.)

I have been putting their birth, death, wedding locations as "Neider Wildungen, Waldeck, Germany" but, oh dear, I guess the most accurate for the time would be: Neider Wildungen, Principality of Waldeck-Pyrmont, Germany.....right??? thanks for any advice tricia PS I certainly don't mind going back and changing them all, just want to make sure I get it right.

posted by Tricia Appell
edited by Tricia Appell