Saxony

The Newcomers to Saxon genealogy need to identify whether they want the Kingdom of Saxony or the Province of Saxony
Lower SaxonyNiedersachen or Saxony-Anhalt.

The history of what became the Kingdom of Saxony [Königreich Sachsen] in the German Empire of 1871 is complex. Over centuries, large areas broke into smaller states, boundaries changed position, and regions changed names. Each of the identifiable areas will be dealt with separately. This complex history has led to three states in today's Germany that include Saxony [Sachsen] in their name: Lower Saxony [Niedersachsen], Saxony-Anhalt [Sachsen­Anhalt], and Saxony [Sachsen], similar in area and location to the Kingdom of Saxony. Refer to The Germanic Genealogy Journal Spring 2002 for a excellent "how to do Research in Saxony".

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WHAT ARE THE SAXONS?

The Saxons are the people that populated the different areas of Saxony. This is a small insight to them. Saxons were a confederation of Old Germanic tribes. Their modern-day descendants in German states are considered ethnic Germans (the state of Sachsen is not inhabited by ethnic Saxons; the state of Sachsen-Anhalt is though, in its northern and western parts); those in the eastern Netherlands are considered to be ethnic Dutch.

Saxons participated in the Germanic settlement of Britain during and after the 5th century. Since the 18th century, many continental Saxons have settled other parts of the world, especially in North America, Australia, South Africa, South of Brazil and in areas of the former Soviet Union, where some communities still maintain parts of their cultural and linguistic heritage, often under the umbrella categories "German", and "Dutch".

The pre-Christian settlement of the Saxon people originally covered an area a little more to the northwest, with parts of the southern Jutland Peninsula, Old Saxony and small sections of the eastern Low Countries (Belgium and the Netherlands). During the 5th century AD, the Saxons were part of the people invading the Romano-British province of Britannia. One of the other tribes was the Germanic Angles, whose name, taken together with that of the Saxons led to the formation of the modern term, Anglo-Saxon

Kingdom of Saxony (Konigreich Sachsen)

History
The Newcomers to Saxon genealogy need to identify whether they want the Kingdom of Saxony or the Province of Saxony to the north. The Kingdom of Saxony includes the cities of Dresden, Meissen, Chemnitz and Leipzig.

The Kingdom of Saxony (German: Königreich Sachsen), lasting between 1806 and 1918, was an independent member of a number of historical confederacies in Napoleonic through post-Napoleonic Germany. From 1871 it was part of the German Empire It became a Free state in the era of Weimar Republic in 1918 after the end of World War I and the abdication of King Frederick Augustus III of Saxony. Its capital was the city of Dresden, and its modern successor state is the Free State of Saxony. 

The Napoleonic Era and the German Confederation

In 1806, French Emperor Napoleon abolished the Holy Roman Empire and decreed the Electorate of Saxony a kingdom in itself. Elector Frederick Augustus III became King Frederick Augustus I. Frederick Augustus remained loyal to Napoleon during the wars that swept Europe in the following years; he was taken prisoner and his territories declared forfeit by the allies in 1813, who intended the annexation of Saxony by Prussia. 
Following the defeat of Saxony's ally, Prussia, at the Battle of Jena in 1806, Saxony joined the Confederation of the Rhine, and remained within the Confederation until its dissolution in 1813. Following the battle, in which Saxony - virtually alone of the German states - had fought alongside the French, King Frederick Augustus I was deserted by his troops, taken prisoner by the Prussians and considered to have forfeited his throne by the allies, who put Saxony under Russian occupation and administration. This was probably more due to the Prussian desire to annex Saxony than to any crime on Frederick Augustus's part, and the fate of Saxony would prove to be one of the main issues at the Congress of Vienna.
Ultimately, the opposition of Austria, France, and the United Kingdom to this plan resulted in the restoration of Frederick Augustus to his throne at the Congress of Vienna. At this time in 1815, Saxony was forced to cede the northern part of the kingdom to Prussia.

The Austro-Prussian War and the German Empire

The Kingdom of Saxony in 1895 - During the 1866 Austro-Prussian War, Saxony sided with Austria, and the Saxon army was generally seen as the only ally to bring substantial aid to the Austrian cause, having abandoned the defense of Saxony itself to join up with the Austrian army in Bohemia. This effectiveness probably allowed Saxony to escape the fate of other north German states which allied with Austria (notably the Kingdom of Hanover), which were annexed by Prussia after the war. The Austrians insisted that Saxony must be spared, and the Prussians acquiesced. Saxony nevertheless joined the Prussian-led North German Confederation the next year. Prussia's victory over France in the Franco-Prussian War of 1871, let the members of the Confederation were organized by Otto von Bismarck into the German Empire, with Wilhelm I as its Emperor.

The End of the Kingdom of Saxony

Wilhelm I's grandson, Kaiser Wilhelm II, abdicated in 1918 as a result of Germany's defeat in the First World War King Frederick Augustus III of Saxony followed him into abdication and the Kingdom of Saxony became the free State of Saxony within the newly-formed Weimar Republic.
For more insight to the history and genealogy of the Kingdom of Saxony refer to Germanic Genealogy 3rd Edition p.408
 


Lists

Archives and Records

Saxony Research Groups

Books
Map Guide to German Parish Registers Kingdom of Saxony I Vol 25 Map Guide to German Parish Registers Kingdom of Saxony II Vol 26
Kingdom of Saxony (with Anhalt) Place Name Indexes: Indentifying Place Names Using Alphabetical and Reverse Alphabetical Indexes (R914.318 M662k 2003)
Atlantic bridge to Germany: Saxony (Kingdom, Thuringia, 9 Duchies) v 9 (R929.30943 H14a v.9)

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LOWER SAXONY (Neidersachsen)
 
 
Lower Saxony (German Niedersachsen) lies in north-western Germany and is second in area and fourth in population among the country's sixteen Bundesländer (federal states). In rural areas Low Saxon is still spoken, but declining.
Lower Saxony borders on (from north and clockwise) the North Sea, the states of Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia, Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia, and the kingdom of the Netherlands. The state of Bremen forms two enclaves within Lower Saxony. The state's principal cities include Hanover, Braunschweig , Osnabrück, Oldenburg, Meppen and Göttingen.
The area is named for the Saxons, who moved there from what is today the neighboring state of Schleswig-Holstein towards the middle of the 1st millennium AD. Originally the region was simply called Saxony, but as the center of gravity of the Duchy of Saxony gradually moved up the Elbe, towards the present day states of Saxony-Anhalt and Saxony, the region was given the name Lower Saxony, which it bore as an Imperial Kreise Estate from the late 15th Century
 
The northwestern portion of Lower Saxony is a part of Frisia; it is called Ostfriesland (Eastern Frisia) and lies on the coast of the North Sea. It includes seven islands, known as the East Frisian Islands. In the southwest of Lower Saxony is the Emsland, a sparsely populated area, once a inaccessible swamp. The northern half of Lower Saxony is absolutely flat, but there are two mountain chains in the south: the Weserbergland ("Weser Hilly Region") and the Harz. The middle of the state houses the largest cities and the economic centers: Hanover, Hildesheim, Wolfsburg, Salzgitter and Braunschweig (Brunswick). The region in the northeast is called Lüneburger Heide. To the north the Elbe River separates Lower Saxony from Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Brandenburg. The lands on the southern banks are called Altes Land (literally "Old Land"), and they are characterized by thousands of fruit-trees. 
 
Maps

Archives and Records

Lower Saxony Research Groups

Books
Hunzen in Brunswick: 800 years in a village of Lower Saxony (formerly the Duchy of Brunswick-Herzogtum Braunschweig)
(R943.5976 F911h)

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Province of Saxony

The Province of Prussia was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia from 1829-1878 created out of the provinces of East Prussia and West Prussia. The province was created in 1816 out of the following territories: The former Duchy of Magdeburg and Principality of Halberstadt, which had previously been part of the Kingdom of Westphalia from 1807-1813; The former Margraviate of Brandenburg situated west of the Elbe River, such as the Altmark Territory gained from the Kingdom of Saxony after the Battle of Leipzig in 1813: the towns and surrounding territories of Wittenberg, Merseburg, Naumburg, Mansfeld, Querfurt, and Henneberg; and territory given to Prussia after the Reichsdeputationshauptschluss: lands around Erfurt and the Eichsfeld (formerly belonging to the Archbishopric of Mainz) and the former Imperial Cities of Mühlhausen and Nordhausen. The Province of Saxony was one of the richest regions of Prussia with highly developed agriculture and industry. In 1932 the province was enlarged with the addition of the regions around Ilfeld and Elbingerode, previously been part of the Province of Hanover. In 1944, the Province of Saxony was divided along the lines of its three administrative regions.
Regierungsbezirk Magdeburg Magdeburg the capital city of the Bundesland of Saxony-Anhalt, is situated at the Elbe River and was one of the most important medieval cities of Europe. Emperor Otto I, the first Holy Roman Emperor, lived during most of his reign in the town and was buried in the cathedral after his death. Magdeburg's version of German town law, known as Magdeburg rights, spread throughout Central and Eastern Europe. The city is also well-known for the 1631 Sack of Magdeburg, which hardened Protestant resistance during the Thirty Years War. 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magdeburg

Regierungsbezirk Merseburg
Merseburg is a town in the south of the German state of Saxony-Anhalt on the river Saale, approx. 14km south of Halle (Saale). It is the capital of the Saalekreis district. It had a diocese founded by Archbishop Adalbert of Magdeburg. The University of Merseburg is located.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merseburg

Regierungsbezirk Erfurt
Erfurt is the capital city of Thuringia and is the main city nearest to the geographical centre of Germany, located 100km SW of Leipzig, 150km N of Nürnberg and 180km SE of Hannover. Erfurt Airport can be reached by plane via Munich. It lies in the southern part of the Thuringian Basin, within the wide valley of Gera River, a tributary of the Unstrut. To the south, the city is surrounded by the hilly forest of Steigerwald.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erfurt
The Erfurt Regierungsbezirk was merged with the Herrschaft Schmalkalden district of the Province of Hesse-Nassau to become theReichsstatthalter of the new state of Thuringia. The Magdeburg Regierungsbezirk merged with the former state of Anhalt to become the Gau of Magdeburg and the Merseburg Regierungsbezirk became the Gau of Halle-Merseburg, but the Gaue of Magdeburg and Halle-Merseburg were merged to reform the Province of Saxony in 1945.
 
Maps

Archives and Records

Province of Saxony Research Groups

Books
The following books are in the GGS collection at Concordia University St. Paul, Minnesota. Province of Saxony Place Name Indexes: Indentifying Place Names Using Alphabetical and Reverse Alphabetical Indexes (R914.321 M662p 2003)

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SAXONY-ANHALT
 
Saxony-Anhalt (Sachsen-Anhalt), is a state of Germany. It has an area of 20,447 square kilometers (7,895 sq mi) and a population of 2.4 million (more than 2.8 million in 1990). Its capital is Magdeburg. Saxony-Anhalt should not be confused with Saxony or Lower Saxony, also German states The former Duchy of Magdeburg and Principality of Halberstadt, which had previously been part of the Kingdom of Westphalia from 1807-1813; The former Margraviate of Brandenburg situated west of the Elbe River, such as the Altmark Territory gained from the Kingdom of Saxony after the Battle of Leipzig in 1813: the towns and surrounding territories of Wittenberg, Merseburg, Naumburg, Mansfeld, Querfurt, and Henneberg; and territory given to Prussia after the Reichsdeputationshauptschluss: lands around Erfurt and the Eichsfeld (formerly belonging to the Archbishopric of Mainz) and the former Imperial Cities of Mühlhausenand Nordhausen The Province of Saxony was one of the richest regions of Prussia with highly developed agriculture and industry. In 1932 the province was enlarged with the addition of the regions around Ilfeld and Elbingerode, previously been part of the Province of Hanover. In 1944, the Province of Saxony was divided along the lines of its three administrative regions.

Regierungsbezirk Magdeburg
Magdeburg the capital city of the Bundesland of Saxony-Anhalt, is situated at the Elbe River and was one of the most important medieval cities of Europe. Emperor Otto I, the first Holy Roman Emperor, lived during most of his reign in the town and was buried in the cathedral after his death. Magdeburg's version of German town law, known as Magdeburg rights, spread throughout Central and Eastern Europe. The city is also well-known for the 1631 Sack of Magdeburg, which hardened Protestant resistance during theThirty Years War. 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magdeburg

Regierungsbezirk Merseburg
Merseburg is a town in the south of the German state of Saxony-Anhalt on the river Saale, approx. 14km south of Halle (Saale). It is the capital of the Saalekreis district. It had a diocese founded by Archbishop Adalbert of Magdeburg. The University of Merseburg is located.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merseburg

Regierungsbezirk Erfurt
Erfurt is the capital city of Thuringia and is the main city nearest to the geographical centre of Germany, located 100km SW of Leipzig, 150km N of Nürnberg and 180km SE of Hannover. Erfurt Airport can be reached by plane via Munich. It lies in the southern part of the Thuringian Basin, within the wide valley of Gera River, a tributary of the Unstrut. To the south, the city is surrounded by the hilly forest of Steigerwald.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erfurt
The Erfurt Regierungsbezirk was merged with the Herrschaft Schmalkalden district of the Province of Hesse-Nassau to become the Reichsstatthalter of the new state of Thuringia. The Magdeburg Regierungsbezirk merged with the former state of Anhalt to become the Gau of Magdeburg and the Merseburg Regierungsbezirk became the Gau of Halle-Merseburg, but the Gaue of Magdeburg and Halle-Merseburg were merged to reform the Province of Saxony in 1945.
http://wiki-en.genealogy.net/German_States_1871-1918
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Province_of_Saxony
 
Maps

Archives and Records

Province of Saxony Research Groups

Books
The following books are in the GGS collection at Concordia University St. Paul, Minnesota. Kingdom of Saxony (with Anhalt) Place Name Indexes: Indentifying Place Names Using Alphabetical and Reverse Alphabetical Indexes
(R914.318 M662k 2003)

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