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Registration and RecognitionDocumenting the Person in World History$
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Keith Breckenridge and Simon Szreter

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265314

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265314.001.0001

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Too Much Information? Too Little Coordination? (Civil) Registration in Nineteenth-Century Germany

Too Much Information? Too Little Coordination? (Civil) Registration in Nineteenth-Century Germany

Chapter:
(p.93) 3 Too Much Information? Too Little Coordination? (Civil) Registration in Nineteenth-Century Germany
Source:
Registration and Recognition
Author(s):

Andreas Fahrmeir

Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197265314.003.0004

During the conflict between the Liberal-Protestant state and the Catholic Church (Kulturkampf), Germany introduced a system of registration of births, marriages, and deaths by public authorities. This replaced a system of data-gathering by churches which informed state authorities of the entries in their registers. The transition from church to state did not imply a secularization of registers. Moreover, civil registers were not combined systematically with other sources of information on the population; for instance, they played little role for the registers on residents, migrants, and travellers. This chapter argues that the profusion of registers theoretically allowed German states access to a great deal of information on individuals, although they rarely linked it. While registration thus always fell short of fulfilling expectations, it produced a tradition of informing the state about matters considered private in other countries which greatly increased the scope of planning population development.

Keywords:   Kulturkampf, migration control, Standesämter, civil registration, public health, secularization

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