Region: Regensburg
Science

Digitalisation of church books of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Regensburg

Petition is directed to
Bischöfliches Zentralarchiv Regensburg
1.038 Supporters
87% achieved 1.200 for collection target
  1. Launched 01/05/2020
  2. Collection yet 8 weeks
  3. Submission
  4. Dialog with recipient
  5. Decision
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Even in 2020, the church books of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Regensburg can only be reviewed if you attend the Central Archives in person, because microforms were used to file those books. Therefore there are two aspects concerning archiving that should be revised: The accessibility of those microforms is insufficient and filing documents by using microforms clearly is an outdated technique. Here is what we want to accomplish by this petition: We want the Central Archives of the Diocese of Regensburg to digitize their church books and to provide them online for geneological researchers.

Reason

The digital age is now. That’s why the number of archival institutions who digitize their archive files is growing. Some of these institutions, including the Roman Catholic Dioceses of Passau, Osnabrück or Münster and the Archdiocese München-Freising (1), have already started providing those files online, as far as those documents have not been protected by copyright. Currently, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Regensburg is still refraining from striking this new path.

Digitizing church records is a win-win situation for both the Archives and geneological researchers. Here is to what extend the Central Archives benefit: Digitizing archive records ensures a safe way of preserving valuable data on the one hand and is space saving on the other. Microfiches would no longer have to be stored. As microforms are commonly reduced to about one twenty-fifth of the original document size, they usually are of inferior quality. Digitized documents, in contrast, are of the same quality as the original ones. The Central Archives of the Diocese of Regensburg sure get a lot of letters and emails concerning genealogical research. Digitizing those church records will reduce workload related to those requests and thus enable archivists to dedicate themselves to their actual duties. It is a given that we, the petitioning geneological researchers, benefit likewise. Being descendants of emigrants, many of us still live in the foreign countries our ancestors once chose. Therefore having to take a trip to attend the Central Archives in person implicates financial load and might make huge demands on the researchers‘ time depending on their home country. Sometimes health issues or barrier of language hold off researchers from taking the trip to the Archives. Digitizing church records enables people to look into their family‘s history who otherwise wouldn’t be able to do so. Internet has opened up geneological research to a whole new generation of researchers, most of them employed persons conditioned by their age. But going over church records can be a time-consuming preoccupation and is, by force of circumstance, bound to limited opening hours in the Central Archives of the Diocese of Regensburg. It goes without saying that combining job-related timetables to geneological research can be challenging. Digitizing church books would come in handy for all geneological researchers holding a job.

Going over archived microforms inevitably goes along with using desktop readers. Sitting in front of those readers demands a stiff sitting position on the one hand and can therefore cause postural deformities little by little (2) and on the other hand demands a great deal of one’s eyes. Those possible health issues affect especially professional genealogical researches.

However, it must be mentioned that digitizing church books and providing them online afterwards costs a lot of money and human resources. Fewest researchers will be expecting the allocation of the church books to be permanently free of charge. Archion f.e., an already existing portal where mostly archived documents concerning the Protestant church are being provided, takes a fee of 17,90€ per month from private researchers (3). Most genealogical researchers will supposedly be willing to at least partly refund costs caused by digitizing the church books by paying fees, for attending the Archives in person isn’t free of charge either.

Finally, it has to be said that until the establishment of civil registry offices, clergies had been the only ones to record common people’s data. All the credit is due to clergies and everyone engaging in family history is well aware of that fact. But all the efforts taken to record those data would be to no purpose if sharing those was to be impeded unnecessarily – especially in times when technological change actually was to make sharing easier.

(1) data.matricula-online.eu/de/deutschland/
(2) catholiccultures.hypotheses.org/348 (3) www.archion.de/de/das-portal/kosten/

Thank you for your support, Nicolai Schichtl from Tegernheim
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Why people sign

  • Sue Nola Salt Lake City

    on 08 May 2020

    I have lots of family records in Regensburg.

  • Peter M Sloan Hamden, CT

    on 05 May 2020

    I can access my family's records more easily for genealogy.

  • Annabelle varney Campbell, ca

    on 04 May 2020

    I have many ancestors from this area, and it’s hard to find documentation about their lives. I can’t afford to travel to Germany from California for research. If you put it online I can continue my research from my home.

  • on 03 May 2020

    My great-great-grandfather, Josef Herdegen, was born in Regensburg Diocese. His history is my history. I have been trying for years to learn more about his parents and forebears. I'm not wealthy and I have family responsibilities at home, so my ability to hire a genealogist in Germany, or travel to do research in person is very limited. Yet this is my heritage, and I am eager to know the names of my forebears and learn more of their lives. It would be so wonderful if the gates of opportunity were opened to people like me: the descendants of the sons and daughters of Regensburg who embarked to other lands. Digitalisation of the Church Books of Regensburg Diocese would be of tremendous benefit to many people. It could also help reduce the environmental impact of genealogical research, if it were not necessary to travel long distances to gain access to these records. Thank you.

  • on 03 May 2020

    I have been working on my genealogy for over 30 years and would very much like to search these records.

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