Ancestry.com has added to its collection Berlin civil-registration death records from 1874 to 1955. My great grandfather Fritz Boltz died in 1954; I searched for his record, hoping that the official document would tell me something more than I already knew.
In 1874 the Prussian Government passed a law governing the collection of information about civil status, including the registration of deaths. This was the “Gesetz über die Beurkundung des Personenstandes und die Form der Eheschließung”.
Section 56 in the Fifth section, Notarization of deaths, requires that “Every death must be reported to the registrar of the district in which the death occurred no later than the next day of the week.” Section 57 says it must be reported by the head of the family or if that person not available “the person in whose apartment or dwelling the death occurred”. Section 58 provides for official investigation into the death. Section 59 prescribes the information to be provided to register the death:
- First name and family name, status or trade and place of residence of the notifying party;
- Place, day and hour of death;
- First name and family name, religion, age, status or trade, place of residence and place of birth of the deceased;
- First name and family name of his spouse, or a note that the deceased was single;
- First name and surname, status or trade and place of residence of the deceased’s parents.
If the information is unknown, this must be noted against the relevant entry.
Section 60 states that no funeral may occur until the death has been
The legislation was amended in 1920 and again in 1937 but apparently without changing the requirements for death registrations.
My great grandfather’s death was registered in Dahlem, Berlin on 7 April 1954, the day after he died.
His occupation was ‘Schulhausmeister im Ruhestande’: Retired school caretaker.
It was noted he was ‘evangelisch’, evangelical, that is, Protestant.
He was living in Steglitz, Stubenrauchplatz 1. I knew he had retired and was no longer living at the school in Florastraße where he worked as caretaker, but I did not know where my great grandparents were living at the time.
Initially I could not find this Platz on a map; it was renamed to Jochemplatz in 1962. Their flat was on the corner of Jochemplatz and Florastraße, only 60 metres from where they had lived at Florastraße 13 when Fritz Boltz was school caretaker. The school is still in existence. There is a small park in the triangle bounded by Jochemplatz.
The 1952 photo above seems to be from their balcony overlooking Florastraße.
My great grandfather died at 2:30 on 6 April 1954 at Nikolassee, Kurstraße 11. This is the address for Evangelisches Krankenhaus Hubertus, now a small general hospital of 200 beds. https://www.krankenhaus.de/evangelisches-krankenhaus-hubertus/
Fritz Hermann Boltz, ‘Der Verstorbene’, the deceased, was born on 13 July 1878 at ‘Götz, Kreis Zauch-Belzig (Standesamt Götz Nr. 12)’, that is, at Götz in the district of Zauch-Belzig (Registry office Götz Number 12).
He was married to Hedwig Anna Berta Boltz, born Bertz.
The death was entered from a verbal report from a businessman, Willi Lindemann, residing in Berlin-Steglitz, Grunewaldstraße 4. The reporter is known [presumably to the deceased]. He stated that he had been informed of the death from his own knowledge.
‘Todesursache Krebs der Vorsteherdrüse, Knochenmetastasierung’: Cause of death: cancer of the prostate gland, bone metastasis.
The death certificate does not mention children. Fritz and Anna had only one child, my grandfather Hans. He had emigrated to Australia in 1949.
My mother does not recall Willi Lindemann but remembers that her paternal grandparents had several close friends, Willi Lindemann presumably one of these. His address, in Grunewaldstraße, was close to theirs in Florastraße.
Fritz’s widow, my great grandmother Anna, continued to live in Berlin until 1959, when she emigrated to Australia. She lived in Canberra with her son Hans until her death on 29 April 1961.
The new collection of death records from Berlin has several of my relatives, and I hope to be able to learn more about my family history from them. Already, besides the death of Fritz Boltz, I have found Anna’s mother Henriette who died in 1942 and learned her father’s name.
- Information about the Berlin, Germany Deaths 1874 – 1955 records can be found at https://www.ancestry.com.au/search/collections/2958/
- “Gesetz über die Beurkundung des Personenstandes und die Form der Eheschließung”: The amended 1875 legislation can be found at https://de.wikisource.org/wiki/Gesetz_%C3%BCber_die_Beurkundung_des_Personenstandes_und_die_Eheschlie%C3%9Fung The Google Chrome browser translates it quite adequately.
- German Wikipedia
- Civil Status Act (Germany): History