Some time in the 1840s the French cadastre system of recording land ownership for tax purposes was introduced into the Pfalz region of Bavaria. Records such as the one shown below identified parcels owned by a particular individual, recorded the taxation amounts, and provided some information about how the owner came to possess the parcel.

Intro to Kataster for Abraham Decker in Gauersheim

The details of individual parcels were arranged in a table like this:

Details of a particular parcel

There was also an associated map that showed locations of the various parcels. My question is what kinds of property records were kept in the Pfalz region prior to the introduction of this system, and what was the origin of these parcel numbers? Was a survey done specifically for this purpose, or were results of earlier surveys reused? Who kept track of land ownership prior to the Kataster system? Do these records survive to the present day, and, if so, where can they be found? In the same archive as the Kataster records? Elsewhere? What are they called?

  • What a fabulous set of records. I would love to know the answers to your questions. In my experience from English land records, both reused and new surveys feature, but the systems were different. I suspect that the earlier land records were recorded by feudal authorities i.e manor in England, barony in Scotland. What was the system in this area?
    – Sue Adams
    Jan 7, 2013 at 10:24
  • I don't know what they did, or how they bootstrapped this system. That's the crux of my question. Jan 7, 2013 at 16:37
  • Where did you find these records?
    – Sue Adams
    Jan 8, 2013 at 10:47
  • These came from the State Archives in Speyer, Germany. They don't exist in digital form; just on paper. Jan 8, 2013 at 16:38

1 Answer 1


The Geschichte der Vermessung in Bayern (History of Surveying in Bavaria) can be found at http://vermessung.bayern.de/historisches.html.

The emphasis appears to be more on mapping than land ownership but it may suggest some more focused lines of inquiry.

  • Interestingly, the focus is not only primarily on mapping, but is also seemingly constrained by the current boundaries of Bavaria. This is unfortunate for me, as the Pfalz area is not in Bavaria any longer. Jan 8, 2013 at 20:30

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.