Local history

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Under history refers to the history of a town , a village , a town or a regionally defined area and the related history . The history of the city as a historical discipline must be distinguished from local history .

Tasks of the local, urban and regional history

City and regional history not only make a contribution to awareness of one's own identity. It also complements the view of national and even world history . The parallel consideration of the great history concerning the continents with urban and regional historical insights provides mutual thought impulses and possibilities for examination. Some nationally valid knowledge first grew on a local historical discovery. The preoccupation with city and regional history thus also contains a potential for nationally significant knowledge. It is therefore worth checking the extent to which regional peculiarities exist within a general historical development and, if necessary, researching their reasons. Analyzing the strengths and weaknesses that emerge when comparing the historical development of regions can therefore contribute to strategic regional or urban development planning. Small towns and villages have few opportunities to make independent contributions to science and research. However, research into local and urban history with its regional, possibly also national or even international references, is the typical task of historical research “on site”.

Comparing national or even international history on the one hand with local, urban and regional history on the other opens up opportunities for mutual verification or falsification . A comparison of developments at local or regional level shows that developments are not identical everywhere and creates opportunities for differentiation. It is therefore also the task of historical research to examine the circumstances under which developments can develop differently in different places.

Home history

The home history is the history of the local area of ​​experience. This area of ​​experience ranges from everyday history to the chronicle of the community in which people live or from which they come. The history of the closer homeland is very often not written by studied historians , but by local researchers or lay people who have acquired basic knowledge themselves. In the Royal Government of Minden, for example, it was decreed (No. 14870 B) "to open and regularly continue a chronicle book in all municipalities of the administrative district from January 1, 1818".

In addition to a local history, a local family book is one of the essential services provided by people who dedicate themselves to local history in their free time or as retirees. To what extent “history” is also preserved orally , in the form of fairy tales and legends , is questionable. In addition to the guided tour of the local history, the local, home or town history can also be presented in a local history museum . Smaller local museums are often only open for a few hours on weekends.

Localities / villages

In the mid-1980s, a so-called "regional turning point" was recorded in historical studies: the historical view of people and their everyday living environment moved into the focus of historical and didactic considerations. In the wake of the regional turnaround, a didactic turnaround is looming. With the recognition of the individual world of experience as a constituent element of teaching, regional history is no longer defined as a politically and geographically fixed space, but as a socio-spatial structure. This functional concept of space can be applied from multiple perspectives and its focus is based on the operationalization made in each case (denominational, economic, natural, etc.)

Regional history / history / history didactics

Village chronicles are part of local and regional history. The oldest forms were the school and church chronicles. These were continuously chronological records that really deserve the name chronicle . These updates were made by the teacher or sexton . Since the middle of the 19th century, keeping school chronicles was one of the duties of the village teacher.

After the Second World War , home history was frowned upon in Germany because it had fallen into disrepute due to National Socialism . In the course of this development, many chronicles were no longer continued.

Local history experienced a renaissance in the course of the 1968 movement . At first it was only about the crimes of the father and grandfather generation under National Socialism. Soon afterwards the first history workshops were founded. In them, material was collected and archived, often under the expert guidance of laypeople. The results of this collective work have been published; but these were not yet village chronicles.


The city ​​archives with their often rich tradition, z. B. the citizen books , have often provided material for exemplary studies. Chronicles of cities are often of historical relevance and extensive complexity, which is why they are usually developed by historians .


Local historiography in Switzerland began around 1850. The liberal revolution around 1830 in the cantons and in 1848 at the national level gave impetus for dealing with local history. Knowledge of one's own history was seen as a prerequisite for a functioning democracy. Up until the 20th century, local history was shaped by non-academic historians such as teachers, pastors and community politicians. In addition to these individuals, local and regional history societies and, in some cases, the universities were also actors in this field. Numerous associations are involved in the local history. The cantonal historical societies are further actors in this field. There is no national association for local history in Switzerland; the Swiss History Society does not have a corresponding section either. Important institutions are archives, libraries and museums that provide materials in cantons and municipalities and that are also actively involved in local historiography. The Historical Lexicon of Switzerland contains an overview article on all of the 3000 or so municipalities in Switzerland.


Sources of urban and local history research are chronicles, documents and files, photographs and interviews with contemporary witnesses (“ Oral History ” method from social and mental history research); the local newspapers are important.

See also



  • JB Hafen: About local chronicles. In: Writings of the Association for the History of Lake Constance and its Surroundings. , 1st issue. Stettner, Lindenau 1869, pp. 119–123. ( Digitized version )
  • Sebastian Haumann et al. (Ed.): Concepts of Urban-Environmental History . Transcript, Bielefeld 2020. ISBN 978-3-8376-4375-6 .
  • Carl-Hans Hauptmeyer : Local History Today. In: Carl-Hans Hauptmeyer (Ed.): State history today. Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, Göttingen 1987, ISBN 978-3525335260 , pp. 77-96.
  • Georg Hering: Personal and family studies, a necessary prerequisite for a deeper understanding of local history. Hessische Chronik 18 (1931), pp. 1-19; 27-52.
  • August Holder : The local chronicles, their cultural-historical significance and educational use. A contribution to the correct assessment of the idyllic chronicle cult. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 1886. ( digitized version )
  • Ulrike Kerschbaum, Erich Rabl (Hrsg.): Heimatforschung today. Lectures at the symposium “New Aspects of Local and Regional History” from October 24th to 26th, 1987 in Horn. (= Series of publications of the Waldviertel Heimatbund, Volume 29). Horn, Krems an der Donau 1988, ISBN 978-3-900708-03-0 .
  • Horst Matzerath : Local history, urban history, historical urbanization research? In: Geschichte und Gesellschaft, 15 (1989), ISSN  0340-613X , pp. 62-88.
  • Karl Heinz Schneider : Working with specialist literature. Building blocks for home and regional history. (= Niedersächsische Heimatbund (Hrsg.): Writings on home care, Volume 1). Landbuch-Verlag, Hannover 1987, ISBN 978-3784203591 .


  • Max Baumann: Local and Regional History. In: Boris Schneider, Francis Python (ed.): Historical research in Switzerland. Balance sheet and perspectives 1991. Basel 1992, pp. 417–428. First published in Swiss Journal for History, 41 (1991), pp. 169–180. ( Digitized version )
  • Sebastian Brändli: Local history as historiography from below? Zurich local stories: occasions, authors, topics. In: Writing history in Zurich. The role of the antiquarian society in researching and maintaining the past. (= Communications from the Antiquarian Society in Zurich, Volume 69). Zurich 2002, pp. 59–92.
  • Gilbert Coutaz: Panorama des monographies communales. Un premier bilan à l'occasion du bicentenaire du canton de Vaud. In: Revue historique vaudoise, 111 (2003), pp. 94-239. (French; digitized version )
  • Christian Lüthi: Local historiography in the canton of Bern. Inventory and trends of the last decades. In: Berner Zeitschrift für Geschichte und Heimatkunde, vol. 67 (2005), pp. 1–36. ( Digitized version )
  • Bruno Meier: Writing history in the local area. Results and trends from Aargau over the past 25 years. In: Argovia, 115 (2003), pp. 39-45. ( Digitized version )

Web links

Wiktionary: Home history  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Foreword in: Schwerin history of the city. Editors: Bernd Kasten and Jens-Uwe Rost, Schwerin 2005. ISBN 3-935749-38-4 , p. 7.
  2. Hermann Junghans: The legacy of history - of the meaning, the successes, the lessons and the traces of history - a historical-philosophical consideration. Milow 2004. ISBN 3-933978-93-9 , p. 16.
  3. Chronicle of the municipality of Helmern 1813–1984. Helmern 1986.
  4. ^ Christian Lüthi: Switzerland. Norks Localhistorisk Institutt, archived from the original on November 25, 2014 ; accessed on November 14, 2014 (English).