Registry office

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Registry office, enamel sign around 1950, GDR

The registry office is an office in Germany (since February 1, 1870 in the Grand Duchy of Baden , from October 1, 1874 in the Kingdom of Prussia and from January 1, 1876 in the rest of the German Empire ) an office for performing the tasks provided for in the Civil Status Act, in particular for managing the Civil status register , for the creation of civil status documents and other things. In the areas that were now part of the territory of the German Empire, such as the Republic of Austria or the Sudetenland, the registry offices were introduced immediately after the border shift.

There are also registry offices in Austria (since 1939) and in Switzerland ( civil registry office since 1876).



Registry offices are organized at community level. This means that each independent city, as well as the respective subunits of the individual districts, have their own registry offices. Large cities, on the other hand, have often set up independent registry offices in individual districts.

Up to December 31, 2008 there were still four main registry offices ( Baden-Baden , Berlin , Hamburg and Munich ), which dealt with special tasks, especially with regard to civil status cases that affected foreign countries. These four main registry offices represented the former four zones of occupation in Germany.

The registry office I in Berlin performs central tasks . Above all, cases that do not fall within the scope of responsibility are taken over by Berlin.


Most of the official processes concern

  1. Births - Entry in the birth register (usually after notification from parents, midwife , doctor or hospital) and issue of a birth certificate .
  2. Marriages - usually in a solemn setting, in which the marriage promise is made and the registrar gives a speech. In most countries, the civil ceremony takes place before the church wedding and - as with this one - requires two witnesses . The civil marriage in Germany no longer requires witnesses.
  3. Deaths and issuance of a death certificate . Many registrars also act in an advisory capacity or make it easier for relatives to contact funeral directors .

These three processes may only be carried out by an authority , because they affect society to a great extent and abuse must be avoided at all costs. The case processing is incumbent on registrars.


Registry office Erfurt in Haus zum Sonneborn, 1989

In earlier times, the so-called personal status cases (were births , marriages and deaths ) only in the parishes run church registers recorded. In the course of time, despite their purely ecclesiastical character, these church registers were also made generally available to public and state purposes. The result was that the state exerted influence over the management of these registers and placed them under state supervision by the lower administrative authorities.

Civil registry offices were introduced in the French-occupied Rhineland between 1792 and 1808 . The oldest registry office books date from 1792. The other registry offices were then set up by the Civil Code .

Only with the entry into force of the Reich Law on the Notarization of Civil Status and Marriage of February 6, 1875 , were uniform registry offices set up in what was then Reich territory with the special task of keeping records of civil status (birth, marriage and death registers). Since then, the marriage can only be entered into under civil law before the registrar.

The image of the registrar himself has changed decisively in these more than 100 years. Whereas in the past it was primarily the mayor or the village school teacher who volunteered as registrars, today this task is usually performed by administrative officials. The duties incumbent on the registrar are matters of the state, which are assigned to the municipalities to fulfill according to instructions.

The field of duties of the registrar has also become more and more extensive over time. In addition to the notarization of the civil status and the preparation (so-called "contingent", since August 1, 1998 registration of the marriage , since August 1, 2001 also registrations of civil partnerships) and the implementation of the marriage and the establishment of civil partnerships , the issuance of civil status documents is one of the most frequent Activities in the registry office, where the registrar issues public documents as a registrar within his business area.

Other tasks include notarizing the acknowledgment of paternity , receiving and notarizing affidavits in matters of personal status, notarizing and receiving declarations of legal name , issuing certificates of marital status , maintaining the will files , regionally receiving declarations to leave the church , notifications to other registry offices and participation in population statistics .


Registry office Villach

The registry offices in Austria are authorities of the indirect federal administration and are subordinate to the respective district administration or the magistrate . They keep the birth , marriage (until January 1, 1984 family ) and death books and are responsible for issuing civil status documents. Many municipalities manage personal status matters themselves ( transferred sphere of activity ), but often small municipalities are grouped together to form civil registry associations or civil registry and citizenship associations.


The administration of civil status matters at the registry offices changed over time. Since a law of April 9, 1870, they were only responsible for persons who did not belong to a legally recognized church or religious society, from October 1, 1895, the competence was extended to the citizens of (then Hungarian ) Burgenland and from October 1, 1895 . January 1939 to the rest of Austria. Before April 1870, the religious communities were responsible for keeping the civil status books.

Marriages have been mandatory civil marriages in Austria since August 1, 1938 (Section 44 ABGB ) and are therefore only legally valid if they were concluded in front of registrars. Since then, church marriages have no longer any legal relevance.

The Central Civil Status Register (ZPR) and the Central Citizenship Register (ZSR) have been in force since November 1, 2014 .

"With the creation of a central civil status register ... not only the central management of civil status cases, but also the general elimination of the book structure (e.g. birth register, marriage register, etc.) and the" classic "local responsibility. ... Citizens can in future have documents issued by the "civil status authority of their choice" ... Furthermore, there is no need to provide proof of documents in the case of civil status (e.g. marriage). ... "

- Central Civil Status Register and Central Citizenship Register ( Memento from March 4, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Status: December 6, 2013.

Web links

Commons : Registry offices  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: registry office  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Central Civil Status Register (ZPR) questions and answers at, accessed on July 21, 2019.