Franconia (Medieval Duchy)

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General Information


The duchy of Franconia (Herzogtum Franken) consisted in early medieval times of the river Main region, the central Rhine river area (roughly Worms - Cologne) and Hesse.


Franconia, one of the five tribal duchies of Germany, was founded in the ninth century. Its name was derived from the Franks who settled there early in the Middle Ages. It later split into West-Franken or Rhein-Franken (around the city of Mainz) and East- or Main-Franken (around the city of W├╝rzburg). Since about 1200 AD the name "Franken" was only applied to the Main-Franken-part.

Most of this area passed to Bavaria on the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1803-1806. Franconia was then divided into three administrative districts: Mittelfranken (Middle Franconia), Oberfranken (Upper Franconia) and Unterfranken (Lower Franconia). They now form the northern segment of the state of Bavaria.
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Genealogical and Historical Records

Most researchers are probably not at the point of conducting genealogical research into medieval Franconia and should probably consult the information available on Franken (Franconia). Genealogical research in the medieval period in any place can be both quite difficult and different than for subsequent periods. Apart from the nobility, surnames were not yet generally in use, nor were, as a rule, parish records maintained. Thus, medieval researchers must employ a much different set of tools and resources. Should you have traced your heritage back to medieval Franconia, however, the best place to start is probably the USENET newsgroup soc.genealogy.medieval where you will find other researchers with advice and similar goals.

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