Unterfranken (Lower Franconia)

From GenWiki

Jump to: navigation, search

Regional Research > Germany, after 1989 > Bavaria > Unterfranken (Lower Franconia)

Location of Administrative District (Regierungsbezirk) Unterfranken within the Federal State (Bundesland) Bavaria



Unterfranken (Lower Franconia) is one of the 7 administrative districts (Regierungsbezirk) of Bavaria (Bayern).

Coat of Arms

Unterfranken - Coat of arms
Der Fränkische Rechen

The Lower Franconian coat of arms represents the former territories that made up the main parts of this area. The flag (standard) represents the former Hochstift Würzburg (territory of the Bishopric), the wheel represents the territory formerly owned by the Erzstift Mainz and the third part is the Fränkischen Rechen.

Der Fränkische Rechen (the Franconian rake or saw-tooth) shows three white (silver) spires on a red background. The saw-tooth has become a symbol commonly associated with the whole region of Franconia - consisting of Lower Franconia, Middle Franconia and Upper Franconia. In medieval times there never was a united political entity called Franken (Franconia), only a lot of small formerly sovereign states and numerous ecclesiastical holdings that made up this region. Due to this there had never been an actual historical coat of arms for the whole region of Franconia. Nevertheless the white and red Fränkischer Rechen became the symbol for Franconia; in the so-called great version of Bavarias coat of arms as well as in the coat of arms of the other two Franconian administrative districts.

General Information

Unterfranken (Lower Franconia) is located in the northwest of Bavaria and is the most northern of the seven Bavarian administrative districts, yet its located right in the heart of Germany. It borders on the Bavarian administrative districts Middle Franconia and Upper Franconia and it also borders on these German Federal States: in the northwest on Hesse, in the northeast on Thuringia and in the southwest on Baden-Württemberg. Wine growing is an over 1200 years old documented tradition of Lower Franconia. The Franconian wine (Frankenwein) is considered as one of the top-quality wines of Germany and is an absolute top-quality product in Europe. The three largest and the two oldest wine-growing estates of Germany are located in Lower Franconia. Its also famous for its medical health spas (Heilbäder), three of the five Bavarian "Staatsbäder" (medical spas) are located in Lower Franconia. The largest river in Lower Franconia is the Main, its the back bone and life-line of this region.

Data: 2003 Area in qkm Population Inhabitants /qkm
Unterfranken (Lower Franconia) 8,531 1,344,740 158
Middle Franconia 7,245 1,706,615 236
Upper Franconia 7,231 1,109,674 153
Franconia total 23,007 4,161,029 181
Bavaria total 70,549 12,423,386 176

(Source: Bayerisches Landesamt für Statistik und Datenverarbeitung, Genesis online)

see also:

Political Structure

Lower Franconias administrative Capital is the city of Würzburg.

Counties of Unterfranken


Independent Cities

Structure before 1972/78

In 1972/78 Bavaria had a major re-organization of the administrative system - a county-reform (Landkreisreform) and the municipality-reform (Gemeindereform). Aim was to downsize the number of existing administrative counties (Landkreise), independent cities (Kreisfreie Städte) and municipalities (Gemeinden). After these reforms a lot of formerly independent places and communities became part of another municipality (sometimes with this even became part of another county). Also some formerly existing counties were combined and the old county names ceased to exists. In some areas of Bavaria places even changed the administrative district (Regierungsbezirk) they belonged too.

Lower Franconias past administrative structure:(**)

Lower Franconia since 1972 before 1972
Counties 9 23
Independent Cities   3 4
Municipalities 308  ?

Counties (before county/municipality reforms in 1972 / 78):

  • Alzenau in Ufr.
  • Aschaffenburg
  • Bad Brückenau
  • Bad Kissingen
  • Bad Neustadt an der Saale
  • Ebern
  • Gemünden
  • Gerolzhofen
  • Hammelburg
  • Haßfurt
  • Hofheim in Ufr.
  • Karlstadt
  • Kitzingen
  • Bad Königshofen im Grabfeld
  • Lohr am Main
  • Marktheidenfeld
  • Mellrichstadt
  • Miltenberg
  • Obernburg am Main
  • Ochsenfurt
  • Schweinfurt
  • Volkach
  • Würzburg

Independent Cities (before county/municipality reforms in 1972 / 78):

  • Aschaffenburg
  • Schweinfurt
  • Würzburg
  • Kitzingen

(Source: Handbuch der bayerischen Ämter, Gemeinden und Gerichte 1799-1980, Hrsg. W. Volkert)

Church Structure

Due to historical reasons Lower Franconia population is dominantly more catholic then in the other two Franconian administrative districts. Lower Franconias population is to 75 % Roman-Catholic (römisch-katholisch) and to 20 % protestant (evangelisch-lutherisch), according to data from 1987. This is due to the fact that the main parts of nowadays Lower Franconian combine the territories of the catholic former Hochstift Würzburg, Hochstift Fulda and Kurfürstentum Mainz - beside other smaller secular and ecclesiastical former holdings (see: Maps - territory development). A Hochstift was a former ecclesiastical principality of a bishopric. In the past in Lower Franconia the people either stayed catholic or reverted back to Catholicism after the so-called Gegenreformation (rigorous reinforcing of Catholicism, Counter-Reformation).



Evangelisch-Reformierte Kirche (Evangelical-Reformed Church, Homepage)
Territories and history



Religion of Population (1987)

Religion of population (1987) Population    Roman
Jewish   other
total % % % % %
Bavaria 10,902,643 67 24 0.05 4 5
Lower Franconia 1,202,711 75 20 0.02 2 3
County Aschaffenburg 152,367 83 11 0.01 3 3
County Bad Kissingen 99,022 81 17 0.02 1 2
County Rhön-Grabfeld 77,197 77 21 0.01 1 2
County Haßberge 80,257 71 27 0.01 1 1
County Kitzingen 79,304 54 43 0.01 1 2
County Miltenberg 114,255 80 12 0.01 6 2
County Main-Spessart 122,047 81 15 0.01 2 2
County Schweinfurt 103,697 78 19 0.02 1 2
County Würzburg 138,261 77 19 0.02 1 3
Aschaffenburg (city) 60,964 73 17 0.09 6 5
Schweinfurt (city) 51,962 56 33 0.03 7 4
Würzburg (city) 123,378 69 24 0.06 3 4

(**) incl. Freikirchen

(Data: 1987, Bayerisches Landesamt für Statistik und Datenverarbeitung, Genesis online)


See here separate page:

Historical Political Structure

Before 1803/1806/1814 the territory of Lower Franconia consisted of a varied mix of separate sovereign states and holdings (this situation is in German also called Kleinstaaterei).

Historical predecessor entities on Lower Franconian territory before 1803/1806/1814:

  • Hochstift Würzburg (also called Fürstbistum, a former ecclesiastical principality of the archbishopric)
  • Territories of the Kurfürstentum Mainz (ecclesiastical holdings)
  • Territories of the Hochstift Fulda
  • Territory of the Imperial Free City of Schweinfurt
  • Ecclesiastical territories owned by the former Hochstift Bamberg
  • Territories of the Deutschorden
  • Territories of other Franconia monasteries and abbeys (ecclesiastical holdings)
  • Territories of Franconian Counts and noble lords (Reichsritterschaft)

See here also:

Development of the past administrative structure of Lower Franconia after 1814:
Within the organizational structure of the Kingdom of Bavaria, all the separate predecessor entities of current day Lower Franconia were combined and in:

  • 1817: the new Untermainkreis (with capital: Würzburg) was formed

After a re-organization of the royal administration, the administrative region was renamed in:

  • 1837: Kreis Unterfranken und Aschaffenburg, the territory stayed the same.

The main area of this administrative region called Kreis Unterfranken und Aschaffenburg is more or less identical to the Lower Franconia as we know it today. In the following centuries there were only a few changes: e.g. in 1866: county office Bezirksamt Gersfeld was handed over to Prussia, in 1938: administrative region Kreis Unterfranken und Aschaffenburg was renamed into Kreis Mainfranken, in 1946: Kreis Mainfranken was renamed into Regierungsbezirk Unterfranken (administrative district Lower Franonica), in 1972: there were only minor changes in the bordering areas to other Bavarian administrative districts but some major re-organization of the administrative structure within Lower Franconia. See here:

LG ä.O. = Landgericht älterer Ordnung / Landgericht ä.O. (Regional court area of the old Order)

Genealogical and Historical Societies

Genealogical Societies

Historical Societies

  • Historischer Verein von Unterfranken und Aschaffenburg

Genealogical and Historical Documents


Genealogical Literature

Historical Literature

Gazetteers and Maps



Maps showing the territory development of Lower Franconia from 1789-1819:

Maps showing the past administrative organization of Lower Franconia, 1814 until today:

see also:

Archives and Libraries


Church Book Archives:




Regional Food

Regional Landscapes

Internet Links

Official Websites

Genealogical Websites

Gesellschaft f ür Familienforschung in Franken e.V. Society for family research in Franconia, in English and German

Miscellaneous Websites

Data from the Genealogical Place Database (GOV)

GOV-Id adm_369096
  • Untermainkreis (1817-04-01 - 1837-12-31) Source 1817 Spalte 118 (deu)
  • Unterfranken und Aschaffenburg (1838-01-01 - 1938) Source 1837 Spalte 798 (deu)
  • Mainfranken (1938 - 1946) (deu)
  • Unterfranken (1946 -) (deu)
  • Lower Franconia (1946 -) (eng)
  • Kreis (1817-04-01 - 1939) Source 1817 Spalte 118
  • administrative district (1939 -)
external id
  • BLO:11
web page

TK25: 6026

Superordinate objects

Bavaria, Bayern, Bavière, Beieren, Бавария (1946 -) ( federal state )

Bavaria, Baiern, Churpfalz-Baiern, Kurpfalz-Bayern, Pfalz-Baiern, Bayern (1817-04-01 - 1946) ( duchy kingdom free state ) Source 1817 Spalte 118

Subordinate objects
name type GOV-Id Timespan
Königshofen rural county object_275019 (- 1972)
Haßberge rural county adm_139674
Miltenberg rural county adm_139676 (1817 -)
Miltenberg Amt district office object_884458 (1817 -)
Rothenbuch Landgericht object_394070 (1817 - 1879)
Schöllkrippen Landgericht Magistrates' Court object_285580 (1858-10-01 - 1862-06-30)
Bad Neustadt, Rhön-Grabfeld rural county adm_139673
Kitzingen rural county adm_139675
Schweinfurt county-level city adm_139662
Schweinfurt rural county adm_139678
Lohr am Main Oberamt rural county object_221044 (- 1972)
Gerolzhofen district office rural county object_218057 (- 1972)
Kissingen, Bad Kissingen rural county adm_139672
Würzburg Stadt adm_139663
Würzburg rural county adm_139679
Alzenau district office rural county object_217763 (1862-07-01 - 1972-06-30)
Alzenau Landgericht Magistrates' Court object_285572 (1817-04-01 - 1862-06-30)
Aschaffenburg Stadt adm_139661
Aschaffenburg district office rural county adm_139671 (1862-07-01 -)
Aschaffenburg Landgericht Magistrates' Court object_285574 (1817 -)
Marktheidenfeld district office rural county object_218058 (- 1972-06-30)
Hammelburg district office rural county object_1049782
Ochsenfurt rural county object_215669 (- 1972)
Mittelmain, Main-Spessart rural county adm_139677 (1972-07-01 -)
Brückenau, Bad Brückenau district office rural county object_386996 (- 1972-06-30)
Mellrichstadt rural county object_275021 (- 1972)

Umleitung fehlt

Counties and Independent Cities in Administrative District Unterfranken (Lower Franconia)

Aschaffenburg (City) | Schweinfurt (City) | Würzburg (City) |
Counties: Aschaffenburg | Bad Kissingen | Haßberge | Main-Spessart | Miltenberg | Rhön-Grabfeld | Schweinfurt | Würzburg |

Administrative Districts in the Federal State Bavaria

Mittelfranken (Middle Franconia) | Niederbayern (Lower Bavaria) | Oberbayern (Upper Bavaria) | Oberfranken (Upper Franconia) |
Oberpfalz (Upper Palatinate) | Schwaben (Swabia) | Unterfranken (Lower Franconia) |

Personal tools
In other languages