Pomerania (Pommern), German Empire Genealogy
Guide to Pomerania (Pommern), German Empire ancestry, family history, and genealogy before 1945: birth records, marriage records, death records, both church and civil registration, compiled family history, and finding aids.
In this region, part of Germany which was lost to other countries after World War II, many records, both church/parish registers and civil registration records, were damaged, destroyed, or misplaced.
Historical Background[edit | edit source]
- Prussia gained the southern parts of Swedish Pomerania in 1720, invaded and annexed Pomerelia from Poland in 1772, and gained the remainder of Swedish Pomerania in 1815, after the Napoleonic Wars.
- The former Brandenburg-Prussian Pomerania and the former Swedish parts were reorganized into the Prussian Province of Pomerania, while Pomerelia was made part of the Province of West Prussia.
- With Prussia, both provinces joined the newly constituted German Empire in 1871.
- Under the German rule the Polish minority suffered discrimination and oppressive measures aimed at eradicating its culture.
- Pomeranian Jews were deported to a reservation near Lublin.
- The Polish population suffered heavily during the World War II; more than 40,000 died in executions, death camps, prisons and forced labor, primarily those who were teachers, businessmen, priests, politicians, former army officers, and civil servants. Thousands of Poles and Kashubians suffered deportation, their homes taken over by the German military and civil servants, as well as some Baltic Germans resettled there between 1940-1943.
- After World War II, the German–Polish border was shifted west to the Oder–Neisse line, and all of Pomerania was under Soviet military control.
- The German citizens of the former eastern territories of Germany and Poles of German ethnicity were expelled, and the area was resettled primarily with Poles of Polish ethnicity, (some themselves expellees from former eastern Poland) and some Poles of Ukrainian ethnicity (resettled under Operation Vistula) and few Polish Jews.
- Most of Hither or Western Pomerania (Vorpommern) remained in Germany, and at first about 500,000 fled and expelled Pomeranians found refuge there, later many moved on to other German regions and abroad.
- Today German Hither Pomerania (Western Pomerania or Vorpommern) forms the eastern part of the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, while the Polish part is divided between the West Pomeranian and Pomeranian voivodeships, with their capitals in Szczecin and Gdańsk. Wikipedia
Getting Started[edit | edit source]
Getting Started with Germany Research
Links to articles on getting started with German research:
Germany Research Tools
Links to tools and websites that assist in German research:
Historical Geography[edit | edit source]
Between Germany and Poland
Western Pomerania (Vorpommern)[edit | edit source]
In 1945, the western portion of Pomerania (Pommern) became part of the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany. Genealogical research in that region uses somewhat different sources, archives, and address directories than the part of Pomerania (Pommern) that was given to Poland.
Finding Birth, Marriage, and Death Records for Pomerania (Pommern)[edit | edit source]
Most of the information you need to identify you ancestors and their families will be found in two major record groups: civil registration and church records. To locate these records, follow the instructions in these Wiki articles.
1. Find the name of your ancestor's town in family history records.[edit | edit source]
Records were kept on the local level. You must know the town where your ancestor lived. If your ancestor was a United States Immigrant, use the information in the Wiki article Germany Finding Town of Origin to find evidence of the name of the town where your ancestors lived in Germany.
- Hinterpommern- List of emigrants from Pomerania
- Germany, Pomerania Passenger Lists, ($). 1869-1901. Index and images. In German ($) - Ancestry.com
- Untitled surname list of Pomerania emigrants. by Rebel Kreklow.
- Germany Displaced Persons Research: If your ancestors were evacuated from their homes at the end of World War II, see this article.
- Are Your Ancestors From Pommern, Cochem-Zell or From Pomerania (Pommern)?
2. Use gazetteers and/or parish register inventories to learn more important details.[edit | edit source]
Your ancestor's town might have been too small to have its own parish church or civil registration office. Find the location of the Catholic or Lutheran (Evangelical) parish that served your ancestor's locality. Find the name of the civil registration office (Standesamt) that serves your ancestor's locality. Use the Wiki article Finding Aids For German Records for step-by-step instructions.
Germany was first unified as a nation in 1871. An important gazetteer, Meyers Orts- und Verkehrs-lexikon des deutschen Reichs, "Meyer's Gazetter" for short, details the place names of villages, towns, counties (kreise), and higher jurisdictions used at that time. In the Research Wiki, FamilySearch Catalog, and FamilySearch Historical Records, the records of Germany are organized using those place names.
At the end of both World Wars, the boundaries of the states were changed dramatically, as areas of Germany were distributed among the Allied nations. Eventually, after re-unification in 1990, the states of Germany settled into what they are today. It is also necessary to understand Germany by this system, as it affects the locations of civil registration offices, archives, and mailing addresses used in correspondence searches.
Consult Kartenmeister for parish and Standesamt information.[edit | edit source]
If Kartenmeister is having temporary technical difficulties, check back later.
For the Polish part of Pomerania (Pommern) the online gazetteer Kartenmeister most efficiently tells you parish information:
Kartenmeister Search Engine
A Typical Kartenmeister Record
The most important information points here are the
name of the Lutheran parish, the name of the Catholic parish, and the location of the civil registry office (Standesamt):
3. For birth, marriage, and death records after 1 October 1874, use civil registration.[edit | edit source]
Follow the instructions in Pomerania (Pommern), German Empire Civil Registration.
4. For baptism, marriage, and death records, use church records or parish registers.[edit | edit source]
Follow the instructions in Pomerania (Pommern), German Empire Church Records.
More Research Strategies and Tools[edit | edit source]
- Germany Online Classes and Tutorials
- Reading German Handwritten Records Practice exercises to build your skills and confidence.
- Old German Script Transcriber (alte deutsche Handschriften): See your family names in the script of the era. Type your name or other word into the font generator tool. Click on the 8 different fonts. Save the image to your computer and use it as you work with old Germanic records.
- Finding Aids for German Records
- Research Tips and Strategies
- Print these handouts for ready reference when reading German Handwriting:
- Kurrent Letters Handout
- Numbers Handout
- Birth Records Handout
- Marriage Records Handout
- Death Records Handout
- Days and Months Handout
- Common Symbols Handout
- Common Abbreviations Handout
- List of Names in Old German Script A comprehensive list of German given names, written in old script, with possible variations.
- Fraktur Font--Many forms and books are printed in this font.
- German Research, BYU Independent Study, no cost.
More Research Tools Specific to Pomerania (Pommern)[edit | edit source]
- Go to top right of screen. > Click "in English". > Go to "Town search in Pomerania". > Enter locality name. > Select from list of results. > Scroll down. > Click to interact with map
- Finding Genealogy Data in Central & Eastern Europe
- Researching “Lost” Eastern German Provinces
- Finding Former Eastern German Place Names
- Prussian Mennonite Research Materials
- Finding Online Records in Poland
Take These Online Classes to Prepare[edit | edit source]
Because there was a heavy loss and misplacement of records, there have been many organizations invested in gathering, preserving, and indexing the remaining records. Learning how to use the collections produced by these efforts will be key in your ability to successfully locate records. These classes will demonstrate the use of these tools.
- Pommerscher Greif e. V., Association for Pomeranian Family and Local History.
- German Research: Strategies and Sources for Eastern Provinces. Be sure to download the class syllabus.
- Watch the Specific Geography portion to learn how to use MeyersGaz.org and Kartenmeister.com to get the details of the German and Polish names of your town and its higher jurisdictions.
- Watch the General Resources portion to learn how to check for parish registers using
- Watch the Pomerania portion, which begins at 28:52 minutes.