Estonia Land & Property
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Online Records[edit | edit source]
- Estonian Land records, 1564-1884 (images)
Introduction[edit | edit source]
Periodically, detailed information was gathered by authorities to determine all manner of taxation.
Record Types[edit | edit source]
Ploughland Revisions / Wackenbücher[edit | edit source]
During the period of Swedish power (1561-1710), a great deal of attention was paid to the economic carrying capacity of farms before taxing and imposing burdens on the people. Detailed information was gathered for taxation purposes in the form of ploughland revisions. These revisions and Wackenbücher (wackeböcker) began in the 17th century and can be found in archives in Estonia, Sweden, and Latvia. Some are also available on the FamilySearch Catalog. In North Estonia, ploughland revisions were carried out in 1725-1726, 1732, 1739, 1740, 1750-1751, 1756-1757, 1765, and 1774. In South Estonia, they were carried out in 1724, 1731, 1738, 1744, 1751, and 1758. The complete set of South-Estonian revision records are located in the Russian State Archives of Early Acts in Moscow.
Many records are available online at:
Content[edit | edit source]
Unfortunately, only the owner of the farm was named in ploughland revisions; the rest of the family are represented in figures across their age categories (categories included: the men with working capacity, the women with working capacity, old and injured men, old and injured women, boys, girls). Migration information was often included in revisions. An overview about animals on the farm (including horses, oxen, cattle, and young cattle) was also listed. The Wackenbücher presented all burdens and taxes in every variety. The names of owners changed at times; nicknames or shortened names were sometimes used.
Research Strategy[edit | edit source]
It is sometimes hard to connect farm owners between the various revisions. The Northern War (1700-1721), and the accompanying plague, directly led to an extensive resettlement of the population that took both in the bounds of the manor and outside. Although people who moved from one place to another were registered in ploughland revisions, sometimes external peasants held in bondage (a practice at the time) were not listed. Also, with the massive resettling, some poorer farmers who settled in empty farms (by consequence of the plague) were given the former name of the farm as their surname.
To bridge the gap between revisions, use church registers, conscription lists, and the records of damages caused by the war.
- Must, Aadu. "The Sources of Estonian Family History." In Eestlaste perekonnaloo allikad. Estonia: Kleio, 2000.