Stolp is the German name for a city in Poland, and was historically an administrative district (Kreis) in Pommern. The Polish name for the city and area is Słupsk. Other older names referencing this area include: Ztulp , Sloop , Slupz , Ztulpz , Schlupitzk and Schlupz.
The area of Stolp was historically a Kashubian settlement, independant of Polish or German identity. The area came under the rule of the Duchy of Pomerania in the 11th century, was breifly conquered by Sweden in the 1600's, then returned to Pomeranian rule until the 1800's when it came under the rule of the Prussian state. In 1818, region of Stolp became a Kreis, and in 1898, the city of Stolp became a Stadtkreis.
Stolp remained under Germanic rule until World War II, when the Soviet Army invaded the area and pillaged the city of Stolp. The area then became part of the Polish state under the Soviet Union, and remained part of the country of Poland upon the dissolution of the U.S.S.R.
The people of the Stolp area fall into several different ethnic or national identities. Many of the residents of the area were Germanic Lutherans, pushing eastward in an expanding migration out of Prussia. Much of the Slavic community of Pomerania, including Stolp, became assimilated into the German community and lost the slavic languages and cultures native to the region. Also powerful was the pressure of the Polish Catholic community from the East to assimilate the slavic tribes under a unified Slavic/Polish identity. A few communities in the Stolp area maintained their unique slavic cultural identity for several centuries by resisting assimilation and intermarriage, but most residents today now identify themselves first as members of the Polish nation.
Glowitz: The "Kashubian Jerusalem"
The Kashubians are one of the tribes that resisted the assimilation and maintained a unique cultural identity in the presence of pressures from Germanic and Polish communities to assimilate. The Kashubians once occupied a large area of land stretching from Danzig (Polish: Gdańsk) in the East to Stolp (Polish: Słupsk) in the West, and from the northern coast inland almost 100 miles. Most ethnic Kashubians assimilated into the Polish or Germanic cultures, though a small community on the Leba See (Leba Lake) retained its cultural identity, and became known as the "Kashubian Jerusalem" because it was a center of culture and religion for the people. Many of the records of the Kashubian christenings, marriages, and other events were recorded in the Lutheran records in Glowitz.
Research in Stolp
A few post-World War II records for this area are held by the Family History Library, but most are not. Research has been undertaken by the Stolp Family History Group to gather and make available the records of Stolp, and in particular of the Kashubian people in Glowitz as recorded in the Lutheran records. Any effort to perform research for families in Stolp should include contact with the Stolp Family History Group, and a donation to their organization in exchange for copies of records they have gathered. This group speaks German predominantly, but their English is good enough for correspondence about family history research. Several U.S. families have had success in coordinating research with this group though email.
For information about what Church Books in Stolp are still surviving, see Stolp Parish Records (In German)
Additionally, over 5,000 names with ties to Glowitz obtained through correspondence with this group have been added to FamilySearch Tree (FamilySearch).
The Reformed Church in Stolp
The Reformed parish of Stolp was small as far as members were concerned, however, embraced a much wider circle of villages. Included were the city and surroundings of Stolp, Bütow, Rummelsburg and Schlawe (affiliate Rügenwalde) as well as a good part of West Prussia (affiliate Tuchel and Marienfelde). 17 ½ pages full of very detailed information give the researcher a good picture of what happened in this parish. He will not only find dates of birth, confirmations, marriages and deaths but also personal information, such as a member leaving to join a military unit far away from home. The author, Walter Eylert, has extracted the information from 1672 to 1715 and published it in Archiv für Sippenforschung, Jahrgang 11, Heft 10 (1934), beginning with page 336. The periodical is found in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah on the International Floor. The call number is 943 B2as.
- Pomeranian Genealogy Website - http://www.genealoger.com/german/pommern/kreis/stolp.htm
- German Wikipedia entry on Glowitz - http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C5%82%C3%B3wczyce_(Powiat_S%C5%82upski)
- Stolp Family History Group Website - http://www.stolp.de/