Pomerania (Pommern), Prussia, German Empire Genealogy

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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.

Pomerania (Pommern),
German Empire Wiki Topics
220px-Zamek Ksiazat Pomorskich w Szczecinie (widok z wiezy).jpg
Getting Started
Pomerania (Pommern)
Major Record Types
Reading the Records
Additional Pomerania (Pommern)
Record Types
Pomerania (Pommern)
Pomerania (Pommern) Research Resources
Germany Record Types
Germany Background

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:

See More Research Strategies

Germany Research Tools

Links to tools and websites that assist in German research:

See More Research Tools
Ask the

Historical Geography[edit | edit source]

Pomerania (Pommern) within the German Empire

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The Split of Pomerania (Pommern)
Between Germany and Poland

Pomeraniamap Germany Poland split.png

German Counties (Kreise) of Pomerania (Pommern) in 1871
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Blue: Regierungsbezirk Stralsund
Gold: Regierungsbezirk Stettin
Orange: Regierungsbezirk Köslin

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.

History of Pomerania (Pommern) in the German Empire
Geo-Political Differences Today
FamilySearch Catalog
(organized by 1871 Meyer's Gazetteer)
Wiki Pages


1945: The western part became part of the current state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
1945: The eastern part, Pomeralia became the Pomeranian Voivodeship of Poland (Map)

Preussen, Pommern

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.
Also, see:

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

To use Kartenmeister, simply enter the German name of the town in the search field.

Kartenmeister search.png

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):

Kartenmeister entry.png

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]

  • These printable handouts can be used for ready reference when reading German Handwriting.
Vocabulary found on Specific Records:
Dates, Numbers, Abbreviations:
Miscellaneous Vocabulary:
  • Fraktur Font -- Many forms and books are printed in this font.
German Given Names:

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

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.

  1. 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.
  2. Watch the General Resources portion to learn how to check for parish registers using
    1. The PRADZIAD Database
    2. Szukaj w Archiwach
    3. The Lost Shoe Box, with links to:
      1. Geneteka
      2. Metryki GenBaza
      3. Szukaj w Archiwach
    4. Archion, Cooperative of protestant archives ($)
    5. Archives Portal Europe
  3. Watch the Pomerania portion, which begins at 28:52 minutes.