Posen, Germany Genealogy
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Guide to Posen ancestry, family history, and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, parish registers, and military records.
Finding Birth, Marriage, and Death Records for Posen
Most of your genealogical research for Posen will be in three main record types: civil registration, church records, and, when available, a compiled town genealogy ("'Ortssippenbuch" or "Ortsfamilienbuch" in German). These articles will teach you how to use these records on digital databases, as microfilms, or by writing for them.
For German Research, You Must Know Your Ancestors' Town
- To begin using the records of Germany, knowing that your family came from Posen will not be enough to use the records of Germany. Records are kept on the local level, so you will have to know the town they lived in.
- Details about the town will also help:
- the county or "Kreis" of that town,
- where the closest Evangelical Lutheran or Catholic parish church was (depending on their religion),
- where the civil registration office ("Standesamt") was, and
- if you have only a village name, you will need the name of the larger town it was part of.
Research to Find the Town
If you do not yet know the name of the town of your ancestor's birth, there are well-known strategies for a thorough hunt for it.
- Use Gathering Information to Locate Place of Origin as a guide in exhausting every possible record to find what you need.
- Or watch this webinar: Online Class: Finding German Places of Origin
If You Know the Town, Next Use Meyers Gazetteer
Once you know the town name you need, the other facts you need are contained in Meyers Orts- und Verkehrs-lexikon des deutschen Reichs, the gazetteer on which the FamilySearch catalog for Germany is based.
- Use MeyersGaz, the digital gazetteer, to find the details you need, particularly the Kreis (county) it belonged to, found after "Kr".
- MeyersGaz Help Guide
- Abbreviation Table
Here is part of an entry from MeyersGaz.org. (The whole entry can be studied at Heusenstamm, MeyersGaz.)
Next, find your town in Kartenmeister.com to learn the Polish name and upper jurisdictions that the town became known by after 1945.
A Typical Kartenmeister Record
Take These Online Classes to Prepare
- 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 Posen portion, which begins at 36:19 minutes.
Posen Historical Geography
From 1866--1918, the Province of Posen was part of the German Empire. Because the Germany Family History (FamilySearch) Catalog is organized according to the 1871 place names, you will look for records there under "Posen". Between 1918 and 1945, Posen and parts of Posen changed frequently between the jurisdiction of Germany and Poland. The population was split between those ethnicities and so the ownership of the area was contested. At the end of World War II, according to the treaty, all of Posen was granted to Poland. The German population was expelled. Provinz Poznań, Wikipedia
District of Bromberg (Green) District of Poznan (Posen) (Pink)
There are many tools available to the researcher of Posen ancestors.
The most complete online resource for Posen genealogical research is the website for the Posen-L mailing list, in two forms:
Among the most important resources at these two sister sites, are:
- A town search tool with "fuzzy" search logic
- Ability to record your personal research interests and to contact others and to be contacted.
- The Wiki section contains a comprehensive hierarchical set of articles (over 10,000) for every Kreis ("county"), village/town/estate, every parish, police, civil registration office, court and military district. You can start at the article for the Province of Posen and drill down, or you can use the Town Search tool (above) to find links directly to the town or parish articles.
- A good collection of resource links that are of the most use to Posen researchers.
- Poznan Marriages Project Another very useful site helps you locate marriages in Posen Church records. These are being extracted and put on a database by volunteers.
- 1794-1874 - Germany, Prussia, Brandenburg and Posen, Church Book Duplicates, 1794-1874 at FamilySearch — index and images