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Vorpommern (region), Pomerania (Pommern), German Empire Genealogy

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Vorpommern (region), Pomerania (Pommern), German Empire Genealogy
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)
Background
Pomerania (Pommern) Research Resources
Germany Record Types
Germany Background

Guide to the Vorpommern region of the 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. This article deals with genealogical research techniques for the small region of Pomerania (Pommern) which remained in Germany after World War II.

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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]

  • Western Pomerania, also called Cispomerania, Hither Pomerania, or Vorpommern, is the western extremity of the historic region of the Duchy (later Province) of Pomerania (Pommern), nowadays divided between the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Poland.
  • Forming part of the southern coast of the Baltic Sea, Western Pomerania's boundaries have changed through the centuries, and it belonged to countries such as Poland, Sweden, Denmark, and Prussia.
  • Before 1945, it embraced the whole area of Pomerania west of the Oder River.
  • At the end of World War II in 1945, a small area of Vorpommern, including Stettin - the region's principal city - and Swinemünde, was transferred along with Eastern Pomerania (Hinterpommern) to Poland. The bulk of Vorpommern became part of the newly constituted state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Wikipedia

Maps[edit | edit source]

Pomerania (Pommern) within the German Empire

1920px-German Empire - Prussia - Pomerania (1871).svg.png

The Split of Pomerania (Pommern)
Between Germany and Poland

Pomeraniamap Germany Poland split.png

Vorpommern2.png

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 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.

3. For birth, marriage, and death records after 1 October 1874, use civil registration.[edit | edit source]

Civil registration records are records of births, marriages, and deaths kept by the government. In DUCHY(DUCHYGERMAN), they were started 1 January 1876. German terms for these records include Standesamtsregister, Zivilstandsregister, or Personenstandsregister. They are an excellent source for information on names and dates and places of births, marriages, and deaths. These records are kept by the civil registrar (Standesbeamte) at the civil registry office (Standesamt). Study these links to learn what information can be found in them:


For a comprehensive understanding of civil registration, study the article Germany Civil Registration.

Determining the Location of a Civil Registration Office[edit | edit source]

Research your town name in MeyersGaz.org to find the location of the registry office (Standesamt). It is indicated by the abbreviation "StdA".

However, some of the offices were merged in 1970's, so the record location might be different than that listed in MeyersGaz.

  • For a small town within a larger municipality:
  • To find the current Standesamt, go to the German Wikipedia, and enter the name of the town in the search box. An article about the town will start with a first line such as: "Besse with about 3200 inhabitants is the largest district of the municipality Edermünde in Hessian Schwalm-Eder-Kreis ." It is probable that the Standesamt is now located in the municipality (in this example Edermünde).
  • To e-mail the municipality to verify that the civil registry for your town is there.
  1. From the Wikipedia town article, click on the name of the municipality that links to that article.
  2. There will usually be an infobox on the right side of page that lists the address and the website of the municipality.
  3. Click on the website. Look for "Kontakt (Contact)" information, which should provide an e-mail address.
  4. Send a message asking whether you have the correct office for your ancestors' home town. You can also use e-mail to request records and arrange payment.
  • For larger towns which constitute a municipality:
  • To find the current Standesamt, go to the German Wikipedia, and enter the name of the town in the search box.
  • This type of article will not state that the town belongs to another municipality, because it is itself a municipality.
  • The infobox that lists the address and the website of the municipality will appear directly on a this first page that comes up.
  • Follow the above instructions #2-4 above.

Privacy Laws[edit | edit source]

Since 2009, birth records have been public after 110 years, marriages after 80 years and deaths after 30 years. A direct relationship (direct descendants and direct ancestors) to the subject of the record sought will be required in cases where the required time period has not yet elapsed. Even then, the records may be accessible if it can be shown that all "participating parties" have died at least 30 years ago. Participating parties are both parents and the child in birth records, and both spouses in a marriage.

1. Online Records[edit | edit source]

Pommerscher Greif[edit | edit source]

This is the most important and comprehensive website for information about and links to existing records.

Ancestry.com ($)[edit | edit source]

Ancestry.com can be searched free of charge at your local Family History Center.

2. Digital Copies of Civil Registration From FamilySearch[edit | edit source]

Try to find records in the collection of the FamilySearch Library. Many microfilms have been digitized for online viewing. Gradually, everything will be digitized, so check back occasionally. Some have viewing restrictions, and can only be viewed at the Family History Centers near you, and/or by members of supporting organizations. To find records:

a. Click on the Places within Germany, Preussen, Pomerania (Pommern) drop-down menu] and select your town.
b. Click on the "Civil registration" topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
c. Choose the correct record type and time period for your ancestor. "Geburten" are births. Heiraten are marriages. "Verstorbene" are deaths.
d. Some combination of these icons will appear at the far right of the microfilm listed for the record. FHL icons.png. The magnifying glass indicates that the microfilm is indexed. Clicking on the magnifying glass will take you to the index. Clicking on the camera will take you to an online digital copy of the microfilm.

3. Writing for Civil Registration Certificates[edit | edit source]

Civil registration records for Germany can be obtained by writing to the local civil registry (Standesamt) or the district archives. Records may have been lost at one location of the other, so you might end up checking both. The first office you contact might choose to forward your request to the other location if necessary.

Local Standesamt Addresses[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

This website will give you all possible record locations for a given place name. For instance: For the town Zarrentin, one can find documents in the city archives of Stralsund, Wismar, and  Schwerin in the state archives of  Greifswald and Schwerin, in the communal archive of Nordvorpommern and in the Church archive in Schwerin. Clicking on the boxes at the left will then give further information about the time frame of the documents. Once you find an archive with records you need, click on the link "Archives in MV" to find the contact information. Feel free to contact the archives by e-mail, and you can use English.
Kirchenbücher und Standesregister: Go to Suche. > Enter locality name. > Click Suche. > Find your Kreis. > Find your Parish > Click on the archive link to get contact information for the archive.

How to Write the Letter[edit | edit source]

Detailed instruction for what to include in the letter, plus German translations of the questions and sentences most frequently used are in the German Letter Writing Guide.

4. For baptism, marriage, and death records, use church records or parish registers.[edit | edit source]

Church records (parish registers, church books) are an important source for genealogical research in Germany before civil registration began. They recorded details of baptisms, marriages, deaths and burials. The vast majority of the population was mentioned. To learn more about the types of information you will find in church records, click on these links:


For a comprehensive understanding of church records, study the article Germany Church Records.


1. Online Church Records[edit | edit source]

Parish Register Inventories[edit | edit source]

Church record inventories are essential tools for finding German records. They identify what records should be available for a specified parish and where to write for information on these records. They list the church records, their location, and the years they cover. Sometimes inventories explain which parishes served which towns at different periods of time.

Online[edit | edit source]

Pommerscher Greif[edit | edit source]

This is the most important and comprehensive website for information about and links to existing records.

Archion ($)[edit | edit source]

FamilySearch Historical Records[edit | edit source]

Ancestry.com ($)[edit | edit source]

Ancestry.com and MyHeritage.com collections can be viewed free-of-charge at a Family History Center near you.

  • Germany, selected Protestant church books 1518-1921 - at Ancestry.com, index and images ($). There are two categories found under "Browse this collection" (in the right sidebar). Under the (mistakenly labelled) "Schuldistrikt" drop-down menu, search through Pomerania (or Pommern) and Not stated.
Under Pomerania (Pommern) this collection covers: Anklam, Benz, Bergen, Garz, Niepars, Neuenkirchen-Griefswald, Samtens, and Vilmnitz.
This collection covers records for: Anklam (see St. Nikolai), Bargischow, Barkow, Blankensee, Brietzig, Brüssow, Burow, Demmin, Gartz, Glewitz, Grimmen, Gristow, Hohendorf, Hohenholz, Hohenreinkendorf, Horst, Karlsburg, Katzow, Kletzin, Koblentz, Kröslin, Lassan, Liepgarten, Loissin, Loitz, Lubmin, Lühmannsdorf, Lütow, Murchin, Netzelkow, Neuendorf, Patzig, Peenenmünde, Rambin, Roggow, Rossow, Rubenow, Rubkow, Sarnow, Schönow, Schönwalde, Sellin, Sophienhoff (misspelled Sophinhoff), Spandowerhagen, Steinmocker (Sarnow), Stolzenburg, Storkow, Stralsund, Trantow, Ückeritz, Wegesen, Wolgast, Wollin, Woltersdorf, Wotenick, Wusseken, Zarnekow, Zemmin, and Ziethen.

2. Digital Copies of Church Records in the FamilySearch Catalog[edit | edit source]

Try to find records in the collection of the FamilySearch Library. Many microfilms have been digitized for online viewing. Gradually, everything will be digitized, so check back occasionally. Some have viewing restrictions, and can only be viewed at a Family History Center near you, and/or by members of supporting organizations. To find records:

a. Click on the Places within Germany, Preussen, Pomerania (Pommern) drop-down menu] and select your town.
b. Click on the "Civil registration" topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
c. Choose the correct record type and time period for your ancestor. "Geburten" are births. Heiraten are marriages. "Verstorbene" are deaths.
d. Some combination of these icons will appear at the far right of the microfilm listed for the record. FHL icons.png. The magnifying glass indicates that the microfilm is indexed. Clicking on the magnifying glass will take you to the index. Clicking on the camera will take you to an online digital copy of the microfilm.

3. Research in Church and State Archives[edit | edit source]

Church records or duplicates may have been gathered from the local parishes into central archives, either by the churches or the state. Older records are frequently given to these archives for safekeeping. Some gaps in the church records of local parishes could be filled using these records. Archives might be unable to handle genealogical requests, but they can determine whether they have specific records you need, sometimes perform very brief research, such as just one record, or they may recommend a researcher who can search the records for you.

E-mail[edit | edit source]

  • You can e-mail archives and ask whether they have records for a parish. Also, you should inquire whether they provide research services and what their fees are. You can communicate with the archives in English.

Lutheran Archives[edit | edit source]

Landeskirchliche Archiv Kiel
Winterbeker Weg 51
24114 Kiel
Germany

Phone: + 49-431 64 98 60
E-mail: kiel@archiv.nordkirche.de

Kirchenkreisarchiv Pommern
Karl-Marx-Platz 15
17489 Greifswald
Germany


Tel .: 03834 89631-22
Fax: 03834 89631-66
E-Mail: kirchenkreisarchiv@pek.de

Archives of the Catholic Diocese of Berlin[edit | edit source]

Dioezesanarchiv Berlin
Bethaniendamm 2a
10997 Berlin (Kreuzberg)
Germany

Website: http://www.dioezesanarchiv-berlin.de
Phone: +49 (0) 30 22504580
Fax: +49 (0) 30 22504583
E-Mail: info@dioezesanarchiv-berlin.de
Please provide your full name and postal address for all inquiries.

4. Writing to a Local Priest for Church Records[edit | edit source]

Most church registers are still maintained by the parish. You might obtain information by writing to the parish. Parish employees will usually answer correspondence written in German. Your request may be forwarded if the records have been sent to a central repository.

Evangelical Lutheran (Protestant)[edit | edit source]

Catholic Addresses[edit | edit source]

E-mail[edit | edit source]

  • Because many churches now have known e-mail addresses, you can quickly check whether the parish records are stored at the parish church or have been moved to archives. If possible, do this before sending a more detailed inquiry or any money. Links for church addresses are found on the wiki pages for the individual states and counties of Germany.

I. Are the parish records for _________to ___________ (time period range) at your church still?  

1. Sind die Kirchenbücher für den Zeitraum von _____ bis _____ noch in Ihrer Kirchengemeinde?

2. If they have been moved to an archive, can you tell me where they are now?

2. Falls sie nun in einem Archiv sind, können Sie mir bitte sagen, wo sie sich jetzt befinden?

Writing to a Local Parish[edit | edit source]

Write a brief request in German to the proper church using this address as a guide, replacing the information in parentheses:

For a Protestant Parish:

An das evangelische Pfarramt
(Insert street address, if known.)
(Postal Code) (Name of Locality)
GERMANY

For a Catholic Parish:

An das katholische Pfarramt
(Insert street address, if known.)
(Postal Code) (Name of Locality)
GERMANY


How to Write a Letter[edit | edit source]

Detailed instruction for what to include in the letter, plus German translations of the questions and sentences most frequently used are in the German Letter Writing Guide.

5. Compiled and Published Secondary Sources[edit | edit source]

Caution sign.png

Compiled genealogies and published genealogies are secondary sources, not original or primary sources.

As such, they are subject to human error through translation or transcription errors, mistaken interpretations, and opinion decisions of another researcher.

You should make every effort to base your research on the actual, original records or their digitized images.

Town Genealogies (Ortssippenbuch or Ortsfamilienbuch )[edit | edit source]

See the class, Online Ortsfamilienbücher at Genealogy.net, and Wiki article, Germany Town Genealogies and Parish Register Inventories on the Internet. Published town genealogies, Ortssippenbuch (town lineage book) or Ortsfamilienbuch (town family book), generally include birth, marriage, and death data for all persons found in the local records during a specified time period, compiled into families based on the opinion of the author. If one is available, it should only be used as an index or guide to finding the original records. They usually contain errors. Always verify their information in original records.

Finding an OFB[edit | edit source]

See the class Online Ortsfamilienbücher at Genealogy.net and the Wiki article, Germany Town Genealogies and Parish Register Inventories on the Internet. Published town genealogies, Ortssippenbuch (town lineage book) or Ortsfamilienbuch (town family book), generally include birth, marriage, and death data for all persons found in the local records during a specified time period, compiled into families based on the opinion of the author. If one is available, it should only be used as an index or guide to finding the original records. They usually contain errors. Always verify their information in original records.

  • Local Family Books of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Includes North Western Pomerania/Wehrland, Blumenhagen, Demmin (military community), Gross Bünzow, Iven, Japenzin, Katzow, Klein Luckow, Koblentz, Koserow on Usedom, Lassan, Neu Boltenhagen, Pasewalk, Pinnow (near Anklam), Quilow/Schlatkow, Rothemühl, Rubkow, Schwarzensee, Sophienhof, Wusterhusen, and Ziethen (at Anklam).

Pommernkontakte[edit | edit source]

The Pommernkontakte allows you to contact over 5,000 other Pomeranian researchers who may also be researching your ancestors, or have other helpful information to your search.

Other Religious Groups[edit | edit source]

To learn how to determine the location of other religious records, namely Jewish, French Reformed, German Reformed, etc., watch Hansen’s Map Guides: Finding Records with Parish Maps, beginning at 48:00 minutes, to learn how to locate these congregations. Then go back and watch from the beginning to understand how to use the reference book. This course teaches you how to use a set of reference books found at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. If you are not in Salt Lake City, use the Contact Us feature to request information from the books.

Reading the Records[edit | edit source]

  • It's easier than you think! You do not have to be fluent in French and German to use these records, as there is only a limited vocabulary used in them. By learning a few key phrases, you will be able to read them adequately. Here are some resources for learning to read German records.
German Genealogical Word List
French Genealogical Word List
Latin Genealogical Word List
  • These video webinars will teach you to read German handwriting:

Downloadable Handouts[edit | edit source]

Latin Records[edit | edit source]

Records of the Catholic church will usually be written in Latin:

Feast Dates[edit | edit source]

Search Strategy[edit | edit source]

  • Search for the relative or ancestor you selected. When you find their birth record, search for the births of their brothers and sisters.
  • Next, search for the marriage of their parents. The marriage record will have information that will often help you find the birth records of the parents.
  • Search the death registers for all known family members.
  • The marriage certificate will show the birth date, birth place, and parents of the bride and the groom. If you only have a church marriage records, calculate the birth date of the parents, using age at death and/or marriage to search for their birth records.
  • Repeat this process for both the father and the mother, starting with their birth records, then their siblings' births, then their parents' marriages, and so on.
  • If earlier generations (parents, grandparents, etc.) do not appear in the records, search neighboring parishes.