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Q1: What and where was Prussia? Q2: What about the kings in Germany? Q3: Who were the (9) Prussian kings? Q4: Where does the name Prussia come from? Q5: What were the administrative areas of Prussia in 1895? Q6: Where do I write for birth certificate for someone born in Prussia? Q7: How do I find locations and maps for Prussia? Q8: When were civil registers introduced? Q9: Where can I get more information on the Prussian provinces? Q10: What books discuss hints and sources for East German searchers? Q11: Are there emigration records available for Prussian emigrants? Q12: Is there a listserv for Prussia? Q13: What are the main genealogical sources for Prussia? Q14: Where can I find military records? Q15: Can you describe the Prussian school system before WWII? Q16: What information is available on ethnic cleansing? Q17: What were the monetary currency and acreage measurements in Prussia? Q18: What can I find about emigrants to West Germany?
Note: The topics emphasize Eastern provinces
Q1: What and where was Prussia?
A1: Preußen ( = Prussia) is pronounced PROIS-sen The answer depends on the time frame: 1) pre-1806 2) 1806-1871 3) 1871-1918 and later. 1a) Prussia was a region which before 1772 consisted of what was later known as East Prussia (Ostpreußen) with capital of Königsberg, a duchy since 1525, a kingdom of the Hohenzollern dynasty since 1701 and West Prussia (Westpreußen) with the Hanseatic cities of Danzig, Elbing, Thorn, and Culm, part of Poland referred to as Polish Prussia before 1772 The German literture refers to this area (East and West Prussia) as Old or Original Prussia or (Altpreußen). 1b) In 1772 King Friedrich II of Prussia annexed Polish Prussia (without the Danzig Territory) calling it West Prussia (Westpreußen) and united it with East Prussia. In 1793 King Friedrich Wilhelm II also annexed the Danzig and Thorn Territories, and 1793/1795 larger areas of Poland which were called South Prussia (Südpreußen), New East Prussia (Neu-Ostpreußen) and New Silesia (Neu-Schlesien). In 1806 the old adminitrative areas were I. Ostpreußen with 983,034 Einwohner: 1.Ostpreußisches Kammer-Departement included the Kreise of Samland (Schaken), Tapiau, Brandenburg, Rastenburg, Braunsberg, Heilsberg, Morungen, Neidenburg.
2.Litauisches Kammer-Departement included the Kreise of Insterburg, Olezko, Sehesten. II. Westpreußen with 915,935 Einwohner: 3.Westpreußisches Kammer-Departement included the Kreise of Marienwerder, Marienburg, Kulm, Michelau, Dirschau, Danzig, Stargard, Konitz. 4.Westpreußisches Kammer-Departement für den Netzdistrict included the Kreise of Bromberg, Inowraclaw, Kamin, Krone. III. Südpreußen with 1,503,508 Einwohner: 5.Departement der Kriegs- und Domainen-Kammer zu Posen included the Kreise of Posen, Oborniki, Meseritz, Bomst, Fraustadt, Krebe, Schrimm, Kosten, Krotoschin, Peisern, Schroda, Gnesen, Wongrowitz, Powitz, Brzesk, Radziejow, Kowal. 6. Departement der Kriegs- und Domainen-Kammer zu Kalisch included the Kreise of Kalisch, Adelnau, Konin, Ostreschow, Wielun, Lumtomiersk, Warta, Schadek, Sieradz, Petrikau, Radomsk, Czenstochau. 7. Departement der Kriegs- und Domainen-Kammer zu Warschau included the Kreise of Warschau, Blonin, Tschersk, Rawa, Sochaczew, Gostin, Orlow, Lenczyca, Zgierz, Brzezin. IV. Neu-Ostpreußen with 914,610 Einwohner: 8. Departement der Kriegs- und Domainen-Kammer zu Bialystok included the Kreise of Lomza, Drohicin, Bielsk, Surasz, Bialystok, Bobrz, Dombrowa, Wygry, Kalwary, Marianpol. 9. Departement der Kriegs- und Domainen-Kammer zu Plozk included the Kreise of Wyszogrod, Lipno, Mlawa, Przasnik, Pultusk, Ostrolenka. The concept of Kreis was different in pre-1806 Prussia and referred to the districts of the noble families ("Die Adeligen Kreise of the Rittergutsbesitzer") as well as the Immediatstädte and royal Domainen-Ämter. The term "Regierung" referred to the judicial (court) system before 1806 subject to the Justiz-Departement and not to the Generaldirektorium. After 1815 "Regierung" means district administration. This is important to understand, if researchers want to judge the relevance of records in the Berlin and Polish archives. Prussian maps
The kingdom of Prussia at this time was not part of Germany. Königsberg was capital and coronation city of the Prussian kings. Terms like German government or German army have no meaning for this time period. 2) In 1806 Napoleon Bonaparte conquered Europe and abolished the German empire and the title of Kaiser for Germany (capital:Wien or Vienna). The Kaiser in Wien-Vienna became Kaiser of Austria with no power in the rest of Germany. After Napoleon's final defeat in 1815 the kingdom of Prussia became known as "Die Vereinigten Preußischen Staaten" (United Prussian States) which now also included provinces like Schlesien/Silesia, Brandenburg, Pommern/Pomerania and areas as far west as the Rhine province. Berlin now became the Prussian capital. Until 1806 the Hohenzollern sovereign had many titles and hats from Head of the Evangelic Church to King, Elector, Grandduke, Duke for the various regions (like Silesia) and realms under his rule. After 1806 he simply was King of Prussia. Terms like German government or German army have no meaning for this time period until 1871. 3) In 1871 Germany as an empire with a Kaiser was reestablished with Berlin as the capital of Germany and Prussia and with the Prussian king also having the title of German Kaiser. All monarchies in Germany were abolished in 1918, Prussia was declared defunct in 1947 by the Allied victors. The original (East and West) Prussia was cleansed of its ethnic German population and given to Poland and Russia The Western powers were silent on the ethnic cleansing of original Prussia and Eastern Germany resulting in 12 millions of German refugees and expellees. Germany was made to accept the new boundaries in 1990. The status of "Displaced Persons" was always denied to German refugees and expellees by tghe US Government. Q2: What about the kings in Germany? A2: Before 1806 Germany was one kingdom and empire with one Kaiser and one king who resided in Wien (Vienna). He was elected by the collegium of Kurfürsten (electors) who in 1800 were the 3 archbishops of Köln (Cologne), Mainz and Trier and the 4 secular electors of Rhine-Pfalz, Brandenburg, Sachsen(Saxony), and Böhmen(Bohemia). The electors of Brandenburg and Sachsen had also ambitions to acquire the title of king. Since they could not acquire this title inside Germany they succeeded outside Germany: Brandenburg by declaring themselves "King in Prussia" at Königsberg in 1701, Sachsen by getting elected as King of Poland in 1697. The Kaiser in Wien was powerless to prevent this ploy. By 1806 Napoleon Bonaparte changed all that. Germany no longer was a kingdom and empire. The titles of Kurfürst (elector) became meaningless and was abolished and changed to Kings of Bohemia, Prussia, Saxony, Bavaria, Württemberg, and Hannover by Napoleon's grace. The archbishops and catholic church lost all their secular power in 1803. Q3: Who were the (9) Prussian kings? A3: 1. Kurfürst (Elector) Friedrich III was crowned first king Friedrich in Königsberg in 1701, died 1712, his son was 2. King Friedrich Wilhelm I, 1712-1740, intolerant, his son was 3. King Friedrich II the Great (Old Fritz), 1740-1786, his nephew was 4. King Friedrich Wilhelm II, 1786-1797, intolerant, his son was 5. King Friedrich Wilhelm III, 1797-1840, his son was 6. King Friedrich Wilhelm IV, 1840-1861, his brother was 7. King Wilhelm I, 1861-1888, became Kaiser 1871, his son was 8. Kaiser and King Friedrich III, 1888 (99 days), his son was 9. Kaiser and King Wilhelm II, 1888-1918. Q4: Where does the name Prussia come from? A4: The Baltic tribe of the Prussen or Pruzzen gave the name the region called Prussia. The name means Po-Russia (close to Russia). The Latinized name was Prussia or Borussia. Q5: What were the administrative areas of Prussia in 1895?
German Regions in 1871
German Regions in 1990
Prussia about 1800
A5: There were 14 provinces in Prussia in 1895 with their respective capitals and Reg.Bezirke (districts): The head of the province was the Oberpräsident who presided over the Oberpräsidium office. The head of each district was the Regierungspräsident who presided over the Regierung office. - * marks the provinces outside the old pre-1806-German Empire The official Regierung announcements were published since 1811 in the weekly Amtsblatt which contained legal announcements, promotions, appointments (of judges, teachers, officials, professors), foreclosures, bankrupcies, auctions, medals and much more. Ostpreußen (East Prussia)* Königsberg -Ermland since 1772- (Königsberg,Gumbinnen) Westpreußen (West Prussia)* Danzig since 1772/1793 (Danzig-Gdansk,Marienwerder-Kwidzyn) Note: West Prussia geographically was NOT in the western part of 19th century Prussia. Berlin (Stadtkreis) Berlin Brandenburg Potsdam (Potsdam,Frankfurt an der Oder) Pommern (Pomerania) Stettin (Stettin,Köslin,Stralsund) Posen* Posen (Poznan) since 1793 (Posen-Poznan,Bromberg-Bydgoszcz) Schlesien (Silesia) Breslau since 1742 (Breslau,Oppeln,Liegnitz) Sachsen (Saxony) Magdeburg (Magdeburg,Merseburg,Erfurt) Schleswig-Holstein Schleswig since 1865/1866 (Schleswig) Hannover Hannover since 1866 (Hannover,Hildesheim,Lüneburg,Stade,Osnabrück,Aurich) Westfalen (Westphalia) Münster since 1815 (Münster,Minden,Arnsberg) Hessen-Nassau Kassel since 1866 (Kassel,Wiesbaden) Rheinland Köln since 1815 (Koblenz,Düsseldorf,Köln,Trier,Aachen) Hohenzollern Sigmaringen (Sigmaringen) In 1890 the population figures were for Germany: 49 millions, and Preußen: 31 millions. This corresponded to about 63% of the total German population. Q6: Where do I write for birth certificate for someone born in Prussia? A6: The answer depends on the time frame: Before 1772 this would mean East Prussia, for 1772-1806 this could be anywhere in East or West (or even South or New East) Prussia. After 1815 this could be anywhere in the provinces listed above in But then, if I ask you: where do I write for birth certificate for someone born in the USA in 1772 or 1840 or 1895, what would you answer? If all you know is Prussia as a birth "place", nobody would be able to help you. If you are looking for a certain name in Germany, consult the International Genealogical Index (IGI) for Germany at your local LDS Family History Center. This will give you some idea of the past geographical distribution of the name in Germany. Q7: How do I find locations and maps for Prussia? A7: An atlas is usually not the best tool to locate small towns or villages. Maps of scales 1:25,000 (Messtischblatt) or 1:100,000 (Karte des Deutschen Reiches and Kreiskarten) and gazetteers (Ortsverzeichnis) are. The best German gazetteer is Meyers Orts- and Verkehrslexikon des Deutschen Reiches,1912 edition, which is available on microfiche in the LDS Family History Centers. and gives info on parish, Kreis, Standesamt, court, post office etc. on all German locations. There is LDS microfilm #068814 available of Karte des Deutschen Reiches, scale 1:100000, 1km = 1cm which may be loaned thru the LDS Family History Centers. It covers Germany for 1914-1917. Topographical Maps (Messtischblätter 1:25000) may also be purchased from Bundesamt für Kartographie und Geodäsie Richard-Strauss-Allee 11 60958 Frankfurt am Main, Germany E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.bkg.bund.de/BKG/Kontakte/Anschriften_bkg.htm http://www.bkg.bund.de/GI/Shop/index.html For maps for sale in the US see also http://www.genealogyunlimited.com For German-Polish place name dictionary, see http://www.calle.com/world/poland/index.html http://www.atsnotes.com/other/gerpol.html http://kartenmeister.com One US source of maps is the American Geographical Society Collection of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Library P.O. Box 399 Milwaukee, WI 53201 Telephone: 414-229-6282 WATS: 800-558-8993 FAX: 414-229-3624 If you are not able to visit the library yourself, they will photocopy maps in their collection for a minimum fee. Do not overlook the obvious place to do your homework: A general encyclopedia in your local library. The Encyclopedia Britannica may just do fine for general questions and maps. http://www.britannica.com Regional gazetteers with MAPS (Kt.-Beil.= maps added). * Historisches Ortschaftsverzeichnis : Reihe historischer Ortschaftsverzeichnisse für ehemals zu Deutschland gehörige Gebiete - Zeitraum 1914 - 1945 / bearb. u. hrsg. vom Institut für Angewandte Geodäsie. - Frankfurt am Main : Verl. des Instituts Angewandte Geoddsie Anzahl Bände : 10 * Oberschlesien/Upper Silesia - 1994. - 9, 316 S. + 3 Kt.-Beil. ISBN 3-88648-004-6 * Niederschlesien/Lower Silesia. - 1994. - 9, 316 S. + 3 Kt.-Beil. ISBN 3-88648-006-2 * Ostbrandenburg/East Brandenburg. - 1994. - 8, 95 S. + 3 Kt.-Beil. ISBN 3-88648-007-0 * Hinterpommern/Trans Pomerania - 1994. - 8, 267 S. + 3 Kt.-Beil. ISBN 3-88648-008-9 * Ostpreußen. 1,E.Prussia 1 (Kernland).-1995. -9, 663 S.+ 5 Kt.-Beil. ISBN 3-88648-009-7 * Ostpreußen. 2,E.Prussia 2(Randbebiete).-1995. -9, 507 S.+ 3 Kt.-Beil. ISBN 3-88648-010-0 * Danzig - Westpreußen. - 1997. - 9, 547 S. + 3 Kt.-Beil. * Luxemburg, Eupen-Malmedy und Nordschleswig.-1997, 98 S. In preparation/Vorbereitung: Band VIII: Wartheland Q8: When were civil registers introduced in Prussia? A8: Civil registers of births,marriages,deaths were introduced in October 1874. The Civil registry office is called Standesamt. In some provinces civil registers were introduced by the French before 1874, Rheinland in 1792, Hessen-Nassau in 1803, Westfalen in 1808, Hannover in 1809. Most Standesamt (Polish: Urzed Stanu Cywilnego) records remained in the old offices and were taken over by the Polish authorities in the areas annexed by Poland in 1945. They are listed in the Gazetteer of Polish People's Republic Localities. The full title is SPIS MIEJSCOWOSCI POLSKIEJ RZECZYPOSPOLITEJ LUDOWEJ, published in Warsaw 1968, and on LDS microfilm #844,922. For a listing of vital records in Poland, see: Ksiegi metrykalne i stanu cywilnego w archiwach panstwowych w Polsce. [Metrical and civil registration documents in the State Archives in Poland], edited by Anna Laszuk (Warsaw, 1998). Prior to 1874, the church records (Kirchenbücher) of the official churches (Evangelic and catholic) served as recognized documents for the purpose of proving one's birth, marriage, and death and had to meet certain standards of accuracy and completeness which were set and supervised by the Ministery of Church,School,and Medical Matters in Berlin. Members of minor (unrecognised) churches had to record their vital statistics with the pastor of the official churches. Duplicates had to be deposited at the local court (Amtsgericht). On Jewish Genealogy consult: http://www.jewishgen.org At this time I would like to point to the Grundakten, Erbrezesse, Erbvergleiche (probates) and Pupillenakten (orphan records) of the Prussian courts (Amtsgerichte) since 1783. They give detail whenever death occured and heirs were involved. Children usually are listed with their parents and birth dates etc. A remarriage of a widower/widow was always documented in the Amtsgericht stating in detail the estate rights of surviving children as well as rights and duties of parents and step parents. This is a source at the Amtsgericht which is widely unknown and untapped (and unfilmed by the LDS). In many cases, if not most, these records have survived the wars, and are deposited at the German and Polish archives. Any real estate holding usually means that there were and often still are today deed and mortgage records (Grund- und Hypotheken-Acten) which were administered by the Amtsgericht. They are vital to further research of families with land holdings, especially for the period pre-dating the church books. They usually start with a land title history (=tituli possessionis) going back 50 or more years from the beginning of the first deed book (Grundbuch or acta judicialia). Legal basis for these land records is the Prussian Hypotheken-Gesetz of 20 June 1783. Land (sales and hereditary) contracts were negotiated, supervised and written-up by court-appointed Landgeschworene (land jurors) who also appraised (taxirten) the real estate and its contents (imo- und mobiliar). Prior to 1783 land contracts were written verbatim in triplicate by one hand and deposited usually with the seller, purchaser and the Dorfschulz (mayor). Land reform changed the ownership structure of the rural populace which is reflected in the records of the General-Kommission set up in 1812 for this purpose and a prime genealogical source. They often give summaries of title histories with deed references and, thus, serve as keys to the Grundakten of all Prussian courts for further study. In some cases they may even be the only records available, if relevant court records perished. They are also to be found in state archives under the "Regierung" records and the keywords "Regulierung, Ablösung, Austuung" of the estates etc. The whereabouts of the Amtsgericht records is unknown. Nobody published inventories and listings of court records. Ribbe-Henning's "Taschenbuch für Familiengeschichtsforschung" is silent on them. The law seems to say that there is no statute of limitation for preserving or discarding them. On private courts of the nobilty see Wienfort, Monika: Patrimonialgerichte in Preußen. Laändliche Gesellschaft und bürgerliches Recht 1770-1848/49 Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2001 ISBN: 3-525-35163-1 A ministerial decree of 1900 regulated the periods of storage and shredding of court records: A. Streitige Gerichsbarkeit (may be destroyed after 30 years and include:) I. Civilprozess- und Konkurssachen (Civil suits and bankrupcies) II. Strafsachen (criminal matters) B. Freiwillige Gerichtsbarkeit (Voluntary court cases) The following records must not be destroyed: 1. Anerkennungen der Vaterschaft, Annahme an Kindes statt, Volljährigkeitserklärungen, Erbscheine, Zeugnisse betr. Testamentsvollstreckers, Eheverträge (Recognizing Paternities, adoptions, of age declarations, probates, certificates of executors, nuptial agreements) 2. Erklärungen betr. Austritt aus Kirchen- und Synagogengemeinden. (Declarations of leaving the membership of a church or synagogue) 3. Notariatsregister und Notariatsakten. (Registers and records of public notaries) 4. Verfügungen betr. Todeswege (Decisions on death declarations) 5. Grundbücher einschl. Bahngrundbücher, Höfe- und Landgüterrollen, Flurbücher und Gebäudesteuerrrolen, Rezessausführungen, Eigenthümerverzeichnisse, Grundakten. (Deed records, railroad deed records, land and land tax records, deed excerpts and copies, land owner lists, ground books) 6. Handels-, Börsen-, Vereins-, Güterrechts-, Genossenschafts-, Wassergenossenschafts-, Muster- und Schiffsregister sowie Listen der Genossen. (Commerce, bourse, society, estate law, company, water company, muster and ship registration records inluding membership lists) 7. Gewerkenbücher. (Mining and miners' records) 8. Akten über Lehngüter und Fideikommisse und Stiftungen. (Records of Estates and Non-Profit Foundations) 9. Akten über Berichtigungen der Standesregister. (Records of Corrections to Nobility Registrations) The following records which may be destroyed after 30 years include 4. Nachlass- und Teilungssachen (Personal estate and partitions not involving real estate). C. Justizverwaltung. (Justice and Court Administration). The following records must not be destroyed: 1. Generalakten über noch gültige Provinzialgesetze und Verordnungen. (General records on acts and decrees regarding laws still valid) 2. Standesamtsregister (Civil registration records). Note: When records were not to be destroyed, that does not always mean that they were indeed destroyed. Conversely, when records were not to be destroyed, it does not mean that they have survived the times. For research of estates the estate directories (Güteradreßbücher) list the owners and economic information (acreage, lifestock etc.): a.Handbuch des Grundbesitzes, I. Königreich Preußen, since about 1878 b.Niekammers Landwirtschaftliches Güter-Adressbuch,since about 1892 Q9: Where can I get more information on the Prussian provinces? A9: Try some of the web sites like http://w3g.med.uni-giessen.de/gene/reg/rindex.htm http://www.familysearch.net/sg/Germany.html http://www.adnc.com/web3/lynnd/gfaq.html http://members.aol.com/genpoland/genpolen.htm http://www.worldgenweb.org/Prussia/prussia.htm http://www.genealogy.net/gene/www/ghlp/AGoFF-d.html http://www.bawue.de/~hanacek/info/edatbase.htm http://www.bundesarchiv.de/index.html Family announcements and obituaries in newspapers: http://db.genealogy.net/ War casualties: http://www.vermisst-gefallen.net http://www.volksbund.de/mitmachaktionen/letzte_hoffnung/forum.asp Bundesarchiv Zentralnachweisstelle Abteigarten 6 52076 Aachen e-mail: email@example.com For diseases in church books: http://www.danzig.de/krank.htm For mailing lists: http://www.rootsweb.com/~maillist/europe/index.html#germany For keyword searches in soc.genealogy.german: http://www.rootsweb.com/rootsweb/searches/ http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/prmss/orte/berlgsas.html http://dg3.chemie.uni-konstanz.de/~stuebs/pommern/Archive/berli-geh-st* Evangelisches Zentralarchiv in Berlin Bethaniendamm 29 10997 Berlin Telefon: +49 (030) 22 50 46 45 http://www.ezab.de Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Libraries in Berlin and Brandenburg. http://www.sbb.spk-berlin.de http://www.ub.fu-berlin.de/ http://www.kulturbox.de/zlb/ http://www.ub.fu-berlin.de/index.html http://www.fh-brandenburg.de/bibliothek/www.htm http://www.fh-potsdam.de/~ BiB/bio_home.htm http://www.bbaw.de/index.html Consult also * Germanic Genealogy (by Edward R.Brandt et alii), 2nd edition. 1997, St.Paul MN, 517 pp.,1st edition, 1995. * Administrativ-statistischer Atlas vom preußischen Staate. Kartograph. bearbeitet v. Ferdinand von Do:ring. 1. Aufl., Berlin 1827. * Brandt, E.R., A.Goertz: Genealogical Guide to East and West Prussia (Ost- und Westpreußen), Minneapolis MN 2002-2003 (ISBN 0-9717312-2-5), 478 pp. * Neugebauer, Wolfgang (Hg.): Handbuch der preußischen Geschichte. Bd. 1-2, Berlin 1992-2001. Forschungsinstitut für die Geschichte Preußens e.V., Hausvogteiplatz 5-7, D-10117 Berlin Or: Max-Planck-Institut für Geschichte, Postfach 2833, 37018 Göttingen E-mail Address: email@example.com http://www2.hu-berlin.de/fgp Q10: What books discuss hints and sources for East German searchers? A10: Wegweiser für Forschung nach Vorfahren aus den Ostdeutschen und Sudetendeutschen Gebieten sowie aus den deutschen Siedlungsräumen in Mittel-,Ost- und Südosteuropa (AGoFF-Wegweiser): Verlag Degener &Co, 91413 Neustadt, Germany (1991 and later) (The out-of-print English edition is being revised presently) Germanic Genealogy (by Edward R.Brandt et alii), 2nd edition. 1997, St.Paul MN, 517 pp.,1st edition, 1995. W.Krallert: Atlas zur Geschichte der deutschen Ostsiedlung, Velhagen &Klasing, Bielefeld-Berlin-Hannover 1958. Bestandsverzeichnis der Deutschen Zentralstelle fuür Genealogie,Leipzig, Teil I: Die Kirchenbuchunterlagen der östlichen Provinzen Posen, Ost- und Westpreußen, Pommern und Schlesien. Neustadt/Aisch 1991, Verlag Degener & Co. (Inventory list of the German Central Office for Genealogy in Leipzig, part I: The church records of the eastern provinces Posen, East- and West-Prussia, Pomerania and Silesia) Bibliographien zur Geschichte Ostmitteleuropas. Herausgegeben von Norbert Kersken und Ralf Köhler (Tagungen zur Ostmitteleuropa-Forschung 5). 1997, VI, 115 Seiten, ISBN 3-87969-262-9 Jersch-Wenzel, Stefi / Genest, Annekathrin / Marquardt, Susanne Quellen zur Geschichte der Juden in polnischen Archiven / im Auftr. der Berlin-Brandenburgischen Akademie der Wissenschaften hrsg. von Stefi Jersch-Wenzel München : Saur, Bd. 1 Ehemalige preußische Provinzen: Pommern, Westpreußen, Ostpreußen, Preußen, Posen, Genzmark Posen-Westpreußen, Süd- und Neuostpreußen PVA 2003 Q11: Are there emigration records available for Prussian emigrants? A11: The Geh.Staatsarchiv in Berlin has many emigration records which were filmed by the LDS FHL (mostly 19th century). There are also provincial archives which need to be consulted. Each Kreis (county) was headed by the Landrat who presided over the Landratsamt.The Landratsamt records are deposited in the state archives. The Bezirks-Regierung was in charge of passport and emigration matters since 1816, later (1849?) delegated to the Landrat who reported to the district Regierung who in turn gave data to the provincial Oberpräsidium. M.D.Learned gives a listing of many emigration and passport records on the Landrat, Regierung, and provincial Oberpräsidium level. The records are often called emigration consense (permits). see: Learned, Marion Dexter, 1857-1917: Guide to the manuscript materials relating to American history in the German state archives, Washington, D.C., Carnegie Institution of Washington. Publication no. 150 , 1912, 352 p.: (there are a number of updates in two volumes done by the LOC Manuscript Division,call no.L173.L4 Suppl. 1929-1932). -also Kraus Reprints, NY 1965- (among Prussian archives are listed: Berlin, Breslau, Danzig, Königsberg, Posen, Stettin and others) http://genealogy.net/gene/www/emig/GermansToAmerica.html T.Bödiker states about the motivation for emigration from Prussia that the majority of emigrants were classified as land-less rural workers, domestics, and day laborers (Ländliche Arbeiter, Gesinde, Tagelöhner) as follows: 45.5% for 1862-1871 and 55.4% for 1872-1877. The destination of emigrants from Prussia during 1872-1877 was 72.3% to North America 12.8% to other German states 3.1% to Latin America 2.9% to Russia and Poland
Emigration from Prussia (Bödiker, Tab.6, Tab.10):
(RP) = emigrants to Russia-Poland (NA) = emigrants to North America (USA,Canada) Reg.Bezirk 1844-1866 1867-1871 1872-1877 1862-1871(RP) (NA) Königsberg 2036 1624 4245 380 310 Gumbinnen 751 334 7394 180 50 Danzig 4674 4947 10681 758 2038 Marienwerder 6825 12033 22361 1117 3108 . Stadt Berlin 4305 1179 1476 32 193 Potsdam 18847 6189 3751 619 7457 Frankfurt a.d.Oder 17143 4428 3450 29 5717 . Stettin 33215 20124 11447 232 19679 Köslin 13417 8246 10159 2 9430 Stralsund 8222 8055 5501 16 9588 . Posen 9765 4204 6476 1825 1772 Bromberg 17042 12239 15949 761 6908 . Breslau 9661 2606 3749 152 1234 Liegnitz 10386 1482 1739 37 685 Oppeln 10933 4889 6658 824 1660 Reference: Bödiker, Tonio: Die Preußische Auswanderung und Einwanderung seit dem Jahre 1844, in: Gewerbliche Zeitschrift, Du:sseldorf 1879 There is a mailing list: firstname.lastname@example.org Q12: Is there a listserv for Prussia? A12: There is a mailing list for anyone with a genealogical interest in Prussia:. PRUSSIA-ROOTS-L@rootsweb.com To subscribe send the word "subscribe" (without the quotes) as the only text in the body of a message to PRUSSIA-ROOTS-Lemail@example.com (mail mode) or PRUSSIA-ROOTS-Dfirstname.lastname@example.org (digest mode). Q13: What are the main genealogical sources for Prussia? A13 The main sources are 1) Civil registers of the Standesamt, mentioned above 2) Church records (Kirchenbücher) 3) Court records (land and other records) 4) Praestations-Tabellen of the Kgl.Amtsdo:rfer (crownland), Mahllisten (pre-1806) The Family History Library has only a few court records. They are listed in the Locality Search of the catalog under: * GERMANY - COURT RECORDS * GERMANY, [STATE] - COURT RECORDS * GERMANY, [STATE], [TOWN] - COURT RECORDS The main archives of interest to the researcher is Geheimes Staatsarchiv Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin. Archivstrasse 12-14 D-14195 Berlin (Dahlem) Tel.: (030) 839 01141 Fax: (030) 839 011 80 The holdings of the Privy State Archives in Berlin-Dahlem has the following main groups (HA = Haupt-Abteilungen) of records: HA I. Die sogenannten alten und neuen Reposituren (1400 - 1808- 1947) II Generaldirektorium (1723 - 1808) (+) Abt. 7: Ostpreußen & Litauen 1. Bestallungssachen, 1723 - 1806 2. Materien. Titel 1 - 157 3. Ämter-Sachen und Ämterverpachtungs-Sachen 4. Städte-Sachen, 1698 - 1806 Abt. 9: Westpreußen & Netze-Distrikt 1. Bestallungs-, Kassen-, Etat-Sachen, 1772 - 1806 2. Materien. Titel 1 - 133 3. Ämter-Sachen und Ämterverpachtungs-Sachen 4. Städte-Sachen, 1772 - 1806 Abt.10: Südpreußen Abt.11: Neu-Ostpreußen Abt.12: Pommern Abt.13: Neumark (Brandenburg) Abt.13a: Brenkenhoffsche Meliorations-Sachen etc.(Pommern,Neumark) Abt.13b: Brenkenhoffsche Meliorations-Sachen etc.(Netzedistrikt) Abt.14: Kurmark (Brandenburg) IIl. Ministerium der auswärtigen Angelegenheiten IV. Heeresarchiv (mostly destroyed in 1945) V. Königreich Westphalen VI. Staatsvertrdge VII. Urkunden VIII Siegel, Wappen, Genealogie IX. Bilder X. Brandenburg (*) XI. Karten XII. (Amts-) Drucksachen XIII Filme XIV. Westpreußen (*) XV. Pommern XVI. Posen (*) XVII Schlesien XVIII Sachsen XIX. Grenzmark Posen - Westpreußen XX. Historisches Staatsarchiv Königsberg (+) Schlesien was administered by the "Generaldirektorium zu Breslau" (1742-1806).Records perished in 1945. (*) An Inventory of HA X (Brandenburg), XIV (Westpreußen), XVI (Posen) was published by Branig, H.,R.& W. Bliss: Übersicht über die Bestände des Geheimen Staatsrarchivs in Berlin-Dahlem, Teil I (Provinz- und Lokalbehörden) , Köln-Berlin 1966. There were 3 land sovereigns in Prussia before 1806: A. The Towns and Cities: Die Städte (Kammereigüter) B. The noble land lords: Die Adeligen Kreise (Rittergut, Dominium) C. The Crown (King): Die Ko:niglichen Rent-Ämter/Intendanturen. Each land sovereign leased the land out to settlers in its own characteristic legal framework and tax system. As an example: The tax lists called Praestations-Tabellen compiled by the Domainen-Rentamt or Royal Amt would list the Emphyteuten or Kolonisten by name of each village for the period before 1806, and 1819-ca.1850 on royal crown lands only. GStA.PK Personnel records of Prussian teachers are deposited in Berlin: Bibliothek Deutsches Institut für Pädagogische Forschung Warschauer Str.34-38 Postfach 171138 D-10243 Berlin email: email@example.com http://www.bbf.dipf.de/ Personnel records of German Railroads employees (ca.1900 - 1945): Reichsbahn-Direktion Danzig (incl. Elbing) Reichsbahn-Direktion Königsberg Reichsbahn-Direktion Stettin Reichsbahn-Direktion Posen Reichsbahn-Direktion Breslau are deposited at Bundeseisenbahnvermögen Museumsstr. 39 22765 Hamburg Q14: Where can I find military records? A14: Military records: In 1867 the armies of all but four German states were integrated into the armies of Prussia. From that time on, soldiers of any German state (except Bayern, Sachsen, Baden, Württemberg) were recorded only in the military records of Prussia. Unfortunately, most Prussian military records of the Heeresarchiv were completely destroyed in 1945 by British planes. For Prussian military information, one has to rely on pre-1945 publications There are, however, military church books maintained by the military chaplains for individual regiments which have been filmed by the LDS FHL. There were also official casualty lists (Verlustlisten) of various wars published in public gazetters. Google "Verlustlisten" to find details as to name of gazetteers and holding libraries and archives. Verlustlisten of World War I (1914-1918) are at Stadtarchiv of Recklinghausen (28 vols., c. 1400 pages each). See also http://www.genealogienetz.de/militaer/Fotos/Dokus/0034.htm The Prussian State Library in Berlin has the following official gazetteers: 1) Deutscher Reichsanzeiger und Preußischer Staatsanzeiger Körperschaft: Deutschland (Deutsches Reich) Preußen: Berlin : Kessel, 1871-1945 Remark: Microfilm-Edition.: Bonn : Mikropress : 35 mm, neg Index 1918/33(1988) u.d.T.: Schumacher, Martin: Weimar-Index Beil.: Vermisstenliste 2) Königlich Preußischer Staats-Anzeiger Körperschaft: Preu_en Erschienen: Berlin : Decker, 1851-1871 Remark: Microfilm-Edition.: Bonn : Mikropress : 35 mm, neg Berlin : SAPMO-BArch, 1985 u. 1989 Halbjahresreg. Beil.: Preußische Zeitung 3) Preußischer Staats-Anzeiger Körperschaft: Preußen Erschienen: Berlin : Decker, 1848-1851 Remark: Microfilm-Edition: Bonn : Mikropress : 35 mm, neg Q15: Can you describe the Prussian school system before WWII? A15: Between WWI and WWII: Everyone started at primary or Volksschule, grades 1-4 (age 6-10) At age 10, grades were split: 1) continue Volksschule, grades 5-8 (ages 11-14) followed by a Berufsschule and Lehre of 2 years to learn a trade (ages 15-16) 2) OR continue secondary school (Ober-Realschule, Oberschule or classic Gymnasium, Oberlycäum for girls) after passing an entrance exam. Grades were called Sexta (5), Quinta (6), Quarta (7), Unter-Tertia (8), Ober-Tertia (9), Unter-Sekunda (10), Ober-Sekunda (11), Unter-Prima (12), Ober-Prima (13). Students were called Sextaner,...,Ober-Primaner. After passing the final exam (Reifeprüfung), you had earned the Abitur and qualified for university admission and military officer training. 3) OR continue secondary school (Realschule, Mittelschule, Lycäum for girls) for 6 grades giving you Realschulreife, Sekundareife, Mittelschulreife or "das Einjährige" which was required for higher schools of learning below university level and for reduced military service ("einjährig Freiwillige"). Oberschule usually offered 3 foreign languages English (starting in grade 5 French (7), Latin (9,Kleines Latinum); Gymnasium offered Latin (starting in grade 5, grosses Latinum), Greek (7), English or French (9). Grosses Latinum was required for students planning to major in theology, history etc. If you had Kleines Latinum only, you had to take additional Latin courses whenever Grosses Latinum was required. Language studies continued to final graduation, not just for a semester or a year. Realschule usually offered two foreign languages English (5) and French (7). Old report cards or transcripts (Schulzeugnis) are often still available at the schools or state archives (under Schulsachen back to the 1800s). Write to Schulverwaltung, city, Germany and be as specific as possible. In Prussia the Schulsachen would be deposited under the Regierung records. Universities have their own archives where records on faculty and students may be deposited. Q16: What information is available on ethnic cleansing? A16: The ethnic cleansing was decided between Stalin and Roosevelt at the summit conference in Teheran in 1943 against the objection of Churchill. At the Teheran conference * Stalin sought "security belt": Baltics, Poland, partition of Germany - said he would not annex Finland but the Finns needed to be "taught a lesson" and would take out reparations * FDR in private talks with Stalin agreed to a Curzon line for Poland in the east and moving the German border back to the Oder, and agreed some transfer of population would be necessary "on a voluntary basis" to allow Russia to take back Ukraine and Belorussia from Poland * FDR proposed dismemberment of Germany into 5 smaller parts (surprised Churchill) and Stalin wanted to take part of East Prussia to get the warm water Baltic port of Königsberg (became Kaliningrad) * FDR willing to accomodate Stalin - Churchill isolated - Stalin joked at dinner that Churchill was soft on Germany and that it may be necessary to execute 50,000 German officers; Churchill replied that he would never agree to such "barbarous acts" but FDR joked that perhaps 49,000 would do. Years later Churchill remarked,"we slaughtered the wrong pig". The "voluntary" population transfer during 1944-1948 involved more than 12 millions of Germans being expelled from their homeland and was mostly ignored by the Western media. (The most ruthless trio of WWII were Stalin,Hitler,and Roosevelt.) There have been some calls recently for books in English on the German expulsion and ethnic cleansing in East Germany and Eastern Europe: Background: At the Tehran Summnit in November 1943 between the USA (Roosevelt), the Soviet Union (Stalin) and the UK (Churchill), the Soviet Union (Stalin) and the USA (Roosevelt) conspired that the Soviet Union should annex the Northern part of East Prussia (Königsberg region) and that the German population should be "resettled" (i.e.expelled) from the eastern areas of Germany. These areas included German settlements since the 1200s. Churchill did not take part in this conspiracy and voiced his reservation and opposition, to no avail. The United Nations Charta of 1945 promotes respect for human rights and forbids annexations of areas against the will of the people. It turns out that the USA was not interested to honor this charta, but rather used the UNO to manipulate the organization for her own political goals and apply double standards whenever it was suitable, even to this day. The hope of the Prussian refugees that their homeland and property would be restored by the UNO has not been honored. Thorwald, Jürgen: Es begann an der Weichsel. 1951 Das Ende an der Elbe. 1952. English: Flight in the winter; [New York] Pantheon  318 p. 22 cm. CALL #: 940.542 T52F De Zayas, Alfred M. Anmerkungen zur Vertreibung der Deutschen aus dem Osten. English: The German expellees : victims in war and peace/ Alfred-Maurice De Zayas ; [original German version translated by John A. Koehler]. New York : St. Martin's Press, 1993. xlii, 177 p.,  p. of plates : ill., map ; 22 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. -169) and index. CALL #: DJK 28.G4D413 1993 De Zayas, Alfred M. Anmerkungen zur Vertreibung der Deutschen aus dem Osten. English: A terrible revenge : the "ethnic cleansing" of the east European Germans, 1944-1950 / Alfred-Maurice de Zayas ; [original German version translated by John A. Koehler]. 1st pbk. ed. with additions. New York : St. Martin's Press, 1994. xlii, 179 p. : ill., maps ; 21 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. -171) and index. CALL #: DJK 28.G4D413 1994 De Zayas, Alfred M. "Die Wehrmacht-Untersuchungsstelle - Dokumentation alliierter Kriegsverbrechen im Zweiten Weltkrieg" 1979, ISBN 3-8004-1051-6 (6th edition, 1998). English edition: "The Wehrmacht War Crimes Bureau, 1939-1945 - Documentation of Allied War Crimes in WWII" Nebraska University Press,1989, Paperbound, 364 pages, bibliography, index, photographs, ISBN: 0-8032-9908-7 De Zayas, Alfred M. "Anglo-American responsibility for the expulsion of the Germans 1945-48" "A legal analysis of ethnic cleansing", in Ethnic Cleansing in Twentieth-Century Europe, co-edited by Steven Vrdy, and Hunt Tooley, Columbia University Press, New York 2003 OTHER ENTRIES: Germans Europe, Eastern History 20th century. World War, 1939-1945 Refugees. World War, 1939-1945 Atrocities. Population transfers Germans. Bacque, James: Crimes and Mercies - The Fate of German Civilians under Allied Occupation, 1944-1950, 288 pp. Warner Books, London 1997, ISBN 07515-2277-5 Redrawing Nations, Ethnic Cleansing in East-Central Europe, 1944-1948 Edited by Philipp Ther und Ana Siljak Published by Rowman & Littlefield, 2001. Harvard Cold War Studies Book Series. Beschloss, Michael R.: THE CONQUERORS Roosevelt, Truman And The Destruction Of Hitler'S Germany, 1941-1945 Simon & Schuster, 2002, 400 pages , ISBN: 0-684-81027-1 Schieder, Theodor, Editor: "Dokumentation der Vertreibung der Deutschen aus Ost-Mitteleuropa" Vol. 1: Territories east of the Oder-Neisse line Vol. 2: Ungarn (Hungary) Vol. 3: Rumänien (Rumania) Vol. 4: Czechoslovakia published by the "Federal Ministry for Expellees, Refugees, and War Victims in Bonn .(Printed by Rautenberg in Leer, Ostfriesland). English Edition: "Documents on the Expulsion of the Germans from Eastern-Central-Europe". 4 Volumes in 3 c. 1949 First ed. 1304 pp. (Mammoth collection of eye-witness reports of atrocities committed by Russian troops and others during and after World War II) "Die Vertreibung der deutschen Bevölkerung aus den Gebieten östlich der Oder-Neisse", Bundesministerium für Vertriebene, Flüchtlinge und Kriegsgeschädigte, 1954/60 1993 edition by Weltbild Verlag, Augsburg, 3 vols., (ISBN 3-89350-547-4). http://www.rollenhagen.de/Pommern/maps/saatzig.htm http://members.tripod.com/~radde/FlightDanzig.html http://members.tripod.com/~radde/ProcessExpulsionStolp.html http://members.tripod.com/~radde/Prologue.html http://www.meaus.com/Expulsion_of_Germans.html http://www.codoh.com/incon/incontrans.html http://www.rautenberg-druck.de/Buch.html The Federal archives in Bayreuth has compiled the most detailed documentation on the German ethnic cleansing from Eastern Germany and Easteren Europe. Address: Bundesarchiv Bayreuth Postfach 5025 95424 Bayreuth Ph.: 0921-57087 The following material is available for research and copying: 1. Gemeindeseelenlisten (name lists), incl. village maps comprising 15568 population lists for 12083 towns and villages, 7745 village maps for 6750 communities. 2. Ost-Dokumentation - Fragebogenberichte (Gemeindeschicksalsberichte) zur Dokumentation der Vertreibung der Deutschen aus Ostmitteleuropa und aus den deutschen Siedlungsgebieten in Südosteuropa (Questionaires on ethnic cleansing) - Erlebnisberichte zur Dokumentation der Vertreibung der Deutschen aus Ostmittel- und Südeuropa (First hand reports on ethnic cleansing) - Erhebungsbögen (Auswertungsbögen) der Dokumentation der Vertreibungsverbrechen (Evaluation on crimes against refugees) - Unterlagen der Flucht über die Ostsee (Flight via the Baltic sea) - Dokumentation über das Leben deutscher Flüchtlinge in Dänemark (Refugee life in Denmark) - Berichte über das Leben der deutschen Volksgruppen jenseits der östlichen und südöstlichen Reichsgrenzen (Reports on life in German communities outside Germany) - Berichte von Persönlichkeiten des Oeffentlichen Lebens aus den Gebieten östlich von Oder und Neisse zum Zeitgeschehen 1919-1945 (Reports by public figures from areas east of Oder and Neisse on life during 1919-1945) - Berichte über Verwaltung und Wirtschaft in den Gebieten östlich von Oder und Neisse sowie in Böhmen und Mähren (Reports on administration and business in the areas east of Oder and Neisse as well as Bohemia and Moravia). Numbers of Germans expelled and murdered: German Population 1944 / Expellees 1950/Remaining / Difference: in Germany Germans Loss by murder & Austria in 1950 and expulsion Ostpreußen 2,619,000 1,930,000 75,000 614,000 Ostpommern 1,985,000 1,495,000 50,000 440,000 Ostbrandenburg 659,000 410,000 10,000 239,000 Schlesien 4,824,000 3,250,000 700,000 874,000 ------------------------------------------------------------------ East Germany 10,087,000 7,085,000 835,000 2,167,000 East of Oder and Neisse ------------------------------------------------------------------ Danzig 395,000 283,000 6,000 105,200 Yugoslavia 549,000 287,000 87,000 175,800 Memel/Baltics 255,900 170,200 19,300 66,400 Poland 1,401,000 672,000 436,000 293,000 Rumania 820,000 246,000 438,000 136,000 Czechoslovakia 3,633,000 2,921,400 258,700 452,900 Hungary 633,00 206,000 338,000 89,000 ------------------------------------------------------------------ Volksdeutsche 7,687,700 4,786,400 1,583,000 1,318,300 outside 1937 Germany ------------------------------------------------------------------ Germans:Total 17,774,700 11,871,400 2,418,000 3,485,300 (Source:G.de la Pradelle, Jean de Pange, Rene Pinon, Stephan J.Kynast, Inge Merten: Verjagt - Beraubt - Erschlagen: Die Austreibung aus den Alten Deutschen Grenzmarken - Schicksal und Völkerrecht, Wiesbaden 1961) For refugee camps in Denmark see: Henrik Havrehed, Die Deutschen Flüchtlinge in Dänemark 1945-1949, Heide 1989; Arne Gammelgaard, Treibholz. Deutsche Flüchtlinge in Dänemark 1945-1949, Varde-Museum 1993, ISBN 87-89834-07-0; Leif Guldmann Ipsen, Menschen hinter Stacheldraht. Flüchtlingslager Oksbol 1945-1949, Blavandshuk Engsmuseum 2002, ISBN 87-89834-43-7 Q17: What were the monetary currency and measurements in Prussia? A17: The currencies in Prussia were: 1821 1871(1873): 1 Reichsthaler = 30 Silbergroschen = 360 Pfennig 1 Reichsthaler (rth) = 30 Silbergroschen (sgr) 1 Silbergroschen (sgr) = 12 Kupferpfennig (pf) In 1871 the currencies of the individual German states were replaced by 1 Mark (= 1/3 Taler) = 100 Pfennig 1750 - 1806: 1 Reichsthaler (rth) = 3 fl = 3 poln.Gulden = 3 zlot = 90 Pruss. gute Groschen. 1 guter Groschen = 18 Kupferpfennig (pf). In 1821 1 Silbergroschen (=Dreigroscher) corresponded to 3 old gute Groschen. 1750 - 1830: 1 Frederic d'or (gold) = 5 Reichsthaler (silver). For older currencies see Craig, William D.: Coins Of The World, 1750 - 1850, Racine : Whitman Publishing (first ed. 1966, second ed.1971) Thun, Norbert: Deutsche Taler - Doppelgulden - Doppeltaler von 1800 bis 1871, Frankfurt 1976, 272 pp. Jaeger, Kurt: Die Münzprägungen der deutschen Staaten vol.9: Königreich Preußen 1766 - 1873, Basel 1970 Prior to 1815 the acreage measurements in the Eastern parts were 1 culm.Hufe = 30 culm.Morgen (= 16.8 ha = ca.41.5 acres) 1 culm.Morgen = 300 culm.QRuthen (= 1.383 acres) After 1815 the "Prussian" or "Magdeburg" units were used: 1 Pr.Hufen = 30 Pr.Morgen (= 7.66 ha = ca.18.9 acres) 1 Pr.Morgen = 180 Pr.QRuthen (= 0.672 acres) Q18: What can I find about emigrants to West Germany? A18: With the beginning industrialization and mechanization of farming in the Eastern Prussian provinces, many farm workers (Tagelöhner, Instleute, Scharwerker, Einlieger) left their homes to seek better working conditions in the developing Ruhr area (Rheinland, Westfalen). Genealogical sources for this period (ca.1850 - 1914) have not been systematically investigated and include Einwohnermeldekarten in the Einwohnermeldeamt or Polizeipräsidium of city archives, or Zechenbücher, Bergbaubücher, Personal-Karteien of the many now defunct coal mines and steel mills. Even more migrants went to Berlin and Brandenburg, especially during the last three decades before 1900. The 1890 census reports that (1.) in Berlin-Brandenburg 3,086,479 were born in Berlin-Brandenburg; 685,054 were born in East or West Prussia,Pommern,Posen,or Schlesien. (2.) In Westfalen-Rheinland 6,584,645 were born in Westfalen-Rheinland; 157,366 were born in East or West Prussia,Pommern,Posen,or Schlesien. Additional areas attractive to migrants from East and West Prussia, Pommern, Posen, Schlesien (1890 census) were 3. Province of Sachsen, Anhalt, Braunschweig 4. Kingdom of Sachsen, Thüringen The coal miners were organized in Knappschaften for health and accidance insurance, pensions etc. (Prussian Bergbaugesetz of 1854, 1865 and 1892). In many cases the Bundesknappschaft still has pre-1900 records of miners: http://www.bundesknappschaft.de Another mining contact is the Bergbaumuseum in Bochum: http://www.bergbaumuseum.de In 1894 426,555 miners were members of the central Knappschaft in Berlin.
If you have property claims to your ancestral home or farm in Prussia which was lost due to ethnic cleansing in 1945, you may want to consider purchasing shares (EUR 50 minimum for one share) of "Preußische Treuhand - Prussian Claims Inc." Preußische Treuhand - Prussian Claims Inc.