The Prussian Partition of Poland
A General Review of Research Methodology
In connection with the pages on my own
Bielawa family research, I provide here a general overview of research
methodology in the Prussian (also known as German) Partition of Poland.
Since Prussia was an entirely different country than the Austrian Empire, it is
obvious that the research strategy should be somewhat different than my other
pages dedicated to Galician research.
For an overview of the Prussian Partition of
Meyers Orts- und Verkehrs-Lexikon des Deutschen Reichs
(Meyer’s Gazetteer and Directory of the German Empire)
3 volumes. Leipzig, 1912.
Help is required for understanding the layout and
abbreviations of this gazetteer.
Learning aids are available for purchase at various
bookstores, including the popular Amazon.
How to Read &
Understand Meyers Orts- und Verkehrs-Lexikon des Deutschen Reichs by Wendy
Orts - Translating Guide For The Directory Of The Towns and Places In The German
Empire by Fay S. Dearden
For a short guide, visit the
You can also view this gazetteer through the Brigham Young University's
online Family History Archives:
Part 1 (place names A - K):
Part 2 (place names L - Z):
für das Königreich Preussen
(Gazetteer for the Kingdom of Prussia)
13 volumes. Berlin, 1907-1909
FHL microfilm number:
Ostpreußen (East Prussia): 1,346,208
Posen (Poznan): 1,346,209
Westpreußen (West Prussia): 1,346,208
Schlesien (Silesia): 1,346,209
Pommern (Pomerania): 1,346,208
Although it's in the old style German writing, known
as fraktur, the gazetteer is in an easy-to-read column format.
An excellent searchable database for the area once ruled by
Prussia/Germany, but now in Poland. Includes both the German and
Polish county jurisdictions, as well as a neat social aspect allowing
researchers from a particular village/town to connect!
(In upper right, type
the town/village under "Pokaż na mapie,
Miejscowość" ("Show on the map, Locality"
Covers what was considered Western Galicia during
the Austrian period)
Institute of Geography. Maps covering the interwar period,
(click on the various map links in the left hand box
Polish Mapster (Select
different map types with the drop down arrow)
The Poznan Marriage
created and maintains a wonderful database of marriages in the Poznan
(German name Posen) region of Poland. This incredible database
allows the researcher the opportunity to search for his family
throughout the entire region, which is especially crucial for those
researchers who have not yet found their ancestral village or town.
The website is continually being
updated by an aggressive team of volunteers who painstakingly go through
marriage records, parish by parish, in order to create an index.
It's free to use and offers an English language interface.
The Pomeranian Marriage
The Pomeranian Genealogical
Association in Poland has created a similar database of for searching
marriages in Pomerania, the area north of Poznan. Visit and search
As vital records are vital to a
genealogist, it's important to know about Civil Registration records.
In 1874, Civil Registration was set up in the Poznan (Posen) region.
For the genealogist, this is GREAT news! Before 1874, the church
records were the only official vital record source. But after
1874, one can search for both church records and the civil records.
More good news....the Family History Library has covered the Poznan
region quite well, so many microfilms are available! Check the
Library's Catalog at www.familysearch.org today!
Note that Civil Registration
Districts were different from Parish boundaries. Therefore, it's
important for you to know both the parish your ancestral village or town
belonged to, AND the civil registration district it belonged to.
One can learn these districts by using the Prussian gazetteers listed
Since it is a purely German source,
the records are obviously in German...and not just any German, but in
fraktur script. But don't panic! As with everything else in
genealogy, take your time and have patience. You'll be surprised
how you will be able to read the records with practice!
For more information on German Civil
Registration, visit the wonderful
FamilySearch Resource site.
Polish Vital Records Online
The Polish Genealogical Society, based in Warsaw, is building a a
massive database of indexes (and even images) of vital records. As
of today, there are already over 2 million entries of birth, marriage
and death records! Search for your family and ancestral parishes