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Beginning Pommern (Pomerania) Research
Conducting research in an area of the world where neither the government nor peoples of that former land remain can be challenging. The following articles are provided to assist you in conducting more effective searches:
- So you think your ancestor was Prussian…
- Researching “Lost” Eastern German Provinces
- Finding Former Eastern German Place Names
- Might your family be descended from Prussian Mennonites?
- Prussian Mennonite Research Materials
The name Pomerania comes from Slavic "po more", which means Land by the Sea. The adjective for the region is Pomeranian (Polish: pomorski, German: pommersch), inhabitants are called Pomeranians (Polish: Pomorzanie, German: Pommern).
This former maritime province of Germany is situated on the southern Baltic coast. The area was settled by the Slavic tribes Pomorzanie and Polabs in the 5th century AD. German migration into the western and central regions of Pomerania began in the late 12th century. In 1648, Sweden acquired western Pomerania (Vorpommern) by the Treaty of Westphalia, part of which was returned to Brandenburg in 1720. In 1815, Prussia recovered the rest of western Pomerania, thus uniting it with central Pomerania into one province called Pommern. Eastern Pomerania (Hinterpommern) was annexed by Prussia in 1772. In 1919, the Treaty of Versailles created the Polish Corridor, dividing Prussia and leaving part of Pomerania as a German border province with an area of 11,644 sq. miles.
The region was strongly affected by post–World War I and II border and population shifts. After Nazi Germany's defeat in 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 population of the areas east of the line was expelled (forcibly removed), and the area was resettled primarily with Poles (some themselves expellees from former eastern Poland, today Ukraine) and some Jews and Ukrainians (resettled under Operation Vistula). Most of Western Pomerania (Vorpommern) remains in Germany, and today it 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.
Now divided between Germany and Poland, Pomerania stretches roughly from the Recknitz river near Stralsund in the west, via the Odra River delta near Szczecin, to the mouth of the Łeba river or the Żarnowieckie Lake near Lębork. It is sometimes also considered to encompass Pomerelia (Pomorze Gdańskie), up to the Vistula River delta near Gdańsk in the east, as well as Chełmno Land in the south. The contemporary Pomeranian Voivodeship encompasses only a part of historical Pomerania.
Genealogy Records & Record "Loss"
Large numbers of genealogy records from this region are either lost or very difficult to obtain. The LDS Church only holds a small subset of the records that existed prior to WW2. For details on this please visit The Max Kade Institute for German-American Studies webpage at the University of Wisconsin.
Government & Jurisdictions
Oberpräsidenten (Over President)
1815 - 1816 Karl Heinrich Ludwig Freiherr von Ingersleben
1816 - 1831 Johann August Sack
1831 - 1835 Moritz Haubold Freiherr von Schönberg
1835 - 1852 Wilhelm Friedrich Fürchtegott von Bonin
1852 - 1866 Ernst Karl F. W. Freiherr Senfft von Pilsach
1867 - 1882 Ferdinand Freiherr von Münchhausen
1883 - 1891 Ulrich Graf von Behr-Negendank
1891 - 1899 Robert Victor von Puttkamer
1900 - 1911 Helmuth Freiherr von Maltzahn
1911 - 1917 Wilhelm von Waldow-Reitzenstein
1917 - 1918 Hermann Freiherr von Ziller
März 1918 - April 1919 Georg Michaelis
1919 - 1930 Julius Lippmann
1930 - Okt. 1933 Carl von Halfern
1934 - 1945 Franz Schwede-Coburg
Population (Census) & Religious Distribution
1871-1,431,633: 1,397,467 Protestants, 16,858 Catholics, 4,266 other Christian, 13,036 Jews
1890- 1,520,889: 1,476,300 Protestants, 27,476 Catholics, 4,788 other Christian, 12,246 Jews
1900- 1,634,832: 1,579,080 Protestants, 38,169 Catholics, 6,587 other Christian, 10,880 Jews
1925- 1,878,781: 1,787,691 Protestants, 65,897 Catholics, 2,064 other Christian, 7,761 Jews
1933- 1,920,897: 1,825,093 Protestants, 60,535 Catholics, 702 other Christian, 6,317 Jews
1939- 2,393,844: 2,138,277 Protestants, 176,017 Catholics, 12,420 other Christian, 3,283 Jews
|Reichstag elections in Pomerania||1907||1912|
|Deutschkonservativ||49,5 %||45,4 %|
|Nationalliberal||1,0 %||8,8 %|
|Wirtschaftliche Vereinigung||1,5 %||-|
|Freisinnige Vereinigung||18,7 %||-|
|Freisinnige Volkspartei||4,2 %||-|
|Fortschrittliche Volkspartei||-||20,3 %|
|Zentrum||0,3 %||0,0 %|
|Polenpartei||0,4 %||0,4 %|
|SPD||19,9 %||24,0 %|
|Andere Parteien||1,8 %||0,0 %|
|Zersplittert||0,1 %||0,0 %|
By Kreis (District/ County)
Regierungspräsident: (1926) Dr. Höhnen
(1926 - 1932) C. Cronau
Regierungsbezirk Grenzmark Posen-Westpreußen
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