This page contains a list of searchable databases, online through both indexes and images of original sources. The list is long, but is an all-encompassing source for researching, but may not include links to Kreis-specific information; for that, please visit the individual Kreis pages found underneath the Place List in the navigation bar. For example, lists of surviving church books and the years for birth, marriages, confirmations, and deaths should appear on the Churchbooks page, but search engines for online records and indexes, in addition to archival holdings will appear here. The information here is meant to assist researchers with quick, searchable databases for their study. New links are added frequently, and may also be found elsewhere on the site.
Use the links below to jump to a section:
For search for books available by village or region, use the Pommerscher Greif’s Quellensuche. You can search for place listings, church books available online, an overview of church books that are both online or physically located in the archives, Standesamt (civil registry) books available online, and an overview of Standesamt books that are both online or held as a physical stock in the archives. The overview lists should be seen as a thorough—but not yet complete—index to archival stocks. If you cannot find the resource you are looking for here, try searching through one of the websites below. Our “Place” pages also contain more helpful websites specific to the region you might be searching in. (For example: Heimatkreis Neustettin contains a more thorough record of which documents survived for its Kreis.)
Going Beyond Ancestry and FamilySearch
While both websites are fantastic resources with a wealth of information, the basic search features of these sites are not always helpful when it comes to more problematic genealogy. However, there are a few hidden gems within each of these sites that are typically overlooked as they do not typically query results in the main search function. This is an attempt to broaden the scope of what each of these sites are capable of finding. Please note, for many features on FamilySearch.com, you will need to be logged in. You can set up a free account here.
Ancestry Public Member Trees This part of Ancestry does require a subscription. However, its pool of users is often different from those who use FamilySearch, providing you with an alternative set of data to compare entries for your family tree. Its functions are quite similar to the FamilySearch Genealogies and FamilySearch Tree Search sites listed below. While they share the same basic concept, Ancestry Public Member Trees is well worth the time to pull up a search query. Remember, it’s always free to search.
Ancestry Historical Person Search is a resource that may pull up information that cannot be found elsewhere. Occasionally, it yields results that can be helpful for connecting missing links. Be careful, however, as the source information used to create these entries cannot always be verified, and it is not uncommon to find errors in place names or other personal facts.
FamilySearch Records Search This section of FamilySearch looks for relatives based on census records, civil records, and other historical records. If you have exhausted your efforts with this search, see the section below. ↴
FamilySearch Genealogies Genealogies are trees submitted to FamilySearch that can help you fill out your family lines within Family Tree. Accuracy of the data in these genealogies varies from tree to tree; validation of all data is encouraged. If you have exhausted your efforts with this search, see the section below. ↴
FamilySearch Tree Search This section of FamilySearch can find relatives that are not included in the records search but can sometimes be found through the genealogies page. Use this section as a supplementation to FamilySearch Genealogies. Editor’s note: I have found family members through this search, but have not been able to find them on any other part of FamilySearch. This section is a worthwhile investment if all other avenues have been pursued.
FamilySearch Catalog The catalog is useful for exploring possible content microfilmed by the LDS Church. While not as extensive as other Pomeranian archival groups, their library contains books and other microfilmed data that may not be readily available in other places. FamilySearch is currently working on digitizing their microfilm holdings, and there may be church books that have not yet been indexed but are available for viewing the scanned images.
Person Search, Address Books, Indexed Registers
There are quite a few searchable databases for family names with indexes ranging from parish registers, civil registry (Standesamt) documents, address books, and databanks of people searching for similar information.
PTG Pomeranian Genealogical Association The PTG has been hard at work indexing various civil records from both Kirchenbücher and Standesamt sources. While their current database is incomplete, they have a full list of what they intend to index. The search capabilities are quite extensive, covering birth, death, and marriage records with specific search criteria, such as: parent surnames, maiden names, parishes, registry offices, etc.
Ortsfamilienbücher and CompGen The metasearch allows users to quickly search through millions of entries from missing persons lists, address books, church book entries, family pedigrees, and countless other indexes. Please note that some information that is searchable in one database may not be shown in another. Metasearch does a wonderful job of searching, but will often pull up more results than can be displayed. Though rare, some of the other pages within CompGen may include information not listed in the meta search.
Pommerndatenbank Database of people indexed from Pomeranian address books. Many Pomeranian cities and counties printed address books before World War II (primarily the late 1890s and the early 1900s up to the 1940s). These books often listed the full names of the household with other information such as home address, all family members’ names, professions, house or land ownership, etc. The books also give clues of origins because of the frequency of a surname found in certain areas. Unfortunately these books are usually hard to find, and since they are rare they cannot often be loaned from libraries. There are presently 145 different address books included in the project.
Pommernkontakte Over 15,000 people have submitted names to the contact database so that researchers can connect with each other when researching their families. This database is a contact exchange – a place for Pomeranian family researchers to get in touch with each other. A researcher can submit database details within the localities in Pomerania where he has family names and then others can contact him with queries.
Kolberger Lande has a great search tool that is being updated frequently. Their group has indexed people mentioned in documents, books, memorials, and other resources, all of whom have a connection to Kreis Kolberg-Körlin. While entire registers have not been indexed for areas outside or Kolberg-Körlin, pages with information connected to Kolberg have been fully indexed. I have found this resource to be particularly useful for people who moved from Belgard to Kolberg-Körlin or vice-versa. They have also indexed a large number of citizens who were in Berlin.
Stolp Globalindex searches through indexed records from the Stolp research group. While most of its indexes pertain only to Stolp, relatives who migrated to other places can be found through their search. (For example, a worker in Belgard was mentioned to have been born in Stolp and was therefore included in the search.) Occasional errors in transcription are to be expected, and sometimes entries in church books have been overlooked. However, their search database has been of the utmost help to many researchers, including important information for those who seek the original church and civil registry pages. Documents can be requested through the Stolp-L mailing list. Sign-up here before sending an email to the group at email@example.com. (Editor’s note: if you believe there is a transcription error, please contact the group to make a correction. For more in-depth research if you suspect a hole in the index, you can always read through the church books when available. Please be sure to submit any missed entries to the group to help other researchers.)
State and Other Archives and Libraries
Archive Portals Europe indexes online holdings for various archives and institutions. It is by far the best resource to discover which archive holds the specific book or record you are looking for. One may need to search in German or Polish depending on the time frame.
Szukaj w Archiwach literally translates to “search the archives.” Record holdings for documents stored with the Polish government can be discovered through this archival search tool, some of which have been digitized. The Polish government is slowly adding new collections to be viewed online. Please note that sometimes it is necessary to search for both German names and Polish names to yield a higher number of relevant results.
State Archives in Stettin Now known as Szczecin, it contains older records older than 100 years from the region of Pomerania. Some documents have been digitized, others must be viewed at the physical archive location in Poland. Many records can be viewed online for free underneath their digitized materials. For a more thorough investigation, one can struggle through the language barrier to find documents outside of just church and civil registration, branching out into repatriation and transport lists from the flight and expulsion from Pomerania. To view the “Bestände,” or collections inventory, please visit http://www.bkge.de/archiv-stettin.php. Please note that BKGE’s site is in German, and for English speaking researchers, use of Google’s Translation Tool is recommended, or translate from within Google Chrome.
State Archives in Köslin Archives for what was once the Köslin, now known by its Polish name as Koszalin. The archives hold newer material less than 100 years old, but may have other documents of interest, such as land records and probate records. To view archive civil records holdings, visit the PRADZIAD online database. Scans of indexed church and civil records can be found online at the Genealodzy AP Koszalin website as .JPG images for both areas of Köslin and Stolp (today Słupsk).
The archives can be confusing to navigate; however, they have also provided a search tool, SEZAM, to help aid in searching from a higher level, allowing users to search for specific fonds and inventories of information. For inventories, users can also search using the IZA tool. To read more about the SEZAM database, please click here. The ELA database allows users to search for population information, though as stated, “The database neither contains lists of names nor information on specific persons.” Most information about these databases can be understood, once again, at the SEZAM database.
Geheimes Staatsarchiv Preußischer Kulturbesitz This archive documents many hidden treasures from Prussia. It is somewhat difficult to search through, and visitors must schedule their time in the reading room ahead of time, but it is a gem for those who have the resources to travel to Berlin-Dahlem. This goes beyond the typical family history research and branches into broader historical documents, resident lists, and kingly orders. See the inventory here.
Bałtycka Biblioteka Cyfrowa Polish library search for various materials such as newspapers, journals, address books, etc. Many older German documents have been digitized and made available online.
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Digital Library This library contains a rich supply of historical works that cover more than just Vorpommern. Resources detailing Hinterpommern and other territories can also be found through their digital portal. (Please note that you may have to search for both words and their abbreviations. ex. Groß and Gr, Klein and Kl. Not all titles will contain the full version of the word, and sometimes only contain abbreviations.) The Ernst-Moritz-Arndt Unviersity Library in Greifswald holds thousands of titles from Pomerania, though many can only be accessed at the location. You can search through their holdings at the OPAC search. For more information about the Greifswald Library and the digitizing process, please see here. It is advised when accessing information in another language to use Google’s Chrome web browser, as web pages can be translated instantly.
Archives in Connection with Pomerania
State Archives in Danzig
State Archives in Landsberg an der Warthe
State Archives in Posen
Genealogy in Archive is a great resource for searching through records of ancestors who moved to or lived in the Thorn area. Now known by the Polish name, Toruń, this city was a former German garrison. As such, much can be discovered from their archives if your ancestor moved through the military. Other neighboring communities include Graudenz and Bromberg. All place names must be searched for in Polish using the correct diacritics.
“The “source of voivodeship inhabitants genealogical Kuyavia and Pomerania” was co-financed by the European Union under the Regional Operational Programme Kujawsko-Pomorskie for 2007-2013 (Priority 4, Measure 4.2) This is a joint project of the genealogical State Archives in Torun and Bydgoszcz for the inhabitants of the voivodeship Kuyavia and Pomerania. Their goals are:
- The digitization of vital records and create a free, simplified access to them from anywhere in the world
- Ability to create your family tree by searching for the acts of births, marriages and deaths on the Internet
- A chance for active participation in the indexing of scanned vital records for all interested
State archives in Torun and Bydgoszcz jointly involved in a project called “sources of genealogical residents Kuyavia and Pomerania.” The project, implemented under the Regional Operational Programme Kuyavia and Pomerania in the field of development of services and applications for the population, it is the digitization of vital records that are in the resources of the state archives in Torun and Bydgoszcz and making them available on the Internet to allow free access to anyone interested in genealogy and the search for their roots. Implementation of the project will significantly facilitate access to the documents constituting the basis for the study of the history of families.”By the end of June 2015 it is planned to perform scans of about 1.8 million, which is a significant part of the vital records stored in both the state archives. The project partner is the Head Office of the State Archives. We invite all interested parties to become actively involved in the project for the establishment / filling index database of scanned documents. All you need is access to a computer with the Internet, and also some skill in reading old documents.
Church Book Archives
Archion is paid online service to access digital copies of Kirchenbücher. These church records span all of Germany, but users can also find records from Pomerania, Danzig, and East and West Prussia (Ost- und Westpreußen). You can search by keyword or browse their collection by church archive.
Landeskirchlicher Archiv Provincial Church Archives – Evangelical Lutheran Church in Northern Germany. Contains information for Kiel, Schwerin, and Greifswald. No online database searchable, but may be able to provide services by contacting the diplomat at the archive.
Ancestry.com now also offers access to photographed church books for Pomerania. See the links below to access their current inventory. (Requires subscription)
Church Books and Civil Registry on Ancestry.com
- Eastern Prussian Provinces, Germany [Poland], Selected Civil Vitals, 1874-1945
- Pomerania, Germany, Parish Register Transcripts, 1544-1883
- Mecklenburg-Vorpommern – Collections, History, and Genealogy Resources; Civil Records and Censuses
- Mecklenburg, Germany, Parish Register Transcripts, 1740-1918
- Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1500-1971
- Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1518-1921
- Germany, Select Births and Baptisms, 1558-1898
- Germany, Select Marriages, 1558-1929
- Germany, Select Deaths, and Burials, 1582-1958
- Germany, Prussia, Brandenburg and Posen, Select Church Book Duplicates, 1794-1874
- Rhineland, Prussia, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1533-1950
- Angermünde, Germany, Births, 1874-1903
- Angermünde, Germany, Marriages, 1874-1923
- Angermünde, Germany, Deaths, 1874-1965
- Saxony, Prussia, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1760-1890
- Saarland, Germany, Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1776-1875
Castle Gardens is the precursor to all records maintained by the U.S. Government at Ellis Island. Before Ellis Island was established as America’s main entry point for immigrants, many German passengers came through Castle Gardens–many from Pomerania. Using the wildcard * symbol is extraordinarily useful to search through a larger pool of possible name variations.
Ellis Island was the later and more well-known port of arrival for German immigrants. Using The Statue of Liberty – Ellis Island foundation’s website can yield free access to passenger lists. In addition to each indexed page, passenger lists could be comprised of more pages with further information on each given immigrant, listing the previous place of residence, nationality, age, and other relatives. Be certain to read all pages. A wealth of knowledge can be gleaned from properly searching through all pages.
Helpful Ancestry.com Immigration Collections
Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934 can be found on Ancestry.com. This search contains information about immigrants, such as birth, where the immigrant lived (place of origin), occupations, marital status, arrival and departure dates, ship names, and other important details necessary for accurately determining whether or not the immigrant is related to you.
Hamburg Passenger Lists, Handwritten Indexes, 1855-1934 is another index to immigrants who emigrated from German territories through the Port of Hamburg. (Ancestry.com)
New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 indexes arrivals in New York through both Castle Garden and Ellis Island. Other processing stations are included in this search as well. (Ancestry.com)
Baltimore, Passenger Lists, 1820-1964 details immigrants who entered through the port of Baltimore. (Ancestry.com)
U.S. and Canada, Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s Thousands of different records have been used to compile this index, everything from original passenger lists to personal diaries. The result is the only compilation of passenger lists this comprehensive — and the search goes on. The publishers provide yearly supplements as their research uncovers new immigration data. (Ancestry.com)
Maps and Geography
For maps of each Kreis, see our individual Kreis pages located underneath the “Place” tab in the top navigation. For further investigative research, visit the websites below.
Meyers Gazetteer is the most comprehensive searchable database of all Pomeranian places. According to their website:
This is the most important of all German gazetteers. The goal of the Meyer’s compilers was to list every place name in the German Empire (1871-1918). It gives the location, i.e. the state and other jurisdictions, where the civil registry office was and parishes if that town had them. It also gives lots of other information about each place. The only drawback to Meyer’s is that if a town did not have a parish, it does not tell where the parish was, making reference to other works necessary.
The advantage of this website over all others is its ability to include overlays of old German maps over Google Maps. One can search for a place and see the roads, buildings, and settlements as they once were. Meyers Gazetteer also lists all known information about belonging church parishes, civil registry offices, administrative districts, etc.
Kartenmeister An excellent source for finding names of places in German and Polish, and variations of the place names over time. GPS coordinates are given for each location in addition to civil registry offices, parishes, population information, and links to Google Maps.
Mapster This database allows users to search for maps in Pomerania. While it is a little difficult to navigate, it may prove useful for people looking for city (Stadt) plans. This is an extremely useful resource. Users may have to type in the Polish spelling of the city name, however.
Koszalin Archives Community Maps is a comprehensive mapping utility that shows plots of land, addresses, public works, and more. This is the perfect resource to view modern-day city plans within Koszalin’s administrative area. The site is in Polish, but it is not difficult to figure out.
Zufallsfunde is a database of chance finds. Researchers are encouraged to submit their discoveries to help other researchers. Why are they chance finds? Imagine a person was born in Schlawe but dies in Itzehoe. Without knowing more information about the person, the trail grows cold and any logical leads are lost. However, by participating in this project, millions of users can be helped by submitting random or chance finds that stand out in any given church book, Standesamt, census, newspaper clipping, or book.