Also see our posts labeled “Church Books and Civil Records.”
Below is a list of Pomeranian church books, estimated years of record dates, religion, online location, and other details such as the believed fate of missing books. More will be added as time allows. To report an unlisted church district’s records as missing or lost, please send an email to [email protected]. (Jump down to listing of records.)
In accordance with new Polish laws, each book must be indexed by the Pomeranian Genealogical Association (PTG) before it can be placed online. We have recently discovered that there are no copyright laws that would impede researchers from accessing these documents before being indexed. We are still waiting for a response as to why records must be indexed before they are made available. In the meantime, to register, please read the instructions. Already, Ancestry.com and FamilySearch have included many books that were previously on microfilm. In due time, the complete collection of church books will become available for searching.
Because web links are subject to change, please use the key below to determine where online access can be found for these specific church books, if any. If a parish is listed to be online at Metryki Genbaza, partial records only are currently accessible for the time being. Ancestry has currently listed several Pomeranian church books underneath a plethora of names, some which are also incorrectly listed. For help in locating these books, please see here:
A = Ancestry.com
F = FamilySearch.org
M = MetrykiGenbaza.pl
ARC = Archion.de
KSA = Koszalin State Archives
SZ = Szczecin State Archives
GF = Greifswald/Mecklenberg Libraries
WorldCat.org is also effective to discover which libraries hold parish newsletters (Gemeindeblatt, Gemeindeblätter).
Clicking on the table headers will allow you to sort by town, religion, etc.
Birth records should list both parents names, birth date and/or christening date, and usually the godparents (Taufpate). Three Taufpate were standard for most entries. More than that was typically out of the ordinary or signified a noble birth.
Marriage records list the groom and place of residence, the bride, the bride’s father and place of residence, ages for both the bride and groom, and the date of the marriage or copulation (when the marriage was consummated). Sometimes, duplicates will list when the marriage was announced (banns).
Death records bear little information in church books. Typical information is the name, age, and place of death. Sometimes, more information will be given in original church books rather than the duplicates.
Links to Church Books
- FamilySearch – collections that are not locked
- For more links to church books, please see our Searchable Databases page.
About Evangelical Lutheran Church Books
For a complete listing of when church records began for each parish, read Martin Wehrmann’s article in Baltische Studien from 1892. He writes: “As in the other German countries, there are no church books in Pomerania before the Reformation.” As early as 1568, in a church statement, the determination of the course of worship and the ministry, it was determined that the “number of Communicates was to be diligent” and that a special book should be given “the names of all who trust them of the year and the day.” Thus the oldest church book preserved in Pomerania was the “Marriage Book of the Wolgastische Parish Church”, which began in 1538
Wehrmann mentions churches from the 16th century: Anklam, Grimmen, Werben, Spantekow, Belgard, Jassow, Buchholz, Hoff, Rehwinkel, Dalow, Bargischow, Nemitz, Cratzig, Prerow, Batzwitz, Cöslin, Greifswald and Treptow / Rega.
Before the war, the church books were stored in the parish archives, the saved books from Hinterpommern are now in the Polish state archives and diocesan archives as well as in German archives. Pre-Pomeranian church books are usually found in the local church archives as well as archives in Greifswald, Berlin and Leipzig.
About Catholic Church Books
The inhabitants of Pomerania were mostly evangelical. Wehrmann reported in 1892 only concerning Catholic books from Kolberg and Köslin. Many Catholic congregations were founded later on and often found in Catholics’ records in the Protestant church books. The Catholic church books were kept after the war on-site or in the Bishop’s Central Archives archives in Regensburg (Bischöfliches Zentralarchiv in Regensburg). In 2002, the originals were returned to the Polish diocesan archives, but the microfilms are still in Regensburg.
Military Church Books
Since the 17th century, the military church books have preserved personal standings and civil registry for ordinary soldiers and under-officers (Unteroffiziere). They are available between the years of ca. 1659 – 1944. Many of these are preserved, but one would need to know the garrison location or military division their relative was in, otherwise the search through the records will be arduous. Luckily, many of these have been indexed by Ancestry, albeit improperly listed and poorly legible digitization of microfilm. Originals can be found in their respective archives.
In 1939, statistics showed 2.3 million inhabitants in Pomerania 90% Protestant, 8% Catholic, 0.5% other Christians, and 0.2% Jewish. Other Christians include Old Lutherans, German-Reformed, French-Reformed, separatists and other groups, some of whom had their own church records.
For a short time these persons were even officially registered in the so-called dissident registers. In 1847, the courts were responsible for the certification of the civil status of Jews and of persons who did not belong to the Protestant or Catholic Church (known as a “dissidents register”). This situation existed until September 30, 1874, when civil registry offices (Standesamt) were introduced.
Especially in the large cities of Pomerania, there were Jewish communities and some church books are preserved. The Jewish Museum in Frankfurt has copies of the microfilms of Jewish communities, which are kept in the genealogy center and has a listing of these films on its website.
Church Newsletters (Gemeindeblätter)
A number of community newsletters exist and have been preserved by various libraries in Europe, mostly in Germany or Poland. These can be extraordinarily helpful when a parish’s records have been lost, as these newsletters frequently include births, marriages, and deaths. More importantly, these newsletters could be considered more important than church books from a historical standpoint, because they contain other valuable information about the community and issues that were front and center at the time of publication. One might also find summaries of sermons.
Not every newsletter includes specific dates, but they typically point to a year or season at the bare minimum. Most of these are dated after 1900.
Comprehensive Church Book Listings
Please visit Pommerscher Greif e.V. for a comprehensive search. To search for online availability, click here. If you would like to see a catalogued listing of all books, please see the complete list. If you would like to search by Kreis, please see the place directory. As Pommerscher Greif actively maintains its database, the table that used to be below will no longer be updated. The table below was current as of 2016 to reflect what holdings were photographed and should exist online. Please see the Pommerscher Greif’s Quellensuche for more information.
In time, records will be uploaded to metryki.genbaza.pl. Because of new Polish laws, each book must be indexed by the Pomeranian Genealogical Association (PTG) before it can be placed online. To register, please read the instructions. Already, Ancestry.com and FamilySearch have included many books that were previously on microfilm. In due time, the complete collection of church books will become available for searching.