Now introducing the Pommern Database Person Search, a searchable index to records from Pomerania. This database takes a different approach, as the Pommerscher Greif and the PTG have created indexes to civil records. Our database focuses on records that are often overlooked, such as citizen registers, guild records, land and mortgage books, and user-submitted genealogies. This database is currently in development. Our Family Tree Search aims to help users connect with others searching for similar names, places, and relatives. Submit one name or an entire tree. Check back occasionally to see if someone else has submitted a name of interest.
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. It is also important to check the log of “Latest Changes” to ensure the information you are obtaining is correct. Sometimes, people edit an individual and merge incorrect information into the family tree. Every change is logged, so one can go back through the changes and recover the correct information. (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.
FamilySearch Pomeranian Church Books This is a list of church books, some that can be read through but have not been indexed yet, that are not “locked” from the public.
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.
The Pommerscher Greif’s Quellensuche is a great resource to look for churches and registry offices and discover whether records exist for the place of research.
GREIF-INDEX (Personendatenbank GreifX) is the Pommerscher Greif’s official search for indexed records. It currently allows users to search through birth, marriage, and death indexes from church books and civil registers. These indexes correspond mostly to sources on Metryki.Genbaza.pl.
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, Military, and Other Archives and Libraries
Metryki Genbaza is the official hosting site for church and Standesamt archival scans. For the State Archives in Koszalin, documents are photographed and indexed by the Pommerscher Greif and the PTG before they are allowed to be posted online. (Editor’s note: correspondence with the Chief Director of State Archives from the Supreme Directorate of State Archives (NDAP) informs us that vital records are not copyrighted under Polish law.)
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. Also see our Stettin Archive Guides – Using BKGE and Szukaj w Archiwach.
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 Secret State Archives of Prussian Cultural Heritage 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.
Bundesarchiv The German Federal Archives are the National Archives of Germany. The collection today includes older documents from Germany’s imperial past, Nazi Germany, civilian and military records from East Germany (including East German political parties and mass organizations), and the documents inherited from West Germany’s Federal Archive. In addition to state records, the Archives also contain material from political parties, associations, and societies of national prominence as well as historical collections. Besides the text documents, the Archives also keeps photographs, films, maps, posters, and electronic data in its collection. A great resource for historical research, but very vast. If you are able to visit in person and know which collection you would like to view, you might have better luck in your search. For more information, search through the inventory.
Kirchlicher Suchdienst was a way for people to search for their families after the war. This tracing service was ended on September 30, 2016. Tracing cards of the Kirchlicher Suchdienst were received into the Lastenausgleichsarchiv in Bayreuth (part of the Bundesarchiv).
Landesarchiv Berlin The archive documents the entire history of Berlin from the oldest document from the year 1298 to the steady takeovers of the Senate administrations. In addition, there are extensive collections on international affairs that the Berlin and Prussian authorities have dealt with. The focus of the materials is in the 19th and 20th centuries. In addition to the magistrate, the archive contains senate and judicial documents, the files of the GDR mass organizations and the state-controlled economy of the GDR, and the holdings of supra-regional importance including the archive of documents by the older German women’s movement. Judicial and financial files contain important information about persecution in the Nazi era, and the holdings of the municipal umbrella organizations document German local politics since the end of the 19th century. In only a few state archives with the exception of the Federal Archives is the political and social upheavals of the past century reflected as impressively as in the holdings of the Landesarchiv Berlin. Ancestry’s “Eastern Prussian Provinces” collection with obtained through the Landesarchiv as well. See the short inventory of content.
Deutsche Dienstelle (WASt) is based in Berlin and maintains records of members of the former German Wehrmacht who were killed in action, as well as official military records of all military personnel during the Second World War (ca. 18 million) as well as naval military records since 1871 and other war-related records. Formerly called the Wehrmachtsauskunftstelle (WASt), this agency also provides information about the fate of foreign and German soldiers as well as prisoners of war in Germany. Wikipedia has a great synopsis of its holdings. Don’t expect much due to privacy laws, but it’s always worth a shot. It is housed in the same building as the Landesarchiv Berlin.
International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen is an archive and a center for documenting National Socialist persecution and the liberated survivors. Former victims of Nazism and their families receive information regarding their incarceration, forced labor and post-war Allied assistance. The more than 30 million documents in the ITS archives also provide the basis for research and education.
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.
Bałtycka Biblioteka Cyfrowa The Baltic Digital Library, digital versions of books, magazines and iconographic, cartographic and social documents are made available. The task of the Baltic Digital Library is to provide access to materials related to Pomerania, to secure and share regional cultural heritage. This Polish library allows searching for various materials such as newspapers, journals, address books, etc. Many older German documents have been digitized and made available online.
Śląska Biblioteka Cyfrowa the Silesian Digital Library is similar to the Baltic Digital Library and contains other relevant materials that may contain references to Pomerania, including the Archiv für innere Kolonisation.
Martin-Opitz-Bibliothek contains books on Pomerania, some which cannot be found elsewhere. However, some of the more important ones can only be viewed on-site due to copyright restrictions.
Places in Connection with Pomerania
State Archives in Danzig
State Archives in Landsberg an der Warthe
State Archives in Posen
Familienforschung in Westpreußen is a collection of information on West Prussian territories. The website links to their database of people and useful tools for determining which records have survived. The Einwohner Datenbank is an index for West Prussian people and families. Their Ortsverzeichnis can help search for places within West Prussia and return further information for research. Two searches for sources will prove most useful: their church book inventory and their civil registry inventory.
Familienforschung in der Neumark is a part of the Arbeitsgemeindschaft Ostdeutscher Familienforscher (AGOFF). Some areas in Neumark were eventually integrated into Pomerania. Their database contains indexed listings of immigration and residents and is helpful for “filling in the gaps” through their group’s dedicated work in collecting fragmentary information to build a more complete picture of the records that were destroyed during and following the war.
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.
Silius Radicum is a Polish website for researching in Oberschlesien. They have metrical indexes to registry books. On 21 January 2015 the Upper Silesian Genealogical Society “Silesian Roots” signed an agreement with the State Archives in Katowice, under which members of the Society would digitize genealogical records in the State Archive. This is currently not being done within the scope of ongoing tasks of the National Archives. will gradually post digitized records from the registry books on their website, duplicates of parish records from 1800-1874 which were submitted to the court.
Brandenburg Datenbank is a search for indexed areas of Brandenburg, Germany. Other resources include Ortsfamilienbücher, address books, citizen lists (Bürgerbücher), resident lists, cemeteries, colonists, emigrations, and information about serfs.
Portal Luteranos contains many records from the Evangelical Church of the Lutheran Confession in Brazil.
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.
Archiwum Diecezji Koszalińsko-Kołobrzeskiej is the church archives for Kolberg and Köslin areas. Their collections are somewhat limited, but their collections have not been made open to the public outside of their physical holdings. Some are still on microfilm and must be viewed in person.
Archiwum Diecezji Pelplińskiej is the Pelplin Diocese Archive in Poland. According to PolishRoots.org, “The Bishop of Pelplin wanted Poles abroad to have access to all the records of their ancestors, so someone has started photographing the records and they have been placed on CDs.” Contact Stanley Frymark with any questions regarding records from this diocese.
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. Our dedicated maps page contains more helpful links for your research.
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.
BaSIA Database of Archival Indexing Systems allows for the search of a given surname from different indexing projects. At the time of this article, the site currently references the Poznan marriage indexing project.