From the time of the Holy Roman Empire, the concept of a “German nation” was actually hundreds of smaller kingdoms and fiefs united underneath one Empire, or “Kaiser.” Smaller kings, known by the singular form of the word, “König,” had dominion over smaller territories. When the kings entrusted land to the knights, or “Ritter,” they were responsible for mandatory military service to protect the land.
Over time, boundaries changed and counties that existed before 1806, when Napoleon dissolved the Holy Roman Empire, might not have existed afterwards. Specifically, after the Napoleonic wars, some restructuring of boundaries occurred. In 1818, there were Kreis reforms that changed the way Pomerania was partitioned on the map, additionally gaining or losing territories around the areas of West Prussia, Neumark, and the Netzedistrikt. The same holds true for territories after the Franco-Prussian war and the re-establishment (without Austria) as the German Empire in 1871, known in its native tongue as the “Deutsches Reich.” County divisions from that time forward remained somewhat unchanged until the end of World War I. Between the time of the Weimar Republic in 1918 and the fall of Hitler’s Third Reich in 1945, boundaries were re-established once again, and smaller divisions were dissolved to form larger counties. One such specific example of this is the Prussian administrative reforms in 1932.
Because of these divisions, it is imperative when researching to know to which district a specific village belonged. (This page will be updated and maintained in time. For now, it is just a list for reference.)
Examples of these are shown below:
Kreis Fürstenthum-Cammin: (also known as “Kreis Fürstenthum”)
Kreis Polzin: (later Belgard-Polzin)
Kreis Schivelbein: (also spelled “Schiefelbein on earlier maps)