Merkoulov’s Guide to the Prussian Military
Are you curious about Prussian military records for Pomerania? There’s a reason they haven’t been added as a resource to My Pomerania.
Unfortunately, most of the records of the Prussian army were destroyed when the Heeresarchiv in Potsdam was bombed in 1945. We’re talking about a lot of paper records and a very large fire. Consequently, remaining military records are supposedly virtually impossible to search through without knowing your ancestor’s regiment. But good luck knowing that information.
This guide by Dana Merkoulov provides an in-depth look into where to find records. It is a well-written synopsis, though it would seem that it has not been updated in some time. I have updated our “Searchable Databases” to reflect more archives that can be of use when searching for military members.
Quite frankly, my opinion at this point is that finding any military records for Pomeranian soldiers is futile, expensive, and unlikely to turn up anything of value. However, we value openness and transparency with where records are located and how to get a hold of them. If you are curious about your family, it never hurts to send an email to one of the institutions that maintain the records.
In this case, military records seem to be mostly housed by the Deutsche Dienstelle (WASt) and are protected by privacy laws (go figure). Even if you can substantiate a connection to the person AND the person has been dead for a hundred years, there’s a good chance they still will not relinquish the records to you unless you are a direct descendent.
To try to help researchers discover what might exist in archives with less strict criteria, I’m currently working on obtaining a few collections from Szczecin. Hopefully, these will shed light on what can be found in those collections and give researchers a better idea of what to expect from archival research. (One of the first to be expected is a document about deserting soldiers. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for a list of names!)