Only a few blocks away from the Greifswald Landeskirchliches archive, This archive was open was open earlier than the Greifswald Landeskirchliches and until 3 p.m. on Friday. I ordered records early in the morning and then left to research at the Greifswald Landeskirchliches. I came back and looked at records after the Greifswald Landeskirchliches had closed on Friday.
I was able to order and look at Stettin ship records for the years I requested. They were original, fragile, old ships logs.
Note: Cost for research in room was 6.00 Euros per person even if second person does no research but is along. My husband just sat and slept while I researched but he had come into research room with me.
From Paul Rakow: Over the Easter break I made a succesful visit to the Landesarchiv in Greifswald, I thought some of you might be interested in hearing what I found.
As background: Most of my father's ancestors came from villages to the north of Naugard, mainly Doeringshagen, Zickerke and Trechel. I've already been to the Landeskirchliches Archiv in Greifswald a couple of times to look at the church books for these villages, which go back to 1775 for Doeringshagen and Zickerke, and 1845 for Trechel. So my goal this time was to see if I could get back any further by looking at secular/financial records.
I was pleased with what I found, I managed to go back another generation on several lines, and found out quite a bit of background on the lives of my ancestors - in fact I got really lucky and even found a statement from 1772 from one of my ancestors about the state of his business.
I was fortunate that the villages I was interested in were Amtsdoerfer, which means that they belonged directly to the king, rather than to some nobleman. The king's bureaucrats in Stettin, the Kriegs- und Domaenenkammer Stettin, kept detailed records of how much income the royal estates were generating, which is useful if your ancestors were royal tennants. Every 10 or 12 years in the 18th century the villages in the Naugard Amt were investigated, reports written on the state of each village, and various lists made up.
The most useful records were Praestation Tables and Mill Tables. Praestation tables listed all the payments that the villagers had to make. Included were people wih occupations such as Budner, Kossat or Bauer, who would have the use of at least a little land. Labourers and the like don't appear in these lists. The payments had feudal origins, and some of them have rather odd names, such as "smoke chicken money". In the account books they are added up as money, so I guess that by this time they had been converted into money payments, rather than payment of actual chickens.
Mill Tables: The mills had a monopoly, everyone in certain villages had to get their flour from the local mill, so to see how much the mill was worth they needed a head-count in each village. These lists were more complete than the Praestation tables, the head of the household is given, then whether or not he had a wife, how many sons and daughters he had over 10 and under 10, how many servants, lodgers and old people were in the household. Finally there is a column for remarks, which will sometimes give the names of the
lodgers (usually farm-workers) and the old people. Another advantage of the Mill tables is that in villages which were partly royal and partly noble the mill tables will list people from both parts of the village, while the praestations tables only list the tennants on the royal land.
The inspectors also looked into various other sources of money, such as the brewery and distillery in Naugard. This is where my favorite bit was. In 1772 the inspectors noticed that the sales of beer from the brewery had been falling for several years, so they interviewed some of the inn-keepers in the area, including my ancestor Simon Rakow, inn-keeper in Doeringshagen. He complained at length about how bad business had been the last few years: "The traffic of freight-wagons to Kolberg and Danzig has completely stopped in some years, in particular in the last four years, and people who are travelling to the towns of Greifenberg, Treptow and Kolberg or further into east Pommern seldom stop in the inn, and if they do spend the night they don't even drink a quart of beer, but make do with a glass of spirits. In 14 days or 3 weeks he hardly serves a half-barrel of beer, so it often goes sour and bad, so he has more loss than profit from the inn."
Another source that I looked at is the Hufenklassifikation from 1717, a survey (for tax purposes) of most of the villages in Hinterpommern, listing the farmers and how much land and how many animals they have.
A few general points about the records and the archives: The archive is in an impressive red building, originally a military barracks, very Prussian-looking. On the days I was there it wasn't crowded, there were still free places in the reading room.
The latest you can order something to be delivered the same day is at 10 in the morning, so be sure that you either get there early on your first day, or order a few items in advance when you make your appointment to visit.
Some of the hand-writing styles are quite tough to read. I'd been practising reading German handwriting over the month before my visit, but I still found some of the hands quite tough, especially in the Hufenklassifikation. On the last day I could read quite a bit better than on the first. More practice in advance would have been good.
I made most progress with the families where I had already got back to the 18th century, I didn't have a great deal of success with 19th century records, though I did look at a few rezess files from the mid 19th century, dealing with rationalising the payments made by the farmers to the church (I may write about those in a day or two, but this is already a rather long posting).
More comments on the Landesarchiv Greifswald:
Booking: I phoned the archive about 2 months before my visit to book a place in the reading room, and discuss briefly what sort of things I was looking for.
Language: I lived and worked in Germany for 14 years, and returned to England a few years ago. So I spoke German when I visited the archive, and I can't tell you how well the staff speak English. In general you can't expect that everybody will speak English, particularly in the East where people may have spent their school-years learning Russian, not English.
Staff: The woman in the catalogue room was helpful and knowledgeable. She made suggestions of things to look for, and brought me to the relevant catalogue book or card index.
Electronic access: I don't expect much of the real archive material to appear on the internet any time soon, but *part* of the catalogue is online at: http://ariadne.uni-greifswald.de/ which can be useful for planning a visit. A good overview of the archives content (in German) is at: http://www.hinterpommern.de/Wegweiser/node27.html
The whole site:
http://www.hinterpommern.de/Wegweiser/ is very useful.
There is one set of documents which are being put on line, the Swedish maps of Vorpommern, made in the 1690s, are being added to http://www.dhm.uni-greifswald.de/
These are really very attractive, if you are interested in the area covered they are well worth looking at.
Vorpommern and Hinterpommern: In the 18th century Hinterpommern was ruled by the King in Prussia, but Vorpommern belonged to Sweden. So the documents covering the two areas will be different. The Landesarchiv has a lot of archival material from the time of Swedish rule, my guess would be that there might be more material in Greifswald for ancestors from Vorpommern than from Hinterpommern.