Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Anita Springer's Story of Finding Her Pommeranian Ancestors

The text below was sent in by Anita Springer and is her story of finding her Pommeranian ancestors.  Enjoy!

My name is Anita Springer, my mother's name is Elizabeth GRÜNBERG Springer and she was born in 1922 in the small town of Nipperwiese (today Ognica) on the east side of the Oder River.  It was part of Kreis Greifenhagen, south of Stettin (Szcecin.)  She lived through the horrors of WWII in Germany, in which her brother was killed on the Russian Front, and was the only one from her family to emigrate to the US, in 1951 where she was able to make a new life after her family lost their home and everything they had when the Russian troops took over that part of Germany to give to Poland in 1945. 

In Nipperwiese her family leased fields and did farming, growing vegetables and tobacco.  She described her childhood as very happy.  My mother had an excellent memory and knew a lot about her family, including the names, birth and death dates of her great-grandparents.  I later found out that her grandmother Louise KÜHNKE's family was descended from Huguenots who were invited by the Prussian royal family to settle in Brandenburg in the late 1600s. They settled first in Schwedt, just over the river Oder in Brandenburg and moved to Nipperwiese in 1800. There is a Huguenot church in Schwedt that has all of their church records.

I posted my family information on German websites and the Pommern mailing list and over time, received responses from people related to me in Germany.  I made contact with a fifth cousin who is a professional archivist in Germany and he told me about our Huguenot ancestors and gave me huge amounts of historical information about my family.

Nipperwiese has been very difficult to research because it was heavily bombed during the war and no church records remain. There are some civil records which I found in the LDS microfilm library and hired a Polish researcher to look through in the Stettin archives.  The breakthrough came when I was contacted by a third cousin, a GRÜNBERG who found my postings on line, and by another man in Germany who is compiling an Ortsfamilienbuch of Nipperwiese. They told me that the name of my 3rd great-grandfather was Christian GRÜNBERG, born 1805, and that he was originally from the town of Nahausen, just a short distance south of Nipperwiese but over the provincial border in Brandenburg.  This was a huge stroke of luck because the Nahausen evangelical church records have survived and are on line.  I am in the process of tracing my GRÜNBERG and related families from that area back to the 1600s.

Through my DNA test, I found out that I am related to a family from North Tonowanda NY who are descended from a founder of their Lutheran church in Martinsville NY, named Maria Elisabeth Henriette GRÜNBERG who was born in 1793 in Fiddichow, a small town right next to Nipperwiese. She and her husband Michael KUBE emigrated to the US in 1843 along with a large group of religious dissidents called "Old Lutherans" who left in protest of changes being made in the German churches.  

In researching the story of the Old Lutherans I found out that the emigrants included 80 people from the town of Nipperwiese.  Interestingly, this provided a clue about my 2nd great-grandmother Bertha (Albertine) SCHULZ who I had come to believe was not originally from Nipperwiese.  Included in the people who left Nipperwiese in 1843 were several shoemakers.

A shoemaker who later came to Nipperwiese named Albert Heinrich SCHULZ was born in Gross Tychow, Kreis Belgard, in 1843 and is listed in surviving address books as living in Nipperwiese in 1875. Perhaps not coincidentally, Bertha's son Karl GRÜNBERG b 1860, is listed in that address book as apprenticed to a shoemaker in Nipperwiese in 1875 when he was 15 years old. Did my great-great-grandmother apprentice her son to a family relative?

There are other linkages (intermarriages) between Nipperwiese and Gross Tychow involving the SCHULZ family.  I found this very interesting since Gross Tychow is not very near Nipperwiese.  It is south of Kolberg near the Baltic Sea.  Another interesting fact is that my mother told me that her father had relatives near Tilsit and that he would visit them and bring home Tilsiter cheese.  My DNA always turns up a lot of matches with Lithuanians and Russians too.  So I now think that my SCHULZ family was originally from those far northern reaches on the Baltic, possibly as far east as Königsberg.

I also had a DNA match with a person whose family is named SCHULZ and MEIER from the city of Bahn which is also in Kreis Greifenhagen.  

I am still researching the GRÜNBERG and SCHULZ families, have not exhausted the possible resources although they are getting harder to find.  Other surnames possibly associated with my SCHULZ family are JAHN and ROTTSOLK.

Isn't genealogy fascinating?

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Looking for a Periodical? The Pommern Special Interest Group May Have It!

The Pommern Special Interest Group has access to a lot of periodicals that can be hard to find anywhere else.  You can search the list of periodicals here.

Ordering a copy from the periodical is easy!  Simply send out a check for $5 made out to the Immigrant Genealogy Society to:

Immigrant Genealogy Society
Burbank, California 91510-7369

P. O. Box 7369

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Pommern German Passenger Lists, 1869-1901 are on

Hello Researchers!

I am excited to share that Pommern Germany passengers lists for the years 1869-1901 are now on  You can find the collection here.  While the document types in the collection vary, you can generally expect to find the name, gender, place of origin, departure date, departure place, ship name, and age at departure.

If you make any discoveries within this collection, we would love for you to share them with us!

Stolper Heimatkreise e.V Global Index Now Online!

Hello Researchers!

We are excited to tell you that the Stolper Heimatkreise e. V. Global Index is now online.  This index is searchable by first or last name and by place.  This is great news for all who are searching in Kreis Stolp, Schlawe, Lauenburg, and Butow.

You can learn more on the Stolper Heimatkreise e. V. Facebook page.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Links for the Fall Issue of the Newsletter

Civil records online

Church Books online

Polish digital libraries

Library in Stolp/Slupsk 

State Archives 
State Archive in Stettin/Szczecin (point of entry for digitized documents)

Database of the holdings of the Polish archives (only part of these 
holdings are online) 

Civil records online

Church Books online

Polish digital libraries

Library in Stolp/Slupsk 

State Archives 
State Archive in Stettin/Szczecin (point of entry for digitized documents)

Database of the holdings of the Polish archives (only part of these 
holdings are online)

Civil records online

Church Books online

Polish digital libraries

Library in Stolp/Slupsk 

State Archives 
State Archive in Stettin/Szczecin (point of entry for digitized documents)

Database of the holdings of the Polish archives (only part of these 
holdings are online) 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

David G. Marks' Story of Pommern Ancestry

[Editor's Note: This post was written by David G. Marks.  If you would like to submit a story about your Pommern ancestry, please email with your story.]

I started my researching my family tree in 2006.  My Mom’s English and Irish side wasn’t too difficult.  There was documentation on my Dad’s maternal side that lead me to the right village in Germany, but nobody had any idea where the Marks’ had come from in Germany.

I finally found a reference to Pomerania in the 1920 Census where my Great Grandmother referred to it as her place of birth.  All other references had just been Prussia or Germany.  I found the website for the IGS/DPL and found that there was a submission for my Great Great Grandfather, Friedrich Wilhelm MARKS.  I filled out the form and sent it in with my donation and had an answer within a week.

The submitter of this information believed that Friedrich Wilhelm had been born in Lankwitz, Kreis Stolp.  I found the Stolpmailing list in the fall of 2008 and seeing that it was mostly in German spent a week composing the best German email I could from my high school and college German.  I sent it and didn’t get an answer.

Thanksgiving morning of 2008 and there was my answer from Uwe Kerntopf – in English.  Could the spelling of the last name actually be MARTZ or MARZ?  Every bit of information received in this email was right on in terms of dates.  I had never found the ship record for the families immigration.  I had always searched using the name MARKS.  I plugged MARZ in and the exact ship record popped up.  Nobody knew that the family name had been changed back in 1857.

I made a trip to Pomerania sponsored by the Wisconsin Vereinstadt in 2009.  After the tour portion was finished I wanted to go a meet with the Stolp Group at their office in Bonn.  I was very warmly greeted AND given a memory stick with copies of the church books where my family came from – allowing me to expand my tree back to the year 1700.

As a result of all of this I have met cousins in Germany (and many in the US) and became a member of the Stolp Group.  I help them in transcribing church records into a database and help with inquiries from people whose family came from the same parish as mine (Groß Garde).  I have attended the Stolp Family Research Meeting in Kassel the last two years.  Finding them to be such a great help and with wonderful people, I purchased my plane ticket for the October, 2014 meeting this last December.

I never would have found my family without the help of the IGS/DPL.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Benefits of a subscription to Die Pommerschen Leute

Wondering what the benefits are of getting a subscription to the Die Pommerschen Leute?  Read all about society president Toni Perrone's research success using the Die Pommerschen Leute as a resource!

Research Methods:
1) Interview of family members;
2) American record research;
3) View of Hamburg Passenger list (which stated the family left from Zarrenthin, Kreis Demmin, Vor Pommern);

4) Placed known family material in the Die Vorfahren section to the Die Pommerschen Leute (DPL) Periodical;
5) Received an E mail from another DPL subscriber that he was going to that area of Vor Pommern and would be willing to look at the church records in  Jarmen. Kreis Demmin, Vor-Pommern) since it was very near Zarrenthin and he had the same surname in his family there. (The church records were never microfilmed and remain in the church there);
6) received the following information from him:

Jarmen Church book. Vol. V. page 201 entry # 46
Bertha Johanne Wilhelmine Behrendt born July 19, 1863 at 10:30 in the morning  baptized on September 9, 1863 in Klein-Toitin, Kreis Demmin, Vor-Pommern; Father; The shepherd Johann Behrendt, Mother: Wilehimine Blietz. Witnesses: Johann Heitmann, day laborer; Wilhelm Schroeder, shepherd from Daberkow and Johanne Wilke.

Jarmen Church book. Vol. V. page 167 entry # 29
Wilhelmine August Frederike Behrendt, born on March 20, 1861 at 3 0”clock, baptized on April 8, 1861 in Klein Toitin. Father; the shepherd Johann Behrendt, Mother: Wilehimine Blietz. Witnesses: Wilhelm Heyden, day laborer; Friederike Behning, wife of the day laborer Heitman; Auguste Ewald, wife of the day laborer Zell.

Jarmen Church book. Vol. VI. page 11 entry # 61
Wilhelm Friedrich Carl Behrendt, born on July 22, 1865 in Klein Toitin, Baptized on July 30, 1865 (this was an emergency baptism as he died the same day he was baptized.

Jarmen Church book. Vol. VI. Page 29 entry # 51
Wilhelm Carl Johann Behrendt, born on July 1, 1866 in Klein Toitin, Baptized on July 15, 1866

Jarmen Church book. Vol. G. page 12 entry # 29
Johann Behrendt , shepherd in Klein Toitin, died on September 25, 1866 1AM from Cholera; Age 35 years 11 months, 30 days.  Survivors: the widow and four minor children.

Jarmen Church book. Vol. C. entry # 167
Johann Carl Martin Droberg and Wilhelmine Christine Dorothea Blietz from Klein Toitin were married April 8, 1868 in Jarmen. Johann Carl Martin Droberg was born April 10, 1844 and  Wilhelmine Christine Dorothea Blietz Behrendt was born  October 29, 1835. 

If I had not subscribed to Die Pommerschen Leute Periodical and placed my information in the Die Vorfharen section I would never have received this material!

BERTHA JOHANNA Wilhelmina  BEhReNDT  was born on July 19, 1863 in Germany.
When Bertha was a very little girl in Kreis Demmin she, along with other little girls in her village, went to the home of the Baron and Baroness for instructions in crafts, sewing, darning, and weaving. There were several spinning wheels in the home. She, being the smallest at that time, learned on the littlest spinning wheel, how to spin flax into fiber and sheep's wool into yarn. She was very intent on learning to weave, and as she worked at it, the spinning wheel would move forward a few inches. She would pull her chair to it again and get close to it. Before she knew it everyone would start to laugh because she was moved clear across the room and hadn't even noticed. She told her grandchildren later that she was embarrassed but she soon learned how to spin very well.

She also learned to darn wool socks to perfection. Her granddaughter said she had never seen such close and even stitches as her grandmothers. Her grandchildren tried very hard to do it the way Bertha did, but never really succeeded. Of course no one darns stockings anymore, but Bertha certainly perfected the art.

Life in the Vor-Pommern for Bertha and her family and all the people in the village were very hard. While the little girls were learning crafts the little boys were taught to work in the fields at a very early age. Later the girls had to work in the fields too.

They were very poor. The only toys Bertha ever had were handmade ones. For Christmas they usually got something in the clothing line and perhaps an orange or an apple. The one big happy time in the year for all of the villagers was the Octoberfest - the celebration of the harvest. At this time there would be dancing and games. Otherwise, it was mostly work.

Bertha was 19 years old when she immigrated to the United States on the ship "SS Gellert," under the direction of Captain Kueshlewein, from Hamburg leaving March 4,1882 and arriving in New York April 19, 1882 with her Johann Droberg, her mother Wilhelmina Bleitz, her natural sister Minnie and step sister and step brothers.

When Bertha arrived in the United States she thought life was very beautiful here. The family settled in Chicago and immediately joined the Social Turner Verein, (a German social and athletic club). To think that she could go to a dance every Saturday and dance until three in the morning and no one stopped her or made her get back to work - that was to her, shear heaven.

Bertha met Heinrich (Henry) Claussen at the Turner Verein. They fell in love and were united in marriage on June 25, 1884 by Rev. William Bertling, minister of the Gospel at the Evangelical Lutheran Church, 18 W. Fremont Street, Chicago Illinois. Heinrich was the son of Johann Hinrich Claussen and Magdalena  Eichmeier

Henry was born October 26, 1853 in Dörpling, Kreis Dithmarschen, Schleswig Holstein, Germany. He learned to be a joiner, (a skilled workman who finishes inside woodwork for houses), a trade he pursued throughout his life. Henry immigrated to the United States from Hamburg, Schleswig Holstein, arriving in New York, May 23, 1881. He came with his brother Peter, sister Catharina Dorothea (Dora) Claussen, and his cousin's Katharine Claussen, Claus Boe , and Angenetha Catharina (Antje) Boe. They traveled across the ocean on the ship "SS Vandalia". The ship made one stop on the way in La Havre. They continued on to Chicago, Illinois where Henry and Peter decided to make their home while the rest of the family moved on to Iowa. Henry and Peter started their own construction business in Chicago in 1893.  The name of the business was Claussen Brothers Carpenters and Contractors and was located at 1025 Roscoe Street, Chicago, Illinois.

Henry was an active member in the Schleswig Holstein Verein and the Social Turner Verein in Chicago, Illinois. The Social Turner Verein was a society that had the philosophy of a sound mind and body that was practiced through physical fitness. They had gymnastic classes for the children and adults alike. The Social Turners were well known for passing down German heritage by offering German Theater, meeting places, and supporting German libraries as well as other cultural programs. Heinrich and Bertha attended several social functions at the Social Turner Verein in Chicago after their marriage.

Within a year or two of their marriage Henry and Bertha borrowed enough money to buy their own house. After a few years they were able to add on two stories so that they could rent out a flat. He later built his dream home at 2015 Addison Street, Chicago Illinois after having saved lumber and extra doors and trim from some of his contracting jobs. The house was one of the first houses on that block at that time.

It is unknown how much schooling Bertha had in Klein-Toitin, but she had a wide vocabulary, mostly in German and was an avid reader. Bertha was always reading her Abendpost in the evenings and keeping up with what was going on in the news. She also loved to read romantic novels. Nothing pleased her more than to have a German novel to read in the evenings. She never learned to read much English. Her speech was mostly a mixture of German and English. Usually she spoke to her grandchildren in German and they answered her in English, although her daughter Frieda and son in law Albert were fluent in German and often spoke German with her. Bertha was good in mathematics also and no one could fool her in making change or in figuring the cost of anything.

Henry died young at the age of 571/2 on February 7, 1911 in Chicago Illinois. He is buried in the Social Turner Verein Section of Forest Home (Waldheim) Cemetery 863 S. Des Plaines Avenue Forest Park, Illinois, 60130.

Bertha was now left alone to face debts that she had not known about. She had no income what so ever nor any insurance. It was then that her son in law sold a lot that had been given to him as a wedding gift by his father. He took the money to buy the house on Addison Street from Bertha. She then lived with her daughter and her family.

Bertha knew a great deal about farm work, all of it learned in Vor Pommern. She was the chief gardener in the family. No one else could do it good enough to suit her. She grew beautiful flowers as well as some vegetables. She worked hard outdoors, even insisting upon mowing the lawn until the summer before her death. Her grand-daughter, remembers Bertha cleaning the wallpaper even though she had a broken wrist.

Although Bertha never returned to her homeland in Vor-Pommern. She did receive a visit from her cousin Ernst Behrendt and his wife Emma who came from Germany to visit her sometime between 1920-1925. Bertha's granddaughter remembers the visit. She said he was a very stern man. He returned to Germany and was never heard from again as far as we know.

Bertha died on December 21, 1944 in Chicago, Illinois from a cerebral hemorrhage and carcinoma of the right cervix. She was buried in December of 1944 in Graceland Cemetery, Bellview Section, Lot 614, Chicago Illinois.
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