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 (GroƟ 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.