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Place names in Prussia

Place names in Prussia

Posted: 13 Aug 2003 2:14AM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 2 Nov 2005 6:35PM GMT
I have just recently received my great granmother's obituary with information about where she was born and raised in Prussia. I have searched the web and can't find any information on these place names. Here is what her obituary stated:
"Mrs Zuehlsdorf (nee Zahn) was born in Friedriech Falde, Germany and was baptized in Stramehl. Her parents moved to Vangerien in Hinten Pommer, Germany where she grew to wommanhood."
If someone out there is familiar with any of these names I would love to hear from you. Thank you in advance.
Arlene

Re: Place names in Prussia

Robert (View posts)
Posted: 15 Aug 2003 3:09AM GMT
Classification: Query
Arlene, your great-grandmother was from POMERANIA (in German: POMMERN). Pomerania is on the Baltic coast and, until 1945, was a province of the German state of PRUSSIA (in German: PREUSSEN). Today, Pomerania is divided between Germany and Poland.

Following World War II, all of Germany that lie east of the Oder and Neisse Rivers was given to Poland (with the exception of the northern half of the Prussian province of East Prussia, which was taken by the Soviet Union). This included most, but, as mentioned above, not all, of Pomerania, but it did include Pomerania's capital, the city of STETTIN (which the Poles now call SZCZECIN). The 12 million inhabitants of eastern Germany were thereupon expelled from their homes under horrific conditions. The Polish authorities then repopulated these territories with Poles.

A small portion of Pomerania lying west of the Oder River is still part of Germany and forms part of the present-day German state of MECKLENBURG-WEST POMERANIA (in German: MECKLENBURG-VORPOMMERN). This portion of Pomerania includes cities such as Greifswald and Stralsund, as well as the island of Rügen.

"Vorpommern", the name given to that portion of Pomerania west of the Oder River, actually translates literally as "Closer Pomerania". Pomerania east of the Oder River is referred to in German as "Hinterpommern", which translates best as "Farther Pomerania". This is where your great-grandmother was from. As mentioned, this portion of Pomerania is now Polish. The original German inhabitants are gone now almost 60 years.

Your great-grandmother's obituary was obviously written by an American who didn't speak German. All the places mentioned were in the Administrative District (in German: Kreis) of REGENWALDE, which was a small city of about 5000 people. The correct spelling of the place where your great-grandmother was born is FRIEDERICKENWALDE, which was a village of about 300 people just a few miles west of Regenwalde. Your great-grandmother was baptized in STRAMEHL, a village of about 400 people just a few miles south of Regenwalde near the city of LABES, which was a city of about 7000 people. The correct spelling of the place where your great-grandmother grew up is WANGERIN. Wangerin was a small city of about 4000 people a few miles south of Stramehl and Labes. These places are northeast of Stettin (Szczecin).

Needless to say, after the German population was expelled in 1945/46, the places were all given new Polish names. The district seat, Regenwalde, now goes by the Polish name RESKO. Friederickenwalde now goes by the Polish name GODZISZEWO. Stramehl now goes by the Polish name STRZMIELE. Labes now goes by the Polish name LOBEZ. And Wangerin now goes by the Polish name WEGORZYNO.

Hope this helps you in tracing your Pomeranian heritage!

Re: Place names in Prussia

Posted: 15 Aug 2003 11:17PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 2 Nov 2005 6:35PM GMT
Robert:
Thank you so much for your response. I was slowly making headway before you answered me but with you help you've made it very easy. Now I have to figure out how her daughter, my grandmother ended up being born in Berlin!!! There's always something new to learn...that's what makes it go much fun and addictive. byt. how did you know so much about these towns?
Arlene

Re: Place names in Prussia

Robert (View posts)
Posted: 16 Aug 2003 2:52AM GMT
Classification: Query
Arlene, glad I could be of help. Was your great-grandmother's obituary the first knowledge you had at all of just where in Germany she was from? As I mentioned last time, the American obituary writer sure murdered those place names!

As to my knowledge: Well, even though my own family came from western Germany -- the Palatinate (Pfalz), Wuerttemberg, and Hessen -- I have always been very interested in Germany's lost eastern territories. That interest goes back to my teens. The loss of those territories to Poland in 1945 and the subsequent expulsion of the 12 million German inhabitants has always ranked with me as one of the greatest tragedies of German history. Also, I spent six years studying history at the University of Munich in Germany.

As to your grandmother having been born in Berlin: If you look at a map, you will see that Berlin isn't really all that far from where your great-grandmother grew up in Pomerania. Maybe after your great-grandparents got married, they simply felt that big, vibrant Berlin, capital of Germany and capital of Prussia, would offer opportunties -- similar to a small-town person in the U.S. deciding to move to New York.

You're right. Once you get into family history, one thing always seems to lead to another and you're never finished.

Should you have any other questions, let me know.

Robert

Re: Place names in Prussia

Posted: 16 Aug 2003 5:22PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 2 Nov 2005 6:35PM GMT
Robert, thanks again for your response. I have one other question though. On an old map and a recent map I found the city of friedrichsfelde located close to Berlin. I think that may be the place where my g grandmother was born instead of Friederickenwalde. It would make more sense to me. Then they must have moved to Wagerin. Do you know anything about Friedrichsfelde? Also, can you recommend a book on the history of Pomerania. I ,too, am intrigued with their history. Thanks again for all your help. I really apreciate it.
Arlene

Re: Place names in Prussia

Robert (View posts)
Posted: 17 Aug 2003 2:41AM GMT
Classification: Query
Arlene, your mention of Friedrichsfelde has me somewhat confused. Friedrichsfelde was a small town just to the east of Berlin in Brandenburg. In 1920, seven small cities and countless small towns surrounding Berlin, including Friedrichsfelde, were annexed by Berlin, creating the Greater Berlin we know today. Friedrichsfelde is part of Berlin's rather gray, nondescript Lichtenberg district, which, until the fall of the Wall, was in East Berlin. Naturally, you would have found the small town of Friedrichsfelde on a pre-1920 map, but I'm puzzled when you say that you've also found it on a recent map. On any recent map, it would simply be a neighborhood in Berlin.

To me, Friedrichsfelde makes little sense as your great-grandmother's place of birth. Her obituary indicates that she was baptized in Stramehl. Had your great-grandmother been born in Friedrichsfelde just outside Berlin, what reason might her parents have had to then take the baby to little Stramehl in Pomerania, about 110 miles away, to be baptized? And further, in the 19th century for a family to have moved from Friedrichsfelde outside Berlin to Wangerin in Pomerania would have been a rather odd move somehow.

With your great-grandmother having been baptized in Stramehl and having grown up in Wangerin, why does Friedrichsfelde, 110 miles away just outside Berlin in Brandenburg, make more sense to you as her birthplace than does Friederickenwalde, which is right there, only a few miles from Stramehl and Wangerin?

There was a small village of about 150 people not far from Friederickenwalde/Stramehl/Wangerin in Pomerania called Friedrichsfelde. This Friedrichsfelde was southwest of Wangerin, in the Administrative District (Kreis) of SAATZIG. This Friedrichsfelde now goes by the Polish name WIERZCHUCICE. Saatzig now goes by the Polish name SZADZKO. I suppose this Friedrichsfelde could be a possibility as the birthplace of your great-grandmother, although it isn't as close to Stramehl and Wangerin as Friederickenwalde is, and it is in a different "Kreis".

As to books on Pomeranian history, I don't know of any in English. But I will be on the lookout. Here are a couple websites you might find interesting:

www.donicht.de

www.bogenschneider.org/pomerania.htm

www.geocities.com/regenwalde/

The following web page will be a map of the Kingdom of Prussia with its provinces within Germany. If you look towards the northeast, you can see just how Pomerania (Pommern) fit in:

www.deutsche-schutzgebiete.de/webpages/Koenigreich_Preussen....

And also don't forget that here at Ancestry.com, there is a Prussia-Pomerania Message Board. Now that you know how all the place names are correctly written, maybe you'd want to post some kind of a message on that board.

Robert

Re: Place names in Prussia

Robert (View posts)
Posted: 17 Aug 2003 12:27PM GMT
Classification: Query
Arlene, in my last e-mail, I recommended some websites to you. One of the websites I had written down I somehow failed to include in my last e-mail. That website is:

members.tripod.com/~radde/HistoryPomerania.html

Re: Place names in Prussia

Phyllis Brose (View posts)
Posted: 27 Dec 2003 1:59AM GMT
Classification: Query
Robert, do you happen to know of a place called Winchen Hills or Winchberg? It might be around the area of Walcz, Poland.Thank you so much. Hope you are having a good holiday.
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