[Ger-Poland-Volhynia] Interesting guide on Posen

Mauricio Norenberg mauricio.norenberg at gmail.com
Thu Aug 18 04:22:00 PDT 2016

Posen (pronounce: POH-zen) was a Prussian province,1815-1919
    with the 2 districts of Posen (Poznan) and Bromberg (Bydgoszcz).
    Its capital was Posen (Poznan).
    Basically, the location of the Province of Posen was within these
    boundaries:  northern boundary 53 degrees N
                 southern boundary 51 deg 30 min N
                 western  boundary slightly West of 16 deg E
                 eastern  boundary about 18 deg E

    In 1920, most of the territory of the Posen province was ceded
    to the newly established Poland under the Versailles Peace Treaty.
    After 1920, several counties of the Posen province remained with
    the German State of Prussia. They were eventually merged with those
    Kreise of the Prussian province of West Prussia, that
    remained with Prussia after 1920, to form the new district of "Grenzmark
    Westpreussen-Posen" (Border Area of West Prussia-Posen)

Q2: What was Posen's German history prior to 1920?

A2: Part of Greater Poland was annexed by King Friedrich II
of Prussia in 1772 and renamend Netze-District during the first
partition of Poland. King Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia annexed
the remainder in the second partition of Poland in 1793 and renamed it
South Prussia.
After the Prussian defeat by Napoleon Bonaparte, South Prussia was united
with the Grand Duchy of Warsaw, 1807-1815.
After Napoleon's defeat most of the Posen Departement of South Prussia
reverted to Prussia whereas the Kalisch and Warschau Departements
became part of Russian-Poland (Congress-Poland).
1815-1919 the Prussian province of Posen comprised the two districts
of Posen (Polish: Poznan) and Bromberg (Polish: Bydgoszcz).
After WWI the area became part of the new Poland.
Germany reoccupied the old Posen province 1939-1945, extended it, and
named it Reichsgau Wartheland.
The area was cleansed of its ethnic German population and returned to Poland
in 1945. The Western powers were instrumental in the ethnic cleansing.

Q3: What were the administrative areas of Posen (Poznan)?

A3: In 1890 the province of Posen had the following districts and
Kreise (counties):

Regierungsbezirk (district) of Posen (Poznan) with 28 Kreise (counties):

Regierungsbezirk (district) of Bromberg (Bydgoszcz) with 14 Kreise

Each Kreis was headed by the Landrat who presided over the Landratsamt.
The Landratsamt records (1815-1920) are deposited in Berlin and the
Polish archives at Poznan and Bydgoszcz with published brief inventories.
The Landrat was in charge of passport and emigration matters and reported
to the district Regierung in Posen or Bromberg who in turn gave data
to the provincial Oberpräsidium in Posen.

In 1944 the Reichsgau Wartheland was divided as follows:

District (Regierungsbezirk) Posen containing 18 Kreise:
Birnbaum, Gostingen, Grätz, Jarotschin, Kolmar, Kosten,
Krotoschin, Lissa, Obernick, Posen-Land, Posen-Stadt,
Rawitsch, Samter, Scharnikau, Schrimm, Schroda, Wollstein, Wreschen

District (Regierungsbezirk) Hohensalza containing 15 Kreise:
Altburgund, Dietfurt, Eichenbrück, Gnesen-Land,
Gnesen-Stadt, Hermannsbad, Hohensalza-Land, Hohensalza-Stadt,
Konin, Kutno, Leslau-Land, Leslau-Stadt, Mogilno, Waldrode,

District (Regierungsbezirk) Kalisch/Litzmannstadt containing 11 Kreise:
Kalisch-Land, Kalisch-Stadt, Kempen, Lask, Lentschütz,
Litzmannstadt-Land, Litzmannstadt-Stadt, Ostrowo, Schieratz,
Turek, Welungen

The areas separated from the pre-1918 Prussian province of Posen
were assigned in 1944 to the following districts in the following
provinces and districts and Kreise:

Province Brandenburg, district of Frankfurt:
Kreise Meseritz, Schwerin (Warthe), Züllichau-Schwiebus [parts of
the former Kreis Bomst and Fraustadt]

Province Danzig-Westpreussen, district of Bromberg:
Kreise Bromberg-Land, Bromberg-Stadt, Wirsitz

Province Niederschlesien, district of Liegnitz:
Kreis Fraustadt

Province Pommern, district of Grenzmark Posen-Westpreussen:
Kreise Flatow [part of former Kreis Kolmar], Netzekreis
[parts of Kreis Filehne, Czarnikau and Kolmar],

Q4: What were the old administrative areas of South Prussia and New East
    Prussia which existed 1793(1795)-1807?

A4: The 2nd and 3rd partitions of Poland in 1793 and 1795 wiped the Polish
state off the map. Poland was divided between Austria, Prussia and Russia.
Prussia established three new provinces: South Prussia (Südpreussen),
New East Prussia (Neu-Ostpreussen) and Neuschlesien

In 1806 The province of South Prussia (Südpreussen)
    had 1,503,508 Einwohner with 3 districts (departements):

   Departement der Kriegs- und Domainen-Kammer zu Posen included the
       Kreise of Posen,Oborniki,Meseritz,Bomst,Fraustadt,Krebe,Schrim,
       Brzesk, Radziejow, Kowal.

   Departement der Kriegs- und Domainen-Kammer zu
       Kalisch included the Kreise of
        (This is the area where a number of Lutheran churches were
        established like Wladislawow since 1776, Babiak since 1793,
        Dabie since 1800, Chodecz since 1801).

   Departement der Kriegs- und Domainen-Kammer zu
       Warschau included the Kreise of

In 1806  Neu-Ostpreussen had 914,610 Einwohner:
   Departement der Kriegs- und Domainen-Kammer zu
       Bialystok included the Kreise of

   Departement der Kriegs- und Domainen-Kammer zu Plozk included
       the Kreise of Wyszogrod,Lipno,Mlawa,Przasnik,Pultusk,Ostrolenka.
       (The Kreis of Lipno and the Western portion of Mlawa and Plock
       areas were part of South Prussia in 1793-1795, Capital was Thorn
       1795-1798, Plock 1798-1806)

The Kreis was a district of the noble estates headed by the
Landrat who was elected by the nobility and who wore a uniform.

Prussia introduced new courts and land deed records (Grund- und
Hypotheken-Acta) in 1783 (Prussian Hypotheken-Ordnung of 1783)
which initially applied to crownlands (Domainen) only.
The Prussian General Legal Code (Allgemeines Preussisches Landrecht)
mandated that duplicates of church records be deposited in the courts
since 1794.
These laws supposedly applied also to the new South and New East Prussia
provinces from Sept.1, 1797 to 1806.
The Prussian court at that time was called Domainen-Justiz-Amt (until

The term "Regierung" referred to the judicial (court) system before
1806 and to the district government after 1815. This is important to
understand, if researchers want to judge the relevance of records in
the Berlin and  Polish archives.

The Prussian General-Direktorium records dealing with the history
and genealogy of the Prussian part of Poland were taken from the
Prussian archives by Napoleon Bonaparte soon after 1806 and
transferred to Warsaw.
This transfer had the effect that they slumbered there up to this day
and have not been used as often as their importance merits.
The LDS camera people apparently made no attempt to examine or film them
which has been a severe loss to the genealogy of that period.
The new Guide to the holdings of the Archiwum Glowne Akt Dawnych
in Warsaw (AGAD,1992) apparently is the first attempt to give a very
brief listing of the Prussian holdings and hopefully will initiate a
wider interest among resarchers to compile a more detailed inventory:

*  General Ober Finanz-Kriegs-und-Domänen Direktorium
      (briefly known as  General-Direktorium)
   Departement Südpreussen, 1793/1795 - 1807 (AGAD, zesp.169)

Abt.I : Universalia , Nr.4 - 1908; 1698 vols.
Abt.II: Hauptverordnungen - Royal Decrees  (in Berlin)
Abt.III: Dept. Kalisch, Nr.1 - 244; 241 vols.
Abt. IV: Dept. Posen, Nr.1-273; 268 vols.
Abt. V: Dept. Warschau, Nr.1-168; 168 vols.
Abt.VI: Ortschaften - locality matters, Nr.13 - 3890; 2375 vols.
Abt.VII: Ämter, Nr. 2-1973; 1342 vols.

  According to Herbert Poeppel the Berlin Findbuch lists
  the sections and Amt-districts as follows:

  Nr . 2- 78 Generalia

  Nr. 79 - 703:

Kammerdepartment  Kalisch:


- Adelnau    - Boleslawice - Brodnia  - Czarnoczyn - Czenstochau- Gidle
- Grabica    - Iwanowice - Kalisch    - Klonowo - Kolo  - Konin - Koszuty
- Krzepice   - Lecznow  - Meka  - Miarzyce  - Mokrzko    - Olabock
- Opadowek   - Ostrzeszow  - Pajenczno  - Petrikau  - Poczesna   - Ratyn
- Sieradz    - Sokolnik  - Staremiasto- Turek - Uniejow    - Wielun
- Wiwiec     - Wolborze

  Nr. 704 - 1448:

Kammerdepartment  Posen:

Ämter :
Altenhof - Brzesc - Buk - Cionczyn - Dolzig - Dybow -
Fraustadt - Garbatka - Giecz - Gnesen - Klecko- Komornik -
Kosten - Kowal - Kroeben - Krotoschin - Langgoslin - Laziska -
Meseritz - Moszyn - Mrowine - Neudorf - Nieszawa - Obernick -
Orpiszewo - Peisern - Polajewo - Posen - Powidz - Przedecz -
Pudewitz - Paszionzek - Radziejewo - Rogasen - Rokitten -
Rozdraszewo - Ryszewo - Schrimm - Schroda - Skarborzewo -
Skorzenzin - Slabomirz - Szydlowo - Tathay - Trzemesno - Turzna -
Wongrowiec .

  Nr. 1449 - 1973:

Kammerdepartment Warschau:

Ämter :

Balddrzychowo - Bonkow - Borowe-  Brwillno - Brysk -  Chelmno -
Dmosin - Gluchow - Gosczyn - Gostinin - Jeziorka - Kapinos - Klodawa -
Korabiewice -  Kompin - Laznow - Lesznawola - Lenczycz - Lomna -
Lowicz - Lubochnia -Lyskowice - Mazow - Miechowice - Pass - Piaseczno -
Potycz -Sanniki - Skiernewice - Slupie - Tarczyn - Tkaczew - Warka -
Warschau - Zbikow - Zdiechow - Zgierz .

Abt.VIII: Forstakten - forestry matters, Nr. 1-233; 219 vols.
Abt.IX: Militaria, Nr. 1-368; 300 vols.
Abt.X: Geistliche Güter, Kirchen und Schulwesen, Nr.1-285; 159 vols.
    (Catholic estates, churches, schools)
Abt.XI: Kreissachen, (county matters) Nr.5 -155; 80 vols.
Abt.XII: Inspektionen, Nr. 11, 14; 2 vols.
Abt.XIII: Bediensten Sachen, (personel files) Nr. 143, 245, 245a; 2 vols.
Abt.XIV: Personalakten betr.Finanzrat von Klewitz, Nr.38a
Abt.XV: Klassifikationskomission, Detaxaxionskommission, Nr.1-269;631 vols.
Abt.XVä Indaganda oder topographisch-statistische Fragen über
    den Zustand und der Beschaffenheit des Dorfes..., Nr.1-59; 5870 vols.
    (presumably crownlands only)
Abt.XVb: Historische Tabelle vom Zustande und von denen Praestationen des
    adligen Dorfes ..., Nr.1- 83; 3529 vols.
    (presumably nobility lands only)

  The Indaganda-Akten (Abt.XVa) list the population of about 9.000
villages in pre-printed forms completed by the Prussian officials
for the purpose of tax assessment and correspond to the
"Landesaufnahme" known for West Prussia.

  The Historische Tabelle or Praestations-Tabelle (Abt.XVb) has been
copied for Mr.Reuben Drefs (email:  drefs at sbcglobal.net) who will do
lookups for a fee. He has indexed the towns (about 3203) which are
compiled in 83 nos.

Nobility Land Records of South Prussia

*  General Oberfinanz-Kriegs-und Domänen Direktorium.
      (briefly known as General-Direktorium)
   Departement Neuostpreussen, 1795-1806  (AGAD, zesp.170)

Abt.I:  Bestallungssachen - personel files , Nr.99,128,130; 3 vols.
Abt.II: Ämter, Nr.1 - 1516; 1407 vols.
Abt.III: Städte - city matters, Nr.4 - 1315; 1178 vols.
Abt.IV: Kreise - county matters, Nr.8 - 489; 447 vols.
Abt.V: Forstakten- forestry records, Nr.8 - 489; 447 vols.
Abt.VI: Materien, Nr.3 - 2140; 1449 vols.

*  The Berlin Archives contain records within the I.HA (I.Hauptabteilung)
  under Rep.7A (Neuostpreussen), 1795-1806,    8 meters, 1 Findbuch and
  under Rep.7C (Südpreussen), 1793-1801, 32 meters, 3 Findbücher

In its II.HA (General-Direktorium) the finding aids (Find-Bücher)
also apply to the Warsaw holdings and should be
consulted by any researcher before doing work in Warsaw:

Abt.10 Findbücher (3 vols.:34-36) for Südpreusssen (1782 - 1810)
Abt.11 Findbücher (4 vols.:37-40) for Neu-Ostpreussen (1793 - 1806)

  *  Regional Kammer Records.

In addition to the Generaldirektorium records of the Central
Government in Berlin, the regional government records should be

In Poznan: Südpreussische Kriegs- und Domänenkammer zu

In Plock: Neu-Ostpreussische Kammer zu Plock, 1794-1804.

In Warsaw (AGAD): Süd und Neu-Ostpreussen, 1793-1806 (various

   Internet: http://www.archiwa.gov.pl/agad
      e-mail: archagad at poczta.onet.pl

In Bialystok: Kriegs- und Domänenkammer zu Bialystok, 1795-1810.

During the Prussian period of King Friedrich Wilhelm III (1797-1806), a
large number of German settlers from outside of Prussia were encouraged to
move to South and (less so ) to New-East Prussia. Prussian settlers were
not encouraged in order to prevent a depopulation of the older provinces.

The main groups were known as:

1. Haulanänder or Holländer were free German Bauern who were
invited by noble families to settle on nobility lands or Hauland.

2. Kolonisten were free German Bauern who were invited by the Prussian
administration to settle on royal crown land (Domainen-Amts-Dörfer
or Kolonien), the former starostwos and the catholic lands. They had their
own village courts.

Scharwerksbauern on crownland were less free or unfree especially as
far as their right of free movement was concerned.

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