[Deutsche Version]

Dieter G. H. Garling                                     June 22, 2003

                 Mecklenburg in the past - a short FAQ
   ===================================================================
   FAQ.Mecklenburg, June 2003            (MEC is used for Mecklenburg)
   Please, send any corrections and suggestions to garling@web.de

Q: Where is MEC?
Q: What was MEC's recent history?
Q: What is the weather pattern like in MEC?
Q: What about currency and salary?
Q: What are the main weigths and measures?
Q: Where can I get maps of MEC?
Q: Where can I read old church books? Main archives in MEC?
Q: What is the meaning of rural professions like "Tagel"ohner", ... ?
Q: I have a lot of questions - if you can't answer them could you direct
   me to a source that might be able to? i.e. books I might purchase,
   tourist pamphlets, internet resources, organizations or people etc.?
Q: When were civil registers introduced?
Q: Is XYZ a common last name in Germany? then and now? Is XYZ simply a
   name or does it carry any other meaning? Who else is looking for my
   surname?
Q: Why are people fixed in the church records with different given names?
Q: Why were German names so long?
Q: Do you have any family stories about my ancestors? Do you have any
   bits of information about their personalities, or life experiences?
   Or their appearance?
Q: Would XYZ or others in my ancestry have been veterans of any wars?
Q: Was their public education or schools for the common person in
   Germany about 1850? how about after and before this time?
Q: Would XYZ have been able to read and write - beyond his name?
Q: Reasons for emigration to the USA - specific family events that led
   to emigration from Germany? Or events and experiences in leaving and
   coming to the USA?
Q: Do you know where or how my ancestor would have learned about going
   to the US? Why not some other European country?
Q: What would the transportation to the US have been like?  How long
   would it have taken?
Q: Would XYZ have come through Ellis Island in New York City? or were
   there other ports of entry to the US at that time?
Q: How would the imigrant have decided where in the US to settle?
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q: Where is MEC?

A: Currently, MEC is a part of the Bundesland "MEC - Vorpommern" (MEC - 
   West Pomerania) in Germany. It is located in the northeast of
   Germany surrounded by the Baltic Sea (North), Schleswig - Holstein
   (West), Lower Saxonia (South-West), Brandenburg (South) and Poland
   (East). The capital is Schwerin. MEC was never part of Prussia!


Q: What was MEC's recent history?

A: The "written" history started in 995 (first time the name was men-
   tioned), i.e. MEC is a thousand years old. 1167 the German state MEC
   was founded. 1304 MEC got (nearly) the typical extension. In the 
   following centuries MEC has been split into two and more parts: 
   1229: MEC, Rostock, Parchim-Richenberg and Werle-G"ustrow
   1621: MEC-Schwerin and MEC-G"ustrow
   1701: MEC-Schwerin and MEC-Strelitz (the territory of MEC-Schwerin
         before and after 1701 is different)
   In 1871 the German Empire was founded, Grand Duchies of MEC joined,
   in 1918 the grand duchies were abolished, in 1934 both Grand Duchies were
   united in the German state of MEC. In history MEC often had to suffer
   in foreign wars,  e.g. during the Thirty-Years War (1618 - 48), 1674
   - 1675 during the Brandenburg - Swedish War, 1700 - 1721 the Northern
   War, 1756 - 1763 Seven-Year-War, 1813 - 1815 the Napoleon War.
   Two further important historic facts are inherited serfdom (approx. 
   1650 - 1820) and mass emigration (approx. 1850 - 1890).


Q: What is the weather pattern like in MEC?

A: Some American friends of mine, who know MEC and the US, told me: MEC
   and Indiana are the same: weather, nature, ... People from MEC will
   feel like home.


Q: What about currency and salary?

A: The three currency levels in MEC were: Taler, Schilling and Pfennig.
   Till 1848 one 2/3 Taler was 32 Schilling, 12 Pfennig added up to one
   Schilling. Another name for the MEC 2/3 Taler was Gulden. To make
   the MEC Taler comparable to the Taler in other German states, the
   value was defined: 17 Taler were made with 234g of silver. From 1848
   till 1873 one Taler was 48 Schilling, 12 Pfennig were one Schilling.
   I. e. 234g silver 14 (full) Taler = 21 Gulden (2/3 Taler) = 672
   Schilling. From 1873 on the German currency units were Mark and
   Pfennig (one Mark was 100 Pfennig).
   The daily payment of a Tagel"ohner (day laborer) around 1820 was
   approx. 10 Shilling (men), 6 Shilling (women). 


Q: What are the main weigths and measures?

A: Linear measure:
   1 meckl. FuB   = 12 Zoll = 29.1 cm
   1 meckl. Rute  = 8 Ellen = 16 FuB = 4,66 m
   1 meckl. Meile = 7532 m
   Square measure:
   1 meckl Hufe(*) = ca 4000 square Ruten
   1 meckl Morgen ( bis 1648) = 300 square Ruten = 65 a
   1 meckl Morgen (nach 1648) = 117,67 square Ruthen = 25,53 a
   1 Hektar = 461,28 square Ruten = 7532 Morgen
   (aproximately: 1 Hektar (ha) = ca. 4 Morgen = ca. 120 square Ruten
   Pls consider: the /Hufe/ was never a real square measure. It was the
   area, where a given yield was possible (in dependence of the quality
   of the soil). Therefore /Hufe/ has large regional differences.
   Weight measures:
   1 meckl Pfund = 484,7 g
   1 Zentner = 112 Pfund = 54,3 kg
   Coins:
   untill 1600:           1 Mark = 16 Schillinge = 192 Pf (denari)
   untill 1872: 1 Taler = 3 Mark = 48 Schillinge = 576 Pf
   from 1872:   1 Taler = 3 Mark = 30 Groschen   = 300 Pf
                (the Taler was abolished in 1908)


Q: Where can I get maps of MEC?

A: Up to date topographical maps (1:25,000) from MEC and historical maps
   are available at

         Landesvermessungsamt MV
         L"ubecker Str. 289
         D-19059 Schwerin, Germany

   Ask for their map catalog for MEC. The best German gazetteer
   is Meyers Orts- and Verkehrslexikon des Deutschen Reiches, edition of
   1912, which is available on microfiche in the LDS Family History 
   Centres. There is an LDS microfilm #068814 available of "Karte des
   Deutschen Reiches" (scale 1:100,000, 1km = 1cm) which may be loaned
   thru the LDS Family History Centers.
 
   A list of MEC villages and assigned parishes is available at
   http://www.MFPeV.de

   At http://www.bubis.com/mvp.htm you can get a list of actual 
   geographic dates you (select the county, then "Zahlen, Daten und
   Fakten"). Even better is www.meine-stadt.de/mecklenburg-vorpommern


Q: Where can I read old church books? Main archives in MEC?

A: The best possibility to read old church books is provided by your 
   local branch of the LDS Family History Center. All MEC church books
   were copied to microfilm by the Mormons and are now available for
   private family research.

   The main state archive in MEC is the "Landeshauptarchiv":

       Landeshauptarchiv Schwerin
       Graf-Schack-Allee 2
       D-19053 Schwerin, Germany

   Available are e.g. emigration records (requests for emigration), 
   church records after 1875 or census records (1704, 1751, 1819, 1867,
   1900). Not all sources are available for all areas. In most towns
   there are local archives (list of selected archives at www.MFPeV.de).
   The main church archive is (all MEC church books are available):

       Landeskirchliches Archiv Schwerin
       M"unzstr. 8 - 10, PF 011003
       D-19010 Schwerin, Germany
   

Q: What is the meaning of rural professions like "Tagel"ohner", ... ?

A: The meaning of the professions changed in time. A rough explanation 
   is:

   /(Ritter)Gutsbesitzer/ were the about 550 - 600 rich man who owned
   the land in MEC (among them the duchies). Such a large piece of land
   was called /Gut/ or /Hof/.

   /Pensionare/, /(Guts)P"achter/ were the tenants of the /G"uter/ or
   /H"ofe/. The had a lot of /Knechte/, /M"agde/, /Tagel"ohner/ who did
   the work.

   /H"ufner/ is a very old term for a peasant. His land had a size of
   one /Hufe/. One /Hufe/ was enough to feed one family. 1755 a /Hufe/
   was defined depending on the quality of the soil from 48 ha to 195
   ha. A derived professions is /Halbh"ufner/, who had half of a /Hufe/.
   
   Another old term for a peasant was /Kossate/. He lived in a small 
   house (sometimes called /Kate/ = small shack, therefore the
   "profession" /K"athner/ is also used) and worked on a small piece of
   land (1/4 ... 1/2 /Hufe/?).

   /Hauswirth/, /Hausmann/: official name for peasants, their land was
   usually only leased for a certain amount of time. In the 19th
   century (beginning 1822) they became hereditary lease holders.   
   /Erbp"achter/: name for peasants with hereditary lease (meaning that
   the oldest son would receive the lease) held land, (lease holders)
   approx. 5 - 20 ha. After 1867 only hereditary lease was possible.
   
   /Bauer/: modern term after about 1850 for middle-sized farmer (less
   500 Morgen). But also:
   Old MEC law and justice divided people in /Adlige/ (noble man) and
   /Nichtadlige/. The /Nichtadlige/ were /B"urger/ (citizens) and
   /Bauern/ (farmer).

   Those farmer's places were entitled with different names in time:
   /Hausmann/, /Hauswirth/ is used in reference to /Hausstelle/. That
   was the common term during the times of serfdom and a little longer
   out of habit (after the Thirty-Years War till 1821/22, in parts until
   1870/71). If the farmer reached an age where he could not stand up to
   the demands he went to the /Altenteil/. He moved in an extra room or
   an extra house on the farm and was /Altenteiler/ from then on. His
   successor, usually the oldest son, had to care for him until he died.
   The same rule applied when a strange person overtook the farm. The
   other sons that could not overtake a farm, lived and worked as
   farmhands (/Knechte/) for their brother. They could also work at some
   other place, then they usually lived as impecunious /Einlieger/. One
   could say that they lived for rent. That could be that way for a
   whole lifetime. The reward was paid in natural produce. They even
   received their clothes from the farmer. The /Tagel"ohner/ (day
   laborers), worked for a salary at a different place every day. This
   term was formed because of the establishing money economy -
   especially on knightly courts (/Ritterg"uter/).

   After the Thirty Years War the /B"udner/ ensued. They did not own a
   real farm, just so-called /Buden/ - stalls. They were small farmers
   with about 5 - 10 ha (hectares, aproximately 12 - 25 acres) of arable
   land. A "real" farmer owned approx. 20 ha (50 a.). After an edict by
   the duke of MEC in the mid-18th century a lot of /B"udner-
   stellen/ were established in all of the ducal villages. They received
   arable land from until then unused areas, that was usually very bad
   land. Most of the time it had to be cultivated first (flood areas,
   moors, wooded land). 

   In the mid-19th century the establishment of /H"auslerstellen/ began,
   due to the emigration wave. Those people did not have any perspective
   in MEC. To keep them there, land of up to 100 square Ruten, approx. 
   2000 square metres, was given to interested people. Those were, as a
   rule, people that made their living by taking on several short jobs.
   The /H"ausler/ (and-owning worker, workmen) did not own any other land. 

   /Knecht/ (male), /Magd/ (female): unpropertied worker, usually at one
   court (farmhands, servants)

   /Tagel"ohner/ (day laborers): unpropertied worker, worked were there
   was work, the daily payment (= /Taglohn/) around 1820 was approx. 10
   Shilling (men), 6 Shilling (women), a workday started at 5 am and
   lasted till dusk (including a two hour break); a bushel (40 l) of
   rye cost 48 Bl (= 1 Reichsthaler), one bushel of barley cost 32 Bl.
   
   /Kirchenjurat/ member of the local parish council
   /Arbeitsmann/ (non-farm) laborer, used in the second half of 19th century
   /Einlieger/ subtenant, had no own house and no land
   /Holländer/ worked in the "milk production"
   /Schweizer/ was engaged with cattle-breeding
   /Statthalter/ worked for a tenant on a /Gut/ or /Hof/, was the advisor of
   				the field-workers


Q: I have a lot of questions - if you can't answer them could you direct
   me to a source that might be able to? i.e. books I might purchase,
   tourist pamphlets, internet resources, organizations or people etc.?

A: For general genealogical questions for Germany read the SGG FAQ by
   Jim Eggert (at http://www.genealogy.net/gene/faqs/sgg.html). For
   MEC genealogy let me mention these web sites
   (here you will already find the answers to most of your questions):
   1. The "Verein f"ur Mecklenburgische Familien- und 
      Personengeschichte e. V." (MFP) started to provide several
      MEC information on its web page: www.MFPeV.de or at
      http://www.math.uni-rostock.de/~mfp
   2. Another source is the German Genealogy: MEC Web Page:
      http://www.genealogy.net/gene/reg/MEC/mec.html

   If you have very special questions, probably the mailing list which
   especially deals with MEC genealogy questions, can help you.
   You can subscribe via 
   http://list.genealogy.net/mailman/listinfo/mecklenburg-l
   Once subscribed, you can post your questions to this group with a mail
   to: mecklenburg-l@genealogy.net.

   On my homepage (come.to/garling) I tried to answer a lot of common 
   questions. Adresses etc. you will find in the chapter "Research Help",
   information on emigration is summarized in several emigration chapters.


Q: When were civil registers introduced?

A: In MEC starting from 1.1.1876. The Civil registry office is called 
   Standesamt.


Q: Is XYZ a common last name in Germany? then and now? Is XYZ simply a
   name or does it carry any other meaning? Who else is looking for my
   surname?

A: This is difficult to answer. For the previous century you can check
   the register of the 1819 census. This includes a list of names and
   their location. But this census only covers MEC. Nowadays you can
   search for XYZ in the German online telephone directory (e.g. at
   http://www.teleauskunft.de/). You will get surnames and zip codes 
   (i. e. of the towns, where the families live)
   From the usenet I got the following list:
   The most common German names, in approximate order, are:
   1.  M"ULLER     2.  SCHMIDT     3.  MEYER       4.  SCHNEIDER
   5.  FISCHER     6.  WEBER       7.  BECKER      8.  WAGNER
   9.  SCH"AFER    10. SCHULZ      11. HOFFMANN    12. BAUER
   13. KOCH        14. KLEIN       15. SCHR"ODER   16. SCHWARZ
   17. WOLF        18. NEUMANN     19. BRAUN       20. ZIMMERMANN
   21. HUBER       22. HARTMANN    23. WEISS       24. RICHTER
   25. LANGE       26. KRAUSE      27. KR"UGER     28. WERNER
   29. PETERS      30. FUCHS       31. WALTER      32. K"ONIG
   33. K"OHLER     34. KAISER      35. JUNG        36. KELLER
   37. HERMANN     38. ROTH        39. GR"UN       40. GROSS

  To look for the meaning of the name XYZ you should read the surname
  book for German names, "Deutsches Namenlexikon" by Hans Bahlow.

  If you are looking for a special name, you should look at
  http://www.MecklenburgKontakte.de, you will find, if someone other is
  already for the same name. You can also register your name, so others
  will find you.


Q: Why are people fixed in the church records with different given names?

A: There are different reasons.

   Church records in previous centuries are not as official documents as
   state records are nowadays. If someone got four given names at birth,
   it would be hard for the pastor to remember all four names in the
   death records (it is not the same pastor as for the birth).
   In the church records it was not necessary to list the full name of
   the father for the birth record of his son. Everybody in the village
   knowed "Frederich Garling the shepherd" better than Frederich Adolph
   Christian Garling. Imagine three "Cords"-families living in the same
   village, nobody would know who Johann Heinrich Friedrich Cords is,
   but everybody would know the oldest son of the black smith.
   Sometimes a pastor wrote only the used given name of the person, or
   he remembers only two out of four names, or he remembers two names
   correct and wrote a wrong third given name. Often the people were
   called not by a given name, but by a short form of it. 
   The people had no identity cards. Unfortunately (especially the old)
   church books are not written for genealogists.

   Another reason is the "life" of a name. For example the surname
   Z"ulocke moved to S"ulck over centuries. Or German names were
   americanized in US (e.g. Kr"oger changed to Kruger). The spelling of
   the names was not fixed. The pastor wrote in the church book what he
   understood. And there is no difference in "Mayer", "Meier", or
   "Meyer".

   Given names are also very "flexible". There is the short form (how
   the people were called), the official form, or the Americanized form.
   See the table:

   MEC aka        German full name     American full name   American aka
   Ann            Anna                                      Annie
                  Carl, Karl           Charles              Charlie, Chuck
                  Caroline             Carol                Lina, Carrie
   Trin           Catharina            Catherine            Cathy, Kitty, Trina
   Lotte          Charlotte            Charlette            Lottie
                  Christian                                 Chris
   Stien          Christina                                 Teena
   Dortie         Dorothea             Dorothy              Dottie
   Liesch         Elisabeth            Elizabeth            Lizzie
                  Ernst                Ernest
                  Franz                                     Frank
                  Friederich           Frederick            Fred, Fritz
                  Friederike                                Frida, Frances
                  Gustav                                    Gus
                  Heinrich             Henry                Henni
   Jette          Henriette            Henrietta            Hattie, Harriet
   Ilsch          Ilsabe               Elizabeth            Lizzie
                  Joachim              Joseph
                  Johann               John
   Lehn           Magdalena            Lena                 Lena
   Greth          Margarethe           Margaret             Maggy, Marjory
   Mrick          Maria                Mary                 Mary
   Fieck          Sophie              
                  Wilhelm              William              Bill, Willie
   Minna          Wilhelmine           Mina                 Minnie

   Any additions?
   (I hope the columns are well visible with your browser)               


Q: Why were German names so long?

A: In general people had three or four given names. The largest name I
   found in my database is Gustav Friedrich Johann Carl Wilhelm Heinrich 
   /Eickelberg/. I have three given names and I know a lot of Americans
   who have three given names. Unfortunately I "forgot" to continue this
   custom with my children.


Q: Do you have any family stories about my ancestors? Do you have any
   bits of information about their personalities, or life experiences?
   Or their appearance?

A: It is very difficult to find "personal" information of that time. But
   I think, if you know, that someone e.g. lived as a "Tagel"ohner",
   "Hauswirth", "Einlieger", "Sch"afer" (shepherd), ... you can try to
   find out a lot of information on how he lived. The poor MEC people
   had no special "personality".
   Excellent descriptions of the life of the common people during the
   first half of the 19th century you can find in two books by Fritz
   Reuter (available in English, out of print?): 
   o "Seed-Time and Harvest; Or During My Apprenticeship" (from "Ut Mine
     Stromtid")
   o "When the French Were Here; or In the Year 1813" (from "Ut de 
     Franzosentid").
   o "Seven Years of My Live" (from "Ut de Festungstied")
   Further books, that I can recommend:
   o Lisa J"ursz: Carl Malchin, ein mecklenburgischer Maler; Verlag
     Atelier im Bauernhaus Fischerhude 1995, ISBN 3-88 132-246 9; Carl
     Malchin painted excellent pictures from the old MEC countryside.
	 Some of them are presented on my web site (come.to/garling)
   o W. Karge, E. Muench, H. Schmied: Die Geschichte Mecklenburgs (The 
     History of MEC); Hinstorff Verlag, Rostock 1996, ISBN 
     3-356-00527-8; This book (in German) is a good description of MEC
	 history.
   In general it is said, that typical characteristic of the people in
   MEC were diligence, calmness and perseverance.


Q: Would XYZ or others in my ancestry have been veterans of any wars?

A: There will be no records of poor people, only of the leaders in the
   war. But I found in MEC in some village churches commemorative 
   tablets with the names of people, who took part in any wars for the
   years 1813 - 1815, 1870 - 1871, or lost their life in WWI, WWII.
   Write to the local pastor.


Q: Was their public education or schools for the common person in
   Germany about 1850? how about after and before this time?

A: Difficult to answer for me. I think the children in villages went to
   school till the age of 14. It was enough for them to learn reading,
   writing, to believe in God and to work for the land owner. The Grand
   Duchies tried to raise the common education level, in the area of
   the /Ritterschaft/ it was hardly to realize.


Q: Would XYZ have been able to read and write - beyond his name?

A: In the middle of the 19th century - I think yes. See the letters
   written to emigrants in my webpage (come.to/garling)


Emigration
==========

Q: Reasons for emigration to the USA - specific family events that led
   to emigration from Germany? Or events and experiences in leaving and
   coming to the USA?

A: In my opinion there is only one reason for emigration from MEC to the
   US in the last century: the very, very poor life of the people, i.e.
   poverty, serfdom and lawlessness. Furthermore they had no hope for a
   better live in their home country. Almost every emigrant hoped to one
   day live on and cultivate his own piece of land - almost impossible to
   achieve in their home country. R G Tiedemann (tiedemanng@aol.com)
   added: In connection with the question of the reasons for emigration,
   I am particularly interested in the issue of physical mobility. While
   poverty obviously was the principal underlying reason for emigration,
   I wonder to what extent this was possibly under conditions of serf-
   dom. Serfdom implies being tied to the soil. Yet in the course of the
   18th century the growth of an underclass of people without access to
   land seems to have led to greater physical mobility by necessity. I
   wonder, therefore, how firmly my ancestors, apparently shepherds in
   the Grevesm"uhlen area, were tied to the land around 1800. I have
   certainly found it difficult to pin them down to a particular place.
   However, the real wave of migration started in the middle of the 19th
   century, well after the abolition of serfdom. The factor that created
   this growing pool of migrants, it seems to me, was greater efficiency
   in agricultural production (enclosure of common lands; increasing
   mechanization; direct management of estates by large landowners; even
   the effects of peasant emancipation, etc.). Fewer people were
   required in the countryside, with fewer opportunities to survive
   there.


Q: Do you know where or how my ancestor would have learned about going
   to the US? Why not some other European country?

A: Most of the emigrants went overseas, especially to the USA, but also
   to South America. In the USA they had the best development
   conditions. In fertile regions of North America anyone could purchase
   land for very low prices. When the first people reported about their
   success in building a better life to their relatives in MEC, a chain
   reaction started.


Q: What would the transportation to the US have been like?  How long
   would it have taken?

A: The crossings could last up to 90 days with sailing ships. The
   conditions were more than bad, only very few emigrants had a bed
   during their crossing, many people were piled in tiny cabins
   underdeck. There was hardly enough food for everyone, especially
   towards the end of the journey. It is said that England's ships were
   equipped even worse than Germany's. (Diary of an emigrant
   http://www.eMecklenburg.de/geo/emigrat/emi_diar.html)


Q: Would XYZ have come through Ellis Island in New York City? or were
   there other ports of entry to the US at that time?

A: Before 1850 a large amount of people went from Rotterdam to
   Philadelphia, PA. Later Hamburg was a major emigration port, mainly
   to New York.


Q: How would the imigrant have decided where in the US to settle?

A: Preferred states are Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Ohio and Indiana. In
   Oklahoma, e.g., there was a "land lottery" - land was given away for
   free to immigrants; other states that were low on citizens came up
   with very fair prices or conditions to attract immigrants.