2019 Post R1 Administrative Divisions of East Prussia

East Prussia: 1807-1818-1923

This is the shape of East Prussia that most family historians are familiar with.

The above map and others below are from Lands of the German Empire.

These borders were stable until after WWI when the northeast arm, historically Prussian-German became part of Lithuania and the southwest was expanded to include five kreise that were part of West Prussia.

1808 Two Administrative Districts of East Prussia

Although the ethnic areas were established in the early 18th century, it was not until 1808 that the two administrative districts of East Prussia were established.

Konigsberg in the west, more German, and Gumbinnen in the east, more Lithuanian.

But certainly because of the wide mixture of migration patterns of Germans eastward and others westward, there were Germans in the Gumbinnen area and vice versa.

East Prussian Kreise

So here are the kreis of East Prussia established between 1808 and 1819.

Map of Gumbinnen Administrative District

Gumbinnen Administrative District from the Lithuanian Perspective

 

The Lithuanian perspective described the Gumbinnen Administrative District this way:

“The Lithuanian province in Prussia. Administrative division after 1818. Districts of Lithuania Minor with (Lithuanian names).”

The German names of the Kreise or counties are on the right.

The shaded area at the top is Memelland.

“The district of Klaipeda (Memel in German) was administered from Konigsberg.” It is geographically part of Gumbinnen Administrative District but because Germans had been settling there since 1252 and gradually became the dominant culture in the region, it was part of the more German, the Konigsberg Administrative District of East Prussia!

This Memel area remained in East Prussia until Lithuanian independence was declared in 1923 and remained as part of Lithuania until Germany “annexed” it in 1939. After the war, it became part of Lithuanian USSR, and today is part of Lithuania.

Parishes Assigned to the Gumbinnen District

How did these kreise come to have the shape that they did?

One explanation:

http://memim.com/gumbinnen-region.html

It should be possible in a day’s travel to go from the farthest place of the kreis to the major city and back. As a rule, the greatest distance should not exceed three miles, so just under 22 km.ed. A kreis should have 20,000-36,000 inhabitants. In the sparsely populated “Lithuanian” kreise, it was difficult to determine these borders with regard to old allegiances.

Konigsberg Administrative District

The Konigsberg Administrative district, farther west and adjacent to West Prussia was more “German.” Note that Memel, although geographically closer to the Gumbinnen Administrative District, was more German and thus part of the Konigsberg Administrative District.

The northern half of the Kӧnigsberg Administrative District is now Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia. The southern half is now in Poland. Memel is in Lithuania.

Map Guide for German Parish Registers

 

The Map Guide for German Parish Registers uses the 1905 date from the 13 volume Prussian gazetteer series because it provided consistency for the Kingdom of Prussia.

The third region Allenstein, was created in 1905 and covered the southern areas of Königsberg and Gumbinnen. It existed until 1945 when the area was divided—Lithuania in the north, Russian in the middle, and Poland in the south.

The four southern counties were separated from Gumbinnen and put together with the southern part of the district of Konigsberg to form the new administrative district of Olsztyn.

Even some of the district boundaries (Kreise) changed over the years which is reflected in the FamilySearch catalog as it shows them in a neighboring district from what the gazetteer reflects.

So, for the researcher with East Prussian roots, it might be important to know this distinction: 2 administrative districts starting between 1808-1819; three from 1905 to 1945.

Other online maps also show these three divisions.

https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/East_Prussia_Maps

See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Prussia

The FamilySearch Research Wiki provides information on many topics related to East Prussia.

https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Special:Search?search=East+Prussia&go=GO&searchToken=bckbtpax6v77onyuj133e99gu

 

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Post HF NF 1: East Prussia in Historical Fiction and Non-Fiction

East Prussia from the Novelist’s Point of View

Description of East Prussia in February 1804

Michael Gregorio’s Intent of Criminal Reason

The setting is French-occupied East Prussia during the winter of 1804. The 19th century brings out the clash of new and old ideas. The main character notes the landscape as his carriage rolls along:

Bleak villages and isolated farms dotted the landscape here and there, marking out the hilltops and highway. Peasants toiled in the fields, up to their knees in the snow, to save stranded cows and sheep. The world was a massive grey blur, the distant hills blending into the horizon with no precise point at which the earth ended and the heavens began. Page 13.

The King had chosen armed neutrality…Other great states of Europe took their chances against the French. Soldiers had to be re-equipped, generals better paid, horses pampered and fed, fit and ready for the war which everyone knew was bound to come…. All this bought hardship, even misery to Prussia.

Like everyman in Europe he was paying for the French Revolution and for the fright that Napoleon was spreading throughout the continent of Europe. Like everyman in Europe he was paying for the French Revolution and for the fright that Napoleon was spreading throughout the continent of Europe.

Civic expenses had been cut to pay for military expenses as a consequence.

Description of East Prussia in October 1806

Michael Gregorio’s Days of Atonement

This novel delves into the consequences of the Napoleonic laws on life in Prussia in 1807. The French Revolution declared that men and women of every color, race and creed were equal in theory, but there were special cases.

Like every other Prussian she was wounded by the reduced state of our nation, by the changes the French had forced upon us as defeat followed defeat, and rout followed rout. Page 2.

Our safety depends on peaceful coexistence with the invaders. Page 3.

My sympathies went out to the defeated remnants of our own poor army… Page 5.

Description of East Prussia by a German Soldier in WWII

Suite Francaise, a novel by Irene Nemirovsky. Translated by Sandra Smith.

Here is a brief description of East Prussia by a WWII soldier as he marches towards Paris in 1940. On May 10, 1940, the Germans had attacked France and quickly defeated the French army. The French government fled Paris on June 10, and the Germans occupied the city on June 14.

This pure biting air remined him of eastern Prussia. Oh, when would he again see those plains, that pale-green grass, those marshes, the extraordinary beauty of the skies in the spring—that late spring of northern countries– those amber skies, pearly clouds, reeds, marshes, sparse clumps of silver birch?

When would be again hunt for heron and curlew?

Particular attention [needed to be paid] to the horses and how they were treated, how they would be used, “where the wind of war would carry them.”

East Prussian Non-Fiction

 “Forgotten Land: Journeys Among the Ghosts of East Prussia” by Max Egremont (2011)

Although I have not read this book, I intend to order it. It comes highly recommended by another outstanding West Prussian researcher.

The book includes alternating historical essays and memoirs by musicians, doctors, members of the gentry, a gamekeeper, and a pastor.

See also

https://books.google.com/books/about/Forgotten_Land.html?id=jqd8YaSflgIC

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/forgotten-land-max-egremont/1102247984#/

https://www.amazon.com/Forgotten-Land-Journeys-Ghosts-Prussia-ebook/dp/B005V224QA

A Related Book

I have not read The House by the Lake by Thomas Harding, but it has come highly recommended to me by another researcher and follower of this blog.

Although the setting is not East Prussia, it takes place farther west in Gross Glienicke, a small village 15km west of downtown Berlin, 14 miles north of Potsdam, in what had been the province of Brandenburg.

The best link is below:

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/jan/16/house-by-the-lake-thomas-harding-review-german-history

Here are some other links.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24737108-the-house-by-the-lake

 https://www.amazon.com/House-Lake-Families-Hundred-History-ebook/dp/B0140NXXSI

https://www.amazon.com/House-Lake-Families-Hundred-History/dp/1250132193

You may also be interested in an interview with the author which focuses on his inspiration for the book, a 1993 visit with his grandmother to the lake house she remembers so well.

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/sep/19/saving-house-lost-to-nazis-berlin-wall

Here is a link just made for family researchers: If this excerpt does not hook you, there is nothing else I can write that will.

Over the next two years, I threw myself into the investigation [about the history of the house]. I dug through archives in Berlin and Potsdam, London and Hamburg. I interviewed botanists, historians, musicologists, building preservationists and politicians – each providing insight into the story – and, most importantly, I tracked down representatives of the families who lived in, and near to, the house.

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/sep/19/saving-house-lost-to-nazis-berlin-wall

Finally, there is an update to November 2018.

https://alexanderhaus.org/

 

 

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2019 Post 3 The Old and the New

The idea for the revision of this post came about in July 2019 as I was “mining” the Germans from KreisWilkowischken/Vilkaviskis Lithuania Facebook Group. As I sought new topics for future posts, I considered a description of finding some long-sought after records. I had done some “Brick Wall” presentations, and one example from Suwalki Province stood out to me.

As I was finishing my 2010 book on the three immigrant families from Suwalki Province, the all-important birth record of the third immigrant had not been found by another researcher, his grandson. He was committed to finding it in the early years, so I didn’t look for it. I planned another trip to Salt Lake to look further for these Spurgats in the Suwalki Province area and in East Prussia. I carefully prepared a list of microfilms based on all the information I could glean from the Family Search Catalogue and other online sources. Maybe I would stumble over the missing birth record of the third immigrant.

Prior to the trip the other researcher had sent me copies of his catalogue printouts with the word “Done” in the right-hand margin next to the film number.

If I made one last attempt to find something, and came home with nothing, the book was ready to go to the publisher. I would know I had done everything I possibly could. If I found something big, and I had to delay the publication of the book, so be it.

I prepared as thoughtfully as I could and ended up with a few miscellaneous films to look at ahead of time before I got to the serious research.

The first night at the Family History Library I went to get one of these films, and it was so high, I couldn’t reach it. I thought I would get to it the next day. I would get a stool or ask some young men working in the library to help me get it down. After a day of research with some limited results, I remembered the miscellaneous films and the one I couldn’t reach about 6:00 at night. I had three more hours so I climbed on the stool. I put the never looked at film from a nearby parish in the machine and was surprised to see that each record had a large X through it. Besides that, the records were in Polish during the Russification period. What was going on here?

I kept turning the pages. I had the birthdate from family members and American death records. There was a time overlap for 1875, and so I moved to one last section of crossed out records in Polish. And there it was!

 

It had been overlooked by the other researcher 12 years before. Perhaps he dismissed it as it was crossed out, but it was the birth of his grandfather, the third immigrant.

That 2010 story will simply not fly in 2019 and beyond. Now all researchers have to do is peruse the indices on Germans from Kreis Wilkowischken/Vilkaviskis Lithuania Facebook Group and find the same records on their computer in less than five minutes!

But wait. Is there more to the story?

During Russification how could a surviving record be in Polish? What about this format? Why was it crossed out? With these questions in mind, I took it to one of the well-known librarians on the International floor of the FHL. He said he had never seen a record like this before. Where did I get it from? The FHL, of course!

My professional translator and I worked together for three hours on a Friday night. The first problem was the unusual format. He said it was a “draft” record obviously made as notes to be translated into the required Russian Napoleonic format. The large x meant that when it was put into the civil register, this version was crossed out. Second was the translation of the record itself: One by one he translated every letter of every word.

Here is the translation:

20 July [18] 75 2 o’clock in the afternoon   All entries from the district of Wylkowiszki

1 August

Father: Matthias Spurgat day laborer in Purwiniszki [age] 35

Mother: Emilie Keller [age] 30

Son: Wilhelm Gustave born in Purwiniszki 10/22 July [18] 75 at 5 o’clock in the morning

Witnesses: Bogumil (aka Gottlieb) Habęczał farmer in Majnie [age] 65

Jan Habeczal day laborer in Purwiniszki [age] 60

Godparents: Wilhelm Konrad      Marya Miller

The next problem, the biggest, was the location. He translated the letters as Pierwiniszki and we found it in the gazetteer and finally on an online map, but it was too far away to be the correct place. We both knew it, but I urged him to quit and go home. He wouldn’t do it. He wanted to see the film, and I accompanied him to watch him work and not say a word. I tried to figure out what he was thinking. He turned to the end of the film, which I had not done, and there was a list of all of the tiniest of places that included the records in this volume.

It was spelled Purwiniszki, an “outpost” about 8 miles away from the village where all the other records were found years ago. Actually, it was on the same online map I had put in my book, but I had cropped out Purwiniszki. Of course, I re-cropped the map to include it and in the next ten days, I rewrote about 40 pages of the book before I turned it into the publisher.

Isn’t it ironic that the draft survives but not the official record which was probably destroyed in August 1944 as the Russian army was pushing the German army back to Berlin?

The Family Search Catalogue had listed Vilkovishki as a spelling, but Vilkovishki is also meant to be the district. And the catalogue lists the Vilkovishki spelling under Russia, not Poland or Lithuania. But we are grateful that the originators of Germans from Kreis Wilkowischken/Vilkaviskis Lithuania indexed this film along with all the rest.

Although the record is now easily available, and the story of “the film that was too high to reach” will fade, the researcher must still:

Know about administrative organization of government in the 20th century when the record was filmed and eventually digitized as well as an alternate 20th century spelling. (It may no longer be necessary to know the way this record catalogued in the FamilySearch catalogue which made it especially hard to find.)

Know how to use various maps to discern the difference between two location–Purwiniszki or Pierwiniszki— as detected by the accurate reading of a professional researcher.

The original drafts remind us that the scribe was a literate Pole who wrote in his own language the draft records of a small minority of Germans whose events in their lives had to be recorded in the Cyrillic alphabet. What a multi-linguistic area our ancestors lived in!

Further investigation of this topic showed that in some Polish churches in Chicago there were draft records crossed out with a large x so this record is probably part of a larger registry tradition.

Please continue to support in every way possible the work of Owen, Lorinda, and Margarete as they continue their work.

 

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Post 2 Research Experience with Germans from Kreis Wilkowischken/Vilkaviskis, Lithuania

The sources for records in my 2010 family history book were microfilmed Family History Library records from AGAD (Archives in Warsaw) and the Lithuanian State Historical Archives in Vilnius, all of which are now digitized (or planned to be) on Germans from Kreis Wilkowschken/Vilkaviskis, Lithuania Facebook Group. Some of these records come from the AGAD website, some directly from Family Search. A third source is the donated records explained in Post 1.

My research had concentrated on the three immigrant families who had left Wylkowiszki between 1900 and 1908. In 2012 I started this blog to share some of my research strategies. Since the publication of my book, I divided my research three ways: search for the origins of my Spurgats in East Prussia; study Suwalki records on FHL microfilm and online (as they became available through 1898); purchase more records through my Family History Tour guide from the Lithuanian State Historical Archives; and do a little of my own translations. In 2013 after I actually visited the 23 villages I had documented in my records, I became more interested in the families that did not immigrate and concentrated on finding their birth, confirmation, marriage, and death records. Starting in 2017, the microfilmed EWZ records from NARA and Family Search also helped locate those and their descendants who remained in Germany. I hoped that someday online records might help.

In 2014 a German cousin in the Hutop family found me, and a close research relationship and five more years of collaborative research in Kreis Wylkowiszki, Germany, Canada, and the United States resulted. Now I had two families to search for in the East Prussian records.

The AGAD (Archives in Warsaw) online records were still out there, but I had just not had the time to devour them.

Through Germans from Kreis Wilkowischken/Vilkaviskis Lithuania I found records in Kreis Wilkowischken I had never expected to see.  As of this writing I have over 80 additional records of Spurgat families! Many are in my direct line of Spurgat ancestors or one of the families who immigrated. Some are new names, and I keep trying to connect them with those elusive East Prussian parish clues. Some are records that prove or expand a family story from a Spurgat descendant in Germany. Some are 20th century records I had previously purchased from the Lithuanian State Historical Archives. All are treasures beyond expectation. I have also found additional records in the Hutop and related families.

I kept two lists: one of Spurgats and Hutops, etc. where I copied the records for translation. The other, much much longer, lists all the names of the maternal ancestral lines and those who married into the Hutop and Spurgat families in succeeding generations. This is when I realized that many 20th century marriages in Germany, Canada, and the United States had their roots in Kreis Wilkowischken families regardless of the displacement and aftermath of two world wars. I would never had understood the magnitude of these connections if it had not been for this Facebook group.

The confirmation lists, usually overlooked in genealogical presentations, (because they were not the official Polish and Russian records but written as the more familiar German names), are almost the best records of all. As Christine, a new German friend put it, “I can see all of them, your family and mine, sitting on the same bench in the church on the same day.” What more insightful connection that is!

One set of circa 1867 confirmation records even provides the East Prussian and Suwalki birthplaces of confirmands! But not my family.

The migration patterns have become more evident. As researchers we think of the modern-day borders between the Kalinigrad Oblast of Russia with Lithuania and Poland. Yet we have family stories from more than one researcher who attest that their ancestors told stories of travel between East Prussia and Suwalki Province as part of daily life, to church, and to school. As researchers, we must consult the history books and walk in their footsteps to conduct our research wisely. Previously, the single word “Prusia”, as the birthplace on the 1874 death record of a great grandmother, was my only clue that the movement of East Prussians into Suwalki Province lasted until her circa 1838 birthdate. A recently discovered record in another researcher’s family now indicates that an East Prussian birth of 1850 on a confirmation record that this movement east existed for more than 40 years after Suwalki Province belonged to East Prussia as part of the New East Prussia, only existing from 1795 to 1807.

What I have gained is an entirely new perspective of Internet research and the possibilities beyond my lifetime. Seeing the repetition of family names throughout the 19th and 20th centuries helps me understand the endurance of ancestral families, especially of a minority in a different empire. My family left behind many connections we are now able to rediscover.

The next post will discuss “the old and the new.”

One goal is to have an actual searchable online database ready for a ‘beta’ launch. Payment for the hosting site is required as the work continues. With each new upgrade there will be more connections, more patterns, and more enlightenment to share with each other.

Please continue to support in every way possible the work of Owen, Lorinda, and Margarete as they continue their work.

 

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Post 1 Germans from Kreis Wilkowischken/Vilkaviskis Lithuania Facebook Group

The East Prussian Series on Political History has concluded. I interrupt this series to bring you three posts about my recent researh. The East Prussian series will continue in November with posts on Historical Fiction and Non-Fiction and Research Strategies

The Beginnings:

While attending the National Genealogical Society Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in April-May 2018, I was delighted to discover the initial post of the Lietuvos Liuteronu Genealogija (Lutherans in Lithuania) aka LLG Facebook group. I was actually able to show this site to one of speakers from the FHL library with whom I had made an appointment after his two presentations on the future availability of records from Eastern Europe. https://suwalkigermans.wordpress.com/2018/06/15/national-genealogy-society-conference-post-1/ and https://suwalkigermans.wordpress.com/2018/06/30/2018-ngs-post-2/. The value of LLG and the amazing transcription work of other records LLG members have done cannot be overstated.

A few months later Siga Pliodzinskas, one of the group’s founders, asked Owen, the genealogist, https://www.owenthegenealogist.com to administer the site. Since the LLG really includes ALL Lutheran churches in Lithuania, Owen felt it made sense to create a sort of ‘sub group’ or ‘sister group’ that was specific to Deutsche aus Litauen from Kreis Wilkowischken.

Along the way two important people connected this effort: Margarethe Schrecker-Kebbel of Berlin, Germany, and Lorinda Heidie, who hired a researcher to photograph books for her family research and then donated those images to the Lietuvos Liuteronu Genealogija LLG Facebook group.

Since January 3, 2019, when Owen announced that he was going to post not only the alphabetical registers of birth, marriage, and death records in an Excel spreadsheet but links to the records themselves, on his new Facebook Group, Germans from Kreis Wilkowischken/Vilkaviskis Lithuania, my life has not been the same. Even the confirmation records read as an alphabetical register or index.

Since I had been researching on microfilm and to a lesser extent digitally, these very same records since 1994, this new approach was simply overwhelming.

I was able to help Owen early on by simply exchanging information. When he located a Spurgat family record, he would send it to me. I would check my 2010 book, The Three Spurgat Families from Wylkowiszki, hopefully find the record, send him my professional translation of it to him, which he could then use to analyze his own Polish and Russian translations. I felt I was proving my worth to him: by sending me the records he found, it proved I had been a thorough researcher. I already had them. By my sending the translations back, it reassured him of my status as a serious researcher and helped him along the way. I like to think that every record he found, I already had. Whew!

In the five months that he and two others continued with this digital indexing project, I lost track as genealogical research fell to the wayside while I moved from a home to 38 years to a condo with its own designated genealogy room! It took several weeks to become organized enough to resume my research. “Mining” my family in Germans from Kreis Wilkowischken/Vilkaviskis, Lithuania has become an obsession as I worked to catch up and understand the significance of this effort.

In the next two posts I will explain my work with these records.

Owen told me, “It is certainly very warming to know that Grete’s, Lorinda’s, and my efforts are helping researchers, and I have no doubt that they will continue to be inspired by our obsession with transcribing these records.”

“Knowing that our work has helped you find even just one record, makes the whole thing worth it. There are many Americans who have no idea that they’re not just German–but Deutsche aus Litauen! One day I hope that more people are interested in the ‘Deutsche aus Litauen.’ Wouldn’t that be great?”

Please continue to support in every way possible the work of Owen, Margarete and Lorinda, as they continue their work.

 

 

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2019 Post PH 4 1815 to Present East Prussia after Napoleon

East Prussia after Napoleon: 1815 to Present

The capital of East Prussia remained in Konigsberg in the Konigsberg Administrative District.

The northeastern border with Lithuania, known as Memelland, remained in East Prussia until 1923. Memelland lay north of the Nemanus River and was part of what was known as Lithuania Minor. Some maps of East Prussia do not show the river, often a dividing point between nations so the researcher must be aware that some of Kreis Ragnit-Tilsit in East Prussia (with its own history of changing borders) was north of the river. Today the Nemanus divides Lithuania and the Kalinigrad Oblast of Russia.

In 1871 East Prussia was “fused” into the Second German Empire which ended in 1918.

20th Century Prussia: WWI

At the end of World War, I the borders of Prussia changed again. The most significant change was the separation of East Prussia from the rest of Germany and the establishment of the Polish Corridor.

Much of West Prussia became part of Poland, but After World War I the boundaries established by the Treaty of Versailles put five southern kreise from West Prussia back to East Prussia in what had been the original Prussia. See the map below.

Addition of Five Southern Kreise to East Prussia

Map of West and East Prussia

Memelland became part of Lithuania in 1923.

1939: The Beginning of WWII

In 1939 East Prussia “annexed” the southern kreise from Poland and what had been West Prussia.

Germany also “annexed” Memelland.

In 1939 Hitler invaded Poland to reconnect the province of East Prussia with the rest of Germany.

 Map of the Former East Prussia Today

The shaded part in the north of what was Memelland in East Prussia is now in Lithuania. 1815 to 1919.  to Lithuania in 1924.

Today the Kaliningrad Oblast of Russia is everything in the lighter shade above the red horizontal line.

Poland encompasses everything in the lighter shade below the dark horizontal line.

The dark green shade on the left was a part of West Prussia that became East Prussia after WWI from 1920 to 1939.

Note how the Coronian Spit is divided between Lithuania and Russia today,

The Neman/Nemanus (formerly Memel) River divides Lithuania and Russia today.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Prussia

CONCLUSON

The glory of East Prussia lay in ruins after WWII when the Soviets took control and is now known as the Kaliningrad Oblast of Russia. The German people were woefully evacuated during the brutal winter of 1945 by land and by sea. What was not destroyed during the war was desecrated afterwards. A few remaining buildings like the church below in Kreis Insterburg recall the importance of the evangelische church.

This painting by Romanas Borisovas is from a 2015 calendar published by Draugas, the Lithuanian-American newspaper. It shows the remains in 2002 of a church in Obehlischken-Schulzehof, a southern parish of Kreis Insterberg. I thought it was beautifully done.

What was formerly the Russian Empire is now Suwalki Province in southwestern Lithuania. Although all   the Germans were evacuated during WWII, remnants of their lives and culture are visible in Lithuania today. Much like the former East Prussia, time and tragedy have erased the visible elements. Perhaps the researchers of these families can uncover some treasures of their lives through searching for their records and preserving their stories, no matter how little is known.

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2019 Post PH 3 1803–1807 Napoleonic Era to Congress of Vienna 1815

1803 to 1807: Lands Prussia Lost

Napoleon Bonaparte started his campaign to rule Europe and continued his conquest eastward toward Prussia. In 1806 the Napoleonic army defeated Prussia. Prussia lost areas to the west, south, and north.  In 1807 Prussia was saved from Napoleon by Russia but Prussian-German domination halted when Napoleon conquered Europe. After Napoleon defeated the three partitioning powers—Austria, Prussia, and Russia, he established the Duchy (principality) of Warsaw as a protectorate of the French Empire. Prussia lost South Prussia when it became part of the Duchy of Warsaw, part of the French Empire. Prussia also lost New East Prussia at the Peace of Tilsit in July 1807.  All the German colonists in the Duchy of Warsaw came under Russian domination.

Hall, The Atlantic Bridge to Germany: Volume VIII, ix.

Edwards, “Starting Points for Germanic Genealogy: Basic East Prussian and West Prussian History for Genealogy,” 17.

Brandt, Genealogical Guide to East and West Prussia, IX-22.

Brief Look at German/Prussian History, 1.

FamilySearch wiki.

Polish Encyclopedia of 1923 (Geneva, Switzerland: Atar Limited, 1922-1926), 750.

Reimer, The German Research Companion, 4.

1815: The End of Napoleonic Era

During 1814-1815 Napoleon weakened. The German states began to reorganize under the leadership of Prussia. Prussia joined allies to crush Napoleon at Waterloo.

In 1815 the Congress of Vienna formed the German Confederation, restored some Prussian territories, and reduced several hundred German states to 39. In 1815 South Prussia was divided between the Prussian Grand Duchy of Posen and Congress Poland, a part of the Russian Empire.

The Grand Duchy of Warsaw 1815

The area in light purple became a Protectorate of the Russian Empire until 1918. It was known as Congress Poland, Congress Kingdom, aka the Kingdom of Poland, or Russian Poland.

The strange northern appendage in light purple (with Kaunas on the northeast edge) that had been  New East Prussia, became part of a protectorate of the Russian Empire. This is where Germans from East Prussia had migrated into when it was New East Prussia. This area became known as Suwalki Province in 1866 and is now in Lithuania.

The light purple area below East Prussia (in purple) had been South Prussia and encompassed Posen in the West and Warsaw in the East, under French control from 1807 to 1815 and Russian control from 1815 to 1918.

In 1810 Germans constituted 6% of population of Grand Duchy of Warsaw, most in north and northwest. This area remained with these borders until Poland and Lithuania regained their status as independent nations after World War I.

East Central Europe in 1815

A clearly visible West Prussia in purple came into existence in 1772.

A clearly visible East Prussia in purple shows the western border familiar to family researchers.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Prussia

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