Every Monday were writing about the research were currently doing. Think of this as a genealogy journal. This week we’re in West Prussia, researching the ancestors of Helen Kresmer. Note, places will be referred to as they were named at the time. Many places now have Polish names.
Helen was born in 1827 in the village of Zieglershuben and baptized in Pestlin. Both villages being in the rural district of Mariewerder. Her parents were recorded as Jakob Kresmer and Franciszka Neyrtrowska [Nesterowicz]. She had two brothers and four sisters. Life in this region of Poland was quite peaceful. As a teenager she would have seen King Frederick William IV of Prussia pardon many Poles and the building of many Polish schools which prior and after King Frederick’s reign were banned. Her life was significantly different then that of her parents who would have experienced discrimination by the government and witnessed the Napoleonic Wars.
So far, very little is known about Helen’s parents Jakob and Franciszka. They were married in Monken, a small estate south of Zieglershuben. Jakob was a 40-year-old widower. Franciszka was 20-year-old and had not been married before. There’s some evidence that Jakob came from a Mixed/Lutheran family but this evidence is still weak. The map below shows where in West Prussia most of the Kresmer’s are found. The parishes of Deutsch Damerau, Stuhm, Pestlin and Tiefenau are all in yellow because there are more than ten mentions of Kresmers in the parish. Red parishes have more than five mentions and blue have less than four. (Side note: Many parishes in West Prussia have very little indexed at all, or have no index which means the data presented is incomplete)
This is where our research currently stands, there’s some evidence that a group of Kresmers that settled in Tiefenau and Pestlin came from Podgor, a neighboorhood of Thorn. Sadly none of the records are indexed so it’s quite the undertaking to research in this place. That being said, that is our current plan until other evidence arises that leads us somewhere else.
Resources used and recommended in West Prussian Research (Click the title to get send to the page listed below)
Meyers Gazetteer: A map of the German Empire that incudes many small villages and estates.
Family Search Catalog – West Prussia: Gives a list of all localities with records which can be helpful when researching nomadic people.
Genealogy in West Prussia: Has maps, and books about many localities, plus so much more. (In German)