Iwona's Sources - New East Prussia: Archival Materials

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New East Prussia: Archival Materials

New East Prussia - called Neuostpreußen in German and Prusy Nowowschodnie or Nowe Prusy Wschodnie in Polish - was a short-lived part of Prussia during the years 1795–1807, including the regions of Suwałki, Białystok, and part of Mazowsze. It is preserved in documents of the “Kriegs- und Domänenkammer” (Chamber of War and Estate Administration). New East Prussia covered over 50,000 square kilometers of the Kingdom of Poland, the territory between the rivers Wisła (or Vistula), Narew, Bug, and Niemen. Its territory was divided into two Kammerdepartements, Płock and Białystok, with a total of 16 powiaty. The following powiaty belonged to the Białystok departement: Białystok, Bielsk Podlaski, Dąbrowa Białostocka, Drohiczyn, Goniądz, Łomża, Brańsk, Wigry, Kalwaria, and Mariampol. (Note that the last two are now in Lithuania and are called by their Lithuanian names, Kalvarija and Marijampolė).

In regard to Prussian administrative organization, it had its own separate division into Kreise (circles, Polish cyrkuły) and Bezirke (districts, Polish dystrykty).

Among the 3,845 units of the archival set “Kamery Wojny i Domen w Bialymstoku” (the Polish translation of the German title Kriegs- und Domänenkammer in Bialystok), one may cull interesting genealogical material even from before 1795, because the set contains numerous copies of records from as far back as the 16th century. Items noteworthy for genealogical research include the following:

- lists of estates and their owners from 1798 and 1805, by powiaty;

- lists of serfs exempted from paying feudal obligations or taxes or providing feudal labor service;

- inspections of numerous estates; of villages, nobles' settlements, and towns from the 17th century, with detailed registers of taxes and tributes;

- royal charters issued for land allotted to peasant army recruits (or peasants who paid a special tax to the army), property, manorial farmsteads, forests, forest areas, and buildings;

- hearth and poll taxes;

- sheaf tithes from Grajewo for 1784;

- a 1798 register of inhabitants of the village of Studzianki;

- renters as of 1800 in the localities of Stacewicze, Husaki, Kaniuki, and Jacenicze, among others;

- 1800 lists of peasants from the localities of Bity Kamien, Wiazowka, Sadowo, and Chmielniki;

- 1800 lists of those with full-sized farms in the villages of the Sok6lka estate, among others;

- 1806 land register lists of private property owners;

- specifics on individual losses incurred due to fires;

- lists of craftsmen of the town of Jasionówka;

- marriage records from the Jewish communities of Jasionka, Drohiczyn, Dabrowa, and Bialystok;

- construction permits for Jews, as well as permits to conduct trade and run taverns, and concessions on alcohol products;

- the grants of houses for Jews from Sokólka;

- grants of property to veteran soldiers of Polish, German, Tatar, Russian, Lithuanian, and Jewish ethnicity;

- 1797 lists of soldiers in Tykocin (age, term of service, decorations, marital status, number of children);

- benefits for families of deceased soldiers, and lists of deserters;

- various appeals to higher authorities; soldiers' requests for land in return for many years of service; requests for permits to transport wood from the forests; petitions to lower taxes; requests to pasture horses and cattle, and the

- settlements of disputes among citizens, excerpts from records of courts of law, grants, buying and selling of property;

- family bequests and contracts, as well as business contracts from 1720, from Choroszcz, Nowogródek, Ciecha-­nowiec, and many other localities of the Grodno royal estate;

- protective letters, lists of persons elevated to ducal and noble ranks;

- donations from 1640;

- traveling papers and certifications of ethnicity;

- parental permission for daughters' weddings, and descriptions of their dowries;

- certificates of completion of apprenticeship as craftsmen;

- situational plans, maps of individual properties.

This section of a map of Prussia as of 1806, available on Wikipedia <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_East_Prussia>, shows Neuostpreussen (New East Prussia) at far right, just west of Russland (Russia) and north ofWestgalizien (West Galicia)-which, incidentally, didn't last very long either, being incorporated into Galicia proper in 1803, and then made part of the Duchy of Warsaw in 1809.

* The compilation of records of the Kriegs- und Domanenkammer of the Department of Bialystok is available. The title is Sumariusz dokument6w Kamery Wojny i Domen w Bialymstoku 1796-1807, by Arkadiusz Gawronski, published Bialystok, 2006.

The points mentioned are mostly examples and gives only a small part of the localities covered. The compilation* of the set mentions 886 localities and 1,309 surnames.

The State Archives also has similar Kriegs- und Domanenkammer sets for other Prussian departements: Plock, 1796-1806; Gabin, 1717-1819; Bydgoszcz, 1781-1804; Kwidzyn, 1772-1808; Glogów, 1745-1815; and Poznan, 1793-1806.

Iwona Dakiniewicz, Lodz, Poland <genealogy@pro.onet.pl>

[with translation assistance from William F. Hoffman]

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Last Updated on July 6, 2017