See Part I of “Looking in the Wrong Village” for the beginning of this story.
Since I had unexpectedly discovered that my 4-greats-grandfather Jacob Barkman #7070 (ABT 1745-1809) owned land in the village of Fürstenauerweide, Elbing, West Prussia, in the 1789 census, I decided to investigate further. It is possible that I could find him in the West Prussian land records that Glenn Penner has scanned and that have been posted at the Mennonite Library and Archives web site. These records of land transactions have valuable information on family relationships since husbands and wives owned land jointly. Here is the opening screen for the land records web page:
The Malbork, Poland, archive covers the Gross Werder area of the Vistula Delta that I am interested in, while the Bydgoszcz and Toruń cover areas farther south. So I choose the Malbork link.
A list of village names comes up, and I scroll down to find Fuerstenauerweide, on which I click. (Note that not all villages have surviving records.)
This brings up a link to one Grundbuch. Some villages have many Grundbücher, while others just have one. I clicked on the link.
This gives me a list of images. I went through the images one by one scanning for names. At first, when I started looking at Grundbücher a couple years ago, it was really hard to decipher the names or even to figure out which words were names, but after some practice, they pop out of the page because they are usually written in Latin and not Gothic script.
Eventually on Image 872, I found gold.
In the left-hand column about halfway down the left page, the list of grantees reads “1/8 Catharina geehlighte Jacob Bargmann (1/8 Catharina married to Jacob Bargmann).” BINGO! Jacob Barkman’s second wife, and my 4-greats-grandmother, was Catharina Wiens.
Even better, it listed her parents, whom I had not known, at the top of the page: Martin Wiens and Maria geb. (born) Loepp. So I added a 5-greats-grandfather and grandmother to my ancestry chart!
It took me a while to figure out the substance of the transaction, but Martin Wiens and his first wife Maria Loepp had apparently bought this property in 1763 from Thomas Sawadski but had only partially paid for it. In 1786 when his first wife Maria Loepp died, their four children inherited half of the property from her. Thus each one got a 1/8 share, which explains the “1/8” next to Catharina’s name. But they also were required to pay Thomas Sawadski 1/8 of the unpaid balance of the purchase price.
So now I have figured out how Jacob Barkman came to be a landowner in Fürstenauerweide: his wife inherited land from her mother’s estate. (Note that even though Jacob Barkman is the one listed in the census, he and his wife Catharina Wiens owned the land jointly.) I also found his parents-in-law and a year of death for his mother-in-law. And here is the updated ancestry chart from myself to Martin Wiens and Maria Loepp:
But at this point my knowledge of the parents-in-law, Martin Wiens and Maria Loepp, is very scanty. Can I find more information on them? Part III coming up.
 Fuerstenauerweide Grundbuch Blatt 13, Kreis Elbing, Malbork, Poland, Archive, Fond 341, File 198. Accessed online at https://mla.bethelks.edu/archives/VI_53/Malbork/Fuerstenauerweide/Fuerstenauerweide%20Grundbuch%20Malbork%20Archives%20Fond%20341%20File%20198/IMG_0872.JPG on 25 July 2016.