In the previous posts in this series, I explained how I found my 5-greats-grandparents, Martin Wiens and Maria Loepp, in the West Prussian land records. I wanted to flesh out their lives as much as possible, so there are a few other places to look for information.
First, the 1772 census. When Prussia seized a large piece of Polish territory in 1772, including the Gross Werder and other areas where many Mennonites lived, they immediately conducted a census to establish tax liabilities for all the inhabitants. When I checked the village of Fürstenauerweide, where Martin and Maria Wiens owned land, I found them – sort of. There were three heads of household named “Wientz,” but no first names or the number of family members were listed. I checked the index for the 1772 census and found no other Martin Wiens, so I knew he must be one of these three.
In the 1776 census, there are three Wiens heads of household listed, but this time their first names are given – Arend, Jacob, and Martin. (Presumably, these are the same three Wienses as in 1772, but we cannot be sure without checking each one individually since one could have died and another married and started his own household.) It’s very likely that this Martin Wiens is the one I’m looking for.
And on his extraction of the 1776 census, Glenn Penner has added a serendipitous note to Martin Wiens “1739-99 (Luth/Fuerstenau).” He kindly sent me a copy of Martin Wiens’ death record from the Fürstenau Lutheran church book, which showed that he died on 5 March 1799 in Fürstenauerweide at the age of 68 years, 4 months, and was buried on 11 March. From his age at death, I could calculate that he was born in ABT Dec 1730.
Finally, I checked the 1789 census of Mennonite landowners, and I found Martin Wiens living in Fürstenauerweide and owning 18 morgens 158 ruten of land (about 26 acres).
To summarize these three posts on Martin Wiens – I started out being curious why Jacob Barkman was not listed in any of the censuses in Neustӓdterwald, the village where he owned land at the time of his death. When I checked for his name in the other villages in the 1789 census, I saw that he owned land in the neighboring village, the “wrong” village, of Fürstenauerweide. When I checked the land records for Fürstenauerweide, I found the land that he owned and that his wife Katharina Wiens had inherited it from her parents Martin Wiens and Maria Loepp when her mother Maria Loepp died. I had not known of Martin Wiens and Maria Loepp before this. When I checked for Martin Wiens in the 1772, 1776, and 1789 census, I found him living in Fürstenauerweide in all three. And a note on the extraction of the 1776 census led me to his death record, which gave his birth date also. So a little curiosity about Jacob Barkman led to discovering his parents-in-law and quite a bit of information about them!