Saturday, August 13, 2016

Looking in the WRONG Village (Part I)

I was looking for my 4-greats-grandfather Jacob Barkman #7070 (ABT 1745-1809) in the 1772, 1776, and 1789 West Prussian censuses.  I know from the Fürstenau Lutheran church book that he died in the village of Neustädterwald on 13 November 1809.[1]  I also know from the Neustädterwald land records that he owned land there when he died.[2]  But I could not find him in any of those censuses in Neustädterwald.  Then I realized that since he only married in 1777,[3] it is possible that he was still living at home in 1772 and 1776, so he might not have had a separate household and thus not been listed in either of those censuses.  But by 1789, he was about 44 years old and had a wife and daughter, so he should have had a separate household.  On the other hand, the 1789 census is different because it only listed Mennonite landowners, so if he had acquired his Neustädterwald land after 1789, he might not have been listed there either.  Nonetheless there is a good chance he was in the 1789 census.

Death record for Jacob Barkman in Fürstenau Lutheran church book, 13 November 1809.
I was using an extraction of the 1789 census prepared by Adalbert Görtz that is organized by village[4].  But instead of giving up when I could not find Jacob Barkman in Neustädterwald, I thought I should search for him in the entire census using the CTRL-F function.  And that proved to be a most crucial decision.  Instead of Jacob Barkman being in Neustädterwald in 1789, he owned 17 morgens 282 ruten of land (about 11 acres) in the neighboring village of Fürstenauerweide about three miles to the south![5]

Extraction of 1789 census of Jacob Barkman in Fürstenauerweide, Elbing, West Prussia.
So this fleshes out my sketch of his life a bit.  He probably only moved to the village of Neustädterwald in the 1790s, that is in his 50s.  And before that he had probably lived in the nearby village of Fürstenauerweide.  (I say “probably” because land ownership is not exactly the same as residence.)  This illustrates how mobile Mennonites were at the end of the 18th century.  They were often not born in the village where they were married or where they lived as an adult or where they died.  And the lure of land ownership often drew them to another village.

And this raises another question – what was Jacob Barkman doing in Fürstenauerweide?  And should I not check the West Prussian land records to see if his Grundbuch has survived?  Stay tuned for Part II.

[1] Jacob Bergmann death record, 13 November 1809, Fuerstenau Lutheran church book, Death register 1774-1819, Fuerstenau, West Prussia, p. 416.  Accessed on LDS microfilm #208103.

[2] Neustaedterwald Grundbuch Blatt 13, Amt Tiegenhof, Malbork, Poland, Archive, Fond 341, File 3192.  Accessed online at

[3] Jacob Barckman and Margareta Classen marriage record, 29 April 1777, Heubuden Mennonite church book, 1773-1815, Heubuden, West Prussia, p. 13.  Accessed online at on 27 December 2015.


[5] Jacob Bergmann household, 1789 General-Nachweisung of Mennonite families in Marienwerder Department, Fuerstenauerweide village #35, 15. Amt Tiegenhof, West Prussia, II. HA, Abt. 9, Materien, Tit. CIX, Nr. 1, Vol. 1, Ad Nr. 1 vol. 2, Geheimes Staatsarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin, Germany.  Accessed at on 25 July 2016.

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