Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Where Did They Come From? (An Immigrant Family's Story, Part 7)

My Grand Aunt Beulah, who did genealogy research for many years, has "Gustrow, Mecklenburg" as the place of birth of our Peters ancestors. However, the Hamburg passenger list, which I doubt she ever saw, says the family was from Bellin, Mecklenburg. To find church records, which are very important in German research, we need to know exactly where they lived.


Meyers Gazetteer is a wonderful tool for locating places in present day Germany. At their website, I typed "Bellin" in the search box and got 5 results for "Bellin." Filtering for the region of "Mecklenburg-Schwerin narrowed the results to only one.

http://www.meyersgaz.org/search.aspx?search=bellin

From the search results page, clicking on "Bellin" gives an informational page which is partially shown below.  



The "detail" section gives more information. One important note on Bellin's page is that it only has one church - an evangelisch Pfarrkirche - or Protestant parish church.

Clicking on the modern day map links you to an incredible historical map! Unfortunately, I cannot share it, but you can view it by clicking here. It shows both the small village of Bellin, and also the nearby city of Gustrow which is only 6 miles away!

Map of Mecklenburg (from Wikipedia). Gustrow is one of the major cities shown, which helps to explain why my ancestors might have said they were "from Gustrow" when they actually had lived in the small, nearby village of Bellin.
My theory is that the Peters family said they were "from Gustrow" in much the same way we say we are "from Houston" when we actually live in a suburb. People might know where Gustrow was located who wouldn't have a clue as to where Bellin was located.

 Church in Bellin, disctrict Güstrow, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bellin_(Krakow_am_See)#Kirche
Church records are really useful in German research, so I have ordered Family Searches' micofilm number 68993 which contains the Evangelical Church records for Bellin. The register includes baptisms (1650-1732), marriages (1738-1873), burials (1738-1873), and confirmations (1835-1873)." I'm disappointed that the baptisms do not continue until 1873, but I hope to find records of my Peters family in the other three sections. Finding them would confirm that I have made that wonderful "leap" back to my ancestors' village!

4 comments:

  1. You will definitely have to keep us posted on this one! I will keep my fingers crossed that you will find your Peters family in those films!

    What a beautiful old church ! Don't you just love imagining them there?

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    1. I will definitely keep you posted! I just received an email that the microfilm has shipped. :)

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  2. I love that historic map you linked to! Thanks for all the work you've done on this. It's so helpful!

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    1. Thanks, Jess! And, you are more than welcome! I love doing genealogy and this is one of my "biggest" finds yet! :)

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