Mecklenburg

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Contents

Introduction

Mecklenburg lies in a fertile plain containing many forests and lakes and is crossed by the Elde, Warnow, and several other rivers. Prior to 1934, Mecklenburg borders were not the same as they are today. Territories which were once the Grand Duchies of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Mecklenburg-Strelitz were united into one State of Mecklenburg in 1934.

Political Divisions

Throughout the 1800's, Mecklenburg was divided into the two grand duchies, Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Mecklenburg-Strelitz was further divided into two parts, one on either side of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. The government was a limited monarchy, ruled by grand dukes. Each duchy was a separate state, but both bodies met annually to make common laws and impose common taxes for the whole of Mecklenburg. Both duchies used the same flag and coat of arms.

Mecklenburg-Schwerin consisted of: The Duchy of Schwerin, The Principality of Schwerin, The Wenden District of the Duchy of Güstrow, The Lordship of Wismar (Wismar and the surrounding area were under the rule of Sweden from 1648 to 1803), Rostock District, and The Domain of Scattered Convents.

Mecklenburg-Strelitz consisted of: Stargard District of the Duchy of Güstrow on the eastern side of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, and The Principality of Ratzeburg on the western side of Mecklenburg-Schwerin.

The Dukes / Grand Dukes in Mecklenburg-Schwerin

       1692-1713       Friedrich Wilhelm (1675-1713)
       1713-1747       Karl Leopold (1678-1747)
       1747-1756       Christian Ludwig II. (1683-1756)
       1756-1785       Friedrich der Fromme (1717-1785)
       1785-1837       Friedrich Franz I. (1756-1837)
       1837-1842       Paul Friedrich (1800-1842)
       1842-1883       Friedrich Franz II. (1823-1883)
       1883-1897       Friedrich Franz III. (1851-1897) 
       1897-1918       Friedrich Franz IV. (1882-1945)
                       Friedrich Franz V. (1910-2001)
   

The Dukes / Grand Dukes in Mecklenburg-Strelitz

       1701-1708       Adolf Friedrich II. (1658-1708)
       1708-1752       Adolf Friedrich III. (1686-1752)
       1752-1794       Adolf Friedrich IV. (1738-1794)
       1794-1816       Carl II. (1741-1816)
       1816-1860       Georg (1779-1860)
       1860-1904       Friedrich Wilhelm (1819-1904)
       1904-1914       Adolf Friedrich V. (1848-1914)
       1914-1918       Adolf Friedrich VI. (1882-1918)

The grand dukes of Mecklenburg Schwerin and Mecklenburg-Strelitz were deposed in 1918. The Mecklenburg-Strelitz line effectively died out.

The lands of Mecklenburg were divided into Ritterschaft, Domanium, and Landschaft. The properties of the knights belonged to the Ritterschaft. All princely properties belonged to the Domanium. All the cities belonged to the Landschaft except Rostock and Wismar. These sea ports had their own special category. The status of individual localities relative to these three divisions changed often. The divisions also overlapped each other extensively.

Niekammer's Güter-Addressbücher of 1908 shows the following division of lands into districts or counties (Ämter) in Mecklenburg-Schwerin, some with overlapping jurisdiction as indicated:

  • D.A. = Domanialamt or Domänenamt (District of the Grand Duchy or crownland, the revenue of which goes to the reigning sovereign).
    • Boizenburg (also part of the Ritterschaft)
    • Bukow (also part of the Ritterschaft)
    • Bützow (also a city district)
    • Crivitz (also part of the Ritterschaft)
    • Dargun (also a city district)
    • Doberan (also a city district)
    • Dömitz (also a city district)
    • Gadebusch (also part of the Ritterschaft and a city district)
    • Grabow (also part of the Ritterschaft)
    • Grevesmühlen (also part of the Ritterschaft)
    • Güstrow (also part of the Ritterschaft and a city district)
    • Hagenow (also a city district)
    • Lübz (also part of the Ritterschaft)
    • Neustadt (also part of the Ritterschaft)
    • Ribnitz (also part of the Ritterschaft and a city district)
  • R. A. = Ritterschaftliches Amt (Knight District). Ritter means knight, a term of elevated free status, originally claimed for performance of military service to a sovereign; privileged "noble" rank. A "Rittergut" (estate of a knight) was formerly owned only by those of nobility. Later others who did not belong to families of nobility were permitted to acquire "Rittergüter."
    • Gnoien (also a city district)
    • Goldberg (also a city district)
    • Ivenak (also a city district)
    • Mecklenburg (also a city district)
    • Neukalen (also a city district)
    • Plau (also a city district)
    • Sternberg (also a city district)
  • Städte (city) districts which were not also seats of D.A. or R.A were as follows:
    • Malchin
    • Parchim
    • Penzlin
    • Rostock
    • Tessin
  • K.A. - Klosteramt (Monastery District). A Kloster is a cloister or monastery. Klostergüter were under the jurisdiction of the Ritterschaft.
    • Amt Dobbertin
    • Amt Malchow
    • Amt Ribnitz
  • Another minor land district was the Rostocker which included:
    • Amt Ribnitz
    • Amt Schwaan

The Großherzogtum Mecklenburg-Strelitz was divided in the Herzogtum Mecklenburg-Strelitz and the Fürstentum Ratzeburg. It contained the following towns (according Staatskalender 1862):

  • Neustrelitz
  • Neubrandenburg
  • Friedland
  • Woldegk
  • Strelitz
  • Fürstenberg
  • Wesenberg
  • Stargard
  • Ratzeburg (Domhof and Palmberg)
  • Schönberg

Religious Divisions

Mecklenburg was predominantly Evangelical Lutheran after 1549, with some Jewish families living throughout the duchies. There were a few Catholic areas.

History

Early people began to colonize the Mecklenburg area about ten thousand years ago in the latter part of the Ice Age. The lives of the people in these early times were geared towards hunting and they had a great dependence on animals. Their tools were made from flint, bone and horn. Teutonic peoples inhabited the Mecklenburg area in the first centuries of the Christian era, but early in the 6th century, it was seized by various Slavic tribes. The early name for the Mecklenburg area was Vandalia and later it was called Wendenland. The land was not cultivated during the Slavic times, but was covered everywhere with primeval forest. It was isolated and culturally cut off from the rest of Germany.

The Mecklenburg region was conquered by Henry the Lion, Duke of Saxony, in the latter half of the 12th century and the land was first opened up by Henry through a combination of missionary work and colonization. In 1348 it was elevated to a duchy. In 1549 Lutheranism was recognized as the State religion. Then, in 1621, Mecklenburg was split into two duchies: Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Mecklenburg -Güstrow (changed to Mecklenburg-Strelitz in 1701). Mecklenburg-Schwerin was about the size of the state of Connecticut. Mecklenburg-Strelitz was about as large as the state of Rhode Island in the United States, and was divided into two parts, one on either side of Mecklenburg-Schwerin.

Between 1733 and 1755 the estate owners of Mecklenburg increased their land holdings. They were backed by the Kaiser of the Holy Roman Empire in this effort. By the Convention of Rostock in 1755 in Mecklenburg Schwerin, all power was placed in the hands of the Duke, nobles, and upper classes. The lower classes had no voice. Land was held under a Feudal system. From 1759 to 1764 all of Mecklenburg was occupied by Prussia. Unlike the surrounding areas, however, Mecklenburg managed to remain autonomous for another century.

In Mecklenburg during the 1700s and 1800s a type of Feudalism existed known as "Inherited Serfdom". The land owners controlled the economy and ruled their estates with absolute authority. The peasants were dependant entirely on the nobles who could even buy and sell them with or without their property. The tax rate on the peasants had to be reviewed every two to three years, and was usually increased at that time. They could not acquire any more land than they already had. Their Landlords produced crops for export from their vast estates by using the labor of these bonded peasants, servants and laborers. The landlords were known as "Landjunker". This word comes from "Jung Herr" which means "young noble".

By the 1800's the Landlords had driven away more and more peasants with their highhanded ways. They then incorporated those peasants' plots into their estates, and crop production expanded further. This callous robbery of the peasant properties was known as "peasant seizure". Ten thousand peasants lost their holdings in this way. In Mecklenburg, where the Nobility owned almost all of the land and dwellings, the number of estimated peasant foreclosures went from 2,490 to nearly 12,000 by 1800 AD. The former peasants who had land left held only small holdings which ensured little more than a bare livelihood for themselves.

In 1807 Baron von Stein tried to carry through a reform of the Feudal system. He felt the peasants' and laborers' lot had to be improved. He did not want to abolish the large Landholders, but they were to be limited in their political and administrative powers and to improve the state of their workers. At that time, workers worked from sunrise to sunset for a pfennig an hour, a very small amount. he value of goods (potatoes, corn, wood, etc.) was deducted from that and most of their work was paid for by these goods. Women and children performed heavy work. Baron von Stein's reform said that peasants could now change their place of residence without permission, and children were allowed to learn a trade. But the Landlords ought these progressive measures, refused to implement them, and the edict of Baron von Stein was never executed.

From 1806 to 1813 the country suffered great hardship and destruction. This period came to be known to all Mecklenburgers as the "Franzosentid" ( period of French occupation). Robbery and pillage became commonplace. Both duchies, Mecklenburg Schwerin and Mecklenburg Strelitz, were forced to join the Confederation of the Rhine under Napoleon's protectorate. Of the more than 2,000 men who were conscripted from Mecklenburg to take part in Napoleon's campaign against Russia, less than one hundred came home again. After Napoleon's defeat in Russia, the dukes of both Mecklenburgs were among the first to renounce the alliance with France. In the War of German Liberation which followed (1813-1815), Mecklenburg played a significant part in defeating Napoleon and liberating Germany from France. In 1815, the dukes of Mecklenburg were elevated to "Grand Dukes", and Mecklenburg became a Grand Duchy. With the coming of peace, however, there also came a period of economic depression which lasted until the early 1820s.

Legally, serfdom was abolished in Mecklenburg in 1820 and the peasants were freed from their obligations to land owners. But this worsened the conditions for most peasants because the land owners were freed, at the same time, of any obligations under feudal law to provide their tenants with any means of supporting themselves, thus leaving the peasants in even greater poverty. The servant of a noble landowner was not even permitted to marry unless his master gave him permission and a place to live.

Those villagers who were without land became cottagers or gardeners. Eventually they were simply known as day laborers (Tagelöhner) and lived in poverty. They were deprived almost entirely of their earnings and thereafter were forced to work for a starvation wage on the Junker estates. They traveled the countryside, moving from estate to estate as the land owner required their labor for plowing, planting or harvesting crops. The life they lived gave no possibility of resistance in an effort to better their condition. Many peasants and labourers left Mecklenburg and emigrated to other countries s their conditions became unbearable. In the early 1840s, the liberal bourgeois party began to speak out against the noble landowners and the special privileges granted them. By 1848 there were secret meetings in many Mecklenburg towns of reform societies and a political revolution was a distinct possibility. However the revolution did not have enough support and eventually failed. The workers' situation in Mecklenburg remained bleak until, under the Soviet Military Administration, in October 1945 there was a land reform and the large estates and their landholders disappeared. The government took over their land.

The Mecklenburg Duchies joined the German Empire in 1871 and after World War I were declared states of the new German Republic. In 1934 they were united into a single German state of Mecklenburg. After World War II Mecklenburg became part of the Soviet Zone. The state was dissolved in 1952, when East Germany was reorganized into districts. The area remained behind the Iron Curtain and part of East Germany until 1990 when Germany was unified and the state of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania was created.

The dukes of Mecklenburg-Schwerin had their castle (Schloß) and main residence in the city of Schwerin. The seat of government and main home for the dukes of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was in Neustrelitz. Princess Sophie Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz became Queen Charlotte of England in 1761. Genealogical data concerning the house of Mecklenburg can be found on the Internet Gotha, and some of its members can also be found in the royals databases at Hull and PSU.

Associations and Societies

Genealogical and Historical Records

Church Records

The best source for genealogical information and family research in Mecklenburg is the church records. Church records, also called Kirchenbücher, are particularly valuable in Mecklenburg because the civil authorities did not begin registering births, marriages, and deaths until after 1876. Generally recorded at the time of the event, parish records contain births, baptisms, marriages, confirmations and deaths. The data recorded in these records varied over time. Later records usually have more information than early ones.

The Mecklenburg church records were microfilmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah in 1951 and they are all available at the Family History Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. Copies of these microfilms are available for your research at local Family History Centers all over the world.

The church records of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Mecklenburg-Strelitz up until 1875 are in Schwerin and are available at the archives:

Mecklenburgisches Kirchenbuchamt
Münzstr. 8
D-19010 Schwerin

To find the church records for a given town, you will need to locate the parish for that town. You can do this at a Family History Center. D.A. Endler and Edmund Albrecht have published a Mecklenburgs familiengeschichtliche Quellen which contains an alphabetical list of all localities in both Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Mecklenburg-Strelitz with their parish names. This index is available on Fiche #6000834/1-2 and should be at most Family History Centers. It is also available on microfilm (reel#0496473, item 8).

Civil Records

Civil Registration was introduced in Mecklenburg on January 1, 1876. Civil registration records contain much the same information as that found in church records, usually in greater detail. An advantage of civil registration is that persons of all religions in the town are found in one register. Information from civil registers after 1876 can be obtained by writing to the Civil Registry Office (Standesamt) of the town where your ancestor lived.

Official State calendars exist for each year from 1777 in Mecklenburg-Schwerin, and from 1790 in Mecklenburg-Strelitz. A few of these calendars are available through the Family History Centers. However the most complete sets are probably held by the

Mecklenburgische Landesbibliothek
Am Dom 2
D-19055 Schwerin, Germany

The surviving records of the grand duchies of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Mecklenburg-Strelitz are both on deposit at

Staatsarchiv Schwerin
Graf-Schack-Allee 2
D-19053 Schwerin, Germany

Other Primary Records

Census

for Mecklenburg-Schwerin is available at the Family History Centers for 1704, 1751, 1819, 1867, 1890 and 1900. There are also a few early census records for the Duchy of Mecklenburg for 1633-1634, 1677, and 1689 (microfilm #068,934). There are no preserved census records for Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Only a statistical summary is available.

The 1867, 1890, and 1900 census information for Mecklenburg-Schwerin is available on microfilm from the Family History Center libraries. The 1867 census is on 357 microfilms, the 1890 census is on 92 microfilms, and the 1900 census is on 755 microfilms. In order to use these films, you will need to know the town your family was from. Use your Family History Center Catalogue either on microfiche or computer to find out the correct film numbers.

The 1819 Mecklenburg-Schwerin census is available from the Family History Center libraries and is on 60 rolls of microfilm. This census includes for each person the sex of the person, his/her given and surname, the year and day of birth, the birthplace, the parish to which the birthplace belonged, the family status or occupation, property owned, how long he/she has lived there, whether single or married, the family's religion, and general comments. After the head of household, the wife is named (sometimes giving her birth name), next the children, then servants and any boarders, etc. The Immigrant Genealogical Society will search the indexes for you and provide you with surname information.

Marriage Records

Kopulationsregister aus Mecklenburgischen Kirchenbüchern von 1751 bis 1800 by Franz Schubert (Family History Library 943.17 B4s ser.6). This 37 volume series of marriage abstracts lists marriage records of Mecklenburg from parish registers covering roughly 1751-1800. The Immigrant Genealogical Society will search the marriage abstracts for you and provide you with information. There are 13 index volumes.

Land Records

Grundbesitzerlisten auf Feldflurkarten Mecklenburgs by Franz Schubert. Transcribed names of Landowners in the state of Mecklenburg in the year 1727. Family History Center film #1441034, item 8 and #1181901, item 9.

School Records

Names of students taking entrance exams in Mecklenburg schools in the 18th century. Abiturienten mecklenburgischer Schulen im 19. Jahrhundert (FHL 943.17 J2sf) by Franz Schubert, in two volumes. Includes schools in Friedland, Neubrandenburg, Neustrelitz, Doberan, Güstrow, Parchim, Ratzeburg, Rostock, Schwerin, Waren, Wismar, Bützow, Ludwigslust, Malchin, and Rostock. Students of theology, medicine, law, and military are included. Birth dates and places of origin for many students are given. Each volume has an alphabetical place, occupation, and name index.

Citizen Registers

Citizen Registers from Mecklenburg are included in Bürgerbücher aus Mecklenburg by Franz Schubert (FHL 943.17 X2s). Vol. L2 includes citizens from Schwerin from documents from the years 1560, 1586, 1855, 1622, 1672, 1726, 1770, 1832, 1859, 1869, and 1887. Vol. M1 includes Neubrandenburg 1676-1893. Vol. A1 includes citizens from Stavenhagen 1724-1741 and 1772-1918.

Lineage Books

The Deutsches Geschlechterbuch, the German Lineage Book series published by C.A. Starke Verlag, in Limburg, Germany contains four volumes that pertain to Mecklenburg (volumes 57, 74, 88, and 105). These books can be found at the Family History Center and larger libraries in the United States and Canada. The four Mecklenburg volumes are also on microfilm at the Family History Centers. In addition to the four regional volumes mentioned, the general index also lists 52 general volumes which should also be checked for information on a given name or lineage. These include the first 17 volumes of the series which were Genealogical Handbooks of Common (non-noble) Families. Only volumes 1 through 110 have been microfilmed.

Gazetteers and Maps

Gazetteers

  • D.A. Endler and Edmund Albrecht have published a Mecklenburgs Familiengeschichtliche Quellen which contains an alphabetical list of all localities in both Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Mecklenburg-Strelitz with their parish names. This index is available on Fiche #6000834/1-2 and should be at most Family History Centers. It is also available on microfilm (reel#0496473, item 8).
  • Geographisch-Statistisch-Historisches Handbuch Der Mecklenburger Länder by Gustav Hempel, Güstrow: Edmund Frege, 1837-1843. (FHL microfilm #1181668, item 5). This directory lists many small villages not included in other available gazetteers.

Atlases and Maps

  • ATLAS OF THE GERMAN EMPIRE 1892. This atlas contains enlarged reproductions of 24 maps published in 1892 by Verlag des Bibliographischen Instituts, Leipzig and Vienna. In addition to maps of the German provinces, it contains a map of the entire 1892 German Empire (1:4,600,000). Map scale of the provinces varies from 1:850,000 to 1:1,700.000. Small towns and hamlets are not on the maps.
  • Detailed Maps of Germany including Mecklenburg area. 1: 100 000 scale from Haupe & Co. Ausflugskarte Series, or 1:200 000 scale from Mairs Geographischer Verlag.

Bibliography and Literature

Bibliography

Literature

Fritz Reuter, known as the greatest of all Low German dialect writers, was born in Mecklenburg. Two of his books which have been translated into English describe the life of the common people in Mecklenburg during the first half of the 19th century. Both books are available for purchase by special order from Amazon Books or check with your local library. They are also available through the inter-library loan program. (For example, both books are available from the main branch of the Los Angeles Public Library.)

  • SEED-TIME AND HARVEST; or During My Apprenticeship was translated from Reuter's Ut Mine Stromtid, his most famous work. It is the story of three groups of rural peasants in Mecklenburg--those who work for the nobility on large estates, those who are tenant farmers, and those who live in small villages. This book is a "must" if you want to understand the life of these people.
  • WHEN THE FRENCH WERE HERE; or In the Year 1813 was translated from Reuter's Ut de Franzosentid. The story takes place in a small village in Mecklenburg during the French occupation and the ensuing War of German Liberation. Mecklenburg suffered greatly during 1813 because of the ravages and plundering of French troops.

Archives and Libraries

Archives

The following list of archives in Mecklenburg Vorpommern is divided into four categories:

State Archives

Staatsarchiv
Graf-Schack-Allee 2
D-19053 Schwerin

District Archives

Vorpommersches Landesarchiv,
Martin-Andersen-Nexö-Platz 1
D-17489 Greifswald

Area, City, and University Archives

  • Landkreis Bad Doberan Kreisarchiv, August-Bebel-Str. 3, D-18209 Bad Doberan
  • Landkreis Demmin Kreisarchiv, Adolf-Pompe-Straße 12-15, D-17109 Demmin
  • Stadtarchiv Greifswald, Arndtstraße 2, D-17489 Greifswald
  • Universitätsarchiv Greifswald, Domstr. 11, D-17489 Greifswald
  • Landkreis Güstrow Kreisarchiv, D-18273 Güstrow
  • Landkreis Ludwigslust Kreisarchiv, Alexandrienstr. 576, D-19288 Ludwigslust
  • Landkreis Mecklenburg-Strelitz Kreisarchiv, Bienenweg 1, D-17033 Neubrandenburg
  • Stadtarchiv Neustrelitz, Stadtverwaltung, Markt 1, D-17235 Neustrelitz
  • Landkreis Müritz Kreisarchiv, Kietzstr. 10/11, D-17192 Waren
  • Stadtarchiv Waren, Neuer Markt, D-17192 Waren
  • Stadtarchiv Neubrandenburg, Stadtverwaltung, Friedrich-Engels-Ring 53, D-17033 Neubrandenburg
  • Landkreis Nordvorpommern Kreisarchiv Grimmen, Bahnhofstraße 12/13, D-18507 Grimmen
  • Landkreis Nordwestmecklenburg Kreisarchiv, Börzower Weg 1, D-23936 Grevesmühlen
  • Landkreis Ostvorpommern Kreisarchiv, Demminer Str. 71-74, D-17389 Anklam
  • Landkreis Parchim Kreisarchiv, Moltkeplatz 2, D-19370 Parchim, Postfach 53 und 54, D-19361 Parchim
  • Stadtarchiv Parchim, Putlitzer Str. 56, D-19370 Parchim
  • Stadtarchiv Rostock, Archiv der Hansestadt Rostock, Hinter dem Rathaus 5, D-18055 Rostock
  • Universitätsarchiv Rostock, Universitätsplatz 1, D-18055 Rostock
  • Landkreis Rügen Kreisarchiv, Industriestraße 4, D-18528 Bergen
  • Stadtarchiv Schwerin, Platz der Jugend 12-14, D-19053 Schwerin
  • Central Land Archives, Grundbucharchiv Schwerin, Lübeckerstr. 287, D-19059 Schwerin
  • Stadtarchiv Stralsund, Badenstr. 13, D-18439 Stralsund
  • Landkreis Uecker-Randow Kreisarchiv, Am Markt 1, D-17309 Pasewalk
  • Stadtarchiv Wismar, Vor dem Fürstenhof, D-23966 Wismar

Church Archives

  • Mecklenburgisches Kirchenbuchamt, Münzstr. 8, D-19010 Schwerin
  • Domarchiv Ratzeburg, Domhof 35, D-23909 Ratzeburg (summer 2002, closed)

Miscellaneous

Emigration waves

After 1850, Mecklenburg had the third highest emigration count in Europe, superceded only by Ireland and Galicia ( land which is currently Poland and the Ukraine). 261,000 Mecklenburgers left their home country (the Grand duchies of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Mecklenburg-Strelitz) between 1820 and 1890. Many people, especially those from the lower social classes, did not have any prospects or future in Mecklenburg.

Between 1850 and 1890 approximately 146,000 Mecklenburgers emigrated overseas, most going to the United States of America, but some also going to South America, Australia, and other countries. Between 1820 and 1890 those going overseas accounted for two thirds of all the emigrants from Mecklenburg. The defeat of the civil-democratic revolution in 1848/49 and the return of the old social and political problems gave fresh impetus to this emigration movement.

This loss of population was most prevalent from the so-called flat or farm land. 88.5 % of all emigrants came from rural areas. Most of them came from the manor houses of noble and titled big land-owners. These were the people who had the most compelling reasons for leaving Mecklenburg. This was mostly due to the miserable social conditions caused by the right of establishment rules which existed almost unchanged between 1820 and 1860.

In 1861, a Mecklenburg historian, Ernst Boll, explained the right of abode and right of establishment this way: "a Mecklenburger does not belong to the country as a whole as far as his home is concerned. Rather, he belongs to the one city or village that he happens to be born in, or to the city or village where he has received the right of establishment" from the landowner.

These conditions came about when serfdom was annulled in Mecklenburg in 1820/21. At that time, many landowners took the opportunity to get rid of most of their permanent day laborers who were now considered personally free according to the law. They began to run their lands with a minimum of permanent workers. The landowners did this so that they would not have to pay for any laborers who were injured or take care of them when they grew old. It was very difficult for day-laborers who were thrown out to find permanent work elsewhere because a new employer did not want to give them the "right of establishment" and have to be responsible for them. The granting of the right to marry also depended on the granting of the right of establishment, and all subjects needed permission to marry before they could have a family. A man or woman who did not have the right of establishment could never start a home. A lot of people that worked as needed paid laborers were refused the right of establishment by the ruling class for their whole lives. They were given only a limited right to residence - only for as long as they had work. Many Mecklenburgers were, in effect, homeless in their own country.

Therefore it is no surprise that tens of thousands decided to emigrate. In fact, the knights and landowners encouraged emigration at times. The loss of population in rural areas grew larger and larger. While there still was a population growth of 55,000 people between 1830 and 1850 despite the emigration, new births could not make up for the high number of emigrants between 1850 and 1905. The rural population dropped by 25,000.

After the German Empire was founded in 1871, industrialization spread and some cities expanded rapidly. The number of people that emigrated overseas decreased, and internal migration increased. More people that were willing to emigrate went to cities and industrial towns outside of Mecklenburg, such as the areas of Berlin and Hamburg rather than to America. In 1900 approximately 224,692 people who were Mecklenburgers by birth lived outside of their home country. That was almost one third of the Mecklenburg total population. On December 1, 1900 there were 53,902 emigrants from Mecklenburg-Schwerin living in Hamburg-Altona.

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