Schlesien

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General Information

Political Divisions

In 1919 Silesia has been divided into two provinces: Lower Silesia (Niederschlesien) with the districts (Regierungsbezirke) Breslau and Liegnitz and Upper Silesia (Oberschlesien) beeing the former province Oppeln. The terms "lower" and "upper" refer to the main river of Silesia, the Oder.

In 1938 the province Silesia was divided into the following districts:

After 1941 Regierungsbezirk Kattowitz consisted of 11 counties.

Court Districts

The highest Silesian court was the Oberlandesgericht in Breslau with records deposited at the Wroclaw archives today.

Genealogical and Historical Societies

Note: The listed societies are volunteer organizations working with volunteers, and inquiries should be accompagnied by return postage, and if they are likely to occasion work, by a small fee.

Research area Silesia:

AGoFF Forschungsstelle Schlesien
Neithard von Stein
Talstr. 3,
D-31707 Bad Eilsen, Germany
Fax. +49-5722-84349.

Research group Rybnik/Pless (eastern Upper Silesia and the Duchy of Teschen):


No commisioned research is done, only advice is given (free of charge for AGoFF members, and non members depending upon exspenses).

Genealogical and Historical Records

Church Records

Some of the church records from the former Prussian provinces on the eastern side of the Oder-Neisse-border (East Prussia, West Prussia, eastern Pommerian, Posen, Silesia, and the eastern portion of the Brandenburg) can be found at the Evangelisches Zentralarchiv in Berlin, Jebensstrasse 3, D-10623 Berlin. The archive will only answer simple inquiries and does not conduct research itself.

Civil Registration Records

Civil registers of births, marriages, and deaths were introduced in October 1874. The Civil registry office is called the Standesamt. Before this time, the Lutheran and Catholic churches records (1815-1874) or special Dissidenten-Register (1847-1874) served as official registers, and a duplicate copy was deposited at the local court (Amtsgericht). Most Standesamt (Polish: Urzed Stanu Cywilnego) records remained in the old offices and were taken over by the Polish authorities in the areas annexed by Poland in 1945. They are listed in the Gazetteer of Polish People's Republic Localities. The full title is SPIS MIEJSCOWOSCI POLSKIEJ RZECZYPOSPOLITEJ LUDOWEJ, published in Warsaw 1968, and on LDS microfilm #844,922. Standesamt records over 100 years old are archived in Polish State Archives (see Polish Archives below).

Other Records

Census

Census records for Silesia can be found under the title of 'Statistischen Jahrbücher für Preußen in the 'Geheimes Staatsarchiv Preußischen Kulturbesitzes'. Records before 1903 are listed under the title 'Statistisches Handbuch für den Preußischen Staat'.

Land

The whereabouts of the records for the Landgerichte and Amtsgerichte is unknown. Of special interest are the land deed records (Grund- und Hypotheken-Acta) with no published survey known to date. Since Silesia enjoyed a special status in the Prussian monarchy, all state records remained in the province with no records transfered to the Berlin archives.

In addition to the deed and mortgage records deposited at the courts (Amtsgerichte) a prime and practically unknown source is the Generalkommission für Schlesien zu Breslau with records deposited at the state archives in Wroclaw and comprising 42,400 volumes for the years 1769, 1816-1928.

Gazetteers and Maps

Gazetteers

  • Knie, J.G.: Alphabetisch-statistisch-topographische Übersicht der Dörfer, Flecken, Städte und anderen Orte der Königlich Preußschen Provinz Schlesien, 2. Auflage, Breslau 1845
  • Triest, F.: Topographisches Handbuch von Oberschlesien, 2 Bände, Breslau 1864; Neudruck Sigmaringen 1984
  • Historisches Ortsverzeichnis für ehemals zu Deutschland gehörige Gebiete (1914-1945), Bände, Band 1 Oberschlesien, Band 2 Niederschlesien, bearbeitet und herausgegben vom Institut für Angewandte Geodäsie, Frankfurt/Main 1994/95

Atlases and Maps

There is LDS microfilm #068814 available of Karte des Deutschen Reiches, scale 1:100000, 1km = 1cm which may be borrowed via the Family History Centers. It covers Germany for 1914-1917.

Topographical Maps (Messtischblaetter 1:25000) may also be purchased from (request their map catalog for Schlesien)

Institut für Angewandte Geodaesie
Stauffenbergstr.13
10785 Berlin, GERMANY
http://www.geodatenzentrum.de

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