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HistoryGeek
HistoryGeek, Internet Researcher
Category: Genealogy
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Experience:  I have a BA in History and a love of all things Genealogy.
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My father told me his ancestors(father) came from Neudamm before

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My father told me his ancestors(father) came from Neudamm before emigrating to Australia about the turn of the century. How can I trace this furtherGary XXXXXXXXX
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Genealogy
Expert:  HistoryGeek replied 1 year ago.
Hello:

Let me look into this for you and get back to you tomorrow (it's late Monday night here in California). If I find I need further info, I'll get back to you again.

Peace,
Kari
Expert:  HistoryGeek replied 1 year ago.
Hello:

So I hope that what I've been able to find is helpful to you.

First, Neudamm is now called Debno and is a part of Poland. Neudamm was a part of Western Prussia, then a part of the German state as a part of Osterbrandenburg, also called Neumark during the beginning of the 20th century. You might also need to know that it was part of the county Konigsberg Neumark (Konigsberg Nm.).

At the end of WWII, the town of Neudamm, indeed the who region of Neumark, was occupied by the Soviet Army. The German inhabitants of the region were forcibly ejected from their land, as the Soviet Union restructured the boundaries of Poland. From the history I'm reading, this area seemed to take the brunt of the Russian anger in terms of the amount of destruction and looting that happened.

All of this is important to know because as a part of the destruction were public records in that region. The Prussian state, then the German state, had instituted civil registrations in 1874, replacing the mandatory church documentation of vital events. So, in the region of Neumark, most of the original vital records after that date are not available. In some areas, church records from before 1874 were also destroyed. I don't know if this was the case for Neudamm.

This does not mean that finding your family will be impossible, necessarily, it just means that it may be more difficult. In searching for info and resources for you, I found a few really promising websites that I hope will point you in the right direction. I will list these at the end of this answer.

But first, you will want to sit down and try to remember everything your father may have told you about his father. If you have cousins, you may wish to contact them to see if they have additional info. Look for your grandfather's vital records in Perth to see if there is any info about his parents or birth place. I don't know if there was any naturalization process in Australia, but if there was that might also be helpful. If you can find an obituary/death notice or try to contact the mortuary that handled his remains to see if there was any information that are in those resources.

Basically, you want to have as much information about your grandfather and his family that will help you in searching, especially if you are not able to have access to his birth record. I think I did find him in a passenger list in 1900, and unfortunately it did not have much info about where he originated. It was also a ship out of Bremen, and the Bremen records where destroyed in the 1920s by a clerk who was cleaning out the records storage.

So what did I find...there is a website called Familienforschung en der Neumark (Family Research in Neumark) that is sort of an online share site for sources of records and transcriptions by family historians in Germany who specialize in this area. I was able to search the database of info already available and it appears that someone had transcribed a town directory from about a generation before your grandfather was born. In that directory for Neudamm, there is a person with the surname Buchholz living there and working as a school teacher. No first name is given. But at least we have proof that there was a Buchholz living in the town around the time your great-grandfather would have been born/growing up. The website address is http://neumark.genealogy.net/ . It is in German, but I found the page translate option in my browser was sufficient to make the site navigable.

I also found the blog of a researcher in Germany which featured at least 3 different vignettes about people who emigrated from Neumark. I don't know what services they provide or what they cost, but at least you can read about some of the work that he's done, and his site is all in English, so that's an advantage to him. His blog is here: http://www.rootseekers.com/blog/

If you would like to do some research on your own, rather than hiring a researcher in Germany or Poland (which may be costly, but also may yield the best results), you will want to check out the resources of the Family History Centers in your area. Doing a search for materials in the area of Neumark that you are looking for came up with these results: https://familysearch.org/search/catalog/results#count=20&query=%2Bplace%3A%22Germany,%20Preu%C3%9Fen,%20Brandenburg,%20K%C3%B6nigsberg%20(Neumark)%22&subjectsOpen=499415-50,570402-5,553118-50,663773-50

Any films you find on the familysearch.org site can be ordered and sent to your local Family History Center for viewing. That website also can be searched for any transcribed records or genealogies that have been submitted to them. Their collections are extensive and the search function online is free.

Buchholz is a fairly common name and unfortunately it is not possible with the info you have provided to narrow down a sibling of your grandfather's that emigrated to North America. But hopefully some of my suggested resources will help you find more.

If you have further questions about any of the information I've provided, please feel free to ask.

Peace,
Kari
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi Kari


I was aware of the Debno connection but I have just become aware of another Neudamm in Sachsen-Anhault Germany . My grandmothers ancestors came from Paplitz Jerichowerland in the same Sachen-Anhault region.and I was wondering if this was just a coincidence. My grand mother emigrated to Eudunda in South Australia but married my Grandfather in Perth Western Australia.


 


Thanks for your help Do you have any further info that would help with the Sachen-Anhault side?


 


Cheers


 


Gary

Expert:  HistoryGeek replied 1 year ago.
I'll take a look again and get back to you.

Peace,
Kari
Expert:  HistoryGeek replied 1 year ago.
Hello:

I haven't had much luck finding records for the Neudamm in Sachsen-Anhalt. So I looked it up on Google maps using the satellite view and it's basically just a collection of farms. Not that that means he couldn't have lived there. It appears to be just southeast of Magdeburg. It doesn't look like there were a lot of name changes for the area which makes things a little more straight forward. The small town close to it is called Neuwegersleben and they look large enough to perhaps have had a parish...so you would want to look for records referencing that place on familysearch.org.

Also, this website appears to have some good sites listed under the Saxony-Anhalt heading (near the bottom of the page): http://www.ggsmn.org/Regional%20Pages/Saxony.htm

There is a listserv group for Saxony-Anhalt...the page to sign up loads in Germany, but in the upper right hand of the page there is a drop-down box that lets you choose English. The list itself is bilingual. The folks on that list will likely be the best to tell you where in the area records are kept and if there are any significant issues with accessing them. Here is the link: http://list.genealogy.net/mm/listinfo/sachsen-anhalt-l

I didn't come across any big explanations or comments immediately that suggests research in that area was compromised by the war, but it's safe to say that most of Europe that saw bombing would have lost some records (Germany most of all). I hope that the info I've provided helps.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to let me know.

Peace,
Kari
HistoryGeek, Internet Researcher
Category: Genealogy
Satisfied Customers: 260
Experience: I have a BA in History and a love of all things Genealogy.
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