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Home > Databases > Local heritage books > Kreise Arnswalde und Friedeberg (Neumark)

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Local family database Kreise Arnswalde und Friedeberg (Neumark)

As I began, some years ago, to research the history of my family I stepped into uncharted territory with my mother's ancestors. My mother Doris (born Hhnerfuss) was born in Braunsfelde, Kreis (county) Friedeberg in 1935, and her father Willie likewise was born there, although his father, Frederick, was from Mansfeld originally. It was not long before I discovered that most churchbooks from the Neumark area have been 'missing' since World War II, and very probably these were somehow destroyed and are hence irretrievable. For this reason research can only be based on secondary sources that originated before the war from original records. Since my mother's ancestors were mostly from the (pre-war) counties of Arnswalde and Friedeberg, I have worked very intensively with these counties.

If one considers that before the First World War there were still, in very many of these country parishes, original churchbooks which began around the end of the Thirty Years War (1648) and in some cases even before this time, one realizes that the situation for family researchers nowadays is very modest in comparison.

Probably the only possibility for reconstructing missing or destroyed church records is to collect, on a world wide scale, information from all birth, baptism, marriage or death certificates, transcriptions of records from churchbooks, family tree charts, published family histories, family information from an Ahnenpass (passports from the Nazi period which documented several generations) or similar records or documents. Other references might be found in literature. In short, we would be assembling all available information based on original records and making it available to the general public as soon as we are able.

I have begun doing this for the counties of Arnswalde and Friedeberg, since for these areas there are hardly any existing church books, unless some might be gathering dust in the many yards of unsorted records in German or Polish archives and would not be available anytime soon. Admittedly it will in no way be possible to reassemble all the information from these missing churchbooks, yet quite a bit should still be possible to find.

I hope that everyone who finds this page will look through any documents in his or her possession, then pass on any information that will supplement what I currently have. These should be fairly reliable facts, though, and not speculations. If certain branches of a family tree extend into neighboring counties or even into areas further away, these should be included for the sake of completeness.

At this point a heartfelt thank you to those who have already helped out in the collection of information!

Norbert Gschweng

Remarks about Sources:
Up to this point the following sources have been used (some are still under examination):
  • certain sources in my possession, or made available to me such as: family albums; pedigree charts; transcriptions of baptism, marriage or death registers of the churches and civil record offices; entries in family Bibles.
  • lists of church members, from the Ostdokumentation in the Federal Archive at Bayreuth.
  • the German Red Cross' lists of Missing Persons (during the 1945 Soviet occupation of the former Eastern territories)
  • family announcements (obituaries, etc) in newspapers
  • contributions to genealogical e-mail lists (Neumark-L, Greif-L, Pom-Gen)
  • online data banks such as,, etc.
  • previously published histories of families and places
  • genealogical books concerning middle-class families and also the nobility
  • personal papers of families, and other items of historical value
  • publications of 'The Society for the History of the Neumark'
  • lists of those present at gatherings of historical societies for the counties of the Neumark, a former eastern territory of Germany
  • newspapers, almanacs or other publications of those societies
  • directories of those living in those counties before WWII, in cities or villages, on farms or estates
  • information from gravestones in Poland, Germany and countries to which Germans emigrated

Translated by Christopher Wolter

:: More links
Pfeil Regional Neumark
Pfeil County Arnswalde Friedeberg
Pfeil Arnswalde Friedeberg in the Genealogical Place Register GOV
Pfeil Genealogical Literature Arnswalde Friedeberg
Pfeil Neumark Wikipedia
:: Contact
For further information concerning these data and, if you have additions, corrections or questions, please contact:
Norbert Gschweng