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Once you find the name of your German ancestor’s hometown, you’ll want to pinpoint the location so you can start researching church and other historical records in the right city or village. The Kartenmeister website helps you locate more than 71,000 places in what was once eastern Prussia (this includes areas that are now Poland and Russia). Follow our example to get started with Kartenmeister:
1. Go to the Kartenmeister home page.
2. Scroll to the bottom of the page to find the search boxes
Enter a family name or a German or Polish city, county or province in the appropriate field. We’ll type Niederung in the box for German City Name/Ortsname. Hit Submit.
3. View your search results.
Kartenmeister returns three results for Niederung, all in the Kreis (county) of Schlochau.
4. Click on a result to bring up a grid with information about the town.
The first Niederung’s Polish/Russian name is Zdrojki and it was in the German province Westpreussen. Today, it’s in the province of Pomorskie (the Polish voivodeship of Pomerania). The Catholic and Lutheran parishes were in Prechlau. Clicking the map link shows you where the town is (or was) located.
For more details on Kartenmeister and the information it provides, go to the home page and click the link for English. Under Border Changes, you’ll find an overview of how German borders changed after the Treaty of Versailles ending World War I.
From the March/April 2016 Family Tree Magazine