Mecklenburg-Schwerin was a duchy formed in 1701 through a division of the Duchy of Mecklenburg. In 1815, it became a grand duchy. In 1867-1868, it entered the North German Confederation and the German Customs Union. The area of the former Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg is now part of the northeastern German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
The German Customs Union conducted regular censuses. These statistical enumerations served primarily to determine the taxable population and the men liable for military service. These censuses used a standard template. The Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin participated for the first time in 1867.
Before this, two comprehensive censuses had already taken place. The first one, conducted in 1819, had been ordered by the German Confederation, the forerunner of the North German Confederation, to determine each Confederation territory’s exact military quota. Unlike the later censuses, the 1819 census listed real property, as well as birthplace and the length of residence. The second census, conducted in 1866, was prompted by the creation in 1863 of a customs union between Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Mecklenburg-Strelitz. The union needed to determine the import duties based on the size of the population. That census was very similar in form to the 1867 census described here.
This census was conducted on the night of the December 2 and 3, 1867. Authorized enumerators, went from house to house in their appointed areas, recording in a “household list” each person who was present at the time in the apartment or house. Household members who were not physically present at the time of the census were recorded in an addendum.
The following information was recorded about each person: first and last name, gender, year of birth, religious affiliation, marital status, occupation or social standing, citizenship, the reason why visitors were in the census area, and distinguishing physical characteristics.
These comprehensive household lists have been preserved, primarily from the rural communities, in the Main State Archive in Schwerin [Landeshauptarchiv Schwerin]. In the larger cities, it is another story. Here only so-called “control lists” have been preserved. In these lists, only the head of house is listed by name. The number of other household members is listed, but not their names. The census gives no further information about these individuals.
Based on the 1867 census, population of the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin was determined to be 560,668. Of those, 193,882 people lived in the cities.
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