Mecklenburg-Schwerin was a duchy formed in 1701 through a division of the Duchy of Mecklenburg. In 1815, it became a grand duchy. The area is now part of the northeastern German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
By a decree dated June 18th, 1819, the first general census of the population of the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin was conducted in August of the same year. The first census of this region to have survived extensively, it was conducted by the German Confederation in order to accurately calculate the military quotas of its individual territories.
The 1819 census included everyone in Mecklenburg-Schwerin “who was living on the day of the census, as young or as old as they may be, of every gender, religion, occupation, or status.”
Unlike later censuses, the 1819 census provides each person’s place of birth, land ownership information, and the length of residence. These details make the census of 1819 particularly interesting for the family history researcher. A further difference from later censuses is the list format, rather than documentation on separate enumeration forms. By decree, the local authorities recorded the inhabitants using a consistent form.
The census lists include the following information about each resident:
- Entry number
- Birth date
- Name of parish in which the birthplace belongs
- Relationship to head of household (usually given)
- Whether owned land
- How many years the person lived in the present place of residence
- Marital status
Since the inhabitants are recorded in a single list, it may be not always be clear where one household ends and the next begins. The heads of household are not always clearly identified. However, in many cases you can recognize the head of household by the land ownership information. For those who did not own land, the head of house may only be assumed by the analyzing the sequence of the persons listed.
In some cases, the date of birth is given in terms of religious holidays in a given year, for example, “Pfingsten 1790” (Pentecost 1790). Reference aids may need to be consulted to interpret such dates. The dates of birth were supposed to have been verified in 1819 using the original church books. However, this did not happen consistently.
The census is organized, according to the administrative structure at that time, into various districts: Ritterämter, Domanialämter, Klosterämter, Rostocker Distrikt and Distrikt Wismar, as well as cities (Städte). Within the districts and cities, the lists are organized alphabetically by town or city section.
According to the census, the population of the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin in 1819 was approximately 388,000 persons.
How to Use this Database:
This database can be searched in two ways. The first is to search by an individual’s name and/or some of the previously mentioned fields (such as gender, birth date, and birthplace) using the search template above. The second is to browse the census by narrowing selecting a particular district and then the town in which an individual resided.
Why Use Censuses?
The 1819 Mecklenburg-Schwerin Census provides a wealth of information about individuals. Censuses are useful for locating people in a particular place and time. They can be used to form family groups and may also provide enough information to lead you to other records. For example, this census provides you with the individual’s religion, as well as birth date and parish. This will help you to know when and where to look for church records. Likewise, depending on the person’s occupation and/or whether they owned land, you may be able to do further research in occupational and land records.