The Rosenort Mennonite Church in Prussia was originally part of the Gross Werder congregation which in 1735 was divided into four quarters: Orloff (Ladekopp), Bärwalde (Fürstenwerder), Tiegenhagen, and Rosenort.(1) All of these quarters were served by one bishop (Ältester) who administered one church record of baptisms.
Since all church records for Rosenort prior to 1858 were either lost or destroyed, the Taufbuch of the Gross Werder Church (1782 – 1840) provides the only information for Rosenort members prior to 1800. After 1800, the Lutheran records of Elbing-St. Annen, Fürstenau, Gross Mausdorf, Jungfer, Neuteich, Zeyer, Marienau, and Tannsee provide the only source until 1858 when the new Rosenort Kirchenbuch begins.(2,3)
The records of dissenters (Dissidenten-Register) of the Elbing court (Amtsgericht Elbing) may provide an independent source of vital statistics for 1847-1874 which is believed to be deposited in the Polish archives of Gdansk (Danzig) among the records of the Oberlandesgericht Marienwerder.(4)
The following excerpts of the Rosenort baptisms were taken from a microfilm secured from Gdansk State Archives in Poland which contains the “Verzeichnis der Getauften Mennoniten , 1782-1840, nebst einem Anhang der Lehrer und Dienerwahl, 1746-1908, von Dirk Tiessen, Petershagen 1782 angefangen”.
It contains the baptisms of the four churches of:
Ladekopp, 1782-1802, 1804, 1814-1832
Rosenort, 1782-1795, 1814-1840
Bärwalde, 1782-1795, 1797, 1799-1801, 1803, 1805, 1834
Bishop Dirck Tiessen of Petershagen was born on September 24, 1727, and died in Petershagen on June 11, 1806. He was elected bishop (Ältester) in 1767. On April 18, 1752, he married his first wife, Maria Harder, widow of Wilhelm Thun, who was forty years old. After her death on March 23, 1771, he remarried in July 1771 to Margaretha Neyfelt, widow of Harm Wiens. She died on September 8, 1801.
In 1781, Dirck Tiessen lost all of his buildings by fire caused by wet hay. This cost him all of his writings and church books. In 1782, he began the Taufbuch of the Grosswerder church and the Kirchenbuch of Tiegenhagen.(5)
(1) See also the Mennonite Encyclopedia, “Rosenort, West Prussia”.
(2) For genealogical sources on Prussian Mennonites, see also Mennonitsche geschichtsblätter 1981 and Mennonite Quarterly Review Oct. 1981.
(3) For Praestations-Tabellen and Muhlen-Konsignationen prior to 1806, see Genealogical Guide to German Ancestors from East Germany and Eastern Europe, 1984, page 27. They are deposited at the Merseburg Archives and the Gdansk Archives (Domänenrentamt Elbing). Land records (Grundakten), mortgage records (Hypotheken-Scheine), Abloesungen, testaments, probates, notary records of Amtsgericht Elbing are believed to be in the Gdansk Archives.
(4) The Amtsgericht administered the originals and was asked to submit a duplicate copy to the Oberlandsgericht (Higher court).
(5) Note that the alphabetical order of baptized is by first name, as was the common practice at that time. fathers are listed first, even when they are deceased where you will see the word “surviving”or “surv.”. The original record uses ng.= nachgelassene(r).
The church records that Dirck Tiessen originally possessed, and that were destroyed in 1781, were his own records of baptisms (which were traditionally performed by the Ältester), the pre-1781 Tiegenhagen records, and possibly earlier records kept by previous bishops. Unfortunately we will never know the details since these records are lost to us forever! The church records for the Rosenort congregation also have an unfortunate history. When the Prussians took possession of the region known as West Prussia in 1772 the Mennonites were required by law to keep their own vital statistics (births, marriages and deaths). Rosenort began their register on Nov. 1, 1772. These records were destroyed in a fire in 1809 (one source says 1812). Of the records kept between this time and 1840 only one church book was in existence in 1938. One source says that this covered 1810-36, another has 1820-36. Other records were destroyed in a flood in 1855. Fairly complete records are available from 1858-1942. Adalbert Goertz and I have made a concerted effort to extract as much information on the Rosenort Mennonites as possible for the pre-1820 period from available Lutheran and Catholic records. Much of what we have done is available on the MMHS web site.
The record of baptisms performed for the Gross Werder Gemeinde and the available Rosenort church records are available on microfilm from the Mormon collection (LDS #555794 and #491566, respectively) and can be ordered through any local LDS Family History Centre.
The names in the Excel file I created are standardized to some degree in order to take advantage of some of the features of Excel. The abbreviations I have used are: s = son, d = daughter, ss = surviving son and sd = surviving daughter.
Baptisms in Rosenort, West Prussia: 1782-1795, in original order.
Baptisms in Rosenort, West Prussia: 1782-1795, organized by family name.
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