Radius search

At some point, every genealogist reaches a point where the church records come to an end, whether due to losses during the Thirty Years’ War (1618 to 1648) or the destruction caused by the First (1914-1918) or Second World War (1939-1945). Through my research in Posen, I’ve managed to trace back in some places to the 18th century, while in others, I could only reach the middle of the previous century. However, the option of simply giving up is not on the table for me – there is always something to discover, even if it’s the smallest puzzle piece!

But how do I proceed? Of course, I search the state archives for land records, personnel files, and similar sources. Another important albeit labor-intensive approach is the radius search. In this method, I search within a self-defined radius around the location of the family I’m seeking, collecting all available data on individuals with the same surname. It’s possible that a cousin or uncle may have moved to a more distant area, and this information could provide the crucial clue to link two families together. This, in turn, can lead to new connections and avenues for research that can ultimately lead to further successes.

For my Hertzke family, I have examined church records, either in full or partially. These include the parishes of Weißensee, Ober Görzig, Kurzig, Schweinert, Zirke, Prittisch, and Pieske. During this search, I encountered what felt like hundreds of individuals with the same name, but this has allowed me to add a few more ancestors to what I had previously thought was a completed family tree.

Results and theses

So that my work is not only with me on the computer, but others can also use it, I have my compilations here for download as PDF of the various surnames. Please note that they are all in German.

Hertzke, Hertel, Münzer
Schneider, Nischalke, Schulz
Pöhlchen, Jäschke, Knittel
Baudoch, Preuß, Stürmer

And lastly, a few theories I drew from the perimeter search in a brief overview to show how I went about it:

1st case
Eva Rosine Schulz *approx. 1800, married Johann Gottfried Hohmann, †1864 Vorwerk Weißensee
Parents: unknown, death entry says: father was Hohm (farm manager) in Grunzig

Problem: Parents?

– All Schulz searched from surrounding towns
– found: Paul Schulz, *ca. 1756, †1832 Ober Görzig, been Hohm in Grunzig
– directly after his death a younger Paul Schulz, who was a coachman before, becomes Hohm in Grunzig
– I have not found any other Schulz who were Hohm in Grunzig
– one sister could be Maria Elisabeth Schulz * ca. 1799, but she is described as the youngest daughter at her marriage (years are always very misestimated, maybe Eva Rosina is the older sister after all)

Thesis: Paul Schulz is the “first” Hohm in Grunzig and the father of Eva Rosina, after his death he is possibly replaced as Hohm by his son Paul.

Probability in my opinion: 90%.

2nd case
Christiane Härtel, *approx. 1770-1773, married Gottfried Stürmer, †1804 Reinzig Hauland
Parents: Unknown

Problem: Parents?

– all Härtel from Politzig searched
– Identified a single family that could fit the birth period 1770-1773:
Christian Härtel & Maria Gebauer with the children.
Dorothea Elisabeth (1766-1831)
Maria Elisabeth (1768-1839)
Christina (born circa 1770-1773)
Anna Maria (1773-?)
Gottfried (1775-?)
Johann Christian (1778-1833)
– for Anna Maria I could not find a death or marriage record
– Christina appears only once as godmother of the child of her sister Maria Elisabeth
– but the death entry 1824 of the possible mother, Maria Härtel née Gebauer, with the addition: “because. Christian Härtel, owner Reinzig Hauland wife, surviving children Dorothea Elisabeth Dach, Maria Elisabeth Lode, Christian Härtel, grandchildren: Gotthilf & Gottfried Stürmer”.
– Daughter Christina aka Christiane is no longer alive, therefore not listed, but was a married Stürmer and leaves two children Johann Gotthilf and Johann Gottfried

Thesis: Christiane Härtel was baptized as Christina, but called Christiane all her life.

Probability in my opinion: 75%.

3rd case
Gottfried Schneider *ca. 1769 (death entry) – 1778 (marriage entry), †1848 Schierzig
Parents: father was Friedrich Schneider (ca. 1734-1813), mother unknown

Problem: Mother?

– All Schneider from Schierzig searched in KB Bauchwitz and Tirschtiegel.
– found: Elisabeth Dobernack, *ca. 1746, wife of Friedrich Schneider, †22.1.1812 Schierzig.
– Friedrichs children about marriage and death entries
KB Bauchwitz: Maria Elisabeth (ca. 1773-1807), Dorothea Elisabeth (ca. 1777-1853) and Gottfried (ca. 1769/1778-1848)
KB Tirschtiegel: Christian (1778-1782), Johann Christoph (1781-?), Martin (1785-?), Johann Siegmund (1798-?)
– KB Bauchwitz starts too late for the baptism entry of Gottfried
– mother is mentioned for the first time only with the last child Johann Siegmund
– possibly Elisabeth Dobernack is not the mother of Gottfried, but the stepmother (age difference to the husband 12 years)
– no death or marriage of a first wife in Bauchwitz from 1708, no marriage or death of a wife in Tirschtiegel between 1775-1794

Thesis: Elisabeth Dobernack is the biological mother of all children and the husband had no first wife.

Probability in my opinion: 65

4th case
Anna Dorothea Knittel*ca. 1773-1775, married Christian Pöhlchen, †1847 Dürrlettel
Parents: father was Christian Philipp Knittel, mother unknown

Problem: Mother?

– All Knittels from Dürrlettel searched for.
– found: Anna Rosina Grielich, †before 1791 Dürrlettel.
– Christian Philipp’s children on marriage and death entries
Anna Dorothea (ca. 1773/1775-1847), Anna Rosina (1783-1858), Theresia (1788-?)
– KB Dürrlettel starts too late for the baptism entry of Anna Dorothea
– Mother is mentioned for the first time only with the last child Theresia
– 1791 the widowed Christian Knittel marries a 2nd time
– possibly Anna Rosina Grielich is not the mother of Gottfried, but the stepmother
– no marriage of Christian Knittel between 1776-1791

Thesis: Anna Rosina Grielich is the biological mother of the three daughters.

Probability in my opinion: 60%