View Full Version : German Place Names

07-11-2008, 11:28 PM
I have recieved a couple of death certificates from Australia that refer to some German places which I cannot find on Gooblemaps.
Could somebody please advise where these places are and if the spelling is correct.
Certificate written 1932
Born 1852 Kershkow, Germany
Married 1882 Kolkow, Germany

Certificate written 1943
Born 1859 Colkau, Germany
Married 1882 Colkau, Germany

07-11-2008, 11:43 PM
Kolkow is in Poland. Perhaps part of Germany until after WW2? Or a bad guess on the part of the person reporting the events?


08-11-2008, 2:08 AM
Poland has had a very chequered history, including periods when it did not exist as a recognised country at all, being submerged variously in the Russian, Prussian and Austrian Empires. In the 20th century it was recreated after the First World War, when its Western frontier was considerably further to the East than the present frontier, and, likewise, the Eastern frontier was considerably further to the East, incorporating a sizeable portion of what is now Ukraine.

In 1939, following the Nazi-Soviet Pact of August 1939, Germany invaded Poland on 1 September and the USSR on 17 September, dividing Poland between them. Germany effectively annexed the Western half, and after the invasion of the USSR on 22 June 1941, took control of the Eastern half as effectively a colony.

At the Yalta Conference in February 1945 the Big Three (Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Josef Stalin) agreed that Poland would be re-established, but shifted to the West, incorporating a large slice of former German territory and ceding former Polish territory in the East to Ukraine, then a republic of the Soviet Union. This was confirmed at Potsdam in July/August 1945 and put into effect. So much, very briefly in broad terms, for the background.

The names Kershkow and Kolkow are unknown to me, but are clearly Polish in derivation - the ending "ow" is the major clue, as in Cracow. My reasoned guess would be that these are versions of the name of a town historically Polish in origin but within Prussia's boundaries in 1852 - Germany did not formally exist as political entity until 1871 - and then in the German Reich in 1882.

By 1943 the town had been reincorporated in Germany, and the name further Germanified as Colkau. After 1945 it presumably reverted to Poland and its Polish name. Certainly, there is at present a place of that name in Poland, which I found very easily by simply typing Kolkow into Google, and up came a map!

History lesson over - on to Geography.

Good searching.


08-11-2008, 2:24 AM
Thankyou Max.
I suspected that the names had been mis-spelt. I have re-tried the names and get....
Kolkow => Kolki Poland
Colkau => nothing, however Kolkau => Kolkau, Seelitz, Germany (just below Berlin & West of Dresden. Also very close to the Polish border).
Kirschkau => Kirschkau Germany (not far from Kolkau).

Playing with the letters gives some interesting results.

So back to the geography lesson. Was Kolkau & Kirschkau in Polish territory in 1850-1880?

12-11-2008, 11:02 PM
As I briefly indicated in my earlier contribution, Poland did not exist as a state between 1795 and 1918, the territory being partitioned between Prussia (incorporated in the German Empire from 1871), Russia and Austria.

The two places Kershkow/Kirschkau and Kolkow/Colkau appear to have been in Prussia/Germany in the 19th century. Exactly where they are now is less easy to determine, if there seem to be more than one place with the same name.

Perhaps you should put what informatiion you have to the German Embassy, and see whether they refer you to the Polish Embassy.

Good luck

13-11-2008, 1:02 AM
..Perhaps you should put what informatiion you have to the German Embassy, and see whether they refer you to the Polish Embassy.

Good idea. Didn't think of that one.|bowdown|

14-11-2008, 9:55 AM
Good idea. Didn't think of that one.|bowdown|

Glad to have helped. Let's hope it leads you somewhere useful.

01-01-2009, 2:30 AM
Max...haven't gone to the consulate yet but did find this which backs up your theory (geography lesson). Place name locked in.:)
So does this mean if I give this form to the local church it can order the indexes?
Zivilstandsregister, 1874-1883
Kolkau (Westpreußen). Standesamt (Main Author)
Mikrofilme aufgenommen von Manuskripten in Archiwum Państwowe w Gdańsku.
Civil registration of births, marriages and deaths for Kolkau, Westpreußen, Germany; now Kołkowo (Wejherowo), Gdańsk, Poland.
Poland, Gdańsk, Kołkowo (Wejherowo) - Civil registration
Germany, Preußen, Westpreußen, Kolkau - Civil registration
Manuscript (On Film)
Salt Lake City, Utah : Gefilmt durch The Genealogical Society of Utah, 1985
auf 2 Mikrofilmrollen ; 35 mm.
Film Notes
Note - Location [Film]
Geburten, Tote 1874-1879 Geburten, Heiraten, Tote 1875-1879 - FHL INTL Film [ 1417769 Items 10-26 ]
Geburten, Heiraten, Tote 1880-1883 - FHL INTL Film [ 1417770 Items 1-12 ]

01-01-2009, 3:22 AM
And whats more http://www.progenealogists.com/germany/ select Prussia and I get the proper call area/district.

07-01-2009, 2:59 AM
What you have found is a Mormon site. As you may know, the Mormon Church sets great store by ancestor tracing, and devotes much energy to genealogy, which they are willing to share with others.

What the site seems to be saying is that Kolkau was formerly in West Prussia, Germany, but is now in Poland. The Mormon HQ, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, has a microfilm of births 1874-79 (not relevant to you), and marriages 1875-1883, which is relevant to you. I suggest that you pick up on the latter, and track the marriage down. It may be that the Mormons have also microfilmed earlier registers, and you could enquire about that. This may be easier than going through Poland and a potential language problem.

I hope this helps.


08-01-2009, 12:40 AM
Good Idea, thanks will try that path asap and update this thread with my progress.