September 2003

In March 2002, less than a year after returning from our 2001 research trip to the State Archive in Szczecin Poland, I learned from fellow members of the Pommern-L list that the Regenwalde church register for the years 1833 to 1848 did indeed exist. In fact, this couple told me they had personally seen it in the Archive in August of 2000. With this astounding new information, I could hardly wait to return to Szczecin to continue my search for the birth record of my great grandfather, Julius Maass.

In September 2003, I returned to the Archive with my brother, Duane, and we learned that there were two Regenwalde registers covering the period between 1833 and 1848. Both were for the Evangelische Church, but one recorded events for residents of the city proper; the other recorded events between 1836 and 1846 for residents of surrounding villages who attended the Regenwalde Church. We spent three days carefully examining the two new registers as well as re-examining the Regenwalde church registers covering the periods of 1824-1832 and 1849-1864. The Maass surname appears often from 1824 onward but the earliest ancestor we could document was Christian Maass, our 3rd great grandfather who probably was born between the years 1780 and 1785. He was listed as the father of David Maass whose intended marriage to Friedrike Prahl of Woldenburg, Kr. Regenwalde was proclaimed on the third Sunday of Lent in 1835. It was common practice to proclaim one’s intent to marry three times in the church before the wedding. Verbatim transcriptions and English translations of this marriage announcement and other church entries follow:

1835 Proclamation in Regenwalde  

Dom.Oculi Aufgeboten zum 3ten Mal der Bräutigam, der Kleidermacher David Maass in Ornshagen, des dortigen Fabrikarbeiters Christian Maass ehelich 2ter Sohn, mit seiner Braut der Jungfer Friederike Sophie Henriette Prahl im Dienste in Regenwalde, des verstorbenen Schäfers Prahl in Woldenburg ehelich einzigen Tochter.

1835 Proclamation in Regenwalde

Dom Oculi [Lat. 3rd Sunday of Lent Proclaimed for the third time. The bridegroom, David Maass, the clothes maker in Ornshagen, the 25-year-old second marital son of local factory worker Christian Maass, with his bride Miss Friedrike Sophie Henriette Prahl, employed in Regenwalde, the marital only daughter of the deceased shepherd Prahl in Woldenburg.  

Besides learning our 3rd great grandfather’s name, we learned that the Prahl family lived in Woldenburg. After returning home, I obtained a microfilm of the Woldenburg Church register from the Family History Library (Film # 193835) and found the following record of their 1835 marriage in her church in Woldenburg.

 David & Friederike Maass marriage

1835 marriage in Woldenburg


David Maass Schneidergesell in Ornshagen, der dortigen Fabrikarbeiter Christian Maas ehelich zweiten Sohn von 25 Jahre, würde von dir Jungfer Friderike Louise Henriette Prahl, ___ in Woldenburg verstorbenen Schäfers Christian Prahl einzigen ehelich Tochter von 24 Jahre __ dritten April in Woldenburg getraut.

1835 marriage in Woldenburg


David Maass, tailor's helper in Ornshagen, the 25-year-old second marital son of the local factory worker Christian Maass, was married on April 3 in Woldenburg to Miss Friederike Louise Henriette Prahl, the 24-year-old only marital daughter of the deceased shepherd, Christian Prahl.

We weren’t able to confirm David’s mother’s name but we learned that David (b. ca. 1810) had at least three brothers and two sisters. The record above indicates that David was the second son. No record of his older brother was found but the two younger brothers were Karl Heinrich (b. July 25, 1814) and Franz Ludwig Ferdinand (b. August 02, 1816). His two sisters were Ernestine (b. ca. 1811) and Johanna Friedrike Karoline (b. ca. 1820). Information about these siblings was obtained from their marriage records. 

In all likelihood, though not confirmed, David also had a third sister named Wilhelmine Friedrike (b. ca. 1807). Wilhelmine at age 19 married Wilhelm Gottlieb Spohnholz from Döbel bei Polzin in 1826. At the time she was living in Elvershagen, a village about 6 or 7 miles east southeast of Regenwalde. The relationship is surmised because three Maass family members were sponsors for their daughter, Johanna Auguste Ernestine Sponholz, born November 12, 1848.  And, Wilhelmine (Maass) Sponholz was a sponsor for Julius' brother, Eduard, in 1853.

Ernestine, living in Ornshagen, married Johann Erdmann Christian Grewe (b. November 25, 1804) on January 15, 1836 in the Regenwalde Evangelische Church. She was 25 years old. I am unable to provide a transcribed and translated marriage record for Ernestine (like those shown below for Johanna, Karl and Franz) because we didn’t obtain a photocopy from the church register.

August and Johanna (Maass) Zech marriage

1838 Ornshagen marriage recorded in the Regenwalde Church register


der Hammerschmied in Ornshagen August Wilhelm Friedrich Zech, des in Torgelow verstorbenen Hammerschmied Johan Zech dritter ehel Sohn, wurde den vierten 4 May mit Jung. Johanna Friedrike Karoline Maass, des Einwohners in Ornshagen Christian Maass jüngster ehel Tochter getraut.  Spsus. n. 5 November 1815 . Spsa. n. 18 Jahre.

1838 Ornshagen marriage recorded in the Regenwalde Church register


The blacksmith in Ornshagen, August Wilhelm Friedrich Zech, the 3rd marital son of the deceased blacksmith Johan Zech from Torgelow, was married on May 4 to Miss Johanna Friedrike Karoline Maass, youngest marital daughter of Christian Maass, a resident of Ornshagen. The groom was born 5 November 1815. The bride was 18 years old.


Karl & Johanne Maass marriage

1838 Ornshagen marriage recorded in the Regenwalde Church register


der Stellmacher in Naugard Karl Heinrich Maass, des Einwohners in Ornshagen Christian Maass dritter ehel Sohn wurde den ein u. dreißigsten 31 August mit Frau Johanne Splinter separirte Herlen getraut. Spsus. n. 25. Juli 1814 Spsa. 30 J. alt. Prokl. Sch. d.d. Naugard 29 Aug. Scheidebrief d.d. Plathe 27.April 1835.

1838 Ornshagen marriage recorded in the Regenwalde Church register  

The wheelwright in Naugard, Karl Heinrich Maass, the 3rd marital son of Christian Maass living in Ornshagen, married Mrs. Johanne Splinter on the 31st of August. He was born on July 25, 1814and she was 30 years old. Marriage banns in Naugard were dated August 29. She was divorced from Herlen on April 27, 1835 in Plathe.

 [Spsus. n. is a Latin abbreviation for sponsus natus meaning fiancé born; Spsa. for fiancée. Prokl. Sch. is an abbreviation for Proklamations (Aufgebots) Schreiben. d.d. is an abbreviation for the Latin de dato meaning ‘on this date’]


Franz & Johanne Maass marriage

1840 Ornshagen marriage recorded in the Regenwalde Church register 


der Hammerschmied in Ornshagen Franz Ludwig Ferdinand Maass, des gewesenen Wirtschafters Christian Maaß jüngster ehel. Sohn wurde den siebenten 7 November getraut mit Jgf Ernestine Wilhelmine Johanne Christiane Bein, des Instmanns in Geiglitz Martin Bein ehel. Tochter. Spsus. n. 2 Augu. 1816 Spsa 29 Jahre.  

1840 Ornshagen marriage recorded in the Regenwalde Church register 


The blacksmith in Ornshagen, Franz Ludwig Ferdinand Maass, the youngest marital son of former manager, Christian Maass, was married on the 7th of November to Miss Ernestine Wilhelmine Johanne Christiane Bein, the marital daughter of Martin Bein, the hired man in Geiglitz. The groom was born August 2, 1816. The bride was 29 years old.

When completely translated, these marriage records provide a wealth of information about our Maass ancestors. Besides documenting their full names and the place and date of their marriage, they list birth dates or age, the order of birth, their occupations and where they lived, as well as the name, occupation and residence of their father. The name Bein also appears as Bain in the church register.

Much to our delight, the 1836-1846 Regenwalde Church register recorded the birth and baptism of Julius and one brother. Julius was born December 05, 1846 and christened Julius Wilhelm Albert. His brother, August, was born July 09, 1844 and christened Johann August David.  The transcribed and translated records of their birth follows below:

 August Maass birth record

1844 Ackerhof birth recorded in the Regenwalde Church register


Johann August David Maass des Schneiders David Maaß u. der Friederike Luise Henriette Prahl ehel. Sohn, ist geboren den neunten 9. Juli Abds. 10 Uhr u. getft. den 28. Juli. Pathen 1. Johann David Jandra zu Friederikenwalde  2. August Gottl. Heller, Schneidergesell  3. Johanna Friedrike Sponholz aus Naugard.  

1844 Ackerhof birth recorded in the Regenwalde Church register


Johann August David Maass the marital son of the tailor David Maass and Friederike Luise Henriette Prahl was born the 9th of July at 10 O’clock in the evening and was baptized on July 28. Godparents were Johann David Jandra from Friederikenwalde, August Gottlieb Heller, a tailor’s helper and Johanna Friedrike Sponholz from Naugard.


 Julius Maass birth record

1846 Ornshagen birth recorded in the Regenwalde Church register


Julius Wilhelm Albert Maass des Schneiders David Maaß und der Friederike Prahl ehelicher Sohn, ist geboren den fünften 5 Dezember u. getft. den 20. Dezember. Pathen 1,Wilhelm Hackbart aus Friederickenwalde 2, Julius Maurer aus Regenwalde 3, Albertine Howe.  

1846 Ornshagen birth recorded in the Regenwalde Church register 

Julius Wilhelm Albert Maass the marital son of the tailor David Maass and Friederike Prahl was born on the 5th of December and baptized on December 20. Godparents were Wilhelm Hackbart from Friederickenwalde, Julius Maurer of Regenwalde, and Albertine Howe.

It is interesting that August (Johann August David) was born in Ackerhof. Since the baptism was recorded in the Regenwalde Church, this village must have been nearby but it doesn’t appear on any map. The name itself suggests nothing more than a farmstead and yet several other surnames were found at the same location, so it may have been a small rural hamlet. Apparently, David and Friederike lived elsewhere between 1835 and 1844 because no birth records of their four oldest children were recorded in the Regenwalde register.

Having verified that August was a brother of Julius, I now can include him, his wife and their children in the Maass family tree. He married Wilhelmine Louise Henriette Christian on September 21, 1871 and they had at least eight children, three boys and five girls.

-- Gene Maas

January 30, 2004


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