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Searching for their heritage

Molly Shore

When the men, women and children of the former German province of

Pomerania migrated to this country in the 1800s and early 1900s for

economic reasons or religious freedom, along with their material


possessions, they brought their culture’s history.

Today, descendants can trace their ancestors’ heritage through

“Die Pommerschen Leute,” a national newsletter published by the

Immigrant Genealogical Society in Burbank. The newsletter’s name


translates to “The Pomeranian People.”

Newsletter editor Gwen Christensen is not certain how many local

people are of this ancestry, but said that at the society’s

Pomeranian group quarterly meetings, 30 to 40 people from Southern

California attend.

“We’ve had a lot of success stories of people who found family

they didn’t know about,” Christensen said.

Lompoc resident Linda Pauling, 63, received several old German


documents regarding her husband’s family after a woman in Kansas

bought them at a flea market.

“Since these documents were all in German, she wasn’t sure what

she had, but she could read the names,” Pauling said. The woman

entered the names on the Internet and was led to the newsletter,

which had the lineage Pauling had posted.

One of the documents was a confirmation certificate from an Iowa

church for her husband’s great-uncle, Pauling said.


The newsletter was created in 1982 by Myron Gruenwald of Oshkosh,

Wis., who was its editor until his death in 1998. After Gruenwald

died, it seemed the newsletter would end as well, Christensen said.

But in 2000, the society began publishing the quarterly periodical

with Christensen as its editor. Later Connie Wills became editor of

the newsletter section titled, “Die Vorfahren,” (“The Travelers

Before”) which traces family lineage.

“People send in their family information,” Wills said. “There are

two rules: They’ve got to be a subscriber for us to publish it, and

they have to show Pomeranian ancestry. People have usually done

enough research so they know where their ancestors come from. We

don’t demand documentary proof.”

For more information on “Die Pommerschen Leute,” contact Betty

Baumann, The Immigrant Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 7369, Burbank,

CA 91510-7369, or call 848-3122.