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
“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.