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19th Century Censuses of Mecklenburg-Schwerin

Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. 1819 Census. Landeshauptarchiv Schwerin.

Following a decree of the German Confederation (an organization created in 1815 by the Congress of Vienna to organize the remaining states of the German nation) on 18 June 1819, the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg Friedrich Franz I of Mecklenburg ordered a census to be taken in the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin in August 1819. The purpose of the census was to determine the exact military contingent of each Confederation territory. The conscription rate of each of the 41 states was limited to 1.8% at highest.

Census enumerators were instructed to visit every household in order to list every person living in that household. The lists were due to be submitted by August 25th. However, taking the census took more time than assumed and the closing date was delayed to mid-November and then again to early December. The last survey questionnaires were handed as late as in February 1820.

The lists were bound in books and arranged under their enumeration district in accordance to the state's administrative structure: the Dominialamt (district of a domain or crownland, the revenue of which goes to the reigning sovereign), the Ritteramt (Knight District), Klosteramt (Monastery District), and towns. The place names, listed alphabetically, are on the top of each list, in some cases on every page.

Since the population was registered in lists, there are at times no clear demarcation lines between households.

The lists were to constitute a "comprehensive register of every person living on the day of the census, as young or as old as they may be, of every gender, trade, or religion". Thus uniform characteristics were used. These are:

(1) Running number (meaning the continual numbering of persons staying in the locality)

(2) Male or female sex: entered as either "männlich" (male) or "weiblich" (female) i.e. "m" or "w" respectively.

(3) Christian name and surname of all persons

(4) Year and day of birth: person's date of birth was listed often following the calendar of saints, but converted with ease using the Grotefend calendar

(5) Place of birth

(6) Church district of the birth locality

(7) Social status and trade, which includes social status, relation to the head of household, all occupations

(8) Land and estate holdings or property. For example, houses, dens, and farmland.

(9) Stayed in the locality since how long or for what period of time

(10) Single or married

(11) Religion

(12) General comments: other comments on the person (such as disabilities, state of health,
current whereabouts)