I’m always looking for that “new thing” that makes it all worthwhile exploring the wonderful world of German genealogy. Which, for this mostly monolingual American, can indeed make me feel at times like Indiana Jones! And today was one of those days. Come with me as I retrace my steps….
In my email inbox from before dawn this morning was this daily digest of my German mailing list for East Prussia: OW-Preussen-L Nachrichtensammlung, Band 147, Eintrag 78. The very first item caught my attention, partly because it contained a link to a webpage somewhere, and these are often interesting. Furthermore, I did not fully understand the subject line:
Subject: Re: [OWP] Bedeutung von Zahlen und Buchstaben in Prästationstabellen
and that raised my curiosity. What was that strange word, “Prästationstabellen”? It does not appear in either Ernest Thode’s German-English Genealogical Dictionary, or my cherished 1936 edition of Cassell’s New German and English Dictionary. And Google Translate said only that it meant “pre-station tables.” Which means what, exactly? I had no idea. And so I went to the link in the message to see where it would take me. And I found myself at:
1. GenWiki Portal:Pillkallen (for Kreis Pillkallen – Schloßberg)
This didn’t appear to be related, on the face of it, and so I went looking for that word. In the fourth section, pertaining to history & population, there it is — buried part way down the list of links — that strange word, “Prästationstabellen.” Clicking the second link takes us to a further page:
2. Hinweise zu den Prästationstabellen und Mühlenconsignationen, Erläuterungen von Prof. Erwin Spehr.
And near the top is this statement, first in German and then in “my” translation (using the above-named sources):
Prästationstabellen (PT) sind Listen, in denen die laufenden Abgaben (Prästationen) der besitzenden ländlichen Bevölkerung an das Domänenamt aufgeführt sind. Da diese Abgaben nur von Grundbesitzern erhoben wurden, sind in diesen Tabellen lediglich Bauern, Handwerker und Eigenkätner namentlich aufgeführt, nicht jedoch z.B. Landarbeiter. Auch wurden Bauern und besitzende Bürger der Städte sowie Bewohner und Bauern adliger und geistlicher Territorien nicht erfasst, weil diese dem Domänenamt gegenüber keine Verpflichtungen hatten.
Pre-station tables (PT) are lists in which the current taxes (pre-stations) of the propertied rural population are listed at the (state-owned) estate offices. Since these were levied only by landowners, only peasants, craftsmen, and cottagers with their own garden are mentioned in these tables. Farm workers, peasants and wealthy citizens of the cities as well as inhabitants and peasants of noble and spiritual territories were not included because they had no obligations to the estate office.
So there it is — a new type of German document of which I had been unaware. Placed in the IGS Library vertical files in the folder covering miscellaneous document types, it may perhaps smooth the way for a researcher seeking answers. Merry Christmas!!