Geerhrter liste,

I was wondering whether there is any archival documentation anyone has come across concerning the Ostsiedlung.
People were contracted to work land at destination, so they must have been obliged to sign an agreement or put out their name(s) on a list. Likely a monastery may have done some administering of groups of people prepping them for migration. Some sort or any archival record with regards to the Ostsiedlung. There may not be an answer to this question given the early timeframe, but still. Anybody seen or encountered something to the effect?


Hello Martijn,

if you are referring to the German Ostsiedlung in the 12th to the 14th century, it is very unlikely that you will find documents of that kind. I am not sure if I have ever seen any document at all that would give information that would allow to trace a family back to a place of orgin. There may have been documents in some cases, but it is a long, long time back. Much time for less important documents to get destroyed. However, more important is that alphabetization was not developed very far in these times. Even among upper class people far more than 50 % were not able to read and write (I once read that in the 10th century only about one third of the members of the Domkapitel of Minden were able to write). I think that much of the documentation that we would expect was never written down.
For many regions there is a good knowledge on the question from which general area the settlers originated. This is usually based on research about the dialects and the surnames, also the style of houses that were built. There was a strong interest is these topics around 1880-1900 - you can find maps about details of the dialects for almost any place where German was spoken (in Europe). However, this would not really help to trace back any individuals as there is usually no sufficient documentation about individuals in the place of origin as well as in the place where the people settled.
What exactly is what you are trying to find out?
I hope this was a little help.
Uta (Härtling)