The registration card was prepared for each family (and each single person) living in Poznań permanently or temporarily. This means that even people living in Poznań for a short period of time were obliged to attend the office and register. Until 1918, the file was written by a German official who did not necessarily speak Polish. This should be taken into account and all data should be treated with some caution. The registration cards were not original documents (such as birth, marriage or death records), so the record of surnames, dates and places of birth or marriage could sometimes be significantly different from the relevant data. The officer who wrote down the information probably took as the true the data provided by the residents, not always having an opportunity to verify them.
Clarification and translation
Each card bears a family name at the top. Next to it, you will usually find the number of the card in the box, written in a pencil by the archivists. The forenames of the parents (and the maiden name of the mother) are sometime entered below, although they are not always to be found.
The first person to appear on the card is always the head of the family. In the other rows, if they lived together: wife (Frau) and children (Tochter - daughter; Sohn - son) were registered. Ordn. No. contains the ordinal number of person. Sometimes a cross on the left side of the number indicates that a family member has already died.
The column Familien und Vornamen shall contain the surname and first name (or, if the surname of the successive persons is the same as that of the heads of household, only the first name then). The date of the wedding or death was sometimes indicated under the names (e.g. Am 1.1.99 gestorben / verstorben), and in the case of conscripts, the date of their departure from the army (zu Militär) was also indicated. An appropriate note was also made of the fact that the children were moved out from parents by giving the date and place.
The third column, Stand, contains the profession, social status (occasionally) or relationship to the head of the family (Frau, Tochter, Sohn – wife, daughter or son).
The Geburtstag/-Monat/Jahr columns contain the date of birth. Years were usually written in the last two digits. In many cases, the recorded dates may differ from the actual dates. Residents, especially those from outside Poznań, either did not remember the date of their birth or deliberately misled officials. This should be borne in mind and the data should not be accepted uncritically, but confirmed in the relevant birth certificates.
The Geburtsort field contains the place of birth and the county. You will find country as well in the case of foreign countries, which were, for example, the Russian or Austro-hungarian partitions. It should be remembered that Poznań was less than 70 km far from the border with Russia. In case of a village, it may happen that a person was born in a different parish, and the place of birth was the one in which they were growing up. In any case, you should try to find the original birth record and thus verify the data.
The Persönliche Verhältnisse field contains additional remarks and notes, while the Wohnung table shows the dates and places of residence. Usually the list opens the date of arrival in Poznan and later the following addresses are given. New residents usually stayed with family or friends, and when they established a family or their finances allowed to do so, they rented their own apartments. There are several websites with German street names on the Internet, it is worth mentioning the census from Poznanczyk.com or the study "Names of streets in Poznań" by Zygmunt Zaleski from 1926, where you can find appropriate translations.
The reading of the handwritten German script will be facilitated by Liliana Molenda's Table of Old German Letters or the study "Old occupations and statuses. A German-Polish glossary with examples of a handwritten entry from the records of Prussian civil-status offices in Wielkopolska (1874-1918)" by the same author (a book available on the website).