"Wo de Elwstrom geiht, / dörch dat Land sich dreiht, / Havel, Löcknitz, Stepnitz un de Doss, / wo so wunnerschön / Heid und Wischen blöhn / un up saftig Weid werd fett de Oss. / Ach, dat schöne Land / is mien Heimatland, / is mien leew, min herzleew Prignitzland."

The Prignitz is home to the poet Hermann Graebke, but also the region where our roots lay. At the beginning I assumed that our ancestors lived in the area around Meyenburg all the time, especially in a small village called Schmolde. Some of our ancestors can be traced back to the 17th century. Even today some people living in Schmolde are some way related to us.


During my research at the "Brandenburgisches Landeshauptarchiv" I got hold of a book written by Liselott Enders. In her book "The Prignitz" she describes with the help of ancient documents the history of this region. Among the documents there are some old minutes made by trials in Meyenburg. One of our ancestors who was some ancient kind of mayor in Meyenburg between 1684 and 1694 is mentioned in those minutes. There is written:


"… when Johann Gerand, mayor of Meyenburg, accused von Rohr and von Krüsicke, priors of the court, because of a charge of 20 Reichstalern (old german currency) and a running inquisition process against him, he wasn`t only declared not guilty and freed of charge, but also …“ pg. 712 (source: BLHA, Rep. 4A, minutes Nr. 209, fol. 34)


„… anno 1684 Johann Gerandt was taken into duty as mayor of Meyenburg by prior town council v. Rohr…“ pg. 783 (source: BLHA, Rep. 37, Meyenburg Nr. 61)


„prior town council accused by the council and the citizens because of new and higher charges, duties and distraints… the trial takes place in January 1685… representatives of the plaintiff i.e. mayor Johann Geran“ pg. 834ff. (source: minutes Nr. 197, 30.01.1685)


Besides the fact, that on of our ancestors being mayor, it was fascinating to see that our family name, although referring to the same person, was written differently each time. At the next visit in the dom-archives I studied the oldest available churchbook of Meyenburg and found out that a man called Lorentz Geran was buried in Meyenburg in 1679.


Combing the internet for Geran I discoverd the webpage of Mister Grüneberg. He is doing genealogy in the western part of the prignitz for a long time now and published a couple of books. Espacially "Die Prignitz und ihre städtische Bevölkerung im 17. Jahrhundert" ("The Prignitz and its urban population in the 17th century") contained really interesting facts like a list of all fireplaces in Lenzen registered in 1654. Accordingly Lorentz Geran lived in a cosy little hut in Lenzen. But unfortunately I lost his trace as fast as I got on and so I called Mr. Grueneberg for further information. He told me that Lorentz Geran had moved away from Lenzen after September 1656. Regarding the correspondence of name and dates, it is fair to assume that Lorentz Geran moved from Lenzen to Meyenburg.


And now our roots seem to lie in the area around Lenzen. There the name Geran can be traced as far as 1593. For instance Steffen Geran who was a member of town council of Wittenberge in 1600.