The Strange Death of Jürgen Buss – 11 Jul 1691

I’ve been having a researcher look for specific records for my Prussian family in the Pomeranian Archives at Greifswald, Germany.  One that was recently discovered dates back to 1691 and involves my 8x great-grandfather Jürgen Buss.  For those not familiar with terms like “8x great-grandfather”, Jürgen was the great-great-great-great-grandfather of my great-great-grandmother Bertha Kamrath.

The record from the parish of Roggow A (circled on the map below) documents his burial in the town of Meesow, Kreis (county) Regenwalde, in Pommern (Pomerania), Prussia.  This map shows Meesow at the very bottom with Regenwalde at the top.

Regenwalde & Meesow

Regenwalde & Meesow

I never would have guessed that we’d have any record at all of my family living in Prussia in the 1600’s, much less a record with this level of detail.  Normally burial records, especially older ones, simply say “This person died on this day and was buried on this other day.”  More recently (e.g. in the 1880’s or 1890’s) you will find things like the cause of death, names of parents (for children) or spouses (for adults), and a cursory description of the next of kin (e.g. “the widow and two sons were left behind”).  I’ve never seen an older entry with this kind of detail in all the tens of thousands of records I’ve looked at, so I think the person writing it was as intrigued by the circumstances we are today.

Jürgen Buss Burial, Meesow, 1691

Jürgen Buss Burial, Meesow, 1691

Even my German friend who is kind enough to translate documents for me had difficulty due to the antiquated phrasing and writing, but the gist of the document is as follows:

On 11 Jul 1691 was buried here (in Meesow) Jürgen Buss, baumann (farmer) in Meesow, who died “am Tage Kiliani” (on St. Killian’s day, 8 Jul 1691) when he fell asleep while driving a wagon and the horses ran with him into a “suhle” (marshy pond).  The wagon overturned and “versauffet” (sank, and he drowned).  “Gott sei seiner armen Seele gnädig durch Jesum!” (May God through his son Jesus have mercy on his soul!).

I’m sure there’s more to this story, but we’ll probably never know.  I imagine him having a few too many drinks to celebrate St. Killian, perhaps.  In any case, Rest in Peace Grandpa Jürgen Buss.

About cthomas1967

Seeking to bring my ancestors out of the shadows of history and into the light. I have always been interested in history, and at a few different times I tried to do a family tree, but wasn't able to do it with the technology that was available then. On a business trip I visited the World War I Museum in Kansas City, MO and it was a very impressive establishment. While I was there I remember thinking, "Didn't my great-grandfather father fight in World War I? And wasn't his brother killed alongside him in some famous battle? I wonder if I can find out where he died." That's what started it all. View all posts by cthomas1967

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