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zieds1mazs.gif (257 bytes)   Circular Letters (Patents)

5 Names: Engels, Dreijers (Dreyer), Gercs (Görtz), Meijers (Meyer), Reincs (Reinz)


At the beginning of the reference period (1800) it was rather difficult to inform all subjects of the Russia Empire about the decisions of the Highest authorities. The newspapers had already been invented, but they were not very widespread, and very few citizens could read them.

The solution of the problem was that the priests of churches were engaged in the distribution of the appropriate information. It was a good solution, because everybody in the Empire was obliged to belong to a Church and to attend divine services regularly. In this Page the system, that was introduced in the Vidzeme [Livland] province, is discussed, but I know that it was also quite similar in the other Baltic provinces of the Empire.

The highest State institutions prepared the Laws or the regulations, and if and when the Tzar signed them, the documents were transferred to the province level, and there clerks prepared circular letters, usually called the Patents, printed them and distributed to all parishes with instructions to Pastors to whom they should provide the information. Evidently the aprinkis officials were also informed about the regulations concerning their activities, but I have not so much knowledge about this information channel. The Pastors received information about state or province level decisions directly from the province officials. Some information and orders were also distributed by the aprinkis officials, but the officials at this level had no possibility of printing their letters and therefore wrote them by hand.

The Patents published in the Kurzeme [Kurland] or Vidzeme [Livland] provinces were in German, in rare cases in Latvian and sometimes in three languages - German, Latvian, Russian, but in any case they were mostly translations of the original orders of the Tzar in Russian. I thought that it would be interesting to present German translations of that time, and therefore I always copied the initial German text of the document translated in English. For Russian originals one should search in the full collection of Russia Laws available in great libraries.

If everybody in the parish should had been informed about the order, then the appropriate message was read in the church after a divine service and then distributed in turn to all the manors of the parish. But in some cases the information was important only to manor owners, or it could be even restricted to this category of people. In these cases the printed leaflet was distributed only to the manors. The responsible person for the distribution was the Pastor of the parish. In the end the paper returned to the church and in this way the church archive gathered all of the orders of the higher authorities and one could find there the primary information.

As an example, an order of the Tzar about recruitment (1802) cascaded to the manors of Trikates [Trikaten] parish by the Livland province officials is described below. The content of the document is discussed in another Page.

For this Page the most interesting is the last page of the document that contained short instruction for distribution of the document:


In German: Dieses ist von Hof zu Hof versiegelt umherzusenden und alsdenn dem Kirchspielsprediger zuzustellen.
In English: The document should be sealed and transferred in consecutive order from a manor to a manor and thereafter delivered to the Pastor of the parish.


The document should have been distributed sealed, because it was confidential and contained the date of the recruitment. Other documents usually could be distributed not sealed.

At that time there were the following 9 manors in the Trikāta [Trikaten] parish:


Alt Sackenhoff Vec Vāle
Neu Sackenhoff Jaun Vāle
Wietzenhoff Vijciems
Neu Wrangellshoff Jaun Brenguļi
Trikaten Trikāta
Planhoff Plāņi
Lubbenhoff Lube
Alt. Wrangelshoff Vec Brenguļi
Wittkopshoff Tiepele


Each of the owners (or managers - starasts) of the manors made inscription on the document to certify that the document was received, read and transferred further. As these texts contain some names, they are interesting for family history researchers and therefore I am going to study them in more detail. Unfortunately, I could not decipher all signatures. The inscriptions also allow to study the speed of the document traveling from manor to manor.

The document bears the following inscriptions:

  den 15ten November von Trikat um 12 Uhr v.M. nach Planhoff gesandt. Meyer

Sent on November 15 at 12.00 a.m. from Trikat to Planhoff. Meyer.

den 16: von Planohff nach Wizzenhoff gesandt. Starast Reinz

Sent on 16 from Planhof to Wizzenhof. Starast Reinz

17ten Nov.: um 4 Uhr nach Mittag erhalten und den 18ten des Morgens um 7 Uhr nach Lubbenhof gesandt. Engel.

Received at 4 p.m. 17 Nov and at 7 a.m. of the 18th sent to Lubbenhof. Engel.

Den 18 um 9 Uhr morgens ersehen und von Lubbenhof mitages um 12 Uhr nach Lipskaln gesandt.

At 18th 9 a.m received and at 12 a.m.sent from Lubbenhof to Lipskaln.

18ten Nachmittag um 12 Uhr erhalten und sogleich befördert Dreyer

Received on 18th at 12 a.m. and at once transferred further. Dreyer.

Den 18ten des Abends erhalten und sogleich befördert.

Received in the evening 18th and at once transferred further. Görtz

Den 19ten um zwey Uhr in der Nacht in Alt Saxxenhof ersehen und sogleich weiter befördert.

On 19th at two o'clock a.m. received in Alt Saxxenhoff and at once transferred further.

Neu Sackenhoff den 20ten des Abends ersehen und nach Wrangellshoff gesandt.

Received in Neu Sackenhof on 20th in the evening and sent to Wrangellshoff

According to the text of the document, the recruits were to be delivered at the fixed day - November 25, so the first manors had 5 days more for making the decision and finding the recruits.


© Bruno Martuzāns. 1995-2002