"There were no Mixed Marriages!" This statement is very popular and often repeated in the literature about the German settlers in Central Poland.
The statement stands for denominational mixed marriages between followers of the Lutheran and the Roman-Catholic confession. Since the Lutheran confession in this area usually is identified with ethnic German origin, this statement can also be read as "there was no intermarriage between Germans and Poles".
Can this be true?
It is always difficult to prove or refute generalized statements like this. In this case it would even be necessary to examine whole church books.
So I'm very grateful that Pastor Hevelke from the Płock parish kept the index of his church books with strict accuracy. Between 1825 and 1835 he distinguished in his index of marriages between
A) Lutheran marriages and
B) marriages with one part being a Roman-Catholic.
This allows us to create a small statistical survey for the parish of Płock and a time period of 11 years:
Marriages in the Lutheran Church Book of Płock
Percentage Mixed Marriages
Because of the small number of marriages for each year the percentage of mixed marriages is varying between 3 % and 29 %. But for the entire time period of 11 years there is a convincing average.
According to this the percentage of mixed marriages within the Płock parish during these 11 years is 16 %.
This percentage is definitely not negligible and unmasks the statement about the never happening mixed marriages as generalization.
Of course, the situation might have been different in other parishes or within other time periods. Nevertheless I think that the time period as well as the structure of the people this survey is based on might be a good reflection of the general situation in Central Poland.
The time period seems suitable because it is more than 30 years after the Prussian settlements. This means, we are mainly considering marriages of people born in Poland. Even the ethnic Germans from earlier settlement periods who had changed to the Roman-Catholic confession because of the lack of Lutheran parishes, meanwhile had the chance to join one of the many new Lutheran parishes - if they wanted to.
The origin and the social structure of the members of the parish shows a broad range. There were Niedrunger, who had been living in Poland or near the borders for a long time; there were also descendants of the settlers who had come from the Neumark or the Netzedistrict and there were also newly immigrated Swabians. Most of the parish members lived in the rural villages, but there were citizens of Płock as well.
So it is very obvious that our ancestors at this time did not primarily consider denominational limits when deciding about their partners in marriage.
But then, why is this rumor that intermarriages never occurred so persistent?