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Manors, half-manors and cattle manors

Have you come across the terms "half-manor" or "cattle manor"? What are they, how do they differ, and why should a family researcher know about them?

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Smuki Manor Revision Lists

This week, one of the tasks was to research a family that lived in the farms belonging to the Smukas Manor (Germ. Schmucken). Opening the Raduraksti website, it's evident that the Smukas Manor has soul revisions available for the years 1811, 1850, and 1858.

It seemed impossible to find family members in the oldest 1811 revision lists because the registers for the years 1826 and 1834 are missing.

Jaunpils Manor Revision Lists

However, the Smukas Manor was once a subsidiary or half-manor (Latv. pusmuiža) of Jaunpils (Neuenburg), so I looked into the Jaunpils Manor revision lists. Jaunpils has both the 1826 and 1834 revision lists.

It turns out that among the approximately 200 households or farms belonging to Jaunpils in 1834, there are also farms associated later with Smukas Manor. It's not explicitly stated that these few farms are of Smukas Manor. However, the farm names are exactly the same as those later listed as belonging to Smukas Manor. In 1850, Smukas Manor counted 18 houses.

What could be the reason for this "concealment"?

The Smukas Manor website describes the history of the estate. In 1804, it was purchased by Jaunpils Lord Francis Wilhelm von Recke, but in 1850, it passed into the hands of his son, Gustav Reinhold von der Recke.

I assume that in 1834, Smukas was not separated from Jaunpils because they were all under one owner. However, by 1850, there was a different owner, and Smukas Manor was listed as a separate entity.

What then is a subsidiary manor?

In German, a subsidiary or half-manor has several names – Beigut, Beihof, Nebenhof, Hoflage, Vorwerk. Wikipedia explains that it is an autonomous large estate belonging to a manor with its land, buildings, and inhabitants. From the German word Vorwerk, the term folwark arose in Polish and later the Latvian word foļvarka - it designated subsidiary manors in Latgale.

Cattle Manors

The Latvian conversational dictionary explains that a half-manor (lat. lopu muiža) was created by separating a cattle manor from the main manor estate and leasing it out. A cattle manor was specifically established for housing cattle. Especially, many new cattle manors were set up in the early 19th century when cattle farming provided greater income.

Half-manor and Lord's Houses

The online German-Baltic dictionary provides information that subsidiary manors usually did not have their lord's houses (manor houses), only economic buildings. Large manors could have several subsidiary manors, usually formed in territories farther away from the main manor geographically.

In conclusion, when researching families in small manors, attention should be paid to the connection with neighboring large manors. It may happen that at some point, a small manor was part of a larger estate, and its peasants need to be searched for in the revision lists of the larger manor.




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