In my last article, I spoke about UKASE = Decree. Today, I wanted to write about another Ukase. By the edict (ukase) of Czar Peter the Great on December 18, 1708, he divided Russia into eight guberniyas. A Gubernya (aka Gubernia) is roughly equivalent to a State in the USA or a Province in Canada and is very equivalent to a Wojewodztwo in Poland. Gubernya is a Russian word and is written in Cyrillic as, губерния .
The number of Gubernya and the area they covered changed over time. So if you check out the map from my MAPS page from 1820, my ancestors would have lived in the Krakow gubernya. But by my grandparent’s time they lived in the Kielce (aka Kieleckie) gubernya — no their village of residence did not change, but the Russian Administrative regions had been re-defined a few times.
A good Gazetteer should be able to give you the Gubernya for your ancestral village. Knowing the administrative region may help you locate where the records are for your ancestors. Obviously, you should check their parish first. But you will also want to know the region to locate the civil or religious archive that might have backup records (vital records, court records, military records, voter lists, etc) for you to research.
Also you should know the Russian, as well as the Polish words and spelling of your ancestor’s residence(s). If nothing else, so that you can Google for data on the Internet. The results you get from Googling “Gubernya” will be different the results you get from Googling, “губерния“.
Келецкая губерния = Kielecka Gubernia
Trust me the “orange-ish” area is Kielecka Gubernia.
Near the bottom-right you will see Stopnica and Pacanow (стопнйча, пачанов).