Posts tagged ‘Ukase’

October 7, 2011

#Genealogy – Russian – Poland Administrative Regions

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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“.

If your family is from the same area as Stanczyk’s then you may see …

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).

–Stanczyk

October 6, 2011

Ukase – Decree … #Genealogy, #History, #Russian, #Polish

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

This jester thanks my Slavic readers from: Poland, Russian Federation, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Latvia, Belarus, Slovakia, etc and of course their American emigres and American born of that heritage. This is after all predominantly a blog of genealogy that focuses on its Slavic Heritage and especially the heritage of Stanczyk‘s paternal grandparents who were born, married, had children and emigrated from Poland … Russian-Poland also known as Congress Kingdom of Poland and to a lesser degree, Vistulaland (a collection of ten gubernia in the czarist Russian Empire). Poland was occupied and partitioned between three Empires: Prussian (German), Austrian (Austro-Hungarian / Hapsburg), and Russian from 1792-1918. As such, in the Russian partition, they were subject to the Czar’s ukases (decrees).

A UKASE (указ) is formally an “imposition” , usually by the czar, but possibly by an Orthodox Patriarch. But ukase is usually translated as decree or edict.

My ancestors were from the Russian-Poland partition, but just across the Vistula (Wisla) river from the Austrian-Poland partition — which had, to me, a surprising number cross-Empire interaction in vital records. The Russian-Poland nominally a fiefdom of the Russian Czar, who was also titled as King of Poland, as well as Russian Emperor.

There were many Ukases from each czar/czarina. So many so, that Czar Nicholas in 1827 ordered a collation of these edicts (a kind of codification Russian law). The result was a 48 volume collection of ukases. Some notable ukases …

  • Created (1791) and others amended the Pale of Settlement
  • 1821 Territorial waters off Alaska (affecting British Empire and a young America)
  • 1861 Freeing the Serfs
  • 1868 Decreed that vital records in the Kingdom of Poland be recorded in Russian

Stanczyk is fascinated by the last one. It is said that it is in the Polish DNA to be multi-lingual. Certainly, my grandmother was capable of four languages (Polish, Russian, German, and finally English). But how did the Catholic priests do this? Switching from recording vital records in Polish to recording them into Russian? The year of the switch-over was 1868. The records start out in Polish but switch during the year to being in Russian ??? Admittedly, the Russian in most cases was a bit … uh “problematic”.

Can you imagine that happening in America? Most of the world thinks of the USA as being linguistically challenged. This jester is fluent only in English. I did receive much French tutelage and can read French. With my genealogy, I have been self taught in Polish, Russian and Latin. Thankfully, Google provides the Google Translator, flawed as it is, for Polish. Still as it was, I was able to use it communicate with a distant cousin in Poland who could not speak any English and my ability to write Polish was so very limited. Yet we overcame and I was blessed with the gift of my grandparent’s marriage record from Biechow church and a civil record of their marriage from a local USC office.

And it was a good thing my cousin sent me both. As the USC mistranslated the Russian language church record on my grandmother’s age. They had accidentally added five years to my grandmother’s age, which I would not have known if I did not have the original church record in Russian (which apparently the local USC could not read as well as I could).

So here is Stanczyk’s UKASE …

All Polish Genealogists must be able to read Latin, Polish, and Russian. (Who can read that German handwriting?)

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