PolishOrigins Forum

 FAQFAQ    SearchSearch    MemberlistMemberlist    ProfileProfile    Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages    Log inLog in    RegisterRegister 
Author
Message
starshadow



Joined: 09 May 2013
Replies: 206

Back to top
Post Posted: Sat Apr 11, 2020 7:04 pm      Post subject: Research in Grodno (Hrodna) Belarus
Reply with quote

I recently received this 1854 death record from Kleczkowo parish for my 4th-great grandfather Adam Spizarny. It reveals his birthplace as Grodno (Hrodna) in Belarus. This record gives his age as 60 (so possibly born about 1794). But I have another record from 1825 which gives his age as 40, so maybe born as early as 1785.

What are the prospects of finding records for Grodno for the mid to late 1700's? So far my searches haven't come up with anything useful.

Wasn't Grodno Polish territory before the partitions? Can anyone provide any insight into why he migrated all the way from Grodno down to the Łomża area?



adam-spizarny-1854.jpg
 Description:
 Filesize:  318.86 KB
 Viewed:  0 Time(s)

adam-spizarny-1854.jpg


View user's profile
Send private message
dnowicki
PO Top Contributor


Joined: 28 Dec 2011
Replies: 1971
Location: Michigan City, Indiana

Back to top
Post Posted: Mon Apr 13, 2020 8:41 am      Post subject: Re: Research in Grodno (Hrodna) Belarus
Reply with quote

starshadow wrote:
I recently received this 1854 death record from Kleczkowo parish for my 4th-great grandfather Adam Spizarny. It reveals his birthplace as Grodno (Hrodna) in Belarus. This record gives his age as 60 (so possibly born about 1794). But I have another record from 1825 which gives his age as 40, so maybe born as early as 1785.

What are the prospects of finding records for Grodno for the mid to late 1700's? So far my searches haven't come up with anything useful.

Wasn't Grodno Polish territory before the partitions? Can anyone provide any insight into why he migrated all the way from Grodno down to the Łomża area?


Hi Starshadow,

Prior to 1795 Grodno was part of woj. trockie of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, which was popularly referred to as Poland. The formal name of the Commonwealth was “The Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania” (Polish: Królestwo Polskie i Wielkie Księstwo Litewskie). Since Poland was the dominant partner in the Commonwealth the entire Commonwealth was often simply refered to as Poland. The area where Grodno was located was in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania part of the Commonwealth and was not part of the Crown Lands of the Kingdom of Poland. During the Third Partition the area was seized by Russia. From 1795 the borders of the three partitioned regions stayed the same until 1807 when the Duchy of Warsaw (Księstwo Warszawskie) was formed during the Napolionic Wars. Grodno lay just to the east of the border of the Duchy and thus remained under direct Russian rule. In 1815 as a result of the Congress of Vienna the Duchy was dissolved and the Congress Kingdom of Poland (Kongresowe Królestwo Polskie), a semi-autonomous part of the Russian Empire, which was in personal union with Russia, was formed. The Kingdom was created from areas of the Duchy which came under Russian control. Again, Grodno was just to the east of the borders of the Congress Kingdom and thus, rather than being a part of that semi-autonomous Kingdom (at least for internal matters) it remained directly incorporated into the Russian Empire. (Cf. the attached map of powiat Augustowski.) If things were not so great for inhabitants of the Congress Kingdom, they were worse for former citizens of the Commonwealth in areas directly incorporated into the Russian Empire. Actually, the Congress Kingdom lost its semi-autonomous status as a result of the insurrection of 1830-31. Things only got worse in the Kingdom following the uprising of 1863-64. One of the ‘punishments’ resulting from this uprising was the high handed requirement which took effect in 1868 that vital records be kept in Russian rather than in Polish. It was all an ‘I’ll show you who is an charge move’ on the part of the Tsar and his government as part of the larger scheme to destroy Polish culture.

I suppose that the reasons for your ancestor’s move could partially depend on the time the move took place. The formation of the Congress Kingdom or the situation in Grodno, under direct Russian control, may have been factors in the decision. Perhaps religion also may have played a role. According to the historian Anatol Taras, prior to the Partitions the region of the Commonwealth which today is Belarus had a religious breakdown of 80% Greek/Eastern Rite Catholics, 14% Roman/Latin Rite Catholics and 8% Orthodox Christians with the remainder being Jews and Muslims. Going back in religious history, the major and lasting split between Catholic and Orthodox Christians took place in 1054 when the Patriarch of Constantinople and the Pope of Rome excommunicated each other. Attempts at reconciliation of the two took place during the Middle Ages, most notably at the Ecumenical Council of Florence (1431-1449). A reconciliation between the Roman Catholic and the Ruthenian Orthdoox Churches in the Commonwealth took place as a result of the Union of Brest (Brześć) in 1595-96. The so called Uniate Churches known as the Greek Catholic Churches of the Commonwealth resulted from the Union of Brest.

What does all this ancient religious history have to do with 19th Century Grodno? When Grodno and environs was directly incorporated into the Russian Empire Greek Catholics were forced to renounce their union with the Church of Rome and convert to Orthodoxy in communion with the Russian Patriarch of Moscow. Roman Catholics were a rather small minority in the days of the Commonwealth and even more so when their Greek Catholic neighbors had to convert to Orthodoxy. (Interestingly, after WWI most of those who had converted to Orthodoxy returned to union with Rome—so much for the principle of ‘cuius regio eius religio’ evoked following the Protestant Reformation) Since your 4th great-grandfather appears to have been Roman Catholic, perhaps the religious situation in Grodno played a role in his decision to migrate to an area where he would not be part of such a small minority. Perhaps the decision was heavily influenced by the relative autonomy of the Congress Kingdom or perhaps it simply was the result of being able to become a gospodarz of better farm land than what was found near Grodno. Who can say with certitude? The above historical data helps to provide a historical backdrop for 19th Century decisions without giving definitive answers.

Wishing you good luck,

Dave



80.Augustowski.jpg
 Description:
 Filesize:  151.59 KB
 Viewed:  0 Time(s)

80.Augustowski.jpg


View user's profile
Send private message
starshadow



Joined: 09 May 2013
Replies: 206

Back to top
Post Posted: Mon Apr 13, 2020 12:41 pm      Post subject:
Reply with quote

Thank you Dave. This is fascinating. It explains a lot. I also have the 1825 birth record of Adam's son Wojciech, from nearby Szczepankowo parish. Adam's name is spelled "Spizarski" in this one. His vocation is listed as "szynkarz", which I believe means publican or innkeeper. I can't find his marriage, but his wife Anna was born in the same parish, so I suspect he came to the area when he was young. And his descendants are the only Spizarny's anywhere in Poland. His reasons do seem to be the religious and political turmoil of the time.

In most of my other research, whenever family surnames go from non "-ski" endings to "-ski", the change usually occurs around this same era (early to mid 1800's). Yet for some reason Adam's family lost the "-ski". Since "-ski" sometimes denoted social or financial status, propertied citizens etc., could Adam and his family have lost such status in his later life?

And a belated very Happy Easter!



wojciech-spizarski-1825.jpg
 Description:
 Filesize:  424.63 KB
 Viewed:  0 Time(s)

wojciech-spizarski-1825.jpg


View user's profile
Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    PolishOrigins Forum Index -> Research in Poland All times are GMT - 5 Hours
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum


Powered by phpBB ©

© 2020 COPYRIGHTS BY THE OWNER OF POLISHORIGINS.COM