[Ger-Poland-Volhynia] Country names; Was Re: Powiat maps of Russian Poland

Jerry Frank FranklySpeaking at shaw.ca
Thu Mar 18 11:22:47 PST 2004

There is a very complex issue.  Just look at 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_Socialist_Republics for an overview of 
the Socialist Republics, the Autonomous Republics, the Autonomous Oblasts, 
etc. along with the times of their existence.

As genealogists, we do not have to be historical experts but we do have to 
be historically aware.  The onus is on us as the reader to associate the 
date with the place and figure out if that is regionally depicted in modern 
terms or historical ones or is just plain inaccurate.  Certainly that makes 
the research more difficult but it is part of the game.

It is obvious that people had the same problem of identifying countries of 
origin prior to WW I.  You have ship passengers identified as being from 
Russia, Poland, or Russian Poland even if they were all from the same town.

I don't know where to declare you were born, Nelson.  I think it is safe to 
refer to it as Ukrainian SSR.  While Russia ruled the roost, there was an 
element of autonomy even though that autonomy was not recognized by the 
United Nations till after WW II.  The term, "Ukrainian SSR" resembles our 
references to "Russian Poland".  It narrows the search.  It describes the 
region in context of time.

And as Gary stated in his response, clarify with notes.  Most genealogy 
programs have ample space to do that and those of you that still use paper 
can add more paper.

At 11:10 AM 18/03/2004 -0700, Nelson Itterman wrote:
>This discussion has certainly gone in every direction and has stimulated
>much thought. It brings to point as to where I should list my birth. I was
>born in Volhynia in 1924 and have always stated that I was born in Russia.
>Since the USSR was formed on December 30th, 1922 should I now list my birith
>as the USSR, the SSR of Ukraine and Belarus, or is it still Russia?
>Since my last application for a passport allowed me to choose between
>showing my place of birth as Russia or the Ukraine, I opted for the Ukraine.
>which I now know is historically incorrect. Perhaps someone out there can
>shed some light on the subject, or muddy the waters some more.

Jerry Frank - Calgary, Alberta
FranklySpeaking at shaw.ca  

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