[Ger-Poland-Volhynia] Polish or German?

Michael & Maureen McHenry maurmike1 at verizon.net
Mon Oct 31 06:47:09 PST 2005

My mother told me her mother, immigrant to America from Russian Poland,
could speak several languages. She also said that German was spoken in the
On the other hand in researching confirmation records of Lipno I noticed the
column headings were in Polish. These are not official records so one would
have expected them to be in German.


-----Original Message-----
From: ger-poland-volhynia-bounces at eclipse.sggee.org
[mailto:ger-poland-volhynia-bounces at eclipse.sggee.org] On Behalf Of Jerry
Sent: Monday, October 31, 2005 9:13 AM
To: Robert Norenberg; ger-poland-volhynia at eclipse.sggee.org
Subject: Re: [Ger-Poland-Volhynia] Polish or German?

At 02:25 PM 30/10/2005, Robert Norenberg wrote:
>Which language were my ancestors speaking when they
>registered their births, marriages and deaths at their
>local church. My ancestor was German and so was the
>Pastor. Would my ancestor have spoken in german and
>then the Pastor would translate to polish or was
>polish the language of the day.   Robert Norenberg

I have no firm facts for this but I believe that, in most cases, the 
Germans would use German as their primary language but would know 
enough Polish to function in the marketplace.  The pastor would be 
fluent in both languages.

For example, in the pre 1830s records, you will often find signatures 
of the registrants.  After that, all of a sudden the signatures stop 
and the phrase, "they did not sign because they did not know how to 
read or write" is inserted in the document.  They didn't all of 
sudden become illiterate.  It's just that they didn't know how to 
read Polish so the government decided they shouldn't sign something 
they couldn't read.

Jerry Frank - Calgary, Alberta
FranklySpeaking at shaw.ca  

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