[Ger-Poland-Volhynia] Kalish, Kalisz, Kalisch

Jerry Frank FranklySpeaking at shaw.ca
Thu Sep 14 05:03:49 PDT 2006

At 12:36 AM 14/09/2006, Dr. Frank Stewner wrote:
>Two sources are talking about "Kalish near 
>Lodz". The Frank Index is not helping.
>I found Kaliskie (Kolo Kaliskie) with 52°11'15'' N and 18°37'46''.
>Is that the one or is there a better solution?
>Dr. Frank Stewner

When I see references of this sort, several 
questions come to mind - not in any particular order.

1.  What is the actual source of the 
information?  If it is a Polish or German 
language source, then I would be inclined to 
believe that Kalish = Kalisch = Kalisz and that 
Kaliskie would not apply.  If it is a 
transliteration of Russian Cyrillic, then I could 
very easily see where Kaliskie has become 
Kalish.  If it is a family story that someone 
wrote down from memory, then Kalish could have 
been Kaliskie.  Still other sources might require other interpretations.

2.  What does "near" mean in context?  If such a 
location description appears in a Baptism record 
for example, then I would anticipate that the 
scribe is trying to distinguish a village of that 
name from another of the same name.  So if the 
phrase you provide were in a Baptism record from 
Zgierz Parish, I would expect this Kalish (or 
some similar variation of the spelling) to be in 
very close proximity to Lodz - perhaps say within 
10 km or so.  There is of course no precise 
distance but yet, in my opinion, quite close.  If 
I saw this term in a family story, I would not 
necessarily expect it to be very close.  Suppose 
someone is living in Germany and grew up in 
Alberta, Canada.  To convey this to another 
person in Germany, he might write that he was 
born in Olds near Calgary.  Well, Olds happens to 
be 100 km away from Calgary.  However, he doesn't 
expect the reader to know where Olds is but he 
might expect, because of the connection with the 
1988 Olympics, that the reader in Germany knows 
where Calgary is.  So the phrase is used.  Near, 
in this context, is really quite far away.  So, 
if this phrase appeared in a record in Volhynia, 
my thoughts on near would expand to a much further distance.

So, back to the specific example:  The town / 
parish of Kalish / Kalisch / Kalisz that we 
usually think of is about 95 km west of 
Lodz.  Kolo on the other hand is about 72 km 
northwest of Lodz.  It seems to me that neither 
of these location options is really very "near" 
Lodz.  My preference in this case is to stick with Kalish.

Furthermore, I would point out that the 
coordinates you provide are exactly for the town 
of Kolo.  I have some very detailed maps of that 
region and do not see any village in that area 
known as Kaliskie or as Kolo Kaliskie.  Without 
further context as to source, I believe that 
"Kolo Kaliskie" means "Kolo in Kalisz province" 
and that therefore there is no village with that name in that location.

In an example such as this, I can only express my 
opinion.  If you provide additional context for 
the information, I may change that opinion.  :-)

Jerry Frank - Calgary, Alberta
FranklySpeaking at shaw.ca  

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