[Ger-Poland-Volhynia] Kaminski ethnicity

Nelson Itterman colnels at telus.net
Sun Feb 18 20:49:58 PST 2007

I would assume it may be as surprise, if your name is Kaminski, to be told
that it could be Koberstein  or Stein or Steinke or vice versa. Would I also
have relatives that have a different name than Ittermann?

-----Original Message-----
From: ger-poland-volhynia-bounces at eclipse.sggee.org
[mailto:ger-poland-volhynia-bounces at eclipse.sggee.org] On Behalf Of Gary
Sent: Sunday, February 18, 2007 12:47 AM
To: Hal and Jan Kamm; ger-poland-volhynia at eclipse.sggee.org
Subject: Re: [Ger-Poland-Volhynia] Kaminski ethnicity


Welcome to our mail list.   I hope you get as much from it as the rest of

I am by no means an expert on the subject(s) you raise, but perhaps my two
cents will start the ball rolling and elicit some more discussion from the
experts on this list.

You would appear to be on the correct mail list, because the rest of us are
equally confused by our ancestry, at least the part about 
knowing what to call our ancestors.   I trust I am not stating 
something incorrectly when I say that the rest of the people on this list
are all related to Germans who lived in Poland or Volhynia 
(essentially the western part of the Ukraine).   Your Kaminski name 
would seem to indicate that you also are German, since according to Oskar
Kossmann's "Die Deutschen in Polen", printed in 1978, Kaminski 
is the Polish version of the name Koberstein.   This may not be the 
absolutely correct German version of the name, however, since some people
also think that Steinke is an alternate to 
Kaminski.   Evidently the root of the word Kaminski has some 
equivalence to the German word Stein or Steinke.  Only some detailed
research by you will enlighten you further about who your ancestors 
really were.   To answer your question about name changes, the answer 
is yes, they did change, but not necessarily for everyone.   It seems 
that they changed when there was an equivalent name in the language used
where they lived (like Schwarz becoming Czarnecki, since one name means
black in German ,and the other means black in 
Polish).   Names also changed when the name was difficult to say in 
the language where our ancestors lived, much like they did when our
ancestors came to North America.

My grandparents were born in Poland and later moved to Volhynia where 
they were married and where their first child was born.    Both of my 
grandparents were definitely descended from Germans, but they were born in
an area that is today Poland but was owned by Russia at the 
time.    So, in the 1900s, when Poland again resumed its own national 
identity, my grandparents were Germans who could claim that they were also
Poles and Russians.

May I suggest that you give SGGEE a one year trial membership to see what
you can discover in our databases, and especially you should submit at least
your pedigree, if not additionally data on your cousins who are also likely
German to see if we can link your data to any of the names in our databases.

Guessing at a correct place name is not possible without more data than you
have supplied, but yes, there is a Rypin that is often mentioned in the
databases that we have.

Gary Warner

At 02:25 PM 2/17/2007, Hal and Jan Kamm wrote:
>This is my first post on this list.
>I am a grandson of Arthur Kaminski, who arrived in US in 1907 listed as 
>Russian nationality, but German ethnicity. The ship manifest noted 
>Ripen as the town of origin. I cannot find a town named Ripen, but 
>there is one called Rypin in Kujawsko-Pomorskie, Poland.
>I am confused about the German ethnicity versus Russian/Polish 
>nationality. I had heard stories years ago about the family working as 
>millers of grain across northern Europe. Would names be changed 
>temporarily, during one generation or less, depending on where they 
>were living?
>Any help would be appreciated.
>Ger-Poland-Volhynia Mailing List hosted by Society for German Genealogy 
>in Eastern Europe http://www.sggee.org Mailing list info at 

Ger-Poland-Volhynia Mailing List hosted by Society for German Genealogy in
Eastern Europe http://www.sggee.org Mailing list info at

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