[Ger-Poland-Volhynia] Polish parishes and Polish place names

Gary Warner gary at warnerengineering.com
Sat Oct 10 10:20:34 PDT 2009


There has been a lot of debate at SGGEE about the proper way to enter 
village names. Many are still using the Family History Library method 
which uses the provinces that existed in Poland for only a few decades 
after World War II. The biggest problem with using that method as I see 
it is that you cannot use any modern mapping tool to find the village 
noted in that format, since most often the powiat (county has changed). 
There are also no precise maps which show those old boundaries, at least 
none that I have ever seen.

In the Master Pedigree Database (MPD) I am trying to make the switch to 
modern descriptions of locations. It is a slow process, but eventually 
we will make that switch complete. As an aid to specifying a village per 
the current powiat and wojewodztwo (state), we are using several sources.

They are

1. http://mapa.szukacz.pl
When you open this site, there is a blank field in the upper right 
corner of the screen that is labeled Miejscowość. Enter the village you 
seek in this location and then hit enter. You will see the map of Poland 
redrawn with circles that represent the locations in Poland with 
villages of that name. You need to have some idea which is the correct 
area of Poland to narrow your search, but you are assisted by hovering 
over any circle and seeing the number of people who live in that place 
currently, the woj., pow. and gmina (smaller division than a county). If 
you click on the dot at the bottom of the window that appears when you 
hover, the map will zoom in to a large scale map of that location. You 
can adjust the scale by rolling the wheel on a wheel mouse, or by 
selecting a different scale by using the radio buttons next to the field 
where you enter the village name. Note that the full description of the 
village is shown in the area below where you entered the village name. 
Finally, you can find the exact coordinates for this village by clicking 
on the word współrzędne just below the full village name.

As an example, try entering in the village Nowe Budki (I picked a 
village of which there is only one in all of Poland- a rarity). The map 
zoomed in shows that this village is a bit northwest of Kolo, and we 
would enter the location as

Nowe Budki, Kolo, Wielkopolskie, Poland at coordinates 52 14 25 N 18 33 14 E

Note in the above that we have elected to not use the ski ending for the 
Powiat, but have instead used the name of the town for which the powiat 
is named- Kolo. The town is always easily identifiable from the powiat 
name- IF you have the map zoomed out to see the area around the village 
you are locating.

Note that while this map is pretty complete, it does NOT cover every 
village in Poland, and you MUST be able to spell the village name 
correctly to find it. You do not need to use the special Polish 
diacriticals, but as noted for the next map source the z with a dot over 
it may give you some problems using this source. If you cannot find a 
village that contains a dotted z, copy that letter from the word Pokaż 
which is shown in red above where you entered the village name to do the 

2. http://mapy.eholiday.pl/

This map source contains some villages that are not included in the map 
source noted above, but sadly this is also not a complete listing of all 
villages in Poland. Enter the village name you seek in the blue box at 
the upper left corner of the screen. Enter the letters SLOWLY, and you 
will see a listing of all of the villages that have that name in the 
database that runs this map site- be sure to look at villages that are 
close in spelling to the one you seek, as some villages are spelled 
slightly different on different maps.

Be aware that this site NEEDS at least two special Polish diacriticals 
to find the correct village- the dotted z and the slashed L. First try 
entering a village without those special characters, but if the special 
character is near the beginning of the village name, you will need to 
enter those special characters by copying them from the map site noted 
in 1. above- the dotted z from the word Pokaż, and the slashed L from 
the word współrzędne. Click on the arrow that results from a successful 
search and see the fill location name in a baloon, and then click on the 
village name in that balloon to go to an enlarged map of that village 
location. Note that this map site uses the powiat name without the ski 

3. If neither of the above map tools work, then Shtetl Seeker 
(http://www.jewishgen.org/Communities/) is still a good tool, but it is 
not as visual as the above two, since the results are displayed in a 
table instead of as points on a map.

4. Google Earth

Google Earth is sometimes a good way to find a village, since the 
database for that tool seems to have both the old and new names for a 
given village. You will need to have an idea which powiat the location 
is in when Google Earth gives you some choices. Again, this tool does 
not have all of the locations in Poland, and sometimes is much more 
limited in possibilites than any of the other tools noted above.

As Jerry Frank noted in another email, we plan on having a gazetteer on 
the website later this year, and this should help with a large number of 
the village locations, but it will also need to be updated as additional 
villages are found.

Gary Warner

Dave Proper wrote:
> All,
> I had never worked with Polish place names until recently when Rose Ingram
> sent me a treasure trove of information about my Plotzke relations. I am
> entering the data into TMG and was struck by the variety of Polish place
> names and the seemingly various ways of recording them. I looked into the
> modern Polish place name conventions - gimas, powiat, voivdeship and
> country. Armed with that, I have a place named "Dabie, Kolo, Poznan,
> Poland". That seems to make sense, like municipality, county, province,
> county. But then I find place names recorded in family group sheets such as
> "Gorki, (Dabie Parish), Kolo, Poznan, Poland". I understand that Gorki is
> obviously in the Dabie Parish and provides another level of information.
> Which do people prefer and why? 
> Another question: are there maps that delineate what the parish boundaries
> might have been during various time frames? For example, the birth place of
> Friedrich Wilhelm Plotzke on 25 Apr 1849 was Chwalborczyce Holendry. The
> record was in the Dabie Parish books but when I found the village
> (Chwalborczyce) using ShtelSeeker it was about 5 km southeast of the town of
> Dabie and just across the provincial border in Lodz. So now would this be
> "Chwalborczyce, (Dabie Parish), ?county-unknown?, Lodz, Poland"?  Which
> leads to a further question is there a definitive way to determine which
> powiat would be the correct name to use here? The convention seems to be
> that they are named after the largest city in the region but that is not
> easy to ascertain.
> OK, last question, where is the village of Gorki mentioned above - "Gorki,
> (Dabie Parish), Kolo, Poznan, Poland"? Enter that in ShtelSeeker and you get
> 93 potential places in Poland! Is there way to focus ShtelSeeker to a
> smaller region than just Poland as a whole?
> Thanks for your assistance and patience!
> Dave Proper
> dproper at charter.net
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