[Ger-Poland-Volhynia] germans from russia from ukraine and so on

Albert Muth albertmuth734 at gmail.com
Fri Feb 11 12:29:39 PST 2011

Short Summary:  History of our ancestral areas does NOT begin with the
partitions of Poland.  The Russian domination of the ancestral areas of many
members of SGGEE was a brief, 19th and early 20th c. aberration.

Before the partitions, the Ukraine had been under POLISH rule for the
previous few centuries.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish-Lithuanian_Commonwealth  Under Russian
rule in the 19th century,
yes, I agree very much with Dick that the area of the Ukraine was "better"
incorporated into Russia than
was the Congress Kingdom of Poland.

The so called geographical concept that many of you are using as Poland
(kingdom of Poland) *dates only from the *
*Congress of Vienna,* see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congress_Poland.
Before 1795, the concept of Poland included what is now Poland, Lithuania,
Belarus, and the Ukraine.  There was NO concept of Ukrainian nationality or
statehood at this time.  Please do not misunderstand me; the Ukrainian
language had been developing naturally over time, see
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukrainian_Language, particularly the section on
"History of the Ukrainian spoken language's usage".

At 1795, long before very few, if any, of us had ancestors living in the
area now in the Ukraine, one needs to understand the terminology and
geography of South Prussia (*Südpreußen*), Polish *Prusy Południowe* and New
East Prussia (*Neuostpreußen*, Polish *Prusy nowowschodnie*).  See
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Prussia and

There are genealogical consequences for this particular point in history for
Germans moving into the area now in Poland and then later into the Ukraine.
As Prussia grew over the 18th century (1700's), annexing Silesia in 1742
(see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silesia), it created more and more
military parishes (Lutheran, usually, I think).  There are far more than I
can name, but I see Breslau from 1723, Ohlau from 1720, Neustadt from

After the first partition, I see Thorn from 1773, Bromberg from 1774,
Graudenz from 1773....  Indeed, even the number of regular Evangelical
Lutheran churches explodes, as witnessed by their dates of foundation.  In
most 18th century in the Posen area, the churches were already in
existence.  But starting in 1772, we see the founding, in chronological
order of Evangelical churches at:  Crone, Czarnikau, Labischen, Bromberg,
Margonin, Schönlanke, Kolmar, Bnin, Hammer-Borui, Koschmin, Ostrowo, Resen,
Sandberg, Obornik, Zirke, Bentschen, Neustadt b. Pinne, Santomischel,
Tirschtiegel, Friedheim, Luschwitz, Neutomischel, Krosno, Rogasen, Wreschen,
Wronke....  These, only in the 1770's.

And then, in the 1780's, 11 more.
In the 1790's, 9 more.

In 1795, and what should interest a great many of SGGEE members, begins the
parishes of Kalisz (where there are many, many soldiers listed), Warszawa
from 1793, Włocławek from 1796-1806, Petrikau from 1799-1806, Sieradz
1796-1806, Przasnysz 1802-1806 .....

Interesting that many end in 1806.  Because now, this area is now called the
Duchy of Warsaw.  See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duchy_of_Warsaw.  In
genealogy, we see the institution of Napoleonic civil registration, see
https://wiki.familysearch.org/en/Poland_Civil_Registration-_Vital_Records and
our own SGGEE page at http://www.sggee.org/research/translation_aids AND
In this period, many of our people recorded their births and marriages,
sometimes deaths, at Catholic churches.

Genealogically, I thought I understood the difference between Westpreußen
and Ostpreußen, but this too is only a 19th century concept.  The wikipedia
article on West Prussia says it existed 1773–1824 and 1878–1919/20 ONLY.

Revisionist historians are telling me that the two should be distinguished
as Royal Prussia and Ducal Prussia, see
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Prussia and

And given the special interest many, many of you seem to have in categorizng
nationalties, I recommend that you download Philippe Ther's 2003 article in
*Central European History* volume 46, pp. 45-73 called "Beyond the Nation:
The Relational Basis of a Comparatve History of Germany and Europe".

Just google:  Ther Beyond Nation Relational
and you will see several options for downloading a PDF file.  I highly
recommend it.  Very thought-provoking.

Happy reading.


P.S.  No test on this. I promise!

P.P.S.  And please, please, start thinking of volunteering to index some of
these military parish records for SGGEE (the aforementioned Kalisz (I am
already working on the marriages), Warszawa, Włocławek, Petrikau, Sieradz,

On Fri, Feb 11, 2011 at 1:20 PM, Richard Benert <benovich at imt.net> wrote:

> Thanks to Jerry and Dave for clarifying things.  I would only add that up
> to
> 1921, yes, Poland and Ukraine were part of the Russian Empire, but in
> different ways.  I think that Ukraine was more integrated into the Russian
> system of government since it had not been a "unified" kingdom (as Poland
> had been) before being taken over piecemeal by the Russians.  Russia was
> able to pretty much define the terms and send in its colonists.  On the
> other hand, Poland was originally given a fair amount of independence
> immediately after the Partitions, and the Russian government had to chip
> away at this throughout the 19th century, being given good excuses to do so
> by the Polish Revolts of 1830 and 1863.  Also, Russians took a very
> different attitude towards Poles than it did towards Ukrainians.  Poles
> were
> Catholic and western-oriented and very much disliked and distrusted, while
> Ukrainians were thought of more or less as lost little brothers who merely
> needed to be coaxed into realizing that they, too, were Russians at heart.
> So, unless you are an avid Ukrainian nationalist, you can feel perfectly
> justified in calling your "Ukrainian/Volhynian born" grandparents "Russian
> Germans." The case is less clear with regard to Polish-born Germans.  Don't
> we in our minds think of them as "Germans from Poland" rather than as
> "Russian Germans"?  But then again, the very idea of a "Polish German" has
> been anathema ever since the purveyors of Deutschtum began, between the
> wars, to bemoan the existence of so many "polonized" Germans.
> Because Poland had this veneer of being somewhat separate from Russia even
> though within its Empire, our ancestors from there could give their place
> of
> birth as "Poland" as well as "Russia."  I sometimes wonder if the choice
> for
> "Poland" was sometimes made because it was not thought to be so degrading
> to
> be from Poland as it was to be from Russia.  Poland had a higher culture.
> Russians knew this and it bothered them a lot.  Several people have
> indicated their ancestors' reluctance to admit having come from Russia.  I
> ran into this, too, years ago when interviewing people in my home church in
> St. Paul.  I got the feeling (perhaps unwarranted) that the Russian Germans
> in the church felt a bit inferior to the German Germans, and so they kept
> their origins quiet.  I'd like to know if others agree with me that some of
> our ancestors simply felt embarrassed at having come out of that backwater
> land of Russia.  Maybe this, too, could be part of a convention session.
> Dick Benert

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