Re: [Ger-Poland-Volhynia] not everyone came from Württemberg

Beatrix Hughes at
Sat Apr 28 19:22:10 PDT 2012

I found a book in google books that may interest people who are wondering
where their families beamed down into Poland from. It has some crucial
pages missing but it is still a good read. Don't rule out the possibility
that some of our ancestors could have come from the British Isles, the
Netherlands or Italy. The pages 50-54 are particularly interesting.

The book is called "Urban Societies in East-Central Europe 1500-1700"

(and somewhere in Ohio, Otto is smiling. Thanks Otto!!)

On Sat, Apr 28, 2012 at 2:27 PM, Albert Muth <albertmuth734 at>wrote:

> It seems to come up often enough that someone's remote family origin,
> the one where ancestors lived before migrating to Russian Poland
> or Volhynia, was Württemberg.  Well, some settlers did come from there.
> I have seen this origin often for settlers in Ozorków, Gostynin, Gąbin,
> Wyszogród and sporadically elsewhere.  Sometimes,
> people have successfully traced families back to before 1600 in
> Württemberg.
> Me, I am very jealous of people who can trace that kind of
> ancestry in Germany.  I cannot.  My Muth line "beamed down"
> into Poland about 1794, which is when they appear in the
> South Prussian land records. No clue there about origin.
> The family tradition says we came from Elsaß, the
> surname was originally Demuth. Both surnames, Muth
> and Demuth existed in Elsaß.
> My Abraham line appears to be in the area South of
> Czarnikau (Posen region) going back into the 1600's,
> well, well before the time frame of the Partitions.
> To get a sense of where people came from before they
> came to a specific region of Poland, you need
> to become familiar with the Breyer map, from a
> 1935 article by researcher Albert Breyer
> called "Deutsche Gaue in Polen" published in the
> *Ostdeutsche Heimathefte*
> SGGEE has the original of the map at
> an updated polychromatic version at
> If we use the area covered by the respective Lutheran parishes as a
> geographical unit, the settlement history is quite different.  The
> source for much of this history continues to be a 1972 book in
> German (untranslated) by Eduard Kneifel, *Die evangelisch-augsburgischen *
> *Gemeinden in Polen 1555-1939 : Eine Parochialgeschichte in
> Einzeldarstellungen*
> available on microfiche from LDS.  SGGEE had at one time a project (in
> English!),
> seen at
> but it seems to have died on the vine for lack of interest.  Huh?
> As my dad would have said, "I just don't versteh".  No interest?
> C'mon, SGGEE needs more volunteers.
> As least for Volhynia, there are some serious historians out there,
> including our own Dick Benert who always brings things to our
> attention.  They seldom have anything to do with Russian Poland.
> I cannot name any historians at all for Russian Poland, who are
> likely to mention German settlers.  Nothing in English, unless it's
> a few items on wikipedia.
> My personal area of interest is the area of the Evangelical parish
> of Babiak, particularly to the North and Northeast.  I have
> relatives in Bycz and Tymień who were there from say 1780.
> Before the Partitions.  This was not Prussia at all.
> The area where they had come from, say, west of Gnesen,
> was not yet Prussia either. In 1772 (date of the first Partition),
> this was Poland, Poland.  See
> The map is at
> These people were ethnically German, but were living in Poland and
> probably had been for two centuries or more.  And they kept
> moving east to get away from the nasty Prussians and obligatory
> military service.
> Notice map of what Prussia had acquired via the 2nd Partition in 1793.
> See
> The third partition (1795) ended the existence of Poland as a country
> The map of Prussia in 1806 is very important to understand
>  It shows
> the area considered to be Prussia.  When people moved into this
> area in the 1790's and early 1800's, they understood they were
> going to be living in Prussia. Maybe it was just another region of their
> own
> country.  Maybe the government provided incentives for new settlers
> to go in and populate the area, bringing their special talents.
> Even the Prussian state of Posen received many, many new
> settlers at the time of the partitions.  If you have someone of
> German heritage born there, say, in 1850, you cannot know
> whether the family had only been there 75 years or more than 200 years.
> You have to trace the family tree to know for sure.
> To understand how our ancestors moved into the area later to be
> known as Russian Poland, it may help you if I bring in an analogy from
> American History.  In 1889, for example, a two million acre
> part of Oklahoma (about 3000 square miles or about 7700 square
> kilometers, the entire state of Oklahoma is almost 70000 square miles
> or over 181000 square kilometers) was opened up for settlement. Under
> the provisions of the Homestead Act of 1862, a legal settler could
> claim 160 acres of public land.  Then, if he lived on and improved
> the claim for five years, he could receive title.  That is, the land
> would be his.
> I do not doubt that the specifics of acquiring the land were
> quite different for us in Russian Poland, but I think the mentality
> of "yee-haw" is not far off the mark.  For the American history,
> read and
> Anyway, just some thoughts about my own area.
> Here are some statistics based on the origins of grooms and
> brides in 100 marriage records from the parish of Rożyszcze
> in Volhynia in 1876 (film #2380026).  So, there will be 200 people.
> 11 marriages fell through, did not get performed. I will ignore these 22
> people
> 19 people were born in Volhynia
> 44 were born in the gubernia of Petrikau/Piotrków (see map at
> 28 in the gubernia of Warschau/Warszawa
> 26 in the gubernia of Kalisch/Kalisz
> 9 in the gubernia of Radom
> From other Russian areas, 1 from Kurland, 1 from Podolia, 2 from Galicia.
> From Prussia:
> 12 from Posen
> 10 from Pommern
> 10 from Westpreussen/Ostpreussen
> from other German-speaking areas
> 1 from Baden
> 1 from Mecklenburg
> So, now, how many people were there getting married in Volhynia in 1876 who
> were
> from Württemberg?  None.  Zero.  Zippo.  Zilch.
> And those from Volhynia itself?  Barely 10%  Everyone
> else is a johnny-come-lately or parvenu.
> Al Muth
> P.S.  By the way, for our non-native English speakers, the verbs "beam
> up/down"
> are associated with the late 1960's television program "Star Trek".
> Another way of saying "I do not know where my ancestor came from" is
> saying that he "participated in the Federal Witness Protection Program".
> See
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