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Genealogical introduction to Eastern Greater Poland

Genealogical introduction to Eastern Greater Poland

The areas of Kalisz and Konin are traditionally considered to be in the South-eastern region of Greater Poland - which up to the Partitions of Poland was composed of two voivodships: Poznan and Kalisz. The Congress of Vienna cut off a part of the latter voivodship and gave it to the autonomous Kingdom of Poland under Russian rule, while the major part of Greater Poland became the Prussian Duchy (later Province) of Poznan. From that time on, the area around Kalisz and Konin lived a different fate than the rest of the region.

 

This division broke the long-established ties in the region. After 1824 inhabitants could no longer choose which kingdom they wanted to reside and migration was halted. The regions under Russian control were subordinated to the Wloclawek Catholic diocese although they had belonged to the Archdiocese of Gniezno. The area in question was divided into five districts of Konin, Slupca, Kalisz, Kolo and Turek which constituted the major part of the Gubernya of Kalisz. The division caused the Prussia- and Russian-controlled areas to develop differently generating problems with re-integration which are evident today! The economical development in Eastern Greater Poland proceeded easier during the early 19th century than during the latter when development was curtailed. These former Russian districts remained poorer and less developed throughout the 20th century. Some historical and social processes went differently. Unlike in the Prussian Province of Poznan, the Jewish population was not assimiliated and the percentage of Germans remained small. The architecture of the villages felt the impact, too. The Russian area retained the typical wooden buildings while the Prussian region incorporated brick structures with "Fachwerk".

 

Genealogical records in Eastern Greater Poland also differ from those produced in the rest of the region. This was caused by the variation in laws being enforced in both states. Interestingly only the record keeping language changed from in 1868 (from Polish to Russian). The format of the records remained constant throughout the century. The records were written in narrative form (not as tables) and the text strictly obeyed a standard prescribed by the law. Civil duplicates were prepared after each year in every parish and they were sent to the local court. Presently, they are kept in the local civil registries (Urzad Stanu Cywilnego or USC) which are usually located in town halls. Documents older than 100 years must be transferred to the State Archives of Poznan or Kalisz, depending on the administrative affiliation. Until 1945 records were produced separately for each religion: Roman Catholic, Jewish or Lutheran. Original records of the Roman Catholic parishes have mostly been transferred to the Diocesan Archive in Wloclawek.

 

After W.W.II, this area became part of Poland still it was only in 1938 that it was incorporated into the province (voivodship) of Poznan. The new administrative division established in 1999 defines the region of Konin and Kalisz as part of the Wielkopolskie (Greater Polish) voivodship.

 


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