Brief History of the Austrian Partition — 7 Things You Need to Know

Tomasz Nitsch
Warsaw, Poland

Historical Background

Some Interesting Videos

Partitions of Poland

Partitions of Poland on contemporary map vs RailWays density status of 1989

Austrian Empire

  • Country good for all its citizens
  • Respecting their cultural diversity
  • Respecting all official languages within the country:
    • On banknotes
    • Versions of National Anthem
  • From 1867 Autonomia Galicyjska
  • Franz Josef I times (1848-1916)

7 Things You Need to Know

  1. In Regno Polonia
  2. Austria — One Big Country
  3. Metrical books
  4. Languages
  5. Names
  6. Status of people
  7. House Numbers

1. In Regno Polonia

  • Austrian Partition vs Galicia
  • After 1815 Austria kept territories of partition 1 (1772)
  • Some Polish territories were out of Poland before 1772
  • CASE I — in Regno Polonia (Latin) / in Polish Kingdom (English)

2. Austrian Empire — One Big Country

  • CASE II — Antoni Biernot
    • Married in 1919 in Kanal Góra (góra = mountain)
    • Kanal Góra => Kanal near Görz

3. Metrical Books — Some Dates

  • Joseph II 1780-1790 known as the "great reformer"
  • 20 Feb 1784 / 7 Apr 1784 — new rules for Galicia
    • Three registers: births, marriages, deaths
    • One book per village
    • Latin language (book column headers)
  • 1788 — since that date all priests shall make copies of books and send them to his appropriate Curia of Bishop office.
  • 15 Mar 1792 — priests become responsible for state civil records.

3. Metrical Books — General Info

  • All metrical books look very similar across entire Galicia
  • Usually they are introduced by special instructions how to provide a book
  • The priests were punished financially in case they were not following the instructions

3. Metrical Books — Examples of Headers

  • Birth
  • Marriage
  • Death

Cause of Death in German (and not only) — German/English Glossary of Causes of Death and other Archaic Medical Terms

4. Languages

General Remarks

  • Do not focus on one word, rather read bigger portion of text
  • No official family orthography rules
  • Declention of family names in Slavic languages is possible
  • Find the family name in more than one place to make sure what is its most official version
  • Some Poles "forgot" how to write correctly (especially in German)

Languages — Latin

  • Month names

January — Januarius
February — Februarius
March — Martius
April — Aprilis
May — Maius
June — Junius, Iunius
July — Julius, Iulius, Quinctilis
August — Augustus
September — Septembris, 7ber, VIIber
October — Octobris, 8ber, VIIIber
November — Novembris, 9ber, IXber
December — Decembris, 10ber, Xber

  • First names — special versions

a.   Hyacinthus — Hiacynt/Jacenty/Jacek
b.   Stephanus — Stefan/Szczepan
c.   Adalbertus — Adalbert/Wojciech
d.   Matheus — Maciej, Mateusz
e.   Hedwig — Jadwiga (no counterpart in English)

Languages — German / Sutterlin

  • Sutterlin font on GenPol website
  • Very special letters
  • Tables with letters taken from metrical books from "your" parish
  • Case III — Very Tough Texts

5. Names / Surnames

  • Bielsko — Bielitz /Miedzyrzecze — Kurzwald
  • Franzfeld — smaller than in the past
  • Krawiec /Krawietz / Krawczyk / Krawczig
  • CASE IV — Szpak / Szpoczek
  • Nitsch <-> Nycz
  • Maps of surnames

6. Status of Farmers

  • Status (from richest to poorest)
    • Ackerbauer — kmieć — cmetho
    • Gärtler — zagrodnik
    • Häusler / Kleinhäusler — chałupnik
    • Taglöhner — pracownik dniówkowy
    • Inleute (Inmann, Inwohner, Einwohner) — komornicy
    • Auszügler(in) / Ausgedlingler(in) — wymownicy

7. House Numbers

  • Taxes / recruitment / conscription
  • Number 1 — Manor house
  • The best way to find close family
    • helps when there are 5 man named Jan Kowalski in the village
    • unknown maiden names
  • The quickest way to check big set of books
  • Nice opportunity to see that place now