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Smolanaj Poland, Manderewicz Surname and Location Help

Kristen 1 | 2  
20 Nov 2009 /  #1
Hi, I am looking for help with the following...

I am trying to figure out where Smolanaj Poland is or was. My great great grandfather listed Smolanaj Poland as his birthplace on his WWII draft card, but I cannot find this place anywhere. He was born in 1887, so maybe it no longer exists? Has anyone heard of Smolanaj?

His last name was Manderewicz, however I find nothing on this last name either. Is there a polish way to spell this last name?

Polonius3 983 | 12,333  
20 Nov 2009 /  #2
The spelling you gave cannot be found. There is a locality in former German East Prussia which the Gemrans called Schmolainen. In Polish it is Smolajny or Smoljajny, and in Russian - Смоляйны. In the Podlasie region there are 2 places called Smolany. Smolanaj might conveivably be the Lithuanian version of one of the above or some former Polish locality that now is in Lithuania.

No-one in Poand currently uses the Manderewicz surname. Could it have been Mendelwicz (10 users)? That would mean "son of Mendel" (probably a Jewish patronymic surname).
OP Kristen 1 | 2  
21 Nov 2009 /  #3
It's so strange because the draft card was filled out by my g g grandfather. So I would assume the spelling he used was correct as he emmigrated in his 20s. I also understand that Poland today is not the Poland that was around when he was born. I am leaning towards your Lithuania idea. As for the surname, we're def not Jewish but I guess at one point we could have been. I am working on finding more on his exact immigration records and hopefully they'll point me in the right direction.

Now that I think about it more. I remember my gmother telling me that her parents always pronounced it differently. Something along the lines of mendelevich. Not sure if that's a real name either :(
Polonius3 983 | 12,333  
21 Nov 2009 /  #4
Back in the 1920s a great many rural Poles were illiterate or semi-literate, meaning they could read and write but were very shaky about spelling, grammar, etymology, etc., so confusing individual letters is not inconceivable.

Maybe it was Mendelewicz. If so the root would have been mendel (15 pieces), from German but used in Poland since the 14th century. Once used as Anglos use a dozen for eggs, apples, etc. There was also a mendel chłopski (peasant's mendel) which counted 16 (like the English 'baker's dozen' - an extra one thrown in for good measure).

Mandelewicz would have as its root Mandel (German or Yiddish for almond) or a Yiddish form of the Hebrew name Menachem.
Note: I am not suggesting your family is Jewish. I am simply trying to conduct a purely linguistic analysis with what little I've got to work with.
OP Kristen 1 | 2  
21 Nov 2009 /  #5
The plot thickens, hahaha.

I found the ship manifest for his immigration in 1905. I am certain this is him, the first name matches, the age matches, the final destination matches, etc.

However, his name is listed as... Wanderewicz. It is clearly a W. I'm thinking this could have been a problem with reading his original papers from Poland and misreading the M for a W.

It lists his nationality as Russian, but his race as Polish. I have no idea what this means. Does this mean he was from Russia? Or does this mean that the part of Poland he is from was under Russian control in 1905?

Also, the place of last residence is listed as Smolany, not Smolanaj as is listed on his draft card. Was there a Smolany in the Russian controled part of Poland in 1905?

The manifest shows he was to be staying with his cousin, last name Niedrowski after arriving at this final destination. Does this surname tell anything about place or origin, etc???

Thanks you sooooooo much for your help!!!!
lowfunk99 10 | 397  
21 Nov 2009 /  #6
Because there was no Poland when he was born. He lived in the Russian side of Poland. That's why it gives Russia as nationality.

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