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Why the escape in the 1800s ? Searching for my family roots.

steveholdem 2 | 3
13 Dec 2009 #1
why did people escape poland in 1800s my last name is not what it really should be, i am 45 now and found out that my family came over to west va to escape from ? what?
enkidu 7 | 623
13 Dec 2009 #2
Where? Who?
polkamaniac 1 | 482
13 Dec 2009 #3
You said the 1800"s---Well Here is what happened in Poland in the 1820's--It's the only major war there in this era.---This may help

After the Congress of Vienna, St. Petersburg had organized its Polish lands as the Congress Kingdom of Poland, granting it a quite liberal constitution, its own army, and limited autonomy within the tsarist empire. In the 1820s, however, Russian rule grew more arbitrary, and secret societies were formed by intellectuals in several cities to plot an overthrow. In November 1830, Polish troops in Warsaw rose in revolt. When the government of Congress Poland proclaimed solidarity with the insurrectionists shortly thereafter, a new Polish-Russian war began. The rebels' requests for aid from France were ignored, and their reluctance to abolish serfdom cost them the support of the peasantry. By September 1831, the Russians had subdued Polish resistance and forced 6,000 resistance fighters into exile in France, beginning a time of harsh repression of intellectual and religious activity throughout Poland. At the same time, Congress Poland lost its constitution and its army.
Jerry Lenart
9 Mar 2010 #4
Very interesting period of time; as I am trying to find out why my grandfather had to run for his life over the Carpathian Mountains from Hungary, and settled in south east Poland, near the Russian border in the Village of Nowy Zmigrod.

He would have been about 18-24 years old at that same time period.

So why would this have been a safe area to settle in during the Austro-Hungarian Regieme ?
Trevek 26 | 1,702
9 Mar 2010 #5
There was also the little matter of Napoleonic wars, with Napoleon invading Prussia and Russia in the first two decades of that century.

Also, the fact Poland was carved up and removed from the map in the mid 1790's might be part of the answer. I imagine a few folk wanted to be elsewhere after that.
skysoulmate 14 | 1,296
10 Mar 2010 #6
why did people escape poland in 1800s

Could be many several reasons. War(s), poverty, oppression by the Russians, Prussians or Austrians (depending on what part of Poland your family was from), or maybe better job prospects in the US? West Virgina had many new mines being developed and mining industry was a very old profession in Poland with many experienced miners.
plk123 8 | 4,149
10 Mar 2010 #7
War(s), poverty, oppression by the Russians, Prussians or Austrians

yup.. + uprising, starvations etc. Poles under occupations of the three didn't have it all that good.
Bratwurst Boy 9 | 10,525
10 Mar 2010 #8
Prussia was actually cool to live in...


Of the three partitions, the education system in Prussia was on a much higher level than in Austria or Russia.[2]

From the economic perspective, the territories of the Prussian partitions were the most developed, thanks to the progressive policies of the Prussian government.[2] The German government supported efficient farming, industry, financial institutions and transport.[2]

TheOther 5 | 3,711
10 Mar 2010 #9
Poles under occupations...

No occupation. You guys were properly annexed... ;)
skysoulmate 14 | 1,296
10 Mar 2010 #10
Prussia was actually cool to live in...

According to Göring maybe... LOL

I see your point but the choices were either horrible occupation (Russia), just as horrible occupation (Austria) or less horrible occupation (Prussia).
pawian 176 | 15,325
25 Apr 2012 #11
just as horrible occupation (Austria) or less horrible occupation (Prussia).

Sorry, wrong.
Austrian occupation was the least horrible. Poles were allowed to run in elections for MPs in the Austrian Parliament and two Poles even became a Prime Minister, a thing unheard of in other occupation zones.

Nickidewbear 23 | 584
26 Apr 2012 #12
why did people escape poland in 1800s my last name is not what it really should be

The pogroms began shortly after 1881, or at least that's when Anti Semitism ticked up. Remember that Poland was divided among Germany (Prussia), Russia (which included the Ukraine and the Polish Ukraine, among Poland other countries), and Austria Hungary. In Russia, Czar Nicholas II had no kawod for the Jews.
25 Jul 2014 #13
I am looking for surnames close to Chociemski (great grandpa) and Milczarck (great grandma). Not sure how correct the spellings are...but they are on the US records I have found. Any help would be awesome...
jon357 67 | 16,902
25 Jul 2014 #14
Try Chocimski and Milczarek.
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446
26 Jul 2014 #15
CHOCIMSKI: toponymic tag from the town of Chocim, now in Ukrainian-occupied SE Poland; Hurko coat of arms..

MILCZAREK or MIELCZAREK: occupational patronymic from mielcarz (malter); mielcarek or mielczarek would be the malter's son or helper; no known coat of arms.
22 Mar 2016 #16
HI I have read your posts and it is very interesting. My great grandfather to cam from Poland. His last name is Witkos. He came over in 1890 according to the census of 1900. I'm trying to figure out what his last mane in polish would be.
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446
22 Mar 2016 #17

WITKOS: This nickname-turned-surname was dervied from Witek, the hypocoristic (pet) name for Witold, once a very popular first name. Witold is the Polish rendering of the Lithuanian first name Vytautas. There is no English equivalent.

For more info please contact me.
21 Aug 2016 #18
Looking for my great grandparents and their fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles. Names of Michael Amenda and Wilhemine Zaloga, and names Mazuk or Mazuch, Schmidt. I hear they came from Heeselicht, Osterode, East Prussia and Jancovik. Sure could use some help with these, please and thank you in advance.
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446
21 Aug 2016 #19

MAZUCH: Could be derived from Polish words mazać (to smear, lubricate) or maź (ointment, libricant) but also an augementative form of Mazur (Masurian). Mazuk could be a variant spelling.

ZAŁOGA: a Polish word meaning team, task force, garrison or other collective.
SCHMIDT: is obviously German and a variant form of Schmied (smith, blacksmith)
Heeselicht; German name for Masurian locality of Leszcz or Leszcze (in Polish meaning bream, fish of the cyprinoid {carp} family).

correction: lubricant


It could have been shortened from Witkowski. There are somer 40,000 Witkowskis in Poland but fewer than 2 dozen signing themselves Witkos.
29 May 2017 #20
HI I have family in Hesselicht (Leszcz, Leszcze) and Dąbrówno ( Gilgenburg) they still live there I don't remember any of this surnames who live in Leszcz but in Dąbrówno i know is one family who's name is Schmidt.
13 Mar 2019 #21
This has been a fascinating thread - If anyone could give some assistance it would be appreciated. We have a family mystery that has generated quite a bit of conversation and question marks. My great grandfather Fred F Salewski immigrated from Prussia - within his siblings there are 3 different spellings as well as 3 different spellings within his children. All of his children were born in the US. Spellings are Salewski, Salesky, Salefska, Saleski
13 Mar 2019 #22
Probably originally it was Zalewski
3 May 2019 #23
Is Grabowski an correct spelling or was it changed in some way. My mothers maiden name was Grabowski and her Great Grand father immagrated in the 1870's we think from somewhere in Poland.
jon357 67 | 16,902
3 May 2019 #24
Is Grabowski an correct spelling

There are certainly plenty of people in Poland with that surname and that spelling. It isn't an unusual name.
pawian 176 | 15,325
3 May 2019 #25
Grabowski comes from grab, a popular tree in Poland.

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