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Posts by andersm  

Joined: 24 Nov 2011 / Female ♀
Last Post: 1 May 2013
Threads: 4
Posts: 32
From: Kamloops, BC, Canada
Speaks Polish?: No but I wish I did
Interests: Genealogy, history, reading, writing

Displayed posts: 36 / page 1 of 2
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andersm   
1 May 2013
History / Poland's Roads in the 17th Century [19]

Polish roads

I live in Canada and there are still many roads between small towns or out in the country among the farms that are gravel especially in the prairie provinces like Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Once you reach the town limits, the streets are paved. Following a vehicle over a gravel road on a hot still day the dust hangs so thickly you have to drop back so you can let the dust settle enough you can see where you're going. Those gravel roads are murder on windshields!
andersm   
30 Apr 2013
History / Poland's Roads in the 17th Century [19]

With the generous suggestions and links provided by those who responded to my question, I've read everything I could get my hands on over the past several days. It seems there is no simple answer to the condition of the roads in the 17 century for it very much depends on where and at what point in time. There is general agreement the roads out in the country, even the major ones linking cities, were in abysmal condition. Close to the major centres there was some improvement but it seems even that deteriorated as the 17 century progressed.

One source indicates at the end of the 16th century Warsaw had a water system and paved streets yet over time they deteriorated and by mid-17 century Warsaw's streets were covered in mud. The civic amenities of the Commonwealth gradually eroded as the state grew steadily weaker while the power and self-interest of the magnatial oligarchs increased. The magnates had no interest in civic works for any but their own towns and of course the royal coffers were scarcely enough to cover Poland's defense needs let alone anything as discretionary as the quality of the roads.

Thanks to all who contributed to the discussion.
andersm   
22 Apr 2013
History / Poland's Roads in the 17th Century [19]

I think perhaps your best source of information (potentially) would be the memoirs and diaries of military persons such as Hetman Zolkiweski, JC Pasek and so on, with Pasek probably the most relevant. There may be some snippets of road conditions/construction in such journals. Both were alive during the C17.

I read Pasek (great book) about six months ago and don't recall anything on roads but I'll go through it again with a closer eye. Thanks for the tip on Zolkweski and Beauplan. I just did a search on openlibrary for the Hetman and found his memoirs on openlibrary.org unfortunately in Polish, but I may be able to find the English translation elsewhere. If you haven't heard of openlibrary, they have thousands of old books digitized and available to read online or download to a Kindle. Often both in their original language and an English translation. Beauplan - I found a few old books with that surname but different first names. Can you recall his Christian name?

Thanks very much for your suggestions.
andersm   
21 Apr 2013
History / Poland's Roads in the 17th Century [19]

Most if not all reads in 17th century in Europe were roads without hard surface.

Absolutely true. The only exceptions were the major roads leading into to a large city where they used cobblestone or stone pavers to cut down on the dust and also, one supposes to engender a little civic pride. The surfacing would not extend much beyond a kilometer or two from the city gates. At least that is true in Western Europe but they also had the old road networks left by the long since departed Romans.

Poland's Roads still in the 17th century.

I hope that's not really true. :-(

I would imagine that only municipal roads were kept like genuine roads. Because of the power and influence of regional magnates at the time I would guess that there wouldn't have been any coordinated national road system. It would probably up to the local magnate to decide on the sate of local roads

I'm sure you're correct there. A national transportation program didn't exist because of the lack of a strong centralized government with the will to implement such a scheme. Still the question begs how much was done even on a local level. The PL Commonwealth is an interesting study. From what I read, back in the 16th - to early 17th century wealthy Poles traveled extensively and Italy was a favourite destination. I expect they would have seen the road networks around Rome as well as other European capitals. How inclined were they to bring any of those ideas home? Warsaw, my chief interest, was the royal residence and also home to a large number of magnates who had large estates and even palaces immediately surrounding the city. The question is, did the king and nobility do anything to improve the roads in the immediate vicinity for their own convenience if not for the beautification of their capital city?
andersm   
21 Apr 2013
History / Poland's Roads in the 17th Century [19]

Since the Romans with their superb road construction never conquered the Slavic lands, what is the history of Poland's own road-building? I understand there was a good navigation system on the Vistula River for transporting grain to the seaport of Gdansk. However, people also traveled extensively by land. I can find little information about the Commonwealth's road network in the few books on Polish history written in English. From old paintings and sketches it appears the streets in the major cities were hard-surfaced, but what about the main roads leading into places like Karkow and Warsaw? Were they hard-surfaced a few kilometers out or dirt right up to the city gates?
andersm   
10 Nov 2012
History / Stefan Czarniecki - Siege of Krakow, Sept - Oct 1655 [5]

So I guess Stefan Czeniecki did not fight at Piątek, and came to Kraków directly from Ukraine.

In the absence of any evidence to the contrary, you have to assume that is so. I imagine that word of the capitulation of the Wielkopolska gentry went rapidly to the southeastern borderlands and the Polish King likely demanded some of his army should return. His best troops were in Ukraine. In the Polish king's place I'd be far more concerned with the professional army of the Swedes than the Cossacks and Muscovites. I'll have to look it up but I think it was around the time the Swedes took Krakow that the Cossacks besieged Lwow and when that was unsuccessful they went on to take Lublin. Their rapid advance could be explained in light of a number of the Polish troops being called back to the king.

You don't really think too much about the minute details and sequences of historic events until you try to create a story using facts anyone can check for accuracy. I thought Czarniecki would be the ideal leader to stick a young soldier into his regiments and let the adventure go from there. There's been so much written about him. However, there are gaps and even some of the published facts sometimes don't agree. I've discovered history books disagree on dates and places so that means checking other sources until you find two that say the same thing. From what other writers of historic fiction tell me, no matter how obscure a piece of information may be, someone will know and they'll call you on it. I can't imagine trying to dig into Polish sources without the assistance of someone who speaks the language. Your help is very much appreciated. :-)

Marlene
andersm   
9 Nov 2012
History / Stefan Czarniecki - Siege of Krakow, Sept - Oct 1655 [5]

Boletus, indeed long time no talk! :-) Thank-you for collecting and translating the information on the siege of Krakow and on Czarniecki. It's exactly what I needed. English Wikopedia is woefully deficient in this area. You could add this translation and many would cheer.

I now understand the situation imposed on Czarniecki under the terms of surrender - it was not exile, but a directive to refrain from arms. I'm sure, however, he privately stirred up trouble in the background, particularly among the peasant resistance that was beginning to get underway.

My understanding is that the Crown army was all in Ukraine dealing with Khmelnytsky and Buturlin at the time of the Swedish invasion. Did they get called back to join Jan Casimir to confront the Swedes or were there sufficient troops in and around Warsaw to make a stand? As it is now, I'm simply going to make the assumption there was a call for help and some of the regiments galloped back to Warsaw.

Thank-you again!

Marlene
PS: I've had interest in the story from an agent and an editor. If the finished manuscript is actually accepted to get published, I will need to collect your name for an acknowledgement for all the help. Unless you prefer to be known as 'Boletus from Polish Forums'. :-) That'll add some mystery to it!
andersm   
9 Nov 2012
History / Stefan Czarniecki - Siege of Krakow, Sept - Oct 1655 [5]

I'm hunting information on the siege of Krakow, specifically related to Stefan Czarnieki. I've read several history book written in English and the details are rather vague. I expect the information in Polish history books is much more complete. Can anyone help in the details of the following.

Where was Czarniecki fighting before he went to Krakow? Was he in Ukraine or was he part of the fighting between Warsaw and Krakow and just got pushed south and ended up trying to defend Krakow?

Are there any historic records detailing the siege itself? All I know is that it started with a Swedish bombardment. How did Czarniecki defend? What damage was done to the city? Was Czarniecki exiled as part of the terms? In one place I read he was but no other sources mention this. What was the behaviour of the Swedes? (Later it was very bad but at the outset was it more civilized?)

I'm writing a novel where the siege of Krakow plays an important role but the details are frustratingly absent in history books written in English. Can anyone name a book written in English with more details? Or, supply answers to the questions above.

Thank-you to all who can help.

Marlene
andersm   
12 Jul 2012
History / Passenger terminal in Port of Gdansk 17th Century [6]

A journey from Warsaw to Gdansk lasted about 10 days. Including a few days of stay in the city - the round trip took almost 5 weeks.

You raise an interesting point. I have the characters collect their daughter then take a horse-drawn carriage to their home in Warsaw. What you suggest is they likely would have taken a boat. That is, picked up their daughter from the ocean-going vessel and transferred to a smaller vessel for the trip up the Vistula to Warsaw.

Thanks for the great photos and information on the Port of Gdansk.

Marlene
andersm   
11 Jul 2012
History / Passenger terminal in Port of Gdansk 17th Century [6]

Boletus,
I smiled as soon as I saw your name. I might as well put you on speed dial for my questions about Polish history and culture. Again, thank-you for coming to the rescue.

From what you say at that time there were no passenger ships as such so people traveled on the merchant ships. On a larger merchant ship, how many passengers might it hold? I need to figure out how large a crowd would be waiting for the passengers on land. Twenty passengers? Fifty? More?

Here's the rough draft of the opening paragraph.

A large ship with furled sails glides through the Port of Gdansk and makes its final approach through the rippling waters of the Motława River toward Granaries Island. Sailors line the deck, black silhouettes against the blue October sky, patiently waiting for the vessel to draw alongside a wide wooden pier. A gentle bump, a rope snakes from the ship, a dozen hands lift and once more the ocean voyager Is joined to land. A daughter is home.

That first sentence will need work to both get the right sense of place and tighten it up - it's a bit of a run-on. Still not sure if it would slide alongside a pier or pull into a berth but as it will not be mentioned again in the rest of the book perhaps it doesn't matter enough to invest the time. One strives for authenticity but it becomes a matter of how much effort it deserves under the circumstances. I looked at the Google map as you recommended - would the port facilities have generally been the same in the 17th C?

Feel free to recommend different wording in the draft.

Ironside
Thank-you for posting that picture. That gives a genuine feel for the activity around the port. If people traveled by merchant ship, then there must have been quite a traffic jam in the unloading area unless there was a general procedure of getting rid of the people and their baggage before the cargo holds were unloaded.
andersm   
11 Jul 2012
History / Passenger terminal in Port of Gdansk 17th Century [6]

Anyone able to tell me where a passenger ship would disembark in the Port of Gdansk in the mid 17th century? I've almost made myself blind looking at maps of the port area. I need to reference for a novel. Would there have been a pier built out into the water or a quay on land for a ship to pull alongside? Even if someone can point me to a map I would appreciate it.
andersm   
5 Jul 2012
Life / Old Polish Tradition of a Son's First Steps [6]

Boletus,
Thank-you for digging up this information. I will definitely not include any reference to this myth in my novel. It seemed plausible given everything I've read about Poland's historic love of horses.

The novel is going well. (It's a part time effort as I work fulltime at a different job.) I recall speaking with you about the use of 'Ana Bociana' as a tease for the female lead character. Well, our poor homely gangly Anastazja has finally grown into a striking woman - catching up with her features. (BTW I knew a young boy like that - a homely child and adolescent and then wow! as a man....he simply grew up in odd ways and once the parts came together, well, after 20 years I still remember him and my heart skips a beat. *G*) Anastazja has just had her home destroyed by the rapacious Swedes and been given shelter by her younger brother amongst the Polish resistance fighters . I think for her next disaster we might have her kidnapped by Tatar slavers.

I appreciate the help you've provided and look forward to talking over other items related to Polish culture and history.

Marlene
andersm   
5 Jul 2012
Life / Old Polish Tradition of a Son's First Steps [6]

I've read that back when horses were still the principle means of transportation a Polish father would take his newborn son to the stable and sit him on a horse for his 'first steps'.

Can anyone verify this was a tradition or is this a myth?
andersm   
10 Feb 2012
Genealogy / Polish looks? [1464]

Do I have any facial characteristics typical of Poles or other Slavic countries?

If I saw you on a street in Canada I would know you were of Eastern European descent and if forced to say I would go with Ukrainian before Polish. Just something about the cast of the features. You're a pretty girl regardless of ethnic mix.
andersm   
27 Dec 2011
Life / Poles hard working or just born lazy. [58]

A good worker wont be working too long in a "cappy warehause or dodgy factory" for too long. Eventually he/she will be given a promotion. Then another, then another.

Very true. I'm self-employed and hire new people at minimum wage. Those who show the most initiative get rewarded with pay raises and, if they hang in, with promotions. Businesses are starved for leadership and when you see an employee coasting along with his or her lip hanging on the ground and seething with resentment, what sane business owner would promote such a person with that kind of miserable attitude and work ethic?
andersm   
25 Dec 2011
USA, Canada / If America is so bad, why move here? [254]

The USA has a hell of a lot more to offer people aside from just money.

True, I lived there and have seen it. The burden every American carries is that the rest of the world sees the USA only one way and, unfortunately, it's an impression Americans themselves have promoted. What America offers the world is not the fact that you're rich, it's the social, political and economic freedom to be what you want to be through personal achievement. You've taken in the poor and dispossessed from throughout the world and took their shackles off. Great things have been accomplished and it has made America wealthy. I'm a big fan of America, but my admiration is for the country it once was, not for the country it is becoming since the banksters have taken over. It is not the corporations that have ruined America, a corporation is merely one way of structuring a business, it is the fluid movement of top level people between government and the financial industry. The regulation of the financial industry is weak because the Treasury Department and the executives of Goldman Sachs are one and the same people.
andersm   
23 Dec 2011
USA, Canada / If America is so bad, why move here? [254]

Every country in the world has its pros and cons. As a close neighbour of America and also having lived and extensively traveled in that country I can offer these observations.

Good
1.Americans are the friendliest people you can imagine. I've sat alone in restaurants and had people drop over to talk to me at my table or invite me over to theirs. Not just once or twice, consistently, and throughout the country, from the ranchlands of Montana to small town North Carolina to the industrial outback of Wisconsin. You would not see that in Canada.

2. Meritocracy. There is reward for hard work and innovation and the reward is larger in America than anywhere else. The best and the brightest end up there, not only because of financial incentives, but because they are welcomed there. Americans don't resent achievement, they applaud and admire it.

3. Generosity: I can't say anything better than how a fellow Canadian said it many years ago. It's a little dated, but true nevertheless. Read it here: truthorfiction.com/rumors/g/gordonsinclair.htm

4. Many countries, but particularly Canada, have had a better, more secure life because America stood eyeball to eyeball with the USSR and the Russians blinked first. I knew life under Soviet communism was grim but I just read the book Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin and I have a much better appreciation for the horrifying hell on earth visited upon the Poles, Ukrainians, Belorussians and people in the Balkan states. Fourteen million people dead, the vast majority from a deliberate policy of murder. I am humbled by the courage and resilience of the people of Central Europe.

Detrimental to America's international standing (in other words, why Americans **** people off)
Failure to recognize there is a world outside the US borders and it's a big, important world at that. American parochialism is legendary. It frustrates the hell out of people when they meet an American and feel dismissed as unimportant against that swaggering arrogance and superiority complex. It's called the Ugly American Syndrome and I know many Americans hurt and bewildered by the hostility they encounter from other nationalities. Unfortunately, too many Americans over too many years have earned that reputation on behalf of their own citizens. It will take a considerable amount of time to undue that damage.
andersm   
22 Dec 2011
Love / How many Polish men are Violent how much is domestic abuse reported. [129]

It's one thing reporting abuse, it's another getting a court to do anything about it.

The way it goes here is that suspicion of abuse is reported to a government ministry called Child and Family Services who assign a social worker to investigate. If these suspicions are founded then the child is taken away and put in foster care. The social worker has a lot of influence. If the courts are involved it's typically one of two ways, the parents challenge the right of the social worker to take the child. Or, the child is severely injured or killed and then it's part of the criminal justice system. By that time it's a matter of doing too little, too late. I can't think of one instance in this latter situation where someone, somewhere didn't know things were bad in the home. And then the finger pointing begins. I'll stray off-topic here for a moment and talk about a trial currently involving a family from Afghanistan where the father, mother and oldest son are on trial for first degree murder of three teen girls and the father's first wife - an honour killing, is what the papers call it. The school knew there was abuse in the home and dutifully reported it to Child and Family Services. The idiot social worker interviewed the girls in front of the father and mother and of course the girls recanted because they were terrified. A few weeks later they were dead.
andersm   
21 Dec 2011
Love / How many Polish men are Violent how much is domestic abuse reported. [129]

The law was good in intent and bad in practice for the very reason you state. It was aimed at doctors, teachers, family members etc. who saw the child and knew with certainty there was a problem. But it was a pretty big net and dragged in the neighbours as well who only heard the ruckus. However, as with anything, the law of unintended consequences always trumps the best of intentions. It opened the doors to all the busybodies who couldn't wait to report some harried father in a grocery store smacking his kid on the arse for screaming and kicking in a tantrum because the kid wanted something.
andersm   
21 Dec 2011
Love / How many Polish men are Violent how much is domestic abuse reported. [129]

Are there any laws in Poland that make it mandatory to report kids being abused? There is such a law in Canada, passed some years ago when it was discovered a lot of kids were dying at the hands of their parents and it came out at trial that several people knew there was severe abuse but didn't say anything. Now a person can be charged as accessory to a crime if they don't report.
andersm   
13 Dec 2011
Work / Poland salary and compensation package - What is included? [28]

Food in the shops costs western prices and cars are more expensive than in Canada.

Let's compare apples to apples: a 2.3 kg bag of apples is 4 CAD or about 13 zł. I don't know what kind of cars Canada and Poland both have but I'll take a wild guess and say a Toyota Camry. A 2012 basic model is 23,700 CAD or around 78,200 zł. I'm using an exchange rate of 3.3 zł to one CAD though that fluctuates so there's a bit of slop to the comparison numbers.
andersm   
8 Dec 2011
Work / Poland salary and compensation package - What is included? [28]

In straight numbers wages are higher. A ticketed carpenter here where I live can earn $35/hr but on the other hand an average 3 BR house costs $350,000. You can see that purchasing power is likely not much different than in Poland. The numbers are different but relative to what you can buy are likely similar. (Have you any comparison numbers for wages and housing in Poland?) Quality of life - I have no experience of life in Poland but acknowledge that life in Canada is very easy compared to much of the world. Can't say that people are any happier though.
andersm   
8 Dec 2011
Work / Poland salary and compensation package - What is included? [28]

Here there's generally far more people than are possibly needed and a lot of time relaxing at work. It's a hard life. In Poland people have to cover their colleagues and in the summer employees must (by law) take an uninterrupted fortnight. This is sometimes ignored, though larger companies usually insist.

I'd like to know if Polish people are shocked when/if they come to North America to work. A few years ago when Canadian construction was booming there was a move afoot to bring in skilled European tradesmen due to a severe labour shortage. The perception was they'd be more quality conscious and harder working than the young kids who were more interested in texting than working. I can't image the Polish trades were particularly impressed with two unpaid 15 min coffee breaks and a half-hour unpaid lunch, bring your own food and drink. If people turned around and left for home I can see why.
andersm   
8 Dec 2011
Work / Poland salary and compensation package - What is included? [28]

That is really quite incredible. Does a business need to hire extra staff to cover vacations or do the other employees just pitch in and take on more? What's the length of the work week? Canada it's 40 hours. Overtime @ 1.5 times regular pay for anything after an 8 hour day and if it's more than 4 hours over the regular day, OT is 2 times regular pay. How do they pay for overtime in Poland or Doha for that matter?
andersm   
8 Dec 2011
Work / Poland salary and compensation package - What is included? [28]

No, you get paid leave and start accruing it right from the start. 20 days if you're fresh from university, otherwise 25.

A newly hired person gets 20 days of paid leave in Poland? Wow, that's twice as much as a person in Canada. Typical here is you get 2 weeks until you've worked at a place for 4 or 5 years and then it goes up to 3 weeks for a few years, 4 weeks after a few more years, etc. etc. Poland is very generous compared to North America. I believe US is similar to Canada as far as vacation time.
andersm   
8 Dec 2011
News / How Polish diaspora see future of Poland? as ethnic Polish state or just Polish in origin? [120]

That doesn't make you Polish; it just makes you a responsible, law-abiding resident

Point taken. Implied but unsaid was that the individual has citizenship. My miss.

In countries the world over language and customs are the basics of belonging to a particular ethnic identity. Perhaps it needs a couple generations living in a country for it all to really soak in. The most important element is that the individual considers him or herself as part of that ethnic group. That's why I see people who hyphenate their national identity as making a choice NOT to belong no matter what their citizenship papers say.
andersm   
8 Dec 2011
News / How Polish diaspora see future of Poland? as ethnic Polish state or just Polish in origin? [120]

If you live in Poland, speak the language, adhere to Poland's laws and follow the customs, then you are Polish. In the privacy of their homes people can enjoy their own ethnic traditions but in their public lives, they should go with the predominant culture otherwise there's no point immigrating to another country. Multi-Kulti is fine - trot it out a couple days a year for multiculturalism events and then put it back in the suitcase until the same time next year. If immigrants bring new ideas and we like them, we'll take them on, but it we don't, go away already. Don't beat your host country over the head. I don't know about Poland but Canada has something called Human Rights Commissions. They deal with great social issues like defending a couple of drunk lesbians hurling insults at a stand-up comic who insulted them back and hurt their feelings. And the UN Human Rights Commission is a joke - the UN has turned into a circus that no self-respecting country should ever be part of.
andersm   
7 Dec 2011
Love / How many Polish men are Violent how much is domestic abuse reported. [129]

There are some cultures that accept male violence against women more than others, but there's a continuum that spreads across all cultures. From the men who would never dream of striking anyone smaller to those who think giving a woman a slap now and then is generally good policy to those who flip out in a rage and put her in the hospital. For a dozen years I volunteered with an emergency shelter for women and children who needed a place to stay when they had to run for cover. The stories were very similar in the way the violence cycled: the beating, the teary apology, the reconciliation, the honeymoon phase, tension building and another beating. What was interesting is how often the woman triggered the beating herself by striking him first. Hence the recorded stats show women are equally prone to violence. But probe a little deeper and you find something quite interesting. In the tension building stage, when she knows a beating is imminent, the woman is under very high stress knowing that violence is coming but she doesn't know when or how bad it will be. So, she tries to control the timing so she can control the severity. Catching him a few minutes before he runs off to a football game with the boys generally means he has less time to inflict permanent damage.

And yes, women can also be the aggressor and I personally know of one case where a 193 cm 115 kg man lives in terror of his 160 cm 55 kg wife. I don't blame him because I know this woman and I would not be surprised to pick up a newspaper one morning and see she's been arrested for killing or disabling someone. She grew up with a lot of abuse from her father and she has a hate for men that's strong enough to lean on. She's not the only one - you'd be surprised how often the woman acting the most seductively is doing it to draw in a man so she has one more victim to vent her fury on. Men have very few places to turn because they fear the laughter and ridicule of others though thankfully there is greater recognition and help than there used to be but certainly it's not easy to find for a man living in a small town.

So, men and women bring their baggage into a relationship, whether its a desire to punish all women or all men for the sins of one or a cultural disposition to use violence to control their partner because that's what they learned growing up.

Family violence encompasses both genders and all classes, cultures and races. Does anyone remember the rich Manhattan lawyer who beat his pre-school child so badly she eventually died? The photo of his wife's face was just gruesome - she was so disfigured she looked like a 50 yr old boxer who'd never won a fight in his life.
andersm   
6 Dec 2011
Life / You are Polish if... [433]

especially when to say dż & g (eg.gesture) or u,a,e(tunnel) i know it only after i check it in dictionary.

Google Translate has a decent translation you can read and hear if you click the little audio button. It's helped me a great deal in my family ancestry research and run into Polish documents.
andersm   
29 Nov 2011
Travel / What can Poland do to attract more tourists? Llamas farm? [65]

I think there's a potential market for guided tours tailored to specific individuals or groups from other countries want to walk the ground and see the places where their Polish ancestors lived. North Americans are particularly interested in learning about their roots - the whole genealogy industry is seeing explosive growth with the advent of the internet. They would visit Poland provided there was a guide to help them with the language and to get them around. It would take people out into the small villages and spread their money around more. Accommodation could be handled by having people stay in private homes - bed and breakfast kind of concept.