Karnes County, Texas 1860 US Census

I noticed that many of the early settlers of Panna Maria, Texas were added to the FamilySeach Family Tree but that the 1860 US Census was not attached to very many of them as a source. I began viewing the 1860 census records for Karnes County in which Panna Maria is located. I downloaded the index into a spreadsheet and deleted people who were not of Polish descent. I began to see why the census was not attached to very many people-- the index was not particularly useful. I've included the index here. Perhaps you can figure out the correct spellings of the names.

Name Sorting on this Website

Polish, like most European languages including English, is based on the Latin alphabet. To represent additional sounds, some of the letters get modified to create new letters. The new letters pretty much look like their unmodified forms. In Polish, these additional letters are: ąćęłńóśźż. How does one alphabetize the new letters? The Polish alphabetization rule (also called a collation) is to place the new letters after the unmodified form. So the Polish alphabetical order is: aąbcćdeęfghijklłmnńoóprsśtuwyzźż.

Wiśnicze, pow. Gliwice, woj. śląskie

This parish is significant because some of its residents emigrated to the United States in the 1850s and established the first Polish settlement in the US (in Texas).

Gazetteer of Poznań 1902

The Prussian Province of Poznań had 2 administrative districts, Poznań and Bydgoszcz. The Poznań district had 28 powiaty (counties) and Bydgoszcz had 14 powiaty. The value of this gazetteer is that it gives both Polish and German names of locales which can help you locate them on a map. The gazetteer also gives the Catholic parish for the locale.

Index to The Illustrated Geographical Atlas of the Kingdom of Poland, 1907

The Illustrated Geographical Atlas of the Kingdom of Poland (or in Polish Atlas geograficzny illustrowany Królestwa Polskiego), published by J M Bazewicz in 1907, may be useful for finding towns in the Russian partition of Poland. The atlas is broken down by powiat which is fine if you happen to know which one to look at. Many records we encounter do not include that information. This combined index lets you look for a town without knowing the powiat.

Gazetteer of Poland 1933

This gazetteer of the Republic of Poland from 1933 is valuable because it is a single resource for all of Poland back then. Prior to the restoration of the Polish state, you often needed a different gazetteer specific for the partition you were working in. Furthermore, modern gazetteers do not include the eastern territory that was taken from Poland after World War II. This gazetteer includes the parish that a locality belonged to so you know where to looks for parish records.

Finding More Sources by Changing Names

If you have used Family Tree at familysearch.org, you know how great it is to have potential sources found for you to evaluate. Sometimes it takes a bit of prodding to get it to find new sources. Here's a couple of examples of how I did this today.

Limited Index Editing in Family Tree of familysearch.org

As of about mid-July 2019, the Family Tree of familysearch.org has added a feature which allows you to edit some of the names in their indexes of various record collections. This has been a desirable feature for a long time since many names were badly indexed either due to bad information in the original document, bad writing of correct information, or bad indexing (the indexer did not have the skill to read Polish names). When you edit a name, you are asked if it was an indexing problem or if the original document was incorrect.

Family Search Family Tree

I had always been hesitant to share my family history research because I didn't want it appearing on for-profit websites where it is then sold to others. I also question sometimes whether what I have seen on those sites is a rehash of what I gave to a relative and has been passed around, or did someone do the same research and verify that the facts I recorded are valid. The inclusion of sources is lacking.

Finding Ancestral Villages in Poland

It can be difficult to find the ancestral villages of our ancestors in Poland. The first difficulty is finding documentation that even attempts to provide the place name. Some church records and immigration/naturalization records provide this information, but not always. The next hurdle is the spelling. The person who filled in the record probably did not have knowledge of the geography (or maybe even the language) to complete the record correctly. While we may have some familiarity with our own city or state, few of us know all the cities in all the states.



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