German SIG #Germany Lissa records transcription project update #germany
Dear all, and especially the volunteers for this project:
We have almost completed the transcription of Item 513 of the Lissa City
Records (Polish State Archive at Leszno, Fond 21). A few pages remain to
be done, including image 84, which the archive has promised to put on
A transcription of most (over 90%) of the census may be viewed at
http://tinyurl.com/LissaCensus. Feel free to add comments (highlight a
cell, then Insert-->Comment).
The item in question is a simple census of the Jewish residents of the
town of Lissa (now Leszno) in 1806. At that time Lissa was part of South
Prussia, i.e., lands acquired in the 2nd Partition of Poland. At the end
of 1806 those lands were ceded to Napoleon and became part of the Grand
Duchy of Warsaw.
What makes this census so interesting is the almost universal presence
of surnames. In 1797, 2 years after the 3rd Partition, Prussia had
issued new regulations regarding the large number of Jews in their
newly-acquired territories, which included a mandate to adopt
surnames--something that had previously been required only in the
Hapsburg Empire and the Prussian province of Silesia.
Did the Jews of these regions, which correspond to a large portion of
today's Poland, actually take surnames? There's remarkably little
evidence of it. In Lissa, however, we have an exception. The census of
1806 is nowhere near the earliest piece of evidence of surname-adoption
there, as we have lists of surnamed Jewish merchants (about half the
heads of household) >from as early as 1798, the year after the new
regulations were issued. But this census seems to be complete, and has
over 3,600 entries.
I'll have further comments in my next post.
Roger Lustig Princeton, NJ USA research coordinator, GerSIG