Re: Geography mystery: Did any part of Polish Russia became German between 1880 and 1900? Specifically where? #poland #germany

Jill Whitehead

Hi Rob,

Families that lived in the borderlands of Poland and East Prussia (Konigsberg now Kaliningrad), specially in the Suwalki Lomza gubernas, often said they came from Germany on their British records when they emigrated. This was seen as being "posher" than saying you came from Russian Poland, but these gubernias had been part of East Prussia between the late 18th century and up to 1807 (Different parts of Poland were split between the three European powers of Russia, Prussia and Austro-Hungary in the late 18th century on three separate occasions). In actual fact they were not German between 1807 (when Napoleon took over briefly until 1815) and WW1, when the Germans did overrun the area from 1914 onwards.

When I went to the ancestral area in 2000, we were taken to the former border between Poland and East Prussia. Even today the landscape is quite different in terms of types of housing and fields layout, and the roads and railways run north to south rather than east to west because of the former Polish-Prussian border.

Jill Whitehead, Surrey, UK

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