Re: Searching GORDON family, Libau -> Londonderry, Ireland c1884 #latvia #general #courland

Jill Whitehead

Scots families were very common in Poland and Lithuania kick-starting the agricultural revolution. One of my (Jewish) great grandmothers came from Raczki in Suwalki Gubernia and this is the site of Dowspuda palace, where Napoleon kept his Polish mistress. This is now an agricultural college, but next to it is the village of Scotia, which was founded by the Scottish pioneers in the 18th century, and people with Scots surnames still exist there today. We visited it in 2000.

But by an amazing coincidence, my late Edinburgh aunt (my Mum's sister) was in the Scottish land Army in WW2, with the descendant of one of these Scots-Polish pioneers who had lived at Raczki- Scotia, and whose family later returned to Scotland a few centuries later. This descendant (who is now over 100 years old) Mona McLeod wrote a book on this episode in Polish history called "Agents of change, Scots in Poland 1800-1918" (published in 2000).

I have seen it mentioned before that the name Gordon could have derived in this way, as it is very common in the Suwalki gubernia in NE Poland. and our ancestors took on surnames at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century, to replace or add to patronymics. Napoleon was the one who most encouraged this move in this period. 

Jill Whitehead, Surrey, UK

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