Re: What to do on Ancestry when the names change but the places don't? #general

Jill Whitehead

Emily, you list your families as coming from Suwalki gubernia. This was and still is a border area. All eight of my great grandparents were born there in the 1840s and 1850s. Then, it was all part of Poland (Russian Poland). In 1919 after WW1, the three northern Suwalki gminas went into Lithuania leaving the three southern ones in Poland. However, there were some other boundary changes, as a small part of Suwalki went into Belarus in the Lida/Olita area.  There may also have been some small changes on Suwalki's boundary with Konigsberg in East Prussia now the Russian Enclave of Kaliningrad. 

Many place names in Suwalki have German/Polish/Lithuanian/Yiddish versions due to the many different empires ruling over them over time. Suwalki was Lithuanian for centuries, then it became Polish, then it was ruled by Napoleon and so on through the Russian Tsarist empire and German incursions in 20th century, plus post war communist rule.

it was not until post 1945 that the idea of the Nation State took hold. You need to understand European history to understand family name changes, place name changes, migration patterns etc. 

Jill Whitehead, Surrey, UK

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