Szlachta Holdings in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth #poland #lithuania

Simon Zelman


I've gotten fairly lucky on a couple branches of my family in being able to trace them back to the 1784 and 1765 censuses in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.  One of my ancestors ran a tavern/inn outside of Balbieriskis, in a village called Gielce/Gelčiai, and I was wondering if anyone knew of any resources that indicate who the landowning magnates/szlachta were in that area (and others in the GDL). I know that 18th-century records exist for the various szlachta families and their inventories/holdings, including some genealogical information about the people that worked on their properties, but the first step in finding those records is finding out which family I'm looking for! 


Simon Zelman
San Francisco, CA

David Levine

On Tue, Jun 1, 2021 at 04:28 PM, Simon Zelman wrote:

One place to start would be leading Polish Univeristy libraries that have large online presences. 

here is Jagiellonian Library, they have many scans online. There are other libraries as well
Try searching szlachta. Once you find examples of what you’re looking for, note now they are called in Polish. Then you can do a wider Google search for those terms. The important part is knowing what the resources are called in Polish.
As an example, I was doing some research a few years ago on estate holdings of Austro-Hungarian empire. I had no idea what these might be called so I started with family names and words for estates in German. Cycles of searches brought me to book indexes and bibliographies which got me to the terms used in German for what I was looking for. From there it was quite easy to find original sources.
google books will have scans, many libraries as well (especially as you’re looking for books that are long out of copyright).
A great resource for books that are indexed online but not available as scans is a great service in Europe:

This service, for a fee, will scan books for you. I’ve used it and it’s a lifesaver.
Attached are scans of examples of books on aristocratic estate holdings in German I researched.
Good luck

Best Regards,
David Levine
San Francisco, CA, USA

Weinstein -> Solotwina, Galicia | Frisch, Hilman, Jungerman, Schindler -> Rozniatow, Galicia | Golanski, Kramerofsky/Kromerovsky -> Kiev | Lefkowitz -> Petrikov, Belarus | Shub, Rosen Hlusk, Belarus | Levine, Weiner, Zamoshkin -> Slutsk, Belarus 

Alexander Sharon


The Geographic Dictionary of the Kingdom of Poland and other Slavic Lands under entry for Balwierzyszki (Lithuanian: Balbieriskis) lists 'your' shtetl as HELCIE, amongst the others dozens of smaller places in this area owned by the count Tadeusz Tyszkiewicz and his daughters.

During XVIII century properties have been owned by counts brothers Ferdynand, Tadeusz and Wincenty Staniowicz. In 1782 Stanislaw count Tyszkiewicz purcheased properties from brothers Staniowicz.

Though the inheritance and the contracts, properties have been inherited by Tadeusz count Tyszkiewicz, former senator of Kingdom of Poland and the general of Polish Army. In the year 1831 properties were confiscated (this took place during Poland 1831 November Uprising) but were returned in 1846 by the decision of the Russian Emperor to Tadeusz count Tyszkiewicz daughters:
Józefa Wodzińska and Maryanna Łampicka.

Alexander Sharon 
Calgary, AB, Canada

Simon Zelman

Thank you so much to you both, I greatly appreciate the help! Has anyone been successful in finding the magnate records for their families? Would you have any recommendations on the types of records to look for and what those records might contain? I.e. do they list out all of the individuals (females included?) that lived/worked on their estates or is it typically just the name of the leaseholder that's included? It seems like it's quite a bit of work to get to the records themselves (sounds like one needs to either travel to the archive or hire a researcher) so I'm just wondering if the information included in those records would be worth the work.

Simon Zelman
San Francisco, CA