Where is "Russia-Poland?

+1 vote


I'm trying to find the actual location of my ancestors birthplace called “Russia-Poland”. My Great Grandfather Wilhelm Wagner (1873 – 1941) [Wagner-1873] arrived here in 1897 or '98. He was followed in 1901 by his wife, Amelia Hodores (1872 – 193?) [Hodores-1] and 6 yr old John Wagner (1895 – 1963) [Wagner- 1872], my grandfather, settling in Cleveland, Ohio. According to the 1910 and 1920 census many of the Wagners' neighbors were also from “Russia-Poland”. A search of maps from turn of the century Europe provides no place with that identity. The US Census data provides us with conflicting information: 1910 for Wilhelm, Amelia and John report place of birth as “Germany”, and 1920 as “Russia-Poland.” On John's naturalization papers in 1922 his birthplace is identified as “Russia”. By the 1930 census John is married and reports his and his parents place of birth as “Russia-Poland” while Wilhelm reports his own and Amelia's birthplace as “Poland.” In 1940, the most recent census to be released, Wilhelm reports his birthplace as “Germany” and John's is recorded as “Russia”. The Wagner's spoke German as their native tongue though Amelia's maiden name “Hodores” is of Polish origins. I'm thinking that there was some disputed border region that might have used an ambiguous name. Any help would be appreciated. 

in Genealogy Help by Dan Thompson G2G6 Mach 2 (21.6k points)
retagged by Keith Hathaway

3 Answers

+3 votes
Daniel, you've got it. It's a border region that may have switched jurisdictions between Poland and Russia. My husband's emigrating ancestors came over at the same time and had the same designation on some of their census records. Their language was "yiddish" or "jewish" indicating Judaic origins. I have yet to actually find their town of origin. But you can bet it was in the disputed border regions between Russia and Poland.
by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (693k points)
Jillaine, Thanks for helping me confirm my hunch was right.   I would love to find a town name, but so far no luck.  Wagner was such a common name that I haven't been able to pinpoint the details of their emigrrtion, so I'llkeep looking, Thanks.
+3 votes
Hi Daniel. I have had similar problems with ancestors who emigrated in the mid-1800s. Not only did State/National borders change over the years, but also the names ( or spelling) of towns and cities. Although my ancestors came from "Prussia" (which, in 1855, was part of the "German Empire"), you will find a very detailed explanation of the shifting borders at Wikipedia. < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prussia > Hope this helps. Peter
by Peter Knowles G2G6 Mach 6 (65.4k points)
Peter, Thanks for the assist,  I've studied this article earlier as I have other ancestors that did come from Prussia,  My Grandmother had always been adament the he wasn't from Prussia,  So I'm assuning for the time being that they were from a German enclave in the border region.  If I can find their immigration records I might find a town name.  Thanks again/
+2 votes

Normally I don't answer my own questions but finally figured this out in some detail:

After the Great Northern War the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was reduced to a vassal state of Tsarist Russia. To prevent a war between Russia and the Habsburg Austrian Empire, France mediated the First Partition of Poland between them and Prussia in 1772. Intervening events resulted in revisions leading to the Third Partition in 1795 and the final dissolution of the remnants of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Under populated, Catherine the Great offered incentives of freedom of religion and exemption from conscription to attract immigrants. Many ethnic Germans settled in Russia-Poland. Following the same pattern as the Volga-Germans, near the end of the 19th century Russia began to renege on its promises and many ethnic Germans immigrated to the United States.  
by Dan Thompson G2G6 Mach 2 (21.6k points)

Related questions

+2 votes
1 answer
+3 votes
2 answers
117 views asked Jun 27, 2017 in Genealogy Help by Chris Rickerd G2G2 (2.3k points)
+3 votes
2 answers
89 views asked May 3, 2016 in Genealogy Help by David Shank G2G Rookie (260 points)

WikiTree  ~  About  ~  Help Help  ~  Search Person Search  ~  Surname:

disclaimer - terms - copyright