Brickwall „Poland“

+4 votes
Hello, I‘ve been working on a really hard brickwall for quite a while now and I need someone to help me.

My great-great-grandfather Andreas Assmann (*1866, according to some sources 1869) was born in Volhynia (Josefow or Bubny, there are differing sources) to Friedrich Assmann (unknown birth year and place) and Marianna Neumann. Marianna was born in 1844 in „Poland“.

Andreas‘s first wife Wilhelmine Hese was also born in „Poland“ (unknown birth year), as well as his second wife Mathilde Kaschube (*1876). I only know that Wilhelmine Hese‘s father was called Ludwig.  

I also have a photo of Andreas‘s younger brother Adolf, apparently he was living in Germany in the early 1900s. I thought that maybe their parents weren‘t from Poland but from Germany and that Adolf stayed there when the others moved to Volhynia. But that doesn‘t make sense since Andreas is older and he was born in Volhynia.

I cannot figure out where in Poland they came from. As far as I know, Poland didn‘t even really exist between the late 1700s and 1918, so why did they give „Poland“ as their birth place? I looked through the church book index on genetika genealodzy, but I didn‘t find anything.
WikiTree profile: Andreas Assmann
asked in Genealogy Help by Evelina Staub G2G6 (9.9k points)
edited by Maggie N.

4 Answers

+8 votes
Best answer

In 1861 Alexander II of Russia set free the serfs resulting in a labor shortage in Volhynia. This resulted in support of German immigration, many coming from Congress Poland. It bears to remember that until 1867 Congress Poland was ruled in personal union by the Russian Tzar but was not an integral part of Russia. So it was correct to refer to Poland as birth place.

There are quite a few websites for "Wolhyniendeutsche" but most of them are in German.

answered by Helmut Jungschaffer G2G6 Pilot (445k points)
selected by Maggie N.
Thank you for the links, but I already went through these websites and couldn‘t really find anything (my mother tongue is German).

I have a membership at the Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe, which is where I have this information from. I also suspected that they meant Congress Poland, which is why I checked the church books on genetika genealodzy - but there was nothing. I checked several spellling variations too. It just seems like something is wrong and I can‘t fit the pieces together.
+1 vote
Hi, I'm not familiar with that area, but have a look at this map for sources

In my case, I was able to look through some archive scans to find ancestor records.  If you have a town and date, and the records are scanned, it can be a matter of going through page by page.
answered by John Doppke G2G1 (1.3k points)
+1 vote

I know you posted this in March, but I wanted to answer question regarding "why did they give, ,Poland" as their birth place? "

Most immigrants wrote the placename, admin.division, country, etc. that they last knew it as, when they left there! Depending on when and where the document was created, there could be 5 or 10 years difference in time! And in the case of Ukraine, that could include multiple changes!

Here's a short interesting article that might help.. 

"Did Your Baba Come from Austria?" by Orysia Tracz 

My grandfather was a twin, and they left Volhynia at different times and ended up separated! I have one twin writing his birthplace as one name and the other twin appearing to be born elsewhere! 

So part of doing family geneology, is to first become familiar with the time period of the area you're going to research. Especially in the time frame your ancestors lived there! (that's becoming familiar with both historical and commonly called place names)

Because although one of my ancestrial lines were Orthodox clergy, they seemed to have lived in or next to villages (aka  selo in Ukrainian) but when researching, I happened to find more information using Jewish resources and they call a selo, a shetl!

I hope that if this doesn't help you, then maybe it'll help someone else!

answered by L Yuriivna Zajac G2G Crew (540 points)
Thank you for answering. I'm still reading this!

I've come to the same conclusion, but still after almost a year haven't found where my ancestors were born. "Poland" is just too broad to find anything. I'm now in contact with three or four DNA matches and we've all been searching for clues, but none of us found anything. Maybe they changed their name, but I don't know if there was a Polish version of the name "Assmann". It's really discouraging.
I'm not sure what percentage your DNA should to be, to be within the four generation threshold, but if you and or your matches have Ashkenazi in your DNA...maybe try looking through surname lists for European Ashkenazi.

Because for example, looking up Assman in Wikipedia  brings up a list of names with origins, abd also gives the suggestion to look up Axmann (Aksman), etc.

Another option is to look for the "national(lity) rejon/raion(s) that existed. I just read yesterday that the khutor that my great-grandparents lived in, was within a Polish national raion (Polski Rejon Narodowy) of the then Ukrainian SSR... and after the soviet 10 year experiment was over, a large portion of the Polish population was deported to Kazakhstan! A place I've never heard a mention of by my family,, but might be where both our ancestors ended up... and can find death records!

Another idea is looking for places included in the "Pale of Settlement" or the Polish Population Transfers that part of my family volunteered for, and were the ones who ended up in the US.

Good luck! I feel your frustration!

p.s. Something which I've learned since I hit my own brick wall... is that what immigrants wrote was more about survival of their then current generation, rather than for documenting the absolute truth for us in the future... I know it doesn't help, but at least justifies why...
We have no Jewish in our DNA, but all of us have about 25% Balkan DNA which we cannot explain. No one ever said anything about Balkan ancestors.

My family did get deported to Kazakhstan, both of my parents grew up there. But I think the deportation destinations weren't very organized, because my mother's ancestors lived in the Ukraine, while my dad's ancestors were Volga Germans. Both  ended up in Kazakhstan. My greatgreatgrandpa Andreas Assmann actually died in Taldykorgan/Kazakhstan in 1952, but no one knows how to get his death record.

I actually didn't know that there was a Polish national raion, will look that up! Thanks!
+1 vote
I have been searching the surname Hase and variants in Pommern (pommerania) Poland formerly Prussia Germany. I have stumbled across those names in my research, and are a possibility of my brick walls family. But I have found 3 possibilities.

Assmann may have been spelt Hassman, Hass, Hasemann, Hoffmann, even Horsmann or Rohrlach.

Religion can narrow the field a little bit.
answered by Kylie Haese G2G6 Mach 1 (15.2k points)

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