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Genealogical Gazetteer of Galicia, Expanded Data Edition

Reviewed by William F. Hoffman, PGSA Winter 1999 Bulletin

Genealogical Gazetteer of Galicia, Expanded Data Edition, Brian J. Lenius, self-published 1999, available from the author at Box 58, Grp.328, RR#3, Selkirk, Manitoba, Canada R1A 2A8. 359 pages, 8 1/2 x 11 ", plastic spiral binding, ISBN 0-9698783-1-1, price $35.00 + $6.00 postage and handling in U. S. funds. See ordering infomation.

When I reviewed the original edition of this book in the November, 1994 issue of the PGSA Journal Rodziny, I said it "offers a massive amount of information never before readily available in one place, and I think that insures it a place as an essential source for Galician research. In fact, as documents and records from Ukraine become more accessible, I think this book will only increase in value." I don't often make predictions; my track record as a seer rivals that of all the psychics who predicted interesting things would happen to Princess Di in 1997, but somehow overlooked her death. Still, I'm rather proud of my words from that review. More and more material has become available for Ukrainian research, and this book has become more and more valuable to those who have it.

But as more material became available, the need grew for a major revision of the gazetteer, to reflect the changing situation. Now Lenius has provided it-without raising the price! The long and short of it is, if your research involves Galicia, you need this book.

To show why, here are some of the features this edition offers, virtually all with more data than in earlier editions:

  • a list of 6,300 communities and estates?not just villages, but also estates when their names differed from those of the villages; the Polish name is given for each, along with the relevant administrative and judicial/tax districts, the country it's in now, map reference coordinates, location of Roman and Greek Catholic parishes and dioceses or eparchies, and other jurisdictions (Evangelical parish, Jewish registration district, land cadastral community, etc.)
  • a list of over 3,400 smaller places, and alternate names for villages
  • a list of 4,052 Ukrainian place names (including 227 new ones) given in phonetic English renderings and their Cyrillic forms (I find this feature particularly useful)
  • a list of German?language place names, as well as a list of places known to have had German inhabitants
  • a master map of Galicia with the administrative districts and a grid for the 1:200,000 Mitteleuropa map series
  • 21 individual maps showing district boundaries and locating 641 places to help you find a specific village; they include latitudes and longitudes by Greenwich and Ferro coordinates, and each represents one map in that 1:200,000 Austrian Mitteleuropa series
  • sources for genealogical records, with names and addresses of archives, reference to published articles and inventories, as well as hundreds of endnotes and 12 additional tables, such as alternate parish names.

I should warn that for those familiar with the previous editions, at first glance this one doesn't look that different. But looks are deceptive: Lenius has added all kinds of information on jurisdictions (too much, really, to list here), new place names, supplementary lists, and so on. Equally important, he has updated information and corrected errors. For instance, when he thought he'd almost finished work on the book, he discovered that the Roman and Greek Catholic parishes indicated in earlier editions were inaccurate, at least for the time period 1896-1914. He spent an enormous amount of time cross-checking other sources to make sure his listing of parishes reflected the situation just after the turn of the century, the period of mass emigration and thus the time-frame of primary importance to researchers. His cross-checking on this and other matters generated over 1,300 changes to data given in earlier versions. So this edition not only gives more information, but more accurate information as well.

Does that mean the book is certified to be error-free? Of course not; no source that gives this much data can possibly avoid occasional errors. Lenius even includes a section on "Gazetteer Limitations" to discuss this very subject with commendable frankness. It seems only fair to observe that earlier editions were enormously helpful, even with the errors that Lenius has now gone to great efforts to correct. This new edition, with more sources available and greater attention paid to potential error, should prove even more valuable.

Since $41 is not an unreasonable price these days for a specialized book giving so much information, I can only say this: if you have roots in Galicia and don't consult this book, you must like doing things the hard way!

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Germanic Genealogy: A Guide to Worldwide Sources and Migration Patterns

Reviewed by W. F. Hoffman, PGSA Winter 1998

A larger and even more impressive work owing much to Dr. Brandt is Germanic Genealogy: A Guide to Worldwide Sources and Migration Patterns, 2nd Edition Edward R. Brandt, Ph.D., Mary Bellingham, Kent Cutkomp, Kermit Frye, and Patricia A. Lowe, Germanic Genealogy Society, ©1995, 1997, ISBN 0-9644337, 517 pp., paperback, 8 1/2x 11 inches. The price is $32 plus $4 shipping, and it can be ordered from Edward R. Brandt, 13-27th Ave. S.E., Minneapolis, MN 55414-3101.

This book is like the the one's big brother, Resources for Polish-American and Polish-Canadian Genealogical Research, with a more polished format-well-printed and bound, with maps, indexes, etc. The main difference is that German genealogical research, at least as complex as Polish, has had much more written about it (at least, in terms of material available in the West), so the authors had an enormous amount of ground to cover. I frankly have no business pretending to know anything about German genealogy, except insofar as it is connected with Polish. But, of course, the rub is that it is often connected with Polish research, especially for those whose ancestors came from what is now western Poland, Lithuania, Russia, Ukraine, and so on.

In short, this may not be the first book on a Polish-American researcher's wish list. But if his or her ancestors came from Germany, Austria, or the German or Austrian partitions, its well-organized contents provide a lot of information likely to come in very handy at some point.

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Genealogical Guide to East And West Prussia

by Edward R. Brandt, Ph.D. & Adalbert Goertz, Ph.D

Reviewed by Rosalie Lindberg, PGSA Summer 2002 Rodziny

One of the greatest difficulties for those doing Polish research is overcoming the challenges presented by the Polish partitions. For those with family roots in the Prussian partition, Genealogical Guide to East and West Prussia by Edward Brandt and Adalbert Goertz offers more than 355 pages of reference material. The information covers records, publications, sources, etc., which can open new, doors for you or expand on that which you already know.

Ten chapters focus on Institutional, Church and Civil records, little known documents, surname lists, a timeline, and more. A number of references are to books and materials written in German but titles are translated so you can decide if they might be beneficial to your research. Usually local libraries are able to obtain these (even non-English) titles on interlibrary loan. In addition there are 17 appendices on topics such as West Prussian emigration Records, Kaszubia, locality names, etc. The complete table of contents can be reviewed on the web at www.cyberspace.org/~goertz/new.html

The book is not limited to references only but provides many pages of explanatory material and details as well. For example, those wanting to learn more about the Kaszubians, will find the subject addressed in a number of articles, which answer questions. Because of the complicated nature of Kaszubia the novice researcher should prepare to be challenged and not expect easy answers. There are also large numbers of website locations throughout the book which can provide countless hours of research for those who enjoy surfing the web.

Genealogical Guide to East and West Prussia hardly qualifies as easy reading. But it does accomplish its goal of providing more reference material between its covers than most researchers could easily accumulate. The best way to "read" the book is to skim through it first and then revisit those topics, which are most interesting and relevant to your research. Making notes or using a highlighter can be helpful to returning to what is specifically pertinent to your research.

As you would expect in a book on this subject there are a number of maps-24 are contained in their own section. This is the one area in the book that proves somewhat disappointing since the quality and readability of some do not measure up to expectations. Most likely this problem will be addressed in future reprints. For now though, by checking the Map Credits in this section, it should be possible to locate and view the maps in the original source material.

Finally the authors provided an index for this significant body of data. In fact there are three parts to the index. The first (main) index consists of surnames, place names etc. The second is a list of addresses collected from various sections of the Guide, and the last covers lineages found in two of the appendices.
Pricing and ordering information for Genealogical Guide to East and West Prussia can be found at the website references above or at www.pgsa.org You can also contact Edward Brandt directly by writing to him at 13 - 27th Ave. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414-3103 or calling 612-338-2001 afternoons or evenings.

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