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Hamburg Passengers from the Kingdom of Poland and the Russian Empire: Indirect Passage to New York, 1855 - June, 1873

Reviewed by William F. Hoffman, PGSA May 1997 Rodziny

By Geraldine Moser and Marlene Silverman, @ 1996 by Geraldine Moser and Landsmen Press (Landsmen Press, Box 228, 3701 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington DC 20008), LCCN 96-219076, 194 pp., soft cover, 81/2 x I I inches (landscape format), total cost postpaid $ 26 in the U. S. A., $ 27 Canada and Mexico, all other countries $ 30.

One of the benefits of the growing interest in genealogy over the last few decades has been the dramatic increase in the number and size of genealogical organizations. These individual societies try to address the needs of their members, producing books that will never make any bestseller lists but are enormously helpful if you're interested in the particular subject they address. The down side, of course, is that with so much material coming out, it's hard to keep track of or even hear about all kinds of valuable reference works. Even if you hear about them, you may think "This is for someone else, not me."

A good example is this book from Landsmen Press, the publishing arm of the Suwalk-Lomza Interest Group, a society of researchers tracing Jews from the area of Suwalki and Lomza, Poland. You might easily think, "Oh, this book is only for Jewish researchers" -and thereby miss a valuable resource.

The authors explain that the passenger lists preserved by police authorities in Hamburg, Germany are a prime source of information, but we hear most often about the Direct Lists, dealing with emigrants who went straight from Hamburg to their port of destination. There are also Indirect Lists, for those who took passage to an intermediate Port usually in Great Britain-and from there on to New York City. This material is not quite so familiar, but contains valuable data. So Landsmen published this book covering emigrants from the Kingdom of Poland or the Russian Empire who took the indirect route from 1855 through June, 1873. Of the 12,593 passengers found under these criteria, from 65 to 80% were Jews, depending on what time frame you look at. So, while the book is most useful for descendants of so-called "Russian" Jews, 20-35% of its data is relevant for non-Jews from eastern (especially northeastern) Poland.

The data is given in two forms: an Alphabetical Index listing each passenger by surname, given name, sex, age,, town and country, ship, date and, page in the lists and an Index of Passengers in Order of Appearance on Lists, arranged by date, full name, and name of town. So you can look up specific persons in the first part, while in the second part you see groups, including those who may have been an individual's traveling companions. Often these companions were either relatives or neighbors in the old country.

Especially interesting is the matter of "Pseudo- Prussians." Part of northeastern Poland was annexed to Prussia from 1795-1806, then later incorporated into the Russian Empire. It often happened that natives of that area, asked where they came from, would answer "Prussia," even though for years the area in question had been part of the Russian Empire. The compilers developed a simple coding device, a *p under "Country" in the alphabetical listing, to identify likely "Pseudo- Prussians"-a feature that may prevent a lot of confusion.

At $ 26 the book is reasonably priced. For many individuals it may be a bit of overkill; unless you're into genealogy on a large scale, you may find few or no "hits" in the book. But then you could always buy it, use it for yourself, then donate it to a local library or genealogical group-making them, you, and Landsmen Press very happy!

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History of the Polish Government (In Exile) 1939-1990

Reviewed by William F. Hoffman, PGSA Winter 1998 Bulletin

By Michael Subritzky-Kusza Ct, GCStS, published 1996 by "Three Feathers" Publishing Co., P. 0. Box 109, Papakura, New Zealand, ISBN: 0-958-3484-1-3. The text (without accompanying photos) also appears on the Internet at http://www.finearts.sfasu.edu/uasal/polhist.htmI - in my opinion an excellent idea for works intended not so much to earn money as to make information available.

This booklet (64 pages) offers documentation of the history of the Polish Government in Exile and also of the Order of St. Stanislas. It would be foolish to pretend the legitimacy of both that government and the Order have never been questioned; but for those wishing to learn more and decide for themselves, this booklet presents arguments on their behalf. The format is attractive, with clear type, numerous illustrations, and few typographical lapses.

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History of Polish Longshoremen and Their Role in the Establishment of a Union at the Port of Baltimore, A

Reviewed by William F. Hoffman, PGSA Winter 1998 Bulletin

By Thomas L. Hollowak, Historyk Press (7 Dendron Court, Baltimore MD 21234), 0 1996; paperback, 36 pp., 51/2 x 81/2 inches, ISBN 1-8871-2414-4 (price not given).

This is a very interesting history of ... well, you can read the title for yourself. The photos are not very clear and the text could have used more editing-but if this subject interests you, all that will seem like nit-picking. The same is true of another work by the same author and publisher, A Brief History of Baltimore's Polonia, by Thomas L. Hollowak, Historyk Press, 1996, ISBN 1-8871-2412-8. Despite a few minor flaws in the presentation, this is a good place to start learning about Baltimore's Polish community.

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