Iwona's Sources - Grod Registers from Poznan Province

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Grod Registers from Poznan Province

As we discussed in the last issue of Rodziny, there are two kinds of old records that can assist researchers greatly, though they’re not generally well known: ksiegi grodzkie and księgi ziemskie, or as we might call them, grod registers and ziemia registers. The grod registers were associated with administrative functions centered in a grod, an ancient military encampment or stronghold around which towns often formed. Ziemia records were associated with a ziemia, literally "land," an old Polish administrative division. As the population of Poland grew and as feudalism diminished, these administrative subdivisions gradually gave way to the more modern setup of wojewodztwa [provinces] and powiaty [counties]. The farther back in Polish history you go, however, the more relevant these grod and ziemia registers can become to your research. When you reach a point where parish records no longer exist, the grod and ziemia registers can sometimes guide you on your way.

The Poznan branch of the Polish State Archives preserves many grod and ziemia registers. The oldest date from 1386. These registers, several hundred pages in size, do not have indexes of surnames or localities. They were kept chronologically, although there are instances where documents deal with matters from the past. They were organized by the following system.

Register titles

Resignatores – from 1434, primarily bills of sale or purchase or grants of property or lifetime pensions, and real estate records.

Inscriptiones – these are transactions of a temporary nature: loans, mortgages, leases, and unilateral statements such as wills, powers of attorney, and the like.

Relationes – Matters not under dispute, descriptions of estates or destruction during wartime, property inventories, declarations on the condition of a possession, lists of taxpayers.

Decreta – court decisions in matters under dispute.

Libri civicum – citizens’ appeals of court judgments.

[Editor — For more information on these categories, see the translation of Chapter Three from Wlodzimierz Dworzaczek’s Genealogia on the PGSA Website at http:// www.pgsa.org/DworzaczekIII.pdf, especially the section beginning on page 19.]

Grod registers by districts

1. Poznan - 1,804 registers, from the period 1434-1793
2. Koscian - 224 from 1432-1793
3. Kalisz - 608 from 1419-1793
4. Konin - 171 from 1461-1793
5. Gniezno - 303 from 1447-1792
6. Kcynia - 193 from 1452-1773
7. Pyzdry - 120 from 1461-1793
8. Wschowa - 263 from 1495-1791
9. Wałcz - 125 from 1554-1772
10. Nakło - 284 from 1432-1769
11. Inowroclaw - 144 from 1574-1773
12. Bydgoszcz - 136 from 1504-1772

Ziemia registers by districts

1. Poznan - 180 registers, from the period 1386-1791
2. Koscian - 169 from 1391-1791
3. Kalisz - 218 from 1401-1791
4. Konin - 76 from 1394-1791
5. Gniezno - 79 from 1390-1790
6. Kcynia - 43 from 1432-1791
7. Pyzdry - 111 from 1390-1791
8. Wschowa - 39 from 1527-1761
9. Nakło - 19 from 1442-1767
10. Inowroclaw - 27 from 1524-1651
11. Bydgoszcz - 13 from 1524-1767

As an example let us examine the type of relationes in the Wałcz grod register for the years 1756-1772.

Among the many records are lists of taxpayers from a number of localities, including: Jedrzejewo, Runowo, Biala, Bialezyn, Lomnica, Siedliska, Smieszkowo, Trzcianka. Usually alongside the first and last name is a notation of profession and of the amount of tax.

The property matters described dealt with localities and with persons (this is not a complete index of the people and places):

Bronikowo: Krzycki, Popielewski, Radonski, Strebowski, Tuczynski
Brudzewo: Mielzynski Maciej
Czarnkow: Gliszczynski
Dykowo: Bolinski Antoni, Klatt Jan
Gulcz: Gunter, Golczowa
Jabłonowo: Drogowski Maciej
Jaroszewo: Michal Hert, Kegel Bogusław
Jedrzejewo: Radkie Michal
Lubionka: Szmit Michal
Leg Bilski: Bucholtz Alexy
Lobzenica: Radolinski Andrzej
Lomnica: Busza Michał and Maciej Zarnek
Marcinkowice: Jakubowski
Marcinkowo: Koltermann
Motylewo: Krantz Gotfried, Przepalkowski
Plotki (folwark): Nerynga Piotr, swiecicki Mikolaj
Popowo: Michalski
Poznan: Grodzicki, Szomanczewska, Tomicki
Radosiew: Markowski, Majewski Antoni, Radolinski Andrzej
Rynowo: Radkie Ertaman, Szmit Jan
Siedliska: Holz Piotr
Smieszkowo: Swiniarska
Srem: Naramowski Adam (castellan)
Sypniewo: Szmitt Andrzej
Szulcendorf: Krenz Christian
Tarnowo: Niedzwiedzka Rozalia
Trzcianka: Cindler Marcin, Donner Krzysztof, Engelman, Florek Michał, Ginter (priest), Henselin Michal, Herman Jakub, Kiemp Jakub, Kuhn Krzysztof, Kuna Andrzej, Lasocki Antoni, Lege Georg, Patz Michal, Mitelsztedt Krzysztof (mayor), Szreder Bartłomiej, Szuman Andrzej, Szulz Maciej, Trzcinski Hieronim, Wiese Jan, Zabłocki Adam

Tuczno: Judaus (Jew), Kitowicz (Jew), Ludyk Jan, Mudrowski, Plawinski, Stanisław Ciołek Poniatowski (the King’s father), Skoroszewski Franciszek (castellan)

Wałcz: Drogowski, Duszynski Jan (wojt), Fortuna, Gołacki, Grzymultowska-Waramowska Katarzyna, Jasinski, Klawun Jakub and Jan, Krall, Kropiwnicki Hieronim, Pawłowski Wladysław and Anna, Plucinski Jan, Reszta Karol, Sawicki, Sulkowski, Szmit Michal, Wilbrecht Andrzej, Zawadzki Hieronim (General) , Zielenkiewicz

Werbna: Cichonski, Rajdzinski
Wschowa: Glescinski, Gliszczynski , Heblewski, Markowski, Radolinski
Wyrzysk (with Osieka village): Gnieznienski, Grudzinski, Mielzynski, Pisarzewski, Rydzynski Karol and Mikolaj, Trzebinski

The following is a reproduction of two pages from Wałcz grod records, specifically a 1771 list of taxpayers of the village of Biala in Trzcianka district. As anyone experienced in dealing with photographs might expect, the quality leaves something to be desired. Still, you can make out some of the details.

For instance, the title on top of the lefthand page is Osiadlosc wsi Białey z Powinnosciami y Daninami — "Property of the village of Biala with Duties and Tributes." The first category is Szoltysi wolni okupne, "S[z]ołtys [properties], freedmen, paying rent." A soltys is a village administrator. It seems unlikely the village of Biala had five sołtysi, so presumably the people listed here were freedmen who paid rent [czynsz] to work land belonging to the sołtys. Each entry names a person and describes what he owed in rent. The second category appears to be Wolni okupni, also freedmen paying rent, but on land not belonging to the village administrator.

At the very bottom of the page is the heading Zaciezni, used here in the archaic sense of "Serfs required to do labor duty in their liege lord’s fields." Peasants owed their lords this kind of work, also called corvee, as part of their feudal obligations. Sometimes a peasant also had to give his lord money and/or produce from his fields. Thus the top entry on the righthand page says Jan Pabst Robi w Tydzien pociezne dni cztery, czynszu pieniężnego daie..." Jan had to work four days a week with yoked animals in his lord’s fields and pay rent besides — and if I’m reading it correctly, the entry goes on to specify how much rye and barley he had to give his lord! And you wonder why your ancestors left Poland....

As you see, these records provide the names of the men and their corvee obligations, which tells you a lot about their social standing. You’re not likely to get this kind of information from parish records. That’s why Iwona Dakiniewicz and Christa Shukaitis (see the following article) find these records so valuable.

Iwona Dakiniewicz, Łódź, Poland genealogy@pro.onet.pl

[with translation assistance from William F. Hoffman]

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Last Updated on January 15, 2012