Iwona's Sources - Industrial Migration to the Kingdom of Poland

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Industrial Migration to the Kingdom of Poland

Ancestors with German-sounding names from the areas of Konin, Słupca, Pyzdry, Gostynin, Płock, or Łódź undoubtedly came there during the industrial migration that peaked during the years 1820–1830. It was during this period that tens of thousands of foreigners came to the Kingdom of Poland. They were first and foremost clothmakers and weavers from Silesia, Bohemia, Saxony, and Bavaria who were encouraged to relocate to new industrial settlements by decrees of the Viceroy of the Kingdom of Poland in 1816 and 1821.

The motivation for this was simple economy and profits on both sides. The production of clothing and fabric at the time did not meet the needs of the Kingdom of Poland’s population, and the high price of materials imported from England had a negative effect. Professionals were the only thing lacking to create an industrial infrastructure, and that gave those in power the idea of attracting professionals from neighboring industrialized countries.

The 1821 decree defined precisely the sites for the colonists to settle: Dąbie, Gostynin, Przedecz, Łódź, Zgierz, and Aleksandrów. The sites had to satisfy specific conditions: favorable geography (plenty of ground water), easy access to building materials (forests, brickyards), and location on business routes. At the same time, it was decided to build brickyards in each of those places so as to create the conditions for building new settlements. The largest number of looms were created in Zgierz, 427; Ozorków, 379; Aleksandrów, 269; and Tomaszów Mazowiecki, 177.

Figure 1 - Sample entries from registers of foreigners. The column headings are: Nr. Ciągły, sequential number; Imię i Nazwisko Cudzoziemca i Jego Familij, First and last name of the foreigner and his family; Płeć, sex (marking either Męska, male, or Żeńska, female); Wiek Każdego, Lat, age of each [in] years; Religia (this column heading was creased and illegible); Danny sposób do Życia czyli Proffessya, Means of living given, or profession. Thus the first person listed under #23 is Karol Fryderyk Szmid (probably Karl Friedrich Schmidt originally), male, age 40, Ewangelicki [Protestant], Sukiennik [clothmaker or drper]. Next is Karolina ditto (Szmid), female, 37, Protestant, his wife. Iwona provided these illustrations.

Foreigners immigrating to the Kingdom of Poland had only to prove their professional qualifications to receive numerous privileges: exemption from duties on imported property, exemption from taxes for a period of six years, a plot of land for building a house and 1.5 mórgs for a garden as a perpetual lease, the right to cut down wood for construction without paying, and favorable prices on purchases of bricks. The sons of clothmakers were exempted from military service on condition that they learned the craft of clothmaking.

Colonists came with their whole families, along with their property and capital, their savings, their work tools, and raw materials. Special border points called komory celne [customs houses] were set up. The largest traffic was in Grodziszko, Słupca, and Pyzdry. Border commissioners checked passports and visas thoroughly, and were also instructed to write down information on the foreigners: age, sex, religion, profession, border point, location before immigrating, date of arrival, kind or value of movable property imported, as well as amount of cash carried. The name of the place where the passport was issued was recorded beginning around 1840 at the earliest. Every case of suspected passport or visa forgery resulted in a thorough inquiry and a prison term. At this time, the police services cooperated with the authorities of neighboring countries, and they constantly exchanged information on those who were under suspicion or had been caught.

Figure 2 - This shows both the left and righthand pages of the register. The column headings on the leftare the same as in Figure 1. The headings on the right call for the following information: W którym mieyscugranicznym i kiedy wszedł do Krolestwa i w iakim urzędzie nayprzod meldował się (Entered the Kingdomat what border point and first registered in which office); Obrał zamieszkanie do Księgi Ludności zapisanyzostał (Took up residence, was entered in the population register); Data obranego zamieszkania teraznieszego(Date he took up his current residence); Wielość wprowadzonego maiątku przez cudzoziemca (Amountof property imported by foreigner); Jakiem zarobkiem trudni się teraz oprzod [?] się wziął (What he does for a living and when he started), Uwagi (remarks). Note that some of the terms and spellings are now archaic.

In view of the heightened influx of foreigners, regulations were tightened by a decree in 1848 that ordered all the newcomers to prove their identity in those places where they wanted to settle down. The wójts of all districts in the Kingdom received special government instructions.

In the registers of foreigners, besides clothmakers and weavers, we see also smiths, carters, bakers, confectioners, millers, coopers, tanners, saddlers, ropemakers, sheep-shearers, carpenters, watchmakers, even musicians and circus performers. Also noted were “the poor” and “vagabonds.” Their finances varied greatly; some brought in as much as several thousands crowns or marks, but many declared zero cash.

Not all, however, came with the intention of settling down. In the register column marked “sposób ulokowania się” [manner of stay], i.e., reason for coming, one finds entries such as “to purchase land,” “to [join] family,” “trade in raw materials,” and “contract at a manorial farmstead.”

In terms of religion, the decided majority of foreigners were Protestants, whereas Catholics and Jews were minorities. This explains the rise of numerous Protestant congregations in the areas of selected factory settlements.

Interested readers will surely want to know where they can find these registers. The best guidance is toward appropriate regional archives. Unfortunately, records of this kind are often “concealed” in inventories regarding local administration, but there is a chance one can search them out in the Sezam database. One may use keywords such as cechy, “guilds,” or sukienników, “of clothmakers,” or tkaczy, “weavers,” plus the name of the given district or county.

In writing this article, I used selected documentation from the collections of Records of the Town of Aleksandrów (1,129 titles in the inventory). I happened to be drawing up a list of foreigners who came to the starostwos of Aleksandrów and Łęczyca during the period 1821–1822. The list is incomplete, however, because I omitted surnames with spelling I found doubtful.

In conclusion, here’s something interesting: in the files with the registers, one may come upon more or less detailed descriptions of individuals’ lives! For instance, a certain Jan Gotlib Neyman from Saxony wrote down the course of his life in several pages in 1849 ... There are also so-called “blacklists” or lists of “those sought for participation in rebellion.”

List of Foreign Immigrants to the starostwos of Aleksandrów and Łęczyca 1821–1822

Alexander Gottlib Hirszel Karol Rotke Jan
Baumgarten Traugott Hofman Karol Rozental Fryderyk, Henryk, Johan
Bendzura Karol Holesik Joannes Roznowski Krzysztof
Berg Johan Jakub Hun Fryderyk Rudel Fryderyk
Berger Jan Gotlieb Jackel Samuel Ruhter Gottlib
Berzel Antoni Jakobi Bogumil Rysner Daniel
Boyne Ignatz Jaroszewski Jan Rywe Marianna
Brocker Karol Jaruszewski Franciszek Sawicki Wincenty
Broniwski Antoni Kammer Krystian Stopnicki Celestyn
Brun Jan Karamal Jan Strzelecki Andrzej
Bytler Jan Keiser Wilhelm Swiatowiec Beer
Chrepkiewicz Stanislaw Kifer August Swiedzinski Kazimierz Antoni
Demilewicz Ignacy Kirszke Karol Swirczynski Ignacy
Dresler Franc Klapicki Stanislaw Szapiro Dominik
Elchert Krystian Klas Fryderyk Szeyn Daniel
Ellert Samuel Ferdynand Klayber Daniel Szilling Karol Ludwig
Emrych Daniel Knage Gotlib Szmit Dawid
Engler Gothard Knap Andreas Szmit Karol Fryderyk
Enterich Jozef Koenig Fryderyk Szteynbrych Josef
Erdman Wilhelm Kulig Ferdynand Jan Szubert Fryderyk
Erdner Karol Gotlieb Kulij Jan Szyling Karol
Fabis Daniel Kurcz Georg Szymanowicz Michal
Folde Daniel Lachman Gotlib Szyn Fryderyk Ernst
Foyt Jozef Landman Wilhelmine Tetzke Samuel
Frantz Jan Karol Lepkowski Andrzej Treyberg Krystian
Grabowski Franciszek Linke Jan Kar. Turin Gottfryd
Grunwald Auguste Margraf Wilhelm Voigt Piotr
Gutcze Tragut Mencher Jan Wal Martyn
Hapinski Celestyn Michlowicz Abram Walter Antoni
Hartyn Jan Mitelsztat Wilhelm Wargolski Piotr
Haufe Marcin Mokros Karol Wasterbard Fryderyk
Hegendorf Wilhelm Muller Beniamin Wencel Franciszek
Henkel Jan, Ludwig Obczynski Stanislaw Wentland Chrystian
Hendel Krystian Fryderyk Olszewski Kacper Wider Carol
Herman Gottlib Paulsen Fryderyk Winterszteyn Ferdynand
Herszberg Herc Purszel Samuel Gottlib Woyciechowski Mateusz
Heyn Peter Christopher Rab Jakub Zenker Jozef
Hintz Wilhelm Rayster Daniel  

Iwona Dakiniewicz, Lodz, Poland <genealogy@pro.onet.pl>

[with translation assistance from William F. Hoffman]

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Last Updated on July 6, 2017