27 October 2023

Map Update: Podolia Province

In September, volunteers at Black Sea German Research released translations of births and marriages recorded in the Niemirow Lutheran parish in Podolia covering the years 1833–1866 from FamilySearch. Earlier this year, I had already combed the BSGR database for references to this region, including EWZ records. Having accumulated a bunch of new places from these records and the 1897 Imperial census, it was time to update Podolia. 

Podolia or Podolsk or Podilla (I have to choose one spelling for the sake of simplicity) province was organized after becoming a part of the Russian Empire in 1793 after the Second Partition of Poland. 

Podolia is in the lower right side of the mid-shade of...what is that color?...dusty mauve? 
The Partitions of Poland. Source: Halibutt, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The area had many historical affiliations including the Kievan Rus', the Kingdom of Poland, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and the Ottoman Empire. The territory today includes mostly the Vinnitsa and Khmelnytsky oblasts and part of the Odessa oblast in Ukraine. It also includes a bit of the Transnistria part of Moldova. 

Given its proximity to the provinces of Volhynia and Bessarabia and the Austro-Hungarian Empire (part of that empire is mapped here), it is not too surprising that some of the marriages and births recorded occurred outside of the province in neighboring areas. Maybe the places in Austria-Hungary were a little surprising. The Niemirow parish was established in 1782 with parishioners in 10 villages. A filial parish in Dunayivtsi was founded in 1806. The map below shows where Lutherans lived in 1864. I marked it up for research. In a sea of Orthodox neighbors (green) with Catholics well-distributed (pink), there are just six islands of Lutherans (blue). Of course, they were more widely and thinly dispersed than this historical map shows.

1864 Podolsk Province, population according to confession. Source: EtoMesto

Overall, there were not very many Germans in this province. According to the First General Census of the Russian Empire in 1897, there were 4,069 native German speakers in Podolia, which amounted to just .13% of the total population of the province. 

The main occupation of the residents was agriculture. Products grown included walnuts, apples, pears, plums, cherries, peaches, apricots, strawberries, raspberries, currants, gooseberries. Grapes were grown near the Dniester river, and winemaking existed in Olgopolsky, Baltsky, Yampolsky and Ushitsky districts. Sewing sheepskins into coats and boots, pottery, woodworking, and stone cutting were also noted occupations. 

I was not able to find every place in the church records, but I did find most of them. For some there were too many possibilities, and without a district to narrow it down, I would be guessing as to which one was correct. Some of the spellings yielded absolutely nothing. I did use the spelling in the church record as the primary ancestral name, so they should be easy to find.  

The following maps have been updated: 

German settlements in the Podolia Province. 

I am winding down early now to enjoy the end of the year, so this is the last map update for a few months. Research will continue and more posted in the new year


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