Where our Kalis family lived in Kujawy

The area of Kujawy (which in today's terms is equivalent to a province) is flat terrain cluttered with glacial remains leaving spidery lake in the depressions. The "black marsh " soils are productive.


It gained its name from its original owner, one of the sons of the ancient King of Poland Prince Boleslaw Kujawy.


It's interesting to note that Boleslaw's bother Mieszlo of Kalisz reigned over the principality just south of Kujawy, which included the ancient town of Kalisz.


German colonists were in the area as early as 1782.


The German influence here appears to only result from the colonists who were invited in.


As early as the 9th century Princes of Poland brought in German settlers and placed them strategically on the outskirts of their castles.


The Germans were valued for their hard work and loyalty and could be depended on when the castle came under attack and needed defending.


A large colonization of Germans arrived when Poland was partitioned in the 1790s.


It's really hard to tell by looking at old maps, but as near as we can tell, it looks like this area of Poland became part of the Prussian-Brandenburg Empire during the 2nd  Partition in 1793.


It then became part of the Grand Duchy of Warsaw  formed by Napoleon in 1807.


Later, it became the Kingdom of Poland as created by the Russian Tsar at the 1815 Congress of Vienna.


It was incorporated into the Russian Empire in 1832 where it remained until it was given back to Poland in the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 after the First World War.


If I've got this right, no wonder our people said the borders kept changing.


Actually the borders between Russia and Germany were not clearly defined prior to the First World War.


Some historians say that the Germans and Russians preferred it this way, as any attempt to clearly define the border might have resulted in another war.


Some say the Germans felt that the large number of colonists they had in the area gave them an advantage should Russia decide to invade.


They also thought they a large enough population in the area that they could annex the lands to Germany.


The census taken under Otto v. Bismark, proved that not to be the case.


During the German occupation of the area, the Province Kujawy) was renamed Posen in Wartheland presumably to designate that it was an extension of Posen into the land of the Warthe River. 


Actually the Reichsgau (Administrative District) Wartheland was divided into two districts sometime between December 31, 1937 and January 1, 1948.


Our people that remained on the farm in Libnerowka were in the one named Reg.-Bez. Posen (Adm. Dist. Pozan).


Of course, the Poles removed these German names as soon as they could when Poland was recreated out of the post-war politics. 


Because of the 1939 invasion many of the vital records of Germans living in the area were spitefully destroyed.


They needed to be reconstructed.


If that was done during the 1940-45 period, the place names used were the names given to the area by the German reclamation of its former territories.


It's impossible to research this area into the war years without knowing both the German and the Polish names. 


From details gleaned from the Polish Dictionary of towns written for the years 1880 to 1902, a history of Poland and bits-and-pieces of accumulated information, this is what we know about the places of importance to our ancestors.


Those towns whose names are preceded by Koloni, are towns where the German colonist were allowed to live.


These were generally next to a Polish town by the same name (without the Koloni designation.)


The colonists were given free land, and exemptions for a period of years from taxes and military service.


The land was very inferior, usually swampy,  to that occupied by the neighboring Poles and virtually uninhabitable until the Germans held it.


The German colonists were invited in by the Polish Princes to improve the lands.


They did that and prospered.


Babiak, where the records for our family are located, was located in the Russian-controlled section of partitioned Poland.


Up until 1816 it was a Polish farm town.


It achieved the status of town proper when Germans were brought in to establish a clothing factory.


With the arrival of the Germans an Evangelical (Lutheran) church was founded.


In 1857 there were 23 brick houses and 43 wooden houses.


In 1868 Russia decreed that all official records be written in Russian.


In the 1880's it became a German colony.


There was an elementary school in Babiak and a court.


The town of Babiak was renamed during the German invasion in 1939 and became know as Waldau.


Izbica-Kujawska is where the Lutheran Church attended by our family was built in 1907.


An evangelical school is mentioned and this was adjacent to the Lutheran church.


The suffix Kujawska is derived from the name of Boleslaw of Kujawy the Polish prince who reigned over this principality in the 12th century.


Somehow, the ka feminine Polish ending was used when naming the town.


In 1825 Polish General Slubicki invited 88 German clothiers and tailors to settle in Izbica.


The Lutheran population at one time totaled 316 people but dropped to about 88 at the end of the 1800's.


There is a Catholic Church there that dates back to 1423. 


During the period of German occupation during WWII, Izbica became Mühlenthal


Koloni-Sarnowo is famous today as an archeological site for the New Stone Age cultures from the period 4000 to 1800 BC.


Libnerowka-osada was a German colony in the county of Kolo, district of Izbica-Kujawaka.


The suffix osada means a large settlement but it only had 19 inhabitants, 10 were evangelical with 9 others.


It covered 73 morgan  (a morg is 1.2 acres) of land and was named Libnerowka in error.


It appears it was intended to be named Lignorowka.


Perhaps this was a cartographer's error.


Libnerowka is north of Izbica.


During the German presence in the 1940s,  Libnerowka became Gutlinden.


Kolo, is the name of the Polish poviat (equivalent of a county).


Warthbrüchen is the name given to the Kreis (circle) during the German invasion of Poland in 1939.


The Warta River had a bridge in this vicinity.


In the German language, that would be the Warthbrücken.


Warta River was renamed the Warthe in the 1940s.     


Koloni-Kosijaty. Kosijaty still can be found on highly detailed maps on a side road slightly northwest of Izbica-Kujawska. Its name was not changed during WWII.