Describing Place Names in the Kingdom of Poland 1816-1837

When genealogists enter the names of the locations where events in their ancestors’ lives occurred, they are faced with the dilemma of how to enter place names so as to unambiguously identify the locations in both space and time.

On 16 January 1816, the Kingdom of Poland, established by the Congress of Vienna on 09 June 1815, was reorganized into more traditionally Polish administrative divisions.

Of the ten departments of the former Duchy of Warsaw, the departments of Bydgoszcz and Poznań were returned to Prussia by the Congress of Vienna. The remaining eight departments were reorganized into eight voivodeships:

województwo augustowskie (Augustów Voivodeship) created from the Łomża Department
województwo kaliskie (Kalisz Voivodeship) created from the Kalisz Department
województwo krakowskie (Kraków Voivodeship) created from the Kraków Department
województwo lubelskie (Lublin Voivodeship) created from the Lublin Department
województwo mazowieckie (Masovian Voivodeship) created from the Warsaw Department
województwo płockie (Płock Voivodeship) created from the Płock Department
województwo podlaskie (Podlasie Voivodeship) created from the Siedlce Department
województwo sandomierskie (Sandomierz Voivodeship) created from the Radom Department

The administrative structure for the eight remaining departments of the Duchy of Warsaw were largely preserved in the structure of the Kingdom of Poland from 1815-1837. To convert the name of a village in one of the eight remaining departments of the Duchy of Warsaw to the name in the Kingdom of Poland (1816-1837), simply change “Powiat” to “Obwód”, “Department’ to “Voivodeship”, and “Duchy of Warsaw” to “Kingdom of Poland”.

Genealogists may specify a place name in the Kingdom of Poland from 16 January 1816 to 07 March 1837 as follows:

name of city or village, obwód, voivodeship, nation

for example:

Krasne, Przasnysz Obwód, Płock Voivodeship, Kingdom of Poland

or, if one prefers to write the place name in Polish:

Krasne, obwód przasnyski, województwo płocki, Królestwo Polskie

The Kingdom of Poland was also known informally as Congress Poland (Kongresówka). In my own records, I call the nation established by the Congress of Vienna the “Congress Kingdom of Poland” in order to differentiate this nation from the Kingdom of Poland that existed from 1025-1569 and the Kingdom of Poland proposed as a puppet state by the German Empire and Austrian Empire from 1916-1918.

To directly learn the names of the Obwód and Voivodeship to which a village belonged, the researcher should consult the civil registrations recorded in the corresponding parish during the 1817-1826 time period. Most civil registrars of the time included the names of the Obwód and Voivodeship directly in the records.

Other articles in this series:

  • Describing Place Names in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth 1569-1795
  • Describing Place Names in the Duchy of Warsaw 1807-1815
  • Describing Place Names in the Kingdom of Poland 1815-1816
  • Describing Place Names in the Kingdom of Poland 1837-1844
  • Describing Place Names in the Kingdom of Poland 1844-1867
  • Describing Place Names in the Vistula Land 1867-1915
  • Copyright © 2010 by Stephen J. Danko

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    2 Responses to Describing Place Names in the Kingdom of Poland 1816-1837

    1. Nancy says:

      Very confusing

    2. Barbara Toner says:

      Thank you so much for these lists. It makes my record keeping so much easier for family to understand. I have even written to cousins in Poland who were not able to help.

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