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Because of Poland's turbulent history, the nations administrative jurisdictions have changed many times over the past 300 years. In the late 1700s, the Polish Commonwealth, one of the largest countries in Europe, was divided between her neighbors in a series of land partitions which eventually wiped the country off the map of Europe. Polish lands in the west were seized by Prussia, eastern lands were absorbed into the Russian Empire, while Austria took the region southeastern Poland known as Galicia. Each of the partitioning powers rearranged internal provincial and county boundaries, and in some cases, renamed towns and villages. There are often several places with the same name. For example, there are many towns called Rakow in present-day Poland. The spelling and even names of some towns may have changed since your ancestors lived there. Some localities have different names in different languages. For example, the town now known as Toszek was Tost before 1918. Place-names are often misspelled in American sources. Regarding the preceding information, I have made every effort to assure the town and village locations indicated on this map and other documents coincide correctly and are the same town and village locations that are recorded on family records and documents. 

After Poland regained independence in 1918, new provinces were created. After World War II, another internal reorganization took place and again in 1975. The current reorganized boundaries were instituted in January of 1999.

In view of all these changes, it is necessary to study the historical geography of the region of Poland where your ancestors lived. Boundaries of dioceses also underwent modification and change, the most recent being in 1992. It's important to trace and understand the various ecclesiastical jurisdictions under which our ancestors lived as the changes may have affected the location of the records.


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