Where We're From – Galicia

One of the biggest discoveries I made in the past year was the location of my great-grandparents' birthplace. My Grandfather was a German Jewish immigrant who came here in the 1930s for the obvious reason. His father's businesses had all failed because of the Nazis, and he took that as a sign it was time to leave. Because of their life, my great-grandfather never talked about his past to his children. He was a very busy man, and once they arrived in America, he grew sick, so there was never a lot of chance to talk about where he was from.

When my grandmother passed last year, I received a number of their papers—including my grandfather's birth record, which I was shocked to find listed not only his own information, but all of his siblings and his parents as well. It was a godsend. We knew that one or the other of them had been born in an area that was now Poland, but I knew nothing beyond that until I saw those papers.

After finding them, I began to do research. Galicia was a German/Austro-Hungarian state in Eastern Europe that passed through a few hands, but in the 1800s was an especially poor place to live for many. One Polish nickname for the area can be translated as "Naked- and hunger-land." Many Jewish peoples were settled in the area, but starting around 1880 or so, pogroms began to drive them out, and they fled to other places, my great-grandfather's family among them.

When World War I ended, the state was disbanded, and the area my great grandparents lived in became part of Poland. Many of those remaining Jewish towns were later razed by the Nazis in World War II. You can read more on the country here at Wikipedia.

I've despaired of making sense of all this, given those facts. But I do keep trying. I'm fairly certain I have my great-grandmother's birthplace located, but I have since discovered there are several possible towns that might be where my great-grandfather was born. I've marked them all on the map, so people can see them.

A map of the locations:
View My Galician Ancestry in a larger map

1. Czudec, Galicia (now Poland)
This is where I believe my great grandmother, Dora Kresch, was born. I know almost nothing about her life here, only that her father was a teacher (and possibly a rabbi) in the area, according to my grandfather's papers. I believe her father may have died here as well, though her mother later came to live in Frankfurt to be near her daughters, where they moved after World War I.

2. Sedziszow, Galicia (now Poland)
This one I am much less certain of. My great-grandfather's birthplace is listed as Sedziszow, but looking up the location both on Google maps and at JewishGen, I've discovered at least three possible locations for him, and I'm unsure which is the proper one, though at the moment, I'm inclined to believe it's the location several miles north of Krakow. What little I do know is that Alex and most or all of his siblings were born in this town, and that when he was young, his father decided to move the family to England, likely to find a better life for his family.

And really, that's all I have right now. Hopefully someday I'll have a good deal more, but really, I'm even amazed to have this and to be able to find possible locations at all.

Next up: Conclusion – "Pre-history" (ie, where my family might have come from as well)


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About this blog

This blog is maintained by two sisters who have had a life long interest in geneology.
Mika writes here mostly about our family (Hansen, Hillinger, Bordewick, Park, etc), and her search for more information.
Shannon mostly uses this space as a place to make the many stories written about and by her husband's family (Holly, Walker, Walpole, etc) available to the rest of the family, present and future.

Our blog is named Oh Spusch! mostly because Shannon is bad at naming things. The first post I put up includes a story about the time Walker's great grandfather took his whole family out to see a play and the littlest kept saying "Oh! Spusch!" No one ever figured out what she meant by that.