Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Historic Timelines Give Perspective

My 3rd great grandfather, Johann Ganas, was born in the village of Czerlejno in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.  His son, Adalbert, my 2nd great grandfather was born in the same village. But Adalbert was born in Prussia.

The Wikipedia Timeline of Polish History has given me new insight into my ancestors’ lives. The borders of Poland have flexed over time as various neighboring powers sought to claim its land as their own. For a time, Poland did not even exist as a sovereign nation. I've read history, but a concise timeline makes the turmoil much more obvious.

Johann was born about 1779 after the First Partition of Poland.  By the time Adalbert was born in 1811, the country had seen two more partitions change or eradicate the borders.

In the meantime, there were multiple treaties made and broken; multiple uprisings, and various degrees of oppression of Polish culture. 

So I’m back at the history books trying to develop a narrative to describe what life may have been like for my ancestors in those times.

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