Landsmen 2002

Vol. 12 – Nos. 1 – 2 (Double Issue) (2002) The 1800 Prussian Inventory for Suwalk-Lomza Towns, with Historical Background, Data Extracts, and Analysis of the Data

The data for this Prussian inventory, constructed by August Carl von Holsche, was published in 1800. Jan Wasicki published a book in 1964, based on Holshe’s work, which only covered the Bialystok Department. Kalwaria (including Wilkowiszki, and Marjampol, [including Pilwiszki]), were two of the counties (powiats) included. During the Prussian era, especially from 1793 to 1797, the Prussian government sought to organize their archives according to Prussian, not Polish rules. They very carefully documented new towns. After that they focused on developing Prussian language and customs. Details relating to the organization of the towns were included. Commerce was a small part of the activity of the towns, but the main occupation of many Jewish residents in these towns was commerce.

Note that this inventory is a different source than the one reported in My Grandfather’s Axe. (See the August 10, 2014 post). That report was by Baron Friedrich Leopold von Schroetter, the Prussian State and Finance Minister responsible for New East Prussia.

The second part of the book presents the data for each county and each town. Topics covered include population, the towns, the types of businesses, town auspices (whether government towns or privately owned by the nobility), and the Prussian military presence.

Wylkowiszki is listed under the county of Kalwaria. Pilwiszki is listed under the county of Mariampol. The editor noted that all the towns listed are in southwestern Lithuania today.

Under types of businesses, the following information is given: Mariampol had 3 hardware (iron sellers), 4 dry goods, 6 general merchandise, and a single cloth seller. Wilkowiszki had 4 silk sellers, 4 linen sellers, and 2 cloth sellers.

Specific data for Wilkowiszki and Mariampol follows:

Town Name      County Name      # of Farm Peo-ple      # of Jews      Total Population

Wilkowiszki      Kalwarja              2077                               1236              3313

Mariampol        Mariampol          1178                                  590             1768

Kalvarja             Kalvarja              2886                                1782             4668

Pilwiszki            Mariampol            399                                    16                415

Grand Total                                   80315                            27044         107359

% Jews      Artisans      Merchants      Town   Owner      Military People

37.3            149              10                      G                             219     Wilkowiszki

33.4            106              14                     G                                45     Marijampol

38.2            222             15                      G                               216    Kalvaria

3.9                 20              0                      G                                  0     Pilwiszki

25.2         5614               411                    —                           7604     Grand Total

The last part of the article is an analysis of this data: Jewish residents lived in almost all of the 86 communities in the Bialystok Department with a tendency in the privately owned communities and in those communities with higher numbers of artisans and merchants. There was no increase of Prussian military presence in the communities with a higher proportion of Jews. Of the five towns listed above, only WIlkowiszki appeared in the top 15 towns with the highest number of Jewish residents.

The appendix provides a review of pre 1800 facts previously published in Landsmen relating to certain towns: Additional information was given for Jewish residents of Mariampol, established in 1758; Wilkowiszki also spelled Vilkovisk where the first Jewish cemetery dates to about 1500; and Kalvaria where the synagogue began in 1713, suggests a settlement decades earlier.

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About suwalkigermans

I started family research in 1993. My first two books focused on my maternal grandparents. Both families came from Kreis Rosenberg, West Prussia, to Big Rapids, Michigan. I left the Spurgats from Wylkowiszki in the Russian Empire as the third book because of the difficult and challenging research it required. After I published the book in 2010, I wondered what to do next. I thought I might try to share some of my research with others and maybe at the same time, by going digital, someone would find me. When you read the comments, you will see that happened. The best part of all this is helping others.
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