Geography Maps Slownik Geograficzny Slownik Glossary
Geography & Maps
Slownik Geograficzny Glossary of Unfamiliar Terms
achtel: an eight part of various measures (from German Achtel).
Chelmno law: charter defining terms under which towns were incorporated in Prussia, Pomerania and Mazovia.
dóbr, dobra: it means "estate, landed property." which could be owned by a noble, by the Church, or by the Royal Treasury. This term differs from dwor which is a manor house.
dziesięcina: it means literally "tithe." It's an archaic term referring to land measurement, it is a Polish equivalent of the Russian term десятина,
desyatina. It equals about 1.09 hectares, or 2.7 acres.
emphyteutic (in Polish empfiteutyczny): referring to a long-term lease or deed of unused property requiring the owner to improve it; the Latin term ephyteusis refers specifically to lease of church property.
enfranchised: refers to reforms giving peasants legal ownership of the land they had used before but which had belonged to their lords, i. e., releasing them from serfdom. In the Kingdom of Poland enfranchisement was put into effect in 1863 and 1864.
estate in tail: a legal term referring to an estate with specific limitations on who can inherit it
Ferro: refers to an archaic coordinate system measuring longitude from the island of Ferro (now Hierro) in the Canary Islands, long the westernmost point known to Europeans, rather than from Greenwich, England; subtract about 17º 40' from “Ferro longitude” to get the figure in standard use today.
ferton: from late Latin ferto, an ancient Polish coin, worth a quarter of a grzywna, also called a wiardunek.
folwark: large manorial farmstead
gbur: from Middle High German gebûr, farmer, a farmer or peasant who owned his own land and was therefore relatively well off, for a peasant.
German law: charter defining terms under which towns were incorporated, so-called because they were usually modeled on the charters given such German cities as Magdeburg and Chelmno.
gimnazjum: secondary school or grammar school.
gmina: rural administrative district, administrative subdivision of a powiat, ruled by a council and a wójt. It usually encompasses several villages and smaller settlements; or it can consist of a single large estate or a town. In most cases the best way to translate it is "administrative district."
gród: a settlement, enclosed by walls or ramparts, some dating back to the Neolithic period. In the Middle Ages it served as a fortification and a center of political or administrative authority; some later developed into towns (cmp. Russian gorod, ropog, the modern word for "town, city").
grosz: a coin, less than a Zloty in value (somewhat comparable to a penny).
grzywna (plural grzywny): an ancient silver coin, worth several denarii, used in Poland and other countries of Europe.
hyberna: from the Latin hibernus, "winter," a tax paid toward the maintenance of the army during winter.
jednodworzec: a term used in the Russian Empire for those who were neither nobles nor peasants, or for one-time petty nobles who'd lost that rank; literally it means "one with a single manor/court/yard."
kalwaria: literally "calvary," a complex of shrines or chapels commemorating Christ's Passion, generally on a hill, often with vast numbers of small crosses erected by the faithful in memory of deceased loved ones.
kwarta: literally "a fourth", an ancient tax levied for the upkeep of the army.
łan: literally "field," that is, a field under cultivation. The term is often used to mean a full-sized farm, some 30 mórgs (about 40 acres) in size, or as a unit of measurement. A gardeners' lan (Ian zagrodniczy) was presumably one divided among and worked by "gardeners, 11 people too poor to own full-sized farms; and a craftsmen's Ian was presumably one worked by craftsmen to grow food. Obviously there is no concise way to translate these terms in modern English because differences in the social, economic, and agricultural conditions make them hard to define in modern terms.
last: in Polish łaszt - an archaic measure of volume or weight, varying in value in different times and with different commodities. A łaszt polski was 30 bushels, a łaszt pruski was 60 szefli or 3,297.6 liters.
Magdeburg law: charter defining terms under which towns were incorporated, modeled on the charter of the east central German city of Magdeburg (now in the Land of Saxony-Anhalt) formulated in the 13th century.
mansioner, in Polish mansjonarz: a resident priest, holder of a small benefice and free of obligations beyond his basic duties as a priest.
mila: the value varied in different times and places, but here the "Polish" or "Russian mila is probably meant; it measured about 7.5km., so a square mila would be about 56 sq.
A mila, despite the resemblance to our word "mile," was about 7.5 km (it's listed in the Documentation under "Measurements," which shows the Austrian
mila as 7.585937 km. and the geographic mila as 7.4074074 km.). An Austrian mila: half a mila would be roughly3.75 km., and 2.5 mila's was about 19 km. If you prefer to convert the km.'s to miles, half a mila = about 2.3 miles, and 2.5 mila's = about 11.7 miles.
mórg or morga: unit of land measurement, also called jutrzyna; according to Gerald Ortell's book on Polish parish records, in the Russian partition 1 mórg = 1.388 acres, in the Prussian 1 mórg = 0.631 acres (.25 hectare), in Galicia 1 mórg = 1.422 acres (.56 hectare)
okrąg: literally "circle, globe," an administrative subdivision, perhaps best translated as "district" - there were different kinds, including judicial and military.
oprawa: amount from a husband's property secured for his wife, consisting of the amount of her dowry plus an equal sum pledged by the husband from his holdings.
political district: the Polish original says "okrag pol., " where okrag is a term for a district and pol. could be an abbreviation of polski, "Polish," polityczny, "political," or policyjny, "police." It is difficult to tell which is meant in this context-but comparison with other Slownik entries for places in Lithuania and Belarus make it clear the reference is to some sort of administrative subdivision under the Russian Empire. The term is rendered here "political district," but it's worth remembering it might mean "police district" or something else.
pos. wieksza and pos. mniej.: After years of searching I think I have the answer right: the first means "major estate" and the second means "minor estate." But what they're referring to is the way land was listed in Galician land registers. The major estate was the land owned by nobles, and the minor estate was land owned by peasants. I'm about 99% certain I've got that right ... It can't mean "bigger estate"
and "smaller estate" because the total acreage for the "smaller estate" is almost always larger than that of the "bigger estate." So those terms wieksza and mniejsza can't refer to physical size, they must mean something else; and apparently what they refer to the social status of the land's owners. The "major" estate belonged to nobles, the "minor" estate to peasants.
powiat: administrative subdivision used in Poland since the 14th century, smaller than provinces but larger than gminy or gromady; abolished in 1975, roughly comparable to a county in the U. S, reinstated with new boundaries on January 1, 1999.
prebenda: a benefice or prebend, a church office (such as a rectory) endowed with fixed capital assets.
rewizja: literally "review," it can be an official inspection performed by a rewizor, or, especially in the Russian Empire, it can mean simply "census."
schematyzm or szematyzm: a list of officials; this term especially refers to a kind of annual report issued by Galician dioceses, which may include details on parishes, the diocese's holdings, etc.
scotus, skojec, skot: an ancient monetary unit, 1/24 of a grzywna; sort of like a penny.
Sejm: Seym, diet (representative body, a little like Congress)
Slady/Slad: a measure of land, roughly synonymous with "Lan". It is said to be equal to about 40 Magdeburg huby, or 100-150 mórgs.
solectwo: the jurisdiction of a soltys, the property he has by right of his office, or the office itself.
soltys: derived from and equivalent to German Schultheiß (later Schultz), a bailiff or village headman/mayor.
starosta: a kind of district chief or official; starostwo is a term referring to the office of starosta
starostwo: the office, property, or jurisdiction of a starosta, a kind of district foreman and royal official in Poland in the 14th-18th century, in charge of treasury and police activities, and the judiciary; a starostwo could be classified as grodowe, affiliated with a gród (q.v.), or niegrodowe, unaffiliated with a gród.
szelag: an ancient Polish coin.
wiardunek: an ancient Polish coin, worth a quarter of a grzywna, also called a ferton.
Wislok/Wisloka: these are two different rivers, and even this author apparently confused them. The Wisloka lies farther west, flowing roughly north past Pilzno, Debica, and Mielec to join the Wisla in what used to be northwestern Rzeszów province. The Wislok flows northwest through Krosno, northeast through Rzeszów, then east to join the San near Sieniawa.
wlóka: a unit of land measurement used in Poland, more or less synonymous with lan; it comes from the root in the verb wlóczyc, "to drag, harrow," thus referring to a field with soil plowed and harrowed and ready for planting. The wlóka was generally about 30 mórgs, but this can vary depending on what part of Poland and what time-frame one is concerned with. Generally 30 mórgs was considered a full-sized farm, big enough to support a family.
wojski: from the 15th century on, the lowest official of a ziemia; in ancient Poland the wojski was the official in charge of an area while the nobles and other authorities were gone during wartime.
wójt: in rural areas, chief officer of a group of villages; the administrative head of a gmina.
wójtostwo: the land, office, or jurisdiction of a wójt.
zagroda: a Croft, an enclosed section of farmland.
Ztad/Stad): Ztad is an archaic spelling; in modern Polish it's spelled with an S instead of a Z, stad, with nasal A. It means "from here" or "from there." So "Ztad pochodzil zapewne" means "Surely he came from there.";