About our project
Why such a project
Greater Poland Uprising, which broke out in December 1918 and lasted until the 16th of February 2019, was the only such a great and victorious fight to regain independence in the history of our State. Many studies, books, albums and articles concerning this subject have been created, especially now, when we celebrate the 100th anniversary of this event. WTG – Gniazdo also decided to join in this celebration, creating the only one of its kind, a unique List of the Greater Poland Uprising Participants.
After the publication in 2014 of the list of awarded the Greater Poland Uprising Cross (see WTG forum), we received many information and signals that the ancestors of the informants also took part in the Uprising, which can be confirmed by the evidence being in such persons’ possession including photographs, ID cards, decorations and other memorabilia. We explained that it was only the List of the awarded, but also, we carefully collected all this information. During our meetings, we were wondering what to do to appreciate the effort and dedication of all those who in any way contributed to this great victory. Not only those who armed stood out against the invader, but also those who supported the Uprising financially, provided food, dressed the wounds, shared their houses including little boys running with reports.
Very long project implementation
In the spring of 2016, we gathered - a dozen of people, members and supporters of WTG – and the project began to take its shape. We have created a list of publications containing lists of Uprising participants in various regions of Greater Poland. After a month, the list of references from a dozen of obvious subject literature increased to one hundred, and in the final phase of the project there were over 600 sources. We also determined the form of a list, i.e. the data that we publish:
- given name and surname,
- date of birth,
- names of parents,
- date of death,
- burial place,
- unit and military rank,
- additional and important information that appear in the publications
Wojtek Jędraszewski– Chief Project Coordinator, provided the persons indexing (many of them helped in creating the list of awarded the Greater Poland Uprising Cross and thus they had some experience) with the source materials and the first stage of the project began - writing down the names of the Greater Poland Uprising participants.
It was the arduous and long way. The persons indexing encountered many problems in their work. Such problems included laborious deciphering of handwritten biographies and stories of the Uprising participants, posted on Digital Library of Greater Poland websites, deciphering and correct record of names, places and military units. Of course, we did not interfere in the content of the description, but for greater clarity, we corrected, for example, incorrectly written names of towns or spelling mistakes.
The priority was to read the surnames properly. Spelling of many of them is a real challenge! Starting with Szmit (Szmit, Szmyt, Szmidt, Schmid, Schmit, Schmidt) through Szulc, until Fiszer. It was also necessary to deal with the Polish surnames like Bębnista or Bembnista, Jaskuła or Jaskóła, Śniecki or Siniecki, etc. We agreed on entering both versions, because we do not know which form survived until today, and not everything could be checked in the available databases (e.g. www.szukajwarchiwach.pl ). It was also difficult to properly read the surname and coming to the fact that Swoik is Piosik, Kossowski is Kaszewski, Kumor is Kucner, and Gub is Czub.
It was easier with given names, although Jakób was a true puzzle every time. Most of the insurgents were named Jan, followed by Franciszek, Antoni, Stanisław and Józef. However, there were names that caused a smile or astonishment. There were names such as Kilian, Krescenty, Krzywitan, Wandalin or Deodezja. The most surprising were Gorgoniusz, Castrop and Frumencjusz. However, these rare names helped a lot in later stages of the work.
Also the names of town were recorded differently, sometimes in a funny way, and sometimes so that it was impossible to find out what the author had in mind… Ruchocice had a form of Ruchawice, Łężeczki changed into Łączeczki, Nochowo became Nockowo, and Ośniszczewko was Ośnieszczewik. Sometimes in one source there was the town Mochy, and another time Mchy. All the persons indexing the names of insurgents bore in mind that the sources developed were created in different circumstances and at different times. Sometimes several dozen years after the event, hence various forms of names may appear, the boundaries of poviats have changed, and some places simply do not exist. Having overcome these difficulties, a list of 130,000 names was created, which now had to be linked together and merged in order to get one Antoni Lewandowski from three such persons appearing in three sources. It was the next stage of the project…
Each of the persons indexing received a certain batch of material and the development of a final version of the list began. And that it was not easy; here is an example of Jan Filipiak. I receive 22 items - Jan Filipiak. Eight of them have a date of birth and father's name. In this case merging such items (names) is relatively easy. In 14 names, basic data is missing, but in some there are the names of the units in which they serve. So to Jan, who served in Kompania Opalenicka [Opalenica Company], I can add the one who has a remark ‘Powstaniec Ziemi Opalenickiej [Opalenica Land Insurgent]’ in the comments. Another Jan has ‘priest’ note. I check the Greater Poland Priests database, whether there were two priests with the same given name and surname and I merge these two priests into one. This way the number of persons named Jan Filipiak decreased from 22 to 15. Unfortunately, the wall is still there, because in many sources there is only the given name and surname, and sometimes only the surname itself. It was easier with rare names, but surnames like Kowalski, Kaczmarek, Przybylski and Nowak were problematic. It should be emphasised that the assumption of the project is to list as many participants of the Uprising as possible and it would be unacceptable to omit any person. We were very careful in this matter.
It should be mentioned that while working on our project, we consulted and used a professional help of Professor Janusz Karwat, whom we thank very much for the substantive hints.
The project is not closed. We hope for the remarks and supplementation of insurgents’ personal data, but also expect the notifications of any Greater Poland Uprising participants, not included in the list. There are many book about the Uprising and its participants that have been published recently. We will index as far as we can.
We hope that our work will be appreciated both by individual recipients - descendants of our heroes, but also by scientists and historians as a material for research on the history of the Greater Poland Uprising.
January 2019 r.
To familiarize with the methodology and data content, read the detailed explanations of the project.
To search for information, enter only surname or first name and surname in the format "surname, first name". Use the extended search criteria with additional parameters to narrow down the list of results.