My mother’s father’s family was from Pultusk, Poland, a little bit north of Warsaw. In Polish, it’s spelled Pułtusk, with that special “L” in the middle. I have been examining original birth, marriage, and death records from that area, and I kept encountering references to village names, which I didn’t understand, since they were also referencing Pułtusk. I have finally made some sense out of it.
It turns out that Pułtusk is also the name of a county. Pułtusk County has its county seat in the city of Pułtusk. In Poland, counties (districts) are divided into administrative divisions (subdistricts) called gminas. There are 7 gminas in Pułtusk. The gmina of interest to me is Gmina Gzy.
Gmina Gzy is a rural district to the west of Pultusk city. Its population is only around 4000, but it contains about 50 villages, average population 80 per village. At least 3 of those villages are featured in the records related to my family. Zalesie-Grzymały was the home village of Isaac Joskowicz (my great grandfather) when he got married in 1884. I have seen a couple other names from that gmina in other records, and I expect to see more as I examine additional records more closely.
So what does this mean, apart from getting the right town names? For one, it means that my family was not from the “big city” of Pultusk, as I previously had believed, but from tiny rural shtetls to the west. I don’t have historical population information about those villages at the times they lived there, but for now I am assuming that they were similar, that my ancestors worked on farms or other rural tasks. It’s a little more insight into my family history.