Friday, January 1, 2010
Drohiczyn nad Bugiem, Our Polish Roots
Detailed gazetteers of historic Poland give valuable insight to the land our ancestors left behind. Because the information was compiled only a few years before the wave of migration from Eastern Europe, it provides a snapshot of their home town. I found a great deal of information in
Słownik geograficzny Królestwa Polskiego i innych krajów słowiańskich : Warszawa 1880-1902. T. 1-15 or Geographic Dictionary of the Former Kingdom of Poland and other Slavic Lands.
Drohiczyn-laki, on the east bank of the Bug River, was within the Bielsko region, Grodno Govern. The population was 1,402, having grown from 173 residents in 1800. The demographics consisted of 682 men and 720 women; 384 Catholics, 498 Jews, and 530 Russian Orthodox. There was one Catholic church, two orthodox Churches, and a school up to third grade.
The Catholic Church of the Holy Trinity was established about 1350. In 1660 the Jesuits had established a "collegium" and high school. There were 285 students in 1784. There were also ruins of a seventeenth century castle.
The town was populated by farmers and fishermen, boasting one windmill and no industry. A large farmers market was held four times a year. The community was often flooded by the river. A ferry provided access across the river.
Today, Drohiczyn is a seat of the Roman Catholic Bishopric. There are three church-monastery complexes from the 16th and 18th centuries. A small Jewish cemetery remains in Drohiczyn. although there are no longer Jewish inhabitants. The oldest known grave stone is from 1876.
Between Niemirow and Drhoiczyn, this portion of the Bug River is known as the Podlaski Gorge. River trips are offered by boat or barge, where travelers can view "its lofty banks where towns with magnificent pasts and historical monuments are situated."