The Suwalk-Lomza Interest Group
for Jewish Genealogists

Apt 228   .   3701 Connecticut Ave. NW   .   Washington, D.C. 20008-4502

 History and Geography

As the two northeastern-most gubernias (provinces) of the ten gubernias of the "Kingdom of Poland" (also known as Congress Poland or "Russian Poland"), Suwalki and Lomza were bordered by East Prussia on the west and northwest; the mainland of the Russian Empire to the northeast and east, namely Kovno, Vilna and Grodno gubernias; and by other provinces of the Kingdom of Poland to the south and southwest.  Suwalki and Lomza gubernias were each comprised of seven "powiats" or districts, as follows:

Suwalki gubernia districts (and major towns in each, in addition to the district capital):

[Today only the districts of Augustow, Suwalki, and part of Sejny are in Poland; the others are in Lithuania.]  

Lomza gubernia districts (and major towns in each, in addition to the district capital):

Why a Special Interest Group joining Suwalki and Lomza? These two gubernias were created in 1866 from the former Augustow Province.  All of Suwalki gubernia had been part of Augustow Province, as had four districts of the new Lomza gubernia - Kolno, Lomza, Szczuczyn and Wysokie Mazowieckie.  For much of the 19th c., Russian-Polish Jews were not permitted to marry outside of their own gubernia (with some exceptions, usually for prominent families).  Thus, there was a lot of inter-marriage among families within the former Augustow Province [i.e. Suwalki gubernia and the four districts of Lomza gubernia cited above].  Jews in that area shared a common "Litvak" culture, which primarily looked to the great Jewish center of Vilnius for its community models.  The other Lomza districts [Makow, Ostrow Mazowiecki, and Ostrolenka] -- and Pultusk district -- were brought into the Lomza gubernia (when it was formed in 1866) from the former Plock gubernia.  (Pultusk district was transferred to Warszawa gubernia in 1894.)  Nevertheless, by the second half of the 19th c., we do see many inter-marriages between families in those districts, and families in the other four Lomza districts of the former Augustow Province.

Copyright 1998-2015, Suwalk-Lomza Interest Group for Jewish Genealogists.
Last updated August 28, 2015 rjz.