Monday, September 15, 2014

Mappy Monday ~ Husiatyń

As I recently discovered, the Levitt / Levitas / Lewites family of my mother-in-law was originally from a town called Husiatyń. Where is that, you might ask?

From JewishGen's Communities Database:

Before World War I, the community of Husiatyń was in Galicia, a province in the Austrian Empire. THIS is why almost all of the records I have found for the Levitas family in America indicates a birthplace of AUSTRIA.

Using present-day country boundaries, Husiatyń is about 214 miles WSW of Kiev, Ukraine, and about 130 miles ESE of L'viv, Ukraine.

However, this is one of those communities where someone could have been born in one country (Austria), married in another country (Poland) and died in yet a third country (Ukraine) and lived in the same house all his or her life.

After WWI, the Austrian Empire dissolved, and Galicia no longer remained a geographic entity. Husiatyń then became part of Poland. Then after WWII, Husiatyń was within the boundaries of Ukraine, a Soviet Socialist Republic until it officially became an independent country in 1991.

To get an idea of where Husiatyń is today, I looked at Google Maps:

Screenshot from Google Maps with the red icon showing the present-day location of Husiatyn.
Country names in red added by me.

To get an idea of where Husiatyń was in the former Galicia, I found the following map at the website of the Toronto Ukrainian Genealogy Group:

"This map shows the territory of former Austrian Kingdom of Galicia, which was created artificially in 1772, with the partition of Poland. The red line marks present day border between Poland and Ukraine / former USSR."

The arrow at the right points to Husiatyń, where the Lewitas family was from. The arrow at the bottom points to Kolomyja, where Rebecca Levitt's husband Jacob Reisner was born.

For another very cool map, check out the following interesting website: European History Interactive Map from Worldology. This map not only shows the changes in European geopolitical boundaries over time, but also uses scroll-over buttons that, when you scroll over them, display text, explaining what was happening in that region and shading certain areas of the map, if needed. The dates are at the top of the map, or you can click on the large arrows to "move through time."

Now that I have discovered that my husband has roots in a community in Galicia, I need to learn more about it. Gesher Galicia is a website devoted to finding and putting online records for Jewish communities in the Galicia region. The page for Husyatyń is found under Gusyatin.


  1. I've just discovered this wonderful blog. I'm glad you included a link to it on your other blog. Your comment about your mother-in-law's family being from an area where you could be born in one country, marry in another, and die in a third reminded me of a friend whose parents were from an area near the Russia/Poland border. He says that the area kept going back and forth between the two countries--and some years his parents were Russian and other years they were Polish.

    1. Sheryl, I'm glad I was able to "share" this blog in my recent blog post at my other blog.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!