Bogumił Szady

Created around 1790, Geographical and Statistical Description of the Parishes of the Kingdom of Poland (Geograficzno-statystyczne opisanie parafiów Królestwa Polskiego) consists of 12 volumes and contains sketches of over 2,000 parishes organised by dioceses, archdeaconries and deaneries. These sketches were created on the basis of surveys prepared by parish priests of the Crown’s dioceses (Cracow, Gniezno, Poznań, Włocławek, Płock, Łuck) and probably constituted an intermediate stage in the process of preparing special maps of the Crown’s voivodeships. The layout of the content of the sketches reflects the structure of the parish surveys upon which they were based. The idea of using parish surveys to prepare the maps was born in the circles close to Michał Jerzy Poniatowski, the bishop, and later primate, of Płock, and a brother of King Stanisław August. The content of the survey was probably prepared by Rev. Franciszek Czajkowski, who immediately filled it in, as a model example, for the parish in Tarchomin, of which he was in charge.

Geographical and Statistical Description of the Parishes of the Kingdom of Poland is currently kept in the manuscripts section of the Vladimir Vernadsky National Library of Ukraine (ref. no.: I 5975). It’s a particularly valuable source material, as the parish surveys used for its preparation were burned by the Germans during the Second World War (1944). It hasn’t been subject to a systematic study and analysis and has been photocopied or reprinted in fragments only.

Vol. 1-2Cracow diocese
Vol. 3Cracow diocese, Wrocław diocese
Vol. 4-6Gniezno diocese
Vol. 7-8Poznań diocese
Vol. 9Włocławek diocese, Płock diocese, Poznań diocese (Warsaw archdeaconry)
Vol. 10-11Płock diocese
Vol. 12Łuck diocese

Individual volumes of the sketches are arranged by diocese and contain a list of archdeaconries and deaneries with information on the total number of parishes in each unit provided at the beginning. The sheets that mark the start of individual deanery sections contain a list of parishes belonging to a given deanery, a general sketch of that deanery showing the seats of the parishes, the deanery’s boundaries and its main roads. Each parish, with few exceptions, has a separate page of its own, and the structure of the page reflects the points in the parish surveys and has a similar layout. It has a header and footer with the name of the parish and contain information on its administrative affiliation, both within the secular (voivodeship, district) and ecclesiastical (deanery) system. There is a sketch map of the parish in the centre of the page, and each sketch uses the road and settlement network as its basis. In the lower left corner of each page, there is a list of names of parish settlements with the number of houses and their distance and direction from the parish church. The settlements status as part of royal and ecclesiastical estates is also recorded where applicable. The lower right corner contains the names of neighbouring parishes and more important towns. There are also descriptions of farm buildings, mainly mills, below the sketch or on its left. Other elements: waters, forests and mountains are arranged on the pages in an irregular manner, depending on the shape of the main sketch.

Essential literature:

Buczek K., Dzieje kartografii polskiej od XV do XVIII w. Zarys analityczno-syntetyczny (“The History of Polish Cartography from the 15th to the 18th Century. An Analytical and Synthetic Outline”), Wrocław 1963.

Ertman A., O „Memoriale” królewskiego kartografa Karola Perthéesa [About a manuscript by the royal cartographer, Karol Perthées], “Analecta: Studia i Materiały z Dziejów Nauki”, 15 (1-2), pp. 243-254.

Karol Perthées (1739-1815), fizjograf Pierwszej Rzeczypospolitej. Życie oraz działalność kartograficzna i entomologiczna [Karol Perthées (1739-1815), Physiographer of the first Polish Republic: Life, Cartographic and Entomological Activity], ed. J. Pawłowskiego, Warsaw 2003.

Krawczyk A., Carol Perthées „Description of parishes” – a source for the historical geography and economic history of central and eastern Poland in the late 18th century (introductory information), “Zeszyty Naukowe Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego. Prace Geograficzne”, 43, pp. 191–196.

Rękopiśmienne opisy parafii litewskich z 1784 roku: Dekanat grodzieński [Handwritten Descriptions of Lithuanian Parishes from 1784: Grodno Deanery], ed. W. Wernerowa, Warsaw 1994 (Źródła do Dziejów Geografii [Sources for the History of Geography], vol. 1).

Rękopiśmienne opisy parafii litewskich z 1784 roku: Dekanat knyszyński i dekanat augustowski [Handwritten Descriptions of Lithuanian Parishes from 1784: Knyszyn and Augustów Deanery], ed. W. Wernerowa, Warsaw 1996.

Szady B., Działalność Michała Jerzego Poniatowskiego na rzecz rozwoju kartografii polskiej [Activities of Michał Jerzy Poniatowski for the development of Polish cartography], in: Kamienie milowe w kartografii [Milestones in Cartography], ed. J. Ostrowski, P.E. Weszpiński, Warsaw 2013, pp. 183–192.

Wieteska J., Materiały do atlasu historycznego Polski XVIII wieku. Archidiakonat pułtuski w ankiecie Michała Poniatowskiego z r. 1778 [Materials for the historical atlas of Poland in the 18th century. The Pułtusk Archdeacon in the 1778 survey by Michał Poniatowski], “Przegląd Historyczny”, 43 (2), pp. 338-346.