I’ve been searching the web for vintage maps of my grandparents’ home towns – Zalozce, Austria (now Zaliztsi, Ukraine), where my grandmother Katarzyna Bosakowska grew up, and Kharucha Vel’ka, Ukraine, where my grandfather Alex Kowal grew up. The latter seemed particularly hopeless since Kharucha Vel’ka doesn’t even rate a mention in Google Maps, MapQuest or any of the map search engines.
As I explained in an earlier post, I only found Kharucha Vel’ka by searching in the Cyrillic alphabet and finding a weather forecast for the town. If the town was big enough to have weather, I figured it had to be on a map somewhere.
This week, while browsing through the very helpful website Halgal, which focuses on the genealogy of Halychnya/Eastern Galicia, I came across a website housing an amazing archive of historic maps of Poland and Eastern Europe (Archiwum Map Wojskowego Instytutu Geograficznego 1919-1939). They have tons of cool maps – highly detailed, expertly scanned and downloadable in high resolution formats.
I found some really great maps of Zalozce. This map of the region from 1915 shows how close the town was from the border with Russia (six miles tops). Here’s a close up:
This map from 1879 has incredible detail. You can even see the town’s street plan. Again, here’s a close up:
But the most exciting find was from a German map of Western Russia – the Karte des westlichen Russlands – published in 1917. There, preserved for all posterity, is my grandfather’s hometown, just where it was supposed to be.