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06 February 2014

Did the Country Change?

If census and other records indicate your ancestor was born in more than one country, determine how stable the borders were. If national boundaries changed during your ancestor's lifetime, your ancestor may have given different places of birth depending upon when they were asking the questions.


  1. If the town was in Eastern Europe, the book "Where Once We Walked" may help you locate the present whereabouts. Although compiled to assist the Jewish community find old shtetls, Jews were not the only people who lived in those towns. Using WWII draft cards, SS-5s and censuses I was able to locate the birthplaces of my husband's grandparents.

  2. The most interesting example of this that I know of is someone who gave Denmark, Germany, and England as birthplaces. All were correct statements.

    The real estate he lived on was the island of Helgoland/Heligoland.

  3. Whenever someone asks where my Polish ancestors were born, I tell them it all depends on who was in charge at the moment!

  4. The same could be said if a person was born in more than one *county.*