1824 — Berezno, the Ancestral Home Greek Catholic Census Cover – 1824Greek Catholic Census Inside Cover – 1824Census Page ( 1) for Berezno – 1824Census Page (2) for Berezno -1824Parchomuk Families in Berezno Census – 1824Grodno Province 1871Berezno Area 18711824 — The story of Walter Parfomak begins two centuries ago, in Berezno, a tiny village of the Grodno District in the western lands of the Russian Empire. The village was named after the white birches in its vast neighboring forest. (“Birch” is “bereza” in Russian, “biaroza” in Belarusan.) Formerly part of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Grodno District (gubernia) was annexed by Russia in 1795 after the Third Partition of Poland.In 1824, the Greek Catholic Church, a Byzantine denomination in communion with Rome, carried out a census of parishoners in Grodno. The pages above are from the census in the hereditary village (“wieś dziedziczna”) of Berezno. There was serfdom at this time in Russia, as there had been in the commonwealth before partition, so the village (and its peasants) were owned by the local lord, and thus was “hereditary.” The serfs were tied to their villages and the land, with limited rights to live or marry outside them, and with little religious freedom.According to the census rolls, among the family households in Berezno, there were several with the surname “Seliwonczyk,” and three with the surname “Parchomuk.” Walter Parfomak almost certainly descended from both of these families. (The census lists no Parchomuks at all in any neighboring communities.) The oldest Parchomuk men whose names appear (i.e., Jakow and Ihnaty) were born in the 1700’s. They were of the right age to have been Walter’s great-great-great-grandfather or uncles, although which one was in the direct line is unknown. In any case, given the history of serfdom, the Parchomuk family likely was living in the village of Berezno for generations before.In the 1871 Russian map of the Grodno Province above, Berezno appears as “Berezna,” written in Cyrillic as Bерезна (look for it!). The village is situated about 15 kilometers northwest of Antopol (Антопаль), the local market town, and about 30 kilometers northeast of Kobryń (Кобрын), the closest city. In the southwest of the Grodno Province on the River Bug, about 70 kilometers to the west of Berezno, lies the historic border city of Brest-Litovsk (Брест-Литовске). Much of Walter’s early story occurs in and around these locations.