Previously published in PGS-CA Bulletin (October 2012)

Bielawy Translated from the Słownik Geograficzny (1880-1902)
by Helen Bienick

Bielawy #1

Bielawy, a village in the county of Wągrowiec, covered 1435 morgen of land, and was the property of a nobleman. There were 9 houses with 100 inhabitants, all were Catholic, and 41 people were illiterate. The village was the property of Szymanski.

Bielawy #2

Bielawy, described as “huby” [1] (a German colony) in the county of Wągrowiec, had 6 houses with 55 inhabitants. Catholics numbered 36, Evangelicals 19, and 15 residents were illiterate. Farming was the main occupation.

Editor: When Helen did these translations, she was puzzled by the word “huby”. It's not in the list of normal słownik geograficzny terms and was not found in any of our Polish or German dictionaries. Wikipedia mentioned a village by the name of Huby, and a Kuyavian-Pomeranian voivodeship in north central Poland, but no real definition. We asked an expert for help…

From Fred Hoffman: I know this term because I've run into it before. It appears in the massive 8-volume Polish dictionary Słownik jezyka Polskiego by Karlowicz et al., the so-called Słownik warszawski, which is a particularly good source for archaic and dialect terms.

“Huby” is the plural form of “huba”, a Polonized form of German “Hube”, which also shows up as “Hufe” and other forms. “Hube/Hufe” is a German term for a full-sized farm, one big enough to support a family, more or less the same as Polsh “włoka”. So a settlement consisting of farmers owning or working full-sized farms might be called a “huby” as a collective term, or might bear the name Huby, especially if the settlers were German colonists. It's kind of like the American usage in the name of the show "Green Acres" -- the name of a place derived from a term for a unit of land measurement. Some places are just called Huby, others have a qualifying adjective, such as Huby Bukownickie, (the Huby near Bukownica).

A search for "Huby" on turns up 17 places named Huby or Hubysomething. Most of them are in areas formerly ruled by Germany, or highly populated by German colonists. That's why this German term shows up in the name; places of purely Polish origin would be more likely to have a name with Włoki because that's a Polish term meaning more or less the same thing.

I don't recall seeing “huby” used as a common noun before, but I'm pretty sure you can regard it as meaning "a farming settlement, a colony, especially of German farmers." In other words, it was a community or settlement made up of several “huby”.

[1] Huby – a land measurement about 30 morgen. One morgen/mr. = ~2.116 acres.