The Kaflowit(c)z and Freeman Families
This information was donated by BM.
This information on the history of Vitebsk is from a relative, as she learned about it from her father.
The town of Witepsk in White Russia (Belorussia) was a former region located in Eastern Europe, and including the Pripet Marshes. It was inhabited by the White Russians. Bordering on Poland-Lithuania and Latvia-Minsk area, the people were nicknamed Litvacks. Over the coming years the area was subject to change and rule from Napoleon's era through to World War II.
Going back to the mid 1800s, here is some family history starting with my Great-Great Grandfather:
My Great-Great Grandfather, was born sometime between 1830 and 1840 in Witepsk, also known as White Russia. I am told this was, at the time, under Russian rule and under the Kingdom of Poland. The Russian army traveled a great deal by trains and while on a stop in Witepsk, my Great-Great Grandfather was kidnapped by a troop of Russian soldiers. He learned how to survive amongst the soldiers, by being of service to them: by polishing their boots, and squeezing the broth and blood from cooked beef for them making it into a drink. This Russian concoction was created by the Russian soldiers because they believed it gave them strength. The soldiers would entertain themselves by playing musical instruments so my Great-Great Grandfather learned how to play the violin during his capture. At a later point in time he was able to escape and rejoin his family, marrying a girl from Bielsk where they couple settled and raised their family.