I’ve been doing more research on my Mazany line as time permits. My third-great grandfather was Lucas Mazany. He was married to a Marianna Brzykca. His youngest daughter, Marianna Mazana, was the mother of my second great-grandmother, Frances Rochowiak.

Lucas had a brother, Paul. Paul was born 3 July 1785 in Januszkowo. The record below can be found at Family Search,  Archive Archdiocese of Gniezno,  Gora Znin, Baptizatorum 1782 – 1803, Film #008017199.


Paul Mazany birth 1785

Paul married Constantia Lis on 7 February 1808 in Podgórzyn, Kujawsko-Pomorskie. The record below can be found at Family Search, Archive Archdiocese of Gniezno, Gora Znin, Copulatorum 1804 – 1817, Film # 008017225.

Paul Mazany Constantia Lis marriage 1808

Paul and Constantia go on to have at least eight children that I can document: Adam, Marianna, Lucia, Agnes, Benno, Laurence, Martin, and Valentine. Valentine seems to have been the youngest child, born in 1826. All of their children were born in Podgórzyn.

Going through the set of birth records for Gora Znin for the years 1828 – 1838, I was looking specifically for births in Podgórzyn to see whether Constantia and Paul had more children. I found none.  It was through reviewing these birth records that I made a note of a birth in Podgórzyn for an illegitimate child named Ignatius, born to a widow named Margaretha Nyk (married named Marosz). Ignatius was born 31 July 1827 and Constantia was named as godmother for this child. I made a note of this specifically because a Margaretha Maroszka1 was a godparent to Paul and Constantia’s daughter, Lucia. The other godparent was Valentine Lis, who I believe is Constantia’s brother. See record below from Archive Archdiocese of Gniezno,  Gora Znin, Baptizatorum 1782 – 1803, Film # 008017225 .

Ignatius Nyk birth 2 August 1827

Ignatius Nyk birth 1827

I decided to stop looking at births after 1838 as I was not finding any further births to Paul and Constantia and move on to locate deaths that may have occurred in Paul’s family. I discovered so far that two of his children, Agnes and Benno, died in 1818 and 1820, respectively. (See Archive Archdiocese of Gniezno, Gora Znin, Mortuorum 1817 – 1828, Film #007769351 to obtain the records.)

When I moved on to the next set of death records, those for 1828 – 1838, I find an entry for a child named Ignatius, who died 25 February 1830, aged 2. The parents were named as Paul Mazany and Constantia Lisianownka1. See the record below from Archive Archdiocese of Gniezno, Gora Znin, Mortuorum 1828 – 1838, Film # 007769351

Ignatius Mazany death 24 February 1830

Ignatius Mazany death 1830

I remembered I had made a note of the birth of an Ignatius who was born to a Margaretha Nyka Marosz, and this woman along with Constantia’s brother, were godparents to her daughter, Lucia.

So I went through the death records for Podgórzyn between 1827 when Ignatius was born and 1830 when he died, wondering whether his mother died. I found no record of her death yet.

I also re-reviewed all of the births for the time that Ignatius was born for the years 1827 through 1829 in Podgórzyn to ensure that Paul and Constantia did not have a child of their own named Ignatius. I have found no record of a ninth birth to Constantia so far.

I am beginning to wonder whether Constantia took the Roman Catholic practice of taking responsibility for the spiritual development of a child seriously and took Ignatius into the Mazany family. I have found no death records between 1828 and 1830 to indicate that Margaretha died. I do not yet know what may have happened to her–did she remarry, did she leave the village for work? What happened to Margaretha between Ignatius’ birth and death? The village of Podgórzyn had a large number of paupers and servants who worked in the nearby manors and a handful of farmers so they often moved for work, for bread. My own Mazany and Rochowiak family lines moved between a number of villages surrounding Gora Znin, so it’s quite possible she moved on to a neighboring village. What is even more interesting is what the death record does not state: “pater ignotis” or father unknown. But no father is named. (I have come across a few of records for illegitimate children where the father was known and named.)

It’s often stories like these that make Polish research both frustrating and fascinating.

Time may tell more as I progress through my research of the Mazany line. And I am more intrigued to figure out what happened here. What’s next? Of course to continue tracing the Mazany line as well as to trace the Nyk line and the Lis family.

I mention this story because not long ago, I was involved in a discussion of whether to note the names of whose who were involved in major life events–godparents at a birth, witnesses at a marriage, sponsors for a confirmation, names of those who reported a death. Good reasons were given, both pro and con. But I’m on the pro-side of this discussion because I think these persons are often relevant in researching my Polish ancestors in 18th and 19th century Poland. Persons who are godparents, marriage witnesses, or death reporters are often siblings, aunts, uncles, or children. I’ve had it happen more times than I can count that I’ve noticed a marriage witness I did not recognize. I later came to learn that person was either a blood relative or an in-law. Godparents in my research overwhelmingly are siblings or quite often even cousins. So often for me, it’s helpful to review godparents, marriage witnesses, and death reporters when I see names repeatedly appear in records. It’s often a hint to me that I’ve missed someone connected to the line I am researching.


1 Note that these are different forms of the same last name. Women often were noted with an -ownka or or a variation of a -ska/zka in their names during this period. It simply means “young woman” or “married woman” of a specific family. In this case, the Lis or Marosz, families.

With some of the breakthroughs I’ve had with my great-grandmother Franciszka Rochowiak’s family, I was able to positively identify her mother as Marianna Mazana. Because some of the records for parishes in Gorzyce, Gora Znin, and Chometowo are now available on Family Search, I pored over these records to see how far back I could take Franciszka’s family.  Because Franciszka’s father, Adalbert seemed to move around a bit, it was helpful to peruse all areas to see what I could find.  Adalbert married his third wife, Marianna Mazana, Franciszka’s mother, in 1851 in Gora Znin. I have located in him Gora Znin, Chometowo, and Zydowo. It appears Adalbert was a servant who would work for an estate or at a large farm, settle down, marry, have children, and then become widowed. He’d then migrate to a new area, find a new wife, and then re-settle.

Marianna Mazana was born 25 March 1822 in Białozewin, Kujawsko-Pomorskie, Poland to Lucas Mazany and Marianna Brzykcy.1 Baptism occurred March 30. Lucas is indicated as a farmer, it seems some type of livestock farmer by the notation of “plebus colonus.” A snippet of this document that shows Marianna’s baptism/birth record is below.  The full record can be located in the Archive of the Archdiocese of Gneizno Parish, Baptismal Records for 1817-1826.

Marianna Mazana birth 1822

Marianna Mazana birth 1822

Godparents were Stanislaus Bauza and Anna Mazana. Stanislaus is indicated as a farmer,  Anna is indicated as a plebus uxor coloni, wife of a farmer. I am unsure of how Anna is related to Lucas, I’m pretty certain though time will reveal that.

Marianna died in 1856, shortly after her daughter, Marianna died. The child died 12 November 1856 and her mother died 13 December 1856. The death record for each, mother and daughter, are contained on the same page, below. The death record notes “1 liber.” The priest is indicating the mother left behind one minor child, who would be Franciszka. This record can be obtained from the Archive Archdiocese of Gniezno, Chometowo Parish, LDS Project #POL GNI-1, Roll #211, Mortuorum.

Marianna Rochowiak death 1856

Marianna Rochowiak (daughter) and Marianna Mazana Rochowiak (mother) death records 1856

I was then able to locate Lucas Mazany’s birth and death records. Lucas was born 12 October 1774 in Januszkowo, Kujawasko-Pomorskie, Poland and died 2 February 1839 in Białozewin, Kujawsko-Pomorskie, Poland. His birth record can be located in the Archive of the Archdiocese of Gniezno, Gora Znin parish, Baptisms 1762 – 1782. His death record can be located in the Archdiocese of Gniezno, Gora Znin parish, Mortuorum 1828 – 1838.

Lucas Mazany birth 1774

Lucas Mazany birth 1774

Lucas Mazany death 1830

Lucas Mazany and Francisca Mazana death records 1830. Lucas’ death is recorded to the left, daughter Francisca’s to the right. 

Additionally, I was able to locate three siblings so far for Lucas:

  • Marianna, b. 1771
  • Anastasia, b. 1776
  • Apolonia, b. 1779

We know that his wife, Marianna Brzycka died in 1825. Lucas married Marianna Pierdoła on 22 October 1826 in Szczepanowo, Kujawasko-Pomoroskie, Poland.

Each of the birth records for the four children all indicate parents were Paul Mazany and Regina. However, Lucas’ death record does provide his mother’s maiden name: Domiczanka.

On the same death record that records Lucas’ death, we have a bit of additional information. His daughter, Francisca, died shortly after Lucas. Francisca was born in 1812 and died not quite three weeks after her father on 20 February 1830.

All in all, I am elated I have not only been able to trace quite a bit of information about a 3X great-grandfather, I have been able to identify two 4X great-grandparents!

1There is a twist to this as well that needs to be investigated later: Adalbert’s mother, per his birth record from Gorzyce, was also named Marianna Brzykcy. It’s obvious that the two Marianna Brzykcys are not the same when analyzing records for the births and deaths of both Marianna Mazana and Adalbert.

I’ve been pondering the marriage record for Adalbertus Rochowiak and Marianna Mazana. Adalbertus and Marianna were the parents of Frances Rochowiak, my great-grandmother. We know that Adalbertus was a widower, age 50 and marrying Marianna who was 27 at the time and they had married in Góra Żnin in 1851. I have also found that Adalbertus’ previous marriage was likely to a Marianna Chlebowska. This marriage occurred in Chometowo in 1832. In the near future, I will obtain that record (I usually like to request several at once via the Poznan Project and am keeping a list). What had me stumped, besides the poor quality of the record image and likely bad eyesight, was the fact that both Adalbertus and Marianna seemed to have the same mother: Marianna Brzykca. A bit of inquiry to the Polish Genius discussion group helped to clear that up. It seems as if the Brzykca name (the feminine adjectival form, the male form is Brzycki) was a relatively common name in a rather small geographic region. A few members of the discussion group provided some very helpful and relevant background information. However, only 66 people in Poland currently use the name now, and they are concentrated in a small area. My great-great grandparents were from Gora Znin, and were married there, and it seems this town as a hotspot for Brzykas. See this map of name distributions: — this is the concentration for the feminine form of the name, Brzycka. and compare to this distribution: — this is the concentration for the male form of the name, Brzycki. According to one of my respondents, Bruckner’s etymological dictionary lists the forms of the name Brzyka and Brzyca as alternative names for Millet. (I do not have access to this dictionary nor could I find this listed in my Polish dictionary or in an online lexicon.) Another mentioned that “bryck” is a root word meaning to “frisk, gambol” from Latin. I have no historical distribution data of the name from the mid 1800s when Adalbertus and Marianna were married. But it is reasonable to believe that it was an unusual coincidence that the groom’s mother and bride’s mother had the same last name. This marriage record also provides a bit of insight about Adalbertus and Marianna. Adalbertus is mentioned to be a “mercenarius” or worker for hire. Marianna is mentioned as a “famula” or servant. Having this record reviewed by others was immensely helpful. In addition to providing insight on the Brzycka/Brzycky name, we’ve learned that the Brzycka/Brzycky name is mentioned again on the marriage following Adalbertus’ and Marianna’s. The following record lists a Melchior Bauza marrying a Hedwig Konczal. (There are some Konczals in my family tree, a Przybylski marriage to a Konczal.) The bride’s mother is named as Victoria Brzycka and the marriage was witnessed by an Augustinius Brzycky. How interesting is that? There may be more connections to make from this one record!