After many years of guesswork and frustration, I am happy to say I finally have an exact date of birth for my great-grandmother, Franciszka Rochowiak. She was born 1 September, 1852 in Zydowo, Kujawsko-Pomorskie, Poland. The document, a birth/baptismal record from the Catholic parish in Chomętowo, is below. The record is the very first in the document.

franciszka_rochowiak_birth_1852

Franciszka Rochowiak birth record, Archdiocese of Gniezno, Chomętowo Parish, LDS Project #POL GNI-1, Roll #210, Film Unit Serial #657

This was a challenge to find–because her father, Adalbert, was married three times, I had to establish his dates of marriage as well as find as many of his children as possible. This effort was a patchwork of obtaining marriage records from the Poznan Project, some actual film scans for the parishes in Chometowo, as well as scanning through Family Search — believe it or not there are actually some scanned records that can be viewed on line. Be aware, currently it is only a handful of records that can be accessed online. The others you will need to obtain the microfilm and view them at the LDS genealogy center. (You will need to determine the parish and the village your ancestors came from!)

Adalbert married Marianna Mazana in Góra Żnin on 27 October 1851. Franciszka was born the following September. Another child, Marianna, was born to the marriage on 29 June 1855 in Zydowo. Marianna died 12 November 1856. (This record can be obtained from the same set of records indicated in the caption for Franciszka’s birth.)

As a bonus, I was able to determine Marianna Mazana’s and Adalbert’s death records. Marianna died 13 December 1856 in Zydowo. (This record can be located through the Archive Archdiocese of Gniezno, Chometowo Parish, LDS Project #POL GNI-1, Roll #211, Mortuorum.)

Adalbert died 29 March 1865 in Zydowo. There was a mention in his son, Martin’s marriage record (1877) that he died in Zydowo prior to the marriage. (This record can be located through the same set of records as indicated for Marianna Mazana’s death.)

Locating my great-grandmother’s birth record was frustrating to say the least! It appears that Adalbert had moved around a bit: he was born in Gorzyce. His first marriage to Eva Malak occurred in Gorzyce and his first three children with Eva were born in Gorzyce. He then seemed to move on to Chomętowo after Eva’s death. Here, he married Marianna Chleboewski. He had seven children with Marianna Chlebowska, all of whom were been born in Gorzyce. After Marianna Chlebowska’s death, he married Marianna Mazana in Góra Żnin. His two daughters with Marianna Chlebowska, Franciszka and Marianna, were born in Zydowo.

Adalbert’s family is, using modern parlance, “complicated.” I am finally piecing together his life — three marriages, all ending in the death of his wife, a total of 12 children (3 with first wife, 7 with second wife, and 2 with the last wife).

My great-grandmother was orphaned at a young age, she was five when her mother died and 14 when her father died. With this background, it’s likely she had to live with an older sibling. My guesses would be either brothers Lawrence or Martin. Lawrence did not arrive in the United States until 1875 (a marriage record was located for him in Sts. Peter and Paul’s Church in 1875 and his first child was born in Toledo in 1876). Martin married in 1877 and settled in Zydowo for a time. Several of Franciszka’s older siblings died in childhood and several I have not yet been able to trace beyond birth and a marriage for a few of them.
(more…)

A few days ago, Lukasz Bialecki of the Poznan Project emailed me the civil marriage record for Martinus (Martin) Rochowiak and Catherine (Katarzyna) Switala. Martin was a half-brother to my great-grandmother, Frances Rochowiak Przybylski. The civil marriage record provides us with a bit more detail about the family. The thumbnail below is difficult to read, but click it to enlarge to see the detail.

Civil marriage record for Martin Rochowiak and Catherine Switala November 1877

Civil marriage record for Martin Rochowiak and Catherine Switala, November 1877

Lukasz kindly sent along a translation of the record to me since it is written in German:

Farm worker Martin Rochowiak, born 3 Nov 1850 in Zendowo, resident in Murczyn, son of the farmer Adalbert Rochowiak (died in Zendowo) and his wife Marianna (married name missing, died in Zendowo).

Maid Catharina Switala, born 24 Sep 1857 in Murczyn, resident in Murczyn, daughter of the farmer Matheus Switala (resident in Murczyn) and his wife Marianna Zablocka (resident in Murczyn).

Witnesses Johann Wesolek, age 33 from Jaroszewo, Johann Zablocki, age 52 from Murczyn.

Now, from this translation we cannot ascertain for sure that Martin was a son of Marianna Chlebowska or Marianna Marzana. I’ve “assigned” him within my tree as the son of Marianna Chlebowska, based on the fact that per the this civil marriage record, he was born 3 November 1850 and Aldabertus married Marianna Mazana on 27 October 1851. So, not quite a year after Martinus was born, Aldabert married his third wife.

We also have the location where the Rochowiaks, Switalas, and Zablockis were living in 1850: Murczyn. Additionally, we now know that Adalbert was a farmer. We also now know that Adalbert and Marianna Mazana (using deductive logic for which Marianna) died in Zendowo.

If you note the signatures, as Lukasz pointed out to me, the groom was illiterate–he signed the record with three Xs but the bride was able to write and signed her own name.

I apologize for my spottiness, but between work and ahem, basketball, I’ve been distracted. I am an obsessed Kentucky basketball fan. I apologize for the inconvenience that may cause, but we all have a few guilty pleasures, no?

Back on topic!

I have been following up on the hints left on this post: Rochowiaks in Toledo and have gotten as many of the records as possible. I also reviewed the data I’ve had on Frances. That said, this isn’t as easy of a puzzle as it appears on the surface.

The hints left here were absolutely great and they do link Frances to Martin and Lawrence. Time and again, I’ve been shown the generosity of the genealogy community, even if I’m slow on the uptake or slow to respond.

Unfortunately for us, the dots aren’t very easy to connect. Aldabertus Rochowiak was married more than once. I have located two marriages, the first to Marianna Chlebowska and the second to Marianna Mazana. You’d think old Adalbert would at least have married women with different names in order to keep his descendants from being confused! But sadly, that is not the case. I do have the church marriage record for Adalbert’s marriage to Marianna Mazana here. The marriage took place on 27 October 1852 in Góra Znin, Kujawsko-Pomorskie, Poland. Adlabert was 50, Marianna was 24.

I do not have the marriage record for Adalbert and Marianna Chlebowska, but I have contacted Lukasz Bielecki of the Poznan project to obtain. It may take awhile to obtain it. I also have come across potential siblings or half-siblings of Frances via a query of the Poznan Project as well: Jacobus (Jacob), Vincent, and Catherine. Catherine may have emigrated to Toledo as well. I will need to follow up on these possible siblings in the future.

That said, I’ve “assigned” Frances as the daughter of Marianna Mazana. This is because of Frances’ date of birth, based on the birth date provided on her death certificate.

However, I’ve been able to confirm that at minimum, Martin and Lawrence were at least half-siblings to Frances via St. Anthony baptismal records.

Martin was married first to Rosalia Skolmowska and secondly to Anna Ziemkiewicz. As pointed out in the original post looking for information on the Rochowiaks by Jan and Judy, there do exist a few baptismal records for a few of Martin’s and Marianna’s children that provide clear information.

Daughter, Anna’s, baptism occurred on 31 July 1892 and the record is here and transcribed below:

No.:
Datum Nativ./Bapt. 1892: 24 Julii nativ., 31 Julii Bapt.
Nomen: Anna
Genus: Foem.
Thori: Leg.
Parentes: Laurentis fil Adalberti et Marianna; Skolmowska, Rosalia fil Adalberti et Marianna n. Grabowska
Patrini: Aldabertus Streg (?) et Anthonina Kukla

Note that this record does NOT reflect whether Laurence is a child of Marianna Chlebowska or Marianna Mazana. Also note that the marriage record for Frances Rochowiak and Andrew Przybylski (see here) does NOT indicate which Marianna is her mother, either!

Martin was married to Katarzyna (Catherine) Świątek (if I am indeed transcribing this name correctly). Per the baptismal record for their son, Joseph, dated 12 February 1890:

No. 18
Datum Nativa Bapt. 1890: 8a Febr. nat., 12 a Febr. Bapt.
Nomen: Josephus
Genus: Mas.
Thori: Leg.
Parentes: Rochowiak, Martinus, fil Adalberti et. Marianne; Świątek, Catherina, fil. Math. et Mariannae.
Patrini: Andreas Przybylski et Rosalia Rochowiak.

More to come–I will attempt to knit at least Martin’s and Lawrence’s families together here within the next week or so. I’m slowly making headway with my great-grandmother’s family.

In the meantime (and no offense to all of my Ohio friends): Go Kentucky! Let’s see championship #8!

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: http://www.moikrewni.pl/mapa/kompletny/brzykca.html — this is the concentration for the feminine form of the name, Brzycka. and compare to this distribution: http://www.moikrewni.pl/mapa/kompletny/brzykcy.html — 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!

I cannot transcribe this record well. It is a photo of the original record from the Catholic parish in Góra Żnin. What I can read from the record and can verify through the Poznan project website is this:

Date of marriage: October 27, 1851

Groom: Aldabertus Rochowiak, age 50. (I mistranscribed the original age!)
Parents of the groom: Alexander Rochowiak and Marianna Brzycka.
Within the data for the groom, I noticed that the description of viduus, indicating that Adalbertus was widowed and it also seems to indicate that he was from Chomętowo, which where Frances and Andrew were married.

Bride: Marianna Mazana, age 27
Parents of the bride: Lucas Mazany and Marianna Brzycka

So, how does this add up? I don’t know. It’s surprising to me to see the mothers names were the same! Is Brzycka a common name in the Poznan region?

Also, I found another marriage record for Adalbertus Rochowiak dated 1831. The first marriage was Marianna Chlebowska. Because of the time that Frances was born (1859), I am going to assume that she was a child of Adalbertus’ second marriage.

Unfortunately, I am finding it very difficult to find any relatives for Frances! If there are any Toledo Rochowiaks out there and can trace Frances Rochowiak Przybylski to your tree, I would love to hear from you!

I know I’ve been away too long! My email box is littered and I’ve been traveling again for work.

During the holidays, I had received yet another marriage record, this time for my Rochowiak great-great grandparents! I so far haven’t gathered too much data on the Rochowiaks; however, I did find a marriage record for Frances’ parents on the Poznan project (http://bindweed.man.poznan.pl/posen/search.php) and Lukasz was kind enough to send it to me over the Christmas holidays.

Here is a PDF scan of the record sent to me.

I have not transcribed this record yet but it does verify the names of my great-great grandparents: Aldabertus Rochowiak and Marianna Marazana. The date of marriage was October 27, 1851. That places the birthdate of Aldabertus at about 1821 and the birthdate for Marianna at about 1824. Hopefully, this information will eventually provide hints on other Rochowiaks and it also introduces me into one more surname in my family history: Marzana. My next goal: transcribe this record for new clues and hints!