I have traced the family of my grandmother Katarzyna Bosakowska back five generations to my third great-grandparents Jan Bosakowski and Anna Baran. Jan and Anna were probably born in the 1780s or 1790s and got married some time before 1815. They lived in the small town of Milno, in the far northeastern corner of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, where they worked as peasant farmers (laboriosi).
The couple had at least six children according to church records I have reviewed but, since the records are incomplete, it is possible (even likely) they had more.
The oldest three children were girls: Helena, Tekla and Maria. I wrote about them in my last post. Helena and Maria moved to the larger, neighboring town of Założce where my grandmother was born. Tekla stayed behind in Milno.
The three youngest were boys. They include my second great-grandfather Bazyli and his brothers Piotr and Jakub.
I was not able to find a birth record for Bazyli. But I did find a marriage record suggesting he was born in 1822 or thereabouts.
Bazyli married Rozalia Kwaśnicka in February 1846 at the age of 24. The ceremony took place in Założce. According to the marriage record, Rozalia was 18. She was actually 21. (Why the discrepancy? Could she have not known her own age? Or did she feel some need to misrepresent her age?)
Although Bazyli was the son of peasant farmers from Milno, he was now a townsperson (oppidanum) residing in Założce. He was marrying into a large, established family there. I have traced them back to my fourth great-grandparents Andrzej and Magdalena Kwaśnicki. I’ll write more about them in a future post.
Bazyli and Rozalia went on to have least eight children: my great-grandfather Jozef (born 1847), Piotr (1849), Karol (1851), Wojciech (1854), Julian (1857), Maria (1860), Magdalena (1863) and Feliks (1865). With the exception of Magdalena, who died in infancy, the children all got married and had children of their own.
Over a dozen of their grandchildren – all children of Jozef, Piotr and Karol – emigrated to the United States in the early part of the 20th century. So Bazyli and Rozalia are the common ancestors of all the Bosakowski family members now living in this country.
I suspect that Bazyli lived to a ripe old age. I have reviewed vital records through the year 1900 and could not find a death record for him. He appears as late as April 1892 as the godfather of Antoni Suczynski. He would have been about 70 years old at the time.
Rozalia died in September 1879 at the age of 55. The cause of death was paralysis or palsy (paralisis). I know that several people with Bosakowski lineage, including my own father, have died of Parkinson’s disease. I wonder if this was Rozalia’s fate.
In an upcoming post, I will have more to say about Bazyli’s journey from a peasant in Milno to a respected townsperson in Założce.
Piotr Bosakowski (1824-1896)
Piotr is the first child of Jan and Anna Bosakowski to show up in his own birth record. He was born on June 26, 1824 in Milno and was baptized the same day. His godparents were Wojciech Letki and Maria Decowa (people with the Dec surname were especially numerous in Milno).
Piotr was the 61st baby born in Milno that year. Of these, 30 were boys and 31 were girls. The recording priest took scrupulous note of the fact that four of these babies were illegitmate (illegitimi).
Piotr’s parents and godparents were all peasants (laboriosi). According to the birth record, the Bosakowski family lived at house number (numerus domus) 1. Did they have their own plot of land? Or were they tenant farmers? Probably the latter.
The house number is a really valuable clue. All towns in the Austro-Hungarian Empire had detailed surveys of property lines, and each property was assigned a number on a cadastral map. So if I can locate the cadastral map for Milno, which exists in an archive somewhere in Poland or Ukraine, I should be able to pinpoint the location of Jan and Anna Bosakowski’s farm.
Piotr married Anna Kociubinska, the daughter of Jan and Ewa, in Milno in November 1843. The record doesn’t provide Piotr’s age but we know he was 19. It states that the bride was only 14.
Both families were peasant farmers (laboriosi). The witnesses to the wedding were Jozef Hrynkiewicz and Jan Baran, presumably the husband of Piotr’s older sister Maria. They were also peasant farmers.
Piotr and Anna lived in Milno and raised at least 4 children there: Stanisław, Marcin, Antoni and Rozalia. Marcin and Antoni died within days. Rozalia, like her mother, was married at age the age of 14. She died at the age of 24 of epilepsy.
Anna predeceased Piotr, dying some time before 1891. In April of that year, Piotr remarried. His bride was Maria Bemat, the widow of Stefan Bemat. Her maiden name was Bobowska.
According to the record, Piotr was 67 years old and Maria was 49. They were both born and both lived their entire lives in Milno.
Piotr died in January 1896 at the age of 71 although the death record said he was 76. The cause of death was progressive atrophy of the aged (marasumus senilis). Maria died a few months later in May 1896 at the age of 54 although the death record said she was 50. She died of asthma. You can find them both on the same page of the death registry.
Jakub Bosakowski (1834-?)
Jakub was born in Milno on July 24, 1834, ten years after the birth of his older brother Piotr. He was baptized the same day in the presence of his godparents Stefan Bilecki and Malawka Tomaszewska.
By this time, the Bosakowski family was living at house number 31. Why did they move? I think their status as laboriosi was the likely explanation. Jan and Anna Bosakowski were tenant farmers, not landowning farmers. They were noted in the records as agricolae.
Jakub married a woman named Dominika Łucyk who predeceased him. I did not find a marriage record for them but I did find a son named Spiridion who was born in 1862 and died five years later.
In May 1886, at the age of 51, Jakub remarried. His bride, a woman named Maria Kozła, was almost thirty years his junior. It was her first marriage. Maria came from the nearby town of Seretec. Her father had passed away but her mother was still living.
And so, in the autumn of his life, Jakub had at least five more children by his much younger wife: Anna (born 1889), Katarzyna (1891), Stanisława (1893), Antoni (1895) and Paulina (1899). Jakub was 65 years old when Paulina was born. I wasn’t able to access records after 1900 so it’s possible she wasn’t the last.