Bazyli Bosakowski, my great-great-grandfather, was born the son of peasants in a village called Milno in the far northeastern corner of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. By the time he was 24, he left that all behind and moved to the much larger town of Założce, marrying into an established family of townspeople.
Church registers from that period, recording births, marriages and deaths of people in a far flung parish, make clear who was a peasant (laboriosus) and who was a townsperson (oppidanus). At a time when most people were born, lived and died in the same place and the same station in life, Bazyli did something interesting. He was born a laboriosus but became an oppidanus.
This trajectory of upward mobility was continued by his children, who would serve in the Austro-Hungarian army and grow a family business, and by his grandchildren (including my own grandmother Katarzyna Bosakowska), who left Założce for opportunities in the New World.
I couldn’t find a birth record for Bazyli Bosakowski but I know he was the fourth child – and oldest son – of Jan Bosakowski and Anna Baran.
After reviewing the available church records from Założce parish, the earliest mention I could find of Bazyli was a birth record dated October 1842. Bazyli, who would have been around 20 at the time, served as godfather for Katarzyna Baran, the first born daughter of his elder sister Maria and brother-in-law Jan Baran. The other godparent was Tekla Bosakowski Glinska. Tekla and Maria were, respectively, the second and third children of Jan Bosakowski and Anna Baran.
I wrote about Bazyli’s three older sisters in an earlier post. Helena and Maria, first and third in the birth order, married men from Założce and settled there. Tekla stayed behind in Milno.
In a separate post, I wrote about the boys in the family. Bazyli was the eldest of the three. His younger brothers Piotr and Jakub stayed with Tekla in Milno and raised large families there.
It’s not clear when Bazyli moved to Założce but I know he got married there on February 15, 1846. His bride was Rozalia Kwaśnicka, the daughter of Andrzej Kwaśnicki and Ewa Koltun.
According to the marriage record, Bazyli was the son of farmers (filius agricolae) living at house number 31 in Milno. The Kwaśnicki family lived in Założce at house number 255.
I can trace the Kwaśnickis back to my fourth great-grandparents, Andrzej and Magdalena Kwaśnicki who were born in Założce in the mid-18th century. Rozalia’s father Andrzej was probably born around 1791. I know from Rozalia’s birth record, dated August 1824, that my third great-grandfather Andrzej Kwaśnicki was a butcher (lanio).
Andrzej and Ewa Kwaśnicki had seven children: Feliks (born 1816), Franciszek (1819), Michal (1821), Anna (1822), Rozalia (1824), Aleksander (1827) and Ignacy (1831). Aleksander died in infancy. Feliks lived a long life, passing away in 1894, and Franciszek appears in the records too. I don’t know what happened to the others.
According to the marriage record, Bazyli was 24 years old and Rozalia was 18. Since I did manage to find Rozalia’s birth record, I know she was actually 21 years old.
Bazyli and Rozalia settled in Założce after the marriage. For a time, they lived with the Kwaśnickis at house number 255. Over the next two decades, they had eight children, including my great-grandfather Jozef who was the first born. Seven of these children lived to adulthood. Only Magdalena died young, succumbing to convulsions at the age of fifteen months.
The only mention of Bazyli’s occupation (other than oppidanus) comes in the birth record of Julian Bosakowski dated February 1857. By this time, eleven years after their marriage, Bazyli and Rozalia were still living with the Kwaśnickis at house number 255. Bazyli’s occupation (conditio) is listed as a shoemaker (sutor). Shoemaking would be the family business for decades to follow.
Interestingly, Bazyli’s youngest brother Jakub was one of Julian’s godparents. We know that he continued to live in Milno. His occupation is listed as farmer (agricola) – a step up from peasant (laboriosus).
By 1860, when sixth child Maria is born, the family seems to have moved to a new address at house number 109. Why did they move? I know that the Kwaśnicki family was still living at house number 255. Although Rozalia’s father Andrzej died in August 1853 of typhus, the records show that her oldest brother Feliks was raising a family there. So was there not enough room? Or was Bazyli now prosperous enough to afford his own house?
By the late 1860s, two of Bazyli’s sons – Jozef and Piotr – came of age and went off to join the Austro-Hungarian army, serving in the Prince Holstein 80th Regiment. Later, Wojciech would also serve in the 80th Regiment. This must have been a source of prestige for the family.
By 1873, Jozef and Piotr returned from the army and got married. Jozef married Honorata Maslowska, the daughter of Jan Maslowski and Teresa Diwina, in October 1873.
A month later, in November 1873, Piotr married Maria Czechowicz, the daughter of Walenty Czechowicz and Birgitta Buczna.
Third-born son Karol married Katarzyna Czechowicz, the daughter of Jakub Czechowicz and Tekla Kojdaniuk, in October 1876.
Then, in September 1879, Rozalia Bosakowska died. According to the record, the cause of death was paralysis or palsy (paralisis). She is listed as 51 years old but she was actually 55. Was this a lingering, debilitating illness? It’s hard to say. I know that Parkinson’s Disease has afflicted several members of the Bosakowski family line here in the United States, including my own father. Is that what became of my great-great-grandmother?
While it was customary for widowers to remarry, I never did find another marriage record for Bazyli. He would have been about 57 years old when his wife died I know he lived a good while longer.
I have found two references to a woman named Paraskewia Bosakowska, described as the wife of Bazyli. She is listed as the godparent for Franciszek Soczynski in a birth record dated October 1888. And in an April 1892 birth record for Wincenty Bosakowski, the son of Feliks Bosakowski and Franciszka Goral (and my grandmother’s cousin), Feliks’ parents are listed as “Basilii et Parascevia Saluk.”
So did Bazyli marry a woman named Paraskewia Saluk? Seems likely.
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 Soczynski. He would have been about 70 years old at the time.
I wonder how long he lived. Perhaps the records are in a volume of metrical books, covering the years 1901-1913, that has not yet been made public. I understand they will be available from the Polish archives starting in 2013.