Friday, July 18, 2008

My Quest

My grandfather Jozef Warunek, was born in Hucisko on August 31, 1889 and baptized one day later, September 1, 1889 in the parish of Sw. Mikolaja in Niwiska. His parents were Jan Warunek and Anna Zadlo. We knew that he had a brother Frank who lived nearby and another brother, Valentine who lived in Poland. We heard stories that Valentine came to visit here but not much of anything else was known about him.

We had copies of Jozef’s baptismal certificate, thanks to my father, but it was years before I realized just how valuable it was to have this document. It was a starting point for me and one less bit of information that had to be tracked down once the search began seriously. I knew the name of the church where he was married and the places where the family lived and died, but I didn’t know much about his life in Poland. Discovering and making use of the Internet really changed everything for me. I became aware of the Family History Centers and the resources at the Library of Michigan. Until that time, researching took place at the Burton Collection by using census records and city directories. I had everything that I wanted to know about my grandfather’s life here in the States, now I needed to embark on a quest to discover more about his life in Poland.

I began using the Internet by doing simple searches on surnames and signed up to use message boards. In doing this, several connections were made and much data was collected. It seemed logical to take the next step and join the Polish Genealogical Society of Michigan with the hope of learning more about my heritage and research techniques.

I met friendly people who were on the same journey as me who were researching their families in Poland and the Detroit area. It was always exciting to speak with someone who had ancestors in the same vicinity as mine. Meetings were held monthly and I would attend them as my schedule permitted. The Polish Eaglet, which is the Society’s journal, was another source of information and tool for me to use. I found out that Robert Postula, had already been researching in the parish of Niwiska and extracted surnames from FHC microfilm #0996700. The surname list was printed in the September 1998 issue. I could hardly believe it when I saw my surname, Warunek in this article and knew that I had to contact him about it. My surname is not a particularly common name here or in Poland. We exchanged e-mails, pedigree charts, group sheets, vital documents and had countless discussions regarding the families from that area. Eventually, we discovered that our ancestors were married to each other.

The next logical step in my quest to learn more about family was to combine my love of travel with genealogy and return to Poland. My husband, Tom and I had already been to Europe in 1985. It was a bus tour of Germany, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Austria. It would be interesting to see the changes there since the fall of communism. In February of 2003, my husband and I left to visit once again except for this time; we stayed with Chris Warunek and his family in Kozy, rather than in a hotel. He and his family drove us to Hucisko, Niwiska and Huta Przedborska. There we stayed with his cousin in Huta Przedborska, visited families in Hucisko and went to the church of Sw. Mikolaja Biskupa in Niwiska. Chris also translated for us the whole time as most of the people we met did not speak English. I will always be grateful to him and his family for their kindness and hospitality.

Unfortunately we were not able to meet with the pastor at Sw. Mikolaja Biskupa, but I left a letter with a request for information about my family. A few months later, he sent baptismal certificates of my grandfather, his brother and the birthdates of their siblings. We were unaware of siblings except for Valentine, and even then, the stories were sketchy and incomplete. These baptismal certificates contained more information about my grandfather than the previous one.

By using these typed baptismal certificates and the extracted names from the microfilm 0996700, I was able to link the Warunek family to Andreas, my fifth great grandfather. These certificates spurred me to searching for the other siblings, Zofia and Ignacy. I found Zofia living in Detroit but have yet to find anything on her brother Ignacy. Two other surnames, Staron and Wnuk were added to the family tree.

Traveling to Poland brought me full circle in the search for my Warunek ancestors. It was deeply emotional and an experience which I will never forget.

Sw. Mikolaja Biskupa

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Slownik town translation


Niwiska, with Hucisko, village, district of Kolbuszowa, lies in a sandy lowland (289 meters elevation), on a field in the midst of deforested coniferous woods. The highway from Kolbuszowa to Preclaw (11 kilometers) runs through the village and a stream flows into the Swierczówka River (which, father on its course, is called the Przyrwa) then into the Lega River. In the center of the village stands a brick church, to the north a windmill and brickworks, while to the east is an abandoned glassworks behind which is found the hamlet of Hucisko which was founded by metallurgical settlers. Niwiska has a mission parish which belongs to the church in Rzochów, a public school 1-class, a community loan office with assets of 408 zloty (Austrian Currency), 1,198 Roman Catholic residents, 66 of whom work on the estate owned by Kazimierz Hupko. The property consists of 615 mórgs of fields, 147 mórgs of meadows, 112 mórgs of pasture land and 1,478 mórgs of forests; the lesser domain consists of 1,805 mOrgs of fields, 291 mOrgs of meadows, 249 mórgs of pasture land and 403 mórgs of forests. The present church was erected in the year 1876, replacing the wooden structure built in 1595. In addition, a brick chapel built in 1874 stands in the cemetery. The parish (Diocese of Przemyl, Deanery of Mielec) embraces Debrzyna, Hucina with Zabien, Leszcze, Hucisko, Poreby, Trzen, and Zapole. The population numbers 3,512 Roman Catholics and 141 Jews. Besides agriculture, the inhabitants are engaged in cabinetmaking and turnery (the art of forming solid substances into cylindrical or other forms by means of a lathe). In the 16th century, Niwiska belonged to the Lubomirski Family. In 1680 it was obtained by the Jesuits of Sandomierz for 15,000 Polish zloty, which they later loaned from the Bobola Foundation to Aleksander Lubomirski, voivode of Kraków, for the education of 12 students from the aristocracy. After the suppression of the Society of Jesus, the monies were placed in an educational find which was eventually sold. Niwiska borders on the east with Trzenia, on the north with Zabieniec and Hueina, on the west and south with many coniferous forests.

Source: Slownik Geograficzny Krolestwa Polskiego - Warsaw [1885, Volume 7, pages 163]


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Niwiska, Poland

This blog is about Niwiska, Poland, which is part of the Kolbuszowa dekanat. It includes the parishes in Cmolas, Domatkow, Kolbuszowa, Kosowy, Kupno, Niwiska, Ostrowy Tuszowskie, Poreby Dymarskie, Przedborz, Trzesowka and Werynia.

Niwiska is also the gmina or county seat for the neighboring villages of Hucina, Hucisko, Kosowy, Leszcze, Niwiska, Przylek, Siedlanka, Trzesn and Zapole.

Other neighboring villages are Leszcze, Zagacie, Poreby Kamienskie, Stare Wies, Brzezowka, Blizna, Nowa Wies, Sadykierz, and Buckowiec.

For some time now I have been wanting to create a blog and provide a place for others to share information about their ancestors who came from this place. The other reason is to continue the unfinished project between myself and my mentor. In his memory, I dedicate this work as well as to all my ancestors from these villages.

Later on, I will provide some pictures of the parish church and cemetery besides listing family surnames and other data.

Please join me in making this blog a useful tool for all those researching in the parish of Niwiska.