The Mother Parish

Yesterday, Christine posted a comment under The Church in Dubiecko and What I Found There that sparked my interest in a couple of things related to my family history.

Steve, Do you know that Nienadowa had its own parish church starting in 1957? (Did you see it when you were there? It may also have a cemetery starting then.) Before that time, the residents attended Mass in Dubiecko, which is considered the “mother parish”. If you hadn’t already known that your ancestors went to church in Dubiecko, you would probably have contacted the church in Nienadowa only to be told they didn’t have records from the time period you are interested in. They probably would have referred you to Dubiecko eventually.

I found this out in an article published by PGS-CTNE in Spring 1996. It is called “Finding the Mother Parish” and has a 3-1/2 page chart showing parishes in Przemysl Diocese that were formed since 1900 and what town/church each was spun off of. Even though you knew where to go in your case, this is good to know in case you find someone else who doesn’t know.

Thanks so much for this information, Christine!  When I was in Nienadowa, I was asked whether my ancestors were fron Nienadowa-Dolna (Lower Nienadowa) or Nienadowa-Górna (Upper Nienadowa).  I had no idea there were two and each had its own parish, and until Christine posted her comment I had never heard about Mother Parishes!  I visited the churches in both villages, although the church in Nienadowa-Dolna (pw. MB Nieustającej Pomocy, or Our Lady of Perpetual Help) was still under construction when I was there in October 2000.  The church in Nienadowa-Górna (pw. Najświętszego Serca Pana Jezusa, or Most Sacred Heart of Jesus) had been around for a while, and may be the parish church Christine said was started in 1957.  This parish had it’s own cemetery.  The pastor of the church in Nienadowa Górna said that there were no records for my ancestors in his church; records from that period were all at the parish in Dubiecko (pw. Niepokalanego Serca NMP, or Immaculate Heart of Mary).

The MassTimes website provides information on churches throughout the world, but doesn’t necessarily have complete information.  The Archdiocese of Przemyśl in Poland has its own website with names, addresses, and phone numbers of the other parishes under the Mother Parish.  To find a parish in the Archdiocese of Przemyśl from the main page (Strona Główna), just click on the link Parafie (parishes).  The Dubiecko Parish page shows several other churches in Babice, Bachórz, Bachórzec, Drohobyczka, Krzywcza, Nienadowa Dolna, Nienadowa Górna, and Tarnawka.

I’ve been trying to find records for my paternal grandmother, Maryanna Dziurzyńska, in Poland, but I only found one record for her family.  A few months ago, I found a lead that indicated that her family may have been from Sielnica, in the Dylągowa parish (pw. św Zofii, or Saint Sophy).  Information on the Dylągowa parish is listed on the Dynów (pw. św. Wawrzyńca, or Saint Lawrence) Mother Parish page.

At this point, I should mention that the parish names in polish often include abbreviations.  Some of those abbreviations are defined in Lidia Mullerowa and Zofia Żuchowska’s book, Roman Catholic Parishes in The Polish People’s Republic in 1984, published in Chicago in 1995 by the Polish Genealogical Society of America.

  • pw. = pod wezwaniem = under the summons of, under the name of
  • św = święty = Saint, Holy, Sacred
  • bł = błogosławony = Blessed
  • MB = Matka Boska = Mother of God, Our Lady
  • NMP = Najświętsza Marya Panna = The Most Holy Virgin Mary, Our Lady, The Blessed Virgin
  • PJ = Pan Jesus = Lord Jesus, Jesus

For help with polish/english translations, there is a fairly good online polish/english dictionary at PolTran.

Christine also mentioned the article on Mother Parishes in the newsletter of the Polish Genealogical Society of Connecticut and the Northeast.  I took a look through the tables of contents of some of their newsletters and I think I have to join this organization!  Their newsletter is just great!  The group’s president is Jonathan D. Shea who, with William F. Hoffman, wrote great translation guides for polish and russian documents and plans to write guides for german and latin documents, too.  Furthermore, some of my relatives lived in Connecticut at least briefly and being a member of a recognized genealogical society in Connecticut eliminates the access restictions to vital records in Connecticut.

Finally, to wrap up, I’ve attached two photos.  The first is of one of the Danko graves in the Dubiecko cemetery in Poland.  I don’t know how Bronisław Dańko is related to me, but it’s likely he is related since my Dańko ancestors lived in the area for at least the last quarter century.  If you look closely, you can see that the grave behind Bronisław’s grave belongs to Jan Dańko.  I didn’t find any graves for my known ancestors in Dubiecko, however.  This observation isn’t particularly surprising, since graves in Poland are typically “rented” for a certain period of time; there usually isn’t any perpetual care provided, as is typical in the United States.  Almost all of the graves in the cemetery were post-World War II graves.

The second photo is a picture of my friend Tom and me (I’m on the right) outside the church in Dubiecko trying to explain to a nun who we were and why we were there.  In the end, she let us into the church and told us about the history of the church.  Thanks again, Christine for your comment that inspired today’s blog.

The Author at the Church in Dubiecko

The Author at the Church in Dubiecko

Grave of Bronisław Dańko in Dubiecko

Grave of Bronisław Dańko in Dubiecko

Copyright © 2006 by Stephen J. Danko

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7 Responses to The Mother Parish

  1. I previously posted english translations of the Polish parishes as listed on the MassTimes website. I’m not particularly satisfied with those translations, so I’m listing my own translations here:

    Dubiecko: pw. Niepokalanego Serca NMP
    The Immaculate Heart of the Most Holy Virgin Mary
    Dylągowa: pw. św Zofii
    Saint Sophia
    Dynów: pw. św. Wawrzyńca
    Saint Lawrence
    Nienadowa Dolna: pw. MB Nieustającej Pomocy
    Our Lady of Constant Help
    Nienadowa Górna: pw. Najświętszego Serca Pana Jezusa
    The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

    The best translation I have come up with for pw. (pod wezwaniem) is “under invocation of”.

  2. Benjamin Kman says:

    I have been doing research in the area of Dylagowa parish as well. My Socha ancestors came from Jawornik Ruski and my Nachman ancestors from Borownica. Both families attended the parish in Dylagowa. When I was in Poland last year, I went to the archdiocese archive in Przemysl. A few copies of parish records exist there for Dylagowa from 1870 through 1899. I was able to learn a lot more about the families but, as usual, ended up with more questions. Have you had any luck doing research at the parish in Dylagowa or finding records available online anywhere?

  3. I haven’t made much headway in Dylagowa. I think the only way I’ll be able to accomplish much is to hire a Polish researcher to visit the parish and try to find the records for me. I had some success with hiring a researcher in the Dubiecko parish, so I have hopes that I might have luck in Dylagowa, too.

    The Family History Library has microfilms of the Siedliska Greek Catholic parish and the Wara Greek Catholic parish, both of which are fairly close to Dylagowa, but I haven’t found any Roman Catholic parish records for the area. I was told that the Przemysl Roman Catholic Archdiocese hasn’t permitted the LDS church to film their records.

    Unfortunately, I think the only way to find the records from Dylagowa is to visit the parish or hire a researcher.

  4. Renard Chrobak says:





  5. Steven E. McKenzie says:

    My grandfather’s name was Joseph Socha. He lived in Wheeling Wv in the USA. He was born in 1910 outside of Warsaw. I was looking to see if you could provide me with any additional information on the Socha family. Thank you and God Bless.

  6. Sorry, Steven,

    I don’t have any information on Joseph Socha. I took a quick look at the online databases to which I subsribe, but I couldn’t find anything there, either.

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