Wiktor Dziurzyński and The Katyn Forest Massacre

A synopsis of the events surrounding the Katyn Forest Massacre
in which Wiktor Dziurzyński was murdered

Katyn Memorial Sign

Sign on the Road near Katyn
“Memorial to the Polish Officers Who Perished in Katyn”

On August 23, 1939 the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was signed by Germany and the Soviet Union.  Formally, the pact was a non-aggression agreement between the two countries, but it also contained a secret protocol that gave Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and eastern Poland to the Soviet Union and gave western Poland to Germany.

On August 25, 1939 the Agreement of Mutual Assistance between the United Kingdom and Poland was signed.

On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded western Poland.

On September 17, 1939, the Soviet Union invaded eastern Poland.  Even though the Soviet Union had not declared war against Poland and Poland’s armed forces were instructed not to engage the Soviet troops, the Soviet Union began rounding up officers and reservists in the Polish military, policemen, legal and administrative officials and their families.  The Soviets then transported the prisoners to detention camps.  In particular, the 15,105 Polish military officers, including about 44.9% active officers, 55% reservists, and 0.1% retired officers, were transported to special detention camps at Kozielsk, Starobielsk, and Ostashkov in the Soviet Union.

Memo from L. Beria to Stalin

Memo from L. Beria to Stalin

On March 5, 1940, these prisoners were declared to be “hardened and uncompromising enemies of Soviet authority”.  A memo from L. Beria to Stalin proposed to execute the prisoners by shooting.  The handwritten signatures across the face of the document are Stalin and politburo members Kliment Voroshilov, Vyacheslav Molotov, and Artem Mikoyan.  In the left margin are the signatures of Mikhail Kalinin and Lazar Kaganovich.  An English translation of the memo is available.

In April and May 1940, the prisoners were transported to three execution sites:  Katyn, Miednoye, and Kharkov, where they were murdered and buried in mass graves.

NKVD Office near Tver

 NKVD Headquarters in Tver

On June 22, 1941, Germany violated the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact and invaded the Soviet Union.

On April 13, 1943, the Nazis announced the discovery of the mass graves of Polish Officers at Katyn and blamed the Soviets.  The immediate response of the Allies was that the announcement was propaganda.

On April 17, 1943, the Polish government in exile in London requested that the International Red Cross be sent to investigate the graves in the Katyn forest.

On April 25, 1943, in response to the Polish government’s request for the International Red Cross to investigate the mass graves, the Soviet Union severed relations with the Polish government, claiming that Poland had sided with Hitler’s government.

On April 26, 1943, Tadeusz Romer, Poland’s Ambassador to Moscow, was invited to V. Molotov’s office where Molotov read a message, informing Romer that relations between the Soviets and the Polish government were being severed.  Romer returned the message to V. Molotov, stating that the conduct and intentions of the Polish government, as stated in the message, were contrary to fact.

In October 3, 1990, Mikhail Gorbachev handed over to Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski documented evidence that the NKVD was responsible for the deaths of the Polish Officers at Katyn.

Wiktor Dziurzyński

Wiktor Dziurzyński

The names of those Poles interred at the Soviet Union’s prisoner-of-wars camps can be searched online at the Indeks Represjonowanych (Index of the Repressed).  The name of Paulette Makuliak’s great uncle, Wiktor Dziurzyński, is among them.  He was interred at Ostaszkov and murdered at the Miednoye Forest near Tver, probably between March 1 and June 5, 1940.

Miednoye Forest Burial Site near Tver

Miednoye Forest Burial Site near Tver

Additional Resources

A video entitled Reminiscencie o Katynu (Reminiscences about Katyn) can be viewed on the web.  The audio is in Polish, but the video speaks for itself.

The U.S. House of Representatives issued a Report Concerning the Katyn Forest Massacre in 1952 and reprinted the report in 1988.

In 1990, Małgorzata and Krzysztof  Ruchniewicz published an article entitled Die sowjetischen Kriegsverbrechen gegenüber Polen: Katyn 1940 in Wett/Überschär, Kriegsverbrechen im 20, Jahrhundert, Darmstadt 2001, pages 356 to 367.  An English translation is available on the internet and is entitled “The Soviet War Crimes against Poland: Katyn 1940.”

Louis FitzGibbons published an article entitled “Hidden aspects of the Katyn massacre: ‘The lost 10,000’.” in the Spring 1980 issue of The Journal of Historical Review, Vol. 1, No. 1, page 31.

Copyright © 2006 by Stephen J. Danko

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Paulette’s Dziurzyński Ancestors

When I was searching the Internet for connections to my Dziurzyński ancestors, I came across some information posted by Paulette Mackuliak who was searching for her Dziurzyński ancestors in the same part of Poland where my ancestors lived.  I also found a reply from Georgia Dziurzynski whose husband’s Dziurzynski ancestors were also from southern Poland.

Paulette and I exchanged some information on our ancestors.

Steve Danko’s Dziurzyński Ancestors

Generation No. 1

1.  STANISŁAW DZIURA was born in Galicia (Austria Poland).  He married KATARZYNA MARTOWICZ.  She was born in Galicia (Austria Poland)

2.     i.  JAN DZIURA, b. Abt. 1838, Sielnica, Dylągowa Parish, Galicia (Austria Poland).

Generation No. 2

2.  JAN DZIURA was born Abt. 1838 in Sielnica, Dylągowa Parish, Galicia (Austria Poland).  He married MAGDALENA JARA 16 Nov 1875 in Dubiecko Parish, Galicia (Austria Poland), daughter of ANDRZEJ JARA and AGNIESZKA MATWIEJ.  She was born 22 Jan 1845 in Nienadowa, Dubiecko Parish, Galicia (Austria Poland).

Children of JAN DZIURA and MAGDALENA JARA are:
i.  MARIANNA DZIURZYŃSKA, b. 14 Aug 1881, Galicia (Austria Poland); d. 08 Sep 1969, Albany, Albany Co., New York.
ii.  JAN DZIURZYŃSKI, B. Abt. 1881, Galicia (Austria Poland); m. KAROLINA UNKNOWN, Abt. 1903.

Paulette Mackuliak’s Dziurzyński Ancestors

Generation No. 1


2.     i.  MARCIN DZIURZYŃSKI, b. 28 Aug 1860, Dylągowa, Galicia (Austria Poland); d. 1941, Grębocin, Poland.

Generation No. 2

2.  MARCIN DZIURZYŃSKI was born 28 Aug 1860 in Dylagowa, Galicia (Austria Poland), and died 1941 in Grębocin, Poland.  He married ZOFIA KOPACKA 10 Feb 1886 in Dylągowa, Galicia (Austria Poland), daughter of TOMASZ KOPACKI and MARIANNA PULINSKA.  She was born 04 May 1863 in Sielnica, Dylągowa Parish, Galicia (Austria Poland), and died 1934 in Grębocin, Poland.

i.  JAN DZIURZYŃSKI, b. 07 Dec 1888, Galicia; d. 04 Jul 1980, Whitechapel, Tower Hamlets, England, United Kingdom.
ii.  PAULINA DZIURZYŃSKA, b. 28 Jun 1889, Sielnica, Dylągowa Parish, Galicia (Austria Poland); d. 30 May 1961, Iselin, Indiana Co., Pennsylvania; m. MICHAEL SWALGA, 22 Jul 1912, Iselin, Indiana Co., Pennsylvania.
iii.  WLADYSŁAW DZIURZYŃSKI, b. 24 Jun 1894, Dylągowa, Galicia (Austria Poland); d. 07 Oct 1961, Toruń, Poland.
iv.  LUDWIK DZIURZYŃSKI, b. 28 Aug 1896, Dylągowa, Galicia (Austria Poland); d. 15 Nov 1968, Toruń, Poland.
v.  CECYLIA DZIURZYŃSKA, b. 12 Jan 1900, Dylągowa, Galicia (Austria Poland); d. 11 Jul 1963, Grębocin, Poland.
vi.  KAROL DZIURZYŃSKI, b. 20 Apr 1902, Zawada, Galicia (Austria Poland); d. 14 Aug 1960, Cieszyn, Poland.
vii.  WIKTOR DZIURZYŃSKI, b. 15 Sep 1906, Sanok, Galicia (Austria Poland); d. 19 May 1940, Ostaszkow, Russia.

The Dziurzynski Family Record Sheet Paulette sent me is provided below.  Notice the comment in the upper right hand corner zmiana nazwiska z “Dziura” 28.10.1915 meaning change of surname from “Dziura” October 28, 1915.

Dziurzynski family

As Paulette and I discovered after several emails and a telephone conversation, our ancestors shared the same surname and at least some lived in the same village of Sielnica and attended the same church in Dylagowa.  In addition, my ancestors changed their name from Dziura to Dziurzyński sometime between 1901 and 1905 and Paulette’s ancestors changed their name from Dziura to Dziurzyński on October 28, 1915.  Finally, the surname Sowa appears in family records in both of our families.

Paulette and I have not discovered any direct connections between our families, but our Dziurzyński ancestors lived in the same small village in Galicia at the same time.  A search of the Dylagowa church records may reveal clues to both of our ancestors and may even show evidence of a common ancestor.  And so, the search continues.

Copyright © 2006 by Stephen J. Danko

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ALERT! Access to Vital Records Threatened

I just read on the Genealogue that the Massachusetts legislature is considering legislation to severely restrict access to vital records in Massachusetts.  Three bills are being considered, H-3642, H-3643, and H-3644.

The most concerning of these is H-3643 which proposes to restrict all birth records and indexes after 1915 and all marriage and death records and indexes after 1955.  The Massachusetts Genealogical Council is urging concerned citizens to write, e-mail, and call Massachusetts legislators to recommend a vote against these bills.

Public access to vital records has been guaranteed in the Massachusetts Body of Liberties since 1641 (see item #48 in the Massachusetts Body of Liberties), but may soon be revoked if these bills pass.  These bills are being pushed for passage in the next two weeks.

Genealogists have both a legitimate reason to access vital records and also a legitimate need to access vital records.  Vital records are some of the best original sources of primary information available and restriction of access to these records threatens both the quality of genealogical research and the ability to conduct genealogical research at all.

Since public access to vital records is being threatened more and more by legislators seeking to prevent identity theft, the time has come to educate public officials about the value of genealogical research to families seeking to understand their heritage and to the general public seeking to preserve the history of their communities and the nation.

This is a call to arms.  Or in the case of genealogists, perhaps this is a more a call to the computer.  Take a few minutes to write.  Even one e-mail message can make a difference by planting a new idea in the mind of someone with the political power to make a change.  And don’t forget to mention your children, your grandchildren, and your nieces and nephews in your message.  After all, the action we take today affects them, too.

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Michael Danko and John Dziurzynski in the 1930 Census

My great uncle, John Dziurzynski, immigrated to the United States in 1912.  He should be enumerated in the 1920 and 1930 U.S. Federal Census Records, and he should also be listed in the World War I Draft Registration Cards (1917-1918).  Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find a 1920 Census Record or a World War I Draft Registration for him.  I did manage to find him enumerated in the 1930 census with my grandfather’s family.  Perhaps he wasn’t living in Worcester between 1917 and 1920 and I’m just looking in the wrong place.  Perhaps he returned to Galicia temporarily before coming back to Worcester in time to be listed in the 1930 Census.  Or, perhaps his name was misspelled in either the records or in the indexes.

Whatever the reason for his absence in two of the three likely records, he is clearly listed in the 1930 Census.

1930 Census Danko

1930 Census Record for Michael Danko’s Family and John Dziurzynski

The US Federal Census Record for the Michael Danko Family – 1930 shows that:

  • The family lived at 19 Prescott St., Worcester, Worcester County, Massachusetts in Ward 3, Block No. 38.  The family was in Enumeration District 14-22, Supervisors District No. 8, and is listed on Sheet No. 12A on lines 40-50.  The family rented their home, paid $10 per month rent, and owned a radio.  They did not live on a farm.
  • Michael Danko, age 53, was the head of household.  He could read and write.  He was born in Poland, as were both his parents.  He spoke Polish before coming to the United States in 1905.  He had filed his First Papers (Declaration of Intent to become a citizen) and could speak English.  He worked as a laborer in a wire mill and had not served in the U.S. military.
  • Mary Danko, age 50, was Michael’s wife.  She could not read and write.  She was 22 when she married.  She was born in Poland, as were her parents.  She spoke Polish before she arrived in America in 1910.  She was an Alien, and was not employed.
  • The couple lived with eight of their children:  John age 25, Statia age 20, Michael age 16, Bertha age 14, Mary age 12, Joseph age 10, Helen age 8, and Francis, age 6.  According to the census, no one in the family, including the children attended school or college since September 1, 1929.  Of the children, only John, Statia, Michael, Bertha, and Mary could read and write.
  • Their son John was born in Poland and spoke Polish before coming to the United States in 1910.  He had filed his First Papers and worked as a laborer in a Wire Mill.
  • The rest of the children were born in Massachusetts, and Statia was the only one working.  She worked as a machine operator in a Worsted Mill.
  • Michael (the father), Mary (the wife), John, Statia, Michael (the son), Bertha, Mary (the daughter), and Joseph could speak English.
  • John Dziuzinski, 39 years old, was Michael’s brother in law.  He was 22 when he was married, had not attended school since September 1, 1929, but he could read and write.  He was born in Poland as were his parents.  He spoke Polish before coming to the United States in 1913 and was Naturalized.  He worked as a laborer for a Grinding [?] Company, but was not actually at work at the time of the census.  He had not served in the U.S. military.

OK, some things here don’t make much sense:

  • According to the birth dates I have, most of which are from original, primary sources, as of April 1, 1930 Michael should be 52 (not 53), Mary (the wife) should be 48 (not 50), John should be 24 (not 25), Statia should be 19 (not 20), and John Dziurzynski should be 49 (not 39).
  • Michael should have been 20 years old when married (not 25) and Mary should have been 17 (not 22).
  • The six youngest children should have been in school, but the census reports they were not.
  • Mary (the wife) could not speak English, although the census reports that she could.
  • Mary (the wife) and John immigrated in 1909 (not 1910).  John Dziurzynski immigrated in 1912 (not 1913).
  • John Dziurzynski’s last name is misspelled Dziuzinski.

One thing that is apparent is that John Dziurzyński was not using the surname Dziura in 1930; he also used the name Dziurzynski when he immigrated in 1912.

Despite the 17 errors I found in the 1930 census, this record gives me some additional ideas of what I should look for next.  Michael Danko and John Danko had filed First Papers for Naturalization before 1930.  John Dziurzynski had become a citizen before 1930.  I should look for these records, since they may provide additional information about the family.

Copyright © 2006 by Stephen J. Danko

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Photographs from Poland

For this Sunday morning, I want to share with you some of the photographs taken by Bob McCann in Kazimierz Dolny, Poland.  Bob was one of the friends with whom I traveled in Poland in October 2000.  Kazimierz Dolny is a picturesque village in Poland located about half-way between Rzeszów and Warszawa (Warsaw) with a thriving artists’ colony and an active marketplace.  Kazimierz Dolny (Lower Kazimierz) is on the Wisła (Vistula River) and is called Lower Kazimierz to distinguish it from the Kraków District of Kazimierz (formerly the village of Kazimierz) up the Vistula to the South.  Because the Vistula flows from South to North, Lower Kazimierz is to the North of Kazimierz.  Bob took these photos in the Rynek (town square and marketplace) and captured some wonderful shots of the people there.


Schoolchildren Bewitched


Three Friends


In the Marketplace



As a final note, I was curious to see which posts on this blog were generating the most interest, so here’s a list of the top ten posts.  The current blog always generates the most web traffic, but other than the current day’s entry, these are the topics that people have visited most often:

  1. Flat Stanley’s San Francisco Adventure
  2. When Was Great Aunt Mary Born?
  3. Sunrise in San Francisco
  4. A Marriage and Two Births
  5. Death Records in Galicia
  6. Alexander Skowronski and the S.S. Graf Waldersee
  7. Grandfather and the Umbrella Maker
  8. Social Security Records
  9. Online Death Indexes
  10. GuestBlog from Barbara Poole
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Immigration of Johann Dziurzyński and Pawel Goliński

John Dziurzyński was the brother of my paternal grandmother.  I have only two records for him, one of which is his Ellis Island Passenger Arrival Manifest.  John was listed on the passenger manifest as Johann Dzuzynski and he traveled to America with Pawel Goliński.  Pawel would later marry my grandfather Michał Dańko’s sister, Marianna.

Postcard from the S.S. Grosser Kurfurst

Postcard from the S.S. Grosser Kurfurst

The Passenger Manifest for Jan Dziurzyński and Paweł Gołinski – 1912 states that:

  • Johann Dzuzynski (line 10 of the manifest) and Pawel Golinski (line 11 of the manifest) traveled on the S.S. Grosser Kurfurst
  • They departed Bremen on May 10, 1912 and arrived in New York on May 21, 1912
  • Johann was 32 years old and married; Pawel was 22 years old and single
  • They were both farm laborers
  • They were both Polish citizens of Austria from Śliwnica in Galicia
  • Johann had a wife Karolina in Śliwnica and Pawel had a father Jan in Śliwnica
  • They were both traveling to 3 Moran Court in Worcester, Massachusetts
  • They were planning to stay with Michal Danko, Johann’s brother-in-law and Pawel’s friend
  • Johann was 5 feet 7 inches tall with blond hair and blue eyes
  • Pawel was 5 feet 5 inches tall with brown hair and brown eyes
  • They were both born in Śliwnica
  • There is a notation on Pawel’s record:  1-173622 531-36, indicating that Pawel had applied for citizenship in Naturalization District 1, and Certificate of Arrival Number 173622 had been requested on May 31, 1936

passenger manifest

First Half of the Passenger Manifest

passenger manifest 2

Second Half of the Passenger Manifest

The record holds several useful clues for my research.  First, my great uncle was using the surname Dziurzyński (rather than the surname Dziura) at the time he immigrated.  Second, he stated that he was born in Śliwnica, not Sielnica, where I think my grandmother was born.  Śliwnica is in the Dubiecko parish, but Sielnica is in the Dylagowa parish (now part of the Dynów parish).

Copyright © 2006 by Stephen J. Danko

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Uncle Jan’s Birth in Nienadowa

My uncle, Jan Dańko, was born in Nienadowa, Galicia (Austria-Poland) and immigrated to the United States with his mother and older sister, Zofia.  After he arrived in America, Jan adopted the English version of his name, John, but was more commonly known as Jack.

His date of birth varies among the sources I have:

  • May 2, 1905 (Birth and Baptismal Record – Church Record)
  • About 1907-1908 (1910 Federal Census – 2 years old on April 15, 1910)
  • About 1903-1904 (1920 Federal Census – 16 years old on January 1, 1920)
  • About 1904-1905 (1920 Federal Census – 25 years old on April 1, 1920)
  • May 1, 1904 (Family History written one of my aunts)
  • May 1, 1904 (Date provided by John’s descendants)
  • May 1, 1904 (Affidavit for License to Marry)
  • May 1, 1904 (Marriage License)
  • 1904 (Gravestone – born in 1904)

Baptismal Record for Jan Danko

Birth & Baptismal Record for Jan Dańko

Of the records recorded above, the Birth and Baptismal Record for Jan Dańko – 1905 is the only primary record for the date of his birth, since it is the only record made at the time of the event by persons who had direct knowledge of the event.  Other records may have been made by people who were present at the birth, but they were recorded much later.  The Birth and Baptismal Record was recorded in Latin and states that:

  • Jan was the 21st birth recorded in Nienadowa that year,
  • Jan was born on May 2, 1905 and baptized on May 3, 1905 in Dubiecko,
  • Jan’s family lived in house number 207,
  • The child’s name was Jan, he was a Catholic boy and was legitimately born,
  • Jan’s father was Michał Dańko, son of Jakub Dańko and Agnieszka Sowa,
  • Jan’s mother was Maria Dziurzyńska, daughter of Jan Dziurzyński and Magdalena Jara,
  • Jan’s Godparents were Marcin Sowa and Katarzyna Kijanka, the wife of Franciszek Kijanka,
  • Jan was baptized by Father M. Czajkowski.

This record lists Jan’s mother as Maria Dziurzyńska, whose parents were Jan Dziurzyński and Magdalena Jara.  This is the first record I found that shows that the family was using the name Dziurzyński (male)/ Dziurzyńska (female).  The fact that the record shows Jan’s mother’s name was Maria is probably due to the fact that the names Maria, Marja, Marianna, and Marjanna were often used interchangeably in Poland.

The name Dziurzyński was repeatedly misspelled after the family arrived in America.  The Birth Records for Michael and Mary Danko’s children who were born in America recorded the nmae Dziurzyński as:

  • Dziurzynska (Statia Danko’s Birth Record)
  • Ginsky (Bronisława Danko’s Birth Record)
  • Dzevirzynska (Michael Danko’s Birth Record)
  • Jusuka (Bertha Danko’s Birth Record)
  • Jurinsko (Mary Danko’s Birth Record)
  • Guginski (Joseph Danko’s Birth Record)
  • Dziurzynski (Helen Danko’s Birth Record)
  • Dziurzynski (Frank Danko’s Birth Record)

I should note, however, that several of these Birth Records were transcriptions, and the errors in spelling may have occurred during transcription.

As was the case with my aunt Zofia’s Birth and Baptismal Record, several other names on the same page as Jan’s Birth and Baptism are prominent in my family history.  These names include Sowa, Giergont, Głowacz, Bal, Pilch, Wajda, Kijanka, and Szymański.

Copyright © 2006 by Stephen J. Danko

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Aunt Sophie’s Birth in Nienadowa

I was told that my paternal grandparents, Michał and Marianna Dańko, had three children in Galicia before they emigrated from the area.  I have been able to find the birth/baptismal records for two of those children:  Sophie (Zofia in Polish) and John (Jan).  The third child remains a mystery.  I was told that his name was Charles (Karol) and that he died in Galicia at age 4, but I have not located a birth/baptismal record for him.

My Aunt Sophie is the eldest child for whom I have an original, primary record.  The discovery of her birth/baptismal record in the church records from Dubiecko established the date and place of her birth with greater certainty than I had from any of the other records I had for her.  The birth date recorded on her birth/baptismal record was January 12, 1901.

Birth and Baptismal Record Zofia Danko

Birth and Baptismal Record for Zofia Dańko

However, the date that I obtained from various sources differed:

  • January 12, 1901 (Birth and Baptismal Record – Church Record)
  • About 1901-1902 (Passenger Manifest – 7 years old on May 24, 1909)
  • About 1902-1903 (1910 Federal Census – 7 years old on April 15, 1910)
  • About 1900-1901 (1920 Federal Census – 19 years old on January 1, 1920)
  • About 1899-1900 (1920 Federal Census – 30 years old on April 1, 1920)
  • January 14, 1902 (Family History written one of my aunts)
  • January 14, 1900 (Information from Sophie’s descendants)
  • About 1899-1900 (Birth Record for Jack Arnold Gibson – 23 years old on November 10, 1923)
  • About 1899-1900 (Birth Record for Mary Gibson – 28 years old on August 25, 1928)
  • January 14, 1900 (Social Security Record – not the SS-5, but from the Social Security Administration – it’s difficult to read, but it appears to be a Request for A/R Action)
  • January 14, 1903 (Social Security Death Index)
  • About 1899-1900 (Obituary – 77 years old on October 6, 1977)
  • 1901 (Gravestone – born in 1901)

Of the records recorded above, Zofia Dańko’s Birth and Baptismal Record is the only primary record for the date of her birth, since it is the only record made at the time of the even by persons who had direct knowledge of the event.  Other records may have been made by people who were present at the birth, but they were recorded much later.  The Birth and Baptismal Record was recorded in Latin and states that:

  • The record was entered on page 57 of the Book of Births and Baptisms
  • Zofia was the sixth birth recorded in Nienadowa that year
  • Zofia was born on January 12, 1901 and baptized on January 15, 1901
  • Zofia’s family lived in house number 207
  • The child’s name was Zofia, she was a Catholic girl and was legitimately born
  • Zofia’s father was Michał Dańko, son of Jakub Dańko and Agnieszka Sowa
  • Zofia’s mother was Marianna Dziura, daughter of Jan Dziura and Magdalena Jara
  • Zofia’s Godparents were Marcin Sowa and Aniela Bal, the wife of Onufrius Bal
  • Zofia was baptized by Father Gornicki (for another mention of Father Gornicki, see the blog entry on The Church in Dubiecko and What I Found There)

This record confirms the names of Marianna Dziura’s parents, whose marriage record was posted yesterday.  It also confirms the use of the name Dziura, rather than Dziurzyński as late as 1901.

Of further interest are the other entries on page 57 of the Book of Births and Baptisms.  Several other names on this page are prominent in my family history, including Sowa, Giergont, Głowacz, and Jach.  I wouldn’t be surprised to find out some of these other people are related to me, since a Giergont married a Głowacz, a Głowacz and a Sowa married my great grandfather Jakub Dańko, and a Jach married my great grandfather Jan Dziura.

SS-5 Sophia Gibson

Request for A/R Action for Sophia Gibson

The Social Security record I have for Sophia is unusual.  I ordered an SS-5, the application for a Social Security Number, from the Social Security Administration.  Instead of an SS-5, I received what appears to be a Request for A/R Action.  I’m not exactly sure what this record is, but it seems that A/R may refer to Applicant/Recipient.  I assume the Social Security Administration was requesting information from my Aunt Sophie before awarding benefits. She would have been of retirement age at the time this document was generated.

Copyright © 2006 by Stephen J. Danko

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The Marriage of Jan Dziura and Magdalena Jara

Yesterday, I wrote about a possible connection to my Dziurzyński ancestors that I discovered through the message boards.  Of the 50 birth/baptism, marriage, and death records I have from the parish in Dubiecko, Poland, only three mention the Dziurzyńskis:

  • The marriage record of my great grandparents, Jan Dziura and Magdalena Jara
  • The birth/baptismal record of my uncle and Godfather, Jan (John) Dańko
  • The birth/baptismal record of my aunt, Zofia (Sophie) Dańko

CRM-Dziura-Jan-and-Jara-Magdalena-1875-Crop Marriage Record of Jan Dziura and Magdalena Jara

The marriage record of my great grandparents Jan Dziura and Magdalena Jara was, as were all records from Galicia (the Austrian partition of Poland), written in Latin in a columnar format.  The record, the second entry on this page, was recorded on page 229 of the register and states that:

  • The couple was married on September 16, 1875
  • The bride resided in the Dubiecko parish in house number 32
  • The groom was from Sielnica [in Dylagowa parish]
  • The groom was Jan Dziura, a farmer, son of Stanisław Dziura and Katarzyna Martowicz, a married couple who were farmers
  • The groom was Catholic, 37 years old and a bachelor
  • The bride was Magdalena Jara, widow of Jan Siwarski, daughter of Andreas Jara and Agnieszka Matwij, a married couple who were farmers
  • The bride was Catholic, 30 years old, and a widow
  • The witnesses were Jan Grzebieniak and Jan Kucz, farmers
  • The banns of marriage were read in Dubiecko on October 31, November 1, and November 7, 1875
  • The banns of marriage were also read in the groom’s parish of Dylagowa on November 15, 1875
  • The groom resided in house number 72

This record shows that my great grandfather was from the village Sielnica in Dylągowa parish and my great grandmother was from Dubiecko parish.  Moreover, it shows that my great grandmother had been previously married and was a widow at 30 years of age.  This record also gives the names of my great great grandparents, and shows that in 1875, the family was using the surname Dziura, not Dziurzyński.  As with most of the old records I have from Poland, I cut and pasted the relevant portions of this record into a Word document and then saved the record as a PDF file of the marriage.

Copyright © 2006 by Stephen J. Danko

Posted in Dziurzyński, Jara | Tagged | 1 Comment

The Dziurzyński Brickwall

I have been searching for years for information on the ancestors of my paternal grandmother, Marianna Dziurzyńska.  When I hired a professional genealogist in Poland to find records of my ancestors in Dubiecko, Poland, he found precious little about my grandmother, but he found enough to keep me hopeful of finding more information about these ancestors.

The only record of the Dziurzyński family the researcher found in Dubiecko was the Marriage Record for Jan Dziura and Magdalena Jara, my grandmother’s parents.  While the surname was Dziura, not Dziurzyński, the researcher was fairly confident that this was the correct couple.  He also found the birth and baptismal records for two of my grandparents’ children: my Uncle Jan (John) Dańko and my Aunt Zofia (Sophie) Dańko.  (Note: Zofia (Sophie) Dańko was to later become the second wife of Clark Gibson, see yesterday’s post.)  The record that the researcher did not find was the marriage record of my grandparents, Michał Dańko and Marianna Dziurzyńska.

Recently, I searched the Ancestry.com message boards for “Dziurzynski” and “Dubiecko” and found an interesting message:

RE: Galicia/Podkarpackie/Dubiecko
Author: Paulette Mackuliak
My great grandmother’s name was Zofia Kopacka, daughter of Tomasz kopacki and Marianna Pulinska. She was born in Silenica, Dylagowa, Poland and died in Grebocin, Turinia, Poland. Zofia married marcin Dziurzynski and had 7 children. Jan, the oldest, lived in England and put my grandmother on a boat to come to the US around 1905-1910. Does any of this sound familiar to you? Keep in touch. Email me at pmack@alltel.net. thanks.

Well, there were two positive references in this message: the village and parish of Dubiecko and the surname Dziurzynski.  I sent an email and discussed the family similarities with Paulette.  She told me that her Dziurzynski ancestors lived in the town of Sielnica in the Dylagowa parish and that they had changed their name from Dziura to Dziurzynski. I took a new look at the marriage record of my great grandparents, Jan Dziura and Magdalena Jara.  I noticed some odd notations in the margins of the record that I hadn’t paid much attention to before:

The bride was apparently from the Dubiecko parish, but the groom was from Sielnica (a village that wasn’t in the Dubiecko parish).

There is a notation about the Dylagowa parish that appears to be a record of the Banns of Marriage read “in Dylagowa as well as in Dubiecko”.

I was astonished!

My ancestors seemed to have changed their surname from Dziura to Dziurzynski and were originally from Sielnica in the Dylagowa parish, just like Paulette’s ancestors!  Well, Paulette and I have kept in touch by phone and email.  Our family trees don’t seem to have any common ancestors, but we’d both like to search the records in the Dylagowa parish to see how we might be related.  Unfortunately, these records are not available at the Family History Library, so we will either need to travel to Dylagowa or hire a professional genealogist to search the records for us.

In any case, if the Dziurzyński’s were from Sielnica in Dylagowa parish, perhaps my grandparents were married there, in my grandmother’s home parish.  That would explain why their marriage record wasn’t among the Dubiecko parish records.  After their marriage, they settled in my grandfather’s village of Nienadowa in Dubiecko parish to begin a family.

Although this brickwall isn’t demolished, the information I have accumulated on the Dziurzyńskis is making more sense, and I have found a way to move forward.

Copyright © 2006 by Stephen J. Danko

Posted in Dziurzyński | Tagged | 2 Comments