Joined: 03 Mar 2014
Posted: Tue Apr 19, 2016 11:43 am
Post subject: Questions about Szlachta
I've got some questions and perplexities about the Polish Szlachta, their surnames and Herb and so on...
1) If someone was part of the Szlachta, which actually lasted till 1921 with the March Constitution, how was it possible from a birth/marriage/death certificate to recognise it? Did they wrote it openly about the nobility, or sometimes was it omitted?
2) Many surnames were often part of the same Herb (Coat of Arms), but many often shared different ones, was it because of the inter marriages?
3) Apart of the long lists of Herb and surnames, which are available everywhere online, is there an actual list with Names and Surnames, in other words, real examples of people belonging to Szlachta? I'm talking about some Archives where the nobility was registered when they received their titles...
4) Who was actually this Szlachta? Landowners? Merchants? Military?
5) probably I'll have other questions, but for now is enough...
If someone as some clues or material about this questions, don't esitate to write it.
Joined: 21 Aug 2014
Posted: Tue Apr 19, 2016 7:52 pm
Post subject: The many faces of Poland's szlachta
Ah, the szlachta...about which much has been written and is available online.
In my experience, with so MUCH help from Elzbieta and Dave, I can say with confidence that their noble status was not 'always' stated in each and every birth, marriage and/or death record. Although, the further you go back in time, the more often they are indeed so recorded. Nobles only married other nobles, or else they lost their noble status. Only those of noble birth entered religious life or held office. The szlachta elected the king. And surprisingly, many were as poor as church mice. I believe almost 10% of the population was of the petty noble class 'drobna szlachta'. Their names were often the same as the villages from which they hailed as in my case- Bońkowoski from Bońkowo Podleśne, Chodupski from Chodupka and so on.
Dave had previously posted a very helpful list of noble titles-I copied it here for convenience. I would add in Polish 'dziedzic' meaning 'the heir to..' and in Latin 'Dominus(m)-Lord and Lady.
In my Tylicki family and afiliated lines, the term 'nobilis' was by far the most frequently used, followed by a few 'generosus(m) and 1 magnificus(m) and even 1 Dominum in the 17th and 18th c. As for the first half of the 19th century (the records were now being written in Polish) 'urodzony' and 'szlachtiego' were predominant. By the 1850s, most of my family were listed as farmers, carpenters, mortgage lenders etc. Every now and then I foundz 'dziedic'.
LATIN POLISH ENGLISH
illustrissimus/ magnificus jaÑnie wielmoóny honorable
magnificus wielmoóny your honor/esquire
generosus urodzony “well-born”
(an owner of at least one village)
nobilis szlachetny noble
(owner of parcel of land or a leaseholder)
spectabilis godny worthy
(a wealthy aristocrat/patrician from a large town or city)
honoratus zacny honorable
LATIN POLISH ENGLISH
reverendissimus przewielebny most reverend (bishop/
reverendissimus ac ementissimus) ordinary of a diocese
reverendus wielebny reverend
(an abbot,suffragan/auxiliary bishop,pastor of a parish)
venerabilis dostojny distinguished/venerable
(the pastor/curate/vicar of a parish)
honorabilis czcigodny honorable/venerable
(rural parish priest/pastor/assistant pastor)
It is much rarer to find the 'evidence' in the BMDs after the mid 19th c., when for political reasons, the szlachta were 'asked' by the Partitioning Powers to offer proof of their noble status. Many could not afford the fees that accompanied this request; others could not produce the paperwork. It is at this time, you find a forbear who, at the time of his marriage, was referred to as 'noble' and at the time of his death he is 'farmer'.
The following books are a valuable resource. I have not found just one book in which all of my 'noble' names appeared. It was quite a challenge, but I did finally locate information regarding all of my affiliated surnames.
Boniecki Adam - Poczet rodów w Wielkiém Księstwie Litewskiém w XV i XVI wieku
Boniecki Adam - Herbarz polski. T. 1: Aaron - Boniccy
Boniecki Adam - Herbarz polski. Uzupełnienia i sprostowania do części 1
Boniecki Adam - Herbarz polski. T. 2: Bonieccy h. Bończa - Chmieleńscy
Boniecki Adam - Herbarz polski. T. 3: Chmielewscy - Czetowscy
Boniecki Adam - Herbarz polski. T. 4: Czetwertyńscy - Dowiakowscy
Boniecki Adam - Herbarz polski. T. 5: Dowiattowie - Gąsiorkowicz.
Boniecki Adam - Herbarz polski. T. 6: Gąsiorowscy - Grabowniccy
Boniecki Adam - Herbarz polski. T. 7: Grabowscy - Hulkiewiczowie
Boniecki Adam - Herbarz polski. T. 8: Humańscy - Jelonek
Boniecki Adam - Herbarz polski. T. 9: Jelowscy - Kęstowiczowie
Boniecki Adam - Herbarz polski. T. 10: Kęstowscy - Komorowscy
Boniecki Adam - Herbarz polski. T. 11: Komorowscy - Kotowski
Boniecki Adam - Herbarz polski. T. 12: Korty - Krzemieniewscy
Boniecki Adam - Herbarz polski. T. 13: Krzemieniowscy - Lasoccy
Boniecki Adam - Herbarz polski. T. 14: Lasoccy - Liwiński
Boniecki Adam - Herbarz polski. T. 15: Liwscy - Łopuscy
Boniecki Adam - Herbarz polski. T. 16: Łopuszańscy - Madalińscy
- Boniecki Adam -Affiliated families in the Great Duchy of Lithuania in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries Adam Boniecki – Polish Heraldy V. 1: Aaron - Boniccy Boniecki Adam –Polish Heraldy. Supplements and corrections Part 1 Boniecki Adam – Polish Heraldy. V.2- 16
Dunin-Borkowski Jerzy Seweryn - Rocznik szlachty polskiej. T. 1
Dunin-Borkowski Jerzy Seweryn - Rocznik szlachty polskiej. T. 2
Dunin-Borkowski Jerzy Seweryn - Spis nazwisk szlachty polskiej
Dunin-Borkowski Jerzy Seweryn - Genealogie żyjących utytułowanych rodów polskich
Dunin-Borkowski Jerzy Seweryn - Almanach błękitny: genealogia żyjących rodów polskich (w zbiorach PBC),Almanach błękitny: genealogia żyjących rodów polskich (w zbiorach ŚBC)
-Dunin-Borkowski Jerzy Seweryn - Yearbook of Polish nobility. V. 1 Dunin-Borkowski Jerzy Seweryn - Yearbook of Polish nobility. V. 2 Dunin-Borkowski Jerzy Seweryn – List of the names of the Polish nobility Dunin-Borkowski Jerzy Seweryn - Genealogies of living titled Polish families Dunin-Borkowski Jerzy Seweryn - Almanac blue: the genealogy of living Polish famileis (in the collection PBC),Almanac blue: the genealogy of living Polish families (in the collection SDL)
Dziadulewicz Stanisław - Herbarz rodzin tatarskich w Polsce
-Dziadulewicz Stanislaw – Heraldry of Tatar families in Poland
Gorczyn Jan Aleksander - Kleynoty abo herby państwa y rycerstwa powiatow y miast głownych Korony Polskiey y W. X. L. według obiecadła dla pamięci łacnieyszey położone
-Gorczyn Jan Aleksander -Kleynoty abo coats of arms of the state s knighthood counties s city's major Crown Polskiey s GDL by obiecadła for memory łacnieyszey located
Grabowski Leszek - Saga rodu Grabowskich z Bilczyc i Liplasa koło Gdowa
-Grabowski Leszek –Saga of the Grabowski family of Bilczyce and Liplas near Gdów
Kapica Milewski Ignacy - Herbarz Ignacego Kapicy Milewskiego: (dopełnienie Niesieckiego): wydanie z ręko¬pisu
-Kapica Milewski Ignatius - Heraldry Ignatius Kapicy Milewski: (fill Niesiecki) edition of the manuscript
Konarski Szymon - Szlachta kalwińska w Polsce
-Konarski Simon – Noble Calvinist in Poland
Korwin Ludwik - Ormiańskie rody szlacheckie
-Korwin Ludwik - Armenian noble families
Korwin Kruczkowski Sylwester - Poczet Polaków wyniesionych do godności szlacheckiej przez monarchów austrjac¬kich w czasie od roku 1773 do 1918
-Korwin K. S - Gallery of Poles elevated to the rank of nobility by Austrian monarchs in the period from 1773 to 1918,
Kosiński Adam Amilkar - Przewodnik heraldyczny: monografie kilkudziesięciu znakomitszych rodzin, spis rodzin senatorskich i tytuły honorowe posiadających. [cz.] 1
Kosiński Adam Amilkar - Przewodnik heraldyczny [cz.] 2
Kosiński Adam Amilkar - Przewodnik heraldyczny [cz.] 3
Kosiński Adam Amilkar - Przewodnik heraldyczny [cz.] 4
Kosiński Adam Amilkar - Przewodnik heraldyczny: monografie genealogje i spis rodzin senatorskich i tytuły honorowe posiadających. [cz.] 5
-Kosinski Adam Amilkar - Guide to heraldic monographs of dozens of illustrious families, index of senatorial families and those holding honorary titles. [part.] 1 Kosinski Adam Amilkar – Heraldic Guide [part.] 2 Kosinski Adam Amilkar – Heraldic Guide[part.] 3 Kosinski Adam Amilkar – Heraldic Guide [part.] 4 Kosinski Adam Amilkar –Heraldic Guide to genealogical monographs and census of senatorial families and those holding honorary titles.[part.] 5
Kossakowski Stanisław - Monografie historyczno-genealogiczne niektórych rodzin polskich T.1
Kossakowski Stanisław - Monografie historyczno-genealogiczne niektórych rodzin polskich T.2
Kossakowski Stanisław - Monografie historyczno-genealogiczne niektórych rodzin polskich T.3
-Kossakowski Stanislaw - Monographs historical and genealogical some Polish families V.1 Kossakowski Stanislaw - Monographs historical and genealogical some Polish families V.2 Kossakowski Stanislaw - Monographs historical and genealogical some Polish families V.3
Krzepela Józef - Małopolskie rody ziemiańskie
-Krzepela Joseph - Lesser landowning families
Leszczyc Zbigniew - Herby szlachty polskiej. T. 1
Leszczyc Zbigniew - Herby szlachty polskiej. T. 2
-Leszczyc Zbigniew - Herby Polish nobility. Volumes 1 and 2
Łodzia-Czarnecki Kazimierz - Herbarz polski podług Niesieckiego, treściwie ułożony i wypisami z późniejszych autorów, z różnych akt grodzkich i ziemskich, z ksiąg i akt kościelnych oraz z dokumentów familijnych powiększony i wydany. T. 1
Łodzia-Czarnecki Kazimierz - Herbarz polski podług Niesieckiego, treściwie ułożony i wypisami z późniejszych autorów, z różnych akt grodzkich i ziemskich, z ksiąg i akt kościelnych oraz z dokumentów familijnych powiększony i wydany. T. 2
-Łodzia-Czarnecki Kazimierz - Heraldry of Polish Podług Niesiecki, concisely arranged and extracts from later authors from various municipal act and earthly, from the books and records of church and documents of family enlarged and released. V. 1 Łodzia-Czarnecki Kazimierz - Heraldry of Polish Podług Niesiecki, concisely arranged and extracts from later authors from various municipal act and earthly, from the books and records of church and documents of family enlarged and released. V. 2
Namysłowski Bolesław - Rozważania nad problemem rodziny i rodu
-Namyslowski Boleslaw - Deliberations on the issue of family names and family
• Herbarz polski Kaspra Niesieckiego powiększony dodatkami z późniejszych autorów, rękopismów, dowodów urzędowych i wydany przez Jana Nep. Bobrowicza: T. 1
Herbarz polski Kaspra Niesieckiego powiększony dodatkami z późniejszych autorów, rękopismów, dowodów urzędowych i wydany przez Jana Nep. Bobrowicza: T. 2
Herbarz polski Kaspra Niesieckiego powiększony dodatkami z późniejszych autorów, rękopismów, dowodów urzędowych i wydany przez Jana Nep. Bobrowicza: T. 3
Lipsk 1839 ETC
-Kasper Niesiecki – Polish Heraldy
Polish Heraldry ,Kasper Niesiecki plus additions from later authors, rękopismów, evidence of official and released by John Nep. Bobrowicz Volume. 1
Leipzig in 1839
Polish Heraldy, Kasper Niesiecki plus additions from later authors, rękopismów, evidence of official and released by John Nep. Bobrowicz V. 2
Polish Heraldry, Kasper Niesiecki plus additions from later authors, rękopismów, evidence of official and released by John Nep. Bobrowicz V. 3
Leipzig in 1839
Polish Heraldry, Kasper Niesiecki SJ..V. 4: [EJ]
Polish Heraldry ,Kasper Niesiecki SJ..V. 5: [K]
Polish Heraldry, Kasper Niesiecki SJ..V. 6: [LN]
Polish Heraldry, Kasper Niesiecki SJ..V. 7: [OP]
Polish Heraldry, Kasper Niesiecki SJ..V. 8: [RS]
Polish Heraldry, Kasper Niesiecki SJ..V. 9: [TW]
Polish Heraldry ,Kasper Niesiecki SJ..V. 10: [Z-Z]
Pavliščev Nikolaj Ivanovič - Herbarz rodzin szlacheckich Królestwa Polskiego najwyżej zatwierdzony. Cz.1
Pavliščev Nikolaj Ivanovič - Herbarz rodzin szlacheckich Królestwa Polskiego najwyżej zatwierdzony. Cz.2
-Pavliščev Nikolaj Ivanovič - Heraldry of Polish noble families of the Kingdom of the highest approved. Part 1 Pavliščev Nikolaj Ivanovič - Heraldry of Polish noble families of the Kingdom of the highest approved. Part 2
Piekosiński Franciszek Ksawery (oprac.) - Herbarz szlachty prowincyi witebskiej
Piekosiński Franciszek Ksawery - Poczet rodów szlachty polskiej wieków średnich
-Piekosinski Francis Xavier (ed.) - Heraldry of the nobility of Vitebsk province Piekosinski Francis Xavier -Gallery of Polish nobility clans of the Middle Ages Pulaski Kazimierz - Chronicle of Polish nobility of Podolia, Volyn and Ukraine monographs and reference Volume.1
Pułaski Kazimierz - Kronika polskich rodów szlacheckich Podola, Wołynia i Ukrainy: monografie i wzmianki T.1
-Pulaski Kazimierz - Chronicle of Polish nobility of Podolia, Volyn and Ukraine monographs and reference V.1
Stupnicki Hipolit - Herbarz polski i imionospis zasłużonych w Polsce ludzi wszystkich stanów i czasów: ułożony porządkiem alfabetycznym na podstawie Herbarza Niesieckiego i manuskryptów T.1
Stupnicki Hipolit - Herbarz polski i imionospis zasłużonych w Polsce ludzi wszystkich stanów i czasów: ułożony porządkiem alfabetycznym na podstawie Herbarza Niesieckiego i manuskryptów T.2
Stupnicki Hipolit - Herbarz polski i imionospis zasłużonych w Polsce ludzi wszystkich stanów i czasów: ułożony porządkiem alfabetycznym na podstawie Herbarza Niesieckiego i manuskryptów T.3
Herbal Polish and imionospis distinguished in Poland people of all conditions and times: arranged in alphabetical order based on Herbarz Niesiecki and manuscripts V.1
Kornel Piller, Lviv 1855
Herbal Polish and imionospis distinguished Polish people of all states and times: arranged in alphabetical order based on Herbarz Niesiecki and manuscripts V.2
Kornel Piller, Lviv 1859
Herbal Polish and imionospis distinguished Polish people of all conditions and times: arranged in alphabetical order based on Herbarz Niesiecki and manuscripts V.3
Lviv in 1862
Uruski Seweryn - Rodzina. Herbarz szlachty polskiej.T.1- T.15
Uruski Seweryn - Family. Heraldry of Polish Nobility. V.1 –V.15
Wijuk-Kojałowicz Wojciech - Ks. Wojciecha Wiiuka Kojałowicza herbarz szlachty Wielkiego Księstwa Litewskiego zwany Nomenclator
Wijuk-Kojałowicz Wojciech - Unknown Polish nobility and their coats of arms
Wilczyński Jan Kazimierz - Herbarz starodawnej szlachty podług Heraldyków polskich z dopełnieniem do czasów obecnych
Wilczynski John Casimir - Heraldry ancient Polish nobility Podług heralds a complement to the present
Żychliński Teodor - Złota księga szlachty polskiej.R1- R.31
-Żychliński Theodore - Golden Book of the Polish nobility. R1-31
There is much more to write. Life has a habit of calling me to do things I 'must', rather than to linger longer doing what I 'love'....to be continued,
dnowickiPO Top Contributor
Joined: 28 Dec 2011
Location: Michigan City, Indiana
Posted: Tue Apr 19, 2016 9:10 pm
Philip & Nancy,
A minor correction and further explanation of the terminology which Nancy posted...The Polish translation of illustrissimus ac magnificus and of magnificus with the proper diacritical marks is found in the attachment. It is probably a good idea to clarify the translation of dominus and of domina as "Lord" and "Lady". Those two words do not form a separate set of noble title designations but are simply the most accurate way of expressing the Polish (pan and pani or panna for an unmarried female noble) versions of those Latin words of that period of time in English. At one time those words were the domain of nobles but later became the polite and formal way of speaking of or of addressing non-noble persons and today are best translated as "Mister/Sir", "Mrs./Madam", and "Miss". In prior times every category of Latin title could be followed by "Dominus" for a male and "Domina" for a female and each Polish version could be followed by "Pan", "Pani" or "Panna" (e.g. Generosus Dominus/Urodzony Pan, etc.)
No biggie...but for the sake of completeness...
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sirdanPO Top Contributor
Joined: 07 Mar 2012
Location: ** Southeast Pole**
Posted: Wed Apr 20, 2016 1:57 am
Let me to add two cents to the great info above.
1. In XX century, info on parish records was rather omitted, but it was priest who wrote the books. He might have add what he think was suitable i suppose.
In XIX century Wielmożny was indeed a high grade title. But in 20. and 30. of XX it changed its meaning. Wielmożny Pan (WP) description degraded and got same status as Szanowny Pan (SzP). You will find it frequently and only on envelopes or postcards. Simply salutation on letters.
The title hrabia was one still used in XX c. by some who possesed large property, had high position. But for today it sounds a bit silly when somebody call oneself hrabia Description that was used to call somebody owning large property (land) but not call him any title was posiadacz ziemski or właściciel ziemski, właściciel majątku.
2. Moving back to the begining of nobility and herb (eg XIV c.). Usually, land was given by king to the knight. When knight settled, his family grown. Descendants got their own life, changed place of living (other lands), maybe they just wanted to differ from other family members, or wanted to start own family branch, their nicks (przydomek) changed into a surname - that would be reasons to change surname. But still, the root of whole family was the same Herb. Sometimes noble brothers in old times had different surnames, in one year and another, it is difficult to track it for nobility researchers.
3. I suppose, in middleages there would be some document released by the king of giving nobility and land. But frankly i doubt any of it exists today. When Poland was partitioned, occupants were giving confirmation of nobility but for great amount of money, so poor szlachta did not even attempt for this. Many times szlachta title and papers was faked.
4. Knights, their families, later Landowners, who greatly helped the king during battle - helped him win a war, whoever got the title from the king or inherited it. Szlachta always possesed a land, towns or villages. They were selling, buying it. Later time, during partitioning, suppressed time, many szlachta lost their property. Some poor szlachta was living on their own, like any normal village member but always separated from peasants. They got the name zaścianek, gołota and other.
Joined: 21 Aug 2014
Posted: Tue Apr 26, 2016 10:08 pm
Post subject: History of the szlachta
Further tidbits of information gathered these last 2 years regarding Polish nobility.
May be especially useful to those who have recently discovered their noble lineage.
Extracted from Origins of Polish Heraldry
In Poland, as a general rule, one rod had one herb (coat of arms) which was shared by all its members. When a clan was divided into separate families, all of them retained the original arms without any differencing or cadency. Paszkowski characterised this peculiarity by stating:
Whereas in Western Europe a coat of arms belonged to a person or family, in Poland a family or a person belonged to the coat of arms. Thus, some of the families were bearing their own coat of arms, but many, sometimes hundreds of (clan) families, shared or belonged to one coat of arms.
This peculiarity may be best illustrated by the example given by Paprocki who mentions the Rosciszewski family which took a surname different from the names of the land properties it had owned. Those of the Rosciszewski family who settled in Chrapunia became known as Chrapunskis; those who settled in Strykwina were known as Strykwinskis; and those who settled in Borkow became known as Borkowskis. Since they shared a common ancestor and belonged to the same clan - they were entitled to bear the same arms as Rosciszewskis.
As Konarski points out, there was a different process involved when members of the different heraldic clans were adopting surnames derived from the commonly occurring names of villages, such as: Baranow, Chrzanow, or Zakrzewie. In this process, quite accidentally, identical surnames were formed by members of different clans. For example, there was the Konarski family which used the Jastrzebiec arms. At the same time, there was another, unrelated family of the same surname which belonged to the Awdaniec clan. This resulted in the distinct feature of the Polish heraldic system where people belonging to the same heraldic clan and using the same coat of arms could have different surnames, while people sharing the same surname were using different arms. Some families which were ennobled or naturalised and which maintained their own foreign family coat of arms, with no doubt have found this practice to be quite confusing. Perhaps even more confusing was the tradition that the coats of arms of the Polish nobility had names of their own; names which derived their origins from the ancient war-cries also called proclamations (Latin: proclamatio). Another peculiarity of the Polish heraldry was the custom that all legitimate children of a nobleman, both male and female could inherit their father's coat of arms…together with all his privileges as a noble…
At an initial glance, Polish heraldry may seem to be quite simple and relatively poor in its design - with its rules much less rigid than the ones developed in Western Europe…
The tribal system influenced all the countries included in the Polish Commonwealth. As a result, the nobility consisting of more than forty thousand families, used about seven thousand arms including family coats of arms of Western origin. Moreover, the homonymous families, with their surnames derived from estates with identical names, bore different arms depending on the clan to which they belonged
Today the word szlachta in the Polish language simply translates to "nobility". In its broadest meaning, it can also denote some non-hereditary honorary knighthoods granted today by some European monarchs. ..In the narrow sense, szlachta denotes the old-Commonwealth nobility.
In the past, a certain misconception sometimes led to the mis translation of "szlachta" as "gentry" rather than "nobility".:206 :xvi This mistaken practice began due to the economic status of some szlachta members being inferior to that of the nobility in other European countries. The szlachta included those almost rich and powerful enough to be magnates down to rascals with a noble lineage, no land, no castle, no money, no village, and no peasants.:xvi
As some szlachta were poorer than some non-noble gentry, some particularly impoverished szlachta were forced to become tenants of the wealthier gentry. In doing so, however, these szlachta retained all their constitutional prerogatives, as it was not wealth or lifestyle (obtainable by the gentry), but hereditary juridical status, that determined nobility.
An individual nobleman was called a "szlachcic", and a noblewoman a "szlachcianka".
Specific rights of the szlachta included:
1. The right to hold outright ownership of land (Allod) -- not as a fief, conditional upon service to the liege Lord, but absolutely in perpetuity unless sold.
2. The right to join in political and military assemblies of the regional nobility.
3. The right to form independent administrative councils for their locality.
4. The right to cast a vote for Polish Kings.
5. The right to travel freely anywhere in the old Commonwealth of the Polish and Lithuanian nobility; or outside it, as foreign policy dictated.
6. The right to demand information from Crown offices.
7. The right to spiritual semi-independence from the clergy.
8. The right to interdict, in suitable ways, the passage of foreigners and townsmen through their territories.
9. The right of priority over the courts of the peasantry.
10. Special rights in Polish courts—including freedom from arbitrary arrest and freedom from corporal punishment.
11. The right to sell their military or administrative services.
12. Heraldic rights.
13. The right to receive higher pay when entitled in the "Levée en masse" (mobilization of the szlachta for defence of the nation).
14. Educational rights
15. The right of importing duty-free goods often.
16. The exclusive right to enter the clergy until the time of the three partitions of Poland.
17. The right to try their peasants for major offences (reduced to minor offences only, after the 1760s).
In the 1840s, Nicholas I reduced 64,000 szlachta to commoner status. Despite this, 62.8% of Russia's nobles were szlachta in 1858 and still 46.1% in 1897. Serfdom was abolished in Russian Poland on February 19, 1864. It was deliberately enacted in a way that would ruin the szlachta. It was the only area where peasants paid the market price in redemption for the land (the average for the empire was 34% above the market price). All land taken from Polish peasants since 1846 was to be returned without redemption payments. The ex serfs could only sell land to other peasants, not szlachta. 90% of the ex serfs in the empire who actually gained land after 1861 were in the 8 western provinces. Along with Romania, Polish landless or domestic serfs were the only ones to be given land after serfdom was abolished. All this was to punish the szlachta's role in the uprisings of 1830 and 1863. By 1864 80% of szlachta were déclassé, 1/4 petty nobles were worse off than the average serf, 48.9% of land in Russian Poland was in peasant hands, nobles still held 46%.
In Second Polish Republic the privileges of the nobility were lawfully abolished by the March Constitution in 1921 and as such not granted by any future Polish law.
All children of the Polish nobility inherited their noble status from a noble mother and father. Any individual could attain ennoblement (nobilitacja) for special services to the state. A foreign noble might be naturalised as a Polish noble (Polish: "indygenat") by the Polish king (later, from 1641, only by a general sejm).
In theory at least, all Polish noblemen were social equals. Also in theory, they were legal peers.
The poorest enjoyed the same rights as the wealthiest magnate. All other szlachta simply addressed each other by their given name or as "Sir Brother" (Panie bracie) or the feminine equivalent. The other forms of address would be "Illustrious and Magnificent Lord", "Magnificent Lord", "Generous Lord" or "Noble Lord" (in decreasing order) or simply "His/Her Grace Lord/Lady".
According to their financial standing, the nobility were in common speech divided into:
• magnates: the wealthiest class; owners of vast lands, towns, many villages, thousands of peasants
• middle nobility (średnia szlachta): owners of one or more villages, often having some official titles or Envoys from the local Land Assemblies to the General Assembly,
• petty nobility (drobna szlachta), owners of a part of a village or owning no land at all, often referred to by a variety of colourful Polish terms such as:
o szaraczkowa – grey nobility, from their grey, woollen, uncoloured żupans
o okoliczna – local nobility, similar to zaściankowa
o zagrodowa – from zagroda, a farm, often little different from a peasant's dwelling
o zagonowa – from zagon, a small unit of land measure, hide nobility
o cząstkowa – partial, owners of only part of a single village
o panek – little pan (i.e., lordling), term used in Kaszuby, the Kashubian region, also one of the legal terms for legally separated lower nobility in late medieval and early modern Poland
o hreczkosiej – buckwheatsowers – those who had to work their fields themselves.
o zaściankowa – from zaścianek, a name for plural nobility settlement, neighbourhood nobility. Just like hreczkosiej, zaściankowa nobility would have no peasants.
o brukowa – cobble nobility, for those living in towns like townsfolk
o gołota – naked nobility, i.e., the landless. Gołota szlachta would be considered the 'lowest of the high'.
o półpanek ("half-lord"); also podpanek/pidpanek ("sub-lord") in Podolia and Ukrainian accent – a petty szlachcic pretending to be wealthy.
Note that the Polish landed gentry (ziemianie or ziemiaństwo) was composed of any nobility that owned lands: thus of course the magnates, the middle nobility and that lesser nobility that had at least part of the village. As manorial lordships were also opened to burgesses of certain privileged royal cities, not all landed gentry had a hereditary title of nobility.
1. ^ Jump up to: a b c d e f g h i j Davies, Norman (1982). God's Playground: A History of Poland, Volume I - The Origins to 1795. Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-05351-7.
2. ^ Jump up to: a b Michener, James Albert (1983). Poland. Random House; New York City, NEW YORK, U.S.A. ISBN 0-394-53189-2.
3. Jump up ^ Kidd, Colin (1999). British identities before nationalism: ethnicity and nationhood in the Atlantic world, 1600–1800. Cambridge University Press. p. 29. ISBN 978-0-521-62403-9.
4. Jump up ^ Davies, Norman (1982). God's Playground: A History of Poland; Volume I: The Origins to 1795. Columbia University Press. pp. 161–163. ISBN 978-0-231-05351-8. Retrieved 2010-09-22.
5. Jump up ^ Steinlauf, Michael C. (1997). Bondage to the dead: Poland and the memory of the Holocaust. Syracuse University Press. p. 5. ISBN 978-0-8156-2729-6.
6. Jump up ^ Sulimirski, Tadeusz (Winter 1964). "Sarmatians in the Polish Past". The Polish Review (Champaign, Champaign county, ILLINOIS, U.S.A.: University of Illinois Press on behalf of the Polish Institute of Arts & Sciences of America) 9 (1): 13–66. Retrieved 13 Oct 2014.
7. ^ Jump up to: a b Niesiecki S.J., Kasper; Bobrowicz, Jan Nepomucen (1846). Herbarz Polski (PDF) (in Polish) I.. Leipzig, Saxony, GERMANY: Breitkopf & Härtel. Retrieved 13 Oct 2014.
8. ^ Jump up to: a b c d e f g Hutton, Richard Holt; Bagehot, Walter (January 1864). "The Races of the Old World". The National Review (London, England: Robson and Levey). Retrieved 9 Oct 2014.
9. Jump up ^ Guzowski, Piotr (1 May 2014). "Village court records and peasant credit in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Poland". Continuity and Change (Cambridge, East of England, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM: Cambridge University Press) 29 (01): 115–142. doi:10.1017/S0268416014000101. Retrieved 9 Oct 2014.
10. Jump up ^ Jastrzębiec-Czajkowski, Leszek Jan. "Niektóre dane z historii slachty i herbu". Ornatowski.com. Warszawa, POLAND, EU: Artur Ornatowski. Retrieved 9 Oct 2014.
11. ^ Jump up to: a b Topór-Jakubowski, Theodore (2002). Sulima-Suligowski, Leonard Joseph, ed. "Claiming Inherited Noble Status" (PDF). WHITE EAGLE: JOURNAL OF THE POLISH NOBILITY ASSOCIATION FOUNDATION (Villa Anneslie, Towson, Baltimore, Baltimore county, MARYLAND, U.S.A.: Polish Nobility Association Foundation) 2002 (Spring/Summer): 5. the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth of Two Nations (from 1385 until the Third Partition of 1795) paralleled the Roman Empire in that -- whether we like it or not -- full rights of citizenship were limited to the governing elite, called szlachta in Polish ... It is not truly correct to consider the szlachta a class; they actually were more like a caste, the military caste, as in Hindu society.
12. Jump up ^ Janusz Bieniak, "Knight Clans in Medieval Poland," in Antoni Gąsiorowski (ed.), The Polish Nobility in the Middle Ages: Anthologies, Zakład Narodowy im. Ossolińskich; Wrocław, POLAND, EU; 1984, page 154.
13. ^ Jump up to: a b c Topór-Jakubowski, Theodore (1998). Sulima-Suligowski, Leonard Joseph, ed. "15th-Century Polish Nobility in the 21st Century" (PDF). WHITE EAGLE: JOURNAL OF THE POLISH NOBILITY ASSOCIATION FOUNDATION (Villa Anneslie, Towson, Baltimore, Baltimore county, MARYLAND, U.S.A.: Polish Nobility Association Foundation) 1998 (Spring/Summer): 9. Membership in the Polish szlachta was hereditary. ... (and the family knighthood, rycerstwo, in itself) ... The paramount principle regarding Polish nobility is that it was hereditary. ... one Rudolf Lambert had successfully proven his right to hereditary knighthood (szlachectwo) ... He [Nikodem Tadeusz] was also Marshal of the Knighthood (using the word rycerz and not szlachcic ...)
14. Jump up ^ Juliusz Bardach, Boguslaw Lesnodorski, and Michal Pietrzak, Historia panstwa i prawa polskiego (Warsaw: Paristwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe, 1987), p.20, 26-27
15. Jump up ^ Kiaupienė, Jūratė (2003). "Mes, Lietuva": Lietuvos Didžiosios Kunigaikštystės bajorija XVI a. ["We the Lithuania": nobility of Grand Duchy of Lithuania in 16th c.] (in Lithuanian). Kronta. p. 64. ISBN 9955-595-08-6.
16. Jump up ^ Ochmański, Jerzy (1986). The National Idea in Lithuania from the 16th to the First Half of the 19th Century: The Problem of Cultural-Linguistic Differentiation. Poznań: Mickiewicz University.
17. ^ Jump up to: a b c (Polish) "Niektóre dane z historii szlachty i herbu" – Leszek Jan Czajkowski (leader of Polish pro Monarchismparty: pl:Polska Liga Monarchistyczna)
18. ^ Jump up to: a b c Mówią wieki, number 5, Pudłowski, 1988
19. Jump up ^ Topór-Jakubowski, Theodore. "It`s Time to End the Myth That Polish Immigrants Were Peasants". West European Grand Priory, International Order of St Stanislas. Croxteth House, Liverpool, Lancashire county, Merseyside, North West England, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM: Order of St Stanislas. Archived from the original on 4 July 2002. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
20. Jump up ^ Robert Bideleux, Ian Jeffries (1998). A history of eastern Europe: crisis and change. Routledge. pp. 144–145. ISBN 978-0-415-16111-4.
21. Jump up ^ Richard Pipes, Russia under the old regime, page 181
22. Jump up ^ Seymour Becker, Nobility and Privilege in late Imperial Russia, page 182
23. Jump up ^ The End of the Old Order in Rural Europe, Jerome Blum, page 391.
24. Jump up ^ Norman Davies, God's playground, pages 182 and 188
25. Jump up ^ From Da to Yes: Understanding the East Europeans, p. 51, Yale Richmond, 1995
26. Jump up ^ [dead link]
27. Jump up ^ Lwów i Wilno / [publ. by J. Godlewski]. (1948) nr 98
28. Jump up ^ (Polish) "Ennoblements of Neophytes during the rule of Stanislaw August", Rzeczpospolita daily, Tomasz Lenczewski, 2008
Joined: 21 Aug 2014
Posted: Tue May 10, 2016 4:32 pm
Post subject: Dworzaczek’s Genealogia
From Dworzaczek’s Genealogia, Chapter III — pp29 to 33
Translated by William Hoffman and first published in the Polish Genealogical Society Newsletter: Fall 1985, Spring 1986, Fall 1986, Spring
1987, Fall 1987. I have highlighted areas, which I myself am exploring.
Catherine II’s “Charter to the Nobility” of 1785 bestowed broad privileges on the noble class, distinguishing it from the rest of society. In each gubernia [province of the Russian Empire] books of the nobility began to be kept for entering those who had proved their nobility before pedigree deputations, composed of the marshal of the szlachta and a group of deputies, one from each powiat [county].
These books are divided into six parts. The first contained the descendants of persons ennobled by the ruling Russian or other monarchs, as well as families whose proofs of nobility did not date back more than a hundred years. In the second book were found persons or descendants of persons granted hereditary nobility by virtue of possessing Russian military rank. The third book included families ennobled by virtue of possessing civil rank. The fourth contained noble families from abroad who swore allegiance to Russia. Princes, counts, and barons comprised the fifth book. The sixth was filled with nobles who possessed proofs of their privileged standing going back more than a hundred years.
The “Charter” allowed application of fairly liberal methods to the verification of nobles’ identity. It was enough if the applicant showed, with the help of testimony from twelve witnesses of unquestioned noble descent, that his father and grandfather “led the life of nobility and remained in noble standing” or held noble offices. The descent deputations examined the proofs, after which they either unanimously or by a two-thirds majority entered the “legitimized” party in the appropriate section of the genealogical book, drawing up papers and genealogies illustrated with coats of arms. If refused, the applicant could appeal the deputation’s verdict to the Herald’s office in St. Petersburg.
Under Paul I the heraldry deputations were relieved of the right to give out identity papers. The right was returned to the deputations under Alexander I, but the identification procedure was made much stricter. Under Nicholas I, after the uprising in 1831, a series of far-reaching measures made proving one’s nobility far more difficult, the point being to place the enormous throng of minor nobles who lived in small, walled settlements or paid rent outside the sphere of dvoryanstvo [“nobility” (Russian)].
Thus before 1836, for instance, acceptable proofs of nobility were ennoblements from monarchs or Sejm charters of ennoblement, as well as documents showing that the direct ancestors of the applicant had owned entire villages before 1795. After 1836 the only acceptable proofs were: szlachta records and papers, certificates of officer’s rank or civil office, Tsarist rescripts, papers showing membership in Russian chapters of orders, and finally decrees of the Tsar bestowing nobility.102
All matters concerning verification of nobility from the whole of the so-called “western provinces” of the Tsar’s empire were centralized in the highest instance in the Department of the Herald of the Russian Senate, the archives of which became a mine of invaluable information for the history of local noble families. From the pedigrees presented before district courts have come, among others, two provincial armorials: “Herbarz szlachty witebskiej” [Armorial of the Vitsebsk Nobility], F. Piekosiński, Herold Polski, Kr. 1899. — “Оршанскiй Гербовникъ” [Orshanski gerbovnik—Orsha Armorial], W. Dowgiałło. Историко-юридическiе матерiалы [Istoriko-yuridicheskiye materialy—Historico-juridical Materials], vol. XXVIII, Vitebsk 1910.103 The councils of gubernia deputations in the former Lithuanian and Ruthenian provinces published lists of the szlachta they recognized as authentic, and the lists have become valuable genealogical sources: Списокъ дворянъ внесённыхъ въ дворянскую родословную книгу Подольской губернiи [Spisok dvoryan vnesyonnykh v dvoryanskuyu rodoslovnuyu knigu Podol'skoi gubernii—List of Nobles Entered into the Genealogical Register of Podolia Province], Kamenets Podolskiy, 1897. — Списокъ дворянъ Кiевской губернiи [Spisok dvoryan Kiyevskoi gubernii—List of Nobles of Kiev Province], Kiev 1903. — Списокъ дворянъ Волынской губернiи [Spisok dvoryan Volynskoi gubernii—List of Nobles of Volhynia Province], Zhitomir 1905. — Списокъ Черниговскихъ дворянъ 1783 года [Spisok Chernigovskikh dvoryan 1783 goda—List of Chernigov Nobles, 1783], Chernigov 1890.104 Unfortunately these lists are very terse: they do not give arms, they say nothing about the state of possessions, they include neither wives nor, in the overwhelming majority of cases, daughters.
In the Kingdom of Poland before 1830 the Senate passed only legitimations of hereditary titles and their confirmations. A number of the titles recognized at that time were acquired on extremely dubious legal grounds.105 Verifications of nobility began only with Nicholas I’s ukase of 1836. That was when the institution of the Heroldia [Herald] of the Kingdom of Poland was established, the task of which was to register local noble families and draw up their arms. In 1861 the Heroldia was dissolved and its powers transferred to the Council of State of the Kingdom of Poland. In 1870 matters concerning the identity of Polish nobility were transferred to the Department of the Herald of the Russian Senate. The whole archive of the Polish Heroldia were transferred there in 1893–1895. They were returned to Poland after 1921, only to burn in Warsaw in 1944, along with all the stores of the Archiwum Akt Dawnych on Jezuicka street.106
The officials of the Heroldia were not, of course, historical specialists, but bureaucrats of various kinds. Thus their unreasonable demands regarding form were often accompanied by boundless ignorance of facts and lack of even the most elementary critical faculty toward the evidence submitted. The applicant only rarely had all the papers necessary to prove that before the country’s fall his fathers, grandfathers, or greatgrandfathers had inherited whole villages or held offices open only to the nobility. In the majority of cases these proofs could be acquired only with the help of various kinds of lawyers and amateur researchers.107
There arose an entire profitable trade based on seeking out evidence of nobility and, when necessary, supplementing it with forgeries. Blank pages of castle and district or registry records provided fertile ground for counterfeit entries, of which the form, often naive and full of anachronisms, doesn’t deceive the modern researcher for a moment. The Poznań archivist Zdanowski, who lived in the middle of the 19th century, falsified several hundred such entries for the benefit of clients who came primarily from the Kingdom of Poland. The Poznań books of inskrypcje [inscriptions] are especially full of his forgeries. “Authentic copies” made after the forgeries covered up their technical shortcomings; and their contents, however ineptly done, did not strike the clerks of the Heroldia. Other methods often practiced by those seeking verification of their nobility was to seek out people who were not their ancestors but who had identical or very close-sounding surnames; to assume freely any arms whatever; and all the while to abuse in every way the authority of Niesiecki, whom the Heroldia regarded as a credible source.108 The identifications by the Heroldia contained so many forgeries and were so chaotic in regard to authenticity that using publications based on this kind of source demands special caution.109
Of an official nature is the Spis szlachty Królestwa Polskiego z dodaniem krótkiej informacji o dowodach szlachectwa [List of Nobles of the Kingdom of Poland, with Additional Brief Information on the Proofs of Nobility], Wars. 1851–1854. It provides a list of those whose nobility was verified (always with the fathers’ given names included).
A list of ennoblements granted in the Russian partition is given in V. Lukomskiy and S. Troinitskiy’s Списки лицамъ пожалованнымъ ... на дворянское доинство Всероссiйской Имперiи и Царства Польскаго [Spiski litsam pozhalovannym … na dvoryanskoe dostoinstvo Vserossiyskoi Imperii i Tsarstva Pol'skago—Lists of Personages Granted … the Rank of Noble of the All-Russian Empire and the Kingdom of Poland], S. Petersburg. 1911. — K. Marcinkowski, Rodziny zaszczycone szlachectwem w Królestwie Polskim 1815–1836 [Families Conferred with Nobility in the Kingdom of Poland, 1815– 1836], Wars. 1937.
In the Austrian partition all nobles wishing to verify their nobility or sit in the legislature were ordered in 1782 to submit to the government color illustrations of their appurtenant arms and a description, as well as proof of their right to use those arms. These proofs had to be: original documents, extracts from castle and district records, testimony of magnates appointed to examine proofs of nobility, or, if such were lacking, excerpts from Paprocki, Okolski, and Niesiecki,* considered authorities equal in weight to those sources. Then the National Department in Lwów took over these matters from the State Department, and that’s where the szlachta registers were kept and the certificates of nobility issued for those descending in the second degree, at most, from persons whose nobility was confirmed. In cases involving more distant relatives the permission of the Minister of Interior Affairs was necessary. An official list of those recognized as noble in Galicia is Poczet szlachty galicyjskiej i bukowińskiej [Rolls of Galician and Bukovinian Nobles], Lw. 1857. — A list of Austrian ennoblements is given in S. K. Kruczkowski’s Poczet Polaków wyniesonych do godności szlacheckiej przez monarchów austriackich w czasie od 1773 do 1918 [Rolls of Poles Conferred with Nobility by Austrian Monarchs, 1773–1918], Lw. 1935.
In the Prussian partition there was no provincial administrative authority concerned with confirming nobility. These affairs were centralized in Berlin, till 1848 in the ministry of the royal house, then jointly in the ministries of justice and internal affairs, from 1854 again in the ministry of the royal house, and finally from 1855 till 1918 in Berlin’s Royal Prussian Heroldsamt [Office of the Herald], specially created for this purpose, which became a department of the latter ministry....