Records of Genealogical Interest for Dobra Szlachecka

and how to use them

 

There are many records in existence which are relevant to the Dobra area. Some are fortunately fairly easy to obtain in North America. Others are more difficult. I will try to outline here what records are still in existence that I am aware of. If anyone out there has knowledge of other useful sources of information or can correct or add to anything in this document, please let us know!

 

As genealogical researchers, we are fortunate that several books of the Greek Catholic Records of Dobra have been microfilmed by the Church of Jesus Christ and Later day Saints (the Mormons). The town had it's own Greek Catholic parish which was within the Deanery of Dynow, in the Diocese of Przemysl. The town's Roman Catholic citizens were served by the parish in Mrzyglod, just a few kilometers south of Dobra. By far the majority of the people living in Dobra during this time period were members of the Greek Catholic church, although there were some people that only had their records in the Roman Catholic Church at Mrzyglod. In general however, the Greek Catholic records clearly record the events of the lives of the great majority of Dobra citizens. This microfilm can be ordered from any LDS research library for viewing on their premises. The LDS film number is 0766005. The Dobra records are on the second half of this film. The records available for the Greek Catholic parish of Dobra Szlachecka are as follows:

 

Births (Urodzin) Vol 527/1 1784 to 1824

Vol 527/2 1824 to 1842

Marriages (Malzenstw) Vol 527/3 1777 to 1862
Marriage index 1777-1862     (actual LDS record is linked to the page number)

Deaths (Zgonow) Vol 527/4 1784 to 1847
Death index 1784-1847

Vol 1 1847 to 1866
Death index 1847-1866

 

Note: in the LDS index , it says there are death records up to 1889. This is actually not the case. The records end at 1866 at the end of the tape.

 

Here is an additional online index which covers the period 1777 to 1866.
Geneteka.Genealodzy.pl

 

 

*** New digital records below have been found by Michael Demkowicz in March 2017 for the years 1875-1933. The rest of the below digital records cover all the above mentioned LDS records as well as a few additional years and marriage applications are included.

Birth, Death and Marriage 1875-78, 1881-86, 1889-1902, 1921-33 (616 Images)

Birth Records 1784 -1824 (143 Images)

Birth Records 1824 - 1842 (102 images)

Death Records 1784 - 1847 (96 Images)

Death Records 1847-1887 (100 Images)

Marriage Record 1777 -1862 (100 Images)

Marriage Applications 1902-09, 1912-16, 1919 (256 Images)

 

 

The format of these records is typical of most of the records kept in the province of Galicia while it was under Austro-Hungarian rule. There are several excellent books available for deciphering these records. One particularly good one is Gerald Ortel's "Polish Parish Records of the Roman Catholic Church".

The records are tabular in format, generally (but not always!) proceeding by date from older to newer. Unlike some other records, there are page numbers but not line numbers for each page. The language used is Latin, although occasionally you may see some Polish words in the later records. Whether the Polish is an act of political defiance or just indicative of changing times is hard to tell, but by and large, Latin is the rule. In general, all the records will have

 

Now, let's look at the details of how these records look. First, births:

 

 

Birth Records (Urodzin)

 

The birth records are generally drawn out in tabular format as follows:

 

The Latin headings indicate the following:

 

Mensis, literally means 'month', but the month and day are written in this column. The year is usually written in the top corner above "Mensis", but if the year changes midway down the page, the priest would usually write in the new year in bold letters and sometimes make a line to separate the years.

 

Some more notes on dates:

In general, the Latin words for the months are identifiable as similar to the English. However, in some cases, the priests used a numbering system for some of the months, so you may see the months 7bris , 8bris, 9bris and 10bris instead of September, October, November and December.

 

Nr Domus indicates the house number. In the very oldest records, this was rarely filled in. My assumption is that house numbering was something the Austrians initiated and in the early records there was still some confusion and/or stubbornness about using this number. As the records move into the early 1800's the house number is almost always available and is an invaluable tool for us in tracking families.

Nomen is the proper name of the child. Only rarely is the surname written in this column. Note that the proper name is always latinized, so you have to translate the names to come up with the person's real name. In some cases, the latinized name is the same as the actual name, i.e. Maria, Leon, Anna, Pelagia etc. but in other cases, the latinized name bears less resemblance to the actual name i.e. Catharina = Katarzyna , Paulus=Pawel, Andreas=Andrzej, Joannes=Jan. There are also some names that the priests latinized inconsistently in some cases, having no sure guidelines for Ukrainian names. I have seen Stanislaw latinized as both Ostasius and Stanislaus. Just to add to the confusion, you may want to keep in mind that both Ukrainian surnames and proper names will differ from their Polish equivalents. For example, Stalony would actually be spelled Stalenyj, and Basil would be Wasilij. There are some names that were quite popular in the Lemko area which are not common outside of that area. One such name you may encounter is Paraskeva a popular female saint. Another is Pelagia, as mentioned above.

 

A note on surnames:

Keep in mind that even though the proper names are latinized, the surnames are written with the appropriate Polish endings. Females will normally have "owa" or "owna" or just "a" added to the end of the name. i.e. Demkowiczowna, Stalonowa, Czajkowska.

 

Next, the persons religion (Religio) is noted as either Catholica (meaning Greek Catholic) , or Æcatholica (meaning not Catholic). The column that applies is marked usually with a "1" figure. I can't recall having seen any entries in the records that were not checked as Catholic, so unless you run into one of these, this column does not provide much useful information.

The next 2 columns indicate the sex (Sexus) of the child. Puer indicates a boy, Puella indicates a girl. The appropriate column is ticked with a "1" figure.

Next the condition or Thori of the child is ticked off as either Illegitimi (illegitimate) or Legitimi (legitimate). Note that at certain points in the records, these headings get switched (i.e. Legitimi comes first) so check the heading carefully before making any hasty decisions about the status of your ancestor.

The Parents (Parentes) are listed next, with the father in the first column and the mother in the next column. In general you will find that the older the record, the less information is provided about either parent. You will also find that in general, there will be more information about the mother than the father. That is, the mother's father and mother are more often listed than that of the father.

 

notes on some common abbreviations:

In the case of the local nobility, you will often see the letters Gsus before a male's name and Gsa before a female's name. This is short for Generosus or Generosa, a term applied to persons of higher social standing in the community, members of the nobility. You may also occasionally see Mfco or some variation on that as a title. This is short for Magnifico or Magnifica (female) which is also a title of nobility of somewhat higher status that Generosus.

Since the majority of the nobility of Dobra (but not all) belong to clan Dobrzanski, this name is sometimes abbreviated. So Basil Demkowicz-Dobrzanski might show up as Basil Demkowicz Dobr.

The Latin words 'nata per' indicate child of, and are used to indicate the parent's names. You may also see the word 'filia' used to indicate the same thing. In the older records especially, the scribes had no qualms about splitting the words midway and continuing them on the next line, so it would not be unusual to see an entry like this:

Marianna na

ta per Alexandro

Demko

wicz

which is to say: Marianna , who is the daughter of Aleksandr Demkowicz-Dobrzanski. In some records, the equal sign (=) is used to indicate that a line is continued from above.

 

Finally, on the birth record come the godparents or Patrini. These are listed by name and social position. Generally a child will have 2 or 3 godparents. In some cases people seem to have gone overboard and filled up a whole page with notable citizens though. The social position or "conditio" of the godparent is usually either Nobilis for nobility and Rusticus or Agricola for peasants or farmers. Some other entries can be seen occasionally and provide interesting information about the people and presumably the parents of the child as well, by association.

 

Extra information.

On many records, especially those from about 1810 onward, you may find extra inscriptions and information written along with the basic facts. There are so many variations here that I can't cover them all. Your best first step is to get a small Latin-English dictionary and try to figure out the inscriptions yourself. Some common things you will see are:

  • The birth town of the father or mother may be indicated if it is not Dobra. i.e. Maria, filia Alesandro Badzal ex Grabowka, indicating Maria, the daughter of Alexandr Badzal formerly from the nearby town of Grabowka.
  • The occupation of the parent may be indicated if it is notable. This children of the priest (Greek Catholic priests could marry) might have filia Basil Demkowicz Parochus Dobra , added to the record.
  • In later records, the Obstetrix or midwife may also be named on the record.
  • Generally, at the bottom of each page of the records (this applies to all 3 types of records) the priest will sign his name.
  • Extracts: Often, when an extract of a record was taken, the priest would make a notation in the records as to when the extract was taken, and sometimes the reason.
  • Deaths: Occasionally a person's death is also noted on the birth record with a Cross figure ? and a date.
  • Inserts: In a few cases, there are actual inserts, or extra pieces of paper that have been inserted into the records. In these cases, the page will be microfilmed twice, once with the insert and once without it so you can see what is behind. There are only 4 or 5 of these in the records that I have seen. The ones that I am familiar with relate to legal proceedings that have changed the status of a child.

 

 

Marriage Records (Malzenstw)

The layout of the marriage records is similar to that of the birth records as you can see in the diagram.

 

 

The Latin headings indicate the following:

 

The date of the marriage is indicated under the Mensis column.

The house number of the groom is indicated in the Nrus Domus column. In later records, the house number of the groom and bride are both indicated , separated by a slash. ie. 55 / 122 indicates that the groom's house is 55 and the brides house is 122.

The next columns are repeated twice, once for the groom (Sponsus) and once for the bride (Sponsa).

The Nomen or name of the party is indicated. In later records the persons parents and often their grandparents are usually listed. In the very early records this is not always the case.

Religion (Religio) is broken down into Catholic or 'Aut alia' which indicates anything else besides Catholic. This column is repeated for the bride.

The age or "Ætas" of the person is indicated in years, followed by their previous marital status which can be Cælebs or 'bachelor' for a man and 'maiden' for a girl. This would indicate that they had not been married before. The only alternatives were Viduus (widower) or Vidua (widow).

Finally, the witnesses or Testes are listed. As in the birth records, they are listed by name and status or 'Conditio'.

Again, the columns do change format somewhat occasionally, so look at the headings to be sure of the condition and religion of your ancestor.

 

 

Death Records (Zgonow)

Of all the 3 sets of records, the death records provide the least amount of information. In general they have a similar format to the other 2 types of records:

 

 

The Latin headings indicate the following:

 

Dies mortis, Mensis indicates the day of death. In the later records, 2 dates may be listed. The first being the date of death, the second being the date of burial.

Nrus Domus is the house number that the deceased normally lived at. Again, this is sometimes not filled in the very earliest records.

Nomen Mortui, is the name of the deceased. Sometimes some extra information is given to help us identify the person. The entry may indicate that a woman was the wife or widow of so and so, or it might list the parents of a young child. As with the other records, the later records provide more details than the early records.

The religion (Religio) of the deceased is broken down into the typical categories of Catholic or anything else, and the Sex (Sexus) is indicated as Mas (male) or Fśmina (female).

Dies Vitæ indicates the age of the deceased. For very young children, you may see the age in portions of a year (i.e. 1/3), months (3/12) or days (12 Diesus). Occasionally even an older person will have their age indicated down to the portion of a year (67 3/12), although usually after the age of 2 or 3 , the age is in years only.

Finally, Morbus et Qualitas Mortis indicates the cause of death. You will see most of the deaths are listed as Ordinaria (normal - unsuspicious) , but you will also see Epidemia (epidemic) , Cholera, Morbo Popular (another way of saying epidemic) and so on. In the case of numerous similar deaths, you may see the rather heartless "detto" or 'same as above' listed as the cause of death.

 

Some tips for searching the records:

 

  • Keep track of the house number! This can solve what I refer to as the 'Jan Krajnik' or 'Jan Demkowicz' problem that you will almost inevitably run into. In this village, as in many others I am sure, you will find a large number of people with exactly the same name and approximately the same age. You will also find people of different generations with the same name living at the same address. At any one time, there were certainly many people with the following names living at the same time in Dobra:

    any combination of Jan, Maria, Katarzyna and Niesiewicz, Demkowicz, Krajnik.

    The problem then becomes, how do I differentiate my particular Jan Demkowicz or Maria Niesiewicz from the five or ten other people with the same name? Frequently, the only way is by keeping track of house number. Families tended to stay in the same house for many generations.
  • Try to trace your ancestor's siblings. In a family with 6 children, you sometimes find that the grandparents or some other essential information may only be listed on one of the birth records. If that person is not your direct ancestor, you will never be able to go that one generation further unless you do a 'lateral' search of the siblings and find that other informative record.
  • In some cases, the birth records are not in strict date order. I have noted that at one point the priest Basil Demkowicz wrote in all the names and dates for his children, covering many years, all in a row. Later, I have seen some of my direct ancestors written in at the bottom of pages, almost as an afterthought. It could be that these were originally only recorded in the Roman Catholic records and then were later incorporated into the Greek Catholic records. I am not sure of the reasons, but the fact remains.
  • Get familiar with the common family names of the village. This can help you when (not if) you run into entries that are nearly illegible or poorly copied. Here is a short (by no means complete) list of family names you are likely to see: This list covers most (not all!) of the family names commonly used in Dobra in the 1800's.

Family Name Notes

Bialas Sometimes Bialas-Dobrzanski

Burdiak

Czajkowski The Dobra Czajkowski's are part of the Berynda clan, not the Dobrzanski.

Czestopian Sometimes Czestopian-Dobrzanski

Czomko

Demkowicz Often Demkowicz-Dobrzanski. One of the most common names for nobility.

Dobrzanski (Note, watch out for this one. Sometimes in the earlier records the Dobrzanski surname was used instead of the full name, ie. Basil Dobrzanski, instead of Basil Demkowicz-Dobrzanski. The unhyphenated Dobrzanski is a valid surname in some cases though.)

Doroczki

Dziurdzewicz Sometimes Dziurdzewicz-Dobrzanski

Feczak

Gackiewicz Sometimes Gackiewicz-Dobrzanski

Gbur

Gizycki

Hinko Also spelled Hynko

Hnal

Hnatusko Sometimes Hnatusko-Dobrzanski

Hryckiewicz

Hubal

Kowalczyk

Krajnik Also spelled Kraynik

Krol

Lewicky

Niesiewicz Sometimes Niesiewicz-Dobrzanski. One of the most common names for nobility.

Osolynski

Popiel

Stalony Sometimes Stalony-Hryckiewicz , or even Stalony-Hryckiewicz-Dobrzanski

Uhryn

 

 

Other Records for Dobra

 

Other records also exist for Dobra, but they are not as easily obtainable. Basically you have 3 choices:

 

1. You can go to Poland yourself and with the proper authorization and preparation you can be allowed to look up records yourself

2. You can mail your requests to the archives and parishes and hope that they will respond. If you do this, you should write your letters in Polish and be prepared to pay something for the services rendered.

3. You can hire a professional genealogist in Poland to go and do the research for you. To do this you will need to provide them with a statement authorized by the local Polish consulate so they can research your records.

 

Of these three, I have tried 2 and 3. Of those, I have had absolutely no success writing to the parish myself, and considerable success in hiring a professional. If anyone is interested, I can recommend a small genealogical research company in Poland that I have had good luck with.

 

The records available only in Poland are as follows:

 

Mrzyglod Roman Catholic Church

1806 - 1835 all records

1835 - 1858 all records

note: up to 1858, all neighboring villages (like Dobra) were recorded in the same Volume as Mrzyglod, after 1858 they were in a separate volume (Volume IV).

1858 - 1889 all records

1858 - 1904 marriages

 

Sanok Registrar's Office

Roman Catholic church in Mrzyglod (which was the RC church that serviced Dobra)

1890 - 1945 all records

 

Greek Catholic Records of the Dobra Parish for the years:

1901 - 1927 births

1928 - 1945 births

1862 - 1945 marriages

1911 - 1945 deaths

 

State Archive's in Przemysl

Greek Catholic Records of the Dobra Parish for the years:

1875 - 1878 all records. Note that some books are missing, between 1878 and 1881.

1881 - 1886 all records

1889 - 1933 all records. Note that records after 1919 are in Ukrainian.

 

 

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