Magdalena Gębczyńska’s Story

Have you ever discovered an ancestor whose story seem especially compelling to you? For me, it’s my great-great-great-great-grandmother, Magdalena Gębczyńska. To describe the relationship another way, Magdalena was the great-great-grandmother of my maternal grandfather, John Zielinski. She was baptized in the village of Kołaczyce on 16 May 1800, probably within a few days of her birth, in keeping with Catholic customs of the time (Figure 1).1

Figure 1: Baptismal record from St. Anne’s parish in Kołaczyce for Magdalena Gębczyńska. Translation: 16 May 1800, house number 33, Magdal., daughter of father Michał Gębczyński, Catholic, female, legitimate. Father: Michał Gębczyński, Mother: Marianna née Niegos. Godparents: Sebastian Sliz, Konstancja Trzybowiczowa (?), townspeople. s

Although evidence suggests that Magdalena’s family were ethnic Poles, and the village of Kołaczyce lies within the Podkarpackie province of Poland today, an independent Poland did not exist at the time of her birth. The vast Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth which existed for centuries was erased from the map in a series of three partitions in 1772, 1793 and 1795. Land that belonged to Poland historically was divided up among Austria, Russia and Prussia until Poland was no more. The village of Kołaczyce was absorbed into the Austrian crownlands after the first partition, which took place when Magdalena’s parents were still children. Five years after the final partition, Magdalena Gębczyńska was born. She was the sixth child and only daughter of Michał Gębczyński and Marianna Niegos or Niegosz.2 At the age of 15, she was married for the first time to Józef Sopalski, who worked as a potter, and together they had two daughters, Katarzyna Barbara and Teodosia Petronella.3 When Magdalena was 3 months pregnant with Teodosia, her husband died on 22 November 1818 of “haectica” (Figure 2).4

Figure 2: Death record from St. Anne’s parish in Kołaczyce for Josephus Sopalski. Translation: 22 November 1818, house number 23, Józef Sopalski, potter, Catholic, male, age 24. Cause of death: “haectica.” The word under “haectica” is “provisus,” which literally means “provided for.” The implication is that Józef  received the the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, or Last Rites, prior to his death.

Józef Sopalski death 1818 marked

“Haectica” is the Latin word for “hectic fever,” an archaic medical term for a fever that goes up at night and down during the day, which could result from causes as various as tuberculosis or septicemia. On 10 February 1819, Magdalena married Dominik Bulgewicz, three months before the birth of Teodosia on 26 May 1819.Magdalena and Dominik had five children together: Melchior Gaspar (born 1 January 1821), Magdalena (born 14 May 1823), Anna Marianna (born 30 May 1825), Marcianna Agnieszka (born 28 December 1826), and Zofia (born 8 April 1829).Three of these babies, Magdalena, Marcianna and Zofia, died before the age of five, and then Magdalena was widowed a second time, when Dominik died between 1829 and 1834.At the age of 34, and as a mother of four living children, ages 17, 14, 13 and 9, Magdalena was married a third time (Figure 3).8

Figure 3: Marriage record from St. Anne’s parish in Kołaczyce for Magdalena Bulgewicz and Franciszek Łącki. Translation: 3 August 1834, from house numbers 33 (Magdalena) and 84 (Franciszek). Groom: Franciszek Łącki, potter, Catholic, age 46, widower. Bride: Magdalena Bulgewiczowa, widow after the death of Dominik, Catholic, age 35. (The “-owa” suffix on Magdalena’s surname is a Polish grammatical ending which indicates a married woman for that particular family.) Witnesses: Konstanty Niedzielski and Piotr Lechowski, townsmen.8Franciscus Lacki marriage2 marked

Her husband was Franciszek Łącki, a 46-year-old widower and father of five children with his first wife, Tekla Stadnik or Stachnik.9 Like Magdalena and most of our ancestors in that time period, Franciszek was no stranger to deep personal loss, since only two of his children were living at the time of his marriage to Magdalena.10 With Franciszek, Magdalena had five more children: twins, Jakub and Anna (born 24 July 1835), Józef (born 7 February 1838), Katarzyna (born 16 April 1841), and Wojciech (born 22 April 1843).11 Anna and Jakub survived to adulthood and married siblings, Franciszek Ptaszkiewicz and Anna Ptaszkiewicz.12 However, the twins were Magdalena’s only children from this marriage who survived to adulthood. Her youngest three children with Franciszek Łącki all died in infancy.13 On 12 December 1847, Magdalena was widowed a third time when Franciszek died of “ordinary causes” at the age of 66 (Figure 4).14

Figure 4: Death record from St. Anne’s parish in Kołaczyce for Franciszek Łącki. Translation: “#152. Date of death: 12 December 1847. Date of burial: 14 December 1847. House number: 191. Deceased: Franciszek Łącki, townsman, father of a family, “Aspersit idem.” This phrase is literally, “sprinkled by the same,” and simply means that the priest who presided over Franciszek’s funeral was the same priest mentioned in the other records on the page. (During a Roman Catholic funeral, the casket is sprinkled with holy water as a remembrance of the baptism of the deceased.) The slashes in the columns following the information on the deceased indicate the Franciszek was a Catholic male, age 66 when he died, and his cause of death was noted to be “ordinary.” The notation below that, “prov. SS.” indicates that Franciszek received the Sacraments prior to his death.Franciszek Lacki death 1847 image 1 marked

Magdalena Łącka herself passed away a year later, on 17 January 1848, a few months shy of her 48th birthday (Figure 5).15 

Figure 5: Death record from St. Anne’s parish in Kołaczyce for Magdalena Łącka. Translation: “#11. Date of death: 17 January 1848. Date of burial:  19 January 1848. House number: 191. Deceased: Magdalenna [sic], widow of the late Franciszek Łącki, sprinkled (another reference to the Catholic burial rite) by Marcelli Zabicki. Catholic, female, age 50. Cause of death: febris nervosa. Magdalena received the Sacraments prior to her death.15Magdalena Gebczynska death 1848 image 1 marked

Her cause of death was noted to be “februs nervosa,” or “nervous fever,” which may have been typhus. Poor Magdalena died so young, and yet she outlived three husbands, bore 12 children, and outlived half of them. She is almost certainly buried in the parish cemetery in Kołaczyce, along with all of her husbands and all (?) her children, except for her son, Jakub Łącki– my great-great-great-grandfather — who emigrated to the U.S. in 1884.16 May she rest in peace.

Sources:

Roman Catholic Church, St. Anne’s parish (Kołaczyce, Jasło, Podkarpackie, Poland), “Urodzenia, 1784-2015,” 1800, baptismal record for Magdal Gębczyńska, 16 May 1800.

2 Ibid., 1786, baptismal record for Josephus Gębczyński, 7 March 1786; and

Ibid., 1789, baptismal record for Josephus Gębczyński, 15 March 1789; and

Ibid., 1791, baptismal record for Augustinus Joannes Gębczyński, 26 August 1791; and

Lucjan Gabriel Cichocki, “Kołaczyce Births,” baptismal record for Benedictus Gębczyński, baptized 16 March 1794, transcribed from the parish records of St. Anne’s Roman Catholic Church, Kołaczyce, Jasło, Podkarpackie, Poland, report to Julie Szczepankiewicz, Hopkinton, Massachusetts, 6 May 2015; Excel spreadsheet held by Julie Szczepankiewicz, Hopkinton, Massachusetts; and

Roman Catholic Church, St. Anne’s parish (Kołaczyce, Jasło, Podkarpackie, Poland), “Urodzenia, 1784-2015,” 1797, baptismal record for Andreas Gębczyński, 26 November 1797; and

Ibid., 1803, baptismal record for Joannes Paulus Gębczyński, 20 June 1803.

Roman Catholic Church, St. Anne’s parish (Kołaczyce, Jasło, Podkarpackie, Poland), “Śluby, 1784-2015,” 1815, marriage record for Josephus Sopalski and Magdalena Gębczeńszczonka, 14 November 1815; and

Roman Catholic Church, St. Anne’s parish (Kołaczyce, Jasło, Podkarpackie, Poland), “Urodzenia, 1784-2015,” 1816, baptismal record for Catharina Barbara Sopalska, born 21 November 1816; and

Ibid., 1819, baptismal record for Theodosia Petronella Sopalska, born 26 May 1819.

Roman Catholic Church, St. Anne’s parish (Kołaczyce, Jasło, Małopolskie, Poland), “Księga zgonów, 1784 – 2015,” 1818, death record for Josephus Sopalski, 22 November 1818.

Roman Catholic Church, St. Anne’s parish (Kołaczyce, Jasło, Podkarpackie, Poland), “Sluby, 1784-2015,” 1819, marriage record for Dominicus Bulgewicz and Magdalena Sopalska, 10 February 1819.

Roman Catholic Church, St. Anne’s parish (Kołaczyce, Jasło, Podkarpackie, Poland), “Urodzenia, 1784-2015,” 1821, baptismal record for Melchior Gasparus Bulgewicz, 1 January 1821; and

Ibid., 1823, baptismal record for Magdalena Bulgewicz, born 14 May 1823; and

Ibid,. 1825, baptismal record for Anna Marianna Bulgewicz. born 30 May 1825; and

Maciej Orzechowski, “Kolaczyce Births,” baptismal record for Marcianna Agnes Bulgewicz, born 28 December 1826, transcribed from the collection, “Roman Catholic Church records, St. Anna’s Parish (Kołaczyce, Jasło, Małopolskie, Poland), “Urodzenia, 1826-1889″, Stary Kopie,” report to Julie Szczepankiewicz, Hopkinton, Massachusetts, on 9 January 2015; Excel spreadsheet held by Julie Szczepankiewicz, Hopkinton, Massachusetts; and

Ibid., baptismal record for Sophia Bulgewicz, born 8 April 1829.

7 Roman Catholic Church, St. Anna’s parish (Kołaczyce, Jasło, Podkarpackie, Poland), “Zgony, 1826-1889,” Stary Kopie, 1828, death record for Magdalena Bulgewicz, 26 June 1828; and

Ibid., death record for Marcianna Bulgewicz, died 17 July 1828; and

Ibid., death record for Sophia Bulgewicz, 29 September 1829.

Roman Catholic Church, St. Anna’s Parish (Kołaczyce, Jasło, Podkarpackie, Poland), “Śluby, 1826-1889,” Stare Kopie, 1834, marriage record for Franciscus Łącki and Magdalena Bulgewiczowa, 3 August 1834.

Roman Catholic Church, St. Anne’s parish (Kołaczyce, Jasło, Podkarpackie, Poland), “Urodzenia, 1784-2015,” 1818, baptismal record for Simon Łącki, born 26 October 1818; and

Ibid., 1821, baptismal record for Marianna Łącki, born 1 February 1821; and

Ibid., 1823, baptismal record for Clara Marianna Łącka, born 9 August 1823; and

Maciej Orzechowski, “Kolaczyce Births,” baptismal record for Valentinus Casimirus Łącki, born 8 February 1826, transcribed from the collection, “Roman Catholic Church records, St. Anna’s Parish (Kołaczyce, Jasło, Małopolskie, Poland), “Urodzenia, 1826-1889″, Stary Kopie,” report to Julie Szczepankiewicz, Hopkinton, Massachusetts on 9 January 2015, Excel spreadsheet held by Julie Szczepankiewicz, Hopkinton, Massachusetts; and

Ibid., baptismal record for Stanislaus Łącki, born 22 March 1829.

10 Roman Catholic Church, St. Anne’s parish (Kołaczyce, Jasło, Małopolskie, Poland), “Księga zgonów, 1784 – 2015,” 1820, death record for Simon Łącki, 6 January 1820; and

Ibid., 1826, death record for Valentinus Łącki, 23 June 1826; and

Ibid., 1829, death record for Stanislaus Łącki 24 June 1829.

11 Roman Catholic Church, St. Anna’s Parish (Kołaczyce, Jasło, Podkarpackie, Poland), “Urodzenia, 1826-1889,” Stare Kopie, 1835, baptismal record for Jacobus Łącki and Anna Łącka, born 24 July 1835; and

Maciej Orzechowski, “Kolaczyce Births,” baptismal record for Josephus Łącki, born 7 February 1838, transcribed from the collection, “Roman Catholic Church records, St. Anna’s Parish (Kołaczyce, Jasło, Małopolskie, Poland), “Urodzenia, 1826-1889,” Stary Kopie,” report to Julie Szczepankiewicz, Hopkinton, Massachusetts on 9 January 2015, Excel spreadsheet held by Julie Szczepankiewicz, Hopkinton, Massachusetts; and

Ibid., baptismal record for Catharina Łącka, born 16 April 1841; and

Ibid., baptismal record for Adalbertus Łącki, born 22 April 1843.

12 Roman Catholic Church, St. Anna’s Parish (Kołaczyce, Jasło, Podkarpackie, Poland), “Śluby, 1826-1889,” Stare Kopie, 1861, #11, marriage record for Jacobus Łącki and Anna Ptaszkiewicz, 26 November 1861; and

Maciej Orzechowski, “Kołaczyce Marriages,” marriage record for Franciscus Ptaszkiewicz and Anna Łącka, married 15 November 1852,  transcribed from the collection, “Roman Catholic Church records, St. Anna’s Parish (Kołaczyce, Jasło, Małopolskie, Poland), Śluby, 1826-1889,” Stare Kopie, report to Julie Szczepankiewicz, Hopkinton, Massachusetts on 9 January 2015, Excel spreadsheet held by Julie Szczepankiewicz, Hopkinton, Massachusetts.

13 Roman Catholic Church, St. Anna’s parish (Kołaczyce, Jasło, Podkarpackie, Poland), “Zgony, 1826-1889,” Stary Kopie, 1839, death record for Josephus Łącki, died 2 October 1839; and

Ibid., 1842, #20, death record for Catharina Łącka, died 9 March 1842; and

Ibid., 1843, #28, death record for Adalbertus Łącki, died 1 June 1843.

14 Ibid., 1847, #152, death record for Franciscus Łącki, died 12 December 1847.

15 Ibid., 1848, #11, death record for Magdalena Łącka, died 17 January 1848.

16 New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957, record for Jacob Lacki, arrived aboard S.S. Moravia on 6 May 1884, microfilm serial: M237, 1820-1897; microfilm roll: roll 475; line: 46; list number: 506, accessed via https://ancestry.com (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010), 27 May 2018.

© Julie Roberts Szczepankiewicz 2018

8 thoughts on “Magdalena Gębczyńska’s Story

  1. Your posts are not only interesting, but very informative.

    I have information on sources, but haven’t done any actual citing yet. So I was interested in your source notes. I understand your note about “Excel spreadsheet held by …” but what about “report to Julie …” Does that mean a researcher found that information for you?

    Thank you Julie for sharing your expertise and experiences!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Gerri! Yes, all of my information from Kołaczyce was obtained through researchers (Maciej Orzechowski and Lucjan Cichocki) who visited the Archdiocesan Archive in Przemyśl or the parish itself, since some records can only be found in one repository or the other, but not in both. In the case of records obtained from the Archdiocesan Archive, they have a policy that researchers may only provide images of documents pertaining to a client’s direct ancestors. In cases where a client requests information on his ancestor’s siblings, the information is to be provided in transcript form. So Maciej provided me with a spreadsheet in which he transcribed the records. However, since I don’t have images of the actual records in those cases, I cannot cite the records themselves as my source, I can only cite the spreadsheet provided to me by Maciej. As a side note, the parish itself has no such restriction, so my hope is to have research done at the parish itself to obtain images of the records that I currently have only in transcript form. I hope that helps!

      Like

  2. I enjoyed reading about Magdalena Gębczyńska’s life and loved the flow of her story, the extra explanations beyond the facts. As mentioned in another comment, I learn from the way the sources are cited. And again, I am struck by the many significant personal losses our ancestors experienced. Thank you,

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you, Vicki. Source citations can be tricky for all of us, and I’m by no means an authority. There are more complete ways to cite things than what I’ve done here, and if you’re interested in doing it right, the ultimate authority is Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills. You can look for it on Amazon.

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  4. Julie keep up the excellent work..Your guidance on sourcing is instructive for those Polish genealogists unfamiliar with historiography, Because if our common geographical closeness Bedziedza X Kolaczyce your footnote answer was most helpful..Przemyel, Stan Liszka

    Liked by 1 person

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