The Magnificent Sixteen

This is an English abstract from my recent post about sixteen wonderful great great grandparents.

After reading blog posts by Donna Pointkousky and later by Randy Seaver, I have chosen to post a list of 16 of my great great grandparents, including their forenames, surnames, dates and places of birth and death and their nationality/ethnicity. What for? Having fun, maybe for web crawlers, but also to remark myself the people from a little bit deeper past, about whom most of us don’t think about each day. This will be a good occasion to think how much do I know about my ancestors now. Let’s try…

Paragraph in English only

In Polish, I used narrative version with photos. It’s too long for me to translate into English, so I write here just basic information from my genealogical program:
16. Ludwik R├│g (residence: Krz─ůtka)
17. Karolina Siekierska (res. Krz─ůtka)
18. Jan Wilk (res. D─Öba)
19. Agnieszka Wilk (res. D─Öba)
20. Jan Wilk (d. after WW2; res. D─Öba)
21. Maria Kope─ç (b. Oct. 17, 1854 Huta Komorowska ÔÇö d. bef. WW2; res. in D─Öba)
22. Jak├│b Pyryt (b. Jul. 27, 1858 D─Öba ÔÇö d. Jan. 7, 1936 D─Öba; res. D─Öba)
23. Jadwiga Kozd─Öba (d. bef. 1936; res. D─Öba)
24. Michał Kalinowski
25. Petronela Kokot
26. Piotr Baryła (d. aft. 1896; res. Strojec)
27. Franciszka Lipczak (res. Strojec)
28. Antoni Rodak (b. abt. 1864 Popowice ÔÇö d. Feb. 2, 1919; res. O┼╝ar├│w)
29. Barbara Cha┼éupczy┼äska (b. Nov. 24, 1870 Popowice ÔÇö d. Jan. 25, 1957 Wielu┼ä)
30. Ludwik Zap┼éotny (b. 1863 ÔÇö d. bef. 1913; res. Wielu┼ä)
31. Florentyna Marcinkowska (b. Oct. 22, 1866 Niedzielsko ÔÇö d. Jul. 2, 1941 Wielu┼ä)

As I am not descendant of any U.S. immigrants, all of my great great grandparents were born in Poland. However in the 19th century Poland was divided between and occupied by three neighbour countries: Russia on east (ancestors #24 ├Ě #31), Austria on south (ancestors #16 ├Ě #23) and Germany on west and north (none of my g.g.grandparents were born in that part of Poland). I consider all of them to be full Poles (not Austrians nor Russians), so my ethnicity is 100% Polish. They spoke Polish and they felt Poles, at least when we are talking about my great great grandparents (not the generations prior to them, which are partially uknown to me).

I know names of all of the people, for some of them with dates and places, occasionally with pictures, and for some fewer also with their parents or even siblings. But this is ÔÇťdeep pastÔÇŁ for me and my today cousins. Except┬á few of them, we didn’t hear from our parents anything about that g.g.grandparents, I only found their names in various documents.

Now back to my Polish post being translated into English:

Who are great great grandparents for us?

CBOS, an opinion polling institute, took a survey ÔÇťFamily history in our memoryÔÇŁ in 2000 (PDFÔÇôPL). It’s been much time since the survey, but I am sure that about 2/3 Poles still don’t know almost anything about their grandparents (pp. 12├Ě13). But Donna&Randy’s game wasn’t about great grandparents (parents of grandparents), but one generation up from them, I mean my great great grandparents (grandparents of grandparents). That is much much more than any justified expectations for typical person who does not interest in the history of his own family. Notwithstanding, genealogists usually are able to recite in the deep night their Ahnentafel (ancestors tree) with at least several generations. I would tell that there is something true in that statement… :-)

I was told by a friend some time ago a comment to the fact, that my cousin Stephanie from USA (visiting Poland at the time) has only got great great grandparents as nearest common ancestors of ours:

ÔÇťGreat great grandmother?! And who is she? What family is that?!! I even did not know mine. There is nothing I owe her. No, she is not any family for me!ÔÇŁ

Isn’t it exactly opposite? We do owe to our great great grandparents not only DNA and our looks, but also family name, nationality, believes, residence and history. The fact that there are three generations between us and them (parents, grands and great grands) makes statistically some 160 to 50 years of their lives before ours. As to Polish ancestors, during the time there was at least one national uprising against occupants in 19th century (1863), and then Poland again appeared on maps of Europe. During the time of their lives there were two world wars. At the beginning Europe was ruled by monarchies, in the middle by totalitarian regimes, and then finally by democratic rules. There is no Holly Alliance now, and League of Nations neither, but we have United Nations, European Union or North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Our great great grands and their descendants learned reading and writing, they started using conventional medicine, endeavored for better personal hygienie, made proper use of steam and electricity, eventually connected you and me using computers to the Internet.

One can say:

ÔÇťOK. I even could agree with you that many of these things happened straight to them, or rather just during their lives. But my own great great grandparents did not do that. They did not attain anything, there isn’t any achievement that they left for me or others. There was nothing valuable in their lives.ÔÇŁ.

Then there is only one thing which should be added: without our great great grandparents we would not be living now. As Donna wrote, ÔÇŁwhether we know their names or notÔÇŁ (in Polish I translated this as ÔÇťwhether we want them or notÔÇŁ) ÔÇö ÔÇťwe all have sixteen great-great grandparentsÔÇŁ (well, Donna, some of us don’t when cousins had children). These people formed feelings/consciousness of our great grandparents, which they created to life, the same as later our grandparents, parents and us and our siblings. It’s safe to say that our great greats’ biographies aren’t such thrilling that one could make a movie, publish a book, or write a post on web blog specially about them. But isn’t it true that they all deserve for our thankfullness, memory and respect? And that we should honour our Magnificent Sixteen of Great Great Grandparents only for the fact that they just lived?

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