Niewodowski Families of Modzele and Suchekomnaty coat of arms

Version 6.0


" Niewodowski families of Modzele and Suchekomnaty clans" is the second part of the study devoted to providing genealogy of Gulinski, Niewodowski and Gorecki families, as well as the presentation of the Janina clan.

Niewodowski Families of Modzele and Suchekomnaty coat of arms

According to Smolenski (2) planned colonization of Mazovia by the princes of Mazovia began in the thirteenth century, when vast areas of wilderness located in the area of ziemia lomzynska, ziemia rozanska and ziemin Nurska began being divided into plots 10 to 40 lans and sold or granted to knighthood as a reward for bravery. At the end of the fourteenth century (1) Prince Janusz continued the colonization of this region. Part of his plan in 1402, was the redemption of Ziemia Wiska and part of Ziemia Lomzynska from the Teutonic Knights. In the same year, in Novgorod, Prince Janusz Elder gave 40 lans (A) around forest Sokolalaka to Nicolas. In the same year, his brother or son Scibor received another 10 lans of forest (2). The following year, Nicholas received yet another 20 lans of forest near Sokolalaka. After the area was cleared, Nicolas and Scibor founded a village called Modzele. Documents from this period also introduce a man named Szymon Modzel, who was either brother or a son of Nicholas or Scibor. The above mentioned ancestors of Modzelewski and Niewodowski families with the help of contract laborers cleared the forest for agriculture and built the village of Modzele. These knights were members of the Modzele clan.

It is said that Szymon of Modzele is a direct ancestor of the Niewodowski family (3). In 1417, together with his nephew, Sunislaw of Zakliczewo (4) in 1417, received from Masovian Prince Janusz 60 wlok (B) of land within the Ziemia Wiska and located near town of Lomza (6), (7). The land was either a donation - further part of the settlement area of Lomza, or Szymon and Sunislaw received the land as a reward for their services during Battle of Tannenberg. (Because of concerns that give, in 1420, the privilege was confirmed in relation to Sunislaw and sons Szymon, Adam, Nicholas, and John by Ziemowit IV, Duke of Masovia.) After clearing land, Szymon and Sunislaw established villages Drozdowo and Niewodowo. Sunislaw founded a parish church in Drozdowo. This church was finally built in 1436 by Bishop Stanislaw (1), and survived until 1737. The descendants of Sunislaw and Szymon who were born in the village of Drozdowo began to call themselves Drozdowski while they continued their membership in the Modzele clan. On the other hand, the descendants of Szymon and Sunislaw from village of Niewodowo began to call themselves Niewodowski. For some unknown reasons they changed clan membership to Suchekomnaty (6), (8), (9). Author Starykon also mentioned Niewodowski family from Pilawa clan, and Uruski (6) mentioned a Niewodowski family from the Lubicz clan, but unfortunately, the two did not provide sources.

The conclusion is that follows that Modzelewski, Zakliczewski, Niewodowski and Drozdowski family members have common roots at birth.

Historical division of 13 th to 18th century Mazovia is shown below

According to Smolenski, due to over population of noble families, their land properties underwent fragmentation. Niewodowski family was no exception. In the sixteenth century, Niewodowo was inhabited only poorer nobility (2).

In 1427, Lomza City Records mention a Jan Niewodowski of the Suchekomnaty clan, who was very likely a son of Sunislaw (10). Jan and Piotr took part in the Wallachian Expedition 1497 (11). One of the rare Masovian documents of nobility confirmation is a document from 1510 released in Lomza, in which representatives of four clans testify to Bernard Niewodowski's clan membership. Bernard's father was Andrzej, who like his father, was a a member of the Suchekomnaty clan, while Andrzej's mother came from Jasyona clan, while the mother of Bernard, after his father from Modzele clan, and after his mother from Prussia clan (12), (13). In the same year, Malgorzata, widow of Andrzej married Stanislaw Kozak, prosecutor of Siemien (13). Dorota Niewodowska in 1590 was the wife of Jakub Budziszowski.

The appearance of the knights from the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth centuries is shown in illustrations A and B.
The typical costumes from the sixteenth century nobility are shown in illustrations C and D.

The following illustrations show the appearance of typical noble residences : E , F , G and H.

As representatives of Ziemia Wiska, Jakub and Stanislaw Niewodowski signed the election of King Michal Wisniowiecki in 1669. Agnieszka Niewodowska and Jan Jeziorkowski, the Rozank ensign(14), are mentioned in 1700. Also as representative of Ziemia Wiska, Tomasz Niewodowski signed the election of King August II (6) in 1697.

English speakers may be confused by the term "kings election" as in the western world, usually the king's title passes through the ruling dynasty. This was also the case in Poland during the Piast and Jagiellonian dynasties. While the dynasties started with an election, each subsequent king had to be an heir. During the Piast dynasty, the election was during a gathering called wiec, and during the Jagiellonian dynasty, it occurred during parliament (sejm) session. In contrary, other dynasties began as a result of war or unrest, when a new, strong leader emerged who established the new dynasty. In 1572, when the Jagiellonian dynasty ended, all of the subsequent kings were elected by sejm, in order to control the kings' powers. During this time, the nobles were much more powerful, as they chose a king who made many promises to them.

The above mentioned Tomasz Niewodowski married Agnieszka Jeziorkowska, the daughter of a Banner-bearer of Ziemia Rozanska. With her he had a son Antoni, who was a treasurer (15) in 1761 and in 1762, and a sword-bearer (16) of Ziemia Wiska. Antoni Niewodowski, another representative of Ziemia Wiska voted for King Stanislaw August in 1764. A few years later, in 1789, his son, Jozef, became the Commissioner of funds collection to rebuild the country (17), (18).

Tadeusz Niewodowski, the son of Jozef and Brygida Cywinska was born in 1782 in the village of Bokszyszcze, in the district of Augustow, and in 1799 he started military service in the Prussian army. In 1806 he left to resign with the rank of lieutenant. He joined the army of the Duchy of Warsaw, where he joined campaigns of 1806 and 1807 against Prussia (4). Author Kirkor (19) on the basis of French sources says that Tadeusz was born in Niewodowo, and in 1808, he joined the Vistula Legions which was fighting in Spain for Napoleon Bonaparte, as a lieutenant in the second regiment. In 1810 he joined grenadiers company, and a year later he was promoted to lieutenant. He joined also Russian and Saxon campaigns. In 1813 he was wounded during Battle of Leipzig, where he was captured by the Prussians. There, after Napoleon surrendered Tadeusz and the Polish Legion returned home. In 1813, he was promoted to captain, and in 1815 Tadeusz re-joined the army of Duchy of Warsaw, where he was placed in the 6th regiment of line infantry. In 1816, the service ended, but in 1821 he returned, this time to the 3rd regiment of mounted riflemen. There, in 1824, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel. During years 1825-1828 Tadeusz worked for the Delegation of the Sejm Court (20).

According to the oral transmission from Niewodowo documented in the fifties of the twentieths century by Stanislaw Niewodowski , the Niewodowski family took a part in the national uprisings against Russia, and were sent to Siberia, and then immigrated to Galicia (part of Austro-Hungary). We know that Niewodowo properties passed through many hands: Burski, Godlewski, Trzeszkowski, Chludniewicz and Lutoslawski families (21).

There is evidence that the Niewodowski family appeared in documents in Brzostek near Jaslo between the years 1780 - 1790. From those we learn that a part of Niewodowski family left Mazovia during the Confederation of Bar in 1768 and the war with Russia in 1772. It is also possible that Wojciech, Pawel, Anoni and Lukasz fought under the command of Casimir Pulaski, Marshall of the Confederation of Lomza, whose troops fought the Russians in Polish Galicia, in the vicinity of Jaslo. Probably all four of them married in Brzostek, which can be assumed from the absence of their wives' names in the records of the parish in Drozdowo. According to the certificates, in the late eighteenth century, five Niewodowski families lived in Brzostek: Wojciech and Regina nee Jodlowska, Pawel and Zofia nee Pietrusiowska, Antoni and Anna nee Janicka, Walenty and Zofia, and Lukasz and Helena nee Jastrzebska (22). In those years the Brzostek area and the entire region of Galicia was unstable economically, politically and socially. . It is important to note that in 1779, the land of the Polish/Lithuanian union was divided three ways: eastern side was taken by Russians, north and west by Prussians, and the south by the Austo-Hungarian empire. Due to annexing Galicia to Austro-Hungary, new government efforts to Germanize the society began and among the nobility and the middle class an aversion sentiment prevailed, and later caused uprisings. The years of 1787 and 1788 brought a famine which increased the conflict between the monks of Abbey in Tyniec, who managing the surrounding land, and the peasants and even the townsmen against the new duties of serfs. In the 1840s, in order to eliminate anti Austrian moods, the Austrian authorities recommended to peasants disarming insurgents, and this resulted in inroads, the theft and murders of local gentry by the peasants (23).

Niewodowski family members who lived in Brzostek are not listed as Galician nobles; undoubtedly they lost their its Masovian possessions and joined the townsmen class of Brzostek. In the late nineteenth century as a result of hunger and overpopulation, mass immigration from Galicia to the United States occurred. The family of Karol and Jan Niewodowski participated in that enterprise (25).

The Niewodowski family members who are related to the author of this work first appear in Brzostek in 1792. That year, the author's great, great grandfather's older brother, Michael was born. Their parents were already mentioned above, Lukasz and Helena Jastrzebska. Michael, who was born 3.IX.1796, married Katarzyna n�e Oszkanda. The fifth of their seven children was Wladyslaw Jozef, born 11.IX.1835, in Brzostek. Jozef, a postal clerk, who later married Katarzyna Bieniarz, had seven children. His son Jozef Wladyslaw was born 16.I.1870 in Rzeszow (26) and died in Niepolomice 23.II.1921. At the age of 24 he married 19 year old Katarzyna Sehn , the daughter of German settlers. Katarzyna's family was not in favor of this union and she waived her rights to her family property in order to be with Josef. Also Katarzyna publicly committed to the education of her children in the Polish spirit. Jozef, trained as a teacher, he worked on the railroad Cracow-Lviv as a senior controller. All their children were born in Cracow. Emilia, the youngest of six children was born 30.IX.1916, was a favorite of her father. After each business trip, Jozef brought small gifts for his children, which he hung on the buttons of his uniform. Probably the lowest hanging gift was intended for the youngest and smallest daughter.

Searching genealogical records is hampered by the fact the parish church and rectory in Drozdowo burned in 1737 while loosing over three hundred years of church records. (27). Lately a part of this documentation was found and filmed by the team of the Mormon Church, but unfortunately a lot of it are unreadible entries of civil records. Other church records from Wizna area from before 1808 are still considered missing.

Recently there have been discoveries of members of the Niewodowski family. They are: Konstanty Niewodowski - Furowicz born in 1898, a son of Antoni, a judge and lieutenant of reserve forces (28), killed by Soviets in Charkov, and the chief doctor, captain Witold Niewodowski member of a reserve infantry regiment (29) killed during WWII in early September 1939 in the fight against the Germans.

Based on the above data and due to a lack of documents that mention family land properties, the Niewodowski family can be classified as medium or poorer Masovian nobility. However, in the area of Lomza, until the seventeenth century they held considerable local posts. Probably most of them lost their land properties while those who immigrated to Galicia, joined the local townsmen. As mentioned above, these members were not listed by Galician nobility census (24).

Andrzej Gulinski

Definitions and notes

(A) Zygmunt Gloger, Encyklopedia Staropolska, t.3 s.157, 158. Lan kmieci was an area unit equal to 1/2 Frankonian lan, equal to 22 morgi, equal to roughly 13.2 ha.
(B) One wloka was the area that could be plough with a pair of bullocks during one day

Sources and literature

(1) Izabella Galicka Dzieje Mazowsza do 1526 roku, p.350 to 352
(2) Wladyslaw Smolenski, Szkice z dziejow szlachty mazowieckiej, p.19
(3) Filip Sulimierski, Bronislaw Chlebowski, Wladyslaw Walewski Slownik geograficzny kr�lestwa polskiego i innych kraj�w slowianskich, v.6 p. 575, Warsaw 1880-1902. Modzele - a village on Narew river coast, Makow county, Sielun parish
(4) Filip Sulimierski, Bronislaw Chlebowski, Wladyslaw Walewski Slownik geograficzny kr�lestwa polskiego i innych kraj�w slowianskich, v.14 p.296, Warsaw 1880-1902. Zakliczewo, a village on Orzyc river coast, Makow county, Makow parish
(5) Zygmunt Gloger, Encyklopedia Staropolska, v.4 p.456, Warsaw 1985. One wl�k was the area that could be plough with a pair of bullocks during one day
(6) Seweryn Uruski, Adam Kosinski, Rodzina, herbarz szlachty polskiej, v.9, Warsaw 1904 - 1917.
(7) Stefan Janusz Starykon-Kasprzycki, Polska encyklopedia szlachecka,v.9
(8) Ignacy Kapica Milewski, Herbarz - dopelnienie Niesieckiego v.? p.?
(9) Jerzy Sewer Dunin-Borkowski, Roczniki szlachty polskiej, Spis nazwisk szlachty polskiej, Genealogia zyjacych rod�w polskich
(10) Akta Lomzynskie - Lomza City Records
(11) Ignacy Tadeusz Baranowski, Spis rycerstwa powiatu wiskiego i wasoskiego, ktore uczestniczylo w wyprawie woloskiej 1497 r., Warsaw, p.50
(12) Zbigniew Leszczyc, Herby szlachty polskiej, p.305
(13)Mazowieckie zapiski herbowe p.877
(14) Zygmunt Gloger, Encyklopedia Staropolska, v.1 p.240, 241, Warsaw 1985. A high rank officer, and county official, who during wars or festivities carried a standard in the front of retinue.
(15) Zygmunt Gloger, Encyklopedia Staropolska, v.4 p.242, Warsaw 1985. A county clerk responsible for tax and other payment collection and preserve.
(16) Kazimierz Nitsch ... Slownik staropolski, v.4 p.202 and 203, PAN, Wroclaw - Warsaw - Cracow, 1956 - 1959 . An official who during celebrities carried a sword at the front of Wizna burgrave retinue
(17) Metryka Koronna,
(18) Verdicts of Piotrkow Tribunal
(19) Stanislaw Kirkor, Legia Nadwislanska 1080-1814, London 1981, p.453, 532, 548
(20) Odpisy aktow Delegacji Sadu Sejmowego (z katalogu rekopisow Biblioteki PAN w Krakowie, v.2, sygn 2228).
(21) Filip Sulimierski, Bronislaw Chlebowski, Wladyslawa Walewski Slownik geograficzny kr�lestwa polskiego i innych kraj�w slowianskich, v.2 p. 162, Warsaw 1880-1902.
(22) From birth, marriage and death records in Brzostek catholic parish
(23) Ks. Bogdan Stanaszek, Brzostek i okolice, Brzostek and sourrourdings, p.30,31, Towarzystwo Milosnikow Ziemii Brzosteckiej, Brzostek, 1997
(24) M. Dzikowski Poczet szlachty galicyjskiej i bukowinskiej, Lviv, 1857
(25) According to family data from U.S.A.
(26) From birth records of catholic parish in Rzeszow
(27) Antoni Skiwski, Piecsetlecie parafii Drozdowo, p. 17, Lomza, 1935
(28) Maria Skrzynska-Plawinska, Rozstrzelani w Charkowie, v.2 p.138, Osrodek Karta, 1966
(29) Stanislaw Truszkowski, Przeciw nawale, pamietnik dowodcy 201 pulku piechoty, WTK Warszawa-Wroclaw, Tygodnik katolicki PAX, an article, Nr.18 (920) from 2.V.1971r.

Copyright � 2003 - 2013 by Andrzej Gulinski

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