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Witness to Four Regimes

Bartlomiej Jendrzejewski witnessed numerous changes in Poland. He was born in Nowa Wies, Lapocin Parish, south of Ciechanow, a city north west of Warsaw. Just before his teens, however, Poland was erased from the map with the “partitions”, splitting the country into three portions to be controlled by Russia, Prussia and Austria. This portion of Poland became part of East Prussia, before Napoleon arrived and created the Duchy of Warsaw, which lasted until Napoleons fall in 1815. Russia then took over, first with moderate Tzar Aleksander, then with the cruel Nicholas I. Each change brought with it unfathomable hardships, death and oppression.

Establishing Bartlomiej's Birth:

Ages for Bartlomiej stated in many records of his many children were wildly diverse providing a very wide span of possible birth dates, from 1775-1793, a span of 18 years. A birth record seems unavailable either at the LDS family History Center or the archives in Plock or Mlawa. However, eliminating several extreme differences in age puts the likely date between 1884 and 1886. The later date of the two seemed to coordinate with other events more reasonably. This would place Bartlomiej as the youngest of Michal’s four sons and marriageable (18) by about 1804. He lived in House #14, where most of his own children were born. One or two of his children were born in house #13. Bartlomiej’s death record clearly states that he was born to Michal and Ewa Jedrzejewski in Nowa Wies.


Prussians and French

The third partition of Poland put Nowa Wies under the rule of the Prussians just after the 1795 attempt by Koskiusko to regain Polish independence. He saw the Prussians weakened by Napoleon, so that the Russians in 1906 moved into this “Vistula Land”, as they called it, only to be pushed back by the French. In fact, Bartlomiej saw the French Divisions push the Russians through Lopacin Parish on Christmas Eve. He and his brothers might have had to house and feed the soldiers that night, while Napoleon, and his guard who was traveling by horseback with his guard, stayed in Lopacin. Maps show French encampments throughout the Nowas Wies area. Bartlomiej and his brothers might have joined the Polish Legions allowed by the Emperor the next year to push the Russians back and to finally form the Duchy of Warsaw. Bartlomiej and his brothers might have served the Polish Legions until Napoleon’s defeat in another fight with the Russians in 1912 or until Napoleon's deposition from the French throne in 1915. after which the Russians took over the territory until WWI.

With the end of the wars between France and Russia, Bartlomiej and other peasants might have viewed life after the duchy with some hope. They viewed Tsar Alexander and the Congress Kingdom he formed as bringing potential reforms that would lift many of the hardships endured by the peasants.

Marriage to Helen Osmanska

He might have then married Helen Osmanska in response to the end of the duchy, which tilted in favor of the nobility. She was the daughter of Magdalena Osmanska (d. 1818, village Kosmy Wielky, Sonsk Parish), sometime before 1815. It is not clear whether Bartlomiej had served any time in military service, nor is it clear when he married Helen.

Bartlomiej and Helen had children born in the following order:

  1. Anna Weronika (1815 - ?)
  2. Piotr Pawel (1818 - 1877) (in my direct line)
  3. Anastacya Theodora (1817 - ?)
  4. Maryanna (1819 - ?)
  5. Franciszek (1821 - ?)
  6. Rozalia (1825 - 1826)
  7. Jozef (1827 - ?)
  8. Jan (1829 - ?)
  9. Jakob (1831 - 1867?)
  10. Jozefa (1833 - ?).

Brothers and Sisters

Bartlomiej became the head of the household as his older brothers left number 14. His brother Michal died in 1914. Jozef moved his family to nearby Radziwiloborz about the time his wife, Maryanna died. Piotr left Nowa Wies for Gutkow with his growing family in 1821. Clearly the residence was too small for the children of their growing families or the land allotted to them by the squire did not sufficiently support the needs of three families with children. This was a widespread phenomenon in Poland caused by the splitting up of any inheritance estates among the children. This affected nobles and peasants alike. In this case the older brothers moved out to let Bartlomiej run the farm.

Tsar Nicholas I

After Tsar Alexander died, Bartlomiej and his family experienced a reign of Tsar Nicholas I, who took over the rule of Russia (including the Russian Partition of Poland). Bartlomiej faced taxes and perhaps harassment. We can sense changes by his rule just by seeing the change in record keeping from the Napoleonic records that provided so much information were discontinued and replaced with similar vital records though without specific information about the residence.

November Uprising

The changes under Nicholas I lead to the November Uprising, otherwise known as the Russo-Polish War of 1830-1831. Polish peasants paid dearly for the uprising with cruel reprisals from the Russians. For the Jendrzejewski family, though, 1933 was a tragic year. A cholera pandemic and starvation had taken many lives over the year. Bartlomiej's last child was born in March, but Bartlomiej died in April at only age 47, just before Anna Weronika married Antoni Kociecki in June.


Bartlomiej's son Michal (age 10) died in September. Bartlomiej's brother Jozef, who had been a hired-hand for about 14 years in Radziwiloborz, moved back to Nowa Wies. He might have returned to Nowa Wies for a number of reasons: his health might have been failing; he was too old to work as a hired hand; his second wife could not support him, if she was even alive (no mention of her was on the death certificate and no death certificate could be found for her). He simply might have returned to Nowa Wies to help Helen Osmanska after Bartlomiej died. In any case, by the middle of December of that year, he too had died at age 70. This left all the children to the oldest remaining children in the family, Anastacya (Anna Weronika had left) and Piotr Pawel. Helen (about age 40) stayed with her eldest son Piotr Pawel (age 15) until he married in 1837. Her death certificate stated that Helen died an “old lady” in 1856, or about 65; Only the Organist and another unfamiliar name was present for the funeral. Where were the surviving children?

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Andrew Jendrzejewski