The illegitimate children of Adalbert Bubniak and Tatianna Barszcz

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The illegitimate children of Adalbert Bubniak and Tatianna Barszcz

Adalbert (Wojciech) Bubniak [3896] (1793-1832) was born in Lipinki in 1793 and he moved to nearby Rozdziele before the birth of his first child in 1816. He had six children with Rozdziele native Tatianna Barszcz [517] (1795-1847) between 1816 and 1827. He died in Rozdziele in 1832 at the age of 39.

Lipinki's birth, death, and marriage records have not, to my knowledge, been digitized yet. However, I was able to obtain photographs of Adalbert's birth and death records from a genealogist based in Warsaw who traveled around southern Poland years ago taking photographs of the metrical books and indexing them.

Here is Adalbert's birth record. It is the last entry on the left-hand side of the page. It shows he was born in Lipinki House 11, legitimate, his father's name was Joannes Bubniak, and his mother, Catharina, was born to a man named Bubniak, too, so his parents were possibly cousins.

Here is Adalbert's death record. It is the 5th entry from the top. He died on May 20, 1832 and his occupation is given as hortulanus, or gardener. (Hortulanus could also refer to a peasant with a small farm. The term is never used in the Rozdziele record books, where the peasants are usually referred to as rusticus, agricola, or incola. In the old feudal order there is supposed to be a slight difference in social status between these terms, but they are applied inconsistently. In the Rozdziele records, Adalbert is called all three.) His age at death is given as 50, which is off by more than 10 years, but death records tend to be wildly inaccurate about a decedent's age.

Although this death record is from the Lipinki record book, it records the death as taking place in Rozd 35, or Rozdziele House 35. This is interesting, because all the Rozdziele records associated with Adalbert have him living in House 54. This could be a mistake, or it could indicate that Adalbert moved from House 54 before he died. House 35, it turns out, is also the place of death of Pelagia Barszcz (Telep) [546] (1796-1855), the widow of Pantaleon Barszcz [3936] (1783-1841), who was the brother of Adalbert's wife Tatianna.

The fact that Adalbert's death took place in Rozdziele but was recorded in Lipinki suggests he was still regarded as a legal inhabitant of Lipinki his whole life. This fact may have played a role in the illegitimacy of his children (see below). I have been unable to discover any marriage record for Adalbert and Tatianna, and while they evidently lived together as husband and wife for at least 11 years (probably longer), the Church did not regard their union as valid.

At the birth of each (illegitimate) child, Adalbert had to swear an oath that the child was his and have it witnessed by neighbors. Since Adalbert was illiterate, he marked his signature with an X. This sworn affidavit appears on all the childrens' birth records except the last.

NameBornLegitimate?Birth record
5Marianna1826NO 156_2069_0_0_3_0009.05
6Maximilian1827NO 256_2069_0_0_3_0011.07
1 There is a copy of Marianna's birth record that marks her as legitimate, but since her brother Maximilian, born a year later, is back to illegitimate, this clearly was a scribal error. On the original records, all the children are marked illegitimate.
2 Maximilian is marked as illegitimate, but Adalbert does not have to make an affidavit of support this time.

I am at a loss to explain this situation. I have gone through the parish records from 1785 to 1900 and I have not seen another case like it. There was, evidently, a legal barrier against Adalbert and Tatianna getting married, but I do not know what it was.

I have seen numerous instances of people in these villages needing to get permission to marry: underage couples had to get their parents' permission, soldiers had to get permission from a military court, and orphans had to get permission from the orphan's court (all these situations are recorded by the priests in these records). But I don't know why Adalbert and Tatianna could not marry. The only workable theory I have is that, being from Lipinki, he was under the feudal jurisdiction of a different lord (the villages were still, in those days, owned by members of the gentry or szlachta). As a serf with limited freedom of movement, it is possible that Adalbert did not have permission from his Lord to marry; indeed perhaps the reason he left Lipinki was due to a conflict with his Lord. But this is mere speculation; I have no evidence to back it up.

Another possibility could have to do with religion. Lipinki was a Roman Catholic ("Latin rite") village and Rozdziele was Greek Catholic ("Greek rite"), and while both of these churches were part of the Catholic communion and recognized the supremacy of the Pope in Rome, they had different administrative structures and had different territorial jurisdiction. I have seen many marriage records recording Roman and Greek Catholic unions, but I wonder of maybe there was some administrative or dispensational process -- for instance, consent of parents, bishop, lord, village elders, etc. -- that Adalbert and Tatianna were unable to fulfill for some reason? Again, I am only speculating. I just don't know.

Two more pieces to add to the puzzle...

A few years after Adalbert died, when she was 45, Tatianna had another child, a boy named Gregorius. He is marked illegitimate on his birth record, and no father is indicated. Gregorius died a few years later.

And finally, when Tatianna died in 1847 (a victim of the Third Cholera Pandemic, which decimated the village of Rozdziele), her death record indicates that she, herself, was illegitimate. It is somewhat unusual (but not unheard of) for the priest to reference a person's legitimacy on the death record, but in the case of a 52-year-old woman with numerous grand children, it seems a little... unkind. But more importantly, it is wrong. We have her birth record, and there is absolutely no indication of illegitimacy. Why the priest felt it necessary to append that affront to Tatianna's dignity onto her death record, is a mystery.

Adalbert and Tatianna are my great-great-great-great grandparents.


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