Theodor Młynar of House 29

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Theodor Młynar of House 29

The family relationships in the early records of Męcina Wielka House 29 are difficult to sort out because there appear to be three different couples of child-bearing age in the house in the late 18th century (Młynar/Młynarik, Zak/Dziak, and Bobak), and there appear to be too many wives for the number of husbands available.

First, it is safe to assume that Zak, Dziak, and Djak are variants of the same surname. Zak or Djak is probably related to дяк (dyak), the Ukrainian word for cantor (the lead singer at church) or sexton.

The surname Młynar is related to młynarz, Polish for "miller" (and in fact, some later records do append the -z to the family name). It seems that both of these surnames evolved out of nicknames based on a man's occupation or what he was best known for.

The difficulty of sorting out the family members is lessened by the discovery that Zak is, in this household, an alias of Młynar. This is spelled out in the 1805 birth record for Sawko Młynar [681], where the father's surname is given as Djak alias Młynar. Thus it seems reasonable to assume that Theodor Zak and Theodor Młynar are the same person [3955]. Zak is preferred in the earlier records, but later Młynar becomes generally accepted. Perhaps Theodor was the village miller, who happened to have a good voice and so he became the leader of the church choir, too.

But then we have the problem of Theodor's many wives.

It was not uncommon for a man to outlive numerous wives and Theodor seems to have had four over the course of his rather long life (he died at the age of 79). He fathered at least 12 children by my count and his many descendents are, I think, still alive today. Here is my reconstruction of the timeline of Theodor's life. I may be wrong about some of this, and I have a big surprise at the end, as we'll see.

Theodor was born in 1741 according to his death record, and either 1752 or 1753 according to his two available marriage records. I lean towards the latter dates as being more likely because by the time he died in 1820, nobody was around anymore who remembered exactly when he was born.

Around 1783 he married Anna [3972], the daughter of Thomas Krecik [4287]. (The Krecik name-- pronounced KRET sik-- may be related to Kret, which was extremely common in the parish in the 19th century.)

In 1784 and 1785 two daughters were born-- and they pose a bit of a problem, because (1.) they were both named Maria and (2.) the first Maria's surname is Dziak, and the second is Młynarik. The only evidence I have of these girls is their death records: here is the death record for the first Maria (who died in 1790, and whose father is stated as Theodorus Dziak), and here is the second Maria (who died in 1792, and has no family members listed). This creates a conundrum and strongly suggests that there were two different men, one named Dziak and the other Młynarik, who had daughters in the household at about the same time. Yet I have found no further evidence to support this two-father theory, so I take the easy way and assume that Dziak and Młynarik are the same man. It was unusual, but not unheard of, for a family to have multiple living children with the same name; one way to explain it is that the second Maria was an orphan who was adopted by Theodor Młynar/Zak. We may never know.

A third child, Thomas [14], was born in 1786, and he went on to inherit the household and have a large family of his own.

By 1793 Theodor's first two daughters had died. His wife Anna died on January 2, and by the end of February he had a new bride, 30-year-old Maria Borsuk [3968]. Maria and Theodor had three children between 1795 and 1799: Anna [268] (1795-1795), Lucas [275] (1796-?), and Maria [298] (1799-?). So far I have only found confirmation of Anna's death; I do not know Maria's fate yet. Lucas moved out and started a family with Maria Niszczot in 1838.

In 1802 Maria, the mother of the 3 children just mentioned, died. I only have indirect clues linking this death record to her, though. There is the surname on the record, Zaczicka, a female variant of Zak. The ages match, and there is nobody else in the household it could be, but Theodor's wife.

That, and the fact that a mere two months after his late wife Maria was in her grave, Theodor had a new bride, and 30-year-old Anastasia Pyrz [3964] became the lady of the house.

Anastasia brought five children into the world. The first two, Theodosia [652] (1803-1803) and Theodosia [4292] (1804-1804), died in infancy, and the second one presents a problem, because she is missing a birth record, so we must deduce her birth year from her age (four months) as stated on the death record. Also, no parents or other relatives are listed for her, so we have a situation similar to Maria Młynarik mentioned above.

Then a son, Sawko [681], was born in 1805. His birth record is important because it establishes the connection between the Zak and Młynar names. His given name is interesting, too. There are no other children with that name in these records, but I believe it is a Polish form of Sabinus, likely a reference to Saint Sabinus of Spoletium. "Sawko" appearing here is unusual because it was uncommon for Polish or Rusyn names to be used in the birth registers; the Latin versions Savus or Savinus would have been standard.

Despite his unusual name, I have found no further evidence of Sawko beyond his birth record.

The next son was Stephanus [772] (1808-1882), who later moved to the nearby village of Rozdziele and had a large family, some of whom emigrated to America. In 1811 the final son of Anastasia Pyrz was born, Georgius [1135], who also moved out and had a family of his own.

And then we have a problem in House 29. In 1815 there is a birth record for Martha, the daughter of Theodorus Mlinar and Anna Hymczak. This girl only survives until a little past her second birthday, but she throws all my assumptions about Theodor Młynar into disarray. What happened to Theodor's third wife Anastasia? Did she die, and Theodor remarry? There is no documented evidence of that.

In fact, we have reason to believe that Anastasia was very much alive and continued living in the house for a full 10 years after Theodor died. This death record for Anastasia Młynar can only be our Anastasia, since there are no other Anastasias living in the house at that time! If she were still alive, then who is Anna Hymczak, and what was she doing giving birth to one of Theodor's children while Theodor was still married to Anastasia?

Fortunately there is an easy answer. Theodor was never married to Anna Hymczak, much less have a child with her.

If you look at the birth record that is directly above Martha's, you will see that this child's mother is also named Anna, daughter of Joannes Hymczak. Clearly, the cleric who was copying out these records made a mistake and copied the parent information from the previous record into Martha's. The original birth books for Męcina Wielka are not available, so we cannot check, but this is the only plausible explanation.

After little Martha died, Theodor and Anastasia had no more children, and we see Thomas [14], the namesake of the father of Theodor's first wife, taking over as master of House 29.

See Note 5 for a discussion of how Prokopik is another surname associated with this family.


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