It was said by my elders and confirmed by distant cousins who had heard the same story, that Tomasz Leszczynski lived to the ripe old age of 104! For me as it was for Tomasz, I am sure that is a mixed blessing. Now perhaps my grandmother, my father (and his siblings) and perhaps even myself have inherited that longevity. That would be, should be a blessing. In 104 years of life on this planet, you could generate a whole lot of genealogy and played a large role in that genealogy. Tomasz outlived his first wife (Julianna) and took a second wife (Aniela). It is from Aniela and Tomasz that my grandmother comes, the first born child of that second union.
Tomasz was a shoemaker and an innkeeper, those are facts recorded in the church records of Biechow. There are family stories about Tomasz (was he or was he not descended from royalty). How did my grandmother, Valeria, inherit a mill (not certain what kind of mill) in Łodz ??? In an era of limited literacy, my grandmother was fluent in Polish (undoubtedly her native language), Russian (Biechow was in Russian-Poland partition), and German (the Austrian-Hungarian Empire was just across the Vistula river). Plus she learned English when she arrived here in America, so four languages she was fluent(read/write/speak) in.
The picture that was given to me by Carol (my 2nd cousin, who I have never met in person). The picture is hard to see, it so old (perhaps a century old). But it appears that Tomasz wears a tie and he is seated outside with his wife Aniela [see full picture at end]. I was told that my Busia (Valeria) was one of 12. Well so far I have info on Tomasz having 14 children across his two wives. Indeed two of those children died in infancy (so 1 of 12 cannot be said to be incorrect info). But he lived to be 104. So I have not found his death record (circa beginning of World War 2), but I am fairly confident when I find it, that it will NOT list his parents (as many church death records do), the curse of a long life, your survivors no longer remember that far back. I was never able to find the Leszczynski records in Biechow, except for one record that I believed at the time was my great-grandfather Tomasz’s first wife (Julianna Kordosów). So I recorded the fact, uncertain as I was (time will tell). This jester later joined a Polish social network (Nasza Klasa) and eventually I traded emails with a kind woman who spoke no English. Her maiden name was Heliasz and was from Biechow parish. We realized that we were still too far apart with too many missing links to connect our family trees (although we are very close to connecting them). Unbeknownst to me she went to Biechow and got the marriage record of my grandparents! So it was true. My grandmother was from Biechow and her father was Tomasz Leszczynski and her mother Aniela Major. So now I had confirmed many US documents listing these two whose names were spelled many ways. Well I was elated for sure. Still why so little info on the Leszczynskich from Biechow when I had so many microfilm from the LDS spanning decades/centuries even. Well I had also joined a Polish Genealogical Society website (genealodzy.pl). From there I met a genealogist (Jacek of Krakow) whose family also came from Biechow. I lamented to him my problem of not finding Leszczynski when I had so much evidence that this where they were from. Well Jacek, was also very kindly and he found a few early records from Biechow born to Tomasz Leszczynski and a Julianna Kordos from the early 1860s (not in the LDS microfilm I had seen). So now I had a pretty strong confirmation that the death record of Julianna Kordos from Pacanow parish, was indeed my great-grandfather’s first wife. But I do not have a marriage record for Tomasz and either wife nor do I have any birth info on Tomasz other than an indication he was born in the mid 1830′s. So I cannot go further back. If only I could find a marriage record of Tomasz and one of his wives, then I would know his parents’ names.
Let me end this posting at this point, but the story continues…