Dobrowoda, “Good Water” indeed. Its about 15-16 km from my paternal grandmother (babcia/Busia), Waleria’s ancestral village (Biechow). Waleria Leszczynska’s (half-)sister, Agnieszka married her 2nd husband, Wladyslaw Fras … somewhere (I am still looking for that marriage). Agnieszka & Waleria (the Leszczynscy) were born in Biechow so you might expect their marriage was there in the bride’s village as is custom. But let me start this genealogical story from the beginning.
A few years ago, my family tree on the Internet caused someone to email me about my Leszczynski. For years, other genealogists had emailed about LESZCZYNSKI, so I was used to saying, “Its a popular name and we are not related or are so distantly related that we cannot prove it.” But this person had a name, Agnieszka Leszczynski, which I had one too in my tree, but she was born so long ago (1866) that I only had a birth record and nothing more for Agnieszka Leszczynski. But she had a Russian Passport (which she could not read). I had never seen an actual Russian Passport before, so I told her I would look at it and help translate what info I could and perhaps that will tell us whether there is a chance that her ancestor (great-grandfather), Jozef Fras, was son of my Agnieszka Leszczynski or not. Long Story-Short, the passport gave clues to the same area, tantalizingly close to Biechow — so I could neither prove nor disprove the relationship, but it was an avenue for research. So I started researching her Fras/Frass from Toledo, Lucas County, Ohio. They were close to where my grandparents and my grand-aunt, Antonina Leszczynska Sobieszczanski lived. Ok that added a very tenuous connection. I found a church baptism where Jozef Fras’s wife, BENIGNA (not a common name) was a God Mother to one of my dad’s Sobieszczanski cousins. Ok. that is a pretty good connection. Next I found Jozef’s ship manifest and that his father was Wladyslaw Fras living in Piersciec, a village in the same parish as my grandmother’s family. Ok that is a great connection. Oh, look Jozef went from his father, Wladyslaw, to his uncle Teofil Leszczynski (my grand-uncle) in Depew, Erie County, NY. Ok that is a solid family indicator. So I emailed Mindy to tell her that we were probably related and I added Fras to my family tree.
So Mindy sent me family photos of other Fras family from Poland. So I knew Jozef had two brothers and a sister (maybe) and I had their names. From the passport I had a birthdate / birthplace for Jozef (Zborow – which I initially mistook for Zborowek, but later realized he meant the Zborow near Solec, at any rate both were in Kielce gubernia. So I had Biechow and Solec as possible parishes to research. Eventually GenBaza published images online and I could progress, I did find Jozef’s siblings: Teofil & Wincenty(and two sisters born in Piestrzec/Piersciec). But I could not find Jozef and I also could not locate Wladyslaw and Agnieszka’s marriage record in Biechow or Solec (nor in Stopnica). I began to research in nearby parishes (cluster genealogy) looking for either the birth or the marriage record. Years went by and no luck.
Did I mention that GenBaza went offline due to technical problems? It did and when it came back I noticed a few new parishes, hence Dobrowoda (which was >= 15km away) and I doubted that a parish at such a distance might yield any new clues. However, earlier I had found a church record in Stopnica of a Fras birth, where a Wladyslaw Fras was God Father. I then found the marriage and alegata for the couple whom Wladyslaw was God Father for. It turned out that Fras was originally from Silesia [Uiejsce, in Wojkowice Koscielne parish, in Piotrkowskiej Gubernia, Poland]. I found this Fras’ birth record and now had his parents (possibly Wladyslaw’s parents or maybe just uncle/aunt). Using Geneteka as an index, I found other children for Jan Fras & Maryanna Bialas, besides this Stopnica Fras. This family went from Wojkowice Koscielne parish in Piotrkowskiej Gubernia to Holudza village in Chotel Czerwony parish, in Kielce Gubernia. OK now we are getting close. I found Jan Fras’ death record in Kikow village in Dobrowoda parish (also Kielce Gubernia). So when Dobrowoda came online, I decided I would look there once GenBaza came back online.
That is where this blog entry starts. There were many years and I was not expecting any Fras really. So I started in Zborowek instead which now had metrical records and not just alegata like before. Some minor advances, but nothing really. So I looked at Dobrowoda. There were many years in Dobrowoda and my eyes went right to a book that ended in ‘rejestr’. These ‘rejestr’ tend to be church censuses, sometimes just an annual census, sometimes a decade, sometimes two-three generations. So I thought I could quickly scan and see if there were any Fras or not in this parish.
It was just an annual census (my hopes were lowered) for 1895 sorted alphabetically with Birth Marriage and Death records indexed together (in a funky Polish handwriting – that I had to train my eyes to read). Ok there was a Fras, a Teofil Fras. But I had already found my Teofil Fras born in 1903, so this Teofil Fras born in 1895 must be for another family. Nonetheless, I wanted the record to see if Wladyslaw or Agnieszka Fras were a God Parent or witness. So I was shocked to find that this Teofil Fras was also a child of Wladyslaw Fras and Agnieszka Leszczynska. This Teofil must have died and thus the second Teofil was born in 1903 (who is the one in my picture with Wincenty). Ok this parish had my Fras. Maybe I can find the birth of Jozef and/or the marriage of Wladyslaw & Agnieszka here. From the passport, I knew that Jozef was born in 1893, so I went to that year. Guess what I found? Yes, I finally found Jozef Fras’ birth record and the date matched as well as the parents.
Alas, I still did not find the marriage record of Wladyslaw and Agnieszka, but now I have hope. I hope I can find their marriage and also Wladyslaw’s birth (once I confirm that his parents are indeed Jan Fras & Maryanna Bialas). You must persevere. These affiliated families (like Fras) can indicate parishes to research in for your main lines and shorten your cluster genealogy search. But as you saw, Dobrowoda was indeed good water for Stanczyk.
Jozef Fras birth record: