After some success at Finding Polish Records Online, I decided to snoop around some more, this time with the Poznan Project. While many of my Polish ancestors come from the area in or around Warsaw, a whole other branch comes from the wielkopolskie province in what is known as “Greater Poland”. I have two ancestral lines from the town of Wilczyn in this province, which is covered by the Poznan Marriage Indexing Project. I entered some of my family surnames into the search form, and immediately I found several matches.
But one find really confused me. The groom’s name and his parents’ names were familiar to me already. The bride’s name and her parents’ names were too. Except these two individuals are from different branches of my family tree!
I actually had to plot it out on paper to figure out what had happened. The “note” in the indexed record helped as well: he was a widower; she was a widow. Their deceased spouses’ names were my ancestors – both the deceased and the two newlyweds are my 4th great-grandparents.
After charting it out, I was able to see that my great-grandmother’s father’s maternal grandparents were Franciszek Michałowski (b. 1788) and Julianna Pałuszyńska (b.1797). Her mother’s maternal grandparents were Józef Kubiński (b.1795) and Apolonia Lewandowska (b.1796). At some point, Franciszek died, leaving behind at least one daughter, Elżbieta Michałowska (b. 1824). Likewise, Apolonia died, leaving behind at least one daughter, Konstancja Kubińska (1818-1896).
In 1839, the widow Juliana and the widower Józef got married, which made their two daughters step-sisters. The previous year, Józef’s daughter Konstancja had already gotten married to Jan Drogowski (1818-1894). But Juliana’s daughter, Elżbieta, was only 15 years old. When Elżbieta eventually got married in 1844 to Józef Ślesiński (1821-1866), her step-father Józef was a witness to the marriage.
Still with me? Elżbieta had a son, Wincenty (1850-1919). Konstancja had a daugther, Stanisława (1860-1918). Wincenty and Stanisława got married in 1879 and had my great-grandmother, Wacława (1885-1956) and a bunch of other children. Although Wacława has eight great-grandparents like most of us, her father’s grandmother married her mother’s grandfather after their spouses had died!
Once I was able to see this second marriage, it actually explained what I thought was a discrepancy in the records. In Elżbieta Michałowska’s death record, her maiden name is not listed as Michałowska, but as Kubińska – her step-father’s name. Until finding this marriage record, I wasn’t able to figure out that apparent name change!
One find in an index led to mapping out the family tree to see the connection. This just goes to show that you never know what you might find! I don’t usually look for second marriages in indexes, and if I hadn’t found this I would not be able to find the death record of the widow since I’d be looking under her first husband’s surname.