Week 17: Jan Drogowski (1818-1894)

The theme for Week 17 of the 2015 edition of the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” challenge is “Prosper” and my ancestor is my 3rd great-grandfather, Jan Drogowski. The theme asks for an ancestor that had a “rags to riches” story. I don’t know what Jan’s net worth was, but I think he was prosperous because his occupation in life was quite different from his father’s.

Jan’s Story

Jan Drogowski was born on 14 Jun 1818 in Wilczyn, Wielkopolskie, Poland (Poznań) to Wojciech Drogowski and Marianna Przygoda. Wojciech was a farmer in Wilczyn as was his father, Grzegorz Drogowski. But the reason I chose Jan for the theme of “prosper” is because he did not become a farmer like his father and grandfather. In 1838, the nearly 20-year-old Jan marries 16-year-old Konstancja Kubińska, and in the marriage record Jan is referred to as the “young linen merchant”. I found it interesting that the son of a farmer could become a merchant at a young age. I wondered if he was “marrying up” and gaining the profession of his father-in-law. But Konstancja’s father, Józef Kubiński, was also a farmer.  Jan must have worked hard to learn the linen industry at such a young age. And, I can assume he was good at it because over the years he’d have a lot of mouths to feed.

Jan's signature from the 1847 birth record of his daughter, Michalina. The "w" is missing from his signature as surname spelling was a bit flexible (the priest spells his name as Drogowski, however).

Jan’s signature from the 1847 birth record of his daughter, Michalina. The “w” is missing from his signature as surname spelling was a bit flexible (the priest spells his name as Drogowski, however).

Another sign that Jan prospered in his merchant profession is his ability to write. Polish vital records after 1808 include the signatures of the witnesses and essential parties (bride and groom for weddings, parents for the birth of a child). For most records in my ancestral towns, the vast majority of individuals were illiterate – this fact was recorded when no one could sign the church book. In 1838, Jan was illiterate and did not sign his wedding document. However, by 1845 his is able to sign his name to the birth record of his son, Franciszek. I find this significant and indicates a profession that would require literacy to run the business. Of all my Polish ancestors, I have only found two men that were able to sign the records and Jan’s recorded literacy is the oldest I’ve found.

Jan and Konstancja had ten children together over a 26-year period: six girls and four boys. Their eighth child, Stanisława, was born in 1860 and is my 2nd great-grandmother. One son, Ignacy, died as an infant. I have not yet indexed all of the Wilczyn records to find death dates for all of the children, but I do know that at least three daughters and the other three sons all lived to adulthood, got married, and started having children of their own in the same parish in Wilczyn.

Jan died on 29 Oct 1894 in Wilczyn, Wielkopolskie, Poland at the age of 76. His wife Konstancja would live another two years until she passed away on 18 Dec 1896.

Just the Facts

  • Name: Jan Drogowski
  • Ahnentafel: #62 (my 3rd great-grandfather)
  • Parents: Wojciech Drogowski (1773-1833) and Marianna Przydoga (1790-1855)
  • Born: 14 Jun 1818 in Wilczyn, Wielkopolskie, Poland
  • Siblings: Marianna Rozalia Drogowska (b. 1811), Franziska Drogowska (b. 1814), Ignacy Drogowski (b. 1828)
  • Married: Konstancja Kubińska (1818-1896) on 08 May 1838 in Wilczogóra
  • Children: Ludwika Drogowska Skowronska (b.1839), Józef Drogowski (b.1842), Franciszek Drogowski (b. 1845), Michalina Drogowska Przybylska Wajnert (b. 1847), Antoni Drogowski (b. 1852), Antonina Drogowska (b. 1855), Maryanna Drogowska (b. 1857), Stanisława Drogowska Ślesińska (1860-1918), Ignacy Drogowski (1863-1863), Józefa Drogowska (b. 1865)
  • Died: 29 Oct 1894 in Wilczyn, Wielkopolskie, Poland (age 76)
  • My Line of Descent: Jan -> Stanisława Drogowska Ślesińska -> Wacława Ślesińska Zawodna -> Marianna Zawodna Pater -> mother -> me

52ancestors-2015

Written for the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: 2015 Edition– Week 17: Prosper

#52Ancestors

See all of my 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks stories on the 52 Ancestors page!

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6 thoughts on “Week 17: Jan Drogowski (1818-1894)

  1. Hi, My name is Patryk and my grandmothers name was Janina Dec (Ślesińska). She was from Ślesin and apparently had quite big family (about 10 siblings). She used to tell me lots of stories about the war and so on. She also made a great chicken and beef soup with grey potato noodles 🙂 But she lived in Gdynia, Poland and was married to Teofil Dec.

    I believe your records show Janina Ślesińska migrated to US?

  2. Hi, Patryk, my Ślesiński family comes from the town of Ślesin as well. In fact, next week’s ancestor is likely going to be the one that moved from Ślesin to the town of Wilczyn. I’m back to the 1700s in the town of Ślesin. Do you know who your ancestors were beyond your grandmother? You can read a little bit about my line of descent at
    https://pastprologue.wordpress.com/2009/10/24/surname-saturday-slesinski-slesinski/
    There were actually five Ślesińska sisters that immigrated to the U.S.: Wacława (Laura), Józefa (Josephine), Marianna (Mary), Janina (Jane) and Zofia (Sophie). My great-grandmother was Wacława – she came in 1902. The other sisters came in 1920 after their parents had died.

  3. I know my grandmother Janina Ślesiński was born in 1913 (October) and she had about 10-12 siblings. They lived in Ślesin (not far from the church – I believe it’s Kościelna Str., by the lake) the name of brothers was probably Jan and Franciszek and sister Andzia. My grandmother moved to Gdynia and I believe those brothers, sister lived quite close.

  4. Hi Donna, I found out my Grandmother’s (Janina Ślesińska) mothers name was Marianna… that’s the update. Regards, Patryk

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