Drogowski Branches

Some family lines resemble a skinny tree while others have a tangled web of branches that sprout off in all directions. The theme for Week 5 of 52 Ancestors is “Branching Out” and my family line of the week is the Drogowski Family. My mother’s mother’s mother’s mother was a Drogowski, and I have far more DNA matches from her parents than any other set of 3rd great grandparents. 

The patriarch of this family is my 5th great-grandfather, Grzegorz Drogowski, who was born about 1741 in Wilczyn to Bartołomej Drogowski and Justyna Smyk. Around 1770, Grzegorz married Rozalia Szternalska. The couple had three children: a son, Wojciech, who was born in 1773, and two daughters, Maryanna and Francizka, whose birth dates are unknown. 

In March, 1824, Rozalia died at the age of 80. Shortly afterwards, 83-year-old Grzegorz marries again. His bride was the 30-year-old Maryanna Stawska. A son was born in 1825, Kajetan, and another in 1827, Michal. Also in 1827, Grzegorz died at the age of 86. 

Because the children of Grzegorz were born 50+ years apart, young Kajetan and Michal were younger than most of the nieces and nephews from their half-brother Wojciech. Wojciech (my 4th great grandfather) had two daughters (Maryanna and Franziska) and four sons – the daughters and at least two of the sons (Jan and Ignacy) survived infancy. Michal died at the age of 18, but Kajetan married and had at least one son (Stanisław) and one daughter (Eleonora). 

From these lines come dozens of families! The branches are too numerous to map out, for it would not fit on this page. Instead I’ll try to summarize some of the interesting things I’ve learned while researching this family.

I’ve written before about Jan Drogowski, my 3rd great-grandfather, who was a linen merchant and occasional smuggler with his “uncle” Kajetan. The two men married sisters, the daughters of Józef Kubinski and Apolonia Lewandowska. Jan’s wife was Konstancja, born in 1818, and Kajetan’s was Nepomucena, born in 1825. 

In addition to the double cousins produced from these two marriages, there are three instances of cousin-marriages:

  • First cousins Franciszek (son of Jan) and Aleksander (son of Ignacy) also married sisters, Teofilia and Wacława Wapinarska.
  • A grandson of Jan, Kazimierz (son of Józef), married the granddaughter of Ignacy, Kazimiera aka Elsie (daughter of Aleksander) – they are second cousins.
  • Another grandson of Jan, Stanisław (son of Józef), married the granddaughter of Kajetan, Kazimiera (daughter of Stanisław) – they are second cousins once removed.

As you can tell from the names in the above example, there are many repetitions among the names of these families. There are multiple examples of Józef/Joseph, Stanisław, Franciszek/Frank, and Edward.

The family has two priests (who are second cousins to each other) and three doctors. One of the priests, Fr. Anthony Drogowski, was the officiating minister at the marriage of my best friend’s grandparents!

Several of Jan’s children immigrated, but there is evidence that they journeyed back and forth to Poland. In the case of his son Jozef, several of Jozef’s sons immigrated, but one went back to Poland permanently and one never came. So although Jozef (senior) is buried in Pennsylvania, we have cousins from his other sons still living in Poland.

The family has various settlement points in the United States including Detroit, Pittsburgh, Niagara Falls, Philadelphia, and “upstate” Pennsylvania.

In my research I accidentally discovered a NPE – non-paternal-event. I had a DNA match who shared all of the Drogowski matches, but the individual did not have any Drogowski family. After researching the person’s family, I realized they were from a different part of Poland. I was given access to the person’s DNA matches and immediately saw a first cousin match to one of the Drogowski lines. Unfortunately the person’s biological father was one of the men in this particular branch.

Perhaps the biggest question of all is – was Gregorz really a father in his 80s? It’s possible. Or perhaps he married a pregnant girl to give her child a name. Can we definitively conclude he was the father of Kajetan? Not via autosomal DNA because Kajetan and his “nephew” Jan married sisters. But, perhaps through Y-DNA testing this can be proven. There are male descendants from both Kajetan and Jan. The only thing that would negate the testing is if Gregorz married her because his married son Wojciech had gotten her pregnant.

This post is dedicated to the memory of my 4th cousin, Paweł Drogowski, who died unexpectedly last August at the age of 40. Paweł and I attempted to create a complete genealogy of all of the Drogowski branches and the various other surnames that connect to the family from its female descendants. May he rest in peace.


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