The best laid plans often go astray when searching the Internet. It is so easy to be distracted by the various hits for a given Google search. Clicking those links is like going down the proverbial rabbit hole. That very thing happened recently and I ended up in Wonderland!
A little background first …
To date, I am unable to locate the birth record of my grandfather, Nykola Winowicz (Nick Winowich) who, by all accounts, was born on February 12, 1888 in Podhajczyki, Kołomyja, Galicia.1 Brian Lenius’ Genealogical Gazetteer of Galicia identifies this village as belonging to the Roman Catholic parish of Kołomyja (also known as Kolomea and Kolomyja – Urbs) and the Greek Catholic parish of Podhajczyki.
Leaving no stone unturned, I examined the following to no avail. Oftentimes, records were missing or not available for the desired time frame.
- Microfilm from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – Greek Catholic records for Podhajczyki; Roman Catholic records for Kołomyja and Mariahilf (because this was part of Kołomyja) 2
- Digitized records on the website of Archiwum Główne Akt Dawnych (AGAD; Central Archives of Historical Records or Main Archive of Old Documents in Warsaw, Poland) – Roman Catholic records for parishes of Kołomyja and Mariahilf
- Raion ZAHS office (i.e., civil registry office for the raion (administrative district)) in Kolomyia (in-person visit in 2011) – informed that the records for the desired time period had been transferred to the Ivano-Frankivsk Archive
- Roman Catholic records in the Ivano-Frankivsk Archive – in-person visit in 2011
In addition to keeping to baptismal, marriage, and death registers for the parish, priests also maintained a list of parishioner families by house number. These registers are called Status Animarum and are ‘census-like’ in nature in that they list everyone living in the house over time and include their birth, marriage, and death dates. This would be the next best thing to finding grandpa’s birth record.
In 2009, I learned that AGAD had Status Animarum records for the village of Podhajczyki. However, they were in poor condition and were not available to the public. The following screenshot, taken recently from the AGAD website here, still shows this to be the case.For years, my friend Brian J. Lenius urged me to write AGAD and provided suggestions as to how I might acquire the records but I procrastinated.
Fast forward to Wonderland …
To my delight, I recently discovered a set of digitized images now available on one of the websites of Polskiego Towarzystwa Genealogicznego (Polish Genealogical Society). It was specifically on their Meldunkowe website here.
In that set of images was the following. So, what is it?
It is page 27 of a Roman Catholic Status Animarum book containing details for the family of Jozef Winowicz living in house 155 (Nr. Domu 155) in the village of Podhajczyki (Kołomyja, Galicia)!
These are the records from AGAD that are in poor condition and not available to the public. The Polish Genealogical Society must have made arrangement with AGAD to digitize the records. They are not yet indexed but no matter!
The record reads as shown in the image below. Nick appears as Mikołaj in the records as that is how Nicolaus is rendered in Polish. Unfortunately, there is no full date of birth for Mikołaj so I still can’t say with 100% certainty that this is my grandfather. That said, virtually everything about this record aligns with other information that I already have.
Notes about the entries:
- Jozef – the priest notes the birth as February 18, 1851 as recorded in register book 1 on page 60; however, the birth register entry for Joseph found on the AGAD website here gives the birth as January 18, 1851.
The records at AGAD are copies of the original birth register and the copy was created on January 8, 1852 per the signature at the end of the book. By examining the handwriting of other entries in the Status Animarum book, it appears the book might have been created in early 1892.
So, where was the error introduced? Was it in the copy made immediately at the beginning of the subsequent year or did it creep in when the Status Animarum book was created 41 years later (when the priest presumably referenced the original register)? Unless I can find the original registers, that question cannot be answered.
- Bazylina – “Ruska” presumably means she was Ukrainian (Greek Catholic). This aligns with the entry in the Greek Catholic register of marriage banns for the couple 4 and the fact that their marriage was documented in the Greek Catholic marriage register 5 . Additional evidence is that no daughters (for which I already have birth records) are included in this record. Boys are generally baptised in the church of the father and girls are baptised in the church of the mother.
- Mikołaj – it is curious that this is the only entry without a month and day given. For what it is worth, there are four other births in the book that occurred in 1888; two of those have a full birth date and two only give the year.
- Teodor – this is new to me!
- Stephanus – the priest notes the birth as January 2, 1895. The annotation in the Note column indicates he was baptized by the Greek Catholic priest. Perhaps the Roman Catholic priest was not available and thus the Greek Catholic priest performed the baptism. The birth nonetheless is indeed recorded in the Roman Catholic register with a note that the child was baptised by Basilius Karhut, local Greek Catholic parish priest. 6
Not only did I find a record for my my great-grandfather and his family, there were also records for his brothers, Michał (Michael), Mikołaj (Nicolaus), and Franciszek (Frank). See the three images below.
Per the image above, the family of Michał Winowicz resided in house 120 in the village of Podhajczyki. He was born on August 29, 1847 in Podhajczyki (as recorded in baptismal register book 1, page 55), the marriage was recorded in the book of banns book number 5, page 222), and died February 17, 1895 in Podhajczyki (as recorded in death register book 2, page 29) . His wife was Katarzyna (Ukrainian). The child was Jan (Polish equivalent of John), born 1882 in Podhajczyki.
As with the issue of Jozef’s birth, there is an issue with how Michał’s birth is recorded as well. According to the birth record found on AGAD here, Michał was born one year earlier on August 29, 1846. The copy of this particular book was made on January 5, 1847 per the last page of the copies.
The image above shows the family of Mikołaj Winowicz residing in house 53 in Podhajczyki. Mikołaj was born on February 5, 1849 (per birth register book 1, page 58). His first marriage was recorded in the book of banns book 5, page 276 and his second marriage was recorded in the book of banns book 5, page 377.
His second wife was Bazylina (Ukrainian). The children in the home were:
- Michał – born September 9, 1876 in Podhajczyki
- Dymitr – born 1886 in Podhajczyki
- Bazyli – born 1888 in Podhajczyki
- Jan – born 1891 in Podhajczyki
I have the records for both of Mikołaj’s marriages as well as the birth records for Michał, Dymitr, and Jan. Those records confirm that Michał is a son from Mikołaj’s first marriage whereas the other three sons are from his second marriage.
One thing is curious. In 2004, I hired Brian J. Lenius to conduct research for me in Ukraine. While in Kolomyia, he visited the RAHS (i.e., civil registry) office for the raion and viewed the Greek Catholic register books for the village of Podhajczyki. Book 137 contains deaths for the period 1890-1931.
In that register, they found a death record for Jan that they could only transcribe. The record indicated that he died on July 8, 1892 in house 53 and was buried two days later on July 10. He was 10 months old at the time and had died of what appeared to be dysentery.
The curious thing is that this record implies Jan is Roman Catholic (by virtue of his being recorded in the register) yet his death is recorded in a Greek Catholic register. Why would that be? Was the Roman Catholic parish priest away in July 1892? Nonetheless, that explains why the death entry is not noted on this record – the priest did not have access to the information.
The image above shows the family of Franciszek Winowicz in house 5 in Podhajczyki. the month of Franciszek’s birth is difficult to read. Perhaps it is the 8th month or maybe the 3rd? Nonetheless, he was born on the 25th day of an unknown month in 1853 (as recorded in the birth register book 2, page 3). His marriage was recorded in the marriage banns book 6, page 29. His wife was Bazylina (Ukrainian).
Grinning like the proverbial Cheshire Cat …
This little treasure trove of records has me grinning from ear to ear and doing a little happy dance. First, it is always nice to find more records containing the family surname. Second, these seem to indicate that my grandfather indeed belongs in this family. Third, a potential great-uncle has been found (Teodor)!
As exciting as these records are, they also raise questions:
- Where are the original records for 1846, 1847, and 1851 as doubt has now risen to the dates of birth of Jozep and Michał?
- Of the nine sons identified on the four records, I have found birth records for six of them. Of those six records, four of the births were recorded in Greek Catholic registers with no indication that their fathers were Roman Catholic. If there children were being raised as Greek Catholic, why would they be listed on the Status Animarum? I also have two other birth records for older son’s of Michał not identified on the Status Animarum, presumably because they no longer were at home. Their births are also recorded in Greek Catholic records. Incidentally, these births occurred between 1876-1895.
So, the journey continues!
Sources and Notes:
1. All documentation found in Canada gives a birth date of February 12, 1888. However, those documents only give the place of birth as Podhajczyki, Galicia. According to Brian Lenius’ Genealogical Gazetteer of Galicia, there are four villages with that name in four different administrative districts. After reviewing microfilm available for three of the four villages, it became obvious that the Winowicz family must be from the fourth village for which records had not yet been microfilmed (at that time), i.e., the village in the administrative district of Kołomyja. Other research proves this to be the case. ↩
2. Brian J. Lenius, Genealogical Gazetteer of Galicia, 3rd Edition, Expanded Data Edition (Winnipeg: Self-published, 1999), B-27, B-46 (End note 11). ↩
3. Roman Catholic Church (Podhajczyki, Kołomyja, Galicia), 097 Spis parafian par. Kołomyja, II poł. XIX wieku – pocz. XX wieku, miejscowość Podhajczyki [List of parishioners for the parish of Kolomyia, second half of the 19th century – beginning of the 20th century, village of Podhajczyki], digital image 27 (027.jpg) showing archive record page 27, Family of Jozef Winowicz, house 155, Podhajczyki; digital images, meldunkowe.genealodzy.pl (http://meldunkowe.genealodzy.pl/ : downloaded 18 February 2017). Path Ukraina > obwód iwanofrankiwski > 0303b/D- > 097 > Indeks osobowy below entry for 097. ↩
4. Copy acquired from the Ivano-Frankivsk Archive (Fond 631, Opys 1, Spravy 306, page 47) by Brian J. Lenius in 2005. ↩
5. Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Podhajczyki, Kołomyja, Galicia), “Метрична книга церкви реєстрації шлюбів,” [Metric book church registration of marriages], 47, Entry 7 (top of page) – announcement of intended marriage of Joseph Winowicz (Roman Catholic) to Basilina Andrusiak; Fond 631, Opis 1, Spravy 306, ДЕРЖАВНИЙ АРХІВ ІВАНО-ФРАНКІВСЬКОЇ ОБЛАСТІ [State Archive Ivano-Frankivsk Region], Ivano-Frankivsk, Kolomyia, Ukraine. Greek Catholic Book of Banns (1851-1897). ↩
6. (Kołomyja, Kołomyja, Galicia), “Pagus Podhajczyki,” (Village of Podhajczyki), Page number torn off, First entry – birth of Stephanus to Josephus Winowicz and Basilissa Andrusiak (2 January 1896, house 155); Fond 631, Opis 1, Spravy 785, ДЕРЖАВНИЙ АРХІВ ІВАНО-ФРАНКІВСЬКОЇ ОБЛАСТІ [State Archive Ivano-Frankivsk Region], Ivano-Frankivsk, Kolomyia, Ukraine. Roman Catholic Birth Records (2 Jan 1896 – 08 Dec 1910). ↩
7. Roman Catholic Church (Podhajczyki, Kołomyja, Galicia), 097 Spis parafian par. Kołomyja, II poł. XIX wieku – pocz. XX wieku, miejscowość Podhajczyki [List of parishioners for the parish of Kolomyia, second half of the 19th century – beginning of the 20th century, village of Podhajczyki], digital image 23 (023.jpg) showing archive record page 23, Family of Michał Winowicz, house 120, Podhajczyki; digital images, meldunkowe.genealodzy.pl (http://meldunkowe.genealodzy.pl/ : downloaded 18 February 2017). Path Ukraina > obwód iwanofrankiwski > 0303b/D- > 097 > Indeks osobowy below entry for 097. ↩
8. Roman Catholic Church (Podhajczyki, Kołomyja, Galicia), 097 Spis parafian par. Kołomyja, II poł. XIX wieku – pocz. XX wieku, miejscowość Podhajczyki [List of parishioners for the parish of Kolomyia, second half of the 19th century – beginning of the 20th century, village of Podhajczyki], digital image 6 (006.jpg) showing archive record page 6, Family of Mikołaj Winowicz, house 53, Podhajczyki; digital images, meldunkowe.genealodzy.pl (http://meldunkowe.genealodzy.pl/ : downloaded 18 February 2017). Path Ukraina > obwód iwanofrankiwski > 0303b/D- > 097 > Indeks osobowy below entry for 097. ↩
9. Roman Catholic Church (Podhajczyki, Kołomyja, Galicia), 097 Spis parafian par. Kołomyja, II poł. XIX wieku – pocz. XX wieku, miejscowość Podhajczyki [List of parishioners for the parish of Kolomyia, second half of the 19th century – beginning of the 20th century, village of Podhajczyki], digital image 2 (002.jpg) showing archive record page 2, Family of Franciszek Winowicz, house 5, Podhajczyki; digital images, meldunkowe.genealodzy.pl (http://meldunkowe.genealodzy.pl/ : downloaded 18 February 2017). Path Ukraina > obwód iwanofrankiwski > 0303b/D- > 097 > Indeks osobowy below entry for 097. ↩