Zelinskies of coat of arms Parcaria. The history of my searches

Zelinskies of coat of arms Parcaria. The history of my searches

First steps. Memories record

Since my grandmother, from whose stories my interest in genealogy began, comes from the Zelinsky family, it was this family line that I began to research one of the first. At the initial stage of the research, the Zelinskies were the most studied family in my tree, but later the research began hitting a dead end.

So, since 2010, I began to record my grandmother’s, Krasovska Bronislava Karlivna, born in 1932, memories of family history. Since her maiden name is Zelinska, she obviously knew the most (and “deepest”) about this line. Grandmother remembered well her grandfather and grandmother, Olimpia and Bronislav Zelinsky, their places of birth, as well as approximate years of life. Also, she remembered the patronymic of Bronislav – Lavrentiyovych, she did not remember the patronymic of Olympia; knew they were ethnic Poles and Roman Catholics. At the same time, not a single document mentioning them was found in the family archive, only oral stories…

A trip to the old cemetery

Since my grandmother knew where her grandfather and grandmother were buried, and remembered that the graves had tombstones with text and dates, the next step was to visit the cemetery. The cemetery was Polish and was located in a different settlement from the grandmother’s place of residence (previously, representatives of different faiths were buried in different cemeteries). It was 2011. I organized transportation and my grandmother and I visited the graves of our ancestors. She found them, of course, not immediately: the cemetery was abandoned and the graves were heavily overgrown with vegetation.

But the result justified itself! There were indeed tablets with inscriptions on the tombstones: “Bronislav Lavrentiyovych Zelinsky (1863 – 05.05.1962). From wife and children” and “Olimpia Yosypivna Zelinska (1874 – 31.01.1967). From children”.

This was the first written reference to the researched people, thanks to which I learned a number of valuable information:

  1. Confirmed the patronymic of Bronislav – Lavrentiyovych;
  2. Learned the exact years of life of Bronislav and Olympia;
  3. Found out the name of Olympia’s father – Joseph.

Search for parish registers in the Khmelnytskyi archive

The next stage of the research was working with archival documents. Here and further on, I will only describe searches along the Zelinsky line, the line of Olympia Yosypivna is a separate study.

So, with the help of the catalog of parish registers, I previously discovered that the settlement where Bronislav Lavrentiyovych Zelinsky lived and was probably born – the village of Borysiv, Pluzhanska Volost, Ostroh District, Volyn Province – belonged to the Roman Catholic parish of St. John in the nearby town of Zaslav, Zaslavska Volost. Thanks to the same catalog, the preservation of the parish register of this parish was discovered: they were preserved for years 1861, 1863 – 1874, 1881, 1901 and 1904 and were kept in the State Archive of the Khmelnytskyi Region (DAKhmO), Khmelnytskyi.

Soon I ordered and processed all the above-mentioned registers of the Zaslav church. I started from 1863, since this date was the year of birth on the tombstone of Bronislav Lavrentiyovych. The result was initially negative: no record of Bronislav’s birth was found in 1863. The only discovered record of the birth was Oleksandr, son of Matviy and Teresa Zelinsky.

Despite the failure, I did not get upset and continued to systematically study the registers that remained. It is worth noting that the search was based on the surname Zelinsky in general. In the reading room of the archive, I recorded (made extracts) all its carriers, and only then tried to establish family ties between them.

A record of Bronislav’s birth was found only in 1874. He was actually full eleven years younger than he was officially believed to be! In addition, a record of the marriage of Bronislav’s parents was discovered, from which it was found out that Zelinsky Lavrentiy Matviyovych was born in 1853, and Marianna Antonivna Zelinska in 1855.

Thanks to the new findings, I understood who Matvii (Macei) and Teresa Zelinsky, found in 1863, were for our Bronislav – grandfather and grandmother. The latter was additionally confirmed by the records of the death of Matviy (1874) and Teresa (1863), where it was stated that each of them “left behind” a son Lavrentiy among other children.

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Record of the death of Matvii Zelinsky, year 1874

The discovery of a record of Matviy Zelinsky’s second marriage (1864) shortly after Teresa’s death proved to be particularly useful. The record stated that his parents were Ivan (Yan) Zelinsky and Marianna from Vyshnevsky Zelinska. Previously, this information was unknown, because in Roman Catholic parish register, unlike Orthodox ones, patronymics were not indicated.

Thanks to the information found, it was discovered that the investigated Zelinskies were in the 1860s. were written in documents as nobles. Starting from the 1870s, they were already mentioned as burghers. At the beginning of the 20th century – peasants.

Thus, as a result of searches in the Khmelnytskyi archive, it was possible to “go deeper” for three generations from Bronislav Lavrentiyovych Zelinsky. That was the end of my work at DAKhmO, I was 100% satisfied with the result.

Work with parish registers in Zhytomyr

Since the Zaslavsky District was part of the Volyn Province, it was necessary to search for earlier parish register for it in the State Archive of the Zhytomyr Region (DAZhO), since Zhytomyr used to be the center of the province. Thanks to the catalogs, it was discovered that the registers of the Zaslav Church of St. John in this archive were preserved for the years 1797-1862 (with small lacunae, “gaps”).

As a result of the work in Zhytomyr, a number of parish records were discovered, which made it possible to “deepen” a little further along the ascending line of the tree. In particular, the following were found: records of the birth of Lavrentiy Matviyovych Zelinsky (1853) and his brothers/sisters, as well as a record of the marriage of their parents, Matviy Ivanovych and Teresa Franzivna Zelinska (1843), thanks to which it was possible to discover their birth years (1816 and 1823).

Particularly valuable was the discovery of the record of the death of Ivan (Yan) Zelinsky, Matviy’s father, in 1827, which helped find out his date of birth – 1782.

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Record of Yan Zelinsky’s death, year 1827

After a series of successful finds, a series of failures began: as it turned out, the parish registers for the parish of St. John were actually preserved only from 1827, the earlier ones, which were listed as available in the catalog, related to another parish located in the same town of Zaslav. Accordingly, it was impossible to find a record of the birth of Matviy Ivanovych Zelinsky and earlier records.

As a result of processing all available metric books, the Zelinsky family “stopped” on Ivan Zelinsky and Maria from Vyshnevsky Zelinska. Ivan’s father’s name could not be found.

Later, thanks to the Polish database of indexed parish records, it was possible to find a record of the marriage of Ivan Zelinsky and Maria Vyshnevska for the year 1801, which took place in the parish where the bride was from – the town of Kuniv, Ostroh District. But it did not help to discover the names of Ivan’s parents, this information was not mentioned in the Latin-language records of that time.

Work with nobles’ documents

The next step was to search for citizens registration documents. Since our Zelinskies were listed as noblemen in the parish registers until the beginning of the 1870s, it made no sense to look for their traces in the revision lists of the Ostroh District, since the latter consisted only of taxable social estates (until 1858). That is why I started working with the fund of the Volyn Provincial Noble Deputies Assembly (NDA) in the Zhytomyr Archive.

Thus, family lists of nobles of the 2nd class (landless) in Ostroh District for the years 1832 and 1834 were found and reviewed. This type of sources is generally similar in structure to revision lists, the only difference of which is the presence of information about the circumstances and date of recognition of the family in the nobility and entry into the Pedigree Book.

In the family lists, I found a family consisting of four brothers – Kazimir, Vikentiy, Matviy and Stefan, who lived in the village of Borisov, Ostroh District. Their patronymics, Ivanovychies, as well as the name and maiden surname of their mother, Marianna Vyshnevska, were indicated, thanks to which it was confirmed that these are our researched Zelinskies. The document also contained information that the family was recognized twice in the nobility, in 1805 and 1832; the numbers of the relevant NDA certificates are indicated. Thanks to this, it was possible to find a number of Zelinsky families in the family lists. However, the exact kinship of the latter with “ours” was not known at the time of the study.

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A fragment from the family list year 1832

After that, huge volumes (over 1,000 pages each) of pedigree books of the nobles of the Volyn province from the beginning of the 19th century were processed in order to find the researched family there: to gather information about the history of the family from the 18th century, to find a coat of arms and a genealogical scheme. The work ended unsuccessfully. The reason for this may be that the Pedigree books are not fully preserved.

The search for a case about the noble origin of the Zelinskies in the same NDA fund was also unsuccessful: more than twenty cases with the surname Zelinski appeared on the cover, but all of them turned out to be namesakes. These cases were reviewed not only for the presence of coincidences of names and settlements, but also for the dates and numbers of NDA certificates, which I previously discovered in the family lists of 1832-1834.

The last find of the Zelinskies in Zhytomyr was a record about them in the general list of nobles of the Volyn province (first half of the 19th century). Names and settlements already known to me, dates, and numbers of NDA certificates were written there. Ivan Zelinsky’s father’s name was not there, as before. A vicious somehow came out.

Also, in the general list of names, the names of some distant relatives of the researched Zelinskies were found, who in 1805 were recognized in the nobility under the same number of the NDA certificate as ours. This information seemed unnecessary to me at that time, especially since it was impossible to discover the exact kinship of “our names” with “theirs”.

That was the end of my work with the noble fund in the Zhytomyr Archive.

Dead end. Working with a tree “width”

During the next few years, when I had free time, I was engaged in a more detailed study of the facts of the biography (life activities, lifestyle) of the found generations of the Zelinskies.

Thus, the confessional notoriety about the Zaslav church for the years 1888 and 1915 was found and reviewed, and the genealogical tree of the Zelinskies from the 19th to the 21st centuries was restored as much as possible.

The “icing on the cake” was opening of the case on the tenancy rights of the residents of the village of Borysiv in the 1880s, which was kept in the State Archive of the Rivne Region (DARO), in the city of Rivne. It should be noted that the case was in terrible condition: it literally crumbled in my hands. I was lucky enough to find it legible and copy it; if it had been discovered a few years later, it might have been too late, and invaluable biographical information from the 19th century would have been lost…

So, thanks to the rent case, I found out what lands our Zelinskies owned, their size, how much they paid in rent, when and under what circumstances they received these plots of land. Separate personal documents of different generations of the family were also sewn into the case.

As a result, enough material was collected to write a full-fledged story about the history of the Zelinsky family in the 20th – 19th centuries, which was later successfully implemented by me. But I still didn’t have answers to old questions (pedigree up to the 19th century).

At the same time, searches were conducted for information about the Zelinskies in the documents of the fund of the Central Audit Commission of Noble Affairs in the Central State Historical Archive of Kyiv (CDIAK). Personal information and protocols for 1840-1844 were reviewed. The results were also negative. Most likely, the family passed the check for the presence of noble rights in 1843, and the documents of the foundation for that year have not been well preserved. If the documents were discovered, then I would, most likely, restore the family’s pedigree for the 18th century.

This could be the end of the study of the Zelinsky pedigree. At that time, I had no idea where to look for genealogical information “in depth”.

Shift from the “dead point”. Accidental find

One accidental find changed everything. Reviewing a book as part of one of my commercial studies “Chorowiec O. Herbarz szlachty wołyńskiej, Tom IV – Radom, 2011” I found the following information in which the surname Zelinsky was mentioned:

“W roku 1805, dnia 7 września urodzony pan Wincenty Zieliński, ziemianin powiatu krzemienieckiego w dowód szlacheckiej swej rodowitości złożył dokumenty. Ze złożnych dokumentów okazuje się, że urodzony Wincenty Zieliński jest niegdyś urodzonych Tomasza i Marianny z Machowskich Zielińskich synem, a niegdyś urodzonych Wojciecha i Marianny z Sliwińskich wnukiem, ponadto że jego przodkowie ciągle klejnotem szlachectwa szczycąc się, przywilejów stanowi temu służących i herbu Świnka, imieniu i familii swej właściwego od dawna używali. Dowody urodzonego Wincentego Zielińskiego za dostateczne uznawszy, imię jego razem z synem Ignacym z urodzoną Dorotą Sołotwińską spłodzonym, jako przez ojca przyznanym, do części pierwszej Księgi Aktualnej Szlachty Guberni Wołyńskiej pod nr 96 wpisać postanowiono, oraz o tym upewniający patent wydać rozkazano. Źr.: DAŻO, fond 146, opis 1, dieło 337-B, s. 224-225.”

If you translate this text briefly, the content is following. The names of the bearers of the Zelinsky surname are listed, the date of their recognition in the nobility is indicated, as well as the name of their family coat of arms – Parcaria (other names are Parvus Sus, Porcaria Sus). It was an extract from the minutes of the meetings of the Volyn NDA, with whose fund I previously worked at the DAZhO.

The names of my Zelinskies were not there, but how did this information help me to advance? As I wrote above, in the Zhytomyr archive, in the “General name list of the nobles of the Volyn province”, I found the names of my Zelinskies, next to which were added the names of their distant relatives, the exact kinship with whom I did not know. So, these relatives’ names and the names found in the book I quoted above in Polish completely matched, including the women’s maiden names!

It became clear – our Zelinskies belong to the ancient Polish (and rather rare) coat of arms Parcaria. My joy knew no bounds! I called all interested relatives to share the news.

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Coat of arms Parcaria. From a Pedigree book year 1802

The information found can be explained in the following way. Those, the so-called distant relatives of my Zelinskies, were the older branch and in 1805 they were the first to submit documents to confirm their noble dignity. This event was recorded in the protocols of the NDA and it was this record that Oleg Horovets cited in his book above. My Zelinskies – the younger branch (third cousins) – were added to the 1805 decree later (in the period from 1805 to 1832). But, since it is the same family, they accordingly had the same documentary evidence of noble origin. They came from a common ancestor.

It is worth asuming that my branch of the Zelinskies could have been “added” in the period after 1827 (the date of death of Ivan Zelinsky; since neither he nor his father, who was nameless at that time, was mentioned anywhere).

Second accidental find. “Depth” is broken!

For several more years there was silence in this direction. Only in 2021 I finally managed to advance “into the depths”. In general, the ideal option to do this would be to review the audits of the nobility of Ostroh District for the years 1795, 1811 and 1816, where our Ivan Zelinsky and his parents would be listed, but these documents have not been preserved to our time. The previously revised family lists of nobles of the 2nd class of 1832 were the earliest document on the accounting of the nobility of Ostroh District.

“Shift from a dead point” was again decided by accident. While working on another commercial order with revision lists for the year 1795 in the State Archive of the Kyiv Region (DAKO), I was surprised to find that among them there are several cases that regard the peasants of the Volyn province, although these cases should be kept in the State Archive Zhytomyr region. There were also peasants from the Ostroh district in the discovered cases, and I decided to review them. I became interested in local history: I was interested in what kind of people (peasants) lived in the neighborhood of my ancestors in 1795.

During the review of audits, materials related to the peasants of Borysiv village and its surroundings, Huta Borysivska, were discovered. But upon a more detailed study of the names of the residents, it turned out that not only peasants were recorded there, but also the nobility! (despite the name of the case according to the description). The only thought was “will luck smile at me?”

So! Here they are, Zelinskies!

“Fifth court. Kazimir son of Matiash Zelinsky, 40 years old, carpenter. He has a wife, Agnieszka Yuzefova, 35 years old. They have sons: Florian, 14 years old, Ivan, 8 years old, Andriy, 7 years old, and Yuzef, 1 year old.”

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Piece from a revision list year 1795

Two generations “in depth” at once! Years of birth, full family composition as of the end of the 18th century and as a bonus – the craft/occupation of my direct ancestor.

After this find, I wondered for a long time why they were recorded in the audit of the peasants. At first I thought that it was in random order: they recorded all the residents in a row by court. But later I came to the conclusion that our Zelinskies could have been registered among the peasants as of 1795, because they were not yet officially nobles (after all, they submitted documents for confirmation of nobility only after 1805). And the imperial officials who came did not distinguish them from their peasant neighbors by the appearance and lifestyle.

Result: it took me more than eleven years to research the pedigree of the Zelinsky family line back to the 18th century. The work was not easy, but interesting. Different types of genealogical sources in five archives of Ukraine, oral information and information from necropolises were found and used. All key literature on the political and socio-economic history of the studied region and social condition was studied.

I hope that this article will be useful to those who have decided to devote themselves to the noble occupation of “resurrection from oblivion” of their ancestors recently, and will also motivate experienced researchers to find a way out of the most hopeless genealogical “dead end”.

Aleksander O. Krasowski

Addition. Genealogical scheme

Year 2021

You can get acquainted with the history of the Poles of the Right Bank of Ukraine (including the Zelinskies under study), who during the 19th century underwent a status evolution from landless nobles to peasants, as well as the assimilation policy of the Russian Empire, in the article at the link.

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