The Old Church in Borzyszkowy

By: Peter von Pazatka Lipinsky (First Published in 1999)

My interest about the history and background of my family dates back nearly 50 years. At that time, I had asked my father what information he had about he history of our family. Unfortunately, my father's knowledge in regards to our family was rather very limited. My father did tell me however, that there are several branches or clans of the "von Lipinski's ", and as far as my father knew, we belong to the "Pazonka" clan. However, as I found out later during my research, the name "Pazonka" was one of over 30 different ways of spelling and writing this name. As it turned out, the correct name is "Pazatka".

Pressing my father for more information about my grandfather and my great- grandfather, or anybody else from years past did not produce any further useable results. Except that my great-grandfather was born in the town of "Glizno", West-Prussia and that my grandfather was born in the town of Zemmen, in the Prussian province of Pommern. It wasn't much to go on, and I realized at that time, which is now almost 50 years ago, that I had a lot of work and research to do, if I ever wanted to know the history and story of my family.

So my very first inquiry about the history of the "von Lipinski'" family was directed to the German Heraldic Archive in Marburg. The reply arrived two weeks later, confirming only what my father had already told me about the different branches or clans, which go by the name of "Lipinski". The reply from the archive also gave a description of the family "Coat Of Arms", which up to this date had also not been known.

The description of the "Wappen" was one more reason to intensify my research about the "von Lipinski's". I guess I didn't know at that time so long ago, that the genealogy bug had bitten me and now almost 50 years later in a different land, I was still infected, with no known cure in sight.

In 1955 I decided to leave Germany, and try my luck in Canada. For the first few years in Canada, any research I might have wanted to undertake, had to be put on the back burner for economic reasons. Years later, as I traveled to Germany to visit relatives and friends, I was able to obtain a few old pictures and documents here and there, but nothing to take me back into history past my grandfather.

Most of my working years in Canada, I spend working for the oldest trading company on the North American continent, "The Hudson's Bay Co". After 32 years of service, it didn't take much to convince me to take early retirement in 1995. Now I had the time to do what I wanted to do for a long time, research my family.

My big break came when relatives in Hamburg, Germany agreed to take my wife and myself along in their car and drive from Hamburg to Poland. So arrangements were made in August of 1998 and we drove from Hamburg to the border crossing at Szczecin and then on to Gdansk for a few days of holidays. From Gdansk we continued to Bytow, with our final destination being Tuchomie, a little but very friendly town. Here we had good, clean accommodation. From Tuchomie we drove to all the small towns on different days to search for the past. The big help we had was that my relatives spoke German, Polish and Kashubian. We visited Ciemno, Glisno, Plotowo, Bytow, Niezabyszewo and Borzyskowy.

We also visited several cemeteries in the area to search out the inscription on the different headstones. In the area around Borzyszkowy, there seem to be approximately 6 different clans of the "Lipinski's", which are; Janta Lipinski, Wnuk Lipinski, Pych Lipinski, Rymon Lipinski, Pupka Lipinski and Pazatka Lipinski.

So why are these double names, i.e. "von Pazatka Lipinski"? Our old double family name as recorded in the church records from the church in Borzyszkowy shows that our name was recorded as: i.e. "Nobilis Mathias Pazatka Lipinski".

So, let's examine the four segments of the name.

1. Nobilis is Latin, stands for: "The Noble Mathias", and it also identified Mathias as belonging to the "Landadel" or gentry and therefore is a free man and does not have to perform serf work.

  1. Mathias is his given name.
  2. Pazatka is Mathias family name.
  3. The name Lipinski is derived from the town of Lipienice (Polish) and Liepnitz (German). Today, the name of this town is "Lipnica".

This means that at one time, Mathias Pazatka had his own land. Some of the Pazatka's had substantial land holdings, like Theophil Simon von Pazatka Lipinski. To identify all the different families, i.e. "Nobilis Mathias Pazataka" with land holdings close to the town of Lipience, now became known as: Nobilis Mathias Pazatka Lipinski.

At the beginning of the 1800's, when the area was known as West-Prussia and Pomerania, the Prussian government was in control here. The use of the word "Nobilis" was abolished and replaced with the word "von". So now Mathias became known as: "Mathias von Pazatka Lipinski".

Over the years and for a variety of reasons, the name was changed many times by either some clerk who forgot to write the name down correctly or some descendant just dropped either the name Pazatka or Lipinski. Now you could have Mathias Pazatka, Mathias Lipinski, Mathias von Pazatka Lipinski, Mathias von Lipinski or any other possible combination made up from the original name.

There are even today a few "Parzatka's" living in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Illinois. I am sure that we have here some descendants of the old Pazatka family from around Borzyszkowy. There are also names like "Borzyszkowski", "Ostrowski" and "Kiedrowski", which are all names derived from existing towns like; Borzyszkowy, Ostrowite and Kiedrowice. There is a professor, Dr. Josef Borzyszkowski, now lecturing at the university at Gdansk. His roots date back over 500 years to the town of Borzyszkowy. Most of the smaller towns belong to the parish of Borzyszkowy and the records from this church go back to the very early 1700's. Earlier records have been destroyed. The "Zweitschrift" (handwritten copies) from the old church records are in the archives of the "Bischoefliches Zentralarchive" in Regensburg, Germany. A lot of the original records as well as some of the "Zweitschriften" are available on microfilm from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

A visit to the church in Borzyszkowy is unforgettable and almost a must for anybody with roots in this area. The church was build in the 1600's And burned down on May 17, 1721 but was rebuild the same year. There are many hand painted religious pictures inside the church. Above the pulpit is a canopy with 5 Coat Of Arms (Herb/Wappen) from 5 of the old noble families from the surrounding area. In the churchyard, you will still find the graveside from " Theophil Simon von Pazatka Lipinski, born on 11.10.1845 in Liepnitz, and died on 18.12.1926, also in Liepnitz. From the location and size of the headstone, Theophil must have been a strong supporter of the church.

On our way back, we stopped in Bytow and had lunch at the "Kaszubianka Restaurant". The quality of the food was excellent and the price was more than reasonable. Do I have any regrets???

Yes, I didn't stay long enough.

Where to find the parish of Borzyszkowy on the map:

We have in our family archive a great selection of maps of the former Prussian provinces of Selisia, West-Prussia, East-Prussia, and Pomerania.
These maps are available at cost plus postage to help you with your family research.