When I visited the ancestral villages of my ancestors in 2003, I sort of felt that I had come home at long last. My cousin, who knows almost every square inch of the area and who know almost all the old folks in these villages, did all the talking as we did our “walk-about” in the village of Lipienice and Ostrowitt. We talked to the local people and they in turn wanted to know from my cousin, who the stranger was he was showing around in the village. My cousin told them, that I had come from far away, to have a look at the place, which my ancestors had called their home a long time ago. Once my cousin told them, that I have come all the way from Canada, you could see the disbelief in their faces. Why would somebody travel that far, to see a small place they had lived in all their lives?
My cousin kept on talking to different people for awhile and told me afterwards, that these people had told him that the Pazatka’s had owned most of the land in the area a long time ago. This of course, was news to me. My father had never spoken of any land holdings our ancestors may had owned in the 16th or 17th centuries. Maybe my father himself did not know some of our family history. This needed to be further investigated and researched.
Surely, the Old Prussian land records would shed some light into this mystery. I knew that the L.D.S. library in Salt Lake City did have several rolls of micro film from the Domaineamt (Old Prussian land title office) in Schlochau and Baldenburg (Czluchow and Bialy Bor). So, after my return to Canada, endless hours were spent viewing roll after roll of microfilm, in the hopes of finding some clues. Would I encounter another roadblock, we all know so well? Nothing could be found. Every other family name, village and district was recorded, but nothing of what I was looking for. It would take another trip to Poland to solve this mystery and to find these elusive land records. With some help of course, old land title records, consisting of some 100 pages, were discovered. I’m most thankful for the help that I received in Poland in my search to find these old land records. These old records may not reveal the birth, marriage or death date from anybody, but they will tell us who lived in what village, who owned the property, and how much “Hufen” of land some ancestor owned at the time (Hufen = old Prussian land measurement, approx. 30 acres). The discovered land records are for the years from around 1821 to about 1848 and have not been microfilmed by the L.D.S.
In many cases, these records make references back to the early 1700's. In some cases, it will state in the document, who inherited what parcel of land, or to who a parcel of land was sold to and for how much. These old land records can provide names of somebody's ancestors and are an excellent source of reliable information. The one thing the Prussian's did well is they kept good records (That is, if you can locate them). Some of the names listed in these old Prussian land records for the two villages of Lipienice (Polish = Lipinica) and Ostrowitt are:
von Wysocki, Wirkus, von Kiedrowski, Sykorski, von Cieminski, von Mrozek-Glyszynski, von Pazatka-Lipinski, von Rekowski, von Ru(y)man-Lipinski, von Trzebiatowski, von Lonski, von Kistowski, von Wnuk-Lipinski, von Gostomski, von Pych-Lipinski, Pradzinski, von Pupka-Lipinski, Labuhn, von Ostrowski, von Zabinski, von Lakie, von Piechowski, von Janta-Lipinski, von Palubicki, Topka, von Styp-Rekowski, Tyborcyyk, von Wantoch-Rekowski, Stoltmann, Durowa, von Pluto-Pradzynski, von Wrycza-Rekowski, Binczyk, von Justrenka, von Borzyszkowski, and a few more.
For the Kashubian researcher, all these names will sound very familiar, and perhaps are even the name(s) of some of the readers relatives. It always suprises me, just how much information is still out there to be discovered. I suppose that's one reason why it always draws me back to Kaszubia, so that I can discover more of the history of my ancestors.
I know, that's what they would have wanted me to do.