Monday, March 15, 2010

Karolina Furman's Family Life

Marriage and Family

Karolina Furman married Krzysztof Laska on October 1, 1883 in St. Mikolaj Catholic Church in nearby Zgorsko (2 miles away), the same church she was baptized in. She was 19, he was 21. Podborze didn't have a Catholic church of it's own. The villagers belonged to the Zgorsko parish. The church in Zgorsko was built in 1781 (shown below) although the parish dates back to 1583. At the time that Karolina married, the population of Podborze was roughly 250 people and there were 65 houses in the village. Nearby Zgorsko had 135 residents who lived in 35 houses. These were very small communities. 

St. Mikolaj Church in Zgorsko
St. Mikolaj Church in Zgorsko
Ten months after her marriage, Karolina gave birth to her first child, Jozef. The couple was living with Krzysztof's mother in house #35 in Podborze at the time. Krzysztof, like his father and most of the villagers of Podborze, was a farmer. They didn't live with Krzysztof's mother for long though. By the time their second child Genowefa was born 3 years later, they were living in house #162. When daughter Appolonia came along in 1892 they had moved to house #102 and the family lived there at least until 1918. Karolina and Krzysztof had another daughter, Anna, in 1901.

In 1905, when Karolina was 40 years old, her first born, Jozef, immigrated to the USA (Detroit). Traditionally, the oldest son would inherit the family farm. So I find it interesting that Jozef would leave Poland for the USA and give that up. Perhaps his father didn't own his own farm. Maybe he just leased the house and land they lived on. Or maybe Jozef just had an adventurous spirit and wanted to strike out on his own. Who knows? In any event, Karolina said goodbye to her only son in February of that year and never saw him again. The following year (1906) Karolina gave birth to her last child, a son she named Michael. Perhaps he helped ease the loneliness she must have felt after Jozef was gone. This son would never leave Poland.

The following year, 1907, was a year of major events in Karolina's life. Her eldest daughter, Genowefa, immigrated to the USA. Her son Jozef, already in the USA for 2 years, got married. And at the end of the year Jozef's wife, Carrie (Karolina too), gave birth to Karolina's first grandchild. In the years leading up to WWI (1909-1913), Karolina's daughter (in the USA) would marry and between she and her brother they would give Karolina 5 more grandchildren. On November 9, 1910, Karolina's next oldest daughter Appolonia married Jozef Piatek at the church in Zgorsko. Finally a wedding she could attend! Unfortunately, I couldn't find any reference to Appolonia in the village after her marriage. She may have moved to another village or even immigrated to another country although I don't think so because the family always said only Jozef and Genowefa left Poland. In September of 1911, Karolina's mother died in Podborze.

I couldn't find specific information about how the village of Podborze was effected during WWI but since Poland was a central battleground it's hard to imagine that it wasn't. Karolina didn't have any sons of age to be drafted during the war but I'm sure there were family members and friends from her village who were. It had to have been a time of fear, worry, and concern for her. During those war years (1914-1918), Karolina's two children in the USA had 6 more children and just three weeks before the war ended, her husband of 35 years died. She never remarried.

(Continued) Karolina Furman's Latter Years