Monday, March 15, 2010

Karolina Furman's Latter Years

The Latter Years

In the 1920s, Karolina Furman's children in the USA had 13 more children between them. But I'm sure her real joy came in 1922 when her daughter Anna married Sebastian Rys at the church in Zgorsko and had 4 children in quick succession, Janina (1923), Maria (1924), Teresa (1926), and Stanislaw (1928). Anna may have had more children but the birth records available to me on microfilm end in 1929. I'm sure Karolina was happy to have and hold her grandchildren, play with them and watch them grow. At the end of the decade, in 1929 and 1930, Karolina's eldest grandson in the USA would give her 2 great grandsons.

The 1930s started out well for Karolina. In September of 1933 her youngest son, Michael, married Anna Dziekan at the church in Zgorsko. They had a daughter, Maria, in 1937 and another daughter, Kazimiera, in 1939. Two more great grandchildren were born in the USA. But as the decade came to an end Poland was once again at war. It was invaded by Hitler on September 1, 1939 and by the Soviet Union on September 17, 1939, beginning WWII. Karolina lived to see just one more Christmas with her children and grandchildren and then she died 5 months later on January 18, 1940 (age 75). She was buried in the parish cemetry near the church in Zgorsko. I'm told her grave is no longer there.
Chapel and parish cemetery in Zgorsko

At the time of her death, Karolina Furman Laska had 5 children, 21 grandchildren in the USA, at least 6 grandchildren in Podborze (perhaps Anna had more beyond what appears in the records through 1929, and Appolonia may have lived in a nearby village and had children of her own), and 4 great grandchildren in the USA. She was the first in her family born "free" and she lived through one world war and into the start of another. I wrote extensively about her children and grandchildren not because that was the only information I could find related to her life but because children and family were her life. Motherhood was the only role for women in Poland in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

In her lifetime, Karolina would have seen the introduction of indoor plumbing and electricity (but she may not have had either in her own home), automobiles (she certainly wouldn't have had one of those), and telephones (nope, she wouldn't have had one of those either). She would have traveled periodically to the nearby towns of Radomysl Wielki and Mielec (each less than 10 miles away), probably as far as Debica (19 miles away) and Tarnow (25 miles away) on occasion, and possibly even Krakow (78 miles away), but probably not any further. She was very likely illiterate. Her world would have centered around farming and the seasons, her family, and her Roman Catholic faith. She was an ordinary woman who led a simple life by today's standards. All the same, she was my great grandmother and I'm grateful to her for all she did to raise her children healthy and well and because she had the courage and strength to let her eldest son go off to America to make his own way. If not for that course of events I would not be here now.

God bless you and may you rest in peace, Great Grandmother Karolina.

Previous articles about Karolina:
Chronology of Karolina Furman
Karolina Furman's Childhood
Karolina Furman's Family Life