The WZBR Book - FAQ

Why is my grandfather named Joan?

There's a lot of guys in this book with the name Joan or Ioan, also spelled Joannes/Ioannes. They (along with Ivan/Iwan) are all variations on "John".

The birth record of Joanes, or is that Ivanus?
It is hard to tell if this is meant to be Joanes or Ivanus; fortunately they amount to the same thing.

Why does my ancestor's name vary across records?

The priest was transliterating these records from Cyrillic to a sort of Polonized Latin. He was not always consistent. For instance, my great-grandfather (who would have been called Gregory in English) appears in this book as Hreorij, Gregorii, Hrehorius and Hryc, the last one being a nickname rather than a proper name.

Why are some of these records so hard to read?

Poor photography is sometimes to blame for which the photographer offers humble apologies. Also, the priest's handwriting gets pretty shaky in the late 1870s and 1880s and he starts making more mistakes. My guess is that he was getting pretty old.

Why is my ancestor's marriage recorded twice?

Good question. Only the priest knows, and he ain't talking. We found that a couple of pages of marriages are duplicates of one another which is no big deal. What is bothersome is that the information differs slightly between the two versions. Here is a list of the duplicated records.

< == Duplicates ==>
Page, RecordPage, Record
076, 1 084, 1
076, 2 084, 2
076, 3 084, 3
076, 4 084, 4
076, 5 084, 5
076, 6 084, 6
085, 11 098, 2
085, 12 098, 3
085, 13 098, 4
085, 14 098, 5


Are these records accurate?

If by "accurate" you mean "perfect" then the answer is "no". The longer answer is that we (the volunteers and I) have done what is reasonable to enhance accuracy, but we hand-typed over 10,000 pieces of data and in doing so almost certainly introduced errors. In addition the priest himself entered a number of duplicate records with conflicting information. Also, I think these records are a hand-made copy of the original church book (there were usually two copies made of each original) and the priest could have introduced errors while copying. Furthermore, it's perhaps not fun to think about, but do you believe that every birth record has the true biological father recorded? I feel certain that there's a few cases where Anastasia dallied in the woodshed with Michael while she was married to Ivan and even the mother wasn't sure who the father was. And then there's the fact that people's correct true age may have not been known at the time of their death, etc.

Like all genealogical records, the information here needs to be cross checked when possible.

What should I do if I find a mistake?

By all means, let me know. I want to make this database accurate.


What does WZBR stand for?

WZBR is the acronym for the four villages covered by the book: Wolica, Zboiska, Bełchowka and Ratnawica. At the time these records were created, this villages comprised the parish of Wolica.

Where does the information in this database come from?

The civil archive in Bukowsko, Poland contains a number of church record books. In 2002 I came into possession of photographic copy of the birth, marriage and death records for the parish of Wolica (including Zboiska, Bełchowka and Ratnawica) for the years 1867 - 1884. Through the efforts of some volunteers, we transcribed these records into computer files and I turned those files into this database.

Who are the volunteers?

They are Mary Ache (who transcribed as many pages as the rest of us combined!), Carol Erlam, Debbie Greenlee, and Gloria. I would also like to thank BD for his thumbs.

Can I get a copy of this data?

Certainly, provided you don't do anything unscrupulous like trying to pass it off as your own. See the page about copying.

In what language are these records written?

Latin, with a Polish influence. Only one character specific to the Polish alphabet pops up in these records; it is the letter Ł which makes a sound like W in English. For example, the name Bryła sounds like "Breewa". It is difficult, in handwriting, to distinguish a lower case t from ł because they look like the same letter. The author of this book often distinguishes the two by putting the cross slash for ł at the very top of the vertical bar, whereas for a t the cross bar is lower. The sample to the right shows the ł in the names Bryła and Biłas. The distinction is subtle and not consistent throughout the book.

The full record shown in the picture reads as follows.
Left column: "Gregorius Bonczak f. [filius, son of] Joanis Bonczak et Katar. Bryła".
Right column: "Anna Mazur f. [filia, daughter of] Simeonis M: et Anno Biłas"

What was the priest's name?

Silvester Miejski.