Indexing of metrical record sometimes brings real surprises. Recently from Janówka parish, which covered a large part of the Dowspuda Commune.
General Count Ludwik Michał Pac, the owner of the Dowspuda estate, settled colonists there, mainly from Anglo-Saxon countries, who often called the cultivated lands and their homes in such a way that they resembled their motherland. That’s why in metrical records from Janówka Parish such places as Scotland, Hawenlok or New York could be found. Some of them survived to this day, some disappeared from maps and documents.
Janówka, June 4, 1841. A young, 22-year-old lessee of the New York colony, Jakub (Jacob) Hay, together with Józef Baranowski, a farmer from Janówka, is comming to the presbitery to inform about the death of 3-year-old Anna Abramowicz, daughter of an unmarried Katarzyna, who performs various tasks in this colony.
The name of the colony indicates that Jakub or his parents were related to New York. It is doubtful that Count Pac would take them from there. Jakub rather came from England or Scotland, but perhaps he made a trip to New York which already was a big city and made a huge impression on him. Big enough to instil this name on Polish soil.
11 years earlier, on January 25, 1830, the family and friends of Wilhelm (William) Hay come to the same presbytery: his wife Krystyna (Cristine) Renwik together with their daughter Joanna, John Dexon and Mary Hawenlock, who in a moment will become godparents of the newborn child, and Wilhelm (William) Borm, who will be the witness of this ceremony. All colonists. It was recorded that Wilhelm lived by his brother at the colony of Korytki village.
Over 130 years later, history comes full circle. In 1973, David Hay and Jolanta Kurniewicz, my mother’s cousin, are getting married in Warsaw. They settle in New York (but not this one mentioned in the vital records from Janówka? ). The family of David Hay has a documented history dating back to the 17th century and has its roots in Scotland. I wonder if there is a chance to document the blood connection between the people mentioned here. I am also wondering if there are still descendants of the Hay line in the Janówka or Raczki commune. Maybe someday it will be settled.
Top drawing: A view of Broadway (between Howard and Grand Streets) in 1840. US Library of Congress.