Persons related to Chopin Persons related to Chopin

Antonina Krzyżanowska

Antonina Krzyżanowska

*między 1737 a 1753, †po 1805

Antonina Krzyżanowska (born Kołomińska) was first identified as Fryderyk Chopin's maternal grandmother on the basis of the death certificate of her younger daughter Justyna, Chopin's mother. Subsequent source studies, mostly focusing on the life of her husband Jakub Krzyżanowski in the Kuyavia region, have shed some light onto her life. She was born between 1737 and 1753, and most probably in the 1740s. Her family name was variously spelled "Kołomińska", "Kołomenska", "Kołomyjska" and "Kołomyska". Her origins have not been established; there existed a Kołomyjski family from Kołomyja in the Zambrów district (of Cholewa and Ossoria coat of arms), another family of the same name, probably originating from the Łomża area (of Prus I coat of arms), and a Kołomyski family from Kołomyckie in Lithuania (of Niezgoda coat of arms). A Kołomiński family of unknown origin also appeared at that time in northern Greater Poland in the Gostynin district, i.e. just east of Kuyavia. Until recently it has been widely accepted that Antonina first arrived in Izbica in 1760 with Konstancja Bruchentalówna, second wife of this estate's manager and Inowrocław governor Jan Skarbek, but that seems unlikely. Antonina's close relative would have been Ignacy Kołomiński, resident in Warsaw's New Town at 1899 Przyrynek St., who died between 1790 and 1792 (Mikołaj and Justyna Chopin lived in that house in 1808 and their eldest daughter Ludwika was probably born there).

Antonina first appears in sources at the beginning of March 1761, when together with Jan Skarbek from Sarnów she acts as godmother to a townman‘s child at a christening in Nowa Izbica. She was then single and was recorded under her own name, spelled Kołomeńska, and as a noblewoman („generosa"). For the following 13 years there is no record of Antonina. Perhaps she resided outside the Izbica parish, since it is during this period that she married Jakub Krzyżanowski in an unknown place (probably in the town of residence of her parents). Antonina is next mentioned in population records on 4th September 1774 when she acted as godmother to several children of townspeople from the nearby hamlet of Grochowiska. We have further records of her activities as godmother in the Izbica parish for the years 1774, 1778, 1779, 1785, 1786, 1788, 1793, 1794, 1797 (twice) and 1798 (twice). She last acted as godmother in Izbica on 24th September 1798 for the child of the Dzięgielewski family from Skaszyn.

We do not know what Antonina was doing while her husband worked for the Skarbeks. But in 1772 Antonina and Jakub asked the owner of Izbica, Inowrocław governess Konstancja Skarbek (born Bruchental), to be repaid their debts, and in 1775 Antonina received 1016 silver tymfs and 20 grosze, while Jakub only received 405 tynfs and 27 grosze, meaning that their debts were kept separate and Antonina's exceeded that of Jakub three times. The document mentions „separate wages", indicating that Antonina was actively working at the estate. We do not know what this work consisted of, but the debt clearly originated in the period before governor Jan Skarbek's death in 1772. Such disproportion between pending wages might indicate a longer period of Antonina's employment with the Skarbeks compared to Jakub's.

Throughout their marriage Antonina followed her husband in his many changes of residence (which are discussed in Jakub's biographical entry on this site). Together with her family she was a witness, and often also a victim, of various historical events in Izbica (wars, fires, neighbourhood violence etc.). A few months after giving birth to her daughter Justyna, she was expelled by the Skarbeks from her house and estate in Długie and forced to move to another hamlet, suffering losses in crops, as confirmed by a court case for compensation she filed against the Skarbeks.

Antonina outlived her husband and died after 1805, as documented by Jakub's death certificate. Her final years have not been documented; she probably moved with the family of her elder daughter Marianna Bielska.

We know of three children of Antonina and Jakub Krzyżanowscy: Wincenty, Marianna and Justyna, but there were probably more. Their only son Wincenty Fereriusz was born at the Izbica estate in 1775 and was christened there on April 5th. Wincenty died before 1805, and probably much earlier, while still a child. The couple's elder daughter Marianna Rozalia Regina was born in Sarnów in 1780 and was christened on September 2nd that year in Izbica. Marianna lived with her parents until May 9th, 1802 when she married Leon Bielski (his supposed brother Adolf was married to Zofia Skarbek, which led various authors to presume a family connection between the Krzyżanowski and Chopin families with the Skarbeks) in Brdów. Their daughter Zuzanna Bielska (ca. 1804-1869) was living with the Chopins in Warsaw in the 1820s and is documented in their correspondence.

 The later life of Marianna Bielska and her family have not yet been documented. After getting married she probably moved out of Kuyavia, since population records from that area bear no further mention of her. Her widow mother Antonina probably followed her.

 Antonina's and Jakub's second daughter, Tekla Justyna (1782-1861), was married to Mikołaj Chopin and mother to Fryderyk.

Piotr Mysłakowski and Andrzej Sikorski (January 2006)

Bibliography
Andrzej Sikorski, Piotr Mysłakowski, Rodzina matki Chopina. Mity i rzeczywistość [The Family of Chopin's Mother. Myths and Reality], Warszawa 2000.
Piotr Mysłakowski, Andrzej Sikorski, Chopinowie. Krąg rodzinno-towarzyski [The Chopins. Their Family and Social Circle], Warszawa 2005.

 

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