Photo of the Week – Rodzina

Translated from Polish “rodzina” means family, and is pronounced roh-jeen-ah, with the beginning “r’ rolled. Many of our Polish photographs have only the word rodzina written on the back. This really doesn’t narrow down the choices! This photograph is from about 1915 and was taken in Carnegie, Allegheny County, PA and shows the wedding of Jan Satkiewicz (1892-1983) to Maria Bogusz. We have a restored picture of this wedding party without the crease in the middle, but I love the original. The antique sepia tone gives a warmth to the family scene.

Behind the wedding couple is Sophia Satkiewicz (1895-1987), who later married Jan Rozenek. She was the Kumoszka, pronounced koo-mawsh-kah, meaning Godmother, to the little girl, Mary Mirota, sitting on her father’s lap.  Godparents, called the “kumoszka i kumoter,” were considered as close as blood relatives.  Behind Mary’s parents, Jozef and Zofia Szczerba Mirota, is Jan’s other sister, Mary Satkiewicz (1891-1965); she later married Paul Szmek. She was the kumoszka of Mary’s brother, Joseph, not yet born in this picture. The other little children are Genevieve and Steven Mirota. I love the upside down smiles on the family. These aren’t scowls, but simply the shape of how their mouths naturally curved downwards. The Satkiewicz family was from Bruśnik, Malopolskie, Poland, and their parents were Appollonia Olszewski and Adalbert Satkiewicz.  They were closely related to Zofia Szczerba Mirota through her mother’s side, the Olszewski family, but at this time the relationship isn’t exactly known.

What is known is that these two families were true “rodzina” and stayed connected throughout the decades. After both families settled in western Pennsylvania from Poland in the early 1900s, they parted ways by 1920. The Mirota family moved to Hunterdon County, New Jersey and the Satkiewicz family moved to Cook County, Illinois. They wrote letters to each other, sent pictures of their children, attended weddings, and visited back and forth as time and circumstances permitted. The word “kumoszka” means not only godmother, but also the society of gossip – not in a negative way, but simply the culture of a close-knit family that shares news together.

Below is a photo of Sophia Satkiewicz Rozenek visiting with the Mirota family in the late 1930s. Here her arm is lovingly wrapped around her god-daughter, Mary Mirota, and she’s sitting next to Zofia Szczerba Mirota. Genevieve Mirota Lubas is holding her two young sons. The older boy looks so bored with the visit, and is seemingly held back by his mother from running off to play, while the picture was taken.

Here’s one more picture of the Satkiewicz family with the note that was written on the back. It is undated. Maybe someone can guess the decade by the clothing? Jan Satkiewicz is shown with his sister Sophia Rozenek, his other sister Mary Szmek, and his wife, Mary. The plural of the word rodzina is rodziny (pronounced roh-JEE-ni), meaning families, and hopefully our families will reconnect one day soon.

3 thoughts on “Photo of the Week – Rodzina

  1. Thanks for the sensible critique. Me and my neighbor were just preparing to do some research about this. We got a grab a book from our location library but I feel I learned far more from this post. I’m quite glad to see such amazing information being shared freely out there. 146144


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s