The Mirota family lived in Pławna, Poland since at least the 1700s and most likely much longer than that as peasants were usually tied to the land they were born on. The accessible records start with the 3rd Partition of Poland, when the territory was given to the Hapsburg Royal family (Austria). These records continue through the 1940s.  Most of the names are the latinized versions of (Polish) names commonly used by parish priests. First names in Poland are often chosen by the patron saint of that day, or a saint’s day in close proximity.

This Mirota family was recorded under “House number 4, Pławna” in the Roman Catholic Church records for Tarnow district.

The earliest record we found for this family in House #4 was Joannes (Jan) Mirota, who died on 21 January 1795. His age was noted as 70, so born circa 1725.

Joannes Mirota and his unnamed wife had at least one child. Jozef Mirota, who continued to live at House #4. We estimate Jozef Mirota was born about 1758 based on his age. also 70, on at his death August 13, 1828. 

Jozef Mirota married Catherine Skzbosc. Her birth date is not known, she died on 4 November 1828. They had at least six children whose baptism records we have found. 

1. Margarita Mirota was born 20 May 1789. 

2. Sebastian Mirota was born 11 January 1790.

3. Francisca Mirota was born 9 March 1791. She was not quite 3 years old when she died on 4 February 1794.

4. Marianna Mirota was born 14 March 1793. She died the same year. 

5, Adalbert (Wojciech) Mirota was born 14 April 1794.

On 7 February 1821 Adalbert married Salome Ksiazek (b. circa 1792), the daughter of Christophe Ksiazek and Marianne Ligęsa.  Salome and Adalbert Mirota had at least two children. Agnes Mirota who was born in January 1823 and died the same month and Magdalena Mirota who was born on 4 July 1826. 

6. Martin Mirota was born 27 October 1796. Martin Mirota was married four times prior to his death at the age of 71 on 30 November 1867 in House #4.

Martin Mirota married Marianna Bochenek on 4 November 1823.

Marianna Bochenek was born in Pławna on 11 November 1802. Marianna was the daughter of Michael Bochenek (b. ca, 1771) and his wife Francisca Dziubanic (b. ca. 1773) who had been married on 7 January 1797 in the neighboring village of Zborowice. Marianna died prior to 1836 based on the date of Martin Mirota’s second marriage. 

Marianna Bochenek and Martin Mirota  had five children.  All born and baptized in Pławna. Catarina Mirota was born in 1826.Magdalena Mirota was born 7 June 1828. Magdalena married Mathias Czab of Pławna. The parents of Mathias were Sebastian Czab and Margaretha Kumo. Magdalena and Mathias had at least one child, named Marianna Czab born 3 Feb 1852.  Magadelena died in her 75th year on 4 January 1904.Francisca Mirota was born 18 Feb 1831.Adalbertus.Mirota was born 7 April 1833. ​Jacob Mirota was born 22 July 1835. He married Małgorzata Tabiś 28 October 1863 in her parish in Zborowice. As this couple’s family is researched more extensively than the others, a separate section will be used for them. Jacob Mirota died 18 December 1904. 
​After Marianna’s death Martin Mirota married Lucia Urban of Plawna on 24 January 1836. Lucia was born circa 1802. Her parents were Joseph and Catherine (surname unknown) Urban.  Lucia died prior to July 1854. Martin Mirota and Lucia Urban had two children. Anna Mirota born 17 May 1836. Marianna Mirota born 6 April 1840.

Martin yet again married on 20 July 1854, this time to Apolonia “Pauline” Majcher, daughter of Joannis Majcher and Franciska Gasior. Apolonia died on 21 January 1867. Martin Mirota and Apolonia Majcher had two sons. Jozef Mirota born 30 May 1856 who died at the age of 4 on 19 November 1860. Andreas Mirota born 10 November 1857 and died 11 December 1857. 
In August 1867 Martin married a fourth and final time. His last wife was Franciska Rudczonka.  ​Parents names unknown. They did not have any children together.

Martin Mirota died a few months later, on 30 November 1867 in house #4.
He was 71.

Jacob Mirota born 22 July 1835. He married Małgorzata Tabiś daughter of Antonin Tabiś  and Agnes Gucwa  on ​28 OCT 1863. Another extensive “chapter” will be written about the Tabiś and Gucwa families of Zborowice and Pławna as soon as possible. Briefly, Małgorzata Tabiś was born on 1 May 1844 in Zborowice. She died 20 February 1927 in Pławna. 

Jacob Mirota and Małgorzata Tabiś were blessed with nine children.

1. Thomas Mirota born 8 December 1864. We believe Thomas Mirota is the son who emigrated to Brazil, probably living in Sao Paulo. His brother Jozef Mirota who emigrated to the United States sent money to him in South America so that he could next emigrate to America. He never came. When Jozef finally stopped sending him money, Thomas stopped writing. There is a Mirota family living in Sao Paulo who might be his descendants.  Perhaps some day they will take a DNA test and then we’ll know for sure.  We do not know when Thomas died. We think his wife’s name was Maria Garcia, and she was either Brazilian or a Pole who had also emigrated to Brazil.  They may have had a son named Geraldo de Assis Mirota. This is purely speculation on my part. 

2. Marie Mirota was born 4 January 1867. She died 15 November 1942.  We do not believe she was married. She lived in the family house #4. 

3. An unnamed child was born on 17 November 1871. The child died 22 June 1872.  He was a twin of Agatha Mirota. 

4. Agatha Mirota born 17 November 1871 died on 15 September 1902. She also was not married. 

5. Piotr Pawel Mirota born 17 May 1875. He married circa 1899 to Agatha Rafa who as born about 1876 (parents names unknown). They had six children together. Piotr Pawel Mirota died 13 May 1908. His wife Agatha Rafa died a few months later giving birth to their final child on 30 December 1908. Their children were:

Catharina Mirota born 4 April 1901. 

Stanislaus Mirota born 18 November 1902. Married Stephanie Krollanska (or Krollowski) 30 June 1923. Her parents were Jacob Krollowski and Rosalie Zielinski.  Stephanie was born in Strozńa circa 1902. Stephanie died 12 June 1990 at the age of 88. She is buried in the Municipal Cemetery in Zborowice.  They had two children, Ladislava Mirota was was born 25 November 1926 in Pławna. She married a Zielinski (first name was not legible in the record) on 7 April 1945. The second child Hedwig Mirota was born about 1928 and has a marriage record, her husband’s first name was Joannis, his surname was unreadable. 

Lucilla Mirota born 3 June 1906. She most likely did not survive infancy. 

Marianna Mirota born about 1903. Died 26 July 1904 about 1 year old.

Adam Mirota born and died on 1 July 1907.

Unamed child born and died on 30 December 1908.

6. Magdalena Mirota was born about 1879. She was probably unmarried. She died on 3 December 1919. 

7. Julia MIrota born 15 September 1879. Julia had a son born out of wedlock, named Ambroże who was born 16 November 1903. We believe Ambroźe remained in Poland. Julia Mirota emigrated from Poland alone arriving in New York on 25 June 1912 on the S. S. Rotterdam, sailing from Rotterdam. She was 32, could not read or write. Her occupation was farm laborer. She lists her mother as the person she was coming from. The person she was going to was her brother Jozef Mirota, Box 41, Cherry Valley, PA. She was 5′ tall, blonde, blue eyes. Her brother paid her passenger fare. When searching marriage records for her we came across two marriage licenses. She did not marry the first one so that was not a good match probably for either. Six months later on 17 November 1913 in Cherry Valley, PA she married Jozef Bozicevic, son of Mike and Luisa (surname unknown) Bozicevic. Jozef Bozicevic was born 14 February 1897 in Stradnik, Croatia (at the time also part of the Austrian empire under the Hapsburg regime). They lived in Joffre, PA, then moved to Brooke, West Virginia. Jozef Bozicevic filed for citizenship on 12 Apr 1923. At that time he declared his wife’s name was Julia. More to follow.

8. Jozef Piotr Mirota was born 26 April 1882.

Jozef Piotr Mirota served in the Austrian Army circa 1902-1906. Based on the uniform and medallion on his uniform, André Szczerba was able to determine that the regiment was from the nearby town of Nowy Sacz, Malopolskie, Poland. The regiment was IR Nr. 20 Neu Sandez (Nowy Sacz); 3d Battalion of 20th Infantry Regiment.

Unsettling times: The Revolution of 1905 – 1907 in the Kingdom of Poland.

As all Polish men could be called back to serve again in the Austrian army at any time, many left Poland as soon as they could. Jozef was very much afraid that with the unrest in Poland and Eastern Europe that was a very real possibility for him. Perhaps he had saved some army pay for his rail ticket to Hamburg and his ocean voyage to America in steerage. He left his beloved homeland and family in order to survive and have a better life. 

I think it’s important to remember that around this time immigrants such as Jozef did not enter the country with a “green card” or any other formal paperwork. They just came to work and were allowed to enter. Sometimes they stayed and filed for citizenship. Sometimes they lived as cheaply as they could and sent most of their paychecks to wives, children and parents back home, fully intending to return to the old country as soon as they met their goals. I don’t know what Jozef’s initial intent was. He did not file naturalization papers until much, much later. He undoubtedly sent money home as he definitely sent money to his brother in Brazil for transport to the US until he realized that his brother was not going to come to the US after all.  

Jozef Piotr Mirota emigrated from Poland going through Hamburg, sailing on the Hamburg line S. S. Patricia on 10 November 1906. The ship arrived at Ellis Island, New York City on 24 November 1906. From there he most likely took a ferry to New Jersey and a train to Pittsburg.  He was 25, traveling with Jakub Rafa, also 25 who was most likely a cousin of his, from a neighboring village of Sęziszowa. Jakub was 5’5″, darker skin, brown hair and brown eyes, a mole on his face, and he could not read or write.  Jozef could read and write (Polish) , he was 5’6″, fair skin, blonde hair, blue eyes. They were both going to Cherry Valley, PA to a friend from Pławna, Michael Popiela.  Paying jobs were to be had in the coals mines. Jozef was not keen on working in a coal mine, but it gave him the opportunity to save enough money to start a family and to buy his own small farm a few years later.

Jozef’s job, like many newcomers in the mines, turned out to be “fireman,” which meant instead of running away from the fires you stayed underground to put out the fires. He knew if he didn’t save enough money to buy a farm he would die in a fire in the mine shaft some day. That was incentive enough to save every penny he could. 

On 17 February 1909 Jozef Mirota married Zofia Szczerba in Carnegie, PA. Zofia was from a nearby village of Berdechow au Bobowa, but they did not know each other prior to their marriage. We are pretty sure it was an arranged marriage through a matchmaker and that they barely knew each other on their marriage day. Zofia was born on 5 February 1879 to Peter Szczerba and Paulina Olszewska. (The Szczerba family will be another family chapter for the Genealogy Sisters!) Zofia Szczerba had sailed alone from Bremen, Germany on the S.S. Rhein, arriving in the port of Baltimore, MD on 22 June 1906. She was 26, her occupation was servant, she was going to Carnegie PA to her cousin Teresa Motyka. Zofia paid her own passage. She had $12.00 in her possession. The record said she could neither read nor write, but as we discovered, she could read and write in the Polish language, so maybe they meant in English.

Someone said Jozef’s mother was a teacher, but we aren’t sure of that. We do know that he could both read and write in Polish. He read the Polish newspaper faithfully and that is how he came to notice the advertisement (written in Polish to attract the immigrants) for a 15 acre farm in Whitehouse Station, Hunterdon County, New Jersey. The town was on the Central New Jersey Railroad line, making it easy for him to travel there from the railway station in Pittsburg. He secured a loan, a balloon mortgage, that required the full amount to be paid by 1920. In all, he lived in Cherry Valley for around 14 years. When the family left for New Jersey they left their relatives behind again. Along with the Wasik family in Pennsylvania other family members were now living in Chicago, Illinois.

Jozef Mirota and Zofia Szczerba had four children, all born in Cherry Valley, PA. They will be the subject of other family chapters (as yet unwritten). Their names were Genevieve Mirota (1909-1978), Stephen William Mirota (1911-1990), Mary Mirota (1913-1969), and Joseph Eugene Mirota (1917-1981). 

​(Guide to Polish Newspapers in America https://conservancy.umn.edu/bitstream/handle/11299/196301/AGuidetoPolishAmericanNewspapersandPeriodicalsinMicroformOCR.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y