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Krew [Royal Blood]
Reviewed by William F. Hoffman, PGSA August 1998 Rodziny
Last August, Zysk i S - ka, Poznan published a fascinating new book,
Krolewska krew [Royal Blood], by long-time PGSA member Rafal T.
Prinke of Poznan and his colleague Andrzej Sikorski. On his Website, Prinke
says the book " traces the descendants of three Polish 'gateways'
to royal ancestors: Venceslaus duke of Raciborz (d. 1456), Juliana princess
of Twer (d. 1392), and Zwinislawa princess of Eastern Pomerania. The time
limit is set roughly to the mid- 17th century and the descendants include
over 5,000 Poles living until that time. Additionally, there are over
1,500 ancestors of those three key persons. The layout for the descendants
is Modified Register, while that for ancestors is the standard de Sosa?Kekule
scheme. ISBN 83-7150-254-0, 288 pp., size B-5, pb, bibliography, index.
The most intriguing thing about the book is the claim made on the back
cover that "the authors prove that the majority of Poles living today
descend on the distaff side from Mieszko I, and also from such medieval
European rulers as Charlemagne, William the Conqueror, Gedymin and St.
Wlodzimierz." Prinke said in a recent posting to the Genpol on-line
forum, "It is quite probable-as indicated by Andrzej Sikorski and
myself in our recent book?that all Poles living today are descendants
with some royal blood. But to prove it with historical evidence is a different
matter. Both Andrzej and I have done that for our children but via our
wives. In other words, our children are direct descendants of Mieszko
The book consists mainly of extensive numbered lists of various nobles
by generation, giving available information on their dates of birth and
death, spouses, children, and positions held, with reference to the entry
numbers under which their ancestors and descendants are listed. The authors
compiled this information from a variety of sources? archival materials,
recent research, armorials, etc.
To be specific, the introduction is followed, on pp. 26-76, by a list
of descendants of Waclaw (Venceslaus), duke of Raciborz, of the Premyslid
dynasty; then on pp. 77-112 appear those of Zwinislawa, princess of Pomerania;
next come those of Juliana, princess of Twer, pp. 113-181. A list of the
ancestors of Waclaw, including all Juliana's ancestors and some of Zwinislawa's,
appears on pp. 182-229. Brief appendices trace the genealogy of the authors'
sons, Jan Sikorski and Michal and Stanislaw Prinke, back to Waclaw and
Zwinislawa. The book concludes with a bibliography and an index of the
ancestors and descendants listed in the book. (By the way, in my humble
opinion a good index and bibliography easily double the value of any work
such as this-if there's no index, I won't buy it!).
To assess this book's value, one needs enough knowledge of the sources
used to evaluate their reliability-and I have no claim to such knowledge.
Clearly, if the sources are reliable and used properly, the information
in the book is correct and its conclusions indisputable; if the sources
or their application are questionable, then the whole thing falls apart.
I lack the expertise necessary to make such a determination, but my experience
with the work of both Prinke and Sikorski gives me a certain confidence
in their objectivity and desire to do things in a scholarly way. We all
err, but a scholarly approach means people can check your work. Even if
researchers subsequently refute some basic point of this book, it will
continue to have value because most of the information will still be valid,
and it will be possible to distinguish the reliable data from the errors.
Members of the PGSA, of course, want to know if this book is worth tracking
down and buying. If you cannot trace your lines back at least to the 1700's,
or have no interest in the nobility, it is of no real use to you. If your
research has taken you back to the 1700's or earlier, and if you have
reason to think some of your ancestors were noble, this book might be
worth a look. And remember: if Prinke and Sikorski are right, virtually
all of us do have some noble blood! The hard part would be tracing our
lines back far enough to find the connection. That both the authors were
able to do so should give us some encouragement, however.
Krolewska krew is, of course, in Polish, but the entries are not hard
to understand with a good dictionary and reference to the definitions
of symbols and abbreviations on page 23.
The publisher does not fill individual orders, so the book will not be
easy to find. PGSA member David Zincavage reports that he bought a copy
from PTvN Polish Bookstore, 135A India St., Brooklyn, NY 11222, 800-277-0407.