Titled Families of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
by Michael Subritzky-Kusza Ct, PNA.
This paper is presented for interest in Polish history
and genealogy. Please be aware of the fact that the nominal roll as it
appears currently does not show the 'coat of arms' name. That means that
even if your own family surname appears in this roll it does not make
you a Duke or Prince. Many Polish families do share the exact same surname,
but not all of those surnames were nobility (szlachta), nor were the families
necessarily related. Please be aware of this; as many Polish nobility
surname were eroded, altered or destroyed during the 19th century, especially
in such places as Ellis Island in the United States. The only way to establish
a link to any of the titled families shown here is to first confirm the
noble status of your own forebears; and this is done by name, region and
direct descent in a legitimate family line.
The Polish system of nobility was based on the principles
of equality amongst an exclusive caste of peers, who had forged their
bonds of brotherhood upon the battlefields of Eastern Europe. Bravery
and valour were the measure of the Polish knight (szlachta), and this
was immediately recognised by his noble surname and also his right to
bear a coat of arms. The Polish warrior knights held strenuously to the
belief that all knights were equal, and the ancient Polish code of chivalry
forbade the bearing of titles and rejected with disdain the formulation
of chivalric orders which served only to create division and give special
recognition to certain individuals within the greater body of the nobility.
The nobility of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth came
to number approximately forty thousand families, using about seven thousand
coats of arms; and variations. The reason that there are so few actual
coats of arms is that at various periods in the nations history when a
Pole was enobled for valour, if he did not posess a link with any noble
family then the King himself gave him the exclusive right to his (the
Kings) personal family arms, virtually admitting the knight into his own
The nobility of Poland emerged in one of three ways:
1. Raising to
the nobility (enoblement in the pure form).
to arms by already extant families (adoption).
3. Addition to
the roll of Polish nobility of foreign noble families (naturalization).
Naturalized families were in the main persucuted Scots and Irish catholics
whose arms were western in origin.
As previously stated the nobility of the Polish-Lithuanian
Commonwealth shunned the establishment of chivalric orders and also the
conferral of titles which created an organisation of precedence among
a group of equals. The Old nobility of Poland zealously guarded the principle
of equality with very few exceptions. The majority of titles obtained
by Polish families are foreign in origin and as there are so few, these
families can be listed and dated quite accurately.
In ancient Poland, the only title that existed was that
of 'Prince' from the various dynastic lines of the Piast and Jagiellon
families. As well as these dynastic titles, three families were created
Princes by the Polish Diet (parliment), one family (Zajaczkowki) was created
Prince by Czar Alexander I in his capacity as King of Poland, one Lithuanian
family (Borkowski) received the title of Prince through the Polish fiefdom
of Samogitia, and a further five families received the title of Prince
from the Holy Roman Empire.
They are as follows:
PRINCE (Polish Families)
|| Holy Roman Empire
|| Holy Roman Empire
|| Holy Roman Empire
|| Holy Roman Empire
|| Holy Roman Empire
PRINCE (Lithuanian Families)
There is one Polish family that was confirmed by right
of primogeniture with the title of Margrave:
Only one Polish family was ever conferred with the title
of Count by the Polish Diet:
At the time of the final partition of Poland in 1795,
there were only eight families who held a foreign title of Count, from
various fonts of honour. They are as follows:
Butler (1651), Krasicki (1631), Latalski (1538), Moszynski
(1730), Przerembski (1637), Sokolnicki (1683), Tarnowski (1547), Wieloposki
After the partitions the following Polish families received
titles from a variety of fonts of honour of the various foreign monarchies
and states that existed at the time, they are:
COUNT (Papal Title)
Brzozowski* (1897), Czonowski* (1897), Koczorowski* (1871),
Kurnatowski* (1902), Lasocki* (1869).
Note: All Papal titles are passed on by primogeniture.
COUNT (Holy Roman Empire and Austria)
Badeni (1846), Baworowski (1779), Bielski (1895), Bobrowski
(1800), Borch (1783), Dunin-Borkowski (1819), Choloniewski (1798), Debicki
(1789), Drohojowski (1783), Dzieduszycki (1776), Goluchowski (1783), Dzieduszycki
(1776), Goluchowski (1783), Jablonowski-Grzymala (1779), Jezierski (1801),
Kalinowski (1818), Komorowski-Korczak (1793), Konarski (1783), Korytowski
(1893), Koziebrodzki (1781), Krasicki (1631), Ledochowski (1800), Lubieniecki
(1783), Los (1783), Michalowski (1885), Morsztyn (1915), Osiecimski-Czapski
(1907), Ostorog (1783), Pininski (1780), Potocki (1777), Rey (1806), Romer
(1818), Rozwadowski (1783), Russocki (1800), Rzyszczewski (1845), Siemienski-Lewicki
(1779), Sierakowski (1775), Skarbek (1778), Stadnicki (1783), Starzenski
(1780), Szeptycki (1871), Tarnowski (1547), Wielhorski (1787), Wielopolski
(1656), Wisniewski (1876), Wodzicki (1799), Wolanski (1886), Zabielski
(1808), Zabiello (1888), Zaleski (1913), Zaluski (1776), Zamoyski (1778),
Bninski (1798), Czapski (1804), Czarnecki* (1854), Drambski
(1825), Grabowski-Topor (1816), Gurowski (1787), Krasinski (1798), Kwilecki
(1816), Lubienski (1798), Miaczynski (1853), Mielzynski (1786), Mycielski
(1822), Ostrowski (1798), Poninski (1782), Potulicki (1780), Raczynski
(1824), Skorzewski* (1840), Sokolnicki (1817), Szembek (1816), Taczanowski/Dassanowsky*
(1857), Zoltowski* (1840).
Note: * Those families with an asterisk following
the surname received titles that are passed on by primogeniture.
Czacki (1897), Grocholski (1881), Kaszowski-Ilinski (1902),
Kossakowski (1843), Mostowski (1843), Moszczenski (1856), Ostorog-Wolski
(1903), Ozarowski (1838), Plater (1774), Ronikier (1850), Tyszkiewicz
Breza (1889), Suminski (1870).
Note: This title is passed on by primogeniture.
The title of Baron appears amongst Polish families only
after the year of Our Lord 1780. Those families that hold the title of
Baron are as follows:
Blazowski (1780), Borowski-Jastrebiec (1808), Chledowski
(1884), Dulksi (1782), Gostowski (1782), Heydel (1826), Horoch (1791),
Chlapowski* (1811), Skarzynsi* (1814).
Note: These French titles are passed on by primogeniture.
Puszet (1826), Kosinski (1836)
This then is the complete list of titled families of
the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and as can reasonably expected a number
of these families are now extinct. This list is complete only to the year
of Our Lord 1918, and it does not include those 'adopted' titles that
are used by a similar number of Polish noble families. At the present
time the Russian College is embarking on a major publication known as
"THE GOLDEN BOOK OF THE WORLDS NOBILITY" which hopes to include
those titles received by Polish and Lithuanian noblemen in the 20th century.
Those families shown with an asterisk following the surname
received titles that are passed on only to the eldest child and this includes
all Papal titles. Most of the other titles shown are inherited by all
children; daughters lose their right to a title upon marriage but acquire
any titles held by their husband.
In conclusion, the titled families of the Commonwealth
of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania number twenty-six
Princes, one Margrave, ninety-nine Counts and thirteen Barons. (This
information was taken from the Konarski booklet, 0 Heraldyce i Heraldycznym
pgs28 - 35, under the heading Tytuly and was very kindly translated by Chevalier Leonard J. Suligowski).
Nobility Association (Founded 1918) - Celebrating over 75
years as a continuing Nobility/Heraldry organization in the lands which
make up the Polish/Lithuanian Commonwealth.
This paper was presented with the kind permission of
Prince Roger Chylinski-Polubinski, from the archives of the
Polish Nobility Association.