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  A Short History of the Diocese of Wloclawek

During the course of its history the Diocese of Wloclawek has undergone extensive and varied changes. These changes affected its name and even the seat of administrative power, making its history one of the most complicated and involved of all Poland's dioceses.

During the reign of the Piasts, the territory covered by the Diocese of Wloclawek belonged to the sole diocese existing on Polish soil at the time, the Diocese of Poznan. Shortly after, in the year 1000, when the first new dioceses were carved out of Polish territory, the area fell under the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Gniezno. The oldest settlements in the region, military forts, developed into the first population centers and subsequently the first parishes. In 1013, as a result of Polish-German wars, another reorganization became necessary, and the reigning monarch, Boleslaw Chrobry, and his son Mieczyslaw --the latter being the ruler of the Kujawy area -- financed the establishment of a new diocese which would include both Kujawy and some of the territory in Pomerania. The diocesan administrative center was established in Kruszewica. This diocese's life was not long, either, falling victim to civil war between Wladyslaw Herman and his sons Zbigniew and Boleslaw. Wladyslaw destroyed the town of Kruszewica and the diocese de facto ceased to exist. His successor, Boleslaw Krzywousty, gave preliminary indications that the diocesan center would be resurrected. In 1123, however, a general reform of the church organization began, the result of which was the creation of yet another new diocese with its administrative center in Wloclawek. Much of the territory of the old Kruszewica Diocese was incorporated into the new diocese, thus it was now more or less a territorial continuation of the former. During this period the official name of the diocese vacillated between "Diocese of Wloclawek," "Diocese of Kujawa" (the name of the region), as well as "Diocese of Kujawa and Pomerania," to indicate the latter region's belonging to the diocese as well. The word "Pomerania" was dropped later, during the time of the Teutonic Knights' reign in the region.

For the next seven centuries the name of the diocese did not change, but its territorial limits did. In the 1300's territory was lost to the Pomeranian dioceses, and in recompense the diocese was awarded small portions of its neighbor to the east, the Diocese of Plock. Many of the changes which followed in the 1600's and 1700's were relatively small, territorially, and were the result of the bishops' "trading" land. In 1639, for example, the parishes of Ciechocin, Nowogrod and Dobrzejewice were ceded to Wloclawek from Plock. Other negotiations in the mid 1700's created the Deanery of Wolborz, an island of land totally surrounded by the Archdiocese of Gniezno. These are but a few of the examples of this practice of territorial bartering, which was not uncommon in Europe.

The period of partitions upset the organizational and territorial integrity of the diocese. In 1772, in the first partition, the diocese lost most of its Pomeranian territory, and the Polish Court and the Holy See, along with diocesan authorities, actively sought to preserve the unity of the remainder of the diocese, to combat Prussian plans to annex even more territory administratively.

As a result of the second and third partitions, the "new" international frontiers between Russia and Prussia cut through the diocese's territory. The ultimate fate of what was to become of this territory was to be decided by Rome and the Partitioning Powers. In the early 1800's the latter were planning to eliminate the diocese completely. The expected elimination did not materialize, however, but the territorial limits of the diocese changed dramatically with the addition of 272 parishes from the Archdiocese of Gniezno, several from the Diocese of Poznan, and 11 parishes from the Diocese of Wroclaw. The name of the diocese was changed to Wloclawek-Kalisz, and as a result of the changes described here, the diocese became the largest in the "Kingdom of Poland."

The end of the 19th and the early 20th centuries witnessed a great increase of new church buildings, many of them imposing neo-Gothic structures, and some much too large and ostentatious vis-a-vis the needs and size of the various parishes. World War I put an end to new construction, and the post-war reorganization of Poland's dioceses once again changed the borders of Wloclawek diocese. Polish bishops negotiated, re-drew and re-formed plans for Poland's ecclesiastical future until 1925, when the new diocesan borders were finalized. The Wloclawek-Kalisz diocese, in the eyes of its leaders, "lost a great deal and gained very little." 50 parishes were ceded to the Diocese of Lodz, 123 parishes went to the new Diocese of Czestochowa, and minor territory to the Diocese of Plock. In other words, the Diocese lost approximately half of its population and territory.

World War II's brutality interrupted the placid interwar period. The territory of the Diocese of Wloclawek was annexed to the Third Reich. Persecution of all things Polish and of the clergy was intense. Of 432 priests serving in the diocese at the outbreak of the war, 224 perished, as well as the Bishop, Michal Kozal, who died in the Dachau concentration camp. Many churches were destroyed or desecrated. Reconstruction during the post-war period was a high priority of church officials.

In 1992 Poland once again reorganized its diocesan boundaries. (These changes are described in an earlier issue of this publication). But these changes will not affect the location of older vital records. The pre-1992 boundaries of the Diocese included parts of the following civil provinces: Wloclawek, Konin, Kalisz, Sieradz, plus small portions of the provinces of Plock, Torun, and Bydgoszcz.


Archival Holdings of Parishes in the Diocese of Wloclawek

Archival holdings are at the parish level. There may be other records at the Diocesan level or in the possession of the State Archive system and local civil Vital Statistics (USC) offices. Researchers should also check LDS microfilm holdings. B = Birth records, M = Marriage records, D = Death records. If only one date is given, it refers to the year of the earliest registers. In most of the parishes, the records are not complete. Expect gaps. Some notable gaps are indicated in this listing.

Aleksandrow Kuj. 1919, 1920, 1923-24, 1945-
 
Babiak 1918 (1940-1945 missing)
Badkowo BM 1868 D 1873
Bialkow 1876-1940, 1945-
Bialotarsk B 1878
Bierzwienna 1884
Blaszki B 1727-1755, 1807-1940, 1945-; M 1916-1940, 1945-; D 1751-
Blenna B 1882 M 1900 D 1886
Blizanow 1945
Bobrowniki 1910
Boleszczyn 1828
Boniewo 1878
Borkow B&D 1795 M 1797
Boryslawice 1870
Braszewice 1919
Brdow B 1872 M 1917 D 1781 (some earlier records starting 1713)
Brodnia B 1812 M 1809 D 1912
Broniewo 1908
Bronislaw 1945
Broniszewo B&M 1885 D 1849
Brudzew 1791 (1942-44 missing)
Brudzew Kaliski B 1790 M 1819 D 1796
Brzesc Kuj. 1945
Brzeziny 1920 (1934-39 and 1941-45 missing)
Brzeznio 1920 (no records 1939-45)
Budzislaw Kosc 1808
Burzenin B 1826 D&M 1830
Byczyna 1945
Byton 1800
 
Charlupia Mala 1910
Charlupia Wielka 1945
Chelmce B&M 1795 D 1808 (1941-44 missing)
Chelmica Duza 1917
Chelmno B 1900-23, 1931-39, 1945-; M&D 1945
Chlewo B 1882 M 1900 D 1895
Chocen B 1884 M 1904 D 1945
Chocz 1818
Chodecz B 1821 M 1808 D 1820
Chojne 1830
Chwalborzyce B 1887 M 1876 D 1901 (no records 1942-45)
Ciazen 1903-1939 (1924 missing), 1945-
Ciechocin 1910
Ciechocinek B 1918 M 1939-41, 1945- D 1918-32, 1940-
Cienin Kosc 1873
Czernikowo 1863
 
Dabie 1945
Dabie Kuj. 1945
Dabrowa Wielka 1830
Debe 1826
Debno Krolewskie B&M 1930 (1941-44 missing), D 1945
Deby Szlacheckie B 1916 (gaps), M&D 1945
Dobra 1945
Dobroslowo 1900
Dobrow 1945
Dobrzec B 1810 (1940-44 missing) M 1818 (1941-44 missing) D 1814
Dobrzejewice 1818-24; 1910-20; 1936- (also has parish records from Zlotoria: B 1618-33, 1687-1700, 1799-1818; M 1717-1802, 1800-1809; D1801-1818)
Druzbin 1890
Dzialyn 1939
Dzierzbin B 1924 M&D 1791
 
Galew 1920
Giewartow 1788 (1941-1944 missing)
Gizyce B 1869 M 1875 D 1898
Gluchow 1894
Godynice 1906
Godziesze Wielkie 1783
Golina B 1920 M&D 1945
Goliszew 1945
Gora B 1869 M 1884 D 1883 (no records 1940-45)
Goszczanow B 1862 M 1873 D 1877
Grabienice 1600's
Grabkowo B 1886 M 1893 D 1891
Grochowalsk 1910
Grochowy 1834
Grodziec 1834
Grodzisko 1888 (no records 1941-44)
Gruszczyce 1826 (1890-1903 missing)
Grzegorzew B 1873 (1941-1945 missing), M 1868 (1934-45 missing), D 1945-
Grzymiszew 1833
 
Iwanowice B 1802 M 1861 (1941-1945 missing) D 1870 (1942-1945 missing)
Izbica Kujawska B 1881 M 1875 D 1877
 
Janiszew 1868
Jeziorsko B 1916-29, 1931-40, 1945; M 1900-40, 1945; D 1808-25, 1884- 94, 1918-40, 1945
 
Kalinowa 1826
Kalisz (Assumption) B 1850 M&D 1796
Kalisz (St. Nicholas) B 1890 M 1872 D 1850
Kamionacz B 1900 (1939-45 missing), M&D 1945
Karnkowo 1910
Kawnice 1897
Kazimierz Biskupi 1794
Kikol B 1903 M 1917 D 1921
Kleczew 1884
Kliczkow Maly 1949
Klobie 1945
Klobka B 1876 M 1907 D 1876
Klodawa 1878 (1940-45 missing)
Klonowa B&M 1920 D 1838
Klotno 1945
Kokanin 1945
Koneck 1868
Konin (St. Adalbert) B 1888 M 1890 D 1885
Konin (St. Andrew) 1826
Konin (St. Bartholomew) mid 1800's
Korczew B 1854-86, 1916-; M&D 1945
Koscielec B 1878 M 1895 D 1889
Koscielec Kaliski 1945
Koscielna Wies Kaliska 1896
Koscielna Wies Kujawska 1945
Kosmow B 1877 M 1893 D 1888
Koszuty B 1818-1876, 1918-; M&D 1826-75, 1918-
Kowal 1674 (1941-44 missing)
Kowale Panskie 1900
Kowalewo 1945
Kozminek 1866
Kramsk 1800
Krolikow 1795-1816, 1945
Kruszyn 1873-1939; 1945
Krzymow 1877
Krzywosadz B 1830 M 1936 D 1945
Kuchary Kosc. 1910
 
Lad B 1916 M&D 1945
Ladek 1945
Lazyn 1920
Lichen Stary 1801
Lipie 1812-1872
Lipno 1900
Lisiec Wielki 1814
Liskow 1833
Lowiczek B 1882, M 1891, D 1915 (no records, BDM, 1940-1945)
Lubanie 1900
Lubien Kujawski B 1867 M 1856 D 1853
Lubomin B 1928 M&D 1945
Lubotyn B 1872 M 1895 D 1886
Lubraniec 1945
Lubstow 1869
Lubstowek 1936
 
Malyn 1947
Makolno B 1872 M 1868 D 1875
Makoszyn B 1909 M&D 1945
Malanow 1714
Mazowsze 1910
Milkowice 1908 (1939-44 missing)
Mlodojewo B&D 1826 M 1834 (all missing 1941-44)
Modzerowo B&D 1890 M 1898
Mysliborz B 1917, M 1927, D 1919
 
Niemyslow 1604 (no records 1941-46)
Nieszawa 1820
Niewiesz 1898 (no records 1941-1944)
Nowogrod 1912
 
Opatowek B 1825 M 1868 D 1894
Orle 1945
Osieciny 1945
Osiek nad Wisla 1947
Osiek Wielki B 1872 M 1870 D 1869
Ostrowas 1700's
Ostrowaz 1945
Ostrowite 1910
Ostrowite Slupeckie B 1870 M 1868 D 1813 (all missing 1941-44)
 
Pamiecin 1900
Peczniew B 1848 M 1868 D 1868
Piatek Wielki 1819
Pieczew 1945 (some older records 1880-1900; 1932-36)
Piotrkow Kuj. 1908
Polajewo 1939
Przedecz B 1873 M 1910 D 1900 (all missing 1940-44)
Przespolew 19th century
Psary 1734
Pyzdry B 1899 M 1868 D 1824
 
Raciazek 1700's
Raciecice B 1872 M 1868 D 1875
Radziejow 1868
Rajsko B 1795 M 1846 D 1816
Rossoszyca B 1910 (1940-45 missing), M&D 1945
Russocice 1871 (1942-44 missing)
Rychnow 1752
Rychwal 1869-85; 1945-
Rzgow 1886
 
Sadlno B 1936-40, 1945-; M 1916-41, 1945-; D 1940-41, 1945-
Samarzewo 1945
Sedzin 1920
Sieradz (All Saints) 1868
Sieradz (St. Adalbert) 1900
Siniarzewo B 1849 M 1868 D 1918
Skeczniew 1808
Skulsk (Nativity BVM) 1920
Slawsk 1900
Slesin 1870
Slupca B 1866, 1881-1939, 1945-; M 1865, 1868-1940, 1945-; D 1868-
1940, 1945-
Sluzewo B 1870 M 1865 D 1864 (all missing 1941-44)
Smilowice 1877
Smolnik B 1870 M 1881 D 1870
Sompolno 1849 (no B 1885-1893)
Spicmierz 1867
Stare Miasto 1873
Staw B 1796 M 1739 D 1739 (all with gaps)
Stawiszyn 1945
Stolec 1945
Straszewo 1814
Strzalkow 1945
Sumin 1921
Swierczyn 1922
Swinice Warckie B 1879 M 1826 D 1937
Szadek B 1900 M 1901 D 1923 (no records 1942-44)
Szpetal Gorny 1920
Szymanowice 1868
 
Tlokinia 1779 (1940-44 missing)
Tokary 1945
Trabczyn 1945
Trutowo 1910
Tubadzin 1877
Tuliszkow 1868
Turek 1920
Tykadlow 1826
 
Umien 1945
Uniejow 1819
Unikow B 1932 (1940-45 missing), M 1911 (1922-29 missing), D 1911 (1920-29 missing)
 
Waglczew 1945
Warta 1826
Wasosze B 1868 M 1868 D 1885
Wielenin B 1851-1940, 1945-; M 1881-1940, 1945-; D 1880-1940, 1945-
Wielgie 1910
Wieniec 1945
Wierzchy B 1875 M 1871 D 1871 (no records 1941-44)
Wilamow 1885 (no records 1941-45)
Wilczyn 1896
Witewo 1920
Wloclawek (St. John) 1900
Wloclawek (St. Stanislaus) 1922 (140-45 missing)
Wojkow 1867
Wola Pierowa 1945
Wroblew B 1920 M&D 1945
Wrzaca Wielka B 1873 M&D 1868
Wyszyna 1872
 
Zaduszniki B 1868-79, 1900; M&D 1900
Zadzim 1945
Zagorow 1800
Zakrzewo 1924 (1942-1944 missing)
Zbiersk 1945
Zbrachlin 1945
Zdunska Wola B 1909 M&D 1945
Zglowiaczka B 1925-39, 1945; D&M 1939-40, 1946-
Zloczew 1925
Zlotkow 1880
Zygry 1921

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