Polish Language Blog

Bobrowniki Wielkie Posted by on Jul 14, 2008 in Uncategorized

One of the readers, Ed, had a question about a village called Bobrowniki Wielkie, located somewhere near Tarnów. Ed’s mother was born in Bobrowniki and he wanted to know more about the place. Initially, I was stumped, I never heard of it myself. But no worries, after a bit of searching, I found some info.

Bobrowniki Wielkie via Google Maps

Bobrowniki Wielkie via Google Maps

I was surprised to learn that the village still existed, in the same place nearby Tarnów where it had been for centuries, and with the same name today as back in the olden days. What were the odds of that? Huh? But that’s not all! I even found a whole web page dedicated to the village of Bobrowniki Wielkie. Now, what are the odds of THAT? There’s a wee little village in Poland, it has all of 700 residents and one of them decides to set up a web page! Lucky for us!

Unfortunately, the page is in Polish only, so you will be stuck reading my English summary.

Let’s start with the name – Bobrowniki Wielkie. Back in the medieval ages, the inhabitants of the village used to raise and trap beavers. Yep, beavers, those furry little mammals with big teeth, who like to construct dams on rivers and streams. And the river nearby the village is the Dunajec. A quite famous river in its own right, mostly for the Dunajec Gorge. But that’s a bit further south from Bobrowniki Wielkie, though I’m sure the river by the village is also lovely.

So, the first part of the name came from the word “bóbr”, meaning “beaver”.
The adjective “wielkie” is the plural form of “wielki” and it means big, grand, large.
There you have it, the name of the village used to mean a “grand beaver dwelling place”, or something equally exciting. These days, according to its website, the village is far from grand. It’s a small, quiet locale free from beavers – they were hunted to near extinction.

It’s an old village, the first mention of it comes from 1387. I’m not sure about the subsequent mentions, but it seems the place has managed to stay in relative obscurity since then.

I have contacted the guy who runs the Bobrowniki website, and if and when I get an answer, I will ask him a few questions, borrow a few photos and then hopefully, I’ll be able to tell you some exciting things about this village.

For now, we have to make do with these exciting words instead:

  • bóbr (Castor fiber in Latin, noun, masculine, plural: bobry) = beaver
  • wielki (adjective, singular, masculine),
  • wielka (feminine, singular),
  • wielkie (neuter, singular),
  • wielcy (masc. plural) and finally, the last one
  • wielkie (fem. and neuter, plural) = big, large, grand in size.

Even though the neuter singular form and the feminine plural form look the same in this example, I listed them separately, because they decline differently. Oh, yes, they decline! But you knew that already, right?

Uhmmm… I see that my next post should be about adjectives!

PS. The very nice gentleman from Bobrowniki, Mr. Panek just wrote back and invited everyone to take a closer look at his village. Here is his website.

Because it’s in Polish, here are some basic directions as to where to click. In the menu on the left, the items are as follow:

– The main page
– Where it is
– History
– Life in the village – a photo gallery – definitely worth a click to see pictures from Dożynki (harvest festival)
– Interesting places nearby
– Chapels and roadside crosses
– Voluntary Fire Dept.
– Photo gallery


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  1. Ed:

    Thank you Anna, I enjoyed your response to my request for Bobrowniki Wielkie.I would like to ask Mr. Panek to see if there are any Ujek families there.I do not write or speak Polish.I also would like to fine away to get any birth records from 1892.

  2. Anna:

    Hi Ed!
    I emailed Mr. Panek, and let’s see what he can tell us! 🙂

  3. Ed:

    Hi Anna,
    I visited Mr. Panek website, its is very interesting and informative,I ejoyed it very much. Thank you for the lead.
    I also contacted him in English and he responded and willing to help. I am also happy that I found your website it has been helpful .Thank you again and good luck..Ed

  4. Anna:

    Hi Ed!
    Excellent! I’m so glad I could help! Good luck with your search! 🙂

  5. Gail Fusco:

    I have been doing a paternal genealogy search for several years now. I have many documents; birth, marriage and death from my ancestors in Poland, but have never been able to locate a birth certificate for my grandmother. I do have her marriage certificate and the ships manifest from 1907 of her arrival in the U.S. She was born in Jordanowo. I know there are two and hers is the one located in the £abiszyn area, Poznan province. I have written to the church where the marriage certif. was located in Chomêtowo, the Civil Registration office in Labiszyn, the archives in Gnezno, Poznan and Bydgoszcz..no record. Do you have any idea what archives might hold these records. I do not know anything about Jordanowo if it may have a Civil Registration Office in that village. Any information you can supply will be greatly appreciated. Thank you Gail

  6. Anna:

    Hi Gail,
    Thank you for your comment!
    I’ll see what I can do, I have some friends who live in that area. I don’t want to sound discouraging, but please remember that many, and in some cases ALL records in certain areas were destroyed during WW2.

  7. Jennifer Bacia:

    My father was born in Bobrowniki and his descendants are still there. He was an officer in the Polish army but died in 1969 before I could ask much about our past. I live in Australia and have visited Poland half a dozen times but no one in the family could really explain the origins of our name that seems more Italian than Polish. One cousin told me that our grandfather once mentioned that 5oo years before, during the Hussite Movement, Bacias moved north from Italy as the movement was a rebellion against the infallibility of the Pope. Is there any suggestion anyone can give me how to find out more about our name and its origin? There is very little on Italian sites although I did find a village in northern Italy where there appeared to be two families of that name. Hope to hear from someone as I am very interested in my origins.

  8. Arturo Elias Valbuena:

    Hi there!! I was in that beatifull town in 2007. My father and mother in law live in Bobrowniki ,I’m form Venezuela. Viva Polonia!!!

  9. Barbara:

    Very nice information. Thankyou.
    I am interested in a town that was called Biebersdorf prior to WWII and then given to Poland and renamed Bobrowniki.Closeby was another village called Hartau. After WWII was given to Poland. Do you know if I am in the right area. My GGrandparents lived in Hartau ( near Bad Salzbrunn) and fled after WWI . They settled in Oberhausen,Germany. I ordered the Civil Registration records from LDS and may have found a family member born in 1888. This entire area was hard hit in WWI and WWII. Very few documents remained.