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Krolewska 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 I."

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.

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