Widelka, Rzeszow, Poland - West Galicia / East Galicia (Ukraine)

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Genealogical Information

The church records held by Mary Queen of Poland Church in Widelka have been indexed by descendents of two families - Gawel and Smyrski - from the earliest days of the record keeping.

The records cover the following periods:

Birth - 1784 to 1889
Marriage - 1784 to 1888
Death - 1784 to 1886

The indexing of these records has taken over two years to complete - there are over 14,000 entries.The Gawel and Smyrski families will provide genealogical information to descendents of these families and associated families who are willing to share family information. Sharing of information will expand the databases to provide family information for all. Information on other Widelka families will be provided for specific individuals being researched.

First view the Widelka Records Index page, then view the Widelka Surname List.

Contact joan@smyrski.us for information.

- View article by John Rys on Comparison of First names Given to Children "Old World and "New World"
- Widelka Parish Cemetery database lists 1,008 deceased parished members and shows photo of grave site..

A Brief History of the Smyrski Family

As best we know at this time, all desendents with the Smyrski surname originate from Western Galician Poland and appear to have migrated to Eastern Galicia (the Ukraine). At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th the Smyrskis headed to North America.

Adalbert Smyrski (born about 1710) and his wife Agnes (born about 1714) are believed to be the earliest recorded members of the Smyrski family. One of his children, Carol Smyrski, who is in many of the records, was born about 1750 and resided in Glogow Malopolski, Rzeszow, Poland. He was the Prefect of the Glogow Forests. Carol married Frances Tomczyk (Drozdowski- previous marriage?) and had 11 known children, 6 boys and 5 girls. Sometime after 1790, he went to live in Widełka, where he was the Village Administrator until he died on 22 February 1819.

It appears that some of the Widełka descendents moved to the Ukraine in the first part of the 1800s after the Austrian occupation.

* * * * * * * *

John Smyrski arrived in Armstrong Creek in 1911. He was born in Widelka, Rzeszow, Poland, in January, 1876, the son of Anthony and Ursula Balon. During his Christmas leave in 1900, he deserted the Austrian Army and left for Hamburg, Germany and the US, arriving in New York in January, 1901. His destination was his sister Mary's in New Milford, CT. Then on to Rutland, VT, where he worked in the marble quarries.


John Stanley SmyrskiBlankMary Rakoczy Smyrski

It was in Rutland that he met and married Mary Rakoczy in September, 1901. The first three of their 12 children (8 lived to adulthood) were born there. In 1906 John moved the family to Chicago where he worked for the Pulman Car Company.

In the Spring of 1911, John bought 40 acres of land from the Grimmer Land Company in what is now Armstrong Creek.. John arrived there in late Summer of 1911 with his wife Mary and five small children - Caroline, Estelle, Anthony, Josephine and Thomas. The property had a three room log house on it. This log house was home until 1939 when the present house was built. There were no real roads at this time just trails.

Old HouseBlankNew House

Old House 1911BlankNew House 1939

John worked in the Anderson sawmill until Mr. Anderson's accidental death. It was after that time that he started farming. He owned a pair of oxen and then a team of horses, had a blacksmith shop, and was one of the first in town to own an automobile in about 1917.

Six more children were born in Armstrong Creek - Marion, Ursula, Elizabeth, Violet, Theresa and Wanda. Thomas and Ursula died as infants - Therese was stillborn. John farmed until his death in March, 1947.

DadBlank Mom

BlankAnthony SmyrskiBlankAnna Witkowski Smyrski

Anthony (Tony), his son, moved permanently from Chicago with his wife Anna (nee Witkowski) and children Joan, Lawrence and Sally in March, 1943, where he worked for Foote Brothers as a milling machine operator. He started working for Goodman Lumber Company and took over operation of the farm in 1947 after his father passed away, while continuing to work in the sawmill. Tony farmed until 1955 when upgrading the barn became impractical. He spent years working for the town of Armstrong Creek in various capacities, served many years on the school board and after retirement was active in the senior citizen group. Loving flowers, his garden became his pride and joy after retiring

Tony and Anna lived on the property until 1985. After Tony's death, Anna moved to Chicago until her death in December, 1994, but she always considered Armstrong Creek her home.


For Comments & Inquiries: joan@smyrski.us

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Last Updated on December 31, 2015