How Paprzyca became Książyk?

Local historians from the Bielsk Podlaskie region report that "Książyk" was first a nickname used by members of the Niwinski family.     With time,  this line of the  family used  Książyk as a  name. Read also:  Jak Paprzyca stali się Książyk?

1.  Paprzyca knights settle in several  hamlets

During the early 15th c. Knights bearing the Paprzyca coats-of-arms arrived and settled in the area of Bielsk Podlaski, a small town in Eastern Poland. At this time, the region  was named Polasie. It is now the Province of Podlaskie.  The provenance of the Paprzyca knights remains rather obscure and they are also refered to with the alternative name of  Kuszaba. In gratitude for their service to  Queen Jadwiga of Poland, they received a substantial land estate representing about 50 włóka, a superficy equivalent to 897 hectares (1 Volok = 17.955 hectares or 44.37 acres). This property became the initial nucleus of their noble estate in the village of Niewino, also formerly known as Niwino.  The presence of Niwiński  families is also confirmed in Malinowo, a village mentionned for the first time in 1512. The village was established in the “noble area” of Niewino.  In 1528, 7 families of knights "herbu Paprzyca" which means “from the Paprzyca coat-of-arms” were recorded in Niewino Stare. Niewino Stare is one of the 5 Niewino hamlets from the parish of Wyszki.

Istnieje 5 Niewino przysiółki w gminie Wyszki, powiecie bielskim, w województwie podlaskim.

2.   A noble family in Niewino takes the name "Niwiński"

This local nobility took the name of the Niwino/Niewino village and adopted the name of Niwiński/Niewiński herbu Paprzyca. Over the centuries, some of them also used the coats-of-arms of the Nowina, Łabędź and Lubicz. Most of the families from these Podlasie areas were not well-off people. They were members of the “small nobility” (szlachta) who remained on their land, had a limited education and did not achieved successful careers. We lack data regarding their history. However, some of the Niwiński had a different profile. They have been portrayed by Count Uruski (1817-1890) in his 15-volume book Heraldry of Polish Nobility published in 1915.

3.   A Niwiński family uses the nickname "Książyk"

To differentiate from other Niwiński people, some families decided to use the nicknames "Chreba" and "Książyk". With time, this nickname became a name. A new branch of the Niwiński nobility was established and soon confirmed in official documents. Chronicles tell that some Niwińsky raised from the petty gentry to become middle-nobles (szlachta zamożna). However, those who remained in the Niwino area remained in a statute of small nobility. Some of them were rather wealthy. As an example, Sebastian Niwińsky gave a 6 voloks (107,4 hectares) estate to his son Maciej Książyk .

4.   Nobility Rights not claimed?

From 1772 to 1918, after a series of 3 partitions, the Podlasie region of Poland was under Russian occupation. In the first half of the 19th c., the Russians ruled that Polish nobility had to be verified and certified. All szlachta families -whatever their social positions- had to  prove their origins. Some members of the Niwiński family successfully obtained the acknowledgement of their privileges and entered on the list of “legitimated nobility” (Szlachta Wylegitymowana). In the years 1843-1860 they were “confirmed as nobles and enrolled into the books of the nobility of the Bialystok district.

But many  szlachta families failed to prove their claim, in particular families who were using ancestral surnames. For those who had left the district, it was very difficult to demonstrate evidences. For those who were living far away in the Polish territories occupied by Prussia or Austria, it was impossible.  Many families were unable to trace their ancestors, to provide the required documents or to pay the cost of registration at the administration office (Heroldia Królestwa Polskiego). As a result, y families from the  poor gentry (Drobna Szlachta)  failed to pass this infamous verification procedure. Local historians report that in particular, the nobility of the surrounding areas of Topczewa and Wyszki failed to prove their rights. At this time, most of the Książyk families had left the region. Some of them had gone to Ukraine. A large majority was established in the region of Poznan since the early 17th c.. This region was a "province of Prussia". They were not in the "Kingdom of Poland" ruled  by Russia anymore and they did not claim their rights.

Reference: Historia powstania wsi Niewino Stare.

Today, are living in Poland

1 Kuszaba

38 Paprzyca

600 Niwiński

285 Książyk

Source: (May 2015).

According to local historians of the Bielsk Podlaski  region, Niewino Stare was the main settlement of the Książyk.   

In the beguining of the 16th c., Podlaskie was a remote province  to be developed. The settlers who came there faced a very challenging environment and hard conditions.

In 1580, four years before he died,  Sebastian Niwińsky gave 6 voloks (107,4 ha)  to his son  Macieja Książyk.

Heroldia Królestwa Polskiego was a committee in charge of  examining the evidences of nobility and the megitimacy of gentry.  This committee was established in the "Kingdom of Poland" after the November Uprising (Manifest of the Czar in 1832 and Ukaz of the Czar in 1836).

©Ksiazyk 2015