Nobility and Early History                                              How Szeliga fits in.                                                   Villages Owned by Mierzejewskis

How Szeliga fits in.

   In Polish history very little is written about the peasants. Only the nobility and other higher classes have written records about them.

   Mierzejewski doesn't have a coat of arms of its own. Certain clans can use the coat of arms of Kosciesza, Leszczyc (Brog, Laska), Lubicz, or Szeliga (Szeliga is the most common). Only descendants of those individuals awarded the coat of arms can use/display it. In church records around Ostroleka a man is often described as 'of the noble class' or 'a farm owner of the noble properties' or 'from the noble village of'. An 1872 map shows some of the Mierzejewo villages with 'wies szlach.' (noble village) in front of their names. A friend from Pultusk writes: "The proof/document that the coat of arms was conferred on the family was in the hands of my great-grandmother but she herself damaged it. She was afraid of the Russian invaders. She was shot by the Nazis about 1944".

"The Mierzejewski of the coat of arms of Szeliga is a branch of the house of Szeliga, which already in the 12th century possessed the property Szeligi near Sandomir. Szeligi belonged to Dobierz (1140), Chancellor of Queen Christine, consort of King Wladislaw II of Poland, Mrokota (1162), Bishop of Poland, Dowojna (1217), 'Hetmann' of Prince Erdziwill and others. Dobierz was the owner of Szeligi near Kunow in the area of Opatow of the province Sandomir and here he raised his offspring, who called themselves by the name Szeliga. This was the main stem of the Szeliga family whose branches spread out to almost all provinces of Poland where they took on names from the various properties they possessed. The time that the possession of Mierzejewo near Lomza in Mazowia (in the parishes of Czerwin, Goworowo, and Troszyn in the area of Ostroleka) came into the hands of a Knight with the origin and emblem of Szeliga, has not been determined. In any case, it was in the 14th century, since it is documented (in Latin) in 1473 that four relatives and in 1494, three relatives "de Mierzeiewo ex armis Szeligi" were mentioned. "Paul, son of Derslaw, Jakob, son of Thomas, Peter, son of Swiatoslaw, Stanislaus, son of Andreas (1473), and Stanislaus, Albert, Boruta, sons of Niemir (1494)". The descendants of all three men [the three sons of Niemir? gm] from Mierzejewo who, from the 17th century, went by the names of Mierzejewski or Szeliga-Mierzejewski, spread out in many lines in Poland, Lithuania, Podolia (SW Ukraine), Russia, Austria and Germany". ESS.

. Mierzejewo existed before a Szeliga owned it and it's likely there were Mierzejewski residents there already. Landless peasants without surnames often took the name of their village as their own, just as Szeliga did, although many peasants didn't use surnames until the 16th century as a result of The Council of Trent of 1563. Some of today's Mierzejewskis are descendants of the noble Szeliga-Mierzejewski and some are descendants of the peasant Mierzejewskis. If every Mierzejewski was a descendant of the noble Mierzejewski it would be a well documented fact. Most Mierzejewskis alive today don't know who their ancestors were but do agree that they came from the Mierzejewo/Ostroleka area. Until relatively recently in history most people couldn’t read and write so their family trees/histories were never written down and preserved.

Some people in Germany still use the name Szeliga-Mierzejewski. The village of Gierwaty, north of Różan and Młynarze, on the opposite side of the Narew River from Mierzejewo, has also been known as Gierwaty-Szeligi. NMP.

In Uruski’s Rodzina a Mierzejewski of coat of arms Szeliga is mentioned with the date 1421 but it is not clear if it's a date of birth, death, date of source, or otherwise. It says: "Mikolaj 1421, Dadzibog and Scibor, Jan's sons, of the year 1455". ERU.

"The Szeliga coat of arms first appeared in the form of a stamp (like a rubber stamp) in 1366. In written sources it appeared in 1395 for the first time". SZY

The name Szeliga goes back to the early 12th century. Descendants of the owner of the village Szeliga / Szeligi near Sandomir (woj. swietokrzyskie) went by the name Szeliga but the owner was named Dobierz/Dobiesz. Branches of the family took on names from the various properties that they possessed. ESS.

Thus, it appears a Mierzejewski, the first known owner of the many villages of Mierzejewo, was originally a Szeliga from the village of Szeliga, and a descendant of the Dobierz/Dobiesz family.

"In Poland, the knightly class had emerged as a distinct group during the reign of Kazimierz the Great (1333-1370). Ideals of chivalry and the insignia of knighthood had been inspired by western European trends, and, in truth, Polish knights differed little from those in Germany. Poland, however, adopted its own unique system of heraldry -- based on the herb or clan-badge -- quite unlike that seen in the West.

   When, in the 1450s, Poland went over to an army of professional soldiers, the reason for the existence of warrior knights began to disappear, and they were forced to seek less warlike occupations. Most found a new role in agriculture, and the "noble-knight" gave way to the "noble-landowner". Huge manorial farm-estates (folwarki) sprang up all over the fertile Polish meadowlands. The harvests, especially of grain, brought in large sums of money, and soon Poland's noblemen were growing fantastically rich". IHP.

According to Essen, in 1650 Aleksander Mierzejewski of coat of arms Szeliga was a courtier (gentleman in waiting) to Poland's King Jan Kazimierz, who reigned from 1648-1668, a time of many wars as told in Sienkiewicz's "Potop" (Deluge). Aleksander dealt with various public matters.

In the election of King Augustus II in 1697 a total of 69 Mierzejewskis voted for him, including ten Jans and six Stanisławs. ELEKT. Only dignitaries, office holders, and nobility could elect a king at that time of Poland's history.

12. In the record books of the Second State Council of the Polish Kingdom (II Rada Stanu Krolestwa Polskiego) for the years 1837-1840 there are seven Mierzejewski entries. The AGAD describes the Council: "The Council was an opinion-giving institution in legislative matters, additionally, it was a kind of government controlling institution and also a decisive body in judicial matters, later its powers were developed, the new powers concerned the heraldic matters (since 1836) and administrative disagreements. This institution was done away with by a Czar (Russian) decree in 1841". Entry #28 of Book #145, 9/21 July 1837 states: "No. 2b09-2b10 - Sirs Jozef and Pawel Mierzejewski, of coat of arms Szeliga, submit Intromisja* of Andrzej Mierzejewski to hereditary values/property Sapolinka born 1771 testified. The submitting are first cousins and Andrzej Mierzejewski's grandsons and they prove they are registered with the Books of Nobility". *Intromisja is a Latin word meaning 'a legal decision giving one possession of property'. 

Villages owned by Mierzejewskis

In early Poland villages were owned and could be bought and sold.

Villages owned by Mierzejewskis (in addition to those already mentioned) include: Borowina (near Golab), Chalno (Kujawski district), Chomentowo (Lomza region), Gumowe (near Ciechanow), Hilbow, Holobuty (Red Russia), Kaczyny Wypychy (near Ostrołęka), Kamienne (near Ciechanów), Krakowiany Wielkie, Krasow (Radzyn district), Krasow Wielkie, Molczadz (now in Belarus), Moscisk (Radom district), Nowa Wieś-Kujawy (Łomża district), Poszatryc, Radomysla, Różan, Ruda, Rusinow, Sciepkowo (near Witebsk?), Skrzyiec, Sompolinek (Kujawy region), Stara Wieś, Swaczow (Sandomierski district), Swiecie (pow. Pokrzydowo), Tidhof (Parish of Karris, Island of Oesel. Oesel is now Saaremaa, Estonia. Tidhof was also called Tikka.), Wierzchowisko, Zablotowo, Zaborze (Area of Dunaburg. Dunaburg is now Daugavpils, Latvia.), and Zarzece.