After many years of research, it is time to communicate to a wider audience the multitudes of documents, information and insights gathered about this family. There are scans of birth and death certificates, naturalization applications, obituaries, articles, census records, legal documents and lists of family members covering eight generations. All public documents are available and on display throughout this website. Hard copies in the form of a book with the all the information contained on this sight will be available soon.
The website www.amazon.com has books that convey general immigration information about each family. The titles include: The Brzezinski Name in History; The Karpinski Name in History; The Volpicelli Name in History and so one. Although the purchase of one of these texts is helpful, multiple copies are redundant. There are approximately six pages new in each book about the family name. The rest are generic stories about immigration. All of the information contained in the books can be found online if one has the time and inclination to research.
NOTICE: For security reasons, the names of living members are hidden from view. In order to view these pages, a password is required and produced upon request for family members only. In addition, if verified family members would like to have copies of these family lines, these can be made available. Any family member is WELCOME to add to the family lineage, tell stories and add or correct any details by emailing or calling me.
WHO AM I?
I have been asking myself that question for years, which is one of the reasons why I have undertaken this project. Perhaps in understanding our lineage, the choices, attitudes, beliefs and circumstances of our ancestors as well as those who remained elsewhere, one has a greater awareness of our own life. And so, the thousands of hours spent researching and deconstructing the enormous jigsaw puzzle of speculation, tales and facts grew into a beautiful patchwork quilt.
The “I” in me can be best observed at my business website www.DocDaria.com or my blogg www.DocDarB.com which describe my thoughts and actions, events and choices that consumed my life throughout the years. One knows oneself by looking at the works, accomplishments, friends and family who surround them. And so it is….
ANCESTORAL ROLE MODELS
Has the Western modern era progressed or regressed by devaluing family life and separating us from our roots? The ancestors of the 19th and 20th century were rugged, industrious individuals. The stamina of those who have come before us, without indoor plumbing, central heat and air or electricity, grocery stores, department stores, gives me pause. I can only imagine, after traveling and living abroad myself, what it must have been like to come to this country at the turn of the last century blazing a trail for future generations. Great grandmother had 16 children to feed and clothe! The roads were dirt. Everyone grew food (and brewed their own intoxicants). The Karpinski/Brzezinski’s still had an outhouse when I was growing up (vestiges of days past). Grandmother had a wringer washer, a hand washboard and an iron set on the wood stove. Entertainment consisted of the family playing games, living room concerts, playing outside and self-directed experiences. Instead of a radio, we sang in the car as we traveled from one place to another. Family was the mainstay of life and the close-knit community was an imperative for survival.
My ancestors were stewards of the land, exemplifying focus, patience, perseverance and hard work. Grandmother Volpicelli Giuliani took the time to train an inquisitive young child mind about the inner workings of the rural kitchen- homemade deserts without an electric mixer, hand cut pasta, homemade tomato sauce, fruit and vegetable canning without modern conveniences. Grandfather Giuliani patiently allowed me to flounder in the garden, killing half of what was planted by over watering. These endearing models patterned my adult life escapades in gardening, canning and kitchen work. What parent today would allow their six year old to climb the cherry, apple or pear trees as I did without fear of falling (and Grandmother Brzezinski did) or sit in the blackberry patch with sticker bushes guarding the precious fruit? What a pleasure it is to taste the essence of homegrown foods thanks to those who refined the process.
The multilingual households speaking English (mostly broken), Italian, Polish and goodness knows what else, enabled me to acquire a multilingual ear as well as master various languages. Grandmother Volpicelli/Giuliani who merged Italian and English words to create her own vocabulary for the select few to comprehend such as ‘mongoose’ for green peppers. Grandmother Karpinski/Brzezinski knew a multitude of languages. By necessity with the constant invasion of Austria, she had to learn to speak German, Polish, Russian, Austrian a handy tool when prying children attempted to listen in on the adult conversation. This exposure is a valuable asset to the adult child.
One acquires an ear for dialect and accent. Living in two locations along the Appalachian Trail in Nanticoke, PA and Charlottesville, VA afforded an opportunity for another introduction to the variations of the spoken language. Those in ‘coal country’ spoke Coal Speak a version that blended the languages of the new infusion of immigrants: Italians, Poles, Lithuanians, Welsh, Germans into a questionable English dialect. The natives say ‘crick’ for ‘creek’ and drop the ‘ing’ ending on words. In addition, while living in Virginia, the Southern dialect has its drawls and idioms, a combination of those that conquered the South and those that were conquered. The African American maid espoused some fascinating words like ‘funeralized’ while friends referred to ‘al-ya-all’. Then while living in Sweden, where a British form of English is spoken, was a wonderful infusion into the mix. This multilingual upbringing has its benefits in the modern mobile world.
Today, socialization, values and culture are intrinsically linked with economics. For our ancestors, it was a means of preserving a cultured way of life. The customs, costumes, food, traditions, languages, activities, events of the past still mold current thoughts, opinions, beliefs and feelings, like it or not. It is important to understand the past (not dwell) and how it is brought forward into the future into our behaviors. The Karpinski/Brzezinski’s suffered from heart attacks and cardiac arrest. In addition to fried everything, grandmother Brezinski’s idea of vegetables, for the most part, were white- creamed over cucumbers, coleslaw, pierogies smothered in butter and sour cream. Although her generation, when youths, had the stamina from excessive physical exercise to combat the fats in their diet, the immigrant population became more sedentary. Grandmother Volpicelli/Giuliani’s idea of food was colored in red (covered in tomato sauce) and white (with cheese). Yet the aroma, look and taste of these foods brings back those age old feelings and sensations for us to revisit, feel nurtured or nostalgic, healthy or not. Our ancestors ate from a fresh garden grown without pesticides or unnatural fertilizer while modern people consume non-foods.
Both families enjoyed their homemade wines and ales. Grandfather Giuliani grew grapes in the backyard for his vintage variety. Great grandmother Brzezinski was arrested for bootlegging after her husband died as a means of income to support her large family. The purpose of drinking alcohol in many foreign countries was a substitute for poor quality drinking water (as well as the enjoyment). But actions of ancestors acting out of necessity can become something different with succeeding generations. Did the Russians drink vodka as a function of keeping warm? Is the consumption of alcohol (and thus sugars) a behavior we inherit that has lost its meaning in a country which has clean drinking water yet lingers on as an addiction? Scientists proclaim that the cellular body’s neurological memory still craves alcohol and sugar through liver memory that calls to us from our ancestor’s behavior. Those cellular memories transferred from alcohol to sugar or corn syrups over the generations. Now, the struggle to eat healthy has become a national thrust. Understanding past behavior and lifestyle is important to current affairs.
One of the most remarkable features of this ancestral journey is through the looking glass of opportunity. Having contacted family in other countries, those that came to the new emerging America faired better than those left behind. The first generation of my elders struggled to feed and sustain the family by growing their own food, surviving illness and holding jobs. Their efforts were so fruitful that they owned their own home and often, their own business! In a new land, the support system was the extended family members who came together as well as the multitude of children birthed and the relationship between siblings. Grandmother Brzezinski had 16 children with 8 surviving to adulthood while cousins living next door survived 12. The second generation, my parents, were working for businesses or corporations with better opportunities (minus or plus the war), created their own businesses and worked for good government jobs like the postal service with more of an extended, community, family support system. By the third generation, nearly everyone in the family was a college graduate! The toils and sacrifices of one generation paid for the successes of each consecutive generation. This is truly the land of opportunity.
It has been a remarkable journey of discovery that is, of course, never ending. Who knows what will be uncovered as more people reach this site? I look forward to hearing from you!