Renkiewicz/Rynkiewicz Family Photos by John Rynkiewicz & Gene Bojarski


Let me start off by saying that I have been friends with the Rynkiewicz Family for over 15 years. We started off as acquaintances in a small Pizza Shop in Nanticoke. While enjoying a pizza and mingling with local clientele  I got into a conversation with Ann Marie and her husband Jim who introduced me to her brother Rich.  Rich had been helping out behind the bar for some pocket money and some fellowship of a quaint local establishment.  I was there when their father past away and them for me when I lost my mother.  Annie had a passion for the camera and a natural eye for photographic composition.  She didn't need courses from the local Community College to capture the moment in a instant on film.  I, myself, had always been behind a camera and built a darkroom where I would process my work. Rich had a passion for vintage automobiles and restored two vintage classics himself,  The Muscle cars of the '60's, the Chrysler's and Plymouth's.  I would go to local car shows with Rich.  I wasn't quite the car enthusiast as Rich was, but in time I learned to appreciate the appeal.  The cars were all about the '60's and having grow up in Milwaukee (Happy Days), I got the connection. Their mother, a sweet, frail and aging lady that I call Mom, myself, takes much of their well deserved time. Cousin Ed and I shared a few football games and NASCAR races on the big screen and we see Cousin Jan & Mike on occasion, especially the holidays such as Christmas and Easter. We get together on the patio or the deck when precious time permits. Jim, on occasion treats us with a demonstration of the firing of miniature working cannons that he builds himself in a small shop in his basement.  Jim, not a machinist by trade, found his way of making a living other ways as so many of do, not doing what we like but rather what we must.  But, his work is remarkable and he does for the love of it, what he does.  No live rounds are ever actually fired but a powder charge and a cork make for a stunningly realistic demonstration.  I had the pleasure of meeting John on an occasion or two and keep in touch via emails as he resides out of town.  John is now retired from a commendable career in service to the public. This in short, is my adopted family. John has spent an impressive amount of time, over 20 years, collecting and researching his family legacy.  And, like so many of us here in NE PA has a rich European Ethnic heritage.  Although, his story maybe personal. It lends itself to our own stories. We can relate to it as if it were our own.  And, for this reason I am honoured to share with you John's Story.

We can start where the history happened in Poland.

Mscichy Poland

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Zebry Poland

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Wasosz Poland

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The old house

His story starts in Poland in the time frame of about 1779 with the family patriarch Jan was born and died on April 12, 1849 in Mscichy Poland.

John: "OK, let’s begin with the patriarch who also named JAN. He was born in 1779 and died on 12 April 1849 in Mscichy and married a Wiktoria (Maiden name unknown at this time). I also do not know where JAN was born or who his parents were or who his siblings were? I hired a private researcher by the name of Michael Marciniak of PolGen in Warsaw who did an extensive dependency listing for me and was able to trace back to the patriarch of my family. "

Roman Catholic Church in Wasosz apparently where his Grandparents worshiped. His Grandfather Jan Renkiewicz was born on 19 Nov 1878 and christened on 21 Nov 1878.  His brother Antoni Renkiewicz was born 5 Nov 1880 also in Zebry as well as their sister Anna Renkiewicz who was born on 20 Aug 1887. 


church 2

John: "My Grandfather JAN or JOHN born 19 Nov 1878 in Zebry,  but his parents, Andrzej RENKIEWICZ and Marianna Chmielewska. Andrzej was born in Mscichy, Their children were Michal RENKIEWICZ and PIOTR RENKIEWICZ and MONIKA RENKIEWICZ. From here the tree explodes. "


Zebry sign 1
Zerby Sign 1
Zebry sign 2
Zerby  Sign 2


"I have also sent you the sign of the town that my Grandfather
was born "ZEBRY" and a photo of the house that stands on the original site of his birth. Pani Halina Mercheskla resides in this rebuilt home to this day. She is my relation and also Rich & Ann's."

"It has also been relayed to me that the people that owned and ran the Sanitary Bakery in Nanticoke were "KOWALSKI's" and related to the RYNKIEWICZ family"

"Family hearsay:
The Renkiewicz/Rynkiewicz family originally comes from the Sokółka area near to Białystok.
A landlord Białosuknia brought with him to Mscichy two brothers. One (JAN) stayed in Mścichy and the second was taken by the landlord to another farm estate."

"I think that this story can be true. The Białosuknia family used to own the Mścichy estate. It's possible that one of the brothers was Jan Rynkiewicz died in 1849. Originally, the Białosuknia family came from the Mooki area. I assume that Jan Rynkiewicz and Wikoria married in the Mooki area as well as parents of Antonina Rynkiewcz nee Modzelewska. You will see that updated family tree that the father of Antonina, Antoni Modzelewski was born in Białosuknie. The village name of Białosuknie was named after the Białosuknia family. So, I think that our further could focus on the Monki area (the Goniadz parish vital records)."

Photo left: show Józef Rynkiewicz family.
" I assume that Jan Rynkiewicz, the father of Józef was a Jan born in 1840. A death certificate of Józef Rynkiewicz could say his parents' names. So, we would know for sure who Jan was. Jan Rynkiewicz when was 16 years old man was obliged to work for a landlord of Mścichy for five days per week."

The visit at the Jan Rynkiewicz home is very important for our research. They are very nice and opened-minded family and know much about the history of their family. I've provided you above his mailing address. Moreover, a wife of Jan Rynkiewicz is a direct ancestor of the Białosuknia landlord ;)

I also supposed that Michał Rynkiewicz born abt. 1815 and Piotr Rynkiewicz born abt. 1825 had a sister Monika Rynkiewicz born abt. 1827 who was married to Józef Kukowski. That Józef Kukowski died in 1862 in Mścichy. I'd need to find her death record to prove my idea.

It has also been relayed to me that the people that owned and ran the Sanitary Bakery in Nanticoke were "KOWALSKI's" and related to the RYNKIEWICZ family.

As far as what influences my grandparents had on Nanticoke/Plains, I am at a lost as my Grandfather was a Coal Miner and died of black lung at age 65 on 9 Jun 1943. Our oldest cousin Loretta (Opachinski) Hopkins who lives in WB may be able to lend more info, she has two Brothers John or Jack and Robert or Bobby and two Sisters Carol and Sharon (Opachinski) Valentir. They had an older brother Norman Opachinski who died in 1995. I stay in touch with his wife Marion who lives in Boston. Norman was a prominent figure in Boston and they actually named a Baseball diamond after him. I have pics of that and also his obit. See attached.

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