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Czyz Family Genealogy

This family ancestry was researched and written by Waldemar Czyz (1923-2000) and edited by Robert Czyz (1963-present).


As we examine the history of a family, particularly an old family, we find that in a small measure it represents the history of their fatherland.  The family of Mintowt-Czyz is a good example of just such a case.  This family not only has taken an active but also a definite part In the events that shaped the history of the Commonwealth of the two nations; Lithuania and Poland. (The Joint name is of Lithuanian and Polish origin.)

The history of the Mintowt-Czyz family goes back several centuries and some of the circumstances of their whereabouts are dimmed by the intervening years.  It is known however, that this family was the proud holder of one of the oldest Polish coats of arms, known as the Godziemba coat of arms.  The following information is taken from the Old Polish Encyclopedia whose author is Zygmunt Glager (1).

Godziemba, the cost of arms of ancient Poland, consists of a pine tree with three bunches of twigs and five roots, it is pictured against a yellow background.  According to historical documents this coat of arms was given to a deserving knight by one of Poland's oldest kings, history however, does not disclose the name of the king.  The knight in question while on the battleground, after losing his spear and his horse, defeated the advancing enemy with a young pine tree which he pulled out of the ground with its roots.  Stoslaw Laguna found the description of the Godziemba coat of arms in the archives from the year 1403.  The information about the Godziemba seal may be found in a book from 1451, whose author was Jakub from Zurawice, a greatly venerated Doctor of Canonic Law in Krakow.

According to Bar. Paprocki, this coat of arms was used by 19 families as far back as the seventeenth century.  The names of the families are as follows: Czyz, Dabski, Godziemba, Gorzkowski, Glowinski, Kobylecki, Kucharski, Lubranski, Maliszewski, Maleszewki, Paniewski, Puccy, Rosinowski, Radecki, Somnowski, Weglinski, Wylamowie, Wysoccki, and Wojuczynski.


The political organization of Lithuania was shaped under the leadership of knights who were experienced organizers of expeditions to Russian states. One of them was Mendog, whom history mentions for the first time in 1219 and who with twelve princes took part in the negotiations for peace with the Russian state near Halicz.  Mendog came to power in 1231 and used the title grand duke, it is believed that from this time the nation of Lithuania came into being.

In 1251, Mendog joined the two states, that of Lithuania and Black Russia, that same year he was converted by the Crusaders into catholicism.  In 1253, he was crowned by Pope Innocent IV and in the year of 1261 he broke away from the catholic church.

Mendog used the title of "Lithuanian Ruler and Ruler of Greater Part Russia."  During his reign his country was troubled by the recurring invasions of Tartars, who through their plundering and killing greatly weakened the Russian state.

In 1263, Mendog and two of his sons were murdered by his rivals; Prince Trojnat and Prince Dowmont.  After the murderers were punished, his third son, Wojsielek, formerly the ruler of Nowogrodek, became the ruler of Lithuania.

One of the princes in the court of the famous Lithuanian king, Jagiello, was a descendant of Mendog, his name was Mintautas.  In time this name was changed to Mintowt.  In the latter part of the seventeeth century Mintowt, because of the lack of a male heir, joined another family - Czyz from Oszmiansk, and from that time on they were known by the name of Mintowt-Czyz, still using the coat of arms and the seal of Godziemba.

The following is, however incomplete, a list of the names of sons of the family of Mintowt-Czyz and a brief description of
the parts that they played in the wars of their time.

Aleksander Jerzy Bonifacy Mintowt-Czyz leads a group of Lithuanian lancers to battle, near Orsza, in September of 1514.

In September of 1605 at the battle near Kircholm dies lieutenant of hussars, Jan Zenobiusz Mintowt-Czyz.

In 1632-33, Bohdan Wasyl Mintowt-Czyz fought bravely and victoriously in a battle to save the city of Smolensk.

In September 12, 1683, at the battle of Vienna, dies captain of cavalry, Witold Ignacy Mintowt-Czyz.

Jakob Klemens Mintowt-Czyz took part In the battle to conquer the city of Saragossa.

Kajetan Jozef Mintowt-Czyz took part In January Insurrection, was deported to Irkuck, Siberia where he died.

In 1905, Witold Mintowt-Czyz helped in fighting off a company of Cossacks and bring independence to the city of Oszmiana.

Capt. Alexander Alfons Jozef Mlntowt-Czyz was a soldier of the First Army Corps under General Dowbor-Musnicki, also
a soldier of the Independent Polish Army in 1918-21.

Capt. Bohdan Mintowt-Czyz, participant in the Active Army League, Polish scout in Russia, a volunteer of the First
Army-Corps under General Dowbor and volunteer of the 1918-21 war. He also took part in World War II in 1939-45.

Lt. Waldemar Czyz was a soldier of the First Polish Armored Division and 47 Royal Marine Commando during WWII.

Major Witold Czyz (2) is currently assigned in the Individual Retired Reserve.  Vito served on active military duty and in the National Guard as an Armor Officer for 20 years combined.  He received a commission in the ROTC at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY and was an Armor Officer from 1981-2001 for the United States Army.   He was assigned to the 2nd Armored Division in Fort Hood, Texas, and the 42nd Infantry Division in New York and was involved in several deployments and joint exercises including REFORGER 1984 (Return of Forces to Germany), National Training Center Rotations in Fort Irwin, CA, New York State Ice Storm 1998 and numerous local deployments.

(1) Glager, Zygmunt, Old Polish Encyclopedia. pp. 196 - 197.
(2) Photo of Capt. Vito Czyz in 1988 at Fort Drum, New York.

Related Pages:

Veterans - WNY Polonia.
First Polish Armor Division - An online tribute to a local resident, Polish and American veterans.
Image Gallery - Click here to view pictures from local veterans in the Czyz family.
Polands Contribution in WWII - Monument at the Naval Park in honor of Polish Veterans.
SPK Post No. 33 - Monument dedicated to the Polish Armed Forces in the Second World War.
Polish-Americans in WNY - People, heritage and traditions from the country of Poland.