Brief History of the Radwan Janowicz Family


The Radwan Janowicz are the Roman Catholic American branch of the Polish branch of an ancient Lithuanian noble family from the duchy of Samogitia, now Southern Lithuania. However, some Tartar family historians say that some of the Radwan Janowicz family branches who lived in the Seyny area of Eastern Poland and the Minsk area of Belarus were the Polish Roman Catholic branch of the Belarus branch of a Radwan Janowicz family which was a branch of the princely Radwan Kienski house which was a branch of man ancient Moslem family from Crimea of Kahn origin, n. 24. 25, ex. 5.12, p. 1-5. It is believed that the Tartar Janowicz family received the Radwan coat of arms by adoption and the women from the Lithuanian Radwan Janowicz family married into the Tartar Janowicz family which was the reason why they converted to the Roman Catholic Church. The Lithuanian Radwan Janowicz family branches and the Tartar Radwan Janowicz branches lived in close proximity to each other in both the Seyny and Minsk areas. At this point in time and because of the scarcity of the documentation, it is not possible to clearly define which Janowicz is of Lithuanian origin and which Janowicz is of Tartar origin. This probably could be resolved someday through DNA testing.


The Lithuanian Radwan Janowicz family give King Boleslaus (992-1025) Crown Chancellor, Lord Radwan, who is first documented in 1021, as the founder of their family. This Radwan (or perhaps his son) in the reign of king Bolesaus (1059-1083), received a church banner to rally his retreating troops to reattack the enemy. This effort won the battle, ex. 5.11, P. 1,2.


The oldest documentation of the Lithuanian Radwan Janowicz pedigree is from year 1494, when Wojciech, chorazy litewski staosta kowienski was a member of the King's delegation to

Moscow, n. 24.19.

In the beginning of the 16th century younger male members of

The Radwan Janowicz began to leave Lithuania to improve their condition in other parts of the Commonwealth. In the latter of the 16th century one went to what was later called the Seyny province in Eastern Poland as a colonist. Some of his descedants legitimized their nobility in 1841, n. 24.19.


The colonists were Boyars and were given grants of land from the King or from local Polish and Lithuanian magnets. These grants of land contained privileges and responsibilities. Originally, the colonists were all of noble families; however, later because of the Polish law to divide properties among all of the descendants, both male and female, the properties became quite small. At the beginning of the 19th century, non-noble families who acquired possession of these small farms either by inheritance or by purchase were also called Boyars. However,

they are to be distinguished from the original noble colonists

by their names. This practice was done in the most Eastern



In the 17th century a branch of the family went as colonists to the Minsk province which is today Belarus. Their descendants legiitimized their nobility in 1841 and 1854, n. 24.19. Another branch went to Galicia, Southern Poland. Their descendants legitimized their nobility in 1783 and in 1854, n. 24.19. Yet another member immigrated to Greater Poland. His descendants legitimized their nobiility in 1859 and 1861, n. 24.19.

The Janowicz family in the Seyny province multiplied and according to Polish law, their properties were divided among all children. By the turn of the century, according to the parish records of Urdaminsk, Popiecz, Warstomina, Mikucie, Sereje, Leypuny, Lozdzieje, Wiesieje, Swieta Jeziory, etc., they had approximately 30 families of child bearing age.

Even though their properties were relatively small, the family maintained their hereditary rights and privileges as Boyars

and married primarily into other Boyar families. This is clearly demonstrated in the 1751 tax records and privilege lists from the village of Mikucie, ex. 5.7, 5.8, 5.9 and 5.10.

When a Janowicz property owner had no immediate heirs, the property remained in the family going to nephews, cousins, etc. This explains why there were frequent changes of residences between villages and within a village itself.

Some historians believe that the Radwan family originally came from Hungary, others believe that the Hungarian Radwani family came from Poland.

There has been no definitive work done on the Radwan Janowicz family, (Lithuanian or Tartar). They are, of course, mentioned in most of the Polish, Lithuanian, and Tartar Armorials, n. 24.1; n. 24.2; n. 24.20; n. 24.25.