The BEST Guide to POLAND
Unanswered  |  Archives 
 
 
User: Guest

Home / Genealogy  % width posts: 33

Looking for info on Romani name Goman and Siejanka Goman from a gravesite in one of Poland's cemeteries


kasia777 1 | 12
15 Mar 2016 #1
Hi all,
At the Bytom City Cemetery there is a gravesite of Siejanka Goman (born 1949, died 1954). She is known as the "Gypsy princess" and her tombstone erected by her parents states that she died a heroic death. I contacted the cemetery but they have no idea of the story behind her death. Does anyone have any information on her? Also, if possible, which Rom branch did the Gomans belong to? Were they travellers or settled folk?

Much obliged,
Kasia (I speak Polish, so if you feel more comfortable responding that way, it's OK)
Dougpol1 33 | 3,409
15 Mar 2016 #2
she died a heroic death

Mmm - How can a 6 year old die a heroic death? She saved the family pet rat from a horses' hooves and threw herself in front of the cart when she pushed said rat out of the way?
OP kasia777 1 | 12
15 Mar 2016 #3
Well, that's what her tombstone states. That's also why I would like to discover her story. Your comment is very rude and inappropriate.
Atch 17 | 3,080
16 Mar 2016 #4
Well said Kasia. Doug what is the matter with you?? Considering your mature years one would expect a little more common sense if not common courtesy and decency from you. Why couldn't she die a heroic death? A ten year old girl in America recently died saving the life of a younger child by pushing him out of the way of an oncoming car and being struck herself as a result. A boy in Ireland was drowned a few weeks ago saving another boy who had fallen into a river. Or perhaps Siejanka Goman died of an illness like TB and bore her suffering with courage.

@ Kasia unfortunately probably the only way of discovering her story would be to go to Bytom, find the oldest person you can in the place and ask them if they know anything. However if she was Romany it's unlikely that the settled community would have taken much notice of her. Good luck with it anyway and do post again here if you solve the mystery.
porky pok 2 | 127
16 Mar 2016 #5
Thats doug usually with his coctail courage.
Dougpol1 33 | 3,409
16 Mar 2016 #6
Why couldn't she die a heroic death?

She was 5 years old. That's a case of "zmarł tragicznie", not a "heroic death." Maybe she did save somebody, but at that age her mother should have been looking out for her I would say, instead of letting her out to play on the streets of communist Bytom. Nowt heroic about that - have you been there Atch? Godawful place that God forgot.
OP kasia777 1 | 12
16 Mar 2016 #7
Dougpol, the exact words on the tombstone are "zmarla smiercia bohaterska". So.
Dougpol1 33 | 3,409
16 Mar 2016 #8
the exact words on the tombstone

Yes Kasia - but if they were Roma, different rules apply. I mean, what might be considered to be "glorious" for Roma, with their big families, night not be so for Slavs? If she were Roma of course......

Surely there is some local historical society that can shed some light on this? There is a fantastic ethnographic museum in Swietochlowice for example....
Ziemowit 13 | 3,792
16 Mar 2016 #9
Thats doug usually with his coctail courage.

Well said, porky pok.
Atch 17 | 3,080
16 Mar 2016 #10
Godawful place

Can't see why that's relevant to the subject of the thread. No, I haven't been there but judging from the history and images of the place on the web, it doesn't seem much worse than anywhere else. Some lovely architecture, a bit of culture etc. Of course that doesn't capture the atmosphere which may well be depressing but as I say there's no point to your comments really.

if they were Roma, different rules apply

You mean maybe she was strangled or kicked to death by someone whose pocket she was trying to pick? She died in the line of duty............

Would you like me to lend you a spade so you can dig yourself a bit deeper into the hole you're working on? Actually seeing as tomorrow is St Patrick's Day and your mother was Irish (or at least had an Irish surname) I'll let you have that spade for keeps. I'm sure you'll get plenty of use from it.
OP kasia777 1 | 12
16 Mar 2016 #11
Hi, all
Dougpol, thanks for the info on the museum in Swietochlawice. I will contact them.
Atch, thank so much for your positive and thoughtful replies. I haven't had much luck in Bytom - the cemetery supervisor was a youngish guy and had absolutely no idea about Siejanka and the circumstances of her death. He couldn't think of anyone to refer me to, so that link kinda died right there. That's why I decided to throw it out there through the Forum and see if anyone can contribute. The reason I know about this tombstone is that my grandpa is buried nearby. Every Saint's Day when we visited his gravesite and I was a little girl my Grandma would point out the "Gypsy princess" tombstone to me. I remember her saying it was very unusual for a Gypsy family to have obtained a Catholic cemetery plot and to have erected such a big tombstone (compared to the other ones this one is really large) with a beautiful inscription "Given by her loving parents to commemorate her heroic death". Yes, for a six years old. So there is an unusual story there.
Ziemowit 13 | 3,792
16 Mar 2016 #12
I remember her saying it was very unusual for a Gypsy family to have obtained a Catholic cemetery plot

Why? Gypsies of Poland are typically Roman Catholic.

You should perhaps try to contact some Roma people nearby or in Katowice.
Atch 17 | 3,080
16 Mar 2016 #13
Kasia, just had another thought. If it would be possible to look at the history of what was going on in the town in 1954, I wonder if she died at the hands of the security forces or in some sort of incident,were there any attacks on Roma or was there any civil unrest or problems in the town at the time? A local museum or one of the universities in the region might be able to help. Really the sort of people you need to talk to are archivists, local historians and academics. I wonder would the local library have anything. Here's a link :

opac.biblioteka.bytom.pl/cgi-bin/wspd_cgi.sh/wo2_search.p?ID1=GIINILNLNMKEHCORKON&ln=p

I'm very intrigued! I love cemeteries and headstones, reading inscriptions and weaving stories in my head about the people. I think it's fascinating.
OP kasia777 1 | 12
16 Mar 2016 #14
Ziemowit, good point, I rely here on my Grandma's exact words as she knew of the situation.
Atch, your are awesome. Great thought. I have the exact date of her death (tombstone info), I will proceed with that search and also try to ferret out some names of archivists, etc. Glad you are also intrigued by this story - the longer I wait, the fewer people will be able to help me (my Grandma passed on in 2005)...
Atch 17 | 3,080
16 Mar 2016 #15
unusual for a Gypsy family to have obtained a Catholic cemetery plot

Why? Gypsies of Poland are typically Roman Catholic.

Perhaps gypsies weren't 'welcome' in the cemeteries and the authorities didn't like to sell them burial plots or perhaps if they were just passing through a town and therefore weren't local, again there may have been a reluctance to sell them burial plots. Also if they didn't have the means to acquire a plot they would simply have been buried in a 'pauper's grave'.

@Ziemowit, that's a very good idea to try to make contact with Roma in the district. If her death was significant in some way then her story would have been handed down in some form over the years. After all it's not that long ago. The only thing is how do you get in touch with Roma?
Dougpol1 33 | 3,409
16 Mar 2016 #16
Would you like me to lend you a spade so you can dig yourself a bit deeper into the hole you're working on?

Don't know what you're on about - you're obviously looking for a fight so I'll leave you to get on with it:)

The gravestone said a five year old girl died heroically. I say there is nothing heroic about a tragic death at such a young age. "Tragic" would be the word that Poles employ in such cases.

British headstones most often say nowt.

Kasia - is that the cemetery by the old Opole- Katowice E40 or the one in town?
Atch 17 | 3,080
16 Mar 2016 #17
you're obviously looking for a fight

I'm the mildest tempered of people, I just think you were rather rude to the OP and disrespectful to the memory of a dead child with your flippant comments about saving a pet rat. She may have died 60 odd years ago but she lived, and she was a human being. As a teacher I've spent so many years around children and their personalities even at the age of three are quite distinct and different from each other. She was a person, she mattered and she deserves to be respected even after she has left this world, not to be used as the butt of a silly, childish smarty pants attempt at a joke.
OP kasia777 1 | 12
16 Mar 2016 #18
Ziemowit, great idea about contacting Roma, but the distance is a huge issue for me. Also, many, many things have changed since I left Poland in 1987... This forum has been a great help to me. Maybe someone will have ideas for me along that line of research.

Atch, thank you for your comment above. My thoughts, exactly.
Dougpol, the cemetery is right in town, having been absent all these years I have no idea where E40 is, but I remember coming into town and going up the hill to get to the cemetery.
Dougpol1 33 | 3,409
16 Mar 2016 #19
the cemetery is right in town, having been absent all these years I have no idea where E40 is, but I remember coming into town and going up the hill to get to the cemetery.

Right, I will go and have a ganders next week and take a pic, and ask the locals.....
OP kasia777 1 | 12
16 Mar 2016 #20
Aw, that would be wonderful. I cannot give you the exact location, but I am sure that the 1954 burial section won't be difficult to find. The tombstone is big, plain and white as I remember it (mind you, this is 40+ years ago).
Dougpol1 33 | 3,409
16 Mar 2016 #21
as I remember it

You do mean the cemetery on the hill by the cathedral? Bytom city centre?
OP kasia777 1 | 12
16 Mar 2016 #22
I remember a really wide paved street and a large church to the right, at the bottom of the hill. Then you would go up the hill and the cemetery would be on the left of the street.
Dougpol1 33 | 3,409
16 Mar 2016 #23
a large church to the right, at the bottom of the hill.

Right - that's it. Ta. City centre.
OP kasia777 1 | 12
17 Mar 2016 #24
What is that cemetery called? Cmentarz Miejski? Cmentarz Katolicki?
Atch 17 | 3,080
17 Mar 2016 #25
Hi Kasia. I've been doing a bit of googling and here's what I've come up with. The surname Goman seems quite rare and doesn't seem to be particularly associated with Roma but it is mentioned as a Jewish name. I came across a family called Goman who've been established in Minnesota for some years and marriage records show intermarriage with Polish families. There's a very active group called the Polish Minnesota Genealogical Society and it might be worth contacting them as they could possibly at least give you some information on the surname which is a starting point.

pgsmn.org

There's a John D Goman with a brother Roger, who has written a book about the Galicia region which was occupied by Russians at some point. There's a copy of it in the Society's library.

Also, if they are accessible online, did you think of looking in any local phone books or trade directories for the town of Bytom in case there's anyone of that name still living there. It seems that in Communist times there was a policy of encouraging Roma people to settle by offering certain perks and subsidies, housing etc. (By the late 1950s this had become a policy of forced settlement). It looks as if the Goman family may have been settled in Bytom if they acquired a plot and erected an expensive memorial. Are there any kinds of census records or anything from those days that might show whether they are recorded as living there?

Of course there's also the possibility that they weren't Roma at all......maybe the gypsy princess was a nickname she acquired during her lifetime because she was a dark, pretty little thing and maybe a bit wild, a little tearaway, 'ah she's a real gypsy princess that one.......'
OP kasia777 1 | 12
17 Mar 2016 #26
Hi, Atch,
I am attaching a scan of the letter with all the info I have on Siejanka. This letter was written by a lady from Bytom who took care of my Grandpa's gravesite when my Grandma was ill. Apparently they were very familiar with the gravesite and also with the fact that she was a Gypsy (Roma). Darn if I remeber where, but somewhere in the past I had read that Goman was one of the Roma family names from the Cyganie Nizinni group.No Google search from here has yielded anything valuable.

Dougpol, I have tracked down Stowarzyszenie Romow "Czerchań" on Bytom, ulica Piłsudskiego19. If you make the trip, could you check if they know anything?

Here goes with the scan, I hope it goes through...
Oh, I have made a mistake - Siejanka was born in 1948, not 1949, so she was not quite six when she died.
OK, so I am getting a message tha file is too big. It'a just one page. Any ideas?
Looker - | 1,032
17 Mar 2016 #27
Hey Kasia - the best for making pictures smaller size (even without changing quality much) is the compressnow.com
Dougpol1 33 | 3,409
17 Mar 2016 #28
Stowarzyszenie Romow "Czerchań" on Bytom, ulica Piłsudskiego19

Righto. A 20 minute trip:) I will see if I can chat to somebody who speaks Polish and not po Slasku. It's not that easy in Bytom:)
OP kasia777 1 | 12
17 Mar 2016 #29
Looker and Dougpol, thank you both. I will try again with the file this afternoon (my time) - time to head to work.

Here goes again
Well, it doesn't like the file type, not the size. I will try to take a photo and post that.


Home / Genealogy / Looking for info on Romani name Goman and Siejanka Goman from a gravesite in one of Poland's cemeteries
BoldItalic [quote]
 
To post as Guest, enter a temporary username or login and post as a member.