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Personal Histories


At first I was led to assume (by my uncles) that the Bartold name came to Poland from France with Napolean I. Only when I started checking the records this last year did I learn that this was not true. But why did this story exist? My uncle claimed that his grandfather (Józef) said that his grandfather (Jędrzej) was a french soldier. It seems that is was quite likely that Jędrzej was actually a Polish soldier under Napoleon during the war with Russia. It would certainly have been convenient. Napoleon's main camp was in Gołymin in 1806. There was a battle betwwen the french and russian troops an 26 XII 1806 at Gołymin. Jędrzej was 25 years old and single at the time. So if Józef says his grandfather was "a french soldier" that may have been true.


One might wonder if any of the Bartold line was really famous, and the answer is generally, no. No one really stands out, but there were a few kind of famous ones, like Błażej, who was Stolnik in Przasnysz at the end of the Polish-Lithuanian Republic.

Additionally there was a Thomas Bartold (Tomasz Bartult) who was mayor of the Prince's castle in Ciechanow.


I have found references to other saints and holy men bearing the name, but the only ones I have much information on come much later.

Blessed Berthold of Garsten (then styria, now steiermark - austria), OSB Abbot (AC) (bef. 1080 - 1142)
Born in Constance (in swabia). Scion of the family of the counts of Bogen, Berthold did as he was expected and married. At the age of 30 he was widowed and immediately joined the Benedictines of Blasien Abbey in the Black Forest. There he rose to the position of prior. He was then called to be prior of Göttweig in Austria, and finally abbot of Garsten in Styria (1111), where he founded a hospice for the poor. He was known for his excellence as a confessor.

Strangely enough, the next three all died about the same time:

St. Bertold of Mount Carmel, OC Founder (AC) ( - 29 mar 1198)
aka Bartoldus of Calabria Born at Limoges (western France), studied in Paris. He went on the Crusades with Aymeric (Albert), his brother, and was in Antioch during its siege by the Saracens. During the siege Berthold had a vision of Christ denouncing the evil ways of the Christian soldiers. Thereafter, he labored to reform his fellows. He organized them and became superior of a group of hermits on Mount Carmel. Eventually Aymeric became the Latin patriarch of Antioch and appointed his brother superior general of the monks, gave them their rule, and, thus, is considered by some to be the founder of the Carmelites.

The exact date of the foundation of the hermitage may be gathered from the life of Aymeric, Patriarch of Antioch, a relative of the "Calabrian" monk, Berthold; on the occasion of a journey to Jerusalem in 1154 or the following year he appears to have visited the latter and assisted him in the establishment of the small community; it is further reported that on his return to Antioch (c. 1160) he took with him some of the hermits, who founded a convent in that town and another on a neighbouring mountain.

Why Calabrian? The monk John Phocas, who journeyed to Palestine about 1177, says that some years previously a monk, originally from Calabria, had raised the monastery of Carmel on its ruins and that he lived there with ten companions; as a result of a revelation, he established himself and built a chapel there.

Blessed Berchtold/Bertoldus of Engelberg ( - 3 nov 1197)

Berchtold was chosen Abbot of the Benedictine Monastery of Engelberg (central Switzerland) 27 March, 1178. He did not neglect to encourage his monks in the pursuit of Divine and human knowledge. By his order they reproduced many old writings, some of which are still extant in the library of Engelberg. The more learned monks were encouraged to write original works. Berchtold did not omit to provide also for the temporal welfare of Engelberg. He procured for his monastery many financial privileges, among which was the right to levy tithes upon the churches of Stanz and Buochs, which were under his jurisdiction. The contemporaneous annals of Engelberg, relate that Berchtold foretold the death of Emperor Frederick Barbarossa.

St. Bertold of Lokkum ( - 24 jul 1198)

Bartold of Lokkum, Bishop of Inflanty. He came with the a group of crusaders from Lubeck in 1186, known as the Brethren of the Sword, to Livonia and Courland (in german Kurland - in polish Inflanty). He became the 2nd Bishop of Inflanty, after the first died in 1196, but he died soon after in 1198, and is considered a martyr. The third Bishop of Inflanty, Albert von Appeldern (-1229), who is often considered the 1st Bishop of Riga, arrived with additional troops in 1200. He was resposible for establishing Riga in 1201 and recieved the Orders from the pope for the Brethren of the Sword in 1202. as able to coordinate with the Teutonic Knights when they arrived in Prussia in 1226, and eventually, after the Brothers of the Sword suffered a horrible defeat in 1236, the two orders merged. The Brothers of the Sword, was originally a branch of the Knights Templar.

Berthold/Bartholdus of Regensburg/Ratisborn (1210 - 13 dec 1272)

Franciscan monk of the mendicant order of the Minorites. He is generally regarded as the best known German popular preacher of the Middle Ages. His tombstone is still kept at the Minorite church in Regensburg.

Roger Bakon had this to say about him: Friar Bertholdus Alemannus (Ratisbon) who alone has more effect than all the friars of both orders combined (Friars Minor and Preachers). Eloquence ought to be accompanied by science, and science by eloquence; for "science without eloquence is like a sharp sword in the hands of a paralytic, whilst eloquence without science is a sharp sword in the hands of a furious man"

Other rather famous priests in Poland bore the name

The number of priests, bishops and such bearing the name Bertold in Germany and Austria would fill a volume in itself, so I don't include them here.

Bartold, Bishop of Pomerania, 1333-1346, died in Kwidzyn. But I have little information on him right now.

There was Karol (1680-1745), who along with three of his brothers (Fabian, Jakub 1670-1753 and Walerian), became Jesuits around 1700. Karol eventually went to Wilno and was responsible for establishing a Jesuit academy there. His brothers weren't quite so famous.

Jakub (1670-1753) studied in Plock, and followed his brother to Vilno.

Somewhat later another Bartold (1742-1767), who was an augustinian, came to Vilno as achitect and monk.


There were also knights in Poland named either Bartold or Bertold, but as a given name and not a family name.

One Famous French "Bartold" that everyone should know

The French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi {bahr-tohl-dee'}, b. Aug. 2, 1834 in Colmar (alsace), d. Oct. 4, 1904 in Paris, studied architecture and painting in Paris before exhibiting his first sculpture in 1853. He is known for public monumental sculpture, especially the colossal bronze Statue of Liberty (Liberty Enlightening the World, erected 1886) in New York Harbor. Besides the Statue of Liberty, Bartholdi also made other sculptures reflecting Franco-American friendship, such as his statue (1873-76) of the Marquis de Lafayette for Union Square, New York City, and a group (1896) of George Washington and Lafayette for the Place des Etats-Unis, Paris.

He was not a noble, but one Bartholdi did become a noble in 1830 in France: Baron Jean Frederic Bartholdi (1794-1838). He was the father of Barons Frederic Henri (1823-1893) and Philippe Amadee (1830-1894). I have not yet been able to determine if they were related to the sculptor.

One Final Russian Historian

Vasilii Vladimirovich Bartold (Barthold, Bartol'd) (1869-1930) was an historian and professr at the University in St. Petersburg. He was regarded as an authority on Turkish history.
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