This wedding portrait is of Stanislaus “Stanley” Wasik (1889 – 1969) and Jadwiga “Jennie” Stoklosa (1899 – 1996) – taken on November 26, 1921, in Burgettstown, Washington County, Pennsylvania. It was one of two beautiful wedding portraits from the Peter Biny Photograph Studio. In this one above the bride’s face is slightly blurred, but it does show her wedding outfit with her lovely dress, the veil (welon), her cap (czepek) and all the way to her shoes. They were married either in Slovan or Cherry Valley, neighboring villages of Burgettstown.
In some of the old Polish American wedding portraits our family saved, the bride and groom stand separate from each other. Here, Jennie has linked her arm through Stanley’s. They were from neighboring villages in Poland so possibly they had known each other before coming to America. Jennie’s immigration record shows she was going to her brother-in-law, Jan Wasik’s home in nearby Cherry Valley, PA on August 14, 1921. Since Polish engagements were binding contracts, most likely she was engaged before leaving her village of Falkowa, Poland. Stanley Wasik had been working in the Pennsylvania coal mines since his arrival in 1913 from the village of Berdechow, Poland.
Jennie and Stanley Wasik raised a large family in McDonald, Washington County, PA. They lived nearby to Stanley’s brother, Jan Wasik, and his wife Katie Bronczyck. Jennie and Katie were half-sisters, from what our family was told. The Wasik family helped identify these two wedding portraits for which I’m very thankful! Before that they were in my family’s unidentified pile of pictures. I was told that after Stanley’s death, Jennie married Dick Klimas. If my records are correct she lived to be ninety-six.
For anyone researching Polish wedding traditions the one book I find very helpful is Polish Wedding Customs & Traditions by Sophie Hodorowicz Knab, 1997. There is a wonderful excerpt from a Polish mother planning her daughter’s wedding from 1900.
There is a also very good description of the Oczepiny Ceremony, or the unveiling and capping ceremony, and the wedding cap would have been given to the bride by her god-mother. Below is one of the traditional songs as translated in the book.
Good evening, newest bride, Your wreath has fallen, Your bridesmaids are leaving you, But thank you for your friendship. We wish you (name), A happy life, May you be good to your husband, Love him truly, And in misfortune, Continue to help him.” page 123.
Good luck in researching your “unknown” photographs!