The following article is a direct translation from the classic Genealogical and Heraldic reference "Herbarz Polski" by Kasper Niesiecki S.J., (Lipsk) edition 1839-46.
There is a negro in whose hand a gray squirrel stands on its hind legs, gnawing on a nut held in its forelegs, its tail across its back, in a field of red. Neither Paprocki nor Okolski mentions this family. In Konopacki's book on Polish heraldry, the squirrel is red in a field of yellow and, atop the helmet, the negro holds a banner on which the same squirrel is depicted. To this day, one can see many of these in Skarszewy before the great altar and on gravestones, and in the church in Gdansk and elsewhere. Because the BARTSCH family still has the same design, without the negro, it would seem that the families were related. The first BAZENSKI ancestor that I have come across is KONRAD de Zeilingen Equitem de Hantsche. Following the defeat of the Teutonic Knights of the Cross at Grunwald in 1410, KONRAD purchased a village in Warmia from its Bishop Henryk. The village was named Beisen in German and Bazyn in Polish, from which Konrad and his descendants derived their surname, BAZENSKI. (Kromer called them Baszenski.)
JAN de Beisen, son of Konrad, was voivode of Gdansk and governor of Prussia. In his youth, he had served in the camp of the King of Aragon, either Ferdinand or Alfons. During Aragon's war with Mauretania, the opposing sides reached a stand-off, having suffered tremendous casualties. The leaders agreed to resolve the matter by staging a duel between their two bravest knights. The losing side would pay tribute to the other for all time. When no Spaniard dared to face the Maurite whose posturing alone was intimidating, JAN de Beisen stepped forward and fought so ably that the pagan yielded. For this bravery, the King showered him with gifts, knighthood, and the coat of arms. Jan returned to his country with letters from the King to the Grand Master of the Teutonic Order, bringing with him the negro slave.
On his arrival in Prussia, Jan bought some lands, but got into a dispute with Bishop Francis of Warmia over a nearby lake. The commissioners decided in the Bishop's favor and the decision was confirmed by the Grand Master. Jan appealed to the Prussian authorities, who ruled against the Bishop. This angered the Grand Master who then confiscated and looted all of Jan's holdings, and Jan was forced to seek protection from King Casimir of Poland.
The Prussians had been chafing for some time under the tyranny of the Teutonic Order, deliberating on ways to throw off this yoke, so that Jan had no difficulty in persuading them to join the Poles when the King found it feasible to restore his right to Prussia. For his help, King Casimir appointed Jan the governor of Prussia and voivode of Gdansk. In 1454, Jan and his brother, GABRYEL, voivode of Elblag, agreed on an annual tribute to the Kings of Poland. Gabryel was then voivode of Chelm until 1476. In the Prussian senate, the voivode of Chelm followed the bishops in rank. According to records in Malbork, differences between Gabryel and Jakob Kostka were settled by Jan Sedziwoj of Czarnkowo, castellan of Santock.
SCIBOR, the third brother, was governor of Prussia, and assigned voivode of Malbork by King Casimir when the Prussians asked the King to dissolve the governorship of Prussia. History also records BAZENSKI chamberlains:JAN of Chelm in 1468 and his uncle Tolmicki of Malbork. I suspect that they were the first chamberlains in those voivodships because Kromer writes that King Casimir appointed three chamberlains while establishing the rule in Prussia in 1468. The chamberlains were seated in the Senate and permitted to vote.
There was also, at this time, a JAKOB BAZENSKI, under whose command, the castle and town of Heilsberg were defended against the Teutonic Knights.
According to Długosz, MIKOLAJ BAZENSKI, son of Scibor and castellan of Gdansk, ascended to the voivodship of Malbork in the 16th century. He was succeeded by JAN BAZENSKI, who assisted King Zygmunt I of Poland at the congress in Vienna in 1515. He may have died that year because a JERZY BAZENSKI is named voivode of Malbork. I don't know if this is the same Jan Bazenski who was castellan of Elblag in 1478 and the treasurer of Prussia in 1486.
JERZY BAZENSKI was chamberlain and then voivode of Malbork. King Zygmunt placed the nuns of Torun under his protection in 1521, and made him commissioner in Gdansk in 1535. It may be his son, also JERZY, who is being praised in "Historia Possellii" ( 1559) for his good looks, physical grace, wit, and other attributes, in which he excelled in the court of King Zygmunt. Three others named JAN are listed: two were chamberlains of Chelm, one in 1543; and the third was chamberlain of Malbork in 1546 when he became castellan of Gdansk.
In 1547, a JAN BAZENSKI was also castellan of Elblag.
A Bazenska married Sokolowski of the Pomian coat of arms; another married Cema, of Wczele coat of arms, mother of two sons who became voivodes of Malbork. Her dowry was the village of Lichtenfeldt, taxed at sixty thousand in gold coin.
Thus the family prospered for 150 years, in wealth and honors, the descendants enjoying the lands granted by King Casimir for their faithful service. Among the holdings were Sztum, Gniew, Skarszewy, and Sobowidz, until they were abrogated by King Zygmunt August. Bazyn was later sold to Bartsch de Demuth. Dust settled over the Bazenski line in the 17th century. The last member of the family, LUDWIK BAZENSKI, died in 1612, childless. Shortly after him, the last female of the family died. Her first husband was Jan Kostka from Sztemberk, and the second was Samuel Plemiecki, neither of whom had children.
Copyright © 1983 Josephine M. Piegzik. Used by permission. This article originally appeared in Polish Genealogical Society Newsletter (Vol. 5, No. 1, Spring 1983), the journal of the Polish Genealogical Society (of America).