My Family

On the maternal line, I descend from freeholders. The estate of my ancestors was located in Poiana, a village in Ialomiţa county, which was documentary attested in 1594, but which existed long before. The freeholders, settlers of the country, freemen and masters of their estates, brave in wars and with fear of God, have built, in their village, around 1746, the wooden Church of Saint Nicholas, one of the most important monuments in the county. Also in Poiana, in 1775, was founded the first school in the county, where many of my kin worked as teachers in the 19th century.

The wooden church Saint Nicholas (Agriculture Museum, Slobozia)

An old legend says that all the freeholders from Poiana-Ialomiţa descend from a brave warrior who was ennobled by Michael the Brave (1558-1601; Prince of Wallachia between 1593 and 1601) and received the Poiana estate. The best-known branch of the freeholders from Poiana-Ialomiţa are the boyars Poenaru-Bordea (descendants of Barbu “the Red”, a country squire, and of Dragomir Bărbulescu), related by marriage to the princes Ghika and to the families Prăjescu, Bilciurescu, Clinceanu, Craifăleanu, Cuţarida, Geanoglu, Lecca, Maltezianu, Marathea, Mitilineu, Obedenaru, Paleologu, Pătârlăgeanu, Pâcleanu, Perieţeanu, Poloni, Prezan, Rally, Sachellarie, Stoianovici, Vidraşcu. Colonel Gheorghe Poenaru-Bordea (1871-1916) was the first Romanian officer who died in World War I, during the first battles against Austria-Hungary, in the attempt to liberate Transylvania.

My great grandfather, Nicolae Stănescu (1875-1942), was a direct descendant in the male line of the long-lived Barbu Bărbulescu, freeholder from Poiana-Ialomiţa who lived 110 years, and the firstborn son of Stan Bărbulescu and Maria Ţenţulescu (1846- 1944). My great great grandfather Stan Bărbulescu was called „the Rifleman” after he shot a bird when he was 5 years old, the first time when he went hunting with his family. My great grandfather, Nicolae Stănescu, was a sergeant, commander of cannons during World War I, in one of the first Romanian Air-Defense Artillery units. He fought on the Moldavian Front, along with several brothers and cousins ​​of his. He worked as a clerk at the Bucharest Communal Tram Society and was married to Ecaterina Matei (1883-1961), with whom he had six children.

Great-grandfather Nicolae Stănescu

Great-grandfather Nicolae Stănescu and his brother, Costache Bărbulescu, on the Moldavian warfront, during World War I

Great-grandmother Ecaterina Stănescu

Ecaterina Stănescu

My great grandfather had three brothers (Costache, Dumitrache and Ştefan Bărbulescu) and two sisters (Smaranda Tãnãsescu and Filofteea Mirescu). Costache Bărbulescu was the owner of the church clothes shop of the Romanian Christian Orthodox Patriarchate, was a member of the suits of Patriarch Miron Cristea and Patriarch Nicodim and he also fought in the World War I. He made a pilgrimage to Constantinople, therefore he was a Hadji.

Costache Bărbulescu in his uniform

Costache Bărbulescu

Costache Bărbulescu
(Colorization by Florin Rostariu)

Costache Bărbulescu on the Moldavian warfront,
during World War I

Dumitrache Bărbulescu was the owner of the Metallurgical Plant and Bell Factory “Démètre Bărbulescu” in Galaţi. He fought in the Second Balkan War (1913) and was one of the liberal leaders of Galaţi in the Interwar period. He married Maria-Ana Ştefănescu, the niece of the rich real estate owner from Galaţi, Ion Hagi-Ştefănescu (affined to the Neniţescu family).

Dumitrache Bărbulescu during the Balkan War

Dumitrache Bărbulescu

Dumitrache Bărbulescu, standing, in the middle. Galaţi, around 1920

Ştefan Bărbulescu owned a machine shop in Bucharest and his daughter married Puiu Călinescu (1920-1997), a famous Romanian comedy actor.

Ştefan Bărbulescu

Smaranda Bărbulescu

The Bărbulescu. Seated, Maria Bărbulescu, born Tenţulescu.
Standing, from left to right, Ştefan, Dumitrache, Costache, Nicolae and Smaranda

From Bărbulescu family from Poiana also descended Constantin M. Vasilescu-Doru (1905-1993), sailor, aviator, inspector of taxes, horticulturist and inventor, owner of the homonymous greenhouses in Codlea (near Braşov) in the interwar period, supplier of the Romanian Royal House and President of Honour of the Romanian Horticultural Society. He was married to Rosa von Kraus, the daughter of the Transylvanian Saxon Thomas von Kraus (1866-1930), horticulturist, provider of the Imperial House of Vienna, who descended from another Thomas von Kraus, an officer born in Făgăraş, in 1663, and ennobled on June 9th 1702 for his acts of bravery by Emperor Leopold I of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. C.M. Vasilescu-Doru and Rosa von Kraus had two children: Harry Vasilescu, horticulturist, owner of greenhouses in Otopeni, and Venera Vasilescu, European and national champion in cycling and motorcycling, Master of Sports, holder of a world record in speed cycling  in 1953 (uncertified by the Romanian authorities of the time).

C.M. Vasilescu-Doru

Constantin M. Vasilescu-Doru

Rosa von Kraus

C.M. Vasilescu-Doru’s invention, the greenhouse on wheels.
Codlea, during the thirties

Venera Vasilescu

The actor Constantin Bărbulescu at the Romanian National Theatre from Bucharest (remembered by the audience for the part of Tipătescu in A Lost Letter by I.L. Caragiale and for the interpretation of Prince Alexandru Ioan Cuza) and Anetta Bărbulescu were also part of the Bărbulescu family from Poiana.

The actor Constantin Bărbulescu

Anetta Bărbulescu

The economist Maria Bărbulescu (1924-2008), daughter of Dumitrache Bărbulescu and first cousin of my grandfather, Mircea Stănescu, Auntie Miţa as I used to call her, was married to Constantin (Dinu) Străjescu (1919-1996). He was a Cavalry Officer, fought in the World War II, both on the Eastern Front, as far as Stalingrad, and on the Western Front, and was decorated with the German Iron Cross and with the Order of the Crown of Romania, in the rank of Officer. Uncle Dinu had a brother, Paul (Puiu) Străjescu, Navy Officer. They were both expelled from the army by the communists.

Aunt Miţa Străjescu, born Bărbulescu

Uncle Dinu Străjescu

Paul Străjescu

HM King Michael of Romania (in the middle), with a group
of Navy officers. First from the right, Paul Străjescu

Dinu and Paul Străjescu were the sons of the Cavalry Colonel Dimitrie Străjescu and Cecilia Codrescu (daughter of Dr. C.C. Codrescu, founder of the Hospital of Bârlad). Dimitrie Străjescu was the son of Paul Străjescu (1848-1887), mayor of the town of Roman and National Liberal Party (PNL) deputy.

Uncle Dinu Străjescu descended from the old Moldavian boyars of the Străjescu family, but also from the Makarovitsch family and from a brother of Prince Nicolae Mavrogheni, ruler of Wallachia (1786-1790). The great grandmother of my uncle Dinu Străjescu, Eugenia Mavrogheni, was the paternal sister of Petre Mavrogheni (1818-1887), candidate for the throne of Moldavia in 1859, conservative leader, praised financier, Minister of Finance and Foreign Affairs under King Carol I of Romania, Minister Plenipotentiary of Romania in Rome, Constantinople and Vienna and founding member of the Romanian Jockey Club. Petre Mavrogheni played an essential part in the liberation of the particular Gypsy slaves in Moldavia, before the Union of the Principalities and in obtaining the autocephaly of the Romanian Orthodox Church from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.

Dimitrie Străjescu as a cavalry officer

Dimitrie Străjescu

The Codrescu boyar family, Siret, Romania, 1911

At the same time, uncle Dinu was related to Ioan Străjescu (founding member of the Romanian Academy), the writer Alexandru Vlahuţă, the cardiologist Constantin C. (Tantinel) Iliescu, to Hasdeu, Rosetti, Panopol and Alexandrescu-Urechia families.

The Străjescu are also the ancestors of the Onou family, a dynasty of diplomats of the Russian Empire, part of the Russian aristocracy and related to the Princes Trubetzkoy, Princes Shakhovskoy, Counts Chreptowicz-Bouteneff and to the Barons of Jomini.

The Diplomat Michel Onou with his children. Katia Sozzani’s Collection

Mircea Stănescu (1923-2000), my grandfather, son of Nicolae and Ecaterina Stănescu, served as an officer of the Romanian Royal Army, in the Anti-Aircraft Artillery and fought in the World War II, on the Western Front. He was a Knight of the Order of the Crown of Romania, with Swords and Ribbon for Military Virtue and received the Order of Military Merit. After being expelled from the army by the communists, he graduated from the Polytechnic School and became an engineer.

 My grandfather, Mircea Stănescu, in 1942

Mircea Stănescu during the military school

Grandfather Mircea Stănescu

My grandfather, standing in the middle, as an officer, Bucharest, 1947

Decorations received by members of my family

My grandfather had a sister, Marie Stănescu, and four brothers: the economist Theodor Stănescu (official of the National Bank of Romania in the interwar period), the economist and Romanian Secret Intelligence Service Special Agent Nicolae Stănescu (who fought in the World War II and was a political prisoner between 1952 and 1956, at the Cernavodă and Midia-Năvodari forced labour camps and at the Făgăraş penitentiary; he was married to Margareta Melinescu, the aunt of the writer Gabriela Melinescu), the engineer Vasile Stănescu (State Prize Laureate) and the officer Bogdan Stănescu (fighter in the World War II, on the Eastern Front; Doctor of Military Science and academic).

Uncle Bogdan Stănescu

In 1952, Mircea Stănescu married my grandmother, Alexandrina Costache (born in 1932), daughter of Nicolae Costache, petit bourgeois from Ploieşti, and of Ivanca Bucur. My great grandfather, Nicolae Costache, fought in World War I and was taken prisoner at Turtucaia by the Bulgarians. He returned home when no one believed he was still alive. Gheorghe Panait, a cousin of my grandmother, fought in World War II, as an officer.

Great-grandfather Nicolae Costache

Gheorghe Panait, my grandmother Alexandrina’s cousin, April 27, 1943

The Costache family, Ghighiu, Prahova, around 1935

Grandmother Alexandrina Stănescu, born Costache

My grandparents, Alexandrina and Mircea Stănescu, at their wedding

On the paternal bloodline, my family, the Iorga, has its roots in Podgoria, in the former county Slam Râmnic. The vineyard and the forests which have been in the family`s possession for more than 150 years are still to be found there. An ancestor of mine, on the straight paternal line, fought in the Romanian War of Independence in 1877. His son, Ion Iorga (1870-1947), fought in the Second Balkan War (1913) and in World War I and worked as the Assistant to Mayor in the township of Jideni. He had 18 children, and his first born was my great-grandfather, Iordache Iorga (1895-1949).

Grandfather Constantin Iorga

Iordache Iorga fought in World War I, at Mărăşeşti, he was a member of the National Liberal Party, Mayor of Coţatcu in the interwar period and also worked as a communal roads inspector.

My paternal grandfather, Constantin Iorga (1921-2015) fought in the World War II on the Eastern Front and the Western Front, as a reserve officer. He was wounded three times and he is Knight of the Order of the Crown of Romania with Swords, Ribbon for Military Virtue and Oak Leaves. He worked as a schoolteacher, history teacher and was headmaster of several schools in Coţatcu and Râmnicu-Sărat.


For other details about my family, please see Poiana Moșnenilor.