My Family

On the maternal line, I descend from the moșneni of Poiana. The moșneni were part of the Wallachian medieval aristocracy, an equivalent of the English gentry. The estate of my ancestors was located in Poiana, a village in Ialomiţa county, which was documentary attested in the 16th century. The moșneni (freeholders), settlers of the country, freemen and masters of their estates, brave in wars and with fear of God, have built, in their village, in 1748, the wooden Church of Saint Nicholas, one of the most important monuments in the county. Also in Poiana was founded the first school in the county, documentary attested in 1792, where many of my kin worked as teachers in the 19th century.

The wooden church Saint Nicholas (Agriculture Museum, Slobozia)

An old family legend, mentioned by the writer Paul Georgescu, a descendant of the moșneni from Poiana, in his novel Doctorul Poenaru, 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 documents mention indeed Barbu Roșul (Barbu the Red), born around 1550, who is the ancestor of many branches of moșneni from Poiana. But the family is certainly older, as well as its estates. There is a testimonial about an old property document for the Poiana estate, dating from around 1450.

The best-known branch of the moșneni from Poiana-Ialomiţa are the boyars Poenaru-Bordea, with their branch named Poenaru-Iatan (descendants of Barbu, called “the Red”, a country squire, of Dragomir Bărbulescu and of boyar Târcă), related by marriage to the princes Ghika and to the families Prăjescu, Bilciurescu, Brăiloiu, Clinceanu, Craifăleanu, Cutzarida, Filalitti, Filitti, Frunzeanu, Geanoglu, counts Kiseleff, Lecca, Maltezianu, Marathea, Mitilineu, Obedenaru, Paleologu, Pătârlăgeanu, Păucescu, Pâcleanu, Perieţeanu, Pitișteanu, Poloni, Rally, barons Sachellarie, Stoianovici, Vidraşcu, Villara, Wassilko etc., to the painter Ștefan Luchian and to Constantin Prezan, Marshal of Romania. Ion Poenaru-Bordea (1842-1918) was a magistrate, a landowner and a member of Parliament for several decades, representing the National Liberal Party. 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 Priest Radu from the 18th century and of his son, the long-lived Barbu Poppa Radu (1788-1888), moșnean of Poiana and Pisculeasca. My great grandfather was the firstborn son of moșnean Stan Bărbulescu (1843-1898) and Maria Ţenţea (1848-1944). 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. Stan Bărbulescu’s brother, Alexandru (Alecu) Bărbulescu (1837-1891), was a reader at the wooden church from Poiana and a teacher at the schools of Poiana and Pribegi. He corresponded with the great scholar Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu and he answered at his questionnaire about the spoken language and the traditions from Poiana and Pribegi. He also wrote The History of the Wooden Church from Poiana.

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 Sandu (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 Tănăsescu 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 Munteanu and he also fought in World War I. He made a pilgrimage to Constantinople, therefore he called himself 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 national 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: the poet Ioan Nenițescu and the chemist Costin Nenițescu, both of them members of the Romanian Academy).

Dumitrache Bărbulescu during the Balkan War

Dumitrache Bărbulescu

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

Ștefan Bărbulescu was married to Eliza Săbăreanu and he owned a machine shop in Bucharest. He was a member of the National Peasants’ Party, between the two World Wars. His daughter, Victoria (Stela), was married to the comedian Puiu Călinescu (1920-1997).

Ştefan Bărbulescu

Smaranda Bărbulescu

The Bărbulescu. Seated, Maria Bărbulescu, born Țențea.
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 during the Battle of Zenta, against the Ottomans, by Emperor Leopold I of the Holy Roman Empire. 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). Venera Vasilescu was married to the driver Mircea Ștefănescu, who was the winner of the Romanian trotting derby for 10 times.

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 of 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 member of Parliament representing the National Liberal Party (PNL).

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 (Mavroyeni, Mavrogenis), 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 in 1875. 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 in 1866), Ioan Dimitrie Străjescu, subprefect of Hotin in the Russian Empire (1822-1825), the writer Alexandru Vlahuţă, the painter Eustațiu Altini, the historian V. A. Urechia, the cardiologist Constantin C. (Tantinel) Iliescu, to the Hasdeu, Rosetti, Panopol 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, the Princes Shakhovskoy, the Counts Chreptowicz-Bouteneff and 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, a teacher, and four brothers: the economist Teodor Stănescu (official of the National Bank of Romania in the interwar period and a veteran of World War II), the economist and Romanian Secret Intelligence Service Special Agent Nicolae Stănescu (who fought in the World War II and was a political prisoner between 1951 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, Knight of the Order of the Crown of Romania, PhD in Military Science and academic).

Uncle Bogdan Stănescu

In 1952, Mircea Stănescu married my grandmother, Alexandrina Costache (1932-2021), daughter of Nicolae Costache (1887-1968), 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

My paternal bloodline, the Iorga, has its roots in Coțatcu (in present day 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. My direct ancestor Nițu Iorga, born around 1835, fought in the Romanian War of Independence in 1877. His son, Ion Iorga (1870-1946), 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, in the Battle of 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 was a 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. On his maternal bloodline, he was a direct descendant of Priest Ene Referendaru (born in 1831), the founder of the wooden church from Oratia (Buzău county).

My parents were Lucia Stănescu (1955-2021) and Victor Iorga (1954-2014). My mother, Lucia Iorga, graduated from the “Dimitrie Cantemir” High School in Bucharest and the Faculty of Psychology of the University of Bucharest. She was a passionate and dedicated psychologist, who started her career as a teacher. Then she worked at ITB (Bucharest Transport Company), she was a researcher at the Institute of Pedagogical Sciences, and then, for several decades, a psychologist at the Romanian Ministry of National Defense, becoming one of the most respected civilian specialists from the Romanian Army. Thousands of candidates for the military career and international military missions have been psychologically tested by her. My mother designed new selection strategies and trained military psychologists in the country, contributing fundamentally to the development of military psychology in Romania. She taught psychology and pedagogy at the Roman Catholic Theological Institute “St. Tereza” and at the Faculty of Theology and Social Assistance of the University of Bucharest. In 2002 she obtained her PhD in Psychology. She published her PhD thesis in the volume entitled From atheism to holiness. A psychological approach to the motivation of religious behavior. Towards the end of her career she also dedicated herself to psychotherapy. She has written and published dozens of scientific studies. In 2004 she became a Knight of the “Military Virtue” Order, for her “sustained activity in improving the Romanian Army, for the discipline and devotion shown in order to transform the Romanian Army into a reliable partner in NATO.”


Lucia Iorga born Stănescu

Lucia Iorga, May 1 1970

Lucia Iorga at the Cantemir Vodă College, Bucharest

Lucia Iorga, psychologist at the Bucharest Transport Company, in the 80s

Lucia and Filip-Lucian Iorga, Vatican City, 2000

Lucia Iorga, Knight of the Order of the Military Virtue, 2004

The cover of the book written by Lucia Iorga

My Mother, Dr. Lucia Iorga PhD, Psychologist


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