Rafał Smoczyński and Tomasz Zarycki proposed a thesis that in Poland around 1920 the intelligentsia had taken power from the aristocracy and bourgeoisie (it is called ‘intelligentsia revolution’). They advanced another thesis that the reference point (‘totem’) for the identity of the intelligentsia had been ‘an extended family’ composed of descendants of the aristocracy. The article is an analysis of the structure of the Polish society when the intelligentsia was being born (the middle of the 19th century). The author tries to establish if it was then possible to predict the above mentioned revolution and the shape of the twentieth-century Polish intelligentsia and whether any other course of events was possible. In the years 1821–1861 Kurier Warszawski published obituaries of 18,038 people who – together with their families – were considered to be so important that without knowing them it was hardly possible to function in the society. In this way it is possible to reconstruct family connections so that it would be established which families were worth knowing more and which ones occurred in the press only sporadically. If the endogamy of the elites is taken for granted, it is not difficult to indicate concentrations and centres of gravity – social circles of special attraction; the ones who dominated and the others who could take that dominance away from them.