The earliest written record about the family dates from the 15th century.
In 1457 the knight, John (Jan (Korwin) Szymanowski), returned to a small village - "Szymany", from the Thirteen Years' War, also called the War of the Cities, fought between 1454–66 by the Prussian Confederation, allied with the Kingdom of Poland, against the State of the Teutonic Order/
He is considered to be the founder of the family. John came from a clan
bearing the coat of arms, "Jezierza", which has its beginnings among
pre-Christian tribal warriors.
In the ensuing centuries, scions of the family appear not only as landowners in the Mazovian province, but as holders of numerous civic roles and as magistrates (in Polish, Starosta), representatives to the Polish Sejm (diet or parliament). They were noted and honoured for their peace time contributions to the development of Polish society and culture. Their long held and cherished reputation as steadfastly dedicated to Church and Kingdom made them consistently sought after consorts to many grander families in the land, whose star may have waxed and then wained during
the tribulations of Polish history.
By the end of the 18th century, Szymanowskis were familiar at Court and signatories of the new Polish Constitution of 1791. The family, like many others of comparable standing, had long maintained strong cultural ties with the Catholic Kingdom of France. French was taught and spoken in the home alongside Polish. When Poland was torn apart as an entity in three successive partitions Partitions of Poland in the last quarter of the 18th century by its powerful neighbours, Russia, Prussia and the Austrian Empire, the hope offered by Napoleon
became inexorable. Several Szymanowskis enlisted as officers in army regiments, as a patriotic duty and fought in Napoleonic campaigns. For some it cost them their wealth, their lives or drove them into exile.
This pattern continued into the 19th and 20th centuries, when Polish uprisings meant the ultimate sacrifice for family members. Around this time, the double barrelled form of the family name came into usage, to distinguish
clan members from other (unrelated) Szymanowskis, although several noted writers, artists and musicians of the family continued to be known simply as "Szymanowski".The several branches of the Korwin-Szymanowski family continue to this day, spread now over a number of continents