Archive for March, 2010

March 20, 2010

Pacanow

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Pacanow Church circa 1918

Stanczyk’s dziadkowie (grandparents) came from Biechow and Pacanow parishes. Each of those two parishes had a few others villages that made up the parish. It is my fondest dream that I should return to these ancestral towns and see the churches, cemeteries, libraries, Urzad Stanu Ciwilego (USC which are roughly equivalent to a County Clerk’s Office in the USA). Not to mention visit a couple of archives too.

My grandfather, Jozef Eliasz (aka Elijasz) and his father Jozef and his father Marcin were from Pacanow. Other families from Pacanow parish,  like the Wlecialowskich who married into the Eliasz family and who also came to America and lived across the road from my grandmother Valeria’s farm. My grandfather Jozef help build Ciotka Rosie’s farmhouse (really a barn) with her husband Adam Gawlikowski. Ciotka Rosie (nee Wlecialowski) had a mother named Katarzyna Eliasz, who was my grandfather’s aunt. There was also Kedzierski family that my grandfather’s older brother, Jan Eliasz married into and some Kedzierskis also came to America. Funny, Stanczyk even found a friend, amongst the professional genealogists, the multi-talented Ceil Wendt Jensen whose Zdziepko ancestors came from Pacanow and settled in the Detroit area. So in a way the Polish diaspora from the parish of Pacanow reformed in Detroit (and Toledo, and Buffalo, and I am sure other Great Lake states).

Miraculous Cross

Stanczyk wants to visit Pacanow’s church (Sw. Marcin / St. Martin) as a pilgrimage. The picture,  near the top of this column, is the church as my grandfather would have known it (circa 1918). I wonder if my grandfather and his family helped in one of the many rebuilds or expansions of  the church. My grandfather, Jozef, was a carpenter and he built a steeple on Corpus Christi Church in Detroit.

This church whose cross has been a source for pilgrims to worship due to its uniqueness dating back to the middle ages,  has one more chapter. During World War II, something miraculous happened in that church. It was partially destroyed, all but the section that had the agonizing Jesus upon this sacred cross. The Russian soldiers were going to finish their godless work and tear it down. When they attempted to pull the cross down, they were blinded multiple times, until they ran away (these Bolshevik atheists) and witnesses heard them scream that the God in Pacanow is very strong. Imagine that miraculous event in my family’s ancestral church!

I am hopeful to see this church which has recently been recognized by the Vatican as a minor Basilica. It is a beautiful icon and has some church relics around it.

March 6, 2010

Random Musings…

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

This jester watched “Who Do You Think You Are” (WDYTYA). I was touched and enjoyed the first episode. I hope all interested parties do not get the impression that genealogy is so easy or so fast. Perhaps it was not emphasized, but there about a half dozen of genealogical researchers (who appeared on film — I am sure there were more behind the scenes), who handle the various specialties: California, Gold Rush, New England, Salem Witch Trials,  Cincinnati OH/ Germans. I think that demonstrates that you need various skills in various areas and no one genealogist can possibly know it all or be the efficient in areas outside of his/her specialization. I learned some things and look forward to learning more about areas outside my own sphere of expertise.

I hope the WDYTYA will slog through the many blogs and find hints. So, here are two suggestions that I thought of as I watched that can help add even more connections to those watching.

Suggestion 1.

There were opportunities to connect to others (as possible sequels/foreshadowing) and just being literate. For example, I like to occasionally do some genealogy on literati. So I have looked into Nathaniel Hawthorne’s genealogy. His book the “Scarlet Letter” about the Salem trials would have been such a good side bar note. Not because I want useless trivia to clutter up the show, but because Hawthorne’s ancestor was one of the judge’s. They could have shown his ancestor’s name and connected Sara Jessica Parker to Hawthorne in this odd sort  of juxtaposition that would have added something for Sara and for those watching. Indeed it drove Hawthorne to write the story and caused him to alter his family name(to an alternative spelling) — another good lesson to budding genealogists.

Suggestion 2.

Give the genealogists, researchers, archivists/archives, and historical sites 30 seconds on the film listing them and put their info one the website too (not just the celebrities). A “Thank you to…” still shot listing all of the above and an audio directing viewers to the web site page for more info on these people.

Go to the web site and check out the “about” and exclusive “menus”, in particular the “did you know” menu selection.

Random Musing #2

Did you know there have been approximately, 106 Billion people on this planet over all time? So in theory we’d only need slightly less than 37 generations in our tree to have everyone in our family tree. Of course, that would mean we’d have all people in the family tree before we even went back in time to the Norman Conquest (1066). Obviously there were people before that time. Why doesn’t the math work? As you go back in time, you should see some people appearing multiple places in the tree. So perhaps we need more than 37 generations to all be related.

For those with a scientific mindset, we find in genetics that the genealogical “Eve”, appeared about 200,000 years ago. Oddly enough, the genealogical Adam, appeared only 60,000 years ago. Apparently, he killed off or somehow prevented all previous others from passing on their male DNA. Just so people do not get the idea that partho-genesis did not occur for 140,000 years before male DNA appeared or wonder why that gap. Let’s work with the 200,000 year number. Assuming each generation is about 20 years (Baby Boomers are 1946-1964, a nineteen year span) then we should need 10,000 generations. Just so we are on the same page: Genealogical Eve and Adam are  homo sapiens, not  any of the other prior prototypes of humanity. That is why we are not talking of millions of years, but only 200,000 years. I once read that the aboriginal Australians believe they have a genealogical tree of 48,000 generations (and they kept track of them!!!). That does not seem to match with the current thoughts that they have resided on Australia for a mere 50,000 years. It does seem unreasonable to have a generation each and every year. This jester once met a man at a recent genealogical conference who claimed he had traced his genealogy back to King David(with source documents of evidence). Forgive me for doubting, but I did wonder, but did not give voice to my skepticism nor voice the obvious  question of why, he could not take his genealogy back to Adam, son of God. The rest of David’s genealogy is recorded in the Bible.

Go read a good book!

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