#Genealogy – Ancestry.com Has Free Access Week (until 9/5) for Immigration Records

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk just wanted to let his readers know they have this Labor Day Week/Weekend to search Ancestry.com for free in at least their Immigration records!

I took advantage of this to do some new searches related to the Social Network Analysis (SNA) I did a while back. I also remembered my Haller’s Army article too and so I decided to search for one of my returning Haller’s Army vets (actually his brother Leon). Boleslaw returned in 1920 on Princess Matoika and I got to thinking, I know his brother Leon fought in World War I (in the US Army — not Haller’s Army); Perhaps I can find US Troops returning from World War I too.

Well all of a sudden I found Leon Wlecial on his INITIAL arrival in America in 1913. Too bad it was only the Hamburg Ship Manifest which has such little detail. But then my forensic mind kicked in. If he came to US via Hamburg there had to be a NYC or Philadelphia arrival record for him. I tried variations on the name to no avail to find the matching ship manifest in NYC/Philadlephia. I finally decided to look at all arrivals on 12/20/1913 on SS Pretoria. I searched for all “Leons” assuming they butchered the last name on indexing. No Leon Wlecial in the Leons??? I then did a search on all “Lean”s and lo and behold there was my Leon hiding amongst the Leans with his last name also butchered coming form his wife (??? — never knew he was married) and going to his brother Boleslaw whom I knew well and had a lot of documentation on. So indeed this was my Leon Wlecial (as if there could be another Leon Wlecial with a brother Boleslaw Wlecial in Detroit, MI).

Now the Wlecial/Wlecialowski name is very rare indeed so I did not need much convincing but this info was too good. I now knew Leon had been married in Poland to a woman named “Maten” (??) from whom he was arriving from. I also knew he was living in “Baczanow” (a corruption of Pacanow, often written Paczanow in Ship Manifests) and that he was born in Rusek. Rusek, really ???   Well that might explain why I found his two siblings birth records in Pacanow, but not his. Note to self – FIND R-U-S-E-K (if it exists) in a Gazetteer. I also now had a new residence for his brother Boleslaw Wlecial who was living at 449 Grady Ave, Detroit, MI on 12/20/1913 apparently if you can believe the stuff written on Ship Manifests.

The moral of this story was … Do NOT stop at just the Hamburg Ship Manifest. It means there is a matching Ship Manifest in Ellis Island or for Philadelphia port. Use the date and ship name if the name does not pop up in NYC/Philadelphia searches. You can always go page by page on the Ship Manifest, but often some shrewd guessing can help you divine how the name was mangled by an indexer misreading the Ship Manifest.

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