Archive for September, 2011

September 28, 2011

Calendars – Happy New Year 5772 – #Genealogy, #Calendars, #RoshHashana

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Hebrew Calendar

Tonight at sundown the Jewish New Year, 5772 begins. Stanczyk besides being a bibliophile, also loves calendars. Since I am a Polish Catholic (Latin Rite) I follow the Gregorian (the common calendar). The Orthodox Catholics and also genealogists like myself (Russian-Polish, or Russian Empire genealogists) have an affinity for the Julian Calendar, which was replaced by the Gregorian calendar, except for liturgical purposes in the Orthodox denominations.I have also previously written of the Mayan calendar so popular with doomsday curiosity seekers.

But today we speak of the Hebrew Calendar. My wife is Jewish so for her this is the beginning of the Rosh Hashana holiday that culminates in Yom Kippur.The Hebrew Calendar is a lunar based calendar (synchronized to the solar calendar; aka Metonic Cycle). 1 Tishri is the celebration of the creation of the world and the start of a calendar. So as the Jewish peoples celebrate the of Rosh Hashana, they are not only celebrating a New Year’s birth; They are also celebrating the Creation (Genesis). No matter who you are, you MUST read Steve Morse’s, “Jewish Calendar Demystified“. It explains the Hebrew Calendar back to creation and the first Tishri 1. I absolutely need to read it every year at this time. For my Jewish brethren, I offer up a website to create a personalized Hebrew Calendar. Of course, Steve Morse also has his printable Hebrew calendar here. SteveMorse.org also has a calendar converter to convert historical Hebrew dates to the Gregorian Calendar.

For genealogists who a French background, I know I have encountered the French Calendar in genealogy dates. So keep Claus Tøndering’s Calendar page handy. If you wish to know when each country converted from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar (this affects American Historical dates too) the wiki Gregorian page is for you.

September 27, 2011

Family Search Indexing Tool – #Genealogy – #Polish Radom 1866

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk wanted to take a moment to say, “Thanks”. You may recall I did my due diligence on the Genealogy Website Rankings. I added my own blog website for reference. At the time of the survey I was a little over 12.8 Million-th most popular website on the Internet. Out of the billions of pages, I thought that was a great start.

For kicks, I went to Alexa.com and inquired if my ranking had changed. I was pleasantly surprised to see that I was now the 10.3 Million-th most popular website. That is an improvement of 2.5 Million in about one month !   So I just wanted to say thanks. I am hoping to eventually crack the top 1 Milliion (with perhaps a dream of being in the top 100,000 some day). I asked for your support and I can definitely see that I received it. Thank You very much for lending me your eyes.

I am also looking for people to help me in my volunteer efforts. If you can read Polish (or even Russian, I saw two projects for Ukraine-Kiev church records), then you can join with me on one of two projects: Lublin and/or Radom. I chose Radom as it was close to my grandparent’s ancestral villages (Biechow/Pacanow).

Most projects are for English language records. Of those, many are in the USA, so you could pick your local area and get a local genealogy society or historical society to pitch in. It will provide more data for all of us to research. If you want to thank me, but only read English then perhaps you can pick from a project for: Philadelphia, Buffalo, Toledo, Detroit (or Michigan in general). This is another way you can lend me your eyes and feel good about doing some volunteer work (Random Act of Genealogical Kindness, anyone?).

Two Polish projects open at present.

As I said, I chipped in some effort to read one batch (of 12 birth church records). The records I was given in my first batch were from 1866 in the Radom diocese. This data (index and images) will be free to search from their website: FamilySearch.org (Europe Record Groups) .

Good Luck & Thanks again!

– Stanczyk

September 26, 2011

#Jewish #Genealogy – A Continuing Homage to Moja żona – Biechow 1821

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

I am continuing my efforts to retrieve/extract the Jewish records from the Catholic parish of Biechow  (an homage to moja dobra żona, Tereza) during the years when the Catholic Church was ordered to act the civil registration authority for all parties/religions.  My previous postings were for the years 1810-1820  inclusive.

These are the Jewish Births and even the Death records too  from 1821 recorded in Biechow parish. Ergo, this posting brings us upto: 1810-1821 inclusive. The prior post is here .

As per usual, I give permission for all Jewish data that I have been posting to be included in the JRI project.  Happy New Year 5772 [upcoming this week].

In 1821, there were three Jewish births out of a total of 112 births recorded in the Biechow parish. That works out to be 2.7% of the total.

There were no indexes for Marriage or Death. There were 57 death records total and five deaths were Jewish residents. That works out to be 8.8% of the total.

Year: 1821      Priest: Jozef Parzelski         Gmina: Biechow     Powiat: Stopnica     Departement: Krakow      111 Total Births     LDS Microfilm#: 936660

Births

Record #1     Date: 12/31/1820 [yes it was actually in the prior year, but recorded the 1st week of 1821]

Father: Mosiek Simolewicz,  Handlarz, Age 36, Wola Biechowski   House #7

Mother: Serra z Jaklow, age 38

Baby: boy Szmul

Witnesses:  Zelman Majorowicz, Handlarz, age 30 Biechow & Wulf Jaskowicz, Pakiarz,  <no age>, Piestrzec

—-

Record #43     Date: 4/10/1821

Father: Jakob  Majorowicz,  Mlynarz, Age 36, Biechow  House #12

Mother: Hay z Rzelkowna, age 30

Baby: boy Martka

Witnesses:  Gicel   Fulfowicz, Pakiarz, age 45 Biechow & Moska Szmolowicz, Pakiarz,  <no age>, Wojla Biechowski

—-

Record #48    Date: 5/11/1821

Father: Icek  Majorowicz,  Mlynarz, Age 24, Biechow  House #12

Mother: Sara z Moskowiczow, age 20

Baby: girl Haja

Witnesses:  Jakob Majorowicz, Mlynarz,  36, Biechow  & Mindla Abramowicz mlynarz, <no age>, Wojcza

—-

Deaths  – 57 total deaths

Record #12     Date: 3/6/1821

Witness1: Jasek Linden,

Witness2: Salomon Steyberg,

Deceased: Icek Majorkiewicz 30 Biechow

—-

Record #17     Date: 3/10/1821

Witness1: Zelman Steyberg,  <no age> Biechow

Witness2: <none>

Deceased: Jakob Majorkiewicz 36 Biechow

—-

Record #40     Date: 8/28/1821

Witness1: Mendel Fryszman,  Age 46, Wojcza

Witness2: Herszla Herszkowicz, Age 60 Wojcza

Deceased: Ruka 2 weeks? daughter of:  Mendla Fryszman & Sarl z. Sewkowiczow

—-

Record #47     Date:10/26/1821

Witness1: Jasek Linden,  Age 44, Biechow

Witness2: Hycek Bartmanowicz, Age 38 Chrzanow

Deceased: Hansa Mendlowa 36, Biechow, House #217 [? number hand written in afterwards in a gap left]

wife of Abraham Mendlowicz

—-

Record #48     Date: 10/24/1821 [yes this date is earlier than prior record]

Witness1: Jasek Linden,  Age 44, Biechow

Witness2: Hycek Bartmanowicz, Age 38 Chrzanow

Deceased: Hycek Abramowicz <no age>, Biechow

[both deaths, 47 & 48 were recorded on the same day, 10/27/1821]

Stanczyk


September 25, 2011

#Genealogy #Polish – Searching ELA database, State Archives (Poland)

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk was visiting the State Archives in Poland website and he explained about the four databases:

  • PRADZIAD – For vital records, both civil and religious. Birth,  Marriage, Death and Alegata records.
  • SEZAM – A database containing  detailed descriptions of archival holdings preserved by the State Archives and a few related repositories. Some entries are rather lengthy.
  • IZA – A catalog of all (really slightly more than a quarter of all) fonds, by archive that holds them and indexed by Key Words. It includes the Archive’s contact info (for each fond). I hope they get around to indexing the other 3/4 of fonds.
  • ELA – A database of all population registers (Censuses, Lists, Indexes, etc.) in Poland’s State Archives.

When I wrote about ELA, I said it was not very useful. But I  wanted to correct my errant statement (due to my own misconception about what data they had available). By the descriptions, you can see that PRADZIAD is the most important to a genealogist, but that the ELA database with its population lists can provide additional opportunities to find an ancestor and in some context (a list of soldiers, those being deported, a census, eligible voters list, etc.) for some timeframe. Now let me hasten to add that in the Russian Partition of Poland you are not going to find much in the way of censuses — it seems you can find Russian Empire censuses in all Russian Gubernias, but the ten gubernias in the Polish Kingdom (of the Russian Empire, aka Congress Poland).

Using ELA

This is the English language version of the ELA database (click on link to go to ELA) search form.

You can leave “Town” empty and just search on the “Register’s title” field. Here are some possible search strings (enter Polish words):

  1. Listy osób
  2. Listy osób uprawnionych do głosowania w guberni kieleckiej
  3. listy osób deportowanych z Cesarstwa Rosyjskiego

The first is just the generic, “Lists of People”. All strings must be in Polish (get your Google Translator out). The diacriticals (accents) are not required. The second is the list of eligible voters (in Kielce Gubernia).  The third one is a list of people deported from the Russian Empire.

Leave town blank if you want to search all towns. Fill in town or gmina or powiat (if these are also town names) if you want to limit yourself to an area where you know your ancestors were from. You can also use “Register’s title” if you want to search a whole wojewodztwo (gubernia) and not just the town Kielce.

I have family from the Kielce Gubernia, so I clicked on “more” to find out what FOND and Archive has this data of interest to me (#2 of the list above).

So I should use the contact info to go to the Kielce State Archive and ask for FOND # 59 to see the list of eligible voters in Kielce Gubernia in 1906.

Perhaps I’ll find Elijasz, Leszczynski, Wlecial, and Kedzierski families listed among the eligible voters. From that era, my paternal grandparents are still there  and I expect  that I’d find my great-grandparents too. Now I do not know that I will find more than their names. But perhaps, I’ll get ages and addresses too. Who knows what else (military service, occupation, date of prior elections or number of elections voted — who knows).

There is no actual data or images online. It just a big library catalog file of what you can expect to find, if you visit or hire a genealogist to visit the State Archives.

September 24, 2011

Technology in #Genealogy – Google Books, iPhone/iPad

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk wanted to elaborate on a few new ideas for incorporating Technology into your genealogy:

  • Roots Tech 2012 – registration is open. Get all your tech on Feb 2-4, 2012 in Salt Lake City
  • Google Books – Many good books are in the public domain, road map to the rest
  • iPhone/iPad – genealogy on the go
  • Hash Tags in your blog, blog title and link your blog to Twitter

The second Roots Tech 2012 conference is coming up soon. If you are trying to make better use of your scant genealogy time, then perhaps using more technology to organize, find, backup or present your research may be the order of the day. This year many big tech companies will be there, as well as genealogy software vendors. Here is your chance to learn and to try out new ideas.

Google Books may help you locate material specific to genealogy, such as a gazetteer or a heritage book like the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). It can also help you with reference materials, such as Latin. Look for “Free Books” (i.e. public domain), such as, “The Poles in America” By Paul Fox. If you are looking for a book that is in copyright, Google Books can help you locate the book in the nearest library/archive or a vendor who sells it.

iPhone/iPad – Genealogy has gone portable with the advent of smart phones. Laptops were fine but smart phones are now better. I have grown fond of the Ancestry app for iPhone. It keeps getting better. I use it to shoot an image of a document and then attach it to a person in the tree. So now you can take pictures of the microfilm and attach the document in the tree. It synchs virtually immediately so you can see in on the web at Ancestry.com as soon as the upload from the phone has finished. I have one of those public domain Latin books from Google or the Gutenberg Project on my iPhone in iBooks app. So you have your family tree software, digital camera, and reference materials all in one device —  your phone.

#HashTags – You see them in twitter all of the time. They are like Key Words in a library catalog. Twitter can produce “What’s Trending” from these hash tags. But you can hook up your blog to twitter and so you should put Hash Tags in your Posting’s title to help people find it on Twitter or in Google. I even use them in Facebook.

September 24, 2011

Stanczyk – Internet Muse #Blog #Enhancements #genealogy

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Recently, I have been pondering how to improve this blog. So I have implemented a few things and I pray you will let me know your kind thoughts.  Thanks

Changes

Here are the list of changes I have made today. Let me know if you think there are others that would be beneficial.

  1. Emails to me are easier. Just click on the pic [here in this post] or permanently on right sidebar.
  2. RSS subscriptions are more obvious – top right of the blog
  3. Access to other Pages moved up
  4. Thank You. – At the bottom (and here and now) I thank you for visiting me
  5. Previously I added my  twitter feeds – mostly I announce new blogs posts, plus a few quips.
September 23, 2011

An Analysis of Biechow LDS Microfilm By Film/Year/Event

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Its a rainy day today and Stanczyk threw himself at the unfinished Survey Spreadsheet of his grandmother’s ancestral village: Biechow (old woj./gubernia Kielce). So I made a pot of coffee and I started at the highest level.

My spreadsheet is for each of the years, 1792-1860 inclusive. So there is each year going down the leftside. I have each the three events: Birth, Marriage, Death (Urodzen, Malzenstwo, Zgonow) in separate columns. Please note in some years there are marriage banns (zapowiedz), so you may need to divide by three to get an idea of the actual number of marriages (round up to the next integer). The counts provided are the actual record counts in the church registers. For Biechow, I used LDS microfilm: 936660 .. 936664 inclusive (five film). Finally, I added a column of derived data, “Growth Rate”. This column is simply the number of births minus the number of deaths. Most years there is an increase. However, there are some negatives that show a population decrease. In one year (1831), I know for certainty, that there was a cholera epidemic. Hence a steep decrease in population in 1831. In other years, it may be pestilence/disease or it may be war or something else, but I have no info to explain the negative growth.

[click on read more to see spreadsheet data]  

September 22, 2011

#Genealogy #News – MyHeritage.com Acquires BackupMyTree

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

MyHeritage.com who would be the 2nd most popular genealogy website on our survey [see chart below]:

# Website Ranking
1 Ancestry.com 1,073
2 myHeritage.com 3,360
3 FindAGrave.com 7,294
4    Familysearch.org 8,331
5 Genealogy.com 11,875
6 GeneaNet 13,684
7 The British Monarchy 53,320
8 Family Tree DNA 57,911
9 RootsWeb  62,662
10   Footnote.org (now fold3) 76,309

is buying BackupMyTree a private genealogy software company from St Louis, MO (at least its server) in the US. For more info on the company, here is an analysis.

September 22, 2011

Poland’s President Komorowski opens WallStreet Today

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

According to: NYSE EuroNext,  and also mentioned on MSNBC.

H.E. Bronislaw Komorowski, President of the Republic of Poland, visits the NYSE. In honor of the occasion, H.E. Bronislaw Komorowski rings The Opening BellSM.

Hooray for Polonia! Welcome to NYC and the USA,  President Komorowski. Wall Street and I am sure a UN meeting — a good ally of the USA.

September 21, 2011

Smithsonian Institution Libraries – Books, Images Online

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Brown Tree Duck

Being a jester brings with it a lot of name calling and chief among them is “bird-brain” — which Stanczyk has taken to heart.

A Number of times, I have written about the Smithsonian Libraries & Museums or the Library of Congress. These treasures of America should be enjoyed  and are provided for the diffusion of information. Every American should make a pilgrimage to Washington D.C. and see the statues and museums — taking care not to wander too close to politicians lest you contract a serious case of lunacy.

I have lived in the Village of Audubon, the hometown of the Franco-American Naturalist, John James Audubon. My connection to my genealogy is a fascinating one. Many of the persons from my grandparent’s ancestral villages have Bird Names! Names like: Czapla, Dudek, Kruk, łuszcz, Orzeł{owski}, Ptak, Siewki(Siwiec), Sroka, Skowronek, Sokol(owski),   Szczygieł,  Wrobel, Zięba, żuraw(ski), (and even Włecial=flew) etc. Now one thing had nothing to do with the other; It was just a weird juxtaposition of my life. To couple these two things with my obsession with ducks and yea verily all manner of water fowl — well you get today’s posting. Maybe birds really are in my DNA (in more ways than one).

Actually, today’s posting came from my iGoogle page (Genealogy & Libraries). I have hooked the Smithsonian Libraries blog into the iGoogle page. Today they blogged about their Gallery of Images. Now I thought this was going to be another mention of their flickr pages. But I was wrong. WARNING: do not go to the Gallery of Images if you suffer from ADD. You can easily become lost in the SIL efforts to bring these images and their information online.

The picture at the top is not from Audubon’s Birds of North America, but it is from “The Birds of North America” by Spencer Fullerton Baird, published in 1860 (Philadelphia).

[click on read more to Polish-English Bord List]                                  

September 20, 2011

#Genealogy #Polish – Notes & Notices; Searching IZA

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk was visiting the State Archives in Poland and he saw the news…

The State Archive in Wroclaw is celebrating the 200th anniversary of its opening. They published a monograph, “The State Archive in Wrocław 1811-2011. Past and Present “, The main celebration  will take place on 28th of September. If the Archive is 200 years old, then I wonder how old its oldest documents are? Please note if you click on the Union Jack flag (for English) you will miss this announcement which only listed on the Polish language version of the page.

Shoemaker’s Guild

I wanted to search their IZA database to do a “Key Word” search across all State Archive Offices on the topic of Guilds, in particular Shoemaker’s Guild (cechu szewskiego). I have previously written about these guilds before in this blog. I used the ‘cechu’ AND ‘szewc’ as my keywords and I got back seven results:

I circled the Catalog Number (sygnatura) which is a link that can be clicked. When you click on it, you are taken to the specific page for the archive that has the material you need.

The first part of the four parts indicates the archive office (see drop down below). The second is “series”, the third is “sub-series” and the fourth part is file number. Now the material retrieved from the IZA database is in Polish, so if you are not fluent in Polish, you will need your Google Translate webpage.

So when you click on the Catalog number the top of the page should look like …

The address and phone number at the top left. Further down the page it describes the archival file(s) from your search — in Polish!

The initial database search screen also has a drop-down field that maps the State Archive Offices to the number (the first part of the Catalog Number). You may want to limit results to a specific office if you are only searching in a specific archive office when you visit Poland.

So you see at the bottom of my drop down that 32 = Krakow State Archive in the Nowy Targ office. The 32 was the first part of my catalog number: 32/1/0/64 .

You can click these images at the left to see a large size image that will be easier to read.

In terms of vocabulary, the series + the sub-series (parts 2 & 3) are the FOND. The fourth part, the file number, is also called ‘OPIS‘.

You will see these words used with the other databases, in particular, the PRADZIAD database that has the vital records (church registers -or- civil office records).

It is this jester’s hope that this info can help you navigate the State Archives of Poland’s three databases (also a fourth database, ELA which is not very useful):

  • PRADZIAD
  • SEZAM
  • IZA
September 16, 2011

Preparing for 1940 Census

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

1940 US Census Form

If you go to Steve Morse’s One-Step Website or you go to the US National Archives, you will see that as right now you have 198 days (and 17+ hours) to prepare for the 1940 US Census (which arrives 72 years after census, to protect privacy). This time it will be on April 2nd (2012).

Are you preparing? Ancestry.com says they will give us free access to the 1940 census (for a while). The last time (10 years ago) there were no indexes at the release and you had to do a lot of brute force searching page-by-page through an Enumeration District (ED), so you had to know the whereabouts of your family and be able to use the ED’s boundary cross streets to figure out which ED you needed to go page-by-page through. “Supposedly”, Ancestry.com says the indexes will be there (all of them?  on day 1?). I hope they are correct and I hope this year they do not use foreign people to index the names — which was quite a snafu the last time and of course they were re-indexed (always time/money to do it a second time, but not enough time/money to do it right the first time — Stanczyk was a consultant too long and saw this again and again in many industries).

How can you prepare?

  • Locate a 1940 (or 1939 or 1941) City Directory if you know the street address and verify that family were there
  • If they are somewhere else, then you will need to use SteveMorse.org and his Census tools to change the new address into a 1940 ED
  • Determine the ED ahead of time in case there are no indexes or the indexes are BAD.
  • No City Directory available? SteveMorse has a census tool to convert the 1930 ED into a 1940 ED [assuming your family stayed at the same address]
  • Figure out ahead of time some novel misspellings of the surnames your are searching for in case the indexer or the Census taker messed up your ancestor’s name.
  • DO NOT lock yourself into assuming they are in the same state (or county or city).
  • At first try with many details filled in, then relax a field at a time until you find your family -or- you can go in the opposite direction if your name is not common and start with the fewest fields filled in (usually just surname) and add in fields if you need to cut down the number of results.
  • Use an address from any document prior to 1940, (ex. Naturalization Forms) if you do not have any idea where they live in 1940. Use the latest document’s address that you have to guess at an ED [again using SteveMorse.org].
  • If the above fails try and find the address, the earliest as possible  after the 1940 Census and see if they were. The Old Man’s WWII Draft might fit the bill for most people.

Those are my tips. Any other tips you are using? Then email this jester or make a comment, please.  Prepare as if you were going to a Library or an archive or the Family History Library.

This is a War Census, so I do not know how they dealt with the many households that had soldiers away at war. Were soldiers listed on the Census or not?

General Info & 1940 Census Questions

Many good questions on this census, including …

  1. Residence, April 1, 1935
  2. For all women who are or have been married:  Number of children ever born (do not include stillbirths).
  3. Veterans: War or military service.
September 15, 2011

Searching for Clues in 1913 Immigration

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

In Stanczyk’s last post I was pondering why my grandmother did not disembark in NYC, but disembarked from Philadelphia instead heading to Buffalo area by train.

So I brainstormed two possible explanations:

  1. Hurricane
  2. Dock Strike

Sorry my brain is tired these days I am sure there are even more besides the obvious, “Maybe she just missed her embarkation point in NYC.”

As the picture shows, a mild season, but Tropical Storm (#4 — no names in those years) may have influenced the ship crossing as it was in the same time frame. But coming from the south I would have thought it may have driven the ship to NYC, not to the more southerly Philadelphia in an emergency. So perhaps a hurricane is not the explanation. I will have to keep searching.

I guess it was Hurricane Irene that came by this season with its horrific floods in the north-east (and here in PA and NJ as well as the VT pics we have all seen) that made me think of and search for that. After I wrote the article I realized it is exactly 98 years today (9/15), since my grandmother arrived in Philadelphia.

In my searches, I also found out about the Hurricane of 1913 on the Great Lakes (called the “Big Blow”). Check out these Ohio Historical Society Newspaper pages. This may at least partially explain why my Aunt Kitty was born in Depew (St Augustine parish) in 1914 and not in Toledo, OH, as her next three siblings were. This “Big Blow” caused a blizzard,  wreaking havoc in Ohio/Ontario and eliminating chances to migrate further west (by train or Lake Steamship) for many months. Something like 250-300 men lost their lives upon 14 vessels that were lost on the Great Lakes during this EPIC storm of 1913. Even the trains were stranded and food left undelivered for a long time — causing food shortages.

I wonder if my KUSCHWANTZ (Toledo) blogger pal has any posts about that 1913 winter in Ohio. See my blogroll for Donna’s very well done blog about Polish genealogy in Toledo area.

On to the next possibility …

[To see what Donna from the Kuschwantz blog wrote, click on read more]

read more »

September 14, 2011

#Genealogy – #Historical #Newspapers – Philadelphia Inquirer 9/15/1913

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Philadelphia Inquirer 9/15/1913

Stanczyk, loves using newspapers for historical research or genealogical research. Most of the time I am doing genealogy research. So I look for vital records in marriage announcements or birth announcements or perhaps death notices / obituaries. But there are so many other reasons  to use historical newspapers.

Today I wanted to give you an idea for using the historical newspaper in the port city where your ancestor arrived.

My grandmother, Walerya Eliasz, arrived in America on the SS Prinz Adalbert on 15th September 1913. I have a picture of the ship, but then the thought occurred to me, what if I get a copy of the newspaper from the day my Busia arrived in Philadelphia! It would make a nice graphic image in the story of the ELIASZ family in America.So that is my tip for another use of the historical newspaper to tell your family history. Use it to find the “Ship Arrivals” in the port city where your ancestor(s) arrived.

SS Prinz Adalbert

Walerya arrived that day, age 27 with her four year daughter Aleksandra in tow. They were coming from her father Tomasz Leszczynski in Pacanow and going to her husband Jozef Eliasz in Depew, NY.  [Can anyone tell me why she did not get off in NYC and take the train to Depew from NYC?] This ship departed from the port of Hamburg and I am pretty sure it stopped at NYC before arriving in Philadelphia.

So Walerya was born and married in Biechow, Poland. She got married there in 1907. She had her first two children there in 1908 and 1909. Her husband Jozef Elijasz came to the USA in 1910 from Zabiec. She left Poland in 1913 from Pacanow. She arrived in Philadelphia and went by train to Depew, NY. She had a daughter Catherine (ok really Casimiera) in Depew. Moved to Toledo, OH where she gave birth to Stephen, Joseph, and Bernice. Immediately after Bernice was born , they moved to Detroit, MI (1920) where she had Thadeus, Henry, and Chester. She was widowed in 1930 (bad time to be a widow, during the Great Depression). She remarried in 1947 and moved to Beech Grove, IN. She was widowed again in 1953 and her children helped move her back to MI, to her seven acre farm in Macomb Township on Fairchild Road — which is the only home I ever remembered my grandmother living in.

September 13, 2011

Musing about the Cholera Epidemic of 1831

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

I frequently browse my blog’s web analytics (who refers, what they searched on, etc.). I noticed that someone landed on my blog searching about Cholera in the Biechow parish (in Piestrzec to be specific).

First let me take a moment to pay due to Rosemary Chorzempa(Toledo Genealogical Society, author) whose book, Polish Roots, was my first genealogy book and from whence I began the study of this craft. I still refer back to it — a real classic. I bring her book up because it has a timeline in it and one of the entries is 1831 – “First[sic Second] Asiatic Cholera Epidemic“. This is when Cholera came to the villages: Biechow, Piestrzec, Wojcza, Chrzanow, etc. Besides the obvious HIGH death rates, we also saw low birth rates too.

Stanczyk has mentioned this before, but one of my ancestors, Marcin Heliasz, age 50 (b. about 1781) was listed as death number 232 (the last one) and Marcin and number 231 did not even have death dates or witnesses. I surmise that the parish priest as he visited on or before the Feast of Epiphany to inscribe the door lintel with the three wise men’s initials (K,M,B) he found these two villagers dead. Their record is after the other records and the end of year notation the priest usually makes.

The number of deaths were between 49-88 (from 1816-1827). Then 1828- 122 deaths, 1829- 149 deaths, 1830- 142 deaths, perhaps these might have been due to a growth spurt, but in 1831- 232 deaths (and cholera was noted in the church registers). In 1832- 80, 1833- 61, 1834- 71. So we see a return to normal death rates of the early 1820’s. This may also reflect the low birth rate in 1831- just 46. Typically, the birth rate exceeds the death rate by a handful (or a couple dozen in times of plenty) in this parish.

So for the year 1831 with only 46 births and then 232 deaths meant this parish had a net drop in population of 186 in ONE year! If we assume/project from the Parish Censuses (at the top of this blog) that Biechow’s parish population was between 1800-1900 people, then in one year they lost about 10% of the people ! Perhaps half a million Europeans died during this epidemic. In many countries there were actually Cholera Riots — as people were suspicious of their governments.

For more information on epidemics or Cholera Epidemics see Wikipedia.

September 12, 2011

#Genealogy #Website #Rankings – Revisited With A Documented Methodology

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk got one comment recently. It was the first one I ever deleted. It was rude and was in reference to my rant at Genealogy Rankings posted by EOGN. Eastman, had just reposted some blogger’s effort without checking the results (a genealogical mistake — which we all make at some time or other).

Stanczyk, however is a natural skeptic. So when I looked at the results and they differed from my experience … WILDLY. I knew they were wrong or at least that the methodology employed was flawed and the info was misinformation. So I searched for another more credible ranking — which I did find and repost myself. This info was more representative of the real world and while a methodology was also not documented for this, I did cite my source of data.

However, bothered I was by my comment that I deleted for its obvious bias and rudeness, I had to admit I needed to study this and document my methodology. The commenter proffered that ALEXA.com be the source. So I obliged. I used Alexa.com and made the following search for data:

  • All countries (hint hint)
  • Society->Genealogy [the topic]
  • All languages (although come on, Genealogy is only genealogy in English)
  • All rankings
  • No filter
  • I eliminated results without any numbers (how could they be ranked)
  • I added a handful off the top of my head to see where they fit
  • I used Global Ranking (since I wanted all countries/languages)

My Additions

I added FamilySearch.org,  I knew this must be big! I added Genealodzy.pl which most people probably do not know (unless they read my blog), because it was a credible Genealogical Society Website (and probably not the most popular genealogy website in Poland). I added Footnote (now Fold3) — I was sure this was huge too. I also added CastelGarden, SteveMorse, and my own humble blog for reference — I am sure many other Polish Genealogy blogs are higher ranked. My additions are  bolded and in RED.

I could not compare my results to his results because he used the URL instead of the name so I am not certain which of mine are his and vice-versa. Also since we did these studies at different times, our results differ slightly in numbers. I am also puzzled as to how he got so many .UK or .CA websites. These did not get returned by my Alexa.com search — perhaps he limited his methodology  or added in many websites that he knew. I think Alexa.com needs to return a consistent set of websites so rankings can be compared. I also think that some websites need to describe or META tag their website better so sites like Alexa.com and its competitors can do a better job of collecting statistics. I think GENEALOGY as a topic is MUCH more popular than Alexa.com shows. Also, perhaps Alexa.com data is NOT reproducible.  So maybe my critique of EOGN is unwarranted and the Anglo-Celtic blog is also correct (as I am too). That would not be a good thing for Alexa.com. I wish other competitors in Web Analytics would publish a Genealogy/Family History Ranking study. I hope they include genealogia or other foreign renditions of the English ‘Genealogy’ so we can get a true World-Wide study. I also question whether Ancestry.com (and Ancestry.ca, Ancestry.uk, Ancestry.de, etc) should be separate or combined.

When you view the rankings, the lower the number, the better. It means there are that many websites (-1) that are more popular. So for example, my blog that you are reading has 12.8 Million other websites (like Google, Facebook, Apple, etc.) ahead of me in popularity in the WORLD. Pay close attention to my additions, they are in bold/red and for the most part are near to the top.

Genealogy Websites top 113 (I am number 106 — come-on readers)

# Website Ranking
1 Ancestry.com 1,073
2    Familysearch.org 8,331
3 Genealogy.com 11,875
4 GeneaNet 13,684
5 The British Monarchy 53,320
6 Family Tree DNA 57,911
7 RootsWeb  62,662
8   Footnote.org (now fold3) 76,309
9 JewishGen 85,873
10 What’s New in Genealogy Today  116,942
11 Cyndi’s List of Genealogy Resources on the Internet 124,819
12 TribalPages 125,404
13    Stevemorse.org 137,026
14 Eastman’s Online Genealogy News  138,037
15 Access Genealogy  140,165
16 GenoPro 164,723
17 World Vital Records 186,504
18   Genealodzy.pl 187,329
19 One Great Family 203,284
20 Polish Genealogical Society of America 203,550
21 ProGenealogists, Inc. 230,037
22 Genealogy and Family History Data at DistantCousin.com 240,451
23 AncientFaces 271,220
24 Kindred Konnections 273,644
25 National Genealogical Society 300,259
26 Family Tree Magazine 304,602
27 Family Research 317,401
28 Legacy Family Tree 334,708
29 British Royal Family History 337,957
30 Curious Fox 450,455
31 museumsusa.org 478,027
32 Olive Tree Genealogy 478,202
33 GenealogyLinks.net 526,395
34 NCGenWeb 529,784
35 Family Tree Guide 540,734
36 Oxford Ancestors 540,969
37 Irish Genealogy 542,221
38 RootsMagic 546,245
39 CousinConnect.com 556,154
40 Family Tree Circles 560,472
41 Monmouth County Library 664,876
42    Castlegarden.org 736,651
43 Avotaynu 790,666
44 Genealogy Search Engine 794,553
45 Genealogy Search Engine 794,553
46 Genealogy Articles, Tips & Research Guides 867,921
47 CensusDiggins.com  903,350
48 Genealogy Blog 981,796
49 Reunion 988,538
50 Obituary Links Page  1,080,372
51 Dear Myrtle 1,084,424
52 Dead Fred’s Photo Genealogy Archive 1,149,953
53 GeneaLinks 1,168,516
54 Ultimate Family Tree 1,527,831
55 Holmes, Doug 1,569,874
56 RoyaList Online 1,608,515
57 Kerchner 1,624,302
58 phpmyfamily – Genealogical website builder 1,635,669
59 Jewish Web Index 1,713,993
60 Couch: USA 1,766,283
61 The Ohio Genealogical Society 1,792,377
62 Board for Certification of Genealogists 1,854,544
63 Ancestral Quest 1,856,546
64 GenealogyPro.com 1,892,255
65 Scot Roots 2,170,754
66 Genealogy Magazine 2,175,330
67 Black Sheep Ancestors 2,243,157
68 Eneclann 2,298,226
69 Sephardim.com 2,456,171
70 Odessa German-Russian Genealogical Library 2,531,031
71 Journal of Genetic Genealogy 2,585,838
72 Genealogical Journeys In Time 2,780,736
73 Colonial Ancestors 2,932,587
74 Genealogy Register 3,016,245
75 The Genealogue 3,033,136
76 Winslow 3,189,607
77 Family Chronicle Magazine 3,248,384
78 GEDitCOM 3,527,586
79 Gen Source 3,718,359
80 Brother’s Keeper 3,788,856
81 Surname Site  3,854,351
82 GenealogySpot.com 4,028,763
83 GenSmarts 4,070,308
84 Palatines to America 4,161,788
85 Looking 4 Kin Genealogy Links and Chat 4,650,889
86 Genealogical Forum of Oregon 5,079,038
87 Helm’s Genealogy Toolbox  5,229,636
88 Family Origins 5,240,600
89 Genealogy Research Associates, Inc 5,416,307
90 Surname Genealogy Archive 5,462,264
91 Spansoft – Kith and Kin Genealogy Software 5,477,484
92 Historic Genealogy in New England 5,550,789
93 Ancestor Genealogy Photo Archive 5,999,968
94 Genealogy Roots Blog 6,048,790
95 Lineages, Inc 6,852,004
96 Surname Guide 7,252,646
97 Debrett Ancestry Research 8,431,123
98 Geneabios 8,649,736
99 MudCreek Software 9,461,331
100 Family Tree Connection 9,693,244
101 Association of Scottish Genealogists and Record Agents 9,785,665
102 nbgs.ca 10,632,352
103 Scottish Roots 10,912,588
104 Georgia Genealogical Society 11,944,069
105 Rogue Valley Genealogical Society 12,287,030
106   mikeeliasz.wordpress.com (Stanczyk) 12,805,138
107 Genealogy Software News 15,592,001
108 Wheelock 20,518,710
109 FamilyWebHost 20,769,903
110 Genealogy Home Page 23,241,140
111 Root Cellar – Sacramento Genealogical Society 25,363,263
112 Upper Canada Genealogy 26,691,115
113 GenDesigner 26,900,547

It is clear that Great Britain is much more genealogy crazy than the USA. If I were to do this again, I would probably go through my favorites/bookmarks and add in a few blogs (Polish Genealogy), Polish Genealogical Societies (US & Poland), FindAGrave.com, Interment.net, and Everett Genealogy Magazine. What would you add?

–Stanczyk

September 10, 2011

#Meme – Things I Find While Looking Up Other Things (Heraldic Genealogy)

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

The Bohemian Nobility

The Bohemian Nobility

Stanczyk, in one of my continuing memes, offers my latest account of ADD researching. What is ADD researching? It is a case of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), whereby I become distracted by curiosity into something more interesting than what I am actually looking up. Today’s ADD Researching brings me to Heraldic Genealogy. Something in Stanczyk’s DNA can be distracted by colorful, Germanic graphic images — hence “The Bohemian Nobility” cover image was what distracted me in my latest adventure. Let me hasten to add, that as yet, I have not located any Bohemian branches of Eliasz (although I believe there are some).

Many genealogists become fascinated by the notion of tracing their family back to a Royal Lineage. Stanczyk too has a family folklore, shared by distant branches (2nd, 3rd cousins) all telling the same tale that we are related to royalty, but nobody seems to recall the Royal from whom we are all related ???

In Stanczyk’s case, the connecting and convergent point seems to point to the Leszczynski line, though try as I may, that Royal Line seems to end with women and thus the Leszczynski line should not continue down to us via the Leszczynski name, but that is what all of our families that share the family folklore, share as a family name. Alas, I fear that I shall have to content myself with having jestered for three kings.

I found the “The Bohemian Nobility” in one of Poland’s Online Digital Libraries. The link is via the SBC here. This digital book is 464 “pages”. It starts with an index of family names. I scanned the list of names and did not find any from my family tree. Heavy Sigh! So I then looked for a connection to me in some fashion to keep my curiosity piqued. I found one: Hoffman in the index.

So my example and an homage to the great Polish Genealogist, Linguist, and All-Around-Amusing-Curmudgeon, Fred Hoffman, author of many books/treatises on language and genealogy. I found a Hoffman — perhaps this is where Fred’s line comes from (but Stanczyk does not know Fred that well). So the book follows the index with pages of descriptions about the families and then pages (aka “Tafels”/Tables) of Heraldic Symbols (sheilds). So each family name is in three places: index, description, heraldic symbol.

Hoffman

You can click for a larger, more readable version of the Hoffman description and I cannot do it justice as it is written in German and Stanczyk lacks his grandmother’s acumen for German (and Russian and Polish, although my Latin and English are better).

Notice it has a reference to ‘Taf 9′ in parentheses after the family name. The Heraldic Symbols start on page(uh image) 313.  So by adding nine (and subtracting one) we get to page 321 where ‘Taf 9′ is found. This algorithm should work for all names.

The name, Hoffman, is found above the heraldic symbol for that family. I found the heraldic symbol interesting  and ornate (as most usually are). The Hoffman family crest seems to include an anchor (and a castle)  — I seem to recall that Bohemia is landlocked, so the anchor is interesting indeed. There must be a story behind that heraldic symbol (shown below):

I did find some other digital books on the Polish Nobility (Szlachta) you may want to peruse:

You may not recall, but the Polish Digital Libraries require a DjVu plug-in for your browser (or a DjVu applet, written in Java) to view the above digitized books — indeed all digitized content in Polish Online Libraries and Archives use this software. DjVu software is here . Do yourself a favor and download this software(I have used on MS Windows and on MACs).

September 8, 2011

#Jewish #Genealogy – A Continuing Homage to Moja żona – Biechow 1820

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

I am continuing my efforts to retrieve/extract the Jewish records from the Catholic parish of Biechow  (an homage to moja dobra żona, Tereza) during the years when the Catholic Church was ordered to act the civil registration authority for all parties/religions.  My previous postings were for the years 1810-1819  inclusive.

These are the Jewish Births from 1820 recorded in Biechow parish. Ergo, this posting brings us upto: 1810-1820 inclusive. The prior post is here .

As per usual, I give permission for all Jewish data that I have been posting to be included in the JRI project. In 1820, there were four Jewish births out of a total of 111 births recorded in the Biechow parish. That works out to be 3.6% of the total.

Year: 1820      Priest: Jozef Parzelski         Gmina: Biechow     Powiat: Stopnica     Departement: Krakow      111 Total Births     LDS Microfilm#: 936660

Record #8     Date: 1/24/1820

Father: Szmul  Abramowicz,  Handlarz, Age 30, Piestrzec   House #77 (recorded as Karol Jaworski’s house)

Mother: Wiktula z Berkow, age 36

Baby: girl Chanka

Witnesses:  Leyb Berkowicz, Handlarz, age 26 Piestrzec & Judka Moskowicz, Handlarz,  <no age>, Piestrzec

—-

Record #13     Date: 2/5/1820

Father: Leyb  Szlamkiewicz,  Szkolnik, Age 50, Wojcza  House #2

Mother: Faydosz z Herszkow, age 30

Baby: boy Szlama

Witnesses:  Walsa  Jaskowicz, Pakiarz, age 40 Biechow & Mendla Moskowicz, Pakiarz,  <no age>, Wojcza

—-

Record #54     Date: 6/30/1820

Father: Mendel  Moskowicz,  Pakiarz, Age 36, Wojcza  House #64

Mother: Serla z Lewkowiczow, age 36

Baby: girl Rucka

Witnesses:  Moska  Szymolowicz, Pakiarz, age 36 Wola Biechowska & Zelman Majorkiewicz, Pakiarz,  <no age>, Biechow

—-

Record #79     Date: 8/2/1820

Father: Zelman Steyberg,  Handlarz, Age 29, Biechow  House #46

Mother: Malka z Jaskowiczow, age 24

Baby: boy Herszla

Witnesses:  Jaska Wolfowicz, Pakiarz,  44, Biechow & Moska  Szymolowicz, Pakiarz, <no age>,  Wola Biechowska

–Stanczyk

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