Archive for ‘Archive’

February 8, 2012

Meme: Church Metrical Books … Embellishments, Oddities, & Notations #3

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Last week Stanczyk was combing through the LDS Library in Salt Lake. I was perusing the Tumlin parish (LDS Microfilm # 939955). Whilst I was in 1763 covering the Death Records, I found my current Embellishment (or is it an Oddity).

Embellishment

Now in the older Latin records, the Latin paragraph and not the Latin Box Format, it is not uncommon to see the local priest embellish the new year. They usually write the number and perhaps adorn it with some dots around the digits or some small doo-dad or dingbat (in modern parlance).

But clearly in 1763 this priest had a lot of free time and the Creative Spirit overcame him.

Notice the two skull & crossbones. Each is surrounded by floral designs. This seems to this jester to be some kind of All Souls Day motivation whereby the cemeteries are adorned with flowers and the deceased are celebrated.

I have to wonder do other European countries have such Embellishments in their church books too or is this a uniquely Slavic predilection?

December 1, 2011

A Little Bit of Blog Bigos … #Genealogy, #History, #Birds, #Books

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Bigos – A stew, hunter’s stew rich with meats, mushrooms, sauerkraut and dried fruits.

So today my blog bigos is made up of a slew of blurbs …

From  The News.PL, a couple of days ago, they wrote about historians that uncovered a previously unknown memoir by one of the victims of a notorious WW II Nazi operation against Polish intelligentsia (called Sonderaktion Krakau of November 1939).

One of the principals, Zygmunt Starachowicz, kept a memoir of the experience with:

  • Interesting Profiles of the detainees
  • How he was a law graduate signing documents at Jagiellonian University when he was arrested with 182 academics
  • How 20 of the 183 people died in captivity
  • A memoir penned in 1941, that lay in unopened envelope for 70 years

Sadly, Zygmunt died in 1944 after being arrested by the Nazis in July 1944 [probably as a result of his activities as a member of the underground, leading clandestine lectures in law and history, and forging documents for the official “Home Army” (AK)].

October 17, 2011

#Books, #Maps, #Documents – Home is Where the Hearth Is

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk,  is feeling very home-centric these days and many familial events (genealogy progresses). As the weather now turns to autumn, thoughts of baking and fine cooking come to mind — who does not revel in the warm, fragrant baked goods of the season.

Polish Bakery Food is good for the soul … and so is food for thought, good for the soul too. Stanczyk combs through the dusty catacombs of the Internet seeking. Seeking what … I do not know. But here are a few pictures to warm your thoughts. I have mentioned before that this jester is a bibliophile. So when I found a website  (http://arcaion.cba.pl/) about Documents, Books & Lettersin a digital form, I was fascinated. It is written in Polish and other languages, but you can select ‘English’ at the top left and much of the text (including Tag Cloud) convert to English.I like this site enough that I am considering adding it to the blogroll. What do you think my faithful readers?I think I approve of this erudite author’s penchant for interesting and wide-ranging topics. I found that s/he chose. I was interested in the Ming Virtual Manuscript Room (University of Birmingham, England) and the collections of documents they have from the Middle East.If you go back to December 13th, 2010 you will find an article on “Ex Libris / Bookplates“. The link (URL) to that blog’s website, which was chock full of interesting articles — sadly none new since 2009. I loved it so much, I am considering “ripping the web pages from the defunct website??” to my hard drive so I do not lose that author’s research which was so rich and robust.Somewhere amongst the original website I was speaking of, is another link to a website of ancient French maps (rather ancient maps collected by National Library of France). I was intrigued (is there such a thing as cartophile — for map lovers) by a map purported to be from the 15th century that captured the Ptolemaic View of the World Map.

There was another fine article on the oldest documents in the Suwalki State Archive.

I will definitely have to check in on this blog and either add it to my blog roll here or at least add it to my iGoogle page for genealogy so I can keep tabs on the new articles of interest.

Oh, the artwork on the left side of today’s article — they are from You Tube videos on Poland or Yiddish Theater in Poland. But I felt they capture my mood for this autumnal Monday.

Enjoy with your morning coffee (how about some Sumatra) !

– Stanczyk

Russian Peddlers
Bagel Seller
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 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 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).

August 11, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy – Useful Websites … #6 Online Database of Poznan & Gniezno Nobility

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk has used and forgotten the following website many times over; It has been online for a LONG time. This website appears to an historical collection of data by a single individual. Here is my best guess as to the Inventory of Materials at the website (all in Polish):

Historical and Genealogical Materials on the history of the nobility of the Wielkopolska from the 15th-20th Centuries. Complete inventories of municipal and land books of the State Archive in Poznan and the books of vital records inventories framework of the same archive as well as the Archdiocesan Archive in Poznan and the Archdiocesan Archive in Gniezno. These were apparently collected by a man named: Włodzimierz Dworzaczek [US Libraries/Archives might call this,  his collected papers].

Website: Teki Dworzaczka - Biblioteka Kórnicka PAN  [a Polish Science Academy]

LINK/URL: http://teki.bkpan.poznan.pl/index_regesty.html

Ease of Use: Slightly Difficult for English Speaking and/or  non-residents of Poland

So if you have ancestors who were from and/or passed through the Western part of Poland, including Poznan and Gniezno, this site has indexed church mertykal records and a great deal of court records too. So far it has not been of use to me, as my known ancestors are predominantly from south-central Poland. But if you have some royal blood (for example Leszczynski), there are many records that can provide you abbreviated notes.

August 7, 2011

#Polish, #Genealogy – The Pillars of the Eliasz Social Network of Pacanow

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

tanczyk,

was very sleepy/tired when the last posting was written! As I looked at this Social Network Analysis  (SNA) that I performed and the resulting diagram from the data I realized two more things.

There were five old men, the pillars of this Social Network who were the progenitors of this data, if not literally, then at least figuratively. These august gentlemen, were Marcin Elijasz (about 1819),  Pawel  (abt. 1825) & Antoni (abt. 1830) [undoubtedly brothers] Odomski, Antoni Wojtys (abt. 1823) and Franciszek Zwolski (abt. 1823). In fact, Franciszek Zwolski & Antoni Wojtys were the witnesses at my 2great-grandfather Marcin Elijasz ‘s death in 1879. If you have one of those five men in your family tree, then welcome, for  we are surely relatives. Indeed it is true for just about everyone in the diagram.

Second, this SNA diagram – that messy scribble from my last posting, with the nodes and the connecting lines is properly viewed in two ways. First off, the SNA diagram is a road-map for reading these church records (in Pacanow and to some degree the adjoining parishes) and providing a much richer/complete context for understanding the families: Elijasz (Heliasz), Zasucha, Wojtys, Zwolski, Odomski, Siwiec, Paluch, Lewinski, Piotrowski and Major and Wlecialowski. However the SNA diagram is a bit unwieldy in being able to quickly read/find any single individual. So the Second view is that it is a database. Now Stanczyk is database architect and data analyst by trade. So I will reorganize this data from its visual representation into a more “tabular” data friendly representation that is searchable/sortable. I will also redraw the diagram and organize its visual presentation because that visual road-map is invaluable. It is easy to count the hops between nodes (people) and get a sense of connectedness or remoteness between two individuals in quick fashion.

I urge people to incur the pain of producing such a diagram and then re-viewing your church records and/or family group sheets again.  It also shows the clear import of transcribing witness names and AGEs, as well as the mother and father’s ages and the God Parents names. It is too bad that the GEDCOM, file format of our family trees,  mostly buries this info in NOTES/COMMENTS because it is hard to query/report/analyze these pieces of data that link/glue nuclear families together.

My family tree never indicated to me that it was important to take note of the ODOMSKICH. Nor really the Zwolski or Wojtys and certainly not the Zasucha. The Lewinski and Piotrowski were not even on the radar before. The SNA diagram really shows the rich/complex tapestry of the social network in Pacanow for my ancestors.

August 7, 2011

#Polish, #Genealogy – Social Network Analysis Project Complete

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Social Network Analysis Diagram

Ok, Stanczyk does not think you can make heads or tails out of the SNA diagram (even though at full size / resolution it should be readable).

I started this experiment to see if I could convince myself if some people living contemporaneously with my great-grandfather were siblings or not. I did NOT have the marriage or birth records for four ELIJASZOW (Franciszek, Ludwik, Petronella, and Tekla). SO I lacked the conclusive proof.  In fact, before I started this study, I did not even have Tekla.

I have used a previous analysis of Affiliated Families and surveying all records of these “Afffiliated” families. What I did was to check these families on birth records or death records where they record the woman’s maiden name to see if I could find female relatives whose married names I did not know. That worked moderately well with my limited set of data/microfilm to look at. So it occurred to this jester that I could apply a technique called Social Network Analysis to the field of genealogy — by using Church Records where they list witnesses and God Parents. This technique is similar to what police use when examining mobsters and their network. You may have seen it on TV police shows or movies that try to break up a crime ring. The idea is that the same names (i.e. people) will show up repeatedly in the list of witnesses (where I have ages) and in the list of God Parents (where I do not have ages). My theory is that I can PREDICT if any of these four ELIASZ ancestors are related to my lineal descent line by examining all of the affiliated families and plotting all people involved in a diagram with Node (the circle) and lines connecting the nodes (denoting a familial relationship). By seeing many connections between groups I could determine/PREDICT  nuclear families.

I think it works. I will now need to get access to Polish Archives or Parish books to confirm my work. But here is what I found. My conclusion is this:

Franciszek does not appear to be a sibling of my grandfather (or his other presently known siblings). Why, he does not share the same connections to critical people that Ludwik, Petronella, or the newly found Tekla do.

I do believe this technique predicts that Ludwik, Petronella and Tekla are my great-grandfather’s siblings. Their birth years do fit the gaps in between the other existing siblings without conflict — another possible confirmation. To be honest even Franciszek fits the gaps too (even with adding Ludiwk, Tekla, and Petronella). So he is still possibly a sibling but the technique says ‘NOT‘ because he does not hang with the same network of people.

Now here are some observations. I chose ZASUCHA and ODOMSKI as affiliated families for this survey (and not in the prior survey). I did not choose them previously because they occur so little in my family tree — usually just a female who marries a male ELIASZ and her just her parents (or in the case of ZASUCHA, just the woman who married my great-great-grandfather). The WOJTYS family name was added too. Now I know this name was affiliated, but only to a remote branch of ELIASZ/HELIASZ that I have not been to connect to the lineal descent line. So again they have NOT been used in any other analysis but as I went along, I added this name to the study (particularly after I found TEKLA ELIASZ WOJTYS).

What I found was that ODOMSKI and WOJTYS are the ‘glue’ in the ELIASZ social network. Also true for ZASUCHA and a bit less to ZWOLSKI and  PALUCH or MAJOR still less and just a tiny bit to Lewinski and Piotrowski (these two families will need a further follow-up analysis by themselves). What I found to a large degree was that a handful of individuals in these “glue” families showed up over and over in the network. Now I call these families and indeed these handful of people the glue, because they glued the disjoint groups together into one cohesive group.

If you remember the Kevin Bacon movie, ’6 Degrees of Separation” then you get the premise that  we are all connected. What these handful of ‘glue people’ did was to show that my hypothetical siblings were two degrees apart (or their children).

So I will proceed on my assumptions. But beyond giving me a set of assumptions that have become more than just little  hunches, I have other new “findings”.  I believe the ELIASZ-HELIASZ family connection is so strong that I think I could convince my distant cousins to give up their notion, ‘They (the HELIASZ) are not related to us’. Now I have written about Elzbieta HELIASZ Kapusta who has kindly aided my genealogy so graciously of her own accord. She too did not think we were related. But I thought otherwise, even though I could not prove it, I still cannot “prove” in any sense that a professional genealogist would accept — it juts goes against the common “Standard of Proof”. However, the study has shown that even the HELIASZ are in the Social Network and strongly in it. So much so, that this Michal HELIASZ I think is a brother to my great-great-grandfather. I truly believe that at most he is a first cousin to great-great-grandfather, Martin Elijasz. If that is true then Elzbieta HELIASZ Kapusta and I are 5th cousins (or 6th cousins if Michal HELIASZ is 1st cousin to Martin Elijasz).

The HELIASZ family (of Elzbieta’s line) have connections to the same Wojtys and Zwolski. Both Elijasz and Heliasz have SIWIEC too. Indeed, the Wojtys, Zwolski and Siwiec have intermarried into both Elijasz and Heliasz. I will need Michal Heliasz’s marriage record to Anna ?uknown-maiden-name and Martin Elijasz’s marriage record to Anna Zasucha to see if they share the same parents or if their parents share the same parents.

I also believe this new TEKLA is a sibling of my great-grandfather and not the TEKLA, daughter of GASPAR ELIASZ. Earlier in the study I was considering both possibilities equal. But the social network says differently. Indeed TEKLA and PETRONELLA are clearly sisters and it looks by their birth years that they were probably consecutive born siblings of their father, my 2g-grandfather, Martin Elijasz.

I would recommend this technique to people where they are missing information/records. I do not propose this to be an end around of the”Genealogical Standard of Proof”. It is not that. It is a method to predict further research. This is helpful if you need to write to a Polish Archive (or a Polsih Parish) because it allows you to ask the correct question. For example in my case, I should write to Poland and ask the authoritative source(s): …

Does TEKLA ELIASZ have a birth record from about 1853 in Pacanow or a marriage record to Franciszek Wojtys from the 1870′s in Pacanow. I am looking for a TEKLA Elijasz wife of Franciszek Wojtys(born about 1843) and whose parents are Marcin Elijasz and Anna Zasucha.  Likewise, I would also ask similarly for Ludwik Eliasz (born about 1844) and for Petronella Eliasz (born about 1856). I could just ask the local Polish Archivist for all children born to the marriage of Marcin Elijasz and Anna Zasucha of Pacanow [whose children should all be born in the range  1847-1866], (their birth records and their marriage records). Then I would expect to see in the results: Ludwik, Tekla, and Petronella right along with my: Jozef,  Martin, Katarzyna and Jan Elijasz.

If I get the answers I expect (that Ludwik, Tekla and Petronella are siblings of my great-grandfather Jozef Elijasz), then I also get confirmation that my new theory and indeed the application of Social Network Analysis is useful in predicting nuclear family members.

This is a tedious study technique and requires some bookkeeping and compact notation to carry out effectively. I finally stopped my data collection with 1-2 years of data still left because I had too much data and too little space. Fortunately, the trends were obvious. I would also recommend using one village (or if you use other adjoining parishes) that you just indicate with a non-circle symbol ONLY for those records that are not a part of the “default” parish — you can just assume the rest are from the default parish and not clutter your diagram further than is necessary.

July 26, 2011

#Genealogy #Archives – LDS Microfilm: Rent Some …

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

It looks like the LDS (aka Mormons) have implemented online microfilm rentals. My local Family History Center told me about this feature back in the Fall of 2010 — so I have been waiting. It is only on the West Coast now … here’s the news from About.com:

http://genealogy.about.com/b/2011/07/21/online-familysearch-film-ordering-rolling-out-to-ca-west-coast.htm

Can anyone tell me when it will be available on the East Coast? I recommend using the LDS microfilms before heading to Poland. You need to train yourself on the paleography of the older handwriting and languages involved. The old Cyrillic (pre-1918 reforms) is enough different that expert Russian Language speakers struggle because they have not see all of the characters that used to exist.

July 25, 2011

#Russian – #Poland #Genealogy : Swiniary Birth Index 1833

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Well I wanted to publish some more Swiniary parish indexes to celebrate my line of Kordos and Leszczynski who lived in the parish. So far I have seen the following villages to comprise the Swiniary Parish (parafii):     Swiniary, Parchocin, Oblekon, Zielonki, Tur, Trzebica, Ludwiniow,  and Wlosnowica.

As always, keep in mind that I have done some surveys for Biechow and Pacanow too and those are available via the menus near the top of this page.

The first index was for Swiniary 1826 Births. So here is the  second index – Swiniary Parish Birth Index from 1833 (roku):

# First Name Last Name Village
1 Agnieszka Woycikowna Oblekon
2 Sebastyan Kolano Tur
3 Sebastyan Kawa Oblekon
4 Sebastyan Sobieszkada Zielonki
5 Sebastyan Gadas Oblekon
6 Maryanna Ozimkowna Parchocin
7 Jan Chryzstom Wronski Zielonki
8 Jan Chryzstom Bodach Parchocin
9 Kazimierz Nowak Parchocin
10 Pawel Fabian Swiniary
11 Dorota Szczepanska Oblekon
12 Stanislaw Parka Parchocin
13 Jozef Dyrliski (sp?) Oblekon
14 Ignacy Czekay Parchocin
15 Agata Rzepska Parchocin
16 Apolonia Kowlowna
17 Jozef Satoza Ludwiniow
18 Maciej Banas Wlosnowica
19 Jozef Gadawski Oblekon
20 Luza Maryanna Walenty; zanprawi Oblekon
21 Maryanna Kasperkowna Parchocin
22 Jozef Skowron Parchocin
23 Maryanna Wierzbicka Zielonki
24 Maryanna Sowinska Parchocin
25 Maryanna Woyniakowna Oblekon
26 Maryanna Luza z Cepielowna [sp?] Oblekon
27 Stanislaw Padak Oblekon
28 Maryanna Dorniowna Parchocin
29 Wincenty Zayda Tur
30 Anna Piotrowska Oblekon
31 Katarzyna Wawrzencowna Oblekon
32 Stanislaw Wawro Oblekon
33 Stanislaw Pawlak Ludwiniow
34 Julianna Kordosowna Oblekon
35 Magdalena Misiaczkowna Oblekon
36 Magdalena I Oblekon
37 Antoni Zaladz Oblekon
38 Maryanna Dabrowska Tur
39 Maryanna Gawlowna Parchocin
40 Malgorzata Dryiowna ?
41 Maryanna Krawczykowna Oblekon
42 Malgorzata Kozlowna Parchocin
43 Anna Zalewska Parchocin
44 Angiela Anna Zalewska Swiniary
45 Jakob I Wincenty (bliz) Kostery Oblekon
46 Anna Zdybowna Oblekon
47 Wawrzeniec Kolodziej Parchocin
48 Piotr I Ignacy Gluszczykowna ?
49 Rozalia Orlikowna ?
50 Piotr I Ignacy Grzeda ?
51 Wawrzeniec Gryc ?
52 Maryanna Skowronowna ?
53 Michal Buska Parchocin
54 Michal Luszcz Oblekon
55 Franciszek Fiutko Parchocin
56 Jadwiga Pisarczykowna Trzebica
57 Jan Baran Oblekon
58 Elzbieta Doktorowna Oblekon
59 Teressa Juszczykowna Zielonki
60 Teressa Karetowna Oblekon
61 Anna Dudek Parchocin
62 Marcin Gryc Parchocin
63 Lucya Markowna Wlosnowica
64 Jan Laszkiewicz Parchocin
65 ? Much polish Swiniary
66 Marcin Skalbania Parchocin
67 Magdalena Kawionka Parchocin
68 Jedrzy I Marcin Gora Wlosnowica
69 Marcin I Ignacy Babiarz Parchocin
70 Katarzyna Adamusowna Wlosnowica
71 Katarzyna Kloskowna Trzebica
72 Elzbieta Nowakowna Wlosnowica
73 Tomasz Pawlak Oblekon
74 Tomasz Kawa Parchocin
75 Adam Baran Parchocin
76 Katarzyna Doktorowna Zielonki
77 Jedrzey Sobieszkada Swiniary
78 Barbara Doktorowna Parchocin
79 Lucya Kamienska Zielonki
80 Szczepan Pisarczyk Tur
81 Maryanna Zemlonka Swiniary
82 Agnieszka Pankowna Wlosnowica
83 Ewa Woytelowna Oblekon
84 Barbara Wawrzencowna Oblekon
85 Ewa ? Zielonki
86 Ewa Stankowna Parchocin
87 Ewa I Barbara Chlosciowy Oblekon
88 Ewa Chloscianka Oblekon
89 Maryanna Baranowna Parchocin
90 Agnieszka Gadawska Oblekon
91 Jan Wierzbicki Swiniary
92 Tomasz Kostera Oblekon

Stanczyk

July 24, 2011

Ecclesiastical Archive for: Biechow, Ksiaznice, Zborowek … and Pacanow?

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk said a week ago he would show a series fonds in the Catholic Church Archive in Kielce, Poland. These fonds are microfilmed church books of the various parishes in the Kielce Diocese. Sadly, the church does not publish a library catalog of its holdings. Let’s review these images which I collected a long time ago and do not seem to be available any more upon the Internet. I also hope to beseech my readers (in Poland — I know there are a few of you tanks to my Flag Counter), to help me acquire at least Pacanow and I also hope for Swiniary too. Please email Stanczyk if you can help me locate Kielce Diocessan Holdings for: Pacanow and Swiniary parishes (parafii). I can accept a text file of the details or even an image (JPG, GIF, TIF, BMP, PNG) or even a PDF document.

Now lets take a look at what I have (and what I am seeking) …

Biechow Holdings in Kielce

 

Biechow Parish Holdings

These birth/baptismal , marriage/marriage banns, and death church records have been microfilmed by the LDS (aka Mormons).

The LDS also have three microfilm covering the years 1875-1884 which are church records written in Russian that do not appear in this image of their holdings. Now to be fair the image is a few years old and perhaps the Diocessan Archives has been updated since this was taken.

A careful comparison seems to indicate that the LDS microfilm are missing some things that Diocese has and that the Diocese may be missing some things that the LDS have. If this is true then it would appear this is not the source of the LDS microfilm.

You can find the LDS microfilm for my Biechow parish here  and also here too .

If anyone knows if the Diocessan Church Archives in Kielce has microfilm for Biechow from the years 1861-1910, please email me (see above for my email link),  so I can do complete research plans.

I also hope someone out there in the Internet can answer why there is not alegata listed in the Kielce Diocessan Church Archives. Poland’s  State Archives (PRADZIAD) has alegata mcirofilm. Why would the Kielce Diocessan Church Archive be lacking in this manner? I hope this present somewhere in their holdings. I have had excellent success with alegata records giving me missing data.

Finally, my last question is, does the Church Archive also have physical books or only microfilm? If the books exist, can you take photographs of the books themselves?

Now lets look at Ksiaznice. Most people are not aware that Ksiaznice was ever a parish or possibly they were not aware that microfilm existed for Ksiaznice separate from other parishes. I think people just think that Ksiaznice’s church records were added to either Zborowek or Pacanow.

Ksiaznice Holdings in Kielce

Ksiaznice Parish Holdings

The LDS does not have any microfilm of my Ksiaznice which is from the area around Pacanow. Now I did notice some scant records in the Pacanow(Zborowek?) microfilm for Ksiaznice. But look at all that Diocese’s Archive has in Kielce !

I will have to spend a lot of time here to figure out if any of my missing records are here or not. But the holdings looks very complete indeed  — very few gaps !

There is no LDS microfilm for my Ksiaznice, so I have no link to post for you. Clearly, LDS does not get their microfilm from the Diocessan Church Archive. I guess its microfilm  comes directly from the parish books. Again this is probably why people never think of Ksiaznice as a parish separate and apart from Zborowek. Yet look at all of the data they have.

Back at the beginning of July, I talked about this book I used about Biechow parish, from the SwietoKrzyskie Digital Library, in the book,
Historical Description of Churches, Cities, Monuments, & Memorials of Stopnica“, written by Jan Wisniewska in 1929. This book describes all of these parishes in today’s posting too, plus more. That is how I knew about Ksiaznice.

And now lets review the third parish that I have, Zborowek.

Zborowek

The LDS does have microfilm for Zborowek. To be precise, they have one microfilm covering the years  1878-1884 for birth, marriage and death church records.

The Zborowek LDS microfilm can be found here. But look at the holdings in the Diocessan Archives ! Their records span the years 1736-1887 ! That is again a lot more than you can get from your local Family History Center which has only 6 years I spoke of above.

Again, Stanczyk has his work cut out for him to review the records in Zborowek. I can only dream about the possibilities.

So now gentle reader you know why I am seeking the holdings for Pacanow and Swiniary in the Kielce Diocessan Archives. The potential to close the holes in my family tree and answer all questions back to just before the three partitions of Poland for my Elijasz, Leszczynski, Wlecialowski, and Kedzierski lines is almost more than I can bare. You see I am hoping to plan the search beforehand, so I am prepared for a rather lengthy visit to the Church Archives.

Zborowek Parish

 

July 19, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy – Biechow Church Records an Inventory

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk is trying to digest Debbie G’s (from TX and Yahoo Group Polish Geniuses) insight and observations. I will need to analyze her feedback in relationship to the data I have seen (which is just about everything extant). So first, I would like to speak about the LDS microfilm, then I want to speak about Pradziad (Poland’s State Archives which contains civil and ecclesiastical data), and finally the  Ecclesiastical Archive for the parish of Biechow. I have in my possession a complete list of all microfilm — that would leave only actual physical books in the parish and possibly the civil and ecclesiastical archives. This discussion is just to convince  myself (and others) of what exists and to compare the sources available to me and draw up an action plan of what I have yet to view.  A further article will compare Debbie’s House Number experiences (which I know include many trips to Poland and its parishes and archives — sadly none in my area) with my data from Biechow. Today’s posting is a long one, but if you stick with it, you should learn where to find sources of data for your ancestral parish.

LDS Microfilm – Family History Library (Salt Lake City)

URL: Biechow microfilm       Family History Library Catalog: http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Library/FHLC/frameset_fhlc.asp

First off, I need to admit, I still use the original web user interface, so if you do a place name search from their Library Catalog in their new beta-web interface it will look different, but the data will be the same — I have verified that.

The second line is a single microfilm (LDS Mf# 936665) which says it is a microfilm of the original church records from 1674-1847 inclusive, but many gaps exist. The records are all in Latin. Before 1797, the records are what I call Latin Paragraph Form (the earliest are more like Latin sentence or two, than paragraph). From 1797-1847 the data is in the Latin Box Form with standard columns that seem to vary little across all of Poland. Prior to the Latin Box Form, which includes, the column, ‘Numerus Domus’ (or in some areas an abbreviation of those words), I can state unequivocally, there are NO house numbers recorded. If these really are the actual church records and not a copy then house numbers were not recorded in the Latin paragraph form. After the introduction of the Latin Box Form, the house numbers are used (although not always in the years where they are collected). After reading Debbie G’s comments I will go back to the Latin Box Form and confirm the years they have recorded house numbers. I do know that house numbers are also present in the Polish Long Paragraph Form for the early years of Polish records. I will confirm these dates too. I can also state unequivocally, there are NO house numbers recorded in the Russian Long Paragraph Forms.

The top line resolves in the microfilm notes into 8 separate microfilm: 936660-936664 (five film),  and 1257788, 1807660, 1807661. These last three are for the years 1875-1884 and as such are in Russian (using the Cyrillic character-set). The first five microfilm are written in Latin until 1797, then in Polish for the years 1797-1847. There are no microfilm for years 1848-1868 which would be in Polish, nor are there any for 1869-1874 which would be in Russian. These eight microfilm are supposed to be copies of the original church records. 1868 is usually a cross-over year, part Polish records and part in Russian.

You can view these nine total microfilm at the Family History Library for free or rent copies and have them sent to your local Family History Center to view. I have done both for all nine microfilm. If you have followed my blog, I have taken pictures of these microfilm records and used them in my family tree and in this blog to good effect. I have analyzed these records and inventoried and built indexes of the details of what is present on each microfilm. So I am more than conversant about these nine microfilm. I can say unabashedly, that I have an expert level knowledge of these nine microfilm and derived my own data in summaries or studies I have undertaken from the detailed records. So it should be understood that I have acquired the ability to read Latin, Polish and Russian. I am self-taught and did so in order to trace my genealogy in the Russian-Poland partition (although, as I have said these villages went from Poland to Austria to France to Russia back to Poland autonomy).

Urząd Stanu Cywilnego (USC) – Civil Registration Office

A real secular civil registry did not exist in Poland until after World War II (1945/1946). Before that vital records were maintained by religious adminstrators. In Catholic churches from the 16th century by Papal edict, but it took many decades and future edicts before Church record keeping became reliable and consistent. Since Poland became partitioned in the late 18th century, there arose three ways of civil registration. So I believe the local USC will only have from 1945-forward. I will refer the reader to a couple of Wikipedia pages that offer the details:

Suffice it to say that the religions (protestant churches / synagogues) did not gain individual official recognition as civil registrations until:

In the Austrian partition in 1782, in Prussian partition since 1794, and in the Russian partition in 1825. Napoleon by his civil code established a standard for civil registration and in lieu of any civil office, had the Catholic priest serve in this capacity (1808-1815), such that from 1808-1825 officially in Russian partition, although 1828-1830 may have been when Protestant and Jewish religions were able to finally get control of their own civil registrations and not be recorded in the Catholic Church registers. In my Biechow records, I think I see Jewish records recorded from 1810-1828 in the Catholic register. However, the fact it went past the official 1825 date, is probably more indicative of the rural nature of the region and the scarcity of Jews in some areas. Keep in mind that Napoleon (and his Codex Napoleon) and Russian Czars dictated the civil registration rules in Biechow for most of its records [1808-1918]. During the few years when Biechow was in the Austrian partition (1772-1807) there was probably no change in church registrations, since this era was largely Latin to start and the Austrians maintained the Latin record keeping.

PRADZIAD – Poland’s State Archives

URL: http://bit.ly/qe2pn2  [ link to my Biechow]     PRADZIAD Database: http://baza.archiwa.gov.pl/sezam/pradziad.php?l=en

Biechów           rzymskokatolickie         alegata              1875-1886, 1888-1893, 1895, 1897-1898, 1901, 1904-1905

Biechów           rzymskokatolickie         małżeństwa       1875-1905

Biechów           rzymskokatolickie         urodzenia          1875-1905

Biechów           rzymskokatolickie         zgony                1875-1905

The above table shows my Biechow village. The second column is the Polish word for Roman Catholic. The Third word is record type.

małżeństwa = Marriages ;  urodzenia = Births (usually also has baptisms) ; zgony = Deaths   [your basic vital records]

alegata   =  addendum [often used to show that someone can be married in the church or has converted religions]

Well pretty much it is just 1875-1905, which is good for my grandparents and their siblings (births and marriages maybe). It also means reading Russian since 1868-1918 the records are kept in Russian. So if I view these in the regional Archive in Kielce, then I could add info to the microfilm I have already viewed,  for just the years 1885-1905 inclsuive. That is helpful, because I need my grandmother (Busia) Walerya Leszczynska’s birth record from about 1st-November-1886 in Biechow? I also want to search all of the alegata for: Elijasz, Leszczynski, Kedzierski, and Wlecialowski.

Kielce – Ecclesiastical Archive

URL: http://www.kielce.opoka.org.pl/?mod=contents&g=kuria&id=archiwum

The Church too has copies of the parish books/records that it keeps. Biechow is in the Kielce Diocessan Archive in the city of Kielce itself. I once found this image on the Internet on a Polish genealogy forum (now long since gone). Goes to show, you should keep the static web pages you find on your local hard drive.

Most of these are in the LDS microfilm: 936660, 936661, 936662, 936663, 936664, and 936665. Following the record groups are little notes, that I believe represent the fonds within the Church Archive that  hold those records. There are a few that are NOT in the LDS microfilm. Likewise there are a few in the LDS microfilm that are not in the Church Archive. SO I will need to look at these microfilm in the Church Archive in Kielce.

I have a similar image for Ksiaznice and Zborowek. My heart is heavy because I have never been able to find a similar document (text or image) for Pacanow. PLEASE can someone in Poland help me? It requires a visit to the Church Archive in Kielce to get this info (possibly a phone will get it). At any rate, if can get Pacanow, please can you email Stanczyk at mike@eliasz.com.

So once you find your ancestral parishes, this is what you should do. Build an inventory (a to do list) and a plan to get access to these resources for your family genealogy. Finding your ancestral parish is a process. I need to document my ideas, but that is another posting or two.

Lastly, plan to visit the parish office and the local priest. Be nice (obnoxious Americans please skip this step) and bring a gift of thanks for the priest and his office. When you leave, perhaps you can make a religious offering to the priest for a having a mass for your ancestors. What better way to honor your family and the local parish (or synagogue)! Please make the path easier for the next genealogist by being kind and respectful and generous. There may also be monuments and/or cemeteries in the area or at the church. Do not forget those too.

July 14, 2011

#Genealogy – #Historical #Newspapers : Library of Congress

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

       Stanczyk just loves books and if you are like me, then there is no greater place to go and see books, periodicals, or microfilm, than the Library of Congress (LOC). The Library of Congress is in Washington D.C. and is really a complex of three buildings  just off the National Mall.  When I visited the LOC, I was struck by the magnificent edifice that we hold the nation’s books in. Truly it is a Palace of Books. It has come a long way since it was just President Jefferson’s bequeathed book collection.

The LOC has some interesting online resources: reading rooms (genealogy), Chronicling America (previously written about), National Digital Newspaper Program, and Flickr Photo Stream. The newspaper & periodical reading room is in the Madison Building. Thankfully the LOC is tech savvy and so much material is available online.

I like it for its microfilm of historical newspapers or historical phone books — good genealogical sources. They do have my favorite Dziennik Polski (Detroit) newspaper - their holdings:

SUMMARY Dziennik Polski (Detroit) LOC HOLDINGS:

View more Polish ethnic language titles from this institution

Dates Available:

  • 1941-

Available as: Microfilm  – Dates:

  • <1941:4:14- >

Available as: Original – Dates:

  • <1981:1:2- >

Make the most of your summer combine your research with your vacation (or vice versa). Oh, just prepare for your research (which you should always do) before you go.

July 10, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy – A Noble Birth in Biechow 1674

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

11th-July-1674 Birth of Maryanna Niedzwiedz

Stanczyk was combing through dusty tomes again. Cough, Cough — excuse me.

This picture is from my cell phone. It is the earliest noble birth I have found for the village of Biechow (near Pacanow in the old wojewodztwo of Kielce). Let me humbly offer the translation (from Latin) …

Jozef Wałcerz, Biechow parish priest, baptized Maryanna, daughter of the Nobleman Jan Gaspar Niedzwiedzki & Agnes of Biechow. Her God Parents both were of noble birth were  Jerzy Paczakowski of Słupia and Ewa Pawłowska of Sobowice. [regrettably I was not able to read Jerzy/George's job/title].

In a fit of boredom I decided to do some cross-research for verification. Previously, I have mentioned the digital libraries in various regions of Poland. So…

From The SwietoKrzyskie Digital Library, in the book,
Historical Description of Churches, Cities, Monuments, & Memorials of Stopnica“,
written by Jan Wisniewska in 1929, see pages 20 and 28 (in Polish):

A Father Jozef Walcerz pastor of Biechow, tithe of/to Pacanow, started his work in
1671 and worked until 1693. In 1672,  Fr. Walcerz fixed half of the church  roof, the bell tower,
and  the chancel floors and repaired the graveyard chapel damaged by a hailstorm.

So indeed, my ability to read priestly Latin handwriting from 1674 is fairly accurate (assuming my ability to translate early 20th century Polish is acceptable). The 1929 book does not put a slashed ‘l’ in Walcerz, but the priest himself did use the, ‘ł’ as the image above shows. At least, I verified the priest. Can anyone verify the nobelman(Nobilium) or the two noble born (generosa) god parents from this church record?

The Church book is from 1674-1675, so I am certain of the date. This was not from ‘Martius’, because on the facing page, this record and others were under the heading, ‘Julius’. The page tops were labeled with 1674. The heading of the record indicates ‘the 11th day in the morning’. The numbers in this tome do indeed range from 1 to 31, so this is indeed the day number and not the hour of the day.

Anyone related to Jan Gaspar/Kasper Niedzwiedzki or his wife Agnes of Biechow or their daughter Maryanna? Send me a note and let me know. Have a blessed Sunday.

–Stanczyk

Post Scriptum

The digital book cited above listed the following parishes, for which you can find these descriptions and lists of priests. The parishes in bold are connected to my genealogy:
Balice , Beszowa , Biechów ,  Busko , Chmielnik, Dobrowoda , Drugnia , Gnojno , Janina , Kargów , Koniemłoty , Kotuszów , Książnice , Kurozwęki , Lisów , Oleśnica , Ostrowce , Pacanów , Piasek Wielki , Pierzchnica , Piotrkowice , Potok , Sędziejowice , Solec , Stopnica , Strożyska , Szaniec , Szczaworyż , Szczebrzusz , Szydłów (woj. świętokrzyskie) , Świniary , Tuczępy , Widuchowa , and  Zborówek

July 8, 2011

#Genealogy & #Technology – #1: iGoogle To Keep Tabs On Genealogy –

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

How do you keep the pulse of the Internet? At present (and for a good while now), there are over a billion websites. You can Google/Bing searches and possibly save the searches for future use or make them a Bookmark/Favorite. That is ok. But I want to go somewhere and see what my agents dug up for me to look at and examine. It is almost a Genealogy Newsletter (ok, but I want more than Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter). But I want it is tailored to my needs and interests. Eastman is broad,  but seldom specific to Slavic (Polish, Russian, Czech, Ukraine, Belarus, etc.) research, or to a specific locale: Detroit, Toledo, Buffalo, Philadelphia, etc.

Enter iGoogle. I have been using it for a year or two now and  have steadily tweaked it to my purpose and tastes. iGoogle is what we techies call a customized portal (similar to Yahoo or AOL, but more like My-Yahoo). People may be vaguely aware that Google has more software available than its iconic Search Engine. But where is this software? The Google products are located:

http://www.google.com/intl/en/about/products/index.html

iGoogle is near the top (presently second). Ok, so now you register for an account and login to Google and igoogle.com instead of google.com (for both search and portal capabilities). You can use Classic Google or iGoogle (so you are not locked in to the new search portal) and go back and forth. Now you need to add TABs (I pick one per subject: Genealogy, Science, Financial, etc.). So create a “Genealogy” Tab.  Now you can add gadgets or feeds. I have a mix of some of each on my Genealogy TAB. I like to have Google’s Translator gadget and Sirius Genealogy Date Calculator as handy gadgets. Useful tools to my research right at hand.

Next we need to define the blogs or RSS feeds of websites that we need to cull information from on a “regular” basis. Now a blog is just an article (or web log) that an author creates with useful info/data. The RSS thingys are just the Internet’s way of broadcasting to you what has changed at a website, but you must subscribe (no fee). This is how I can stay on top of what is happening elsewhere on the Internet (without intensive googling, web surfing or reading many emails/newsletters or magazines).   HINT: you may want to subscribe to this blog if you are a Polish Genealogist or a genealogist with some Polish ancestors.

OK, I did add Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter to my Genealogy Tab as he does one of the finest newsletters on genealogy. I also subscribe to Tracing The Tribe and many other Polish genealogy websites. Libraries, Genealogy/Historical Societies,  and Archives specific to locations where my ancestors lived are excellent candidates for my Genealogy Portal that I am creating in iGoogle.  Here’s a winning tip, I use what’s changed in Ancestry.com (in my shared area) as a feed. That is the essence. Tailored like a nice suit.

Now left-brain people will thrill that you can arrange your page and set how many lines each feed gets or how many columns you can have (1,2,3 or 4). You can even “skin” your page to improve the esthetics (eye of the beholder). Now I put my feeds up near the top and the gadgets near the bottom, so I do not have to scroll to see info. I do in fact tweak my page periodically to get the most useful feeds near the top or to get rid of feeds that are not useful or are too static (unchanging). Since I am researching ancestors across the ocean, I do have foreign-language websites too (hence Google Translator). Here’s what a finished product looks like ( a partial screenshot) …

So now iGoogle is my Hubble-Space-Telescope into the vastness of the Internet taking snapshots and presenting me a daily synopsis of what is going on far and wide that I may want to apprise myself of. That’s it,  a technological solution to information overload and time management — as this is my window and I make it a discipline to make a quick daily check of what is going on.

July 2, 2011

#History – 4th of July Holiday – Reading of Declaration of Independence

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Independece Hall Philadelphia

education use from http://etc.usf.edu/clipart

Stanczyk was not born in Philadelphia, but moved here over two decades ago. But I really love the city of Brotherly Love. I like to call it the cradle of American civilization and we are the keystone state because of our position within the original 13 colonies.

One of the reasons I love Philadelphia is its oldness (relative to America — not the rest of the world). I like to play tourist in my adopted home town. So I have seen the celebrated points of the colonial history of our town. Now we are on the verge of another 4th of July and that means the Welcome America celebration which seems to get longer every year (is it two weeks long now?) and with good reason for all of the special events (fireworks, concerts, liberty medals, etc.) that occur.

But let Stanczyk clue you in on a free activity for you and your kids that makes you feel a part of America’s past. Do not just visit the Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell / Visitor center, the Constitution Center and the recently opened National Museum of American Jewish History. These plus all things Ben Franklin, Betsy Ross, Elfreth Alley, are worthy ventures (take a carriage ride to get a lay of the land — Stanczyk’s favorite). One event Stanczyk stumbled upon was the Historical re-enactment of the reading of the Declaration of Independence. This happens 4 days later (July 8th). It will be in the courtyard behind Independence Hall. Free for all wandering through. It gives your family a real sense of the American narrative and allows you to pretend you were there at the inception of this grand experiment ! Buy the kids a copy of the Declaration and/or Constitution this is what the Independence Holiday is all about. The National Archives in Washington D.C. has an original document that you can visit.

Declaration of Independence

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