Archive for ‘Poland’

July 15, 2011

Knock … Knock

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Well, I did ask. Thank you Netizens of the World !  I see many flags. It has only been 11 days, so I am pleasantly surprised. Are those the Polish Enclaves? If Israel and Brazil checks-in then I will believe. Welcome one and all to my musings.

I even see Portugal. Is that because I wrote about your favorite son, Christopher Columbus (son of Wladyslaw III) or is the excellent Portuguese researcher, Manuel Rosa just checking in on Stanczyk? You can catch up on that story here . Or perhaps on his Polish father, Wladyslaw III .

July 15, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy – #Gazetteers and Other Similar Resources

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Gazetteers. You have got to love them to do genealogical research outside the USA. How do you learn the maps of the country your grandparents or great-grandparents knew? Today’s atlases  or Google Maps only give you the view as of the present (at least point at which it was published). You need an historical perspective. Hence why you need to use Gazetteers. Maps/Atlases give you the picture and Gazetteers give you the intelligence/ontext about the maps.

Here’s an  list of excellent  Gazetteers:

  • Skorowidz Miejscowości Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej
  • Genealogical Gazetteer of Galicia
  • Gemeindelexikon für das Königreich Preußen. 
  • ShtetlSeeker
  • Kartenmeister
  • Slownik geograficzny królestwa polskiego i innych krajów slowiańskych.

Stanczyk has developed his resource (an index of an index?) on the Skorowidz Miejscowości Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej [Index of Placenames of the Republic of Poland]. The Skorowidz is an excellent resource for all of Poland covering all parts (Russian-Poland, Austrian-Poland and German-Poland partition areas) that were within the borders of Poland circa 1934. This is the resource you need to use to find your ancestral parish. It is online (click the above link to reach the online version). It has a short-coming: it does NOT list the synagogues   — pity, otherwise excellent.

The flat out best Gazetteer for its research and even for its included maps to give a sense of location relative to today is Brian Lenius’ well researched, Genealogical Gazetteer of Galicia. As its name implies it is only for Galicia, an area that is presently with Poland and Ukraine. This area of historical Poland was in the Austrian-Poland partition and finally eastern parts after Napoleon, were in the Russian-partition. Brian’s book does include synagogues!  Some treatment of Polish versus German names and Ukrainian names is also mentioned. It is not online. Buy the book if you find ancestors lived in Galicia.

The Gemeindelexikon is a very good resource for what was Prussia (or Prussian-Poalnd) areas. It also indicates the location of parishes and gives statistics for sex, ethnicities, or religious affiliation. It is online in the BYU library. But if you have Ancestry.com, it has a faster and easier user interface to the information.

ShtetlSeeker is part of the JewishGen website and is  predominantly a resource for Jewish settlements, villages, synagogues, data, etc. I also use it for my Catholic family villages. It is particularly useful if you do not know the spelling of your ancestral village. It also provides on the map with icons of other resources: Yizkor books, JRI-Poland data. It is by definition online.

Kartenmeister is for those parts of Poland formerly ruled by Prussia. It is online. It is an excellent resource if you only know the Polish name or the German name of a locale and you need to know the other name. It also has maps. It has two mini-lists cross-references: Lithuanian-German-English and Latin-German-English. Which makes sense in that those languages are the language of Prussian records for their territories.

The Slownik geograficzny królestwa polskiego i innych krajów slowiańskych is a multi-volume gazetteer / dictionary of places in Poland and other Slavic kingdoms. The dictionary is written in Polish. It is online here. That is yet another Polish Digital Library that I have written about recently (Malopolska). Each volume (or Tome abbreviated T. or tom.). Some translations are on the PGSA.org website or you use the Google Translator. It is filled with abbreviations (PGSA is helpful).

Here are a couple of more resources…

Family Search with their excellent wiki(s) has a page on Poland Gazetteers. The LDS also have these resources as microfilm or books within their Family History Library.

The LDS also has a PDF (you need Adobe Acrobat Reader) for Finding Places in the former RUSSIAN EMPIRE . This PDF is not a gazetteer, but is a valuable resource. You can Google ‘Spisok naselennykh mest  gubernii’ to find individual volumes in Libraries or possibly online. Finally, see this wiki page for Russian Empire Gubernya Gazetteers.

PGSA.org has a list of map resources here. They also have a project to index the 1907, The Illustrated Geographic Atlas of the Kingdom of Poland . An esthetically lovely historical atlas, with the indexes providing you with an indication of which villages are the parish. Stanczyk indexed the Stopnicki powiat.

July 14, 2011

#Jewish #Genealogy – An Homage to Moja żona

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Moja żona (my wife) Tereza is a very good wife indeed. So I wished to honor her by doing some research for the Jewish faithful. I suppose many genealogists are unaware that much of Europe owes its church records and their format to the Codex Napoleon. Another side effect of this edict was to create a new civil registry of civil records, which Napoleon originally placed responsibility with the Catholic church. So peoples of all faiths had to register with the Catholic church for the years 1810-1830 [approximately] until civil data could be collected by all faiths in their own church/temple/synagogue.

So whilst I was collecting other genealogical research data, I decided to pay extra attention to the Jewish births listed to honor my wife. I am sure this was an onerous requirement for Jewish citizens to have to record their vital records with the Catholic church. This village of my ancestors has NOT been indexed by JRI, as there was no significant Jewish presence in these villages, but there were Jews indeed! So what was probably an imposition for Jews may now be a blessing and a mitzvah for me (and my wife). Why a blessing? So many Jewish records were destroyed during World War II (and possibly in other pogroms) that any echo, any echo at all of those who were here is a blessing.

Births in Biechow (departement de Krakow) for years 1810, 1811, 1813 and 1815

[ source: LDS microfilm # 936660]

First note that 1812 and 1814 had no registry at all for anyone. In 1810 there 50 recorded births and of those fifty, one record was Jewish:

1810 Births – Record #24 – Pinkiesz Szmulowicz (father), Hercyk (baby) and Marya Manasow (mother)

In 1811 there were 116 births and three records were Jewish:

#68 Zelmanowiczowna, Rywka (baby)

#91 Faycer, Jasek (baby)

#96 Menkierowna, Bela (baby)

In 1813 there were 76 births and two records were Jewish:

#26 Wulfowna, Chaja

#36 Fisolowna, Faytsia

In 1815 there were 99 births and one record was Jewish:

#62 Wolf, Sura (baby);  Jasek Wolf (father); Blima Haymnowiczow (mother).

Well I guess you can see why JRI ignored LDS Microfilm #936660. Out of 341 births only seven (just 2%) were Jewish births. Jewish genealogists, feel free to collect this data and add it to your database. These records are in Polish in this era.

Stanczyk

July 11, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy – The Biechow Clergy 1326-1919 r.

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Today, I wanted to follow up with the images of the list of priests of the parish of Biechow (parafii Biechów). Please read yesterday’s post for the web link (URL) to image of the digital book I used.

Stanczyk cobbled together the “digital” pages 27-29 into a single GIF image, so you my faithful reader could examine for yourself.

Yesterday we were looking at a Latin paragraph image of a birth/baptism from 1674. The priest was indeed Jozef Walcerz as I read from the priest’s own handwriting (to verify that I could read the handwriting accurately).

Father (Ks.) Michal Krolikowski’s service from 1852-1900 put him on many of the images of Stanczyk’s family. Those were mostly from the years of Russian-Poland occupation (and language mandate/ukase), so I have his signature upon Russian/Cyrillic church records. Because the records for Biechow are extensive, I am able to confirm many of the priests on this list, so this book confirms my church records and the church records confirm this book’s scholarly research.

So we have Latin records, then Polish records, then Russian records (1868-1918) and finally Polish again.

I added this cross-research because I was trying to add a context for my ancestor’s lives to my family history to pass on to my ancestors. It was also a good exercise in verifying my ability to read the old style handwriting (whatever langauage) you see in church records.

Below I would like to share Father Michal Krolikowski’s signature upon the happy day and event of my great-grandfather Tomasz Leszczynski ‘s   marriage to his second wife and my great-grandmother, Aniela Major (pronounce My-Yore). It seems I have a family history of short Polish names that do not look Polish because they are short and vowel filled. This signature was upon an allegata describing the marriage and happily providing my great-grandmother’s birth information. No need to rub your eyes, the signature and seal are in Russian (a Cyrillic “alphabet”).

For those who do not read Russian …

Biechow October  5/17 th day 1885 th year

Father Michal Krolikowski

?-title (NastoJatel  — not in my Russian-English dictionary, probably ADMINISTRATOR) of Biechow

[NOTE: there are two day numbers (double-dating) because Russia was still using the Julian calendar while Poland had long since switched to the modern Gregorian calendar that we use today. Notice that in 1885 the difference was 12 days. Knowledge of this may help you decipher the date when you can only read one date. Starting sometime in 1900 the difference would grow to 13 days. Russia did not switch from the Old Style dates to the Gregorian calendar until january 31st,  1918 (thus eliminating the need for double-dating).]

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 9, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy – Odds & Ends, New Data

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Bronislawa Eliasz Born 19030427

from LDS Microfilm #1898357

Stanczyk wants to write about databases of data for Polish Genealogists. But that is a large topic and requires some gathering of data and links (URLs). SO instead here are a few teasers (odds & ends):

  1.  From my Rootsweb NYErie Message Board/Mailing List, I found a New Poznan Research Database (posted by Ruth Susmarski). This is an excellent effort and a worthy candidate for that iGoogle Genealogy page (see yesterday’s posting) that I hope you are building. This comes from the Greater Poland Genealogical Society of Gniazdo . So if you have ancestors from Western Prussian-Poland partition this should be helpful resource. They have an RSS feed too. Link: http://www.basia.famula.pl/en/
  2. I see that on June 28th, 2011, the FamilySearch.org website added a new Polish database of  2,204,751 images. This is data for: the parishes in the Częstochowa, Gliwice, Lublin, and Radom Roman Catholic Dioceses of Poland  (Russian-Poland, Austrian-Poland partitions).  [see sample image above] Link: https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/show#uri=http://hr-search-api:8080/searchapi/search/collection/1867931

I did a quick check of the FamilySearch database (#2 above) and found 31 exact or close matches to Eliasz. When I clicked through the list I found they had data from Szczucin parish (which is Austria-Poland) partition. In fact I am fairly certain the Szczucin Eliasz are distant cousins as this is just across the bridge (over the Vistula river) from my other Eliasz / Elijasz / Heliasz. I looked up the microfilm for Szczucin for 1867-1903 it is LDS Microfilm # 1898357. This matches the Szczucin in Brian Lenius’s gazetteer: “Genealogical Gazetteer of Galicia“.

July 7, 2011

Ancestral Villages – Poland, Kielce (old woj.), Stopnica (pow.)

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stopnica Pas 47 Slup 32 Wojskowy Instytut Geograficzny 1938 (scale 1:100,000)

This picture is a map of the villages that Stanczyk’s ancestors were from. The river in the South-East corner of the map is the Wisla / Vistula river. To the South-central area are a few more villages that could not be shown: Oblekon and also Szczucin (across the Vistula). North of the Vistula, was the Russian-Poland partition. South of the Vistula was the Austrian-Poland partition. These partitions arose from Austria (aka Austrian-Hungarian Empire), Prussia, and Russia colluding in 1772, 1792, and finally in 1794 to divvy up the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth until Poland had vanished from the map of Europe for about 125 years, until it reappeared in 1918. Between 1797 and 1815 various ex-expatriate Polish legions fought along side Napoleon, so the final boundaries of the three partitions continued to evolve until 1815 when Napoleon was finally defeated for good. It is ironic to me that this region on the map above changed hands so many times and that I had ancestors in two kingdoms who would marry across parishes (and indeed national boundaries).

So it was not really surprising to me that my Busia (grandmother) spoke: Polish, Russian and German and most Catholics prior to Vatican II did know a smattering of Latin since church masses were often in Latin. Indeed, my father related to me that my grandmother was fluent enough to make money during the Great Depression by translating letters to/from English to/from  Polish/Russian/German for Americans to be able to carry on correspondences in the old country.

Stanczyk remembers my grandmother speaking to me as a child in perfect English (with the lovely/charming Central European accent). I also vividly remember that after her stroke, she could only speak Polish (her native language). I would converse with my dad acting as translator between us in her kitchen over percolated coffee (ye gads — has it been nearly a half century of coffee drinking for me) from when I was about five or six years old.  My dad laughingly relates how when he was a boy, my grandmother would chastise him that his Polish was no good and that he should speak to her in English. Obviously his Polish was good enough that years later,  the three of us could chit-chat over coffee quite comfortably.

Stanczyk’s remembrances have caused me to digress. The point of this map was to list the villages where I have found vital records / church records for my Eliasz / Leszczynski / Wlecialowski / Kedzierski families. So here is my list (anyone else from here?):

Biechow (parish) – Biechow, Piestrzec, Wojcza, Wojeczka, Chrzanow

Pacanow (parish) – Pacanow, Zabiec, Kwasow

Various Other Parishes/Villages – Zborowek, Ksiaznice, Swiniary, Oblekon, Trzebica, Szczucin and I am sure many of the rest of villages surrounding these villages, but I have yet to see or connect the records to main branches of the family tree.

Now excuse me,  I must go get some more coffee.

July 6, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy – Gazetteer: Skorowidz Meijscowosci …

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk loves maps. But how do you know which map to examine and where Babcia’s village is? Well today’s post is about a Gazetteer:

Skorowidz Miejscowości Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej [Index of Placenames of the Republic of Poland] circa 1931.

Now this also touches on a previous article, in that I have this Gazetteer bookmarked from a Digital Library in Poznan, Poland. So it is an online resource available through your browser.

A gazetteer is a geographical dictionary or directory, an important reference for information about places and place names (see: toponymy), used in conjunction with a map or a full atlas. It typically contains information concerning the geographical makeup of a country, region, or continent as well as the social statistics and physical features [source: Wikipedia]. The features genealogists look for are: administrative levels (state/woj., county/pow., township/gmina) or location of parishes/parafialny. So the “Skorowidz” gives us this info, if we can know the name of the place/village we are looking up info upon.

I have created a mini index of this Gazetteer age paging through 2096 pages sequentially or randomly is not very productive. My index page for Skorowidz Miejscowości Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej is here.  So I wish you good research in locating your ancestral village and its parish/synagogue. One final note!  There are many excellent Gazetteers for Poland, but that will be another article.

June 28, 2011

Happy 100th Birthday Czesław Miłosz

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Sto,  that is a lot.  Stanczyk is getting old, …  really, really old. Has it already been a century since the birth of Nobel Laureate, Czeslaw Milosz ?  Time flies when you are a royal jester. In two days, we will be celebrating Milosz’s 100th birthday. Milosz is near and dear to moje serce (my heart). When asked about his nationality, Milosz replied …

I am a Lithuanian to whom it was not given to be a Lithuanian.”  and “My family in the sixteenth century already spoke Polish, just as many families in Finland spoke Swedish and in Ireland English, so I am a Polish not a Lithuanian poet.”

A complex mind indeed. But I get Milosz. His family was from the era of the Polish-Lithuanian Commnwealth, literately Polish as were most in the circles of power or in the intelligentsia circles. So his thoughts were Polish, but his world view was Lithuanian where he was born. Of course this is in counter-point to Milosz being born into the Russian Empire. On June 30th, 1911 (Milosz’s birth) in the village of Szetejnie, his family was a member of the Russian Empire (Kovno Gubernia), just one of ten provinces in Russian-Poland (occupied Poland) inside the much larger Russian (still Czarist) Empire. Milosz however, was never Russian, not Czarist and no, not ever a Soviet.

I get Milosz. His Slavic soul still whispers to me and his way with words kept rapt, my attention. Much of his poetry/prose was indeed of his memory of Lithuanian places or experiences. That is not to negate his Polish experiences both pre and post Communism. His novel, “The Captive Mind”, a brilliant anti-Stalinist piece that made him well known, … in the Western, non-communist world. His works were unknown in Poland and the West thought of him as a political writer, not a poet. Milosz emigrated to the USA in 1960 and in 1961 started his tenure in Slavic Literature/Studies at  UC Berkley, and became a US citizen in 1970. In 1980, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. Oddly, because his works were banned in Communist Poland, he was largely unknown as a writer in Poland until the award. Gradually, after the fall of Communism (by the 1990’s), Milosz moved back to Poland and lived and died in Krakow in 2004.

Crypt of the Meritorius

After a solemn mass at the Krakow Basilica of St. Mary’s, where a letter was read by the Pope, Blessed John Paul II,  of the Pope’s last correspondence with the poet. The funeral procession followed the Royal Road to the church of St. Michael the Archangel & St. Stanislaus on the Rock (na Skalce), where his sarcophagus is interred in its crypt. This crypt holds a Polish National Pantheon of literati.

Stanczyk only owns four works by Milosz:  The History of Polish Literature,  New and Collected Poems (1931-2001),  Road-Side Dog (two copies), and   Milosz’s Alphabet. I hope my readers will not think less of me, because I say, that the Road-Side Dog is my favorite. Milosz, I started writing far too late, but I assure you that there are many of your, Subjects, that I wish, To Let. Mój piesek (my little dog), Java, is not so little and seldom Road-Side, but her and I have a voice and your subjects To Let and some topics of our own to bark at visitors as they go by.  Milosz, bless me with your literate spirit.  I get you  Milosz and you live on in my,  and I assume many  minds and hearts,  forever. Pity you did not live to this era of blogging and Twitter. I doubt you’d have tweeted, but the blog would have been a fine media for your splendid thoughts.

Happy Birthday Czeslaw! Sto lat!

June 27, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy – Useful Websites … #4 Genealogical Societies in Poland

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk, continues with his favorite websites in Poland. I hope you speak Polish or at least have mastered using Google Translate .

Pay especial attention to: Polskiego Towarzystwa Genealogicznego (Polish Genealogical Society). They have valuable databases online and their forums have experts, some of whom speak English and generally all of them are friendly and knowledgeable. Stanczyk once found a Polish genealogist who had ancestors from the same villages as mine. This fine lad (Jacek) from Krakow even shared images from church books with me and he was amenable to being a genealogy researcher for me on a trip to an Archive! I also found some distant cousins who traded emails with me on the website’s email facility and that was helpful. One of my grandfather’s cousins was a member of Haller’s Army (aka Blue Army)  and I was able to find his record amongst the fallen in one of their books, which answered why he was no longer found in any US census or in any US death record [since he had died in World War I overseas in Poland's post WWI battle with Russia]. These snippets of info have been able to enrich my family tree. Finally, they have a database of parishes that is invaluable.

Take a look and see what you find …

Genealogical Societies (Some w/ Heraldic Info) WebSite
Bydgoskie Towarzystwo Heraldyczno–Genealogiczne http://www.mok.bydgoszcz.pl/index.php?cid=199
Galicyjskie Towarzystwo Genealogiczne  http://www.republika.pl/slucki/gtg.htm
Kaliskie Towarzystwo Genealogiczne http://genealogia.kalisz.pl/
Kujawsko-Pomorskie Towarzystwo Genealogiczne http://kptg.pl/
Lubelskie Towarzystwo Genealogiczne  http://www.ltg.zg.pl/index.html
MaloPolska Towarzystwa Genealogicznego http://www.mtg-malopolska.org.pl/index.html
Opolskie Towarzystwo Genealogiczne http://www.otg.mojeforum.net/search.php
Ostrowskiego Towarzystwa Genealogicznego  http://www.otg.xt.pl/
Polskiego Towarzystwa Genealogicznego (Polish Genealogucal Society) http://genealodzy.pl/changelang-eng.phtml
Pomorskie Towarzystwo Genealogiczne  http://www.ptg.gda.pl
Śląskie Towarzystwo Genealogiczne  http://gento.free.ngo.pl/
Suwalskie Towarzystwo Genealogiczne  http://www.mem.net.pl/stg/
Świętokrzyskie Towarzystwo Genealogiczne “Świętogen” http://www.genealodzy-kielce.pl/beta2/index.php
Towarzystwo Genealogiczne Centralnej Polski  http://www.tgcp.pl
Towarzystwo Genealogiczne Ziemi Częstochowskiej  http://www.genealodzy.czestochowa.pl/
Towarzystwo Genealogiczno – Heraldyczne w Poznaniu  http://www.tgh.friko.pl/info.html
Warszawskie Towarzystwo Genealogiczne  http://genealogysociety.republika.pl/
Wielkopolskie Towarzystwo Genealogiczne „Gniazdo” http://www.wtg-gniazdo.org/wiki.php?page=Info_English
Heraldic Societies in Poland WebSite
Polskie Towarzystwo Heraldyczne http://www.sejm-wielki.pl/
Związek Szlachty Polskiej http://www.szlachta.org.pl/

Let me know what you find!

June 26, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy – Useful Websites … #3 Mapa.Szukacz.pl

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

To recap, please look at Stanczyk’s little graphic. We have covered genealogyindexer.org, Poland’s Digital Libraries (Biblioteka Cyfrowa), and now number three in our series:  Mapa.Szukacz.pl  .

If you want to trace Polish genealogy a good many skills are required of the researcher. The ability to read a map or a gazetteer is critical. Where is Babcia’s village?  So mapa.szukacz.pl is good for locating today’s existing villages/towns/cities. If you use Google Maps, then the basic concept should be familiar to you. But Stanczyk likes mapa.szukacz.pl because you lookup the village. To lookup a placename you enter the village in the field with the title ‘Miejscowość’ in the pink dialog box with the title, ‘Pokaż na mapie’ (‘Show on Map’). Finally, you press the button named, ‘Pokaż’ (Show). That is it. The village appears, assuming it still exists and you are fortunate enough to spell it correctly. If the placename you entered is a common one, then you may see a list of choices to examine and pick from. That is it and you have located dziadek’s (grandfather’s) home town. Of course, you have probably done some extensive research to get to this point. But now you have the lay of the land of your ancestral village. The radio buttions by ‘Zebliż’ change the zoom of the map; so adjust to your needs. All this is well and good and mostly just like Google Maps, except the ability lookup by name. But there have been a few new tricks added to this wonderful tool.

It already gave you the population (ex. 1275 osób, like for Pacanow). You need not enter the diacriticals. It also gave you woj. ,  pow. ,  and gmina. Which you may think of as  state, county, and township/borrough. Write these down, you will need them over and over again. Sadly, these levels of administration have changed since your grandparent’s time. You also get a postal code and telephone prefix in case you seek out family in the mother country. If that were all it would be a useful tool. But as I said, they have enhanced this web application. There is a valuable drop down named, ‘Przydatne punkty’ (“Useful points’). It only allows you to pick one selection. I find ‘kościoły’ (Churches) and ‘cmentarze’ (Cemeteries) the most useful to a genealogist. A word to the wise. The symbols that pop-up on the map (if any,  at your zoom level) are woefully incomplete. So the church you are seeking may not show, as in my case. But I am hopeful that they will keep adding to his valuable resource. This option is akin to that of ‘search nearby’ in Google Maps. Originally, I did not use Google Maps for Poland or Ukraine because it was woeful in listing villages and its ability to search nearby was no good for countries that did not have English as their primary language. But I see today that those issues have been resolved by Google. But Mapa.szukacz.pl still gives you the population and administration levels and other demographics that Google has yet to provide. Stanczyk does have to praise Google in one way. The ‘little yellow man’ that you can place on most US roads to get a web-cam still panoramic view of the location is replaced with little blue ‘dots’ where you can drop him and see photographs from that spot (Which Pacanow seemed to have many). So I guess you should use both maps.google.com and mapa.szukacz.pl to geo-locate your ancestral village. To get  the spelling correct, perhaps you can use JewishGen’s (also now in ancestry.com) Shtetl Seeker tool to help you get the spelling correct. Alas, that is another useful website for another day….

June 25, 2011

Historical Newspapers – Gazeta Kielecka 1899

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk was combing the many Digital Libraries in and around my ancestral villages looking for clues, contacts or vital records as published in periodicals or guild books. So I was at: Swietokrzyska Digital Library

That is when I found this funeral ad. This I knew in a minute when I saw, as it was very familiar from reading the Dziennik Polski (Detroit) ethnic newspaper, which is itself an historic newspaper now. At any rate, I hate to leave vital records behind and since this was the only vital record in the 4 pages of the Gazeta Kielecka, I could afford to spend some of my effort to help some other poor genealogist(s).

Poor Jozefa was survived by her husband and children (no names provided). She died in Pinczow on January 17th, 1899 at the age of 37 (born/ur. about 1862). Her maiden name was Baranow (Baranowskich family) and married name was Pogorzelska. It is unclear to me whether she was the wife of a duty collector or whether her occupation was duty/excise tax collector (inspektora akcyzy).

 

Jozefa Pogorzelska z Baranow died (zmarla) 17-Jan-1899
June 25, 2011

Polish Genealogy: Useful Websites #2 … Digital Archives, Libraries, Church Archives

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Yesterday I wrote about Poland’s great website resources that we in the English speaking world should be using. I was thinking of the State Archives (national/regional), Libraries, and Ecclesiastical Archives. Now these are not the civil registration offices (USC) nor are these the parish church books. These are the duplicate records in the archives.

Furthermore, I was emphasizing the resources that have online resources, like a catalog (in the case of the PRADZIAD database) or even better digital images of documents or historical items. Yesterday’s article was already running long. So today, I am including a sampling of these resources (while I test/cleanup the others). With these you should be able to find the others yourself. I also apologize that these are heavily influenced by where I have ancestors.

A word of note to my cautious readers. The digital libraries all use a product called Dj Vu ( a browser plug-in) from LizardTech. I strongly urge you to utilize this software! I have used it for years with no worries. It works in both MS Windows and in MAC OS. I have used with many types of browsers and can usually get it to work as an add-in/plug-in to the browser or as a local applet that runs on the PC.

As for the websites, I have some advice there as well. First off, if you are comfortable working in Polish (język polski) then you should use this language. The reason is some sites offer more content only in Polish. If you are language challenged, then your next best option is to look for a little flag. The flag looks like the UK’s Union Jack or the USA’s Old Glory or sometimes a hybrid of the two. Clicking on that icon usually translates a page’s content into “mostly” English. Some button or menus or other user interface features may still be in Polish. For the most part, the websites do not force you to use the accented letters (diacriticals). You should test to verify you get the same results in your searches by doing it both ways. Some websites offer a little keyboard to help Americans enter the diacriticals when they are necessary. The GenealogIndexer website actually had a nice keyboard (see image above) that included the Cyrillic characters (in case you are searching in Russian/Ukrainian/BeloRussian/etc.), Hebrew characters and other Euro/Slavic characters.

Stanczyk wishes to thank Poland and its many archives and museums for providing these resources. I promise to come visit as a tourist and a RESEARCHER because you so kindly made it possible for me to extend my vacation/holiday to do some historical/genealogical research by providing these resources ahead of time while I am still at home and can prepare. Final word of advice, to those planning a research trip to Poland; Try these websites out to help you on locating the resources and their locations and even the details (i.e. FONDS, etc.). Make yourself familiar with access rules or have your guide do the leg-work so you can walk right in and begin your research without delay. Do not forget or ignore the parishes or the USC offices (civil records authority, like county-clerk in USA) or cemeteries; make time for parishes and archives both to ensure you see as much as you possibly can in one trip.

Now my sample resources are in the table below:

Digital Content from Poland’s Archives / Museums / Churches English Translation Websites
Naczelna Dyrekcja Archiwów Państwowych The Head Office of State Archives http://archiwa.gov.pl/en/data-bases.html
MaloPolska Biblioteka Cyfrowa Digital Library of Malopolska (LittlePoland) http://mbc.malopolska.pl/dlibra
WielkoPolska Biblioteka Cyfrowa Digital Library of Greater Poland in Poznan http://www.wbc.poznan.pl/dlibra
Slaska Biblioteka Cyfrowa Digital Library of Silesia http://www.sbc.org.pl/dlibra
Podlaska Biblioteka Cyfrowa Digital Library of Podlaska http://pbc.biaman.pl/dlibra
Archiwum Główne Akt Dawnych AGAD – Central Archives of Historical Records http://www.agad.archiwa.gov.pl/
Archiwum Państwowe w Kielcach State Archive in Kielce http://www.kielce.ap.gov.pl/
Archiwum Państwowe w Rzeszowie State Archive in Rzeszów http://www.rzeszow.ap.gov.pl
Narodowe Archiwum Cyfrowe (NAC) National Digital Archives http://nac.gov.pl/en/node/58
NAC – Search Archives link Search the Archives (Lublin, Poznan, Warsaw, Hoover Inst.) http://szukajwarchiwach.pl/
Archiwum Diecezjalne – Kielce Kielce Diocessan Archives http://www.kielce.opoka.org.pl/?mod=contents&g=kuria&id=archiwum
Archiwum Diecezjalne – Tarnów Tarnów Diocessan Archives http://www.archiwum.diecezja.tarnow.pl
June 24, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy – Useful Websites … #2

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Donna Pointkouski ‘s question (about the Shoemaker’s Guild) reminded Stanczyk that he has needed for a while to collect his bookmarks/favorites/URLs together on the useful websites in Poland. In particular, the Online Archives.  Some of the nifty historical images in this blog have been gathered from these valuable resources.

Most genealogists know that you can use the LDS website familysearch.org and search for microfilm of Polish parishes or synagogues. But what if you wanted to search what was available in Poland itself as a way to see what else is available if you go to Poland to search its civil or ecclesiastical archives. Well, Stanczyk uses The Head Office of State Archives (the state archives of Poland) and in particular, I search the PRADZIAD database. You may also want to look at SEZAM, or ELA databases too.

But my images have been coming from Digital Libraries (in Polish = Biblioteka Cyfrowa). I have been collecting a spreadsheet of these digital libraries. They frequently use Dj Vu plug-in to display the scanned images of the books (or other materials). Some regional genealogy societies also have digitized books  (Książki Bibliotek Cyfrowych) on their websites. The one Stanczyk uses for his research is:  Digital Library of Malopolska (LittlePoland) .

The National Digital Archive has 15 million photos and thousands of audio files too. Recently they also implemented an interface (which seems to be implemented at a handful of Polish Archives) to search multiple Polish Archives. The image at left is “Search in Archives” in Polish.

So I have compiled a spreadsheet of Poland’s Archives and their websites. I believe most have an online catalog and some have also digitized some collections and placed those online too. So I have a TAB for Digital Libraries. Finally, I have compiled the Eclesiastical/Diocessan Archives. Since collecting these from Polish websites, I have determined that Poland and its websites are very dynamic and many links are broken. I have been researching them and correcting them where possible. Since this article is already too long …   tomorrow  a partial sample of the spreadsheet to enlighten people on what to search for.

June 22, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy – Shoemaker’s Guild (Leszczynski, Biechow)

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Pretty nifty poster or book page huh? Stanczyk found this in a Polish Digital Library. This masonic-looking page, with the all-seeing eye in the clouds with cherubs, etc. is a notice of a Shoemaker’s Guild from the “Year of Our Lord 1842″ in the gubernia of Kielce.

Now this is of interest to me because my great-grandfather, Tomasz Leszczynski listed his occupation in the church birth records on the 1860’s, as shoemaker & innkeeper  — which I always thought was a rather clever combination as travelers would need shoe repairs and why not get those while you are staying at the inn. So this image is contemporaneous (roughly) with my great-grandfather and the thought occurred to me perhaps I can find records in a Guild Book about my great-grandfather.

So here is Stanczyk’s million dollar question:  “Has anyone done any research in Poland and located these guild books in any Archive or Library and been able to locate ancestors?” Question two, “Was the search worthwhile — what kind of info did you find?”

Come on genealogists, let’s crowd-source, collaborate, or social network a solution here. OK? Anyone near Biechow parish, Pinczow Archive or Kielce Ecclesiastical Archive or a Library in or around one of those three cities in Poland? Can you help a Polish-American jester out? Email me or even comment on this blog… I’ll be waiting.

June 18, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy: Rummaging Through Genealogy Indexer

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Since Genealogy Indexer website has grown so much since my last exploration, Stanczyk decided to do some rummaging through the new data. I was searching for Pacanow with and without my anctesor’s surnames.  I hit upon the page on Stopnica (actually the second page) from the digital book: Geographic Dictionary of the Kingdom of Poland and Other Slavic Countries, vol. 11 (1890)  (in Polish: Słownik Geograficzny Królestwa Polska i inne kraje ..). This time frame is just after the birth of my paternal grandparents. So it is an accurate context for their lifetime in Poland. On page 373 of the book, I was reading about the deaconate of Stopnica (in the diocese of Kielce) and it listed the 32 parishes that made up Stopnica’s deaconate. Here is the list of 32 parishes:

Beszowa, Busko, Chmielnik, Gnojno, Janina, Dobrowda, Drugnia, Kargow, Koniemloty, Kotuszow, Ksiaznice, Kurozweki, Lisow, Nowe Miasto Korczyn (Nowy Korczyn),  Olesnica, Ostrowce, Pacanow, Piasek-Wielki, Pierzchnica, Piotrkowice, Potok, Sedziejowice, Solec Stopnica, Strozyska, Szaniec, Szczaworyk, Szydlow, Swiniary, Tuczepy, and Zborowek.

Stanczyk has seen microfilm on many of these parishes or seen ancestor surnames in many of these places at the genealodzy.pl website. Anyone else from here?

June 17, 2011

Genealogy Indexer – Historical Polish City Directories

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Yesterday, Stanczyk was extoling the virtues of the Genealogy Indexer web site. This site has OCR’ed Historical City Directories from Poland’s Digital Libraries and built a database of names from this OCR work.

I also recommended Americans not use diacriticals (accents) unless you can use them correctly as incorrect use will cause you to miss records. Using correct diacriticals or none gives the same results, so mis-used diacriticals is the only way you can miss data. So do NOT use diacriticals.

The image above shows the query screen, where Stanczyk queried on ‘pacanów, eljasz‘, using the keyboard symbol next to the query field to enter diacriticals (I know some of you will want to do this despite my admonitions otherwise). This is actually a handy tool for entering Cyrillic or other Slavic characters on our USA keyboards. Just cut/paste from this website to another website or form or document. At any rate, my query returned five results (only three shown above). I chose the second one to illustrate in this article. The links will take you to a digital image of the document (using Deja Vu browser plug-in) that matches your query result. How cool is that?

So I selected the second link (1930 above).

The resulting digital image was a City Directory Phone book. The language is Polish, but there is a second language (French) too! So if the image is unreadable in one language perhaps you can read the other and figure out what was unreadable in the other. It is also helpful in translating  too, to have two languages.  The first part is a description of the place-name (like a Gazetteer) written in both Polish and French.

The top two paragraphs are Polish, then French Gazetteer description of the place-name (Pacanow). We can see that 1930 Pacanow had 2598 residents an interesting fact to know. After these first two paragraphs we see, what we would call “Yellow Page” listings by business type. It starts with Doctor(s) (Lekarze) and then from there on it flows alphabetically (in Polish) with Midwife, Pharmacy, etc. Each business type is followed by one or more names. These names are your putable ancestors.

I was interested in Kolowdzieje (Wheelwright) business Eljasz M. [This is possibly my grandfather's uncle Marcin Eliasz]. Also the Wiatraki (Wind Mills) business was VERY interesting because we find both Eljasz and Zasucha names. Now this makes Stanczyk’s day as my 2nd great grandfather   was Martin (aka Marcin) Elijasz and he married an Anna Zasucha. These Wind Mill owners are very likely close ancestors of Stanczyk.

There are many surnames from my family tree besides Eljasz and Zasucha, we find:  Poniewierski, Pytko, Siwiec, Wlecial, and Wojtys. Now I can put an occupation by my ancestors. Nice. Very Nice!

June 15, 2011

Polish Genealogy – Useful Websites …

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk wants to collect under this continuing subject line good URLs / links to websites that provide very good to excellent Polish Genealogy data or possibly reference materials for genealogical research.

GENEALOGY INDEXER – http://www.genealogyindexer.org/

TwitterTwitter – @gindexer

This  first website (URL) is one I wrote about in the Polish Genealogists LinkedIn Group (here) back in October 2009. Its name is Genealogy Indexer . Back in October, 2009 they had: 77,000 pages of historical directories (business, address, telephone, etc.), 28,000 pages of 64 yizkor books (memorials to Jewish communities destroyed during the Holocaust). Now 20 months later they have: 141,000 pages of historical directories (business, address, telephone, etc.), 28,000 pages of 64 yizkor books (memorials to Jewish communities destroyed during the Holocaust), 11,000 pages of lists of Polish military officers, and 17,000 pages of community and personal histories. That is an +83% increase, so we can say this is a very active website/database to add to your bookmarks/favorites.

PLEASE take note they list what page # (usually on a digital book from a Polish Archive/ University) you need to look at in their search results. Stanczyk personally loves those digital books/documents made available online by Polish Libraries and Archives.

I have already had some successes. They OCR’ed these digital resources and built indexes — very nice!

For example I searched on “Pacanow, Eljasz” to find ancestors from ancestral village of PACANOW. You do NOT need to supply diacriticals (like the slahsed ł ) — so notice in the ‘o’ in Pacanow does not have the accent ( ó ) on it.

It also worked for “Pacanow, Wlecial” — where I do have a slashed ł at the end. The results were identical whether I used the diacritical or not. Being an American, I liked the convenience of not having to type (or cut/paste) a diacritical character on my searches.

You do need a browser add-in called Deja-Vu (.DjVu plug-in) to view the actual image associated with the OCR data.

I use Historical City Directories for my American ancestors. Now I can do the same for my Polish Ancestors too.

A big thanks to genealogist Logan Kleinwaks for providing this excellent  Polish (Catholic and Jewish) genealogy resource !



Tomorrow: An example of my genealogyindexer findings…

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