Archive for ‘Family Trees’

June 7, 2014

California Chrome – Horse Racing’s 12th Triple Crown Winner? — #TripleCrown, #Pedigree, #Genealogy

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

California Chrome Pedigree

California Chrome Pedigree: …, Seattle Slew, Secretariat

All day long, all across the land people were rooting for history. Today, 7-June-2014, California Chrome history was NOT made  as the thoroughbred racehorse missed  out by taking 4th, losing the Triple Crown (Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes prize races) to TONALIST. The  colt missed out being the  twelfth  Triple Crown winner in horse racing history. The previous Triple Crown winner was Affirmed, 36 years ago! Clearly,  our generation must wait a bit longer.

So Stanczyk being a genealogist was wondering what is California Chrome’s family tree. To answer that question, you can query a database (http://www.pedigreequery.com/california+chrome).

It should be no surprise that this colt is a champion winning two of three legs of the Crown. His 2x great-grandfather was Seattle Slew and  3x great-grandfather was Secretariat.  So why was this horse viewed as a working class horse with such a royal bloodline?

Good Stock.

Previous 11 US Triple Crown Winners

Year Winner Jockey Trainer
1919 Sir Barton Johnny Loftus H. Guy Bedwell
1930 Gallant Fox Earl Sande Jim Fitzsimmons
1935 Omaha Willie Saunders Jim Fitzsimmons
1937 War Admiral Charley Kurtsinger George H. Conway
1941 Whirlaway Eddie Arcaro Ben A. Jones
1943 Count Fleet Johnny Longden Don Cameron
1946 Assault Warren Mehrtens Max Hirsch
1948 Citation Eddie Arcaro Horace A. Jones
1973 Secretariat Ron Turcotte Lucien Laurin
1977 Seattle Slew Jean Cruguet William H. Turner, Jr.
1978 Affirmed Steve Cauthen Laz Barrera

 

May 21, 2014

On The Trail Of Tomasz Leszczyński … #Genealogy, #Polish, #SNA

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

k_001494

Antonina Sieradzka 1862 Birth in Gorki

Yesterday, Stanczyk wrote about Tomasz and I provided an updated timeline of Tomasz Leszczynski  throughout much of his 104 year  lifespan. Today, I wanted to write a quick post about the affiliated families to the LESZCZYNSKI line.

If you have these surnames from the villages found below, then we need to compare research notes:

Surnames …

Kordos, Majer/Major, Ozarowicz, Fras/Frass,  Sieradzki, Slawinski, Pieszczochowicz/Pierzchowicz,  Mikniewicz   plus friends — Woloszyn, Stanek,  Pawelec, Fortuna and especially MIZDRAK.

I mention Mizdrak, because a Jozef Mizdrakborn 5-FEB-1834 in Wojcza,  Biechow parish. Seemed to be a part of the LESZCZYNSKI family records from 1860 through the death of Julianna Kordos Leszczynski in Pacanow,  27-NOV-1881 in Biechow parish. 47 years in the Leszczynski records in Poland.

Villages  …

Biechow  (including Piestrzec, Wojcza), Swiniary (including Oblekon), Pacanow,  Stopnica (including Falęcin), Strozyska (including Gorki)

October 25, 2013

Prince George of Cambridge Baptism – 4 Generation Picture of British Monarchy

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

4GenQueenElizabethStanczyk cannot believe almost the whole month of October, Polish History Month in the US, and this is my first blog of the month !

What has gotten me off my royal jester duff ?  The baptism of bonny Prince George of Cambridge, of course. I was keeping abreast of this genealogical event. But the interest in this baby is phenomenal ! Blog readership is up over 250% and most of that increase is International.

I’ll come back to the God Parents (all seven of them) in a minute.

First, I want to comment on the four generation photo of HRH Queen Elizabeth and her three generations of heir apparents – Prince Charles, Prince Andrew and Prince George. Why the focus on a family photo?  This is extraordinary in British History – only once before has a four generation picture happened and that was 1894 !

4GenQueenVictoriaThe last occurrence was with Queen Victoria and her future heir apparents – King Edward VII,  King George V,  & King Edward VIII at Windsor Castle.

The parallel is obvious – baptism is a time of whole family gathering and when it’s a future monarch, it is historic.

Baptism

Prince George who was born 22 July 2013, had his christening and (23 October 2013, Chapel Royal) was  attended and sponsored by no less than seven God Parents – And neither Prince Harry nor Pippa Middleton were god parents.

God Fathers — William van Custem, Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, Hugh Grosvenor, Oliver Baker

God Mothers — Zara Tindall, Julia Samuel, Emilia Jardine-Paterson

#GoodGenealogy = #GoodHistory

Prior Story …

British Royal Family Tree —  27 July 2013

August 23, 2013

Genealogy On TV … — #Genealogy, #PBS, #GenealogyRoadshow

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

GRS_LogoIt is now 1 month away from PBS’s Genealogy Roadshow. The series initial program airs Monday, September 23rd at 9:00pm EDT (1am GMT). The show is based upon the Irish TV version of the same name that PBS optioned and is produced by Krasnow Productions in the US.

Every Monday, 9/23 (Detroit, MI),  9/30 (Austin, TX), 10/7 (Nashville, TN), 10/14 (San Francisco, CA) PBS will air the one hour shows that will embody, “part detective story, part emotional journey, combining history and science to uncover fascinating stories of diverse Americans.”  The PBS show  uses  science and history to tell/verify genealogical stories with the most compelling finds shown on air in historic local settings. The four cities were chosen for their diversity of the American genealogical experience. The producers are breaking new ground, with a format that features an expert team of genealogists investigating ordinary people’s stories and then presenting them to a live roadshow  audience in an historical setting.

Stanczyk will be waiting … anxiously.

May 29, 2013

Wordless Wednesday — Philadelphia 1913

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

PhilaEmigrantStation

Dateline — Philadelphia’s Ellis Island 1913  Emigration to Philadelphia peaked in 1913. Good thing for this jester, as my aunt Alice (Aleksandra) and my Busia (grandmother) arrived September 15th, 1913.

100 years later her grandson is here! Full circle.  Eliasz in America.

Ship Arrivals

15 – September – 1913 - Prinz Adalbert

Philadelphia Inquirer 9/15/1913 - Ship Arrivals

Philadelphia Inquirer 9/15/1913 – Ship Arrivals

Ship Manifest

PrinzAdalbert_19130915

April 1, 2013

World Backup Day

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

1 April 2013 – Dateline Philadelphia

Yes, this jester knows its April Fool’s day; But who better than a jester to speak truth to the people (uh … genealogists, librarians, archivists, & researchers) on this day? The first of April has become the impetus for backup and preservation.

20130401-051142.jpg

You need only look at today’s world of crazy dictators or Mali terrorists to see that cultural/historical artifacts can disappear in an instant. Cyberwarfare can claim your harddisk. The cloud could crash or hurricane Sandy can happen (please donate to Ellis island Foundation to help in that restoration effort). Libraries and Archives need to safeguard your artifacts too! Are you motivated yet? Good!

There are backup solutions, including some free options to the “cloud”. Apple even provides a free 5GB iCloud. So save your GEDCOM file. If you still have free space then backup pictures or scans that are CRITICAL. You can save/backup to media: CDs, USB thumb drives, etc. But be aware that backup to electronic media needs to be refreshed yearly to avoid stranding your backups on outmoded technology (i.e. 8Track tapes or even floppy disks).

Be careful out there and have a Happy April Fool’s Day!

March 1, 2013

Thinking About @Ancestrydotcom ‘s GEDCOM — #Genealogy, #GEDCOM

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

GorillaFamilyTreeAncestry.com (Twitter: @Ancestrydotcom ) is the proverbial 800 lb (362.87 kg) gorilla in the genealogical archive. You cannot miss him — mostly he’s lovable. So today after you read this blog post, Stanczyk wants you to tweet at him (see Twitter link above). I am hoping the big ape will make some improvements to their software. Hint .. Hint !

A couple of days ago (25-Feb-2013), I ran my PERL program against the GEDCOM file I exported from my family tree on Ancestry.com ‘s  website. That tree, the RootsWeb tree, and this blog are Stanczyk’s main tools for collaboration with near and distant cousin-genealogists (2nd cousins, 3rd, 4th, 5th cousins — all are welcome).

Quick Facts —

  1. No invalid tags  – Good
  2. Five custom tags – Also Good
  3. CHAR tag misused – ANSI [not good]
  4. My Ancestry Family Tree uses diacriticals: ą ć ę ł ń ó ś ź ż   in proper nouns [not good]
  5. Phantom Notes ??? [really not good]

So, Mr. Ancestry (sir) can you please fix #’s 3, 4, and 5, please?

CHAR -  I think Ancestry should use what is in the standards: ANSEL | UTF-8 | UNICODE | ASCII . I think this is easily do-able (even if all you do is just substitute ASCII).

This is not a picayune, nit-picky, persnickety, or snarky complaint. In fact, it leads right into the next problem (#4 above). Not only does Ancestry export the GEDCOM file as “ANSI”, it strips out my diacriticals too (as a result?). So now I have potentially lost valuable information from my research. For Slavic researchers, these diacriticals can be vital to finding an ancestor as they guide how original name was pronounced and how it might have been misspelled or mistranscribed in the many databases. Without the diacriticals that vital link is lost.

The last criticism is an insidious problem. Every time I exported the GEDCOM, I would get a note on one person in the tree. I would carefully craft the note on Ancestry, but what I received in the GEDCOM file downloaded would be different ???

I reported the problem to no avail and no response. This is not very good for an 800 lb gorilla.

Digging Deeper

I have since gone on to do some experiments and the results may astound you (or not). I copied the NOTE I was getting in my GEDCOM and saved it off to a text file, perplexed as to where it came from, since it was not the NOTE I was editing on Ancestry??? Now I did something bold. I deleted the note from that person on Ancestry and then downloaded the GEDCOM file again. Do you what I got? Wrong! I did not get my carefully crafted NOTE, I got yet another NOTE. I copied that note’s text and repeated my process of deleting the note and downloading the GEDCOM file a 3rd time. This time when I edited my GEDCOM file, I found MY note!!! But where/how did the other two notes come about? Why were there three notes? Why could I see and edit the 3rd note, but only get the first note when I downloaded the GEDCOM file? How did notes 2 & 3 get there? Why did I not get all three notes when I downloaded the GEDCOM? All good questions that I have no answer to. My suspicion is that Ancestry should not allow more than one EDITOR on a tree, other contributors should only be allowed to comment or maybe provide an ability to leave sticky-notes on a person [that does not go into a GEDCOM file]. I do not think the notes were created by their mobile app since I always saw my NOTE (and not the other two notes). I am chalking this up to an Ancestry.com bug and urging others who see strange things in their notes to take deliberate steps to unravel their notes. I hope Ancestry will fix this and let people know. I hope they fix all of items #’s: 3, 4, and 5.

So, my dear readers, I am asking you to tweet to Ancestry (as I will too) and  ask them for bug fixes. Perhaps if enough people tweet at @Ancestrydotcom, they will respond and not give us the cold  gorilla shoulder.

January 26, 2013

RootsMagic iPhone/iPad App — #Genealogy #Software #Review, #RootsTech

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

RootsMagicAppThis jester has been a big proponent of Ubiquitous Genealogy – i.e. genealogy is portable and everywhere. I have used the Ancestry App for a long while and am well satisfied. They use a concept of synching the App with  your tree and their website. Now that the kinks are worked out, I am well satisfied. There are also MyHeritage and Heredis  Apps too. These do not synch over the “air”. You need to use your iTunes application on your desktop/laptop to move files into the App’s “sandbox” via synching your iPhone/iPad with the laptop/desktop over the iPhone/iPad cable. Tethered synching is ok but a hindrance.

Ok so the new App on the block is an offering called RootsMagic.   Stanczyk likes the Roots Magic laptop application as a full blown offering for working on your genealogy and documenting the tree and finding data on the Internet and keeping track of to-do lists, publishing your tree on CD/Web and all sorts of work that you do when your research spans years (or decades) – does anyone ever finish their genealogy? Its modern and uses Universal Character sets (so us Slavic Researchers can use our slashed Ł’s  or Cyrillic  Я’s) and other features that the Internet Genealogists have grown up with.  So I was hopeful when I received an email from Roots Magic touting their iOS offerings – Its free!

The App starts with the familiar Roots Magic splash screen that you may have grown accustomed to from the laptop application. You are then presented with a list of files from their sandbox (ugh, tethered synching). Once you select a file to work with, your family tree is presented in a Pedigree form (with three generations visible on iPhone/ four generations on iPad). At the top left is a green/white button with three lines (see image)  that will allow you to pick a particular person with whom you wish to work upon. At the bottom of the screen are four buttons:

Files,   Views,   Lists,   Tools

Files – Lets you select the family tree file you want to on from your Device or from DropBox (a cloud-based file storage service). It also has HELP (files??) which tell you how to use your Device or DropBox to get a file loaded into the App. Sadly,  the RootsMagic app does not read standard gedcom (ged)  files. It only reads files with rmgc extension (i.e. created by Roots Magic laptop application). However, it does load their database extremely fast from those rmgc files.

Views – Lets you choose to view the data in a PEDIGREE tree  or a FAMILY tree or in a DESCENDENTS outline  or in the detailed FACTS (events), NOTE, direct family members of the current INDIVIDUAL. I prefer working in FAMILY (as seen in image) view mode, then switching to INDIVIDUAL view mode for any details on that person. Clicking on NOTE really gives you access to NOTE(S), SOURCE(S), and MEDIA for that individual (and a BACK button at the top to return to INDIVIDUAL view mode).

Lists – This just gives a list of your: Sources, To-Dos, Research, Media, Addresses, Repositories, Correspondences, and PLACES. I liked places (which showed that this jester really needs to make his Places (Locations) conform to some kind of standard).

Tools – Date Calculator, Relationship Calculator, Soundex Calculator, and Calendar. Unimpressive to say the least. Lest you get your hope up, the Calendar tool only displays the Calendar for a Month/Year of your choice [I did not verify the Julian/Gregorian boundary to see if it calculates a proper month calendar for dates before 1582]. It was not worth the effort as I did not see why I would want to see what day  June 3rd, 1700 would fall on (Thursday) if you are eyes are young or your glasses are a good prescription to read the day name. Otherwise, you not notice the day names on an iPhone  [perhaps a black font, instead of gray, would give better contrast]. The Soundex is only American Soundex – why not Daitsch-Mokotoff or Bieder-Morse codes too? Really, we Slavic researchers get short shrift in the software world.  Never fear, just create a desktop icon of Steve Morse’s Soundex page to see all three Soundex/Pattern Matching methods for your family names.

iPad vs iPhone

For some reason the iPad interface treats the buttons (Files, Views, Lists, Tools) differently on the iPad. That was a bit confusing until I got used to the difference. Rotating the iPad to landscape, also brings the Surnames/Search view along side whatever view you are in. The Calendar is a bit easier to see on the iPad, but I’d still like to see the day name text in black (or at least a MUCH darker gray).

UbiquitousGenealogyThe app is strictly for viewing your family tree (et. al.). There are no tools for modifying the tree for re-import into the desktop application. Shortcomings aside, it is still a very good first effort by Roots Magic. If you have the Roots Magic laptop application, then download the free app for your smartphone or tablet and go Ubiquitous. If you do not have the Roots Magic laptop application and do not have a way to get your ged converted to Roots Magic format (rmgc) then do NOT bother to download the app – you will not be able to use it.

P.S.  Do you spell  “DESCENDENT”  – as  D-E-S-C-E-N-D-E-N-T   or    D-E-S-C-E-N-D-A-N-T ?  Both spellings are correct, but I guess I use “DESCENDANT” all of the time and so the Roots Magic use startled me.

I also would love to see the REUNION app (the Mac Software vendor) make their iOS App free or low-cost – then I’d review it here too. I am a BIG Apple eco-system fan and as such have used REUNION Mac software for a very LONG time. I would be remiss not to mention that REUNION App does exist, but its cost is a bit steep relative to the other iPhone genealogy APPs in this article.

October 2, 2012

Social Network Analysis – A Genealogical Tool — #Genealogy, #RootsTech

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Social Network Analysis has worked again!

This is a broad, umbrella-like, semantically overloaded term. In fact, this term is even known by aliases. GeneaBlogger, Thomas MacEntee, calls it “Cluster Genealogy“. Stanczyk calls it by a more modern term that immediately identifies and places this tool in a perfect context — Social Network Analysis (SNA for short). Both terms are defined by wikipedia pages — follow both links and decide for yourself what to call it, but whatever you call it, start using it in your genealogical research now!

Stanczyk has successfully used this technique three times now.

  • Used to determine siblings for my great-grandfather Jozef Elijasz of Pacanow
  • Inadvertent use in locating another line from  great-grandfather Tomasz Leszczynski
  • Whimsical Use on an Affiliated Family Name that exploded in multiple dimensions

This article and the next article where I elaborate the steps for the last one in the list is my third success.

The first two list items are from two earlier blog posts:

  1. Jozef Elijasz - Inferring unknown siblings from known siblings. A series of 3 articles.
  2. Jozef Fras – Son of Agnes Leszczynski. Proving this Leszczynski family was mine.

Happenstance Scenario

The third research opportunity was a happenstance fluke. To test my connection to Ancestry, I did an Immigration search on ‘ZWOLSKI’. This is one of the affiliated names from Poland for our Elijasz family branch. I also knew that some Zwolski came to America and were related to my great-grandfather’s sister, Pelagia. So I did an Immigration search and clicked on the Passenger List Ship Manifest for Jan Zwolski. A mere random selection of Zwolskich. He arrived in 1910 on the Lapland. Jan was not from Pacanow or as far as I could tell any nearby village of my ancestors. Finally, he was going to Jamaica, NY, also not a locale known for members of my family tree. So I figured that my Ancestry was working since I could see the ship manifest, but this random person was not a candidate  for entry into the family tree.

Now the real genealogy began. I looked down the ship manifest to see if anyone else with Jan was from a nearby ancestral village. Looking down the page I found plenty, so I decided to focus on those affiliated family names that I had researched before in my Pacanow Social Network Analysis (#1 on the list). I started with the first Pacanow resident, Francisek [sic] Luszcz. He was going to  a Teofil Zasucha at 1319 Falls street in Niagara Falls, NY. Now I got interested Zasucha is a big SNA family name and it is the maiden name of my 2nd great-grandmother, Anna Zasucha Elijasz. The location also tugged at a memory from my research. I had a great-aunt (Mary Elijasz) who arrived in the USA in 1910 to her brother Jan Elijasz from a brother-in-law, named Jan Leszczynski in Zborowek and she went to her brother who lived in Niagara Falls. Looking further down the page, I even found a Jan Eliasz from Zborowek (not my great-uncle, but surely deserves a place somewhere in my tree, though his branch is yet missing) and Jan was going to Syracuse (where some distant Elijasz resided and also another Elijasz affiliated family, the Kedzierski, one of whom did marry my great-uncle Jan Elijasz). Alas this Jan came from a wife Maryanna, not a Pelagia.

So I thought to check Ancestry’s City Directories for Teofil Zasucha in Niagara Falls and up popped a 1915 address. Teofil was now at 163 13th street in Niagara Falls (as are all addresses today). I thought to look-up my great aunt’s address from her ship manifest, she was going to her brother at 235  11th street. No match … except the city directory showed two other Zasucha living at 235  11th street in 1915. OK, I was now officially beginning a new SNA and recording my data (a necessary step in SNA).

One final note, further down the page in the city directory of ‘Z’ names was an Albert Zdziebko. Now Zdziebko are quite rare, but they too are from the Pacanow area (and they are related to the great genealogist, Ceil Wendt-Jensen, the current PARI director). So this was becoming a full fledged SNA project. My Pacanow SNA project had just moved across the Atlantic to  Niagara Falls, NY.

Summary

This article and the next one on SNA are about my third use of SNA in my genealogical research. SNA (or Cluster Genealogy) are techniques described in Wikipedia pages (see links above) or another article in my Post Scriptum below. The first two projects were wildly successful with limited data. I had other follow-on successes as a result because I had done those two SNA studies — for example at RootsTech 2012, I found an 1876 marriage record of  Walenty Paluch to Magdalena Major. Neither of these two people were in my family tree when I read their record in Russian (so you know I was committing time/effort on a whim). The Paluch and Major were affiliated names from my 1st SNA project so I decided on that basis alone to read the 1876 marriage record. What did I find? I found that the two people getting married were each a sibling of  two of my paternal great-grandparents in my tree! So I added this married couple to my family tree. SNA is a technique to increase your confidence level in your research to take a guess/hunch/assumption from that level of statistical probability (which is what 10-25% ??) to a level well above 50% maybe as high as 99%. While this may or may not pass muster for a Genealogical proof,  it is actually good enough for civil court (where you just have to prove just 51%, not the 100% required in criminal court). It may open up new lines of research you were unaware of,  that come back to help with your existing “brick-walls”.

Next

The next article will be the details of my SNA research and the results.

P.S. – Another post scriptum. Though I prefer the term Social Network Analysis, thus demonstrating my computer education/bias — I found a very early reference to the term Cluster Genealogy from March 1st, 1994 by a CG, named Connie Lenzen who published this article in National Geological Society Quarterly. Her goal was to develop a higher level of confidence in proving a female ancestor’s lineage when there is no certain paper trail to follow, but only indirect leads. You may want to read her article too. SNA has wide applicability in uncertain circumstances.

July 27, 2012

Genealogy and Social Media — #Genealogy, #Facebook

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

There are 901 Million active Facebook users as of March 2012, according to HowManyAreThere.org  (http://www.howmanyarethere.org/how-many-facebook-users-are-there-2012/). Facebook is estimated to break one Billion users before 2012 ends (Mashable source:  http://mashable.com/2012/01/12/facebook-1-billion-users/). According to Gregory Lyons, a senior analyst at iCrossing, Facebook will reach the milestone in August [2012].

Do I have your attention genealogists? One seventh of the world’s population is on Facebook – perhaps your 2nd and 3rd cousins are there waiting for you to engage them in some family history. Skype has nearly 107 Million “Real Users” and recently hit 41.5 Million concurrent users !

So being social can help you reach more people who may have a piece to your family history. I have searched Facebook with modest success for the ‘ELIASZ’ or ‘ELIJASZ’ family name. Not everyone will friend you anymore.  I have had success in SKYPE finding an ‘ELIJASZ’ family member in my grandfather’s ancestral village of Pacanow in Poland. I once had a very lucky success with a social network in Poland, named nasza-klasa.pl (now more easily found at http://nk.pl/ ). Now this jester is minimally conversant in Polish and my “cousin” in Poland was zero conversant in English. But, I was able to use Google’s Translator (English to Polish and vice versa) with success although it did generate some laughter at times. The final result was a letter from Poland with a copy of my grandparents’ marriage record from the actual church book in Biechow, Poland! Nasza-Klasa also yielded two 2nd cousins who were born in Poland (one since moved to the US) and we keep in touch via Facebook.

How else can you use social media to aid your genealogy? Write a genealogy blog (like this blog for example). I went to a recent Polish/Slavic genealogy seminar this year and spoke to a fellow blogger, Donna Pointkouski, who writes the genealogy blog, “What’s Past Is Prologue”. Donna called genealogy blogs, “2nd Cousin Bait” . She said by writing about your genealogy searches, successes and family members, your blog can lure these more distant family tree members to you. It works because search engines like Google or Bing find your blog posts and index key words (tags/categories) and proper nouns in their databases and out they pop when 2nd/3rd cousins are trying to Google their family trees. Stanczyk has personally located two 2nd cousins and one 3rd cousin via the blog. One 2nd cousin even gave me a picture of a previously unknown grand-aunt from before 1910  — jackpot! I was then able to locate that grand-aunt in microfilm from the LDS Family History Library for her children’s birth records in Poland.

A couple more blog tips –  Sprinkle your blog posts with the lingua franca of your ethnic lineage to lure readers from your ancestral home. Finally on your blog software (WordPress,  Blogger,  Tumblr, etc.) – get the widget(s) to share your blog posts on your other social media accounts: Facebook,  Twitter,  LinkedIn,  Google+, etc.  Make sure you get the widest exposure possible to lure your family from all over. Ask family and friends to add your blog/tweets to their Flipboard and possibly ‘star’ the better posts for you to up your Klout.

Lastly, you may want to put your family tree online. Some of my greatest finds have come from collaborating with other genealogists on Ancestry.com. It is the largest collection of genealogists and paid genealogy subscribers — serious genealogists. These people found me and my family who as it turned out were a part of their family tree too. I cannot count the number of family members I have met from Ancestry.com. Let me tell you that my greatest finds were from a woman whose family I and my father thought were only friends from the “old country” whose families renewed their friendship here in the US. From this woman (Kim), who I helped out by reading her grandparents’ marriage record from a Polish church in Detroit. What do the two of us discover, but her great-grandmother was an ELIJASZ from Pacanow. As it turned out, her great-grandmother was my great-grandfather’s sister and that the two of us shared a great-great-grandfather — we were 3rd cousins! So we were blood relatives not just family friends as our parents had thought. I found out my father was her father’s best man — neither of us knew that beforehand. Her grandmother (Rose Wlecialowski) was a best friend of my grandmother. I thought I had never met this third cousin … wrong!  She had photos of me in her family pictures. We were so young neither had memories of the other. She had pictures of me as a 3 year old child that I did not have, with my young father on her grandmother’s farm. She had a picture of my young grandmother from the 1930’s with her grandmother!  This was a B-O-N-A-N-Z-A!

I found her great-grandparents’ marriage record from Pacanow and had it copied from the church book. I translated it from Russian for her (and for my records too). It confirmed that we were indeed 3rd cousins and shared great-great-grandparents (Martin Elijasz & Anna Zasucha). I also eventually found the birth record from the first child that my paternal grandparents had together over in Poland and little Wladyslaw Jozef Elijasz had Rose Wlecialowski for his god-mother. Her grandmother was a god-mother to one of my “uncles”. Poor little Wladyslaw died in infancy and never made the trip to America with my grandparents and my aunt Alice. My father and the rest of my aunts and uncles were born here in the US.

So you see, your family is out there. You just don’t know it yet. Use the social networks, USA and overseas versions. Write a blog to lure your cousins. By all means join Ancestry.com too and upload your family tree to Ancestry.com. These will grow your family tree more completely than you could if you eschewed not to use the Internet. Make your family tree mobile — load it to your iPhone and start collaborating in the Cloud. You will thank me later!

–Stanczyk

May 13, 2012

Martha Stewart … Are We Related ?

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk, took note of when my friend and noted professional genealogist Ceil Wendt Jensen did an article for Ancestry.com magazine(2009, #3) on Martha Stewart’s ancestry. For a long time, I knew her maiden name was Kostyra. So when I noticed that Ceil had done an article and detailed much of Martha’s family tree, I asked her is she from Pacanow too?  [Now you may not know that both Stanczyk and his friend Ceil have ancestors from Pacanow]. I had asked because, I had Kostyra in my family tree. Ceil told me, ‘No.’

So when I noticed that 5/6/2012 episode on Finding Your Roots,  was going to have a segment on Martha Stewart, I watched again. It was interesting that Martha’s roots (and DNA) include Tartars and again they mentioned Kostyra and a few village names, but not Pacanow.

Now I read a column by the famous genealogist Megan Smolenyak (at Huffington Post??) on, “10 Things You Didn’t Know About Martha Stewart’s Family Tree – Huffington Post” on Martha Stewart. What caught my eye was …

If you have any of the following surnames in your family tree, you could be a cousin of Ms. Stewart’s: Adamczyk, Albiniak, Baran, Ciman, Flis, Grab, Grosiewicz, Grysztar Kak, Kielar, Kisielinska, Kiszka, Kostyra, Krol, Krukar, Krulicka, Kulpa, Lach, Lazinska, Litwin, Macuga, Misiak, Okon, Oleszko, Orzeł, Penar, Rajchel, Ruszkowski, Rygiel, Rzad, Siwy, Skubik, Strzalinska, Tomczyk, Wasi, Wojtan, Wolyniec and Zukowsa.

Now if you notice, I BOLDED, some of the above family names (many of the others I am not certain of) in the list of possible cousins. I cannot speak to the commonness of those names, but each one is from my paternal grandparent’s (Eliasz/Leszczynski) parishes and some of those are actually in my family tree.

By all means go read Megan’s article. It is another interesting piece on Martha Stewart (aka Jadwiga Kostyra).

So Martha perhaps we are cousins (albeit very distant ones). Any Eliasz/Elijasz, Leszczynski, Ozarow, Major, Wlecial, Kedzierski in your tree (Martha)?

How about you readers? Any of you have those names in your tree? Do you research in Biechow or Pacanow (villages in the old Kielce wojewodztwo)? Email me!

May 12, 2012

Jason Sudeikis / Who Do You Think You Are? (#WDYTYA, @LisaKudrow) #Genealogy

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Last night’s Who Do You Think Are? show was another interesting episode. Stanczyk got an idea whilst watching the show. Why not, play along on Ancestry.com?

Now this occurred to me because I am helping friends who are Lithuanian and I noticed that tie-in right away. But what really made it personal and very interesting for me was to find Jason’s 2nd great-grandfather, Joseph had immigrated/worked in Mahanoy City, PA (a mining community). As it turns out, this is a big Polish/Lithuanian/Italian community due to the miner immigrants around the beginning of the twentytieth century. It is also a city where the Eliasz-Solomon family has roots.

So I wanted to right away get on Ancestry.com and see if there were any Sudeikis ties (or near ties) to our roots. I really enjoyed the mining research — that is an area of research I was considering since one ancestor died much too young. I too was thinking a mining accident my explain the death.

Of course, after seeing Jason’s search for the ship manifest I had other questions too. I think the season needs to add a final show after a summer re-run season where genealogists can write in and ask questions. Like last night I saw a fellow tweeter was wondering about the CT Sudeikis family whether they had been contacted as part of the research. Me,  I was wondering two things about the ship manifest:

  1. Why was Mary sent back to get Stanley (since Mary was only 14, not the 16 as shown on the ship manifest; Compare 1900 Census with ship manifest.). I felt the young age of the girl getting her even younger brother, who now had even younger siblings in Pennsylvania would have been an interesting topic for Jason to react to.
  2. Also, why was poor Stanley Sr. the last Sudeikis left over in Lithuania? Notice that his older (non-American born siblings) all came over in 1898 leaving only Stanley to come over  two years later. Again, this would have been a dramatic point to explore with Jason. Perhaps that abandonment in Lithuania was why Stanley Sr. felt he could so easily abandon Jason’s family in Chicago for the CT family.

Also I have a question for the show and Lisa Kudrow. Did your researchers learn where in  Lithuania, Jason’s ancestors came from? I think the ship manifest (yes I am obsessed with the ship manifest) had a misspelled ancestral village. My guess would be Wizajny — which is actually in modern Poland very near the Lithuanian border in what would have been the Suwalki wojewodztwo (and afterwards the Russian Empire’s Suwalki gubernia). I have done research in that area before that is why my mind immediately went to that village when I saw the village of the ship manifest.

I think the show could exploit Lisa and/or the on-air genealogists and possibly the stars in responding to the questions. Is there a place for fans to write-in their suggestions? Why not a year-end show at the end of summer/beginning of fall to let people get their questions answered and perhaps do some “behind the scenes” info or show clips that were cut due to time constraints. Make this show be a full hour (instead of 30 minutes). Come on Genealogy Buffs — write @LisaKudrow and make the request!

P.S.

Let me take this opportunity to wish my beloved wife, Tereza, the mother of my only children, a very Happy Mother’s Day 2012 ! Tereza, thank you for creating our little dynasty by having my twin sons !!!

We love you Tereza!

xoxoxo

May 11, 2012

Kedzierski/Kendzierski TimeLine — #Polish, #Genealogy, #Timeline

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

You must forgive Stanczyk, dear reader, as life has called me away from my writing and research of late. But in the snatches of time I have been able to wrest away from my responsibilities I have been researching one of the more interesting branches in my family tree, the Kędzierski line (aka Kendzierski along with many Americanized spellings, that I will not enumerate).

You may wish to study this timeline image I have included in today’s article. If you click on it, it will take you a page produced from a spreadsheet with the data more easily digestible.

For Americans, our most interesting ancestors are the intrepid ones who managed to find their way from the old country to our shiny shores to join the milieu we call these United States of America.

Interesting Artifacts

What makes this affiliated family (from the Elijasz/Eliasz branch point of view) so interesting is their old world artifacts that help to tell the story of the days in Poland. Their story is filled with a Russian Passport, Polish Church Marriage Record (in Russian/Cyrillic) from 1902, a Certificate of Completion from a Count’s Mill, some Forms from Haller’s Army Enlistment as well as Ship Manifests or Naturalization Certificates.

Now most of my family reside in one ancestral village for long periods of time (after WWI that changes). This Kedzierski family (see late 19th century photo at the bottom) seems to have had some mobility, because they are not found in just one place. Indeed, without these many artifacts, I should not expect to be able to find their records anywhere at all.

I usually use the timeline tool to help me establish where/when to look for USA documents. Today in Poland, two weeks later in the USA (at some port, often Ellis Island), then on to some alluring American city for a few generations. But this time, I needed the timeline to place where in Poland to look for documents for this rather mobile family.

Places in Poland

Actually the proper context would be Polish Places in the Russian-Poland partition of the Russian Empire. The earliest location seems to be Kroczyce, the location of Pelagia Kedzierska‘s birth. By the time her younger brother Ludwik comes along, he is born in Stopnica.We find the next Kedzierski child, Wlodzimierz, being born in either Samsonow or Tumlin (multiple documents, multiple birthplaces). For Jan and Tadeusz we have no knowledge yet of their birthplaces.

So lets move forward in time. In 1902, the 15th of September 1902 to be precise, we find our first document of the Kedzierski family. Pelagia Kedzierska marries my grand-uncle Jan Elijasz in Pacanow parish (both newlyweds live in Pacanow village). But wait a second, Pelagia’s part of the marriage record indicates she was born in Kroczyce and raised in Pacanow. It was from this document that we first learn the parent’s names.

In 1906, we find some very interesting documents for Lucyan (aka Ludwik, aka Louis) Kedzierski. The Certificate of Completion, says that Lucyan was employed in Count Renard’s Mill in Dębowa Góra near Sosnowiec from March 19th, 1906 until October 29th, 1906. It appears this completion, qualifies him for a passport. We find Lucyan with a Russian Passport, stamped 6th October, 1906 (just before completion) followed by a ship manifest arrival in Ellis Island, 16th November, 1906! That’s a pretty tight timeline — the 19th century moved swiftly.

Lucyan’s Ship Manifest indicates that he came from Ninska/Nioska/Niwska none of which could be found on a map and that he was born in Stopnica (mispelled on ship manifest, but spelled correctly on his Naturalization Certificate) and he was going on to Schenectady, NY (although he ended up in Syracuse, NY from which we have most of the rest of his documentation).

Next we move on to 1914. This was actually the first document found many years ago. On a 7th March 1914 NYC (Ellis Island) ship manifest (aboard the Graf Waldersee) from Hamburg (departed 18th February), I found a Jan ELIASZ from his wife Pelagia in Pacanow going to Buffalo (to a friend???  Andrzej Widamski  –no record of this friend). At first I was not even sure that this was MY Jan Eliasz (who knew there were so many Jan Eliasz). In my novice years I either ignored or the images were so poor, I did not notice a manifest marking (originally in pencil) with a line between Jan Eliasz and the man above, Wlodzimierz Kedzierski. On the line’s arc was written “br-i-l”, an abbreviation for their relationship being brothers-in-law. So Pelagia was Wlodzimierz’s sister (aaah, a maiden name). Wlodzimierz indicates he is coming from Bobrek (north of Oswiecim) and that he was born in Tumlin.

Moving forward to 1917, we have Lucyan’s WWI Draft Registration and also his Naturalization Certificate. These are good for confirming other facts that link this family together.

Finally, in 1917 & in 1918 we find Wlodzimierz’s enlistment in Haller’s Army (Jozef Haller) papers. Now Wlodzimierz is the only person I have seen that enlisted twice (once in Detroit in 1917 and a second time in Pittsburgh in 1918). This was very fortuitous! Wlodzimierz Kedzierski is unique in the USA. He is the only Wlodzimierz Kedzierski ever in the USA. Ok you may be skeptical, but he uses the same birthdate on both forms and he lists his brother Lucyan in Syracuse, NY on both forms as his closet US contact. On one form he lists his wife as his closest contact in Poland and the other he lists his sister Pelagia as his closest contact (both are in Pacanow in 1917/1918). On his 1918 Pittsburgh form, he lists his parents (Kazimiera & Julian) to be notified of his recruitment and they are living in Pacanow in May 1918.

Back: Kazimiera, Pelagia, Julian
Front: Theodore(baby), Louis, Jan, Wlodzimierz

So as a result of Wlodzimierz’s  double attempt we have a fairly complete picture of the family. Now add in another genealogist supplying pictures of Jan (who became Jean in Montreal) and Theodore who we had a picture with an inscription on the back to his “brother Ludwik” from Louis Kendzierski’s personal effects. So now we arrive at the promised family photo recently supplied by a distant cousin and then given to me. Enjoy!

May 4, 2012

BIG Genealogy — #Genealogy, #FamilyTree, #GEDCOM

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

When Stanczyk, wrote the title, he was not referring to Ancestry.com or any other endeavor by genealogical companies from the western USA. No, Stanczyk is fascinated with numbers .. of people.

Yesterday, this jester wrote about the Confuscius Family Tree. It is commonly accepted to be the largest genealogy (family tree). But I had to wonder … Why?

It is an old genealogy, dating back to Confucius’ birth in 551 BCE. It is now 2012, so we have a genealogy that is 2,563 years old. My much beloved wife/kids are Jewish. In the Hebrew calendar we are presently in the year 5772. Despite my having been to a Jewish Genealogical Conference and meeting a man who told me his genealogy went back to King David. [This jester resisted the rude/snarky comment that if he researched using both Old & New Testaments he could push his research back to Adam.]

I also did not ask him to show me his documentation, but assuming he could, his genealogy would have been another 500 years earlier (~ 1050BCE) and therefore this tree mathematically speaking (assuming there are other Judeo-Christian couplings before I & my wife) his tree had the potential if you could/would follow all/many branches and not just the direct lineal trunk you have a tree with approximately 100 generations (adding another 17 generations to the 83 for Confucius). This assumes a generation is 30 years. Now if we look at Confucius and see 2560 years = 83 generations, we see an average of 30.84 years per generation — so 30 years per generation is not a bad estimate.

What genealogy could be older still? Well according to the Bible we record the Jewish peoples in Babylonia. So perhaps we can extend King David and/or one of his citizens back to King Hammurabi of Babylonia — that would yield another 650 years (~1700BCE) or about another 22 generations. Let me see if Confucius’ family tree is about 2 Million for 83 generations we get about 24,096 people per generation. So by adding 39 more generations then Hammurabi’s Family Tree should contain approximately another 940,000 people. So come on Iraq produce your family tree of nearly 3 Million people!

What genealogy could be older than that? There is a quote that goes something like, “History knows no time when the Egyptians were not highly developed both physically and intellectually.” True enough, recorded history does go back furthest in the Pharaohnic dynasties. That takes genealogy back to the first dynasty King (Pharoah) Menes, who sure enough had a son who wrote about Astronomy [source: Timechart History Of The World, ISBN 0-7607-6534-0 ]. That takes us to approximately, 3,000 BCE, another 1300 years/44 generations/1.06Million people! Ok, since there is no recorded history earlier than that, we will not have a properly sourced genealogy older than this. So people who are Elizabeth Shown Mills devotees turn your heads away …

What genealogy could possibly be older than that? I read that the indigenous peoples of Australia have an oral history of 48,000 generations! The aboriginal people of Australia date back to about 50,000 BCE, which would be 52,000 years ago/1734 generations/41.8Million people in their family tree. That’s not 48,000 generations, but that is more than twice as much as genealogy researchers test using their FAN24.ged file which has 24 completely full generations with 16.8Million pseudo people.

Now that is what I call BIG Genealogy. But where is that family tree (not FAN24.ged)? Why has no genealogy older than Confucius’ genealogy been found and carried forward to the present day? Is it possible that such a family tree exists?

–Email me!

Related Blog Articles …

Random Musings” (10-March-2010, see musing #2)

May 3, 2012

Greenland, China – Where Are You? — #Genealogy, #Blog, #Map

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

The map you see is this blog’s reach since some time in February.

My hope with this blog is to reach Greenland and China (中国).

My blog is connected to Greenland in this one way…

My first cousin Stephen E. Eliasz (whom we always called “Butchy”) was stationed in Greenland. I remember my father’s comments about the pictures of his from Greenland — which from my dad’s comments I pictured as icy. True, enough the Thule Air Base is the US base closest to the North Pole. I hope there is another Polish genealogist in Greenland who searches/finds this blog. I am trying to fill in the above map with as many genealogists from all over the globe.

My only connection to China – who are avid genealogists is my fascination with GEDCOM and family trees. I used to think that if you were related to Genghis Khan (born circa 1162) then you would have the largest family tree, because he had a vast empire and many wives. However, time works its wonder in many ways. The people with the largest family trees are those related to Confucius (551-479 BC, the religous/philosopher founder).

The Confucius Genealogy, originally recorded by hand, was first printed in 1080 AD [80+ years before Genghis Khan's birth]. Now the latest compilation of which there is a Confucius Genealogy Compilation Committee that is responsible for collecting, collating and publishing the 2,500 years worth of genealogical data. According to a web post by Tamura Jones (2/17/2008),

Confucius family tree, last updated in 1930. Back then, the tree already had 560,000 members Today, it has more than 2 million. The longest lines in the tree span 83 generations.

Tamura’s article was written just before the last time the Confucius Genealogy published in September 24, 2009  (as a pre-announcement). That 2009 publishing was the first time, the Confucius Genealogy included female descendants. So I guess the extra 1,700 years of Confucius ( 孔子) trumps the extra wives that Genghis Khan had. That is my only connection to Chinese Genealogy (家谱).

Does anyone have more than 83 generations (with citations documenting your lineage)?

February 5, 2012

Google Me Some Shiny New Genealogical Data

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Google was at RootsTech 2012. Google was a Keynoter, Google was a Vendor and Google was a presenter. Google was in the house. The tech gear had some Android devices in the audience too.

Only Apple had more technology there. Unfortunately, it was among the users, developers, and presenters. Tim Cook bring Apple to RootsTech 2013!!! Your customers deserve Apple to give the same presence as Google. As I said in my last article, iPads, iPhones, MacBooks (mostly Pro, but some Air) — the attendees were so tech laden you would have thought Ubiquitous Computing had arrived. Isn’t there a recession? Where did all these tech warriors come from? These were users a bit more than developers. Bloggers were numerous, most wore Mardi Gras beaded necklaces so they were recogizable. Then you had secret bloggers such as Stanczyk. Everyone was a genealogist. Users encouraged Vendors/Developers with praise and requests for more/better technology. Oh and make the tech transparent.

But this is about Google. Before the conference I had written the Google tech off as too low brow to bother with. Then Jay Verkler showed up — who is apparently the Steve Jobs of genealogy. He was the Keynoter on day one. Stanczyk is a genealogist and I have been to genealogy conferences before. These are usually staid affairs. Genealogists are … how should I put it … umm, old. It is not unusual to see octogenarians and nonogenarians (90’s). But the energy in the auditorium of 4,200 conference attendees was electric. These were not stodgy, Luddites. Notebooks and pens were almost nonexistent!! People were excited and very much anticipating — what, I do not think we had a clue, but expectations were off the charts.

Jay did not disappoint. He was personable and masterful in his presentation skills. Mr Verkler is a Visionary like Steve Jobs and the audience knew it and responded. It was Jay who weaved the vision which everyone now wants ASAP. He brought up Google and my eyes were prepared to glaze over. I did not even record the Google execs’ names [shame on me]. They were good! They had prepared for RootsTech and they showed brand new tech and also Microcode. I do not have words to express what I saw, but everyone in the audience wanted it.

Google showed Microcode which would be a Google Chrome plug-in and appear as a widget/icon in the address bar that can do amazing search/exchange tricks in a Web 2.0+ way. It would utilize Historical-Data.org in some unspecified way to do this genealogy magic. It was beyond amazing. Google created a genealogy plug-in!! Google is apparently also coordinating in an API-like way to transfer these search result magics into other websites like FamilySearch, Ancestry, etc. that put this magic into the beyond amazing realm.

Firefox and Safari take note if you do not want to see a massive shift to Chrome. I am pretty sure all genealogists will use Chrome when Microcode widget arrives.

February 5, 2012

Is GEDCOM Dead? Date/Place of Death, Please?

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

The RootsTech Conference is living up to its name. Everywhere there was a sea of: iPhones/Androids, iPads (in huge numbers), and laptops. Even the very elderly were geared up. Google, Dell, and Microsoft were at RootsTech. — why not Apple, especially since their customers were present in LARGE numbers??? [note to Tim Cook have Apple sponsor and show up as a vendor.]

According to Ryan Heaton (FamilySearch), “GEDCOM is stale.” He went on to speak about GEDCOMX as the next standard as if GEDCOM were old and/or dead. They were not even going to make GEDCOMX backwards compatible! In a future session I had with Heaton I asked the Million dollar question, “How do I get my GEDCOM into GEDCOMX”? After a moments pause he said they’d write some sort of tool to import or convert the existing GEDCOM files. Well that was reassuring??? So they want GEDCOMX to be a standard but FamilySearch are the only ones working on it and they have not had the ability to reach out to the software vendors yet (I know I asked).

My suggestion was to publish the language (like HTML, SQL, or GEDCOM). I asked for “railroad tracks“, what we used to call finite state automata, and what Oracle uses to demonstrate SQL syntax, statements that are valid with options denoted and even APIs for embedding SQL into other programming languages. Easy to write a parser or something akin to a validator (like W3C has for HTML).

Dallan Quass  took a better tack on GEDCOM. His approach was more evolutionary, rather than revolutionary. He collected some 7,000+ gedcoms

GEDCOM Tags

and wrote an open source parser for the current GEDCOM standard (v5.5). He analyzed the flaws in the current standard and saw unused tags, tags like ALIA
that were always used wrong, custom tags and errors in applying the standard. He also pointed out that the concept of a NAME is not fully defined in the standard and so is left to developers (i.e. vendors) to implement as they want. These were the issues making gedcoms incompatible between vendors. He said his open source parser could achieve 94% round trip from one vendor to another vendor.

Now that made the GEDCOMX guys take notice — here was their possible import/conversion tool.

The users just want true portability of their own gedcoms and the ability to not have to re-enter pics, audio, movies over and over again. RootsTech’s vision of APIs that would allow the use of “authorities” to conform names, places, and sources would also help move genealogy to the utopian future Jay Verkler spoke of at the keynote. APIs would also provide bridges into the GEDCOM for chart/output tools, utilities(merge trees), Web 2.0 sharing across websites / search engines / databases (more utopian vision).

GEDCOM is the obvious path forward. Why not improve what is mostly working and focus on the end users and their needs?

FamilySearch get vendors involved and for God’s sake get Dallan Quass involved. Publish a new GEDCOM spec with RailRoad tracks (aka Graphic Syntax Diagrams) and then educate vendors and Users on the new gedcom/gedcomx.    Create a new gedcom validator and let users run their current gedcoms against it to produce new gedcoms (which should be backward compatible with old gedcom to get at least 94% compliance that Quass can already do)!

Ask users for new “segments” in the railroad tracks to get new features that real users and possibly vendors want in future gedcoms. Let there be an annual RootsTech keynote where all attendees can vote via the RootsTech app on the proposed new gedcom enhancements.

How about that FamilySearch? Is that doable? What do you my readers think? Email me (or comment below).


P.S.
       Do Not use UML models to communicate the standard. It is simply not accessible to genealogists. Trust me I am a Data Architect.

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