Archive for ‘History’

January 23, 2013

The Fourth Partition

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Duchy Of Warsaw SuperimposedA few days ago Stanczyk put forth his framework for discussing Polish genealogy, by enumerating the various eras of the many territories that had ever come under the aegis of  a Polish nation of some kind of government.  This blog tends to a focus upon “Polish” genealogy … in the greater ecumenical, greater geographic and greater ethnicity sense.  As I said, when you start upon Polish genealogy, “they” always say you need to learn about the three partitions of Poland. “They” mean the partitions imposed by the neighboring empires: Prussia, Austria, and Russia in the years, 1772,  1793, and 1795.

Over the years the phrase, “The Fourth Partition” has come to mean any annexation/occupation of Polish territories by outside nations. The years are long and getting longer still day by day. So the Fourth Partition can now be used to mean any of a good many events in history. But today I wanted to speak about Napoleon.

I have written with some fondness on the little, French, coffee drinking Emperor. What I most liked about him (besides the coffee drinking) was the suffrage and enfranchisement that he was able to bring about AND the fact that Codex Napoleon specified in detail how vital records were to be recorded and all of us genealogists benefited from his wisdom.  The Emperor had held out the hope of restoring the Polish condition, but alas, he used Poland as his pawn for his own ambitions, so Poland would languish for more than a century longer after Napoleon was ultimately defeated.

However, whilst Napoleon was having his madcap adventure upon the European continent, he inadvertently, partitioned “Poland” a fourth time. As a result of Napoleon’s early military victories, he was able to wrest wide swaths of Polish lands and fashion out a French protectorate, he named, The Duchy of Warsaw (notice he did not call it Poland). He carved this duchy out of territories on which the three Empires: Prussia, Austria, and Russia had previously partitioned three times already. So in effect, Napoleon manifested a Fourth Partition that lasted for the years 1807-1815, until the treaty of the Congress of Vienna in 1815 which broke the Duchy of Warsaw up into the Cracovian Republic and Congess Kingdom of Poland (under the hegemony of the Russian Empire). The CracovianRepublic was an independent city-state and included Krakow and some lands surrounding Krakow and this land was not returned to the Austrian Partition, called Galicia until it was folded into Austrian-Poland’s Galicia Crownland in 1846 after much upheaval in the 31 years of the CracowRepublic’s lifetime.

Stanczyk had never seen a map showing the original three partitions and then juxtaposing the Duchy of Warsaw (less the CracowRepublic) upon those areas. So I took an existing map and created a new map to see what it must have looked like. So today’s blog is about the Fourth Partition (by Napoleon) and the resulting  map. This jester would like to mention that the 8 years of the Duchy of Warsaw existence had negated the three Empires’ resolution to never have Poland reappear. Of course, after World War I Poland (2nd Republic) did reappear (and after World War II and in 1989 after throwing off the yoke of the Soviet Union, giving rise to the 3rd Republic). Enjoy the map!

January 21, 2013

Historical Eras of Poland … For Genealogists

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk has lived much history and God willing,  will live much more of it. So across the generations, you see the changing borders of Eastern / Central Europe and how it affects us genealogists (not that I am ignoring the plight of our ancestors that had to evolve with the changing landscape). From the beginning, I was always advised to learn about “The three partitions” and determine which of the three partitions my forebears came from  — good advice, but Poland’s history is a much richer tapestry than just the three partitions (zabory).

So today’s blog is about the Eras of Poland and the names I have chosen to call them going forward so that we can all “be on the same page”. Please forgive this jester as I will limit the discussion to the eras post-Piast dynasties, starting with the Polish-LithuanianCommonwealth. This roughly matches the Papal nuncios that dictated that churches must record the vital records of the parishioners. So we find the beginnings of genealogies for all peoples and not just for the magnate families or the royals.

Let me just utter the era names I wish to use going forward when I write about genealogies or histories. Let me get the mystery out of the way and also let the debates and arguments proceed. Some of these are overlapping eras, because not only are we discussing a vast span of time, but we are also talking about vast distances and a broad swath of peoples / religions / governments.

 

ERAS

ERA Name Beg. Date End Date Synonyms / Alternate Names
POLISH-LITHUANIANCOMMONWEALTH 07/01/1569 08/04/1772 RZECZPOSPOLITA, FIRSTREPUBLIC
AUSTRIAN PARTITION 08/05/1772 07/21/1807 ZABÓR AUSTRIA, GALICIA, GALICIA AND LODOMERIA, GALICJI, GALIZIEN, LODOMERIA
PRUSSIAN PARTITION 08/05/1772 07/21/1807 ZABÓR PRUSY, GRAND DUCHY OF POSEN
RUSSIAN PARTITION 08/05/1772 07/21/1807 ZABÓR ROSYJSKI
JEWISH PALE OF SETTLEMENT 01/01/1791 3/8/1921 ЧЕРТÁ́ ОСЕДЛОСТИ, CHERTA OSEDLOSTI
DUCHY OF WARSAW 07/22/1807 06/08/1815 KSIĘSTWO WARSZAWSKIE
AUSTRIAN POLAND 06/09/1815 11/10/1918 GALICIA
CONGRESS POLAND 06/09/1815 03/06/1837 KINGDOM OF POLAND, KONGRESÓWKA
PRUSSIAN POLAND 06/09/1815 11/10/1918 Bezirks: POSEN, POMMERANIA, DANZIG (GDANSK) etc.
CRACOVIANREPUBLIC 10/01/1815 12/31/1846 CRACOWREPUBLIC, RZECZPOSPOLITA KRAKÓWSKA
KINGDOM OF POLAND 03/07/1837 12/31/1866 KONGRESÓWKA, КОРОПЕВСТВО ПОПЬСКОЕ
RUSSIAN POLAND 01/01/1867 11/10/1918 КОРОПЕВСТВО ПОПЬСКОЕ,   KINGDOM OF POLAND,   VISTULALAND,   CONGRESS POLAND,   KONGRESÓWKA,   ПРИВИСЛИНСКИЙ КРАЙ,   KRAJ PRZYWIŚLAŃSKI
POLAND 11/1/1918 9/1/1939 SECONDREPUBLIC
WWII ERA 9/2/1939 12/31/1946 Occupied Poland, General Government, German Occupied, Russian Occupied
POLAND 1/1/1945 6/30/1975 Post World War II Poland
POLAND 7/1/1975 12/31/1998 1989 is commonly referred to as the start of the THIRDREPUBLIC
POLAND 1/1/1999 Present Times THIRDREPUBLIC and beyond to the present

Some of the era names are well understood and some are controversial (for a lot of reasons). First off, I wanted to make a distinction between the PARTITION era (1772-1815) which I saw as including the Napoleonic wars and ending with Napoleon’s defeat and the Treaty of Vienna.

So I separate AUSTRIAN PARTITION from AUSTRIAN POLAND. The distinction is subtle but I believe defensible. The three Partitions and the Duchy of Warsaw (French protectorate) are separate because during these times there was at least a scrap of Poland in existence (excepting for a decade proceeding Napoleon’s victories). The AUSTRIAN/PRUSSIAN/RUSSIAN POLANDs represent the slightly more than one century that Poland had “disappeared” from European maps. That century coincides with the Great Migration of Poles (including Jews) to the USA – a significant genealogical event for the Slavic Genealogist.

You will note the CracovianRepublic which gets a lesser amount of attention and eventually is folded into AUSTRIAN POLAND. Also there is the JEWISH PALE OF SETTLEMENT (more about that in a bit).

RUSSIAN POLAND is treated differently than I have seen it handled before. My ancestors come from this area, so you will have to forgive me if this appears a bit chauvinistic. I delineated the RUSSIAN occupation finely. So you see a Russian Partition followed by a Duchy of Warsaw followed by  Congress Poland ( a TSARIST hegemony) followed by the Kingdom of Poland and finally resulting in RUSSIAN POLAND. The nuances in the RUSSIAN Zabor (partition) follow the changes in administrative boundaries that so affect genealogical research. Genealogists also should take note that vitals records in RUSSIAN POLAND are written in Russian/Cyrillic and use Gregorian Calendar from late spring 1869 through the collapse of the Russian Empire near the end of World War I in 1917. So, Polish language records are found before and after that period of time. Similarly, for Latin/Hebrew languages for religious records (although you do find Latin, Hebrew and even some Polish records during 1869-1917 timeframe in some limited ways). Since the Russian language edict almost matches exactly the above RUSSIAN POLAND era, I did not create yet another era specifically for that era of Russian language. I merely note it here.

PaleOfSettlementMAPThe JEWISH PALE OF SETTLEMENT was created by the Russian Tsarina, Catherine the Great. She added to the PALE over the years as the Russian Empire acquired new lands. So as I refer to the JEWISH PALE OF SETTLEMENT, it is the 15 western Guberniya where Russian Empire Jews were forced to settle. In practice it also included the 10 Guberniya of the PolishKingdom (Congress Poland/Vistula Land). So Russian Jews had a total of 25 Guberniya where they could live (with some exclusions for large cities which were forbidden to most Jews) within the Russian Empire (European Portion). Most or all of the areas within the 25 Guberniya used to be a part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (1569-1772), so I thought it important to include the JEWISH PALE OF SETTLEMENT in order to speak of the 15 Guberniya that underlie that geographic area and that era of time (1791-1918) as well as some minor forays on my part into Jewish Genealogical research.  The 15 specific guberniya are (roughly North to South):

Kovno,  Vitebsk,  Vilna (Wilno),  Grodno,  Minsk,  Mogilev,  Volhynia,   Kiev,   Chernigov,  Poltava,  Podolia,  Bessarabia, Kherson,  Ekaterinoslav,  and  Taurida (the Crimean Penninsula)

The astute reader will note four POLAND eras. These cover the two decades between World War I and the up to the time of World War II began. It  also covers the Post World War II era. They also overlap the Second and Third Republics of Poland. Finally, the fine-grain view of Post World War II Poland is coincident with the redefinition of  Wojewodztwo (Provinces) and their underlying powiaty (counties). Again, the emphasis is in order to support genealogical research.

I have not mentioned the WWII era (World War II) yet. I need to do some specific research to see how Nazi / Soviet occupations affected the administrative jurisdictions and what impact if any that had on genealogy during the war. I leave that for some future blog(s).

No mention of religious hierarchies and their administrative boundaries have been addressed, but obviously, that too has an impact on genealogical research. The religious boundaries reflect the changes caused by changing national boundaries, but overall the religious boundaries were more stable until modern times necessitated re-arranging or closing religious areas.

OK, that is my blog and those are my eras. You may now proceed to critique my choices. But I have now defined my terms for future “Polish” genealogical blogs.  As usual, I look forward to your comments and emails.

December 30, 2012

Auld Lang Syne – 2012

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

AllsWellSo as we draw to a close this elder year 2012 AD, I take but a moments pause to wish my friends and good readers well and much happiness and wishes for a healthy and prosperous New Year.

Verily, this jester says, “All Is Well, That Ends Well“. And 2012 has indeed ended well.

Let me endebt myself further and borrow again from the great bard to close out this year. In Shakespeare’s play, “All’s Well That Ends Well”, in the first Act, the first Scene is a quote that suits me well to use though I steal it from a woman’s lips:

That I should love a bright particular star
And think to wed it, she who is so above me:
In her bright radiance and collateral light.

My bright star is my much beloved wife, Teréza !

I love her so. Those who love her cannot be faulted for she is such a force of a nature and a wonder to behold. And those who fault her, do not know love. Theirs is a terrible loss indeed. Pity those fools for their jealousy and praise this jester for his steadfastness in the face of such folly. Bless my wife for her devotion made stronger and more holy for her mettle that was tempered by the trifles of miscreants.

That’s my closing thoughts for 2012. Better Genealogy in the coming year to all genealogists!

Happy New Year 2013 !

–Stanczyk

August 14, 2012

Ayn Rand – A Producer’s Intellectual Criticism of Objectivism — #Meme

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

  The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand

–Paul Ryan @ 2005 “Atlas Society “

Perhaps last weekend you heard that Paul Ryan was named the presumptive GOP Vice-Presidential candidate? But do you know that his espoused reason for being in politics is because he read, one of Ayn Rand’s fictional novels, Atlas Shrugged (a dystopian sci-fi novel)? It kind of makes you sad, that Paul Ryan’s parents did not have more books, because if they had, then perhaps Ryan would have read, Asimov (also Russian born) or Bradbury or Clarke (collectively, the ABC’s of science fiction) and been moved by one of them instead. Perhaps if Ryan had read one those talented writers, he might be in favor (or not) of robots, free speech or intellectual property or renewable resources or evolution (think 2001 Space Odyssey). If only he had read Asimov’s Foundation trilogy, perhaps Ryan would have become a Paul Krugman. Krugman cited Asimov’s series for his inspiration at becoming an economist.

Instead, Ryan thinks the top 1% should isolate itself from the other 99% (who are not “productive”/”creative”) and his budget seems to favor that 1% greatly. That is what Atlas Shrugged is about. The “creative” separate themselves and the non-creative types should just die-off. If you read Atlas Shrugged you will see parallels to today. It is the Tea Party creating chaos to “minimize the federal government until they can strangle it.” Go Google “Strangle the government”, this is not my phraseology , but the mantra of Paul Ryan and the Tea Party thugs. So what we have here is a lower-brow variant of L. Ron Hubbard (another sci-fi writer, whose followers started a “philosophical” organization) devotees.

Ryan upon being named as Mitt Romney’s running mate said, “I’d like to thank nature … (slight pause) and God …”. This is a rather odd statement to be uttered by a person professing belief in Objectivism and also Catholicism. You see my dear readers, the phrase “I’d like to thank nature” is the pointed code-phrase of atheists (not that there is anything wrong with being an atheist). They say their coded phrase meant either to cue their listeners into the fact that they are an atheist or for the more militant atheist to mock people of religious faith who say (and have said for thousands of years), “Thank God for …”. It is a parallel construct to the religious thanks and the atheist version is of a very recent invention (i.e. less than a decade, I have found no reference to the phrase on the Internet to before 2008). It probbaly dates from the arise of the New Atheists (Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, and Daniel Dennett) in 2007.

Now as I have said being an atheist is not necessarily a bad thing. What made Ryan’s quote bad / hypocritical / unethical is that he said “nature and  God”. If you were a devout Catholic (other Christain denominations too, but Ryan espouses to be a Catholic) you would only thank God. You would not thank nature which is just a part of God’s creation. Likewise, if you were an atheist or an Objectivist you would absolutely NOT thank God. So, where does that leave the American voter? What are we to believe? The only logical / reasoned conclusion is that Ryan does NOT believe in any of: Atheism, Objectivism, or Catholicism.

So I call on all Atheists, Objectivists and Catholics to repudiate Ryan for his deceptive practice and of trying to portray himself as any/all of those ‘isms’. Now I know  that you are thinking this is the first time that Atheists, Objectivists, and Catholics can all agree on something — so lets agree Ryan is deceitful and vote for the other political ticket. If you are Pro-Deceit than the Romney-Ryan ticket would seem to be what you have been waiting for.

Because this Presidential election cycle seems to be about Ryan/Tea Party and their espousal of Objectivism, then let’s examine Ayn Rand’s life and see what it says about this absurdist sci-fi drama being foisted upon us by Mitt Romney. This is a blog with an oft genealogy theme, so let’s apply genealogy to Ayn Rand. We will use a timeline and add in  seminal documents and 1st-hand accounts of witnesses to examine her life and her followers’ lives (aka the Collective) for context and we finish with a reasoned critique of Objectivism.

The Ryan Budget is the greatest political fraud. That is how Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman’s reasoned analysis of Ryan’s proposed raising taxes on the middle class to lower taxes on the upper class without any deficit reduction for at least 20 years sees the Ryan Budget ??? So we the Asimov motivation in opposition to the Rand motivation — you be the judge on the basis of which is your favorite author/producer. But this jester’s premise is that the author Ayn Rand may influence how the USA is governed and you should be conversant on what the two parties are proposing before November.

I hope you are ruled by reason and will read these articles on Rand, Objectivism and Election 2012.

Lets start with some definitional ground work …

Ayn Rand Objectivist Concepts

  • Man as Heroic
  • Reason, only absolute reason
  • The Productive and The Creative in relation to others
  • Motivation for Man is the pursuit of his own happiness (no altruism)
  • Witch Doctor vs Attila vs Producer
  • Espoused – Atheism, Non-Violence/No-Force, Disgusted By Homosexuality (but favored protecting their rights), Anti Collective Efforts of any kind (Individualism)

Some of this sounds good and some sounds odd and all points need some explaining and a bit of context, so lets delve into these concepts in the next few articles.

Next … A Genealogical View of Ayn Rand

August 2, 2012

President Obama’s Ancestor Was 1st African Enslaved For Life — #Genealogy, #History, #Presidents

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

For Stanczyk, Ancestry.com keeps getting better and better. Ancestry discovered that President Obama is related to John Punch. John Punch was one of President Obama’s 11th great-grandfathers.

According to the Ancestry press release, this discovery happened as Ancestry researched his maternal lineage. As you may recall, President Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, is Caucasian (i.e. white) with a lineage that was recently traced back through Ireland (by Megan Smolenyak).

Lesser known is the President’s German 6th great-grandfather, Johann Conrad Wolflin (aka Wolfley) who immigrated to Pennsylvania. This research was also done by Ancestry.com.

Now this John Punch is a topic I’d like to see done on Dr. Henry Louis Gates‘ PBS show!

 

July 23, 2012

In Prose … The Good Wife — #Love, #LiteratureLost, #WomanOfValor

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk first put pen to parchment and opined during the reigns of Alexander (1492-1506), Sigismund the Old (1467-1548) and Sigismund Augustus (1520-1572), all kings of the Jagiellonian Dynasty). But of all the kings of Poland, I wish I could have been the jester for Jan III Sobieski (1629-1696) is the monarch I most lament not serving. King Jan III was one of those larger than life individuals about whom history wraps itself around and conforms tightly to.

I’ll leave his deeds of valor to historians and to generals to study. But today, I wish to pay homage to good King Jan III and by extension to my beloved good wife, Tereza.

By extension to my wife? How so? Well you see my gentle readers, Jan Sobieski (no III – the man, not the king) was lesser known for his good wife and the literate love letters they wrote to each other. Usually, the jester informs the king by his position to speak to truth to power. But this jester wishes he could have learned at this king’s knees as King Jan III posted love letters to his wife, the beloved Queen consort, Marysieńka.

Here’s my letter to my good wife …

All the rivers run into the sea

Yet the sea is not full

Unto the place from whence the rivers come

Thither they shall return again

                                    –Ecclesiastes 1:7

 

I quote Ecclesiastes here my love because I love you in this way. The verse speaks a metaphor of infiniteness and my love for you is truly infinite. The verse speaks of water which as all men know is really about women’s emotions. Yet no matter how much love I have for you I cannot fill up the sea. Only God loves more and only He was able to fill the sea. But at least I will love you again and again ad infinitum.

Undoubtedly my good Jewish wife would rather I quote Proverbs 31:10-31 (also know as the Woman of Valor). She is truly deserving of that epithet. Perhaps she’d want me to quote:

A good wife, who can find?

She is far more precious than jewels.

                                                –Proverbs 31:10

I would however go deeper into the woman of valor for my quote …

Many women have done excellently,

But you surpass them all.

                                                –Proverbs 31:29

 

I feel that God’s own angels would further lavish upon her …

Give her the fruits of her hands,

And let her works praise her inside the gates

                                                –Proverbs 31:31

Love is infinite my wife. No matter how much I love you, I will have more to give you. No matter how much I love you, I will have more to give our children. So my love is like Ecclesiastes 1:7 and yet so much more.

July 14, 2012

US Presidents in the US Census — #US, #Census, #Genealogy, #History

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

 This year the 1940 Census came out. By law the census is released after 72 years. So anyone you may want to find in the US Census must be at least 72 years old this year.

Do you have the urge to peer at the Presidents in the census? Well then you are in luck! The National Archives has developed a web page on the US Presidents recorded in the US Census. George Walker Bush (#43) has only just turned 66 this month so he is not there. President Bill Clinton will turn 66 next month, ergo he too has not yet appeared in the US Census. So President George H. W. Bush (#41) is the last President to appear in the census. Here is the 1930 Census (CT, Fairfield, Greenwich, ED: 1-134, SHT 4A) in which the president is five years old. Now that is Ancestry.com so you need a membership to view the image.

NARA – Presidents in the Census  (click on the link to go to their website)

I had fun looking at Thomas Jefferson. Many of the Presidents are recorded in more than one census. The links open to a page of census images and even a picture of the President. This might be a novel add-on for K-12 History Curriculum. Also a nice way to work the genealogy subject  into history (or vice-versa). All in all, this genealogical slant on history may spur new ideas for research.

My thanks to the NARA librarians/researchers who provided such a valuable resource!

I also want to thank @NYPLMilstein (twitter) who posted this tidbit on twitter.

July 5, 2012

Celsius 233* — A Bradbury Tale — #Humor, #Science, #Religion, #FreeSpeech

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Dear Readers this neo-post-compassionate-conservative-apocalyptic-dystopian history is from the days of the year 2019. Contrary to the comical Internet Mayan conspiracy kooks, the world did not end in 2012 despite Mitt Romney being elected President of the USA and then re-elected leader of the entire English Speaking Free World in 2016 — an election that everyone now knows he purchased with his considerable undocumented wealth. We should have listened to  Vanity Fair back in 2012 — but there were just too few readers back then. Oh the misery we have endured since …

It has been a hard seven years under President Romney.  Because, of the influence of the Tea Party Evangelicals and Romney’s considerable undocumented wealth he became President.

Back on 4th July 2012, the World Science community discovered the Higgs Boson quantum particle  — the God Particle. This so enraged Romney, that the first thing that President Romney did was have Vain Capitalist LLC buy all the newspapers (especially the Murdoch Press & Hacking Software company) and leverage the hell out of them — supposedly to enhance his own considerable undocumented wealth. But that was just the ostensible reason.

They ended up bankrupting all of the press and media outlets — not hard to do in those days of the Great Recession and barely anybody reading at all and almost none at all in the South. So the newspapers and other media  went out of business and now there were only the bloggers and the Internet to keep data and information alive.

Then in 2017 when President Romney was re-elected in a very suspect election. He immediately moved to control the Internet and to ban blogging software. This precipitated World War III , which he financed with his considerable undocumented wealth while the European leaders were still so busy talking about their imaginary currency (I believe it was called, the Euro) the USA conquered the UK and then most of the European continent (except for Greece, Spain and Italy — which were non-profitable countries), Canada, New Zealand and Australia. That is why he is President of the English Speaking Free World. He is now trying to eradicate blogs and by so doing eliminate the “dangerous” bloggers too. Oddly that is how the USA finally got its first metric standard (Celsius) which it used to confuse the issue of Global Warming.

It has been historic this anti science and publication administration. First they denied the age of the Earth and its fossils, then they denied Evolution, then they denied Global Warming — even when half the US was baking like HELL back in 2012??? The last straw was the Higgs Boson, ironically the God Particle caused these religionists to pursue the pogrom against science and information.

There has been a long history of this anti knowledge movement. First the Catholics tried to censor scientists like Copernicus (who took his knowledge to the grave) and then Gallileo. By the time  Darwin had appeared, Prostestants had joined in too. So by 2012, America had a breed of religionists called “Evangelicals” who were people who Evangelized against science and reading and such things calling them the Devil’s playground. They used to rewrite biblical stories to say that the Bible’s prophets were all about the profit and were against charity. I know this sounds incredible and even unbelievable to you future historians, but I swear it is all true. If you can find any Internet documents or archived newspapers (a physical piece of pages of paper with printed texts that contained information — completely devoid of any digital means) you may be able to read it for yourself — if anyone still does that in the future.

So for the sake of the future. I am asking my blog readers to memorize my blog posts. Just pick your favorites and commit them to memory. Maybe you can write them down on paper if your family has a history of dementia. At any rate, pass them down in your family. Read them at holidays.

All remaining bloggers that have not yet been silenced are calling for their readers to do this for their blogs too. We must be able to preserve knowledge through these information Dark Ages that we are entering.

God (or Nature as the scientists are wont to say) save our immortal souls!!!

*a terrible homage to Ray Bradbury‘s Farenheit 451

July 1, 2012

History Stolen – More than 4,000 Documents Stolen; Conviction In Thefts !

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Perhaps long time blog readers will remember Stanczyk’s earlier post about historical documents that may have been stolen. Well it seems a conviction has been had in the theft of more than 4,000 rare historical documents.

On June 27th, 2012, Barry Landau  was convicted for his role in stealing more than 4,000 rare historical documents. Landau, 63, admitted in a plea agreement to having stolen from museums in Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York and Connecticut and having sold some of those documents for profit.

His accomplice, Jason Savedoff, who along with Landau was arrested in July 2011 after workers at the Maryland Historical Society spotted them trying to steal documents. Savedoff has already pled guilty and is awaiting sentencing for his role.

Landau has acknowledged stealing documents from at least five institutions in addition to the Maryland Historical Society. They are the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the Connecticut Historical Society, the University of Vermont, the New York Historical Society and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential library in Hyde Park, N.Y.

Many of the angry historians who had been tricked by Landau came to see his sentencing. Locally from Philadelphia the sentiment was …

“What they did is really terrible. It our national patrimony that they took,” Lee Arnold of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania (HSP) said. “A thief and a liar,” Ashley Harper also of the HSP said. The HSP had to conduct an inventory of documents after several visits by Landau and Savedoff (See: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2011/07/25/historical-society-of-pennsylvania-conducting-inventory-after-visits-by-accused-document-thieves/). Kim Sajet said Landau and Savedoff visited the HSP’s historical collections a total of 17 times !

Other Sources

Bloomberg BW (excellent reporting):

http://www.businessweek.com/ap/2012-06-28/ny-man-gets-7-years-prison-for-rare-document-theft

CBS:

http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2012/06/27/man-to-be-sentenced-for-rare-document-thefts/

CNN:

http://articles.cnn.com/2012-06-27/justice/justice_presidential-historian-sentenced_1_barry-h-landau-jason-savedoff-documents?_s=PM:JUSTICE

May 23, 2012

Almost Wordless Wednesday — #Polish, #Genealogy, 1880 Baptismal Certificate

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

1880 Krzeszow/Tarnow Birth Extract (Latin/Galicia)

This baptismal certificate was extracted and delivered to a parish in Russian-Poland some time after May 1880. No doubt so Jan Vitus Martino[w] could marry some woman in her parish. It was the oddity of finding such a document amongst the church records written in Cyrillic/Russian for a Russian-Poland partition that I was shocked at the unexpected find.

I also used to collect European postage stamps (mostly Poland, Hungary and the Germanic states) of this era so to see the stamps used as a kind of fee/tax always interests me.

48 kr (kroner?) Austro-Hungarian Empire stamps

Jan Vitus  son of Adalbert Martino[w] son of Mikolaj & Agata Malek  and Victoria daughter of  Michael Michalek & Anna Siwiec born 15th June 1856. Godparents Michael Ligus & Maryanna widow of  Gaspar Flasinicki.

May 5, 2012

Cinco de Mayo, Napoleon, & Coffee ???

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

If it is one thing this blog stands for, its coffee. No coffee … No blog!

Now Stanczyk has been a big fan of Napoleon primarily for two reasons:

1. Codex Napoleon – What it did for genealogical records (2 witnesses, standardized format, etc.)

2. Napoleon’s Army – His effusive praise for Polish soldiery and of course for Napoleon himself being a royal pain to the partitioning powers of Poland.

Today, I must add a third reason in praise of Napoleon. The Emperor was a coffee aficionado! He is reputed to be a very BIG coffee drinker (ten, twenty, thirty or more cups a day ???). Once again he had effusive praise … for St Helena Coffee! What you may not know was that while he was exiled to St Helena (in the South Atlantic off the coast of Africa) which was largely run by Britain’s East India Company [should not the Emperor have developed a taste for tea?] he lauded the island coffee.

After Napoleon died on 5th-May-1821, his praise of the island’s coffee, caused it to become popular amongst the French. So as you sip your favorite Cinco de Mayo beverage today, be it a margarita or a Kentucky mint julep, this jester will be sipping some St Helena Coffee in honor of the Emperor. After all, his heir and nephew, Napoleon III (Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte) and I have a birthday in common — perhaps that is a fourth reason to be a fan.

May 3, 2012

Genealogy Indexer – Logan Kleinwak — #Genealogy, #Historical, #Directories, #Military, #Yizkor

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

     Stanczyk’s prior article on Genealogy Indexer – the Logan Kleinwaks’ website that indexes historical city directories or other historical lists (i.e. Yizkor Books, Military Muster Lists, etc.) covered this amazing genealogical resource who deserves a much higher rating than #116 on the current Top 125 Genealogical Websites.

Since my first blog article about GenealogyIndexer.orgLogan Kleinwaks has added virtual keyboard (a software icon) for generating diacritical letters (think ogroneks and umlauts) as well as non Latin characters (think Hebrew or Cyrillic) to make searching easier. This jester even uses that excellent piece of coding to generate the text for articles or data entry into genealogy software. You may remember, I wrote about that in “Dying for Diacriticals” or any of the other dozen articles (some of which cover GenealogyIndexer).

Well in the last month Logan has really outdone himself in adding material to the website! I give up trying to keep up with the huge amounts of data he is publishing. You really need to follow Logan on twitter (@gindexer). Thank You Logan for your amazing efforts.

May 2, 2012

May 3rd Constitution Day — #Poland, #Lithuanian, #History

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Tomorrow is May 3rd and in Poland and Lithuanian it is celebrated as Constitution Day (first celebrated jointly on May 3rd 2007). But Stanczyk is getting ahead of himself in this story.

This jester trusts by now that you know that Poland was country with the second constitution. I am also hopeful that you had read a prior blog article of mine: “Poland 1794, The Tempest, and Catherine The Great” . For the discussion on Poland’s Constitution, I’d like to try my hand at an even broader context.

1732

Stanczyk maintains that 1732 was a very bad year for Poland. On 17 January 1732 Stanislaw Poniatowski was born in Wolczyn (which is in modern day Belarus). If the year had begun badly, then it would get much worse. On 13 September 1732, the secret treaty was signed at the Alliance of the Three Black Eagles. This was a secret treaty between Prussia, Russia and Hapsburg-Austria Empires (all three had Black Eagles as emblems — in stark contrast to Poland’s White Eagle). They agreed to maintain Poland in their “status quo” suffering from a non-functional szlachta with a Libretum Veto — meaning a single veto could derail any new law, further meaning that laws almost never got passed [sounds like 2009-2012 Washington D.C. does it not?]

Now let me narrate the rest of the story, before I give Constitution Day’s Timeline.

In 1750 Poniatowski met his mentor, the Briton, Charles Hanbury Williams . Williams was the British ambassador to Russia. They met again in 1753. Now while the Poniatowskich were a noble family, their family fortunes were not so great as the great magnate families. So they had to align themselves and hope for a strategic marriage for Stanislaw to a wealthier family. None the less, Stanislaw’s father was able to procure him some nominal titles. In 1755, the elder Poniatowski got his son Stanislaw, the title of Stolnik of Lithuania. Stolnik was a court office in Poland and Russia,  responsible for serving the royal table. Keep that image in mind.

So armed with his new title of Stolnik of Lithuania, Stanislaw accompanied the British Ambassador to Russia, where the young Poniatowski met the also young (but very formidable) Catherine who had not yet become Empress of Russia (nor yet earned, her appellation, “The Great”). Stanislaw Poniatowski was only at the Russian court for one year. By 1756 Poniatowski was ordered to leave the Russian Court amidst some “intrigue”. It is thought that this intrigue resulted in the birth of Anna Petrovna (by Catherine the Great) on the 9th December 1757. It is also said that Stanislaw always hoped his bedding of Catherine would result in a future marriage for him. This jester thinks that Stanislaw deluded himself to think he had successfully wooed Catherine and that marriage was possible for the two of them. This jester also further thinks that Catherine, used this virtual “apron string” to manage Poniatowski to do her Russian bidding in Poland.

In 1762 Catherine used her new position as the Russian Empress and she was able to get Stanislaw to be elected King of Poland on 6 September 1764. It has now been 32 years of managing Poland’s status quo by the Three Black Eagles. So by 17 February 1772 the Three Black Eagles agreed to partition Poland. On August 5th, 1772 the occupation manifesto was issued and foreign troops entered Poland’s sovereign territory and forced a cession Sejm to convene with King Poniatowski and agree to the partition manifesto (probably Stanislaw thought it was best to go along with Russia in this matter and that this obedience would be rewarded) on 9/18/1773. Not much leadership in this jester’s mind was exhibited, but opposition to three Empires was probably futile anyway.

Life goes on for another decade. Stanislaw uses what little wealth of the Kingdom to foster arts & science, but with Prussia’s control of the Baltic Ports,  and using its control to extort high custom duties from Poland on 80% of Poland’s economic trades to further collapse Poland’s economy and that limits Poniatowski’s wealth/power. Poniatowski also continues his hope for a noble marriage, but he does engage in a morganatic marriage to Elzbieta Szydlowska in 1783 and thereby maintains his options for a royal marriage.

In 1788 the Four Year Sejm convenes and Stanislaw thinks he can help Catherine The Great in her war with the Ottoman Empire by raising an army in Poland — which Catherine quickly squashes, but leaves the Polish Sejm alone while she wars with the Ottomans. Left to their own devices, this “Enlightened” body of lawmakers passes a constitution on 3rd May 1791. Even King Poniatowski celebrates this event. If you have read my prior blog article listed above, then you know this will NOT end well for Poland (or Poniatowski who is forced to abdicate the Polish throne 11/25/1795).

I think you can see that Poniatowski, Stolnik of Lithuania, served up Poland as a feast for Catherine The Great to enjoy repeatedly until even she was forced to make him abdicate and spend the remainder of his three years of life as a nominal prisoner in St Petersburg, Russia (so he could not meddle further in Russian affairs). Poniatowski died 2/12/1798 in St Petersburg, Russia. Poniatowski’s remains were removed and re-buried in Wolczyn, Belarus — until that church fell into disrepair. Poland reclaimed Poniatowki’s remains and he was buried a third time (14 February 1995) in St. John’s Cathedral in Warsaw, Poland — the very site where he had celebrated the Polish Constitution on May 3rd 1791.

Timeline of the Constitution:

5/3/1791 – Constitution is Passed (2nd in the world).

May 1792 Constitution Day is celebrated.

July 1792 King Poniatowski  joins the Targowice Confederation against Poland and his own nephew (and Kosciuszko too) who were fighting the War To Defend The Constitution with Russia and Catherine the Great who was now freed up from warring with the Ottomans and now able to show her displeasure.

1793-1806 – Constitution Day is banned during the the 2nd/3rd Partition years.

1807-1815 – Constitution Day is celebrated in the Duchy of Warsaw thanks to Napoleon.

1815-1918 – Constitution Day is unofficially celebrated / discouraged in Congress Poland

April 1919 – The re-emerged Polish Republic celebrates Constitution Day again until 1940.

World War II – Constitution Day is banned again.

1945 – Constitution Day is celebrated.

1946 – The Communists cancel Constitution Day. They substitue May Day (May 1st) as an attempt to replace the Constitution Day celebration.

April 1990 – Poland out from under the Communist yoke celebrates Constitution Day again.

May 3rd 2007 – Poland & Lithuania celebrate Constitution Day jointly echoing their former Commonwealth days. This is the first jointly celebrated Constitution Day.

Perhaps one day, the USA will celebrate with Poland on May 3rd as the two countries with the oldest constitutions. [Now, please I know Polonia all over the USA, but most notably in Chicago mark May 3rd annually.]  Indeed you are reading this blog about May 3rd. So Polonia  still mark the day, the old country adopted the second oldest constitution.

Happy Constitution Day!

March 18, 2012

Dziennik Polski Detroit Newspaper Database App Search Page

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk,

was finally able to use his training from Steve Morse’s presentation at RootsTech 2012 to create a One-Step Search App for the Dziennik Polski Detroit Newspaper Database.

To search on 30,920 Polish Vital Record Events, just go to the new Dziennik Polski Detroit Newspaper Database App Search page (on the right, under PAGES,  for future reference).

FAQ

For more background on the Dziennik Polski Detroit Newspaper click on the link.

You can search on the following fields:

Last Name – exact means the full last name exactly as you typed it. You can also select the ‘starts with’ radio button and just provide the first few starting characters. Do not use any wild card characters!

First Name – exact means the full first name exactly as you typed it. You can also select the ‘starts with’ radio button and just provide the first few starting characters. Do not use any wild card characters!

Newspaper Date – exact means that you need to enter the full date. Dates are of the format:

06/01/1924 (for June 1st, 1924). Format is MM/DD/YYYY. Leading zeros are required for a match.

You can use ‘contains’ radio button to enter a partial date. The most useful partial is just to provide the Year (YYYY). Do not use any wild card characters!

Event Type – exact means the full event type. This is not recommended. You SHOULD select the ‘starts with’ radio button and just provide the first few starting characters. Do not use any wild card characters! Uppercase is not required.

Valid Events Types: BIRTH,  CONSULAR,  DEATH,  or MARRIAGE

Indexer – exact means the full indexer exactly as you typed it. You can also select the ‘starts with’ radio button and just provide the first few starting characters. Do not use any wild card characters!

The Indexer is meant to be informational only, but you could conceivably want to search on this field too, so it is provided.

March 11, 2012

Ellis Island For Sale !!! … back in 1958 — #Genealogy, #History, #EllisIsland

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk, was not aware that the US Government once contemplated the sale of Ells Island.

Slav Invasion ???

The 9 Feb 1958 article (from Daytona Beach Morning Journal — in Google’s Newspaper Archives) spoke about the condition of Ellis island and some of the cost drivers. Then the author diverges a bit into opinion and claims Ellis Island was a “scandal ridden bedlam”  and that between 1900-1914 was the great “Slav Invasion apparently from Southern Europe and the Balkans  — whew, for a minute there I thought they were talking about Czechs, Poles, and Russians.

Still this besmirching of the Southern Slavs in 1958 seems to be similar to today’s brand of xenophobia and is even filled with speculation   “How many persons turned away were lunatics?”. No, who-what-when-where-and-why in that journalism.

     Dick Eastman‘s Online Newsletter also had a blog on Ellis Island recently (3/9/2012) … The 9 March 2012 MailOnline (UK periodical) had a article on Ellis Island with some eerie photos of before the island was made into a National Park. Please do go take a look at the pictures.

These two articles provide quite a context for Ellis Island after it was retired and before it was to become a National Park.

March 3, 2012

Library of Congress – Chronicling America — #Genealogy, #Newspapers

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk is a Library of Congress (LOC) researcher. Mostly, I have done my research in the Madison building where they keep the Newspapers / Periodicals.

Today they (LOC) sent me an email announcing another 100+ newspapers digitized with another 550,000+ new digitzed pages available via their Chronicling America – Historical Newspaper program. I have written about this worthy program before. Whether you research history or genealogy, these newspapers can be of help and providing evidence or even just adding a context to your ancestors.

Did you know that the LOC has over 220 Polish language newspapers on microfilm (and/or digitized)? To help out the Polish Genealogists, I have  compiled and published a list of the LOC’s Polish Language Newspapers:  here .

Make newspapers a part of your research to fill the gaps or to provide context!

–Stanczyk

February 24, 2012

London, England – WDYTYA — #Polish, #Genealogy, #TV,#Show

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

At the London “Who Do YOU Think You Are?“, the largest genealogy event in the English-speaking world will be held this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in London, England @ a three-day expo at the Olympia Exhibition Hall (February 24-26, 2012).

Between February 24 and 26 the Kresy-Siberia Foundation will have a stand at the “Who Do You Think You Are?” — the world’s biggest family history show.

Tens of thousands of Poles imprisoned in Russian labour camps or “gulags” across the far reaches of Siberia between 1940 and 1941 were freed in 1941, when Russia decided to become an ally of Great Britain in 1941 the prisoners were freed to form the Polish Second Corps — who fought so heroically in North Africa and the Italian campaign of 1943-44, (i.e. battle of Monte Cassino).

Many of these men settled in and adopted as their home, the communities in Bath, Trowbridge and Bristol. Perhaps this event will lead to new connections between these displaced families and their ancestors/descendants in other parts of the world.

Stanczyk wishes to note that the Polish Second Corps included: Wojtek soldier bear – mascot of 22nd Artillery Supply Company, who I have written about a few times.

 

http://www.thisissomerset.co.uk/Chance-Polish-descendants-trace-roots/story-15298065-detail/story.html

 

January 27, 2012

Pathways & Passages – Journal of PGSCT&NE — #Polish, #Genealogy, #Society

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk, thinks he just got the new issue of Pathways & Passages. I’m not certain because it says 2011 on the cover and in the page footers. But of course, who doesn’t have a hard time writing the new year on their checks.

That aside, their column, “Online Resources” was particularly good this issue (whichever it was, Summer 2011 -or- Summer 2012).

For the PA Polonia …

They had two online resources. For Schuykill County, PA (moje zona has family from that county — in fact I stumbled upon this site a few years ago). So I can state it is a very good from my own experience.

They did mention Lackawanna County, PA (but did not give the URL — so off to Google for you). There are marriages: 1885-1995 and an index to wills.

The Next Online Resources …

Passaic County, NJ – Naturalizations.  This turned out to be an EXCELLENT find! I found a Jozef Zwolski  whose ship manifest I had found before. Now Jozef was a brother of Roman Zwolski and both of these men are sons Jan Zwolski & Petronella Elijasz ! They happen to be from both Biechow & Pacanow parishes. Joseph’s Declaration of Intent was listed and you could view the image (and download a PDF of the document)! So I now have a birthday for Joseph and it matches up well to his ship manifest and his residences in Russian-Poland match up well too — so I am pretty convinced I have my ancestor.

Joseph apparently served in WWI and is taking advantage of privileges as a citizen soldier to become an American.

Antwerp Police Immigration Index. This last resource given, I would not have thought to look into (not having any Belgians in my direct lineage). But apparently, if you stayed longer than normal before your passage to American (from Antwerp port), you had to register with Antwerp Police. A good many Polish must have fell into that category. I did not find any of mine, but did find some whose last names match those in my family tree. If you do find your ancestor — you have a name and a village to ascertain that you have the correct person. But you will gain a birthday. This is another nice database from  FamilySearch.org.

I am glad I belong to some of the various Polish Genealogical Societies — these little resources sometimes pay big dividends.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 416 other followers