Archive for ‘History’

November 7, 2011

Madame Sklodowska Curie, #Scientist

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Did you catch the Classic Home Google logo today? It features Madame Curie, whose birthday is today. It is still true that women do not go into science and/or engineering in the same numbers as men do. That makes Marie Sklodowska Curie and her daughter, Irene, all the more remarkable that their family had two women scientists (both Nobel Prize winners) and that the entire family had a preponderance of Nobel Prizes amongst them.

A few weeks ago I wrote about the Smithsonian Magazine’s article, “Madame Curie’s Passion“. Clearly, she was a woman ahead of her time. The Smithsonian thoughtfully included additional pics (including Nobel Certificate).

Marie Curie won a Nobel Prize in Physics(1903) and another in Chemistry(1911). Only Linus Pauling was able to duplicate this feat — They are the only two people who won Nobel Prizes in two separate fields and Madame Curie was the first. Of course, she honored her homeland (Poland), by naming the first radioactive element she discovered, “Polonium”.

She was born, Maria Salomea Skłodowska, in Warsaw (Kingdom of Poland, part of the Russian Empire) 7th-November-1867 to Wladyslaw & Bronislawa Sklodowskich. Wladyslaw’s father was Jozef Sklodowski and his mother was Salomea z. Suktinski. So Maria’s middle name was from her paternal grandmother. She married Pierre Curie and had two daughters (Irene, Eve) with Pierre. She died on 4th-July-1934, Skłodowska-Curie died  in Passy, in Haute-Savoie, France.

Madame Curie's Father, Wladyslaw's Birth Record

November 2, 2011

Dziennik Polski, Detroit, MI – Index, Summary Update #HistoricalNewspaper

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Well Stanczyk have been busy for a few days, trying to update the Rootsweb page dedicated to the Dziennik Polski, Detroit, MI Polish Language Ethnic Newspaper.

The Index page with the names has been updated with nearly 7,000 new names / dates from 1936.  The Summary of all Dziennik Polski transcriptions now totals 48,217 of which 26,745 of those names are indexed and the summary page is here.

The Index page is alphabetical by Last Name, First Name, Date of Newspaper (when the name appeared).  Use your browser’s FIND capability (Ctrl-F in Windows, Cmd-F in Mac) to search for a name or just scroll the page.

 

October 27, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy – Useful Websites … #7 Prussian Army’s Personnel Losses in World War I

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk was reading  his emails, when he noticed Ceil Wendt-Jensen  has published a useful website on the various Polish / Michigan genealogy mailing lists.

As the Article title suggests this is another database of military personnel from World War I. This one is unlike the ones you’d find at genealodzy.pl . It is however, similar to these databases and even links to the same Fallen in World War I website. But as I said this website/database is different from those.

The aim of the Prussian Army project (link: http://www.genoroots.com/eng/databases.php) is to provide an easy way of searching through the Deutsche Verlustlisten. This is the Prussian Army’s Personnel Losses during World War I .

The authors of the project: Aleksandra Kacprzak  and  Mariusz Zebrowski. They are still updating so check back from time to time. If you click on the “Prussian Army project” link above it will take you to its databases page. There  under the ‘Prussian  Army’ Heading you will see a link ‘Search’. Click on ‘search’ link. You should see the following search form:

Fill in a name and click on the ‘Search’ button. That is it. Should you find an ancestor, you can email them for more info. There is a very modest charge for this follow-on service (the search is free, the detailed info is where the cost is). So if you find someone, then …

e-mail: prusy22@wp.pl. When asking for further information, you must provide the ordinal number (‘L.P.’), the first and last name and the rank of the person in question. The additional information costs 2 Euro per name (=$2.82 as of 10/27/2011), payable via PayPal (to prusy22@wp.pl ). Stanczyk is not affiliated and has no conflict of interest in these entrepreneurial Poles. I did not find any of my ancestors, so I cannot tell you what details you may find. My ancestors were from the Russian-Poland partition (and hence would have been in the Russian army) — keep in mind this Prussian army (not Russian, not Austrian).

Good Luck! Please send me an email with a sample detail if you send for it. Thanks!

October 20, 2011

Polish Heritage Month – Artists & Scupltors

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Copernicus' Deathbed by Walery Elijasz

We always salute the famous historical heroic figures like Pulaski or Kosciusko or possibly scientists like Madame Skladowska Curie and Mikolaj Copernicus or maybe a musician like Fryderyk Chopin. But I do not want this month to go by without a listing of the literary talents and the artistic talents. Yesterday I wrote about the writers and today I wanted to mention the painters and scupltors.

Piotr Michałowski, Jan Matejko (Stanczyk’s portrait painter — see below for self-portrait), Walery Elijasz (guess why he is in the list), Stanisław Wyspiański (also was on the list of writers yesterday too).

Here are an abbreviated list of painters & scupltors for you to explore:

Olga Boznańska, Konstanty Brandel, Xawery Dunikowski, Julian Fałat, Jacek Malczewski, Józef Mehoffer, Józef Pankiewicz, Ferdynand Ruszczyc, Jan Stanisławski, Władysław Ślewiński, Wojciech Weiss, Leon Wyczółkowski, Konstanty Laszczka

Walery Elijasz who may or may not be related to this author was famous for his  book illustrations and travels through Zakopane where he was a major part in the founding an artists colony there.

Jan Matejko - self portrait

If Stanczyk could get you to view one artist’s works it would be Jan Matejko (1838-1893). His home is a museum in old city Krakow and can be visited. He is the artist whose painting is at the top of this blog. You have probably seen his painting of Polish kings in books or on Polish stamps. This jester has a work of his on Copernicus (on a rooftop with his scientific tools, “Conversation with God“) that is much beloved. Jan Matejko also wrote a small book in Polish on the Polish kings using his artwork on them and provides a genealogical/historical sketch of each king. Besides his historical paintings of Battles and Kings, he is also renown for his portraiture. The Krakow Academy of Fine Arts where he served for many years was named for him in 1979. He was a true Master of the Fine Arts.

October 10, 2011

Happy Columbus Day – Get Out Your Polish Flags

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

In the USA, we celebrate Columbus Day, the second Monday in October. The actual day is 12-October-1492. Latin America too celebrates this holiday. It has been a federal holiday since 1937. However, I did not say national holiday as three states do not celebrate the holiday at all. Alaska, Hawaii, and South Dakota are the three states that do not recognize Columbus Day.

 

This year, I am asking Polish-Americans, as well as all other Polonia to wave their Polish flags at Columbus Day celebrations. Here are my initial two articles on this topic that establish Columbus as person of Polish Heritage (and therefore appropriate to honor in this Polish Heritage Month):

  1. Columbus Discovers He Is Polish
  2. Columbus’ Real Father ?

I hope Columbus’ roots can be determined scientifically, just as Copernicus’ remains were identified and resolve this hoopla over Columbus’s Heritage.

Happy Columbus Day !

–Stanczyk

October 6, 2011

Ukase – Decree … #Genealogy, #History, #Russian, #Polish

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

This jester thanks my Slavic readers from: Poland, Russian Federation, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Latvia, Belarus, Slovakia, etc and of course their American emigres and American born of that heritage. This is after all predominantly a blog of genealogy that focuses on its Slavic Heritage and especially the heritage of Stanczyk‘s paternal grandparents who were born, married, had children and emigrated from Poland … Russian-Poland also known as Congress Kingdom of Poland and to a lesser degree, Vistulaland (a collection of ten gubernia in the czarist Russian Empire). Poland was occupied and partitioned between three Empires: Prussian (German), Austrian (Austro-Hungarian / Hapsburg), and Russian from 1792-1918. As such, in the Russian partition, they were subject to the Czar’s ukases (decrees).

A UKASE (указ) is formally an “imposition” , usually by the czar, but possibly by an Orthodox Patriarch. But ukase is usually translated as decree or edict.

My ancestors were from the Russian-Poland partition, but just across the Vistula (Wisla) river from the Austrian-Poland partition — which had, to me, a surprising number cross-Empire interaction in vital records. The Russian-Poland nominally a fiefdom of the Russian Czar, who was also titled as King of Poland, as well as Russian Emperor.

There were many Ukases from each czar/czarina. So many so, that Czar Nicholas in 1827 ordered a collation of these edicts (a kind of codification Russian law). The result was a 48 volume collection of ukases. Some notable ukases …

  • Created (1791) and others amended the Pale of Settlement
  • 1821 Territorial waters off Alaska (affecting British Empire and a young America)
  • 1861 Freeing the Serfs
  • 1868 Decreed that vital records in the Kingdom of Poland be recorded in Russian

Stanczyk is fascinated by the last one. It is said that it is in the Polish DNA to be multi-lingual. Certainly, my grandmother was capable of four languages (Polish, Russian, German, and finally English). But how did the Catholic priests do this? Switching from recording vital records in Polish to recording them into Russian? The year of the switch-over was 1868. The records start out in Polish but switch during the year to being in Russian ??? Admittedly, the Russian in most cases was a bit … uh “problematic”.

Can you imagine that happening in America? Most of the world thinks of the USA as being linguistically challenged. This jester is fluent only in English. I did receive much French tutelage and can read French. With my genealogy, I have been self taught in Polish, Russian and Latin. Thankfully, Google provides the Google Translator, flawed as it is, for Polish. Still as it was, I was able to use it communicate with a distant cousin in Poland who could not speak any English and my ability to write Polish was so very limited. Yet we overcame and I was blessed with the gift of my grandparent’s marriage record from Biechow church and a civil record of their marriage from a local USC office.

And it was a good thing my cousin sent me both. As the USC mistranslated the Russian language church record on my grandmother’s age. They had accidentally added five years to my grandmother’s age, which I would not have known if I did not have the original church record in Russian (which apparently the local USC could not read as well as I could).

So here is Stanczyk’s UKASE …

All Polish Genealogists must be able to read Latin, Polish, and Russian. (Who can read that German handwriting?)

October 3, 2011

Polish American Heritage Month

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Yesterday’s Pulaski Day Parade (10/2/2011 Philadelphia) was another event in the Month long celebration of Polish American Heritage Month. This year there is a focus on Polish Scientists and in particular, Madam Curie, whose 100th anniversary of her 2nd Nobel Prize (November 2011). Marie Sklodowska Curie was the first scientist (man or woman) to win two Nobel Science Prizes. I believe only Linus Pauling has equaled her achievement.

Stanczyk‘s favorite magazine, “Smithsonian” (October 2011), also has and article on this amazing scientist. Please honor the month and the woman by reading this fascinating article, “The Passion of Madame Curie“.

Remember, to honor Columbus Day and any of its parades with your Polish flag. In the last year it was reported by a Portuguese researcher (Manuel Rosa) that Christopher Columbus is really a Polish son (and not Genovese). So this is new Polish Heritage we need to celebrate. This blog has a couple of articles (here is the original article).

 

September 28, 2011

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

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Hebrew Calendar

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

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

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

September 14, 2011

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

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Philadelphia Inquirer 9/15/1913

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

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

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

SS Prinz Adalbert

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

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

September 6, 2011

#Jewish #Genealogy – A Continuing Homage to Moja żona – Biechow 1819

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

I am continuing my efforts to retrieve/extract the Jewish records from the Catholic parish of Biechow during the years when the Catholic Church was ordered to act the civil registration authority.  My previous postings were for the years 1810-1818. inclusive.

These are the Jewish Births from 1819 recorded in Biechow parish. Ergo, this posting brings us upto: 1810-1819 inclusive. The prior post is here .

Before I begin, I have been watching the evolution of names in the church register and I thought I would offer a few observations. First off, I am a gentile genealogist. So my treatment of Jewish names as rendered in the Polish language with its complex grammar is suspect — but I am learning.

So earlier I have been struggling with the surname: Golbarka or Goberka (also rendered as Golbarkow). First off, the assumption of ‘bark’ vs ‘berk’ due to poor writing and page condition is definitely off. I now know the name is Golberg (or we would probably render in 20th century English as Goldberg/Goldburg). I think I will keep the Golberkow ending as this is the grammatical construct for referring to the family as when writing the woman’s maiden name.

Notice I have decided to drop the ending ‘a’ on men’s names — which I am also thinking I should do on many first names as well, but my lack of experience with Jewish names of the 19th century Poland causes me to wonder how to apply what William Hoffman calls, ‘The Chopping Block’ to both first and last names when Jewish. So forgive me when I write: Moska, Mendla and Herszla(which in 20th century America I’d write as Herschel as in Herschel Walker). I know I need to drop the ending ‘a’, but I am not certain as to how to write those names, so I leave them as I find them for someone more expert than I to correct. My apologies in advance.

We see three births out of 104 total births. That represents a population of about 2.88% of the total parish population. So we are in the range of 3% +/- 0.25% which seems to be what I have seen in previous years. Again realize I am trying to give an in idea of the Jewish population in proportion to the entire population of the parish in (not intimating that the Jewish peoples are participants in the church parish activities). The 3% represents a modest growth from the 2.6% in Biechow census from 1787. [See Parish Census at the top of this blog]. According to that same census, the entire set of parishes in the surrounding area was about 6.4% Jewish.

My reason for doing this assessment is to convince the JRI, that it should at some point visit all Catholic parishes to pull out the remaining Jewish people without looking at the amount of effort required to yeild such tiny results. We know they are there  — do not leave them behind. After my Social Network Analysis, I am thinking that these non-shtetl Jews are a kind of glue between the surrounding towns/shtetls.

The assessment also shows that Jews and Catholics lived side by side and not segregated [in this very rural area very near to the Austria-Poland partition]. Now this may only be true in Poland and not the rest of “The Pale of Settlement” as defined by the Czars of the Russian Empire. According to Wikipedia,  Jews (of the Pale) were not forbidden by the Czars from rural areas until 1882.

Year: 1819      Priest: Jozef Parzelski         Gmina: Biechow     Powiat: Stopnica     Departement: Krakow      104 Total Births     LDS Microfilm#: 936660

Record #38     Date: 4/17/1819 [about 1 month earlier than the 5/15/1819 record date]

Father: Mosiek Golberg,  Arendarz, Age 34, Wojcza   House #60

Mother: Fraydla z Jakow, age 32

Baby: girl Cyra

Witnesses:  Moska Samulowicz, kaczmarz, age 36 Biechow & Mendla Abramowicz, pakiarz,  <no age>, Wojcza

—-

Record #53     Date: 7/7/1819

Father: Nat Belel,  Mlynarz, Age 25, Wojcza   House #3 (listed as Jozef Pawelec ‘s house)

Mother: Rucha  z Golberkow, age 22

Baby: girl Eydla

Witnesses:  Mendla Abramowicz, pakiarz,  28, Wojcza   &  Moska Szmulowicz, pakiarz, <no age> Wola Biechowska

—-

Record #104     Date: 12/23/1819

Father: Jasek Wolf,  pakiarz, Age 45, Biechow   House #48

Mother: Blima  z Chaymowicz, age 38

Baby: boy Herszla

Witnesses:  Zalman Stemberk(Stemberg??), pakiarz,  28, Biechow   &  Berka Chaymowicz, Handlarz, <no age>  Biechow

–Stanczyk

August 24, 2011

#Polonia – October is Polish History Month – This Year We Celebrate …

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk notes we are six weeks from the start a whole lot of Polish Celebration. First off,  October is Polish History Month in the USA.

Next,  the second Monday in October is the Polish-Portuguese-Italian-American holiday we usually note as COLUMBUS DAY (traditionally October 12th). This year, thanks the Portuguese Historian Manuel Rosa, who has spent 20 years researching Columbus and who determined that Columbus is the son of Wladyslaw III, grandson of Wladyslaw II Jagiełło,  ( see prior article here ), we need to take our Polish Flags out on Columbus Day to the parade and celebrate with the Italian-Americans and reclaim our Polish son (or at least our share). Since Wladyslaw II Jagiełło is the first King of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, perhaps our Lithuanian brothers need to bring their flags too.

Third, the very next day in 2011 (October 12) is Casimir Pulaski Memorial Day. A Heroic Soldier of the American Revolutionary War who died for the founding of America (at the siege of Savannah).

Here is a link to Poland’s History.   Columbus Book by Rosa. Dr Rosa, when is the English Language Edition Coming (Polish Edition)?

Do Not Forget Columbus Day, Polonia  — bring the Polish Flag!

August 14, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy – Haller’s Army (aka Blue Army / Polish Army in France) [part 2]

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Gentle readers, today’s article is about the many genealogical or personal ties to the history of Haller’s Army. The focus is on what the genealogist may want to pursue to flesh out his/her family tree.

Background

The era was World War I  (1914-1918) and the world was mad with war and carnage and pestilence. There were 16.5 million deaths and 21 million wounded making it the 6th deadliest conflict (or possibly 2nd/3rd worse if you include the Flu Pandemic deaths). [See: this cheery web page on the estimate of Wars, Pandemics, Disasters,  and Genocides that caused the greatest number of deaths.] Out of this madness, was an army of diaspora Poles formed, of which over 25,0001

came from the US via a US sanctioned formation of a foreign force, which had to be constituted in Canada due to USA fears and its isolationist policies that limited President Wilson.

These brave 25,000 men were added to another contingent of 35,000 Polish men formed largely from prisoners of war from the German and Austria-Hungarian armies inside France,  who were now willing to fight against Central Powers as a part of the Allied/Central Powers.  They fought bravely in World War I,  before the USA entered the war and for nearly four more years (1918-1922) after World War I officially ended in the Polish-Bolshevik War (aka Polish-Soviet War).

Poster — from wiki

More Background can be found here (Haller’s Army website) or at the wiki page (Blue Army).

Registration Centers

The recruitment centers were in the Polish Falcons centers. The Polish Falcons were called the Związek Sokołów Polskich w Ameryce (ZSP)  and this is what you will find on Haller’s Army enlistment forms. The Polish Falcons still exist and are headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA. There are reportedly 115 Polish Falcon Nests across 15 states. Each Nest has its own history that it maintains.

PGSA Database

The Polish Genealogical Society of America (PGSA.org) maintains a database of the Haller’s Army registrations that can be searched for your ancestor(s). It is free to search and there is a modest charge to get a copy of the actual documents. The search page is here: (http://www.pgsa.org/haller.php) . These documents are archived by the Polish Museum of America in Chicago. This data is also on LDS Microfilm by region see this page for details .

There are three types of forms. These forms are in Polish. You need not worry about that as the PGSA offers example forms in English (FormA | FormC) in PDF format.  On the forms you find the following info:

  • Form A is an intention to volunteer and contains the name, address, age, and marital status.
  • Form B is a medical examination report for the volunteer.
  • Form C is the final commitment paper. It includes date and place of birth and usually the name and address of a parent or other close relative.  The Form’s family notes include close family in USA and in Poland.

Returning Soldiers

The Allies issued medals to their victorious soldiers so you may have in your family heirlooms one of these. This website has an index of the various medals (with images). Many of the websites whose links are in this article also have pictures of men in uniforms — which included their distinctive hats.

We tend to think the soldiers were all Polish men and that these men were Catholics, but our Polish-Jewish brethren also served in Haller’s Army. This page from Polish Roots is about the Jewish soldiers who served and provides a table of many of the men known to be Jewish.

The ship manifests in Ellis Island record the return Haller’s Army soldiers, who returned en masse. You can see the soldiers who are listed on pages together with a note on the bottom, “Reservists”. That notation should eliminate any confusion with other possible passengers/crew members. The soldiers returning from the European theater are known to have arrived via Ellis Island on the following ships:

  • SS Antigone (from Danzig – April 18, 1920)
  • SS Princess Matoika (from Danzig – May 23, 1920)
  • SS Pocahontas (from Danzig – June 16, 1920)
  • SAT  Mercury (US Army Transport), from Danzig, June 16, 1920 / arrived in New York, June 28 1920
  • SS President Grant (from Danzig) – February 16, 1921
  • SS Latvia  - August 17, 1922

 Links to the Ship Manifests

http://bit.ly/rlVaaQ  SS Princess Matoika from Danzig in 1920 [more dates than shown above] 4253 Returning Troops

http://bit.ly/p3ViM2 SS Pocahontas from Danzig  in 1920 [please note the ship name is P-O-C-A-H-O-N-T-A-S. It was misspelled on the PGSA.org website].   4199 Returning Troops

http://bit.ly/nwYwsx SAT Mercury from Danzig June 1920.  2074 Returning Troops

http://bit.ly/n6YRot SS Antigone from Danzig April 1920. 1628 Returning Troops

http://goo.gl/F48dg5 SS President Grant from Danzig February1921. ~1900 Returning Troops3

http://bit.ly/pGwQa5 SS Latvia from Danzig  August 1922. 1517 Returning Troops

Returning passage – Payment of passage was split between the Polish and United States Governments. [see column 16] on ship manifest. It appears some soldiers returned with wives and children too [so those numbers above are not all soldiers].

One more connection. Similar to  the VFW for US veterans, there is a Polish-American organization in NYC called POLISH ARMY VETERANS ASSOCIATION2

They (PAVA  or SWAP) have genealogical data from their membership forms. According to Dr Valasek, the membership application for the association has the usual, date, place of birth, current address, and occupation; It also had something most descendants of Hallerczycy desperately want to know:  the unit in which the man fought, and his rank upon leaving the army. There is also the identification of which post the soldier joined.  Each post has its own history, as well as photos, banquet books, anniversary booklets, etc. All valuable adjuncts to your research once you identify the correct post, (or, as it’s known in Polish, placówka). There is also a question on the form, Do jakich organizacji należy? , to what organizations does he belong. More avenues for research.

Fallen Soldiers

In any war, there are casualties. Haller’s Army is no different. Stanczyk likes this Polish Genealogical Society (http://genealodzy.pl/name-Straty.phtml) named aptly, The Polish Genealogical Society. They have many databases, but they have search front-ends for two related to Haller’s Army. The one from the link above is for:  List of Casualties of the Polish Army, killed in action or died from wounds from the years 1918-1920.

With this link I was finally able to determine that one of my ancestors who was in America up through the 1910 census, but was missing from the 1920/1930 censuses, whom I had previously thought had returned to Poland — had really died while serving in Haller’s Army. I found his Haller’s Army Forms at PGSA and then from this Polish website I found a scanned image of a Polish book listing his name, date/place of death.

Soldier Benefits

Some soldiers who came to America who served in Haller’s Army, earned benefits from the new Polish nation. I have seen land grants awarded (not to my ancestors). They often had to be contacted through the Polish Consulates in America. This leads to my final recommendation — using Historical Polish Language Newspapers from that era to find out about your soldier. The newspaper may write about the returning units in a story and possibly a picture. I have also seen that the Polish Consulate took out listings in the newspaper and referred to Haller’s Army veterans they were seeking to inform them of their veteran benefits. See my Dziennik Polski (Detroit) page at the top menu-tabs for an example what these Polish Consulate ads might look like.

Let me finish today’s article by mentioning Dr. Paul S. Valasek’s book on the subject matter: Haller’s Polish Army in France http://www.amazon.com/Hallers-Polish-Army-France-Valasek/dp/0977975703 and also another book entitled: Remembrance http://www.hallersarmy.com/store/Remembrance.php. written by Charles Casimer Krawczyk.

Tomorrow … Haller’s Army in My Family Tree

–Stanczyk

Notes:

1=Polish Falcons History page . Paul Valasek says the number is above 24,000. The wikipedia says the number is 23,000.

2=PAVA,   address: 119 East 15th Street,  New York,  NY 10003   -   e-mail:  <info@pava-swap.org>,  telephone:  212-358-0306

3= The addition of the President Grant came about from a Newspaper Article mentioned by Daniel Wolinski. A picture of the article has been appended after these notes.

FortDixNJ_HallersArmy_Returnees_1921

August 13, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy – Haller’s Army [part one]

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk is busy writing an article on this topic (Haller’s Army) written from an Historical / Genealogical perspective. This is not just a blog about history, but about personal history. In fact, it is a set of genealogical documents unique to Polish Genealogy.

Counting this announcement, it will be in three parts:  Announcement,  Background, and My Family Tree.

This announcement is to let people know about Haller’s Army, a little known facet of World War I. Actually, this army spans World War I longer than the US involvement and longer than the actual Great War itself. These men go on to serve for Poland in the Poland-Bolshevik border war from about 1918-1922 too. It is their heroic self-sacrifice that sets back Communism for another twenty years.

Why does this jester write about this little mote of history? Because it is a valuable tool for Polish genealogists to help flesh out their family tree in the first couple of decades of their ancestor’s arrival in the USA. Also because it touches on  many other aspects connected to genealogy.

It will cover military from the PGSA’s Haller’s Army database and answer why Ancestry’s World War I Draft Registrations may not be the full story. It also has info on a Polish database — The List of Casualties of the Polish Army,  from the years 1918-1920. Well it is obvious that the genealogical info is military in nature. But there is a component related to Ellis Island / Immigration when they return.  This emigration information is sometimes further enhanced by the data found in the PGSA database actual data. Finally, you can use Historical Ethnic Newspapers to add even more details to the returning soldier’s background. You will need to search through Polish Language Newspapers for this info, so we will discuss this from my perspective of the Dziennik Polski (Detroit) newspaper. It seems that these soldiers received benefits for serving in Haller’s Army from Poland itself.

So this little obscure footnote of history can have a much greater impact upon your personal history in your family tree. Come read this series … won’t you?

[coming this week]

–Stanczyk

August 11, 2011

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

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 24, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy – Kodexu Napoleon

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Click to Enlarge Image -- to see "Kodexu Napoleon"

A few times before, I have spoken about the Codex Napoleon. Why does Stanczyk speak of Napoleon? Well, he (or his army) did discover the Rosetta Stone, leading to the understanding of Hieroglyphics and also while he was in Egypt he also uncovered the Sphinx which had lain buried in sand for centuries. He commissioned the Arc de Triomphe too. His military exploits reshaped the European borders. Finally, his progressive laws  embodied in the corpus: Codex Napoleon gave personal and property rights to the individual and abolished feudalism. But did you know those codes in the Kodexu Napoleon (see Polish does have the letter ‘x’, at least for foreign words), also designated how to record vital records?

Most European Church Records after 1806 followed this format and it was this code that required the two witnesses in vital records. The image at left/above is from Biechow parish church book in 1811, noting (above the yellow line) that they now follow the Kodexu Napoleon –Biechow now a part of the Grand Duchy of Warsaw.  From LDS MF # 936660, it appears to me that starting with August 15th, 1810 the vital records in the Catholic Church in the parish of Biechow switched to the “Napoleonic Form”  — a long paragraph narrative in a standard form, with two witnesses, written in the local language (Polish, not Latin).

This blog’s meme is really about how History/Law shape the discipline of genealogical research.  I am not merely thinking about border changes — although that is certainly a part of this meme. Today’s thread in the meme is certainly about the border changes and the shifting administrative units (Departement vs Wojewodztwo vs Gubernia, etc.), but also the data changes required by the law. For instance, the requirement for two witnesses means we have two more names in the record for our research. One of the witnesses may also be a God Parent or possibly just another family member. Does that indicate a new relationship (i.e. another sibling)? Perhaps a witness or declarant is a mid-wife. Does that indicate an illegitimate birth or that the father is away, serving in the military? More data, means more information or clues/mysteries for further research. Prior to Napoleon and the Codex that bears his name, we did not have this  information, afterwards we do.

Napoleon was beneficial to genealogical research — who knew?

July 23, 2011

House Numbers – Numerus Domus – Redux

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

In case you missed my first posting with the questions, you can catch-up by following this link . Debbie G (moderator of the Yahoo Group, Polish Geniuses) sent me some answers — first a reminder of the questions I am researching …

Research Questions

  1. Was the column labeled ‘Numerus Domus‘ in the Latin Box format of church records required by the Codex Napoleon?
  2. When did house numbers get assigned?
  3. How were numbers assigned?  Did they number starting from the church (I have had that said to me.)? Did they give the lowest numbers to the “most important” members of the parish? Were houses assigned numbers in the order they were built without regard to their sequential location to another house or did they start at 1 and proceed down the street numbering each house, such that consecutive house numbers are next door neighbors?
  4. Were house numbers unique to a single village or to the parish they all belonged?
  5. Why did they stop collecting house numbers in the church records?
  6. Did house numbers get renumbered (if so then when)? I am thinking like, in Detroit around 1920 when many/most homes were renumbered.
  7. If the houses were not renumbered, then is it possible to visit the same house (assuming it still stands) and know it was that house where so-and-so lived?

Answers …

#2 … I have seen house numbers on records as old as late-1600s  [Stanczyk: so this way pre-dates Napoleon and as such also answers #1; In Biechow, prior to Latin Box format, circa 1797 no record of a house # exists].

#3 House numbers were assigned starting with the church and moving outwards OR starting with the first house that was built and numbering each house built after that in sequence. This means you would/will find house # 245 across the street from house #1, and next door to house #59 on one side and house #75 on the other. This type of house numbering system makes it impossible to locate a particular house. Homes and buildings in cities are numbered sequentially however. [Stanczyk: Pity. This precludes me from analyzing next door neighbors by using the house numbers.]

#4 House numbers are unique to the individual village.
#5 “They” did not stop collecting house numbers in the church records. This continues today. [Stanczyk: I meant in the church records. But I think Debbie means yes. Just not in Biechow it seems.]
#6 The only time houses/property were renumbered is  if the house burned down. Then the house rebuilt on that same property was numbered sequentially after the last house built. Example: if the number of the last house built in a village was #364, and house # 34 burned down, then when that house is rebuilt it is numbered 365. [Stanczyk: Perhaps, knowing that larger numbers are newer homes will yields some insight.]
#7 In villages where the houses were numbered as they were built, it is almost impossible to locate a particular house unless it is a very small village. If any or all of the village burned down at any time, the process becomes even more impossible (if that can be).  [Stanczyk:  Debbie went on to crush my hopes of locating a family homestead by various reasons on why the house #'s  may be different or non-existent].

Thank You Debbie G. for sharing your expertise!

More Answers …

I have verified that Biechow does not have house #’s  in the church records prior to  1797 — probably as a result of Austrian partition regulations. In MF# 936660,  I found when Fr. Dominicus Cyranski arrives he starts using what I believe are house #’s (i.e. Sub. No 27). These 1797 Church records are in Latin Paragraph format. The house numbers also appear in MF # 936665 (the Latin Box format) beginning in 1797.

Again let me remind the readers that Biechow (and Pacanow, Swiniary, etc.) are rural so they will do things differently than larger towns or cities. Oddly, I went through MF # 936662 and for the years 1836-1848 there were no  house numbers. But in 1849, the records (which were in Polish paragraph / Napoleonic form), the house numbers make a come back. So I have house numbers in 1849-1852 inclusive. In 1853, they stop again. Now there was an explanation, it appears to be by priest sentiment. In 1848, Father (Fr.) Jozef Stanky [the priest who writes likes a chicken] takes over.  In 1849 he adds house numbers back. In 1852 Fr. Michal Krolikowski shares duties with Fr. Stanky. In 1853 Fr. Michal Krolikowski [priest with the angel like handwriting] decides to stop recording house numbers. So it appears to be specific to the whims of the parish priest.

Also when I was posting about Old Tomasz Leszczynski‘s first wife Julianna  Kordos‘ brith record,  I put an image of her Latin Box church record from 1833 (Swiniary parish) and I noticed it had house #’s (hers was house #40). So the variation can be by priest within a parish or variable by different/adjoining parishes. I think that explains why Debbie G. see one thing and I see another. I am guessing that it differs by partition too (Austrian vs. Russian vs. Prussian). I think it is the differences and freak happenstances that make genealogical research so interesting (and/or frustrating).

I do accept the fact that house numbers exist in a village, irrespective of whether they exist in the church records for that village. Stanczyk is NOT thick skulled!

July 19, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy – Biechow Church Records an Inventory

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

LDS Microfilm – Family History Library (Salt Lake City)

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

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

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

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

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

Urząd Stanu Cywilnego (USC) – Civil Registration Office

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

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

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

PRADZIAD – Poland’s State Archives

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

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

Biechów           rzymskokatolickie         małżeństwa       1875-1905

Biechów           rzymskokatolickie         urodzenia          1875-1905

Biechów           rzymskokatolickie         zgony                1875-1905

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

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

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

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

Kielce – Ecclesiastical Archive

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 18, 2011

Wojtek the World War II Army Bear – Polish Soldiers Mascot

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Wojtek in his Edinburgh Zoo Cage

Many people are still Googling my Blog about Wojtek. I wrote an article about Wojtek being honored with a statue for his WWII heroics. Obviously this bear was much beloved.

Here is a link to a story from 1959 in Przekrój. 1959, nr 723 (15 II) : http://mbc.malopolska.pl/dlibra/doccontent?id=59278&dirids=1 .

The author knew Wojtek personally , tells the story of the famous bear who was the mascot of Polish soldiers (Anders Army) in Iran and Italy. He also ponders whether Wojtek after 13 years will return from Scotland to Poland.

–Stanczyk

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