Archive for ‘History’

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.

January 14, 2012

Poland 1794, The Tempest, & Catherine The Great – #Polish, #Genealogy, #History

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk’s blog has a blog roll that includes the talented, Donna Pointkouski’sWhat’s Past is Prologue”. Her blog’s title is from Shakespeares’ play, “The Tempest”. Today’s article is NOT a paean to her fine works, nor to Shakespeare really though this jester has a fondness for the bard – I know I’ve said that before.

Ok, get out your Shakespeare’s 1st Folio and follow along. You will not have to flip too far. The Tempest is the first play in the tome. Just do it. Donna’s quote (“What’s Past is Prologue”) comes from Act II, Scene 1 and is said by Antonio. Today’s article is about Act I, Scene I and how that scene appears in another case of life imitating art. Never fear this is an historical tale from Russian Poland …

Dateline – Easter Week 1794. Poland has already been partitioned twice, the second time was just last year (1793) following the War of the Second Partition. The Empress of Russia is Ekaterina (Catherine) the Great. This Tsarina seems to have had a ‘soft spot” for the Polish diplomat and it was her seduction of Stanislaw August Poniatowski, whom she had caused to be installed as the last elected King of Poland that brought us to this day. It was Poniatowski’s duplicity in trying to move Poland closer to his lover’s Russian Empire that led to the Four Year Sejm only the Empress did not want Poland to re-arm nor Poland’s help in suppressing Turkish aggressions. So the Sejm left to itself,  enacted the world’s  2nd Democratic Constitution on May 3rd, 1791 which led to the War of the Second Partition and finally the 2nd partition in 1793. Violence begets violence and so we find ourselves here Easter Week 1794.

Tadeusz Kosciuszko emboldened by his success in the American Revolution, leads a successful Insurrection in Krakow, where his heroic charge against the Russian General Tormasov results in the capture of the Russian cannons and defeat for the Russian General and his overly small force. This victory results in the ensuing liberation of Warsaw followed by Wilno. Thereby commencing a killing spree led by a tailor whose name (ironically in English) is Jan Kilinski and also by the Guild of Slaughterers (the fascinating occupations of our ancestors). The Russian Ambassador in Warsaw was able to flee eastward across the Vistula bridges[1] just ahead of the Insurrection.

However, the remainder of the Russian sympathizers who were too slow to follow the Russian Ambassador were summarily tried and hung by the Insurrection Council and/or by angry mobs. Amongst those fleeing, was a certain Hetman named Szymon Kossakowski who was caught trying to escape by boat …

Kossakowski  was caught and hanged under the rather literate inscription, “He who swings will not drown.” [1] .

Now compare that quote to Shakespeare’s text in “The Tempest”, published in the 1st Folio in 1623[2]  (performed prior to that publishing in 1610/1611). Near the end of Act I, Scene I  Gonzalo says, “He’ll be hanged yet, though every drop of water swear against it …[3]  .  That scene also contained more dialog about the loathsome boatswain being hanged rather than drowning.

Now we have arrived at the point of Stanczyk’s thesis. That Poland’s rebels were literate and familiar with Shakespeare’s Tempest. They cleverly used this paraphrase in proper context and it was directed at Poniatowski and of course the hangings left no doubt what would happen to other Russian sympathizers when caught. How do I come to suppose such a thing?

Poniatowski, despite his flaws was linguistically talented and mastered many languages, including English due to his mentorship in Russia by the British Ambassador, Sir Charles Hanbury-Williams, who was responsible for introducing Poniatowski to the Russian Empress[4].  Poniatowski was so enamored of the bard he erected a statue at Lazienki Palace of Shakespeare[5] ! Poniatowski’s brother, Michal Poniatowski (a Polish Primate) committed suicide rather than meet his fate at the hands of the Insurrection Council. So the Primate knew more certainly than most what Kossakowski’s hanging meant to all Russian sympathizers.

The Insurrection was short lived and was put down by the Catherine the Great and her Russian Generals. This historical story is what led to the third Partition of Poland.

However, it appears 171 years was ample time for the 1st Folio to be transported to Poland, translated to Polish and understood and used in appropriate context during a rebellion. So Stanczyk lays the events of Easter Week 1794 squarely at the foot of Stanislaw August Poniatowski, including the rebels literate scholarship, and the resulting third Partition of Poland which made Poland’s borders (not her people or her culture) disappear for 123 years (1795-1918). Poniatowski had to abdicate in 1795 (at the 3rd Partition) and he died 3 years later … in St Petersburg, Russia.

Catherine The Great : Portrait of a Woman

I’ll have you know that today’s article was inspired by my wife, Tereza. She is reading the above named book  by Robert K. Massie and because she knows my interest in and knowledge of matters about Poland and our shared Slavic genealogies, we have had many wonderfully animated conversations about this book she is reading.  It was nice for her to hear another viewpoint and for me to be further informed by Massie’s scholarly work. We both recommend the book to biography/history readers. My wife reads the book as Catherine, and Stanczyk pretends he is Potemkin !!!

;-)

That is my meme for today.

References

[1] Norman Davies, “God’s Playground”, Volume 1,  2005 Revised Edition, pages 406, 407.

[2] Editor, G. Blakemore Evans, “The Riverside Shakespeare”, page 56.

[3] Edited by Cross & Brooke, “Yale Shakespeare, Complete Works”,  2005 Edition, page 1407.

 [4] Robert K. Massie, “Catherine The Great: Portrait Of A Woman”,  2011  1st Edition, page 175.

[5] Czeslaw Milosz, The History of Polish Literature”, page 169.

January 12, 2012

Happy New Year – ???

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Please forgive Stanczyk for an extended leave of absence. Literally, I have been mailing it (er emailing it in). So let me wish everyone a belated Happy New Year, 2012 (appropriate kind of since this is the twelfth day)!

This year I still have a backlog of comments and research to get to.

I missed a few things that I had wished to blog about. Today’s blog was written two days before Christmas (2011) during Waclaw Hawel’s funeral. So please forgive me for such a belated remembrance …

(but this jester could not just let this pass)

Waclaw Hawel  born (ur.) 5 October 1936 –  died (zm.) 18 December 2011

Vaclav Hawel

Seldom do the deaths of leaders abroad touch upon the American psyche. Certainly the death the year before, 10 April 2010, of the Polish President Lech Kaczynski and many of the Polish leadership who died ironically attempting to reach Russia to commemorate Katyn.  It only reached those of the  Polish American intelligentsia and there but briefly.

To be sure when the much beloved Princess Diana perished in the Parisian car wreck or when the Blessed Pope John Paul II died in Rome, America wept and grieved in a prolonged period of mourning.

For Saddam Hussein, there was nothing but contempt and a distant, removed interest in whether a hanged dictator soiled his clothing at the moment of death. This year, the heroic, action-justice drama of killing bin Laden drew a strong response of pent-up justice delayed and spontaneous joy in the American streets at its long last rendering. But that was short lived. The many spelled Libyan madman, Khadaffi barely registered any interest in his You-Tube video death and even the Hague seemed uninterested in the manner of death. The North-Korean tyrant Kim Jong Il died this week and again America’s disinterest was palpable – though the choreographed grief seemed to  reach the starving North Koreans. It was however quipped that the Wicked & Evil Convention in Hell This Year will have a longer than usual “Memorial Reel”.

However, Waclaw Havel even though his death happened simultaneously with the nuclear armed Korean tyrant, there is a growing swell of recognition for the Czech. Perhaps less than Princess Diana or Blessed Pope John Paul II – but his diverse talent as a literati seems to have lifted this world leader to some prominence here in the USA.

Theaters in Philadelphia are performing his absurdest works. Obvious this author is chronicling his impact in death and contrasting his death with others on some kind of cosmic scale. Others too, in fact  Harper’s Magazine, December 2011 issue, on page 94 in the article, “Speakeasy” there was a mention of Hawel’s “literocracy” and an interesting comparison to Hemingway/post-WWI-Paris. Let the Waclaw Hawel meme live .. on !

There is no doubt that Waclaw Hawel and his “Velvet Revolution” are linked with Lech Walesa / Solidarność, or Blessed Pope John Paul II for their role in opposing tyranny and bringing about an end to European Totalitarianism that had lingered on for far too long after World War II. So as each of these giants of the Greatest Generation pass it is a mix of sadness for their passing and celebration  for their efforts  lifting us out of oppression and restoring our freedoms. Still most Americans will not know of Waclaw Hawel as the Czech Republic President and/or playwrite/author and wonder at Europe’s huge outpouring of grief – but his passing is noted and his greatness is remarked upon and undeniably he left the world a better place for his efforts and his having lived.

So Waclaw Hawel it is fitting that the cosmic scale finds you a weighty, worthy soul. May God rest and lighten your immortal soul!

–Stanczyk

Next … Pacanow Marriage Stats

December 7, 2011

Pearl Harbor – A Day That Will Live In Infamy – #History, #Genealogy, #Family

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Today is the 70th Anniversary of the day Pearl Harbor was Sneak Attacked by the Japanese — that caused the USA to officially enter into World War II.

Most of the Greatest Generation of Americans would be 83 years old or older — my own father is now 85 (center, front Navy man). It is just him and my uncle Ted (back, left Army man) who remain alive now.

How fortunate for my Busia, that her four sons returned to her (in Detroit) alive. My uncle Joe (2nd from left in back Army) was stationed in Hawaii after Pearl Harbor was attacked. My uncle Steve (left-most, front Navy man) joined Joe there in Hawaii briefly for a war time reunion / shore leave.

From 1941 to 1945, receiving a telegram was something to dread. My grand-aunt, Antonina (Toledo) awaited her four sons too. God Bless my family, but eight men returned from the war safely to resume their lives. Alas, for Antonina and her ailing heart, receiving a telegram about one her sons was too much for her sickly heart and though her sons survived the war, she did not survive that telegram bringing news from the war.

In my wife’s family her uncle Milton, a 2nd Lt. in the Army is buried at Arlington National Cemetery (he had survived WWII too). Her own father had finished his service to country in the Philadelphia Naval Shipyards — just two weeks. He died from that service. He contracted mesothelioma (asbestos poisoning) from his final two weeks — but was fortunate enough to raise a family before succumbing 42 years later to this hidden War-time scourge.

Detroit was the Arsenal of Democracy, shifting from cars to tanks/planes. Many people do not realize that population shift that war caused. A Huge migration from the South swelled the population of Detroit as workers were required to keep the factories running 24x7x365. I still remember eating Southern “cuisine” in diners in the greater Detroit area decades after the war.

Back East, the Shipyards were busy building the warships with their armaments. The USS Dixie (AD-14), Tender Destroyer that my own father served on was built right here in Philadelphia (launched on 27 May 1939) — probably in that Navy Ship Yard. A far cry from that 1913 September day that my grandmother arrived in Philadelphia. How funny for a Midwestern boy, that Philadelphia would be where my grandmother arrived, where my father’s WWII ship was made and where I would wind up living and raising a family with my Philly girl.

Before, I started genealogy 15-16 years ago, I did not know my grandmother arrived in Phillly (we thought Ellis Island like my grandfather and so many others). I did not know that ship my father served on was built here. I had not even moved to Philly yet. Destiny draws you to these places and then you discover that the history of your family preceded you. Full circle.

Remember the Day of Infamy (70 years ago) !    Remember 9/11/2001 too, now ten years ago.  Family History Marches on.

December 1, 2011

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

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 17, 2011

Feliks Elijasz, Roman Catholic Shoemaker – Found in Fold3.com Free WWII database

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk wants to tell you, my faithful readers, a story of Remembrance. This is a fitting tale, since it came from Fold3’s providing free access to its WWII databases for Veterans Day (also known as Remembrance Day or Armistice Day). It is the story of Feliks Elijasz, a Catholic Shoemaker from Warsaw, Poland. Feliks shares a last name with Stanczyk’s family, but there is no evidence that Feliks is an ancestor. This story is derived from an historical form (see the end of this article). This story is also another case of cognitive resonance, due to its connection to my wife and a friend she made a while ago and this woman who gave moja zona some significant historical photos earlier this week (just copies, not the originals).

Feliks Elijasz, was a Shoemaker (and as I said a Catholic). Feliks was born the 17th-November-1896 in Warsaw. At the time of this form’s creation, Feliks was living in Warsaw, on Okopowa 30 ( a street address). Warsaw was in occupied Poland at the time. His parents were Wiktor Elijasz (also a shoemaker in Warsaw) and Paulina Elijasz (nee Szczigolska), with whom he lived. Feliks was married to Janina Elijasz (nee Woclarksa). He and his wife had at least one child (20 years old). Feliks was an infantryman in the Polish Army from 1920 to 1921. [Since that is after World War I, it is probable that Feliks fought the Russian Bolsheviks in the border war of that time period.]

Feliks had the bad sense to do something for which he was arrested in Warsaw, on the 10th-August-1944. He was admitted to prison in Krakow, on the 13th-August-1944. Feliks died while incarcerated on the 2nd-March-1945. That is horrible! The horror is further compounded because that prison camp was liberated  just a month later on the 11th-April-1945. The prison camp was Buchenwald!!! The form is from the Buchenwald Camp documents, called, “Camp Records – Inmate Cards“, page 2177.  There a few other details (describing Feliks’ appearance, etc.). The file was discontinued, on the 16th-March-1945. So this entire remembrance was constructed by careful extraction from the historical document — which provided a treasure trove of detail to remember Feliks by.

Now the Cognitive Resonance part is about Buchenwald. Not two days earlier, my wife was given pages of photographs of the Dachau Trials (held at the same time as the more famous Nuremberg Trials). The pictures were of the prosecuted Nazis, the American Liberators, the witnesses, courtrooms, etc. I was able to identify the pictures as from the Dachau Trials, as there were other pictures taken (and published on the Internet) and the windows, light fixtures, room decor, etc, matched EXACTLY. These pictures were taken by a  Norristown, PA soldier (who has since passed). His pictures did NOT contain, the infamous, “Witch of Buchenwald” who was prosecuted at the Dachau Trials (and convicted), but the other pictures that I matched these newly discovered historical pictures to, did, contain, Ilse Koch (the Witch of Buchenwald, amongst other  appellations). Ilse Koch was the wife of the Buchenwald Commandant (Karl Otto Koch).

For the record my wife, has contacted the Shoah Foundation about this woman who has the original historical pictures that her father took in Dachau in 1945. So these pictures will be recorded/preserved for posterity by professionals. We did not handle the originals,  merely copies that the woman had given to my wife. I know the new pictures are from Dachau Trials, because the soldier signed the back of one picture with his name and his location (Dachau). He was the soldier who was assigned to photograph the proceedings (I do not know/think he was the only photographer) and he was also required to witness the death sentences carried out on at least  three different individuals (two of the Nazis for which it appears he has something akin to funeral cards for and Claus Karl Schilling, the camp doctor whom the soldier mentioned witnessing his death). That soldier/photographer was Carmen Frangiosa a man who witnessed and photographed history.

The Inmate Card of Feliks Elijasz …

November 10, 2011

Marine Corps – The US Marine Corps was born Today 10-November-1775

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

 Happy Birthday US Marine Corps. You do not look 236 years old. The Marines were born here in Philadelphia, PA ! The Marines were born 10-November-1775 @Tun_Tavern, Phialdelphia, PA.

Tun Tavern was a significant meeting place for other groups as well. In 1756, Benjamin Franklin used the tavern as a recruitment/gathering point for the Pennsylvania militia. The tavern later hosted a meeting of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, & the Continental Congress.

The US Marine Corps has an Illustrious History. Their motto is: Semper Fidelis, which  is Latin for “Always Faithful”. So when you hear their rallying cry (or welcoming shout), “Semper Fi”, now you know what they mean.

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!

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