Archive for ‘History’

July 18, 2011

#Polish, #Jewish, #Genealogical Research – Church Census

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Perhaps you sneaked a peak at some new pages I recently created. My blog stats indicate that is so. So you may have witnessed the data for this story. But lets take a step back  for a moment.

In Poland, most Gminas or Powiats or large cities (ex. Warsaw) have a website, much like our cities or counties in the USA. These are the basic administrative units: Gminas make up Powiats which make up Voivodeships . Comparable to Townships(Boroughs) -> Counties -> States in the USA. So an understanding of these units of administration and their historical changes is fundamental to tracing your genealogy. Like us, they also have a history and their history is long, VERY LONNNNG in duration. In Poland, the Church is also an organizing presence and like here, they have parishes, deaconates, and dioceses. These too have very long histories. Understanding these units of administration, both civil and ecclesiastical can aid you in finding records to research. So this long preamble leads to my next useful website, which is quite specific to the locale of my ancestral villages  and what you need to do is to find the one that corresponds to your ancestral village and do likewise. Mine is:

http://pacanow.tbu.pl/pa_online/tradycja/index2.html

So grab your Google Translator and follow along, please. Pacanow Gmina is the organizing unit for most of my ancestral villages (and the neighboring gminas cover the remainder). The above link (on a  line by itself) is an older web page that I have kept for years and it is now becoming buried in the official government page that is useful to residents. This page is useful to historians and family history researchers. It covers the history and tradition of both the civil and the ecclesiastical (i.e. parish) histories. Why do I or you care about these fine histories that a local historical society has produced — well if you have been a genealogist for a while you know that Historical Societies are the genealogist’s best friends. They have collected and preserved much of value that will further aid in our family history research. And so it is here. Pacanow is both a parish/deaconate (thus the ecclesiatical) and the civil gmina so they have both histories. From their pages, I have culled Church Censuses for this area covering circa 1340 through 1787 (not continuous, but snaphots at various times) that their local historians researched from church records. So on my Parish Census page is my resulting spreadsheet from a couple of their mages. These are statistical summaries, not individual records. So to be clear I am not talking about a Spis Ludnosci which contains a family and its names for generations in a parish. May we all be so lucky to find such in our individual researches.

Years – 1340, 1618, 1664, 1699, 1747/48, 1782/82, 1787

These are early years. In Biechow, one the parishes these censuses mention, my actual church records that LDS have microfilmed only go back to 1674-1675, then nothing until some deaths from 1697-1743. I have looked at these microfilm and the records are sparse (and in Latin). That being said, these censuses now allow me to evaluate what I have “detailed” records for. From the 1747/48 census I can see how Biechow has many more females than males. That explains why I can see men have many second wives (no doubt after their 1st wives die in child-birth or from the rigors of life with many children) to often much younger wives who can bear the man still more children. I have to wonder at the sizes of the homes. Even with the astonishing infant/child mortality rates of this era, families are large. Deaths are overwhelmingly people under 18 with the usual percentage of deaths for mature adults only a small percentage of the overall total. Populations are growing since the births outnumber the deaths, slightly.

All of these years are before the partitions  of Poland, except for the last two censuses (which come after the first partition of 1772). Now this last census(1787) is interesting for another reason. There was a census of Jews by parish. Now we cannot expect that the Jewish peoples attended the churches and the year 1787 was prior to the 1810-1830 years when the Catholic Church was also required to be the civil registrar and the Jews needed to register their births and marriages with the Catholic Church priest who was also the civil registrar. Like New Orleans which organizes its administrations by parishes, these early/rural parishes acted also as civil units of administration and collected censuses. The overall percentage across all parishes, was that Jewish peoples were about 6.44% of the total population. In Biechow, I see the percentage was 2.6% and that fairly closely matches the rates of Jewish records I see in the overall births from the years 1810-1830  in the Biechow parish church register.

Now that gives us a window into the first partition of Poland. Even though Stanczyk writes of Biechow/Pacanow being in the Russian-Poland partition, this early era was pre-Napoleon and these parishes were in the Krakow voivoide and Stopnica powiat, which were controlled by Austria  (more properly the Austrian-Hungarian Empire). At any rate, in the interest of the Blessed Pope John Paul II and his ecumenical efforts and to honor my own Jewish wife, I have included the Jewish census numbers here with the Catholic numbers to aid the Jewish researchers in their quest. I have collected some records in the early 1810′s that were in Biechow, since I noticed the JewishGen and JRI have not indexed Biechow. Now you know why. There were only 2.4% of the total population and  those scant numbers may have gone unnoticed so far by researchers. I would encourage JRI/JewishGen to take a look at my Parish Census blog page (in reality on Rootsweb).

Well this posting is too heavy on numbers and too slight on story, so let me end it here for today.

–Stanczyk

P.S. I am glad I put their numbers into a spreadsheet. I did find they had numerical errors (one total) and also an editing error, as the total for Jews was 1,000 more than the 821 they showed, thus they dropped the leading ’1′ by some editorial typo. A spreadsheet quickly caught those errors.

July 16, 2011

House Numbers – Numerus Domus – Domu Jego Pod Numerem

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk has been looking at house numbers like he is a postal worker delivering mail. These numbers have led my rather numerate mind to a new musing …

I have noticed that the Catholic Church (let me be precise/narrow, but perhaps it has wider usage) in the Russian-Poland areas, during the years 1797-1825 recorded house numbers (aka Numerus Domus -or- Domu iego pod numerem) in their records. So I am trying to tease some further knowledge from my data by analyzing these house numbers, but I have questions that need research. So here is my laundry list of questions that I will investigate and perhaps by crowd-sourcing / internet collaborating I hope that I can also receive some answers via comments or emails.

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?

Folklore About Houses or their Doors

There was a tradition in Southern Poland whereby at Christmas time, the people would inscribe the lintel above the door, with the names or initials of the three wise men from the Bible:

Gaspar(Kasper), Melchior, and Balthazar (were the wise men’s names by tradition — their names do not appear in the Bible).

Does anyone know this Christmas tradition or why Poles did such a thing ?

Does anyone know any other door or address traditions from Poland ?

Stanczyk

From Polish paragraph form during 1797-1825 years

July 15, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy – #Gazetteers and Other Similar Resources

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

Here’s an  list of excellent  Gazetteers:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are a couple of more resources…

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

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

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

July 14, 2011

#Jewish #Genealogy – An Homage to Moja żona

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

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

[ source: LDS microfilm # 936660]

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

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

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

#68 Zelmanowiczowna, Rywka (baby)

#91 Faycer, Jasek (baby)

#96 Menkierowna, Bela (baby)

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

#26 Wulfowna, Chaja

#36 Fisolowna, Faytsia

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

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

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

Stanczyk

July 11, 2011

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

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For those who do not read Russian …

Biechow October  5/17 th day 1885 th year

Father Michal Krolikowski

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

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

July 10, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy – A Noble Birth in Biechow 1674

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

11th-July-1674 Birth of Maryanna Niedzwiedz

Stanczyk was combing through dusty tomes again. Cough, Cough — excuse me.

This picture is from my cell phone. It is the earliest noble birth I have found for the village of Biechow (near Pacanow in the old wojewodztwo of Kielce). Let me humbly offer the translation (from Latin) …

Jozef Wałcerz, Biechow parish priest, baptized Maryanna, daughter of the Nobleman Jan Gaspar Niedzwiedzki & Agnes of Biechow. Her God Parents both were of noble birth were  Jerzy Paczakowski of Słupia and Ewa Pawłowska of Sobowice. [regrettably I was not able to read Jerzy/George's job/title].

In a fit of boredom I decided to do some cross-research for verification. Previously, I have mentioned the digital libraries in various regions of Poland. So…

From The SwietoKrzyskie Digital Library, in the book,
Historical Description of Churches, Cities, Monuments, & Memorials of Stopnica“,
written by Jan Wisniewska in 1929, see pages 20 and 28 (in Polish):

A Father Jozef Walcerz pastor of Biechow, tithe of/to Pacanow, started his work in
1671 and worked until 1693. In 1672,  Fr. Walcerz fixed half of the church  roof, the bell tower,
and  the chancel floors and repaired the graveyard chapel damaged by a hailstorm.

So indeed, my ability to read priestly Latin handwriting from 1674 is fairly accurate (assuming my ability to translate early 20th century Polish is acceptable). The 1929 book does not put a slashed ‘l’ in Walcerz, but the priest himself did use the, ‘ł’ as the image above shows. At least, I verified the priest. Can anyone verify the nobelman(Nobilium) or the two noble born (generosa) god parents from this church record?

The Church book is from 1674-1675, so I am certain of the date. This was not from ‘Martius’, because on the facing page, this record and others were under the heading, ‘Julius’. The page tops were labeled with 1674. The heading of the record indicates ‘the 11th day in the morning’. The numbers in this tome do indeed range from 1 to 31, so this is indeed the day number and not the hour of the day.

Anyone related to Jan Gaspar/Kasper Niedzwiedzki or his wife Agnes of Biechow or their daughter Maryanna? Send me a note and let me know. Have a blessed Sunday.

–Stanczyk

Post Scriptum

The digital book cited above listed the following parishes, for which you can find these descriptions and lists of priests. The parishes in bold are connected to my genealogy:
Balice , Beszowa , Biechów ,  Busko , Chmielnik, Dobrowoda , Drugnia , Gnojno , Janina , Kargów , Koniemłoty , Kotuszów , Książnice , Kurozwęki , Lisów , Oleśnica , Ostrowce , Pacanów , Piasek Wielki , Pierzchnica , Piotrkowice , Potok , Sędziejowice , Solec , Stopnica , Strożyska , Szaniec , Szczaworyż , Szczebrzusz , Szydłów (woj. świętokrzyskie) , Świniary , Tuczępy , Widuchowa , and  Zborówek

July 7, 2011

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

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pacanow (parish) – Pacanow, Zabiec, Kwasow

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

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

July 6, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy – Gazetteer: Skorowidz Meijscowosci …

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

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

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

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

July 4, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy – Historical Dziennik Polski (Detroit) Newspaper

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk wishes all Americans a Happy Fourth Of July !

I just wanted to update my readers that my page on the Dziennik Polski (Detroit, MI) Newspaper has been updated to include a new repository: PARI – Polonica Americana Research Institute on Orchard Lake, St Mary’s campus, whose Director is the well known Ceil Wendt Jensen (who has ancestors from Stanczyk’s ancestral village, Pacanow).

Their holdings are 1904-1920 on microfilm and 1930′s-? in bundles of actual newspapers.

Mój pies (my dog), Java wants everyone to keep their dog safe today and not to lose your dogs due to the fireworks and the fright they cause in dog’s sensitive ears.

July 2, 2011

#History – 4th of July Holiday – Reading of Declaration of Independence

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Independece Hall Philadelphia

education use from http://etc.usf.edu/clipart

Stanczyk was not born in Philadelphia, but moved here over two decades ago. But I really love the city of Brotherly Love. I like to call it the cradle of American civilization and we are the keystone state because of our position within the original 13 colonies.

One of the reasons I love Philadelphia is its oldness (relative to America — not the rest of the world). I like to play tourist in my adopted home town. So I have seen the celebrated points of the colonial history of our town. Now we are on the verge of another 4th of July and that means the Welcome America celebration which seems to get longer every year (is it two weeks long now?) and with good reason for all of the special events (fireworks, concerts, liberty medals, etc.) that occur.

But let Stanczyk clue you in on a free activity for you and your kids that makes you feel a part of America’s past. Do not just visit the Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell / Visitor center, the Constitution Center and the recently opened National Museum of American Jewish History. These plus all things Ben Franklin, Betsy Ross, Elfreth Alley, are worthy ventures (take a carriage ride to get a lay of the land — Stanczyk’s favorite). One event Stanczyk stumbled upon was the Historical re-enactment of the reading of the Declaration of Independence. This happens 4 days later (July 8th). It will be in the courtyard behind Independence Hall. Free for all wandering through. It gives your family a real sense of the American narrative and allows you to pretend you were there at the inception of this grand experiment ! Buy the kids a copy of the Declaration and/or Constitution this is what the Independence Holiday is all about. The National Archives in Washington D.C. has an original document that you can visit.

Declaration of Independence

July 2, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy – Library Of Congress Chronicling America

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk was reading the Genealogical Society of PA email/newsletter. They were talking about the Library of Congress’ (LOC)  Chronicling America program. This program is about saving/collecting/digitizing Historical US Newspapers, including Ethnic Language (i.e. Polish) newspapers.

Casual readers of Stanczyk will realize that I favor using Historical newspapers to fill in gaps or to provide context in your family history. My own ojciec (father) told me about an ethnic newspaper (Dziennik Polski) that his mother used to read daily in Detroit. That was over a meal the night before Stanczyk was going to the state of Michigan’s Library & Archives and I had plans to read microfilm of Dziennik Polski. So, on the basis of this kismet I searched Dziennik Polski and the first time I searched, I found my grandmother listed as a mother giving birth to a baby boy (my uncle Ted) and it listed the address where my grandparents lived so I was able to confirm it was my family. Thereafter, I was hooked on Historical newspapers.

At any rate, I digress (but I hope I have motivated you to look). Stanczyk’s own Dziennik Polski (Detroit) newspaper page came from the LOC’s Chronicling America program and adding their info to my own research to create my Rootsweb page. That is specific to just the Dziennik Polski (Detroit) newspaper (with a small mention to other MI Polish language newspapers). But today I searched the LOC for Polish Language newspapers in the LOC and my results are below:

American Historical Polish Language US Newspapers in LOC – http://t.co/CeEjpWv

Happy and Blessed 4th of July everyone !

June 27, 2011

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

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

Take a look and see what you find …

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

Let me know what you find!

June 22, 2011

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

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

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

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

June 18, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy: Rummaging Through Genealogy Indexer

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

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

June 17, 2011

Genealogy Indexer – Historical Polish City Directories

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

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

So I selected the second link (1930 above).

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

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

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

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

June 15, 2011

Polish Genealogy – Useful Websites …

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

TwitterTwitter – @gindexer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Tomorrow: An example of my genealogyindexer findings…

June 13, 2011

Chess & Chess Champions

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Fischer-Spassky 6

It has been a woefully long time since this jester has had eyes for the chessboard other than an occaisional romp with moja żona. So Stanczyk is ashamed that while reading the New York Times newspaper, I found out that the World Chess Champion is Viswanathan Anand (2007-current). Anand is an Indian Grandmaster and as my math informs me has been World Champion for four years (this September). When the Chess Championship was split, he also held the FIDE Championship in 2000-2002. Now I  admit I was stunned by this !

In Stanczyk’s lifetime the World Chess Champion has always been Russian/Soviet, with a brief respite for American Bobby Fischer (1972-1975). In fact, before Anand & Fischer, the last non-Russian Champion was Max Euwe (Netherlands)  1935-1937. Since 1886 when they began recording a World Chess Champion, there have only been 15 Champions across that 125 years span. So for the last four years, Stanczyk has been oblivious. Indeed, my mind’s eye still was set back in the Gary Kasparov years. So it is like I am awaking from a decade long coma to find out who the new World Chess Champion is.

The World Chess Championship is played every other year. So 2012 is the next match for the World Championship. Oddly, where the World Chess Championship will be played will not be decided until  June 30th 2011. We do know who will be competing for thte title. It will be Anand and Israeli Boris Gelfand. The Chess Clock is ticking … where will the next championship be? What is sure is that 2012 will definitely see yet again, another non-Russian World Chess Champion.

Longest reigning Champion was Emanuel Lasker, at an astounding 28 years.  The complete list of Champions:

June 10, 2011

Dziennik Polski (Detroit) – Historical Daily Newspaper

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

If you are a loyal reader of Stanczyk’s then you must be aware of the penchant for ethnic newspapers; In particular for Polish language ethnic newspapers. I like using Historical newspapers to fill-in otherwise missing info or spots in my research where there are gaps and no other viable resource to turn to.

They used to say, “Everyone gets in the newspaper three times (if you are lucky): birth announcement, marriage announcement and death notice.”. If you are {un}lucky then perhaps you will also have other magazine or newspaper articles written about you too.

Well Stanczyk has a page dedicated to the places where you can research the Dziennik Polski (Polish Daily) of Detroit, MI. The Dziennik Polski page list the archives where you can read/research your family history. Now this jester needs to add in some more info from Orchard Lakes, St. Mary, MI. They host a program on their campus called, “Polonica Americanna Research Institue” (PARI). Ceil Wendt Jensen, the Director of PARI at Polish Mission has informed me that they are another source of Dziennik Polski (Detroit) newspapers. They have both bound copies (from the 1930′s and forward) and microfilm from 1904-1920 [they are still completing their inventory of microfilm], but that range is close.

So look for this jester to make a visit to their campus sometime this year and see for himself what is happening at PARI. Look for an update after my visit. Also look for an update to my Dziennik Polski web page with the updated info when I have verified the findings.

Oh, one more thing, loyal readers, please consider answering the call in  their “Friend of Polish Mission Membership Drive”. Their membership form is here.

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