Archive for ‘Ship Manifests’

April 7, 2014

Haller’s Army – Returning Vets … A New Ship Is Discovered — #Polish #Genealogy

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Dateline 06-April-2014  — Stanczyk has found many of my great-grandfather’s grandsons came to the USA. Tomasz Leszczynski was good for this country. More of his children (sons & daughters) came to the USA and more grandsons came to the USA than I had previously known. You see my great-grandfather, Tomasz Leszczynski had 16 children by two wives from the years 1857 … 1902, across 45 years his two wives bore him 16 children. Even more amazing, only three of my great-grandfather’s children had perished before my grandmother herself was born (the eldest child of the second wife). It should be noted that routinely 25%-50% of the children in that locale, in those years died before puberty. Sometimes the ratio was higher still such as in times epidemics (i.e. cholera). Even more amazing, all of my great-grandfather’s children with his second wife, Aniela Major Leszczynska, survived including my grandmother – whose grandson pens these family stories and recalls these times from before the US Civil War until the present. God had certainly blessed Tomasz Leszczynski and Tomasz’s years were numbered to 104 years of age. All agree in the USA as to the length of his lifespan across the many families descended from this one man. Alas, the great lifespan has been a hinderance to me (his great-grandson) who tries to write the family history and I have not yet found the year of his birth, the year/place of his first marriage (to Julianna Kordos Leszczynska) and I have not found his death date/place either. The 104 year span covered from about 1832-1945 — yes, yes, I know that span is 113 years. But you see I do not know which 104 year span in that range is the life span of Tomasz Leszczynski. I hope to visit Poland and gather his death certificate and put certainty to the end of his lifespan and put  an anchor in the estimate of the year of his birth. I now have a very good timeline of info about my great-grandfather’s life and the whereabouts of his children and most of his grandchildren too.

That over long pre-amble is to note that GenBaza with their online database: metryki.genbaza.pl that I have written so often of in 2014 has been a great source for my family heritage and I owe a debt of gratitude to genebaza.pl and genealodzy.pl too. It is from this database that I have located many of my great-grandfather’s children getting married and having children of their own! It is from this and my meticulous recording of these facts in my family tree on Ancestry.com that I have located new records in the USA of my great-grandfather’s descendants. I had no idea. I assume that my Polish-American heritage is similar to the vast majority of Polish-Americans. My family arrived, mostly at Ellis Island, and they originally put down roots for their American families in the Great-Lake States of the USA: New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio,  Michigan dominate, although I have seen bits and pieces in Indiana, Illinois and Minnesota too! Now a days the family has migrated further in the USA and I will not attempt to enumerate all of the states — suffice it to say that we stretch from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

Now we approach the point of this blog article. I have been busy with the Immigration records in Ancestry.com after recording the new finds from GenBaza.pl and was surprised by how many of my great-grandfather’s line had left Poland. This surprise led to a lot of scanning ship manifests for the the somewhat common name: Leszczynski.

Well I landed on a ship manifest of a French Ship landing in New York City. The year was 1919 and I did not giver any particular credence to the year other than I could expect more details in the ship manifests (than say those ship manifests from 1906 and earlier). So as I was reading for a possible ancestor, I noted that a good many men had fought in the Polish Army (or the French Army) and that the majority were Polish names. So it is my assertion that I have discovered a new ship with only a scattering of returning Haller’s Army personnel (listed as both Polish Army and/or French Army). Only a handful of pages, although I am sure there were a good bit more manifests with only one or two soldiers listed among the 30 passengers per page. But below you will find four pages that were almost all or mostly all returning soldiers from WWI.

The late date is not unusual for Polish veterans as many in Haller’s Army stayed past the end of WWI and continued the fight against the Bolsheviks  of Russia in the aftermath of WWI. I also learned something new. I had known that the Polish-Americans who signed up to fight in French-Army under General Jozef Haller had trained in Canada. But I had never considered that a good many French-Canadians had trained in Canada too to fight in the French Army. There are a sprinkling of these French-Canadians mixed in too. These French-Canadian soldiers are “In Transit” as they are continuing on to Canada.

Here are the brief details of this new ship delivering Haller’s Army and possibly a few just French Army who may or may not have served under Jozef Haller:

 

SS: La Tourane            Port: La Havre     Arrival Date: 25-APRIL-1919

URLS [require Ancestry.com access]:

List 2 (image 346 of 827) 

List 3

List 4

List 5

 

Previously Blogs, I Have Written About Haller’s Army:

24 Mar 2014 – Newspapers.com – #Genealogy, #Polish, #HistoricalNewspapers

25 Apr 2013 – The Last Pandemic … 1918 — #Genealogy, #Polish, #War

11 May 2012 – Kedzierski/Kendzierski TimeLine — #Polish, #Genealogy, #Timeline

13, 14, 17 Aug 2011 –  [3 parts series on Haller's Army & the Transport Ships] – Returning Soldiers

NOTE: In the three part series, I have posted the link to middle article which had the other transport ships previously known. You can go forward/backward from the middle article to see the other two articles in series.

 

 

 

September 15, 2013

100th Anniversary of My Busia in America — 15-Sep-1913 — 15-Sep-2013

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

PrinzAdalbert

SS Prinz Adalbert

100 years ago today my paternal grandmother Walerya Leszczynska Eliasz came to the USA with my four year old aunt Aleksandra (Alice) in tow on the SS Prinz Adalbert.  She arrived in Philadelphia (for some unknown reason) and went to Buffalo to join my grandfather, Jozef and her two brothers and a sister. She arrived on the SS Prinz Adalbert from Hamburg, Germany (port) and her last residence was Pacanow.

So it is safe to say that Stanczyk would not be here today if Walerya had not come to the USA when she did.

 

SEE other related posts …

Philadelphia Inquirer 9/15/1913

Philadelphia Inquirer 9/15/1913

Philadelphia Inquirer of 15 September 1913 -

The Ship manifest was also very helpful with its markings that indicated citizenship papers and also showing she came from her father (Tomasz in Pacanow) to her husband (Jozefin Depew, NY).

The Depew, NY address was actually her brother Teofil’s address.  According to my aunt Bernice,  my Busia’s brothers had to go get my grandfather (whom I assume was working in Detroit). My grandparents were reunited in Depew and I have their century old photo in an antique oval/bubble frame with “1913” inscribed on the back. It must have been a happy reunion, because my aunt Kitty was born in 1914 in Depew.

PrinzAdalbert_19130915

Ship Manifest of Waleria & Alexandra Elias [sic]

March 9, 2013

Niagara Falls Gazette – 1937 — #Genealogy, #Newspaper

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Today’s blog is an intersection of some prior Social Network Analysis (aka Cluster Genealogy) and  EOGN‘s mention of FultonHistory.com (the website of Historic Newspapers). Stanczyk, waaay back discovered FultonHistory.com – An Historical Newspaper  (mostly NY) website. I was not aware that the owner (Tom Tryniski) was still adding content and that the content had grown to about 21.8 million pages, rivaling the Library of Congress’s efforts of digitized newspapers.  Each scan is a single page PDF document that is zoomable.

19370119_ZasuchaAndrew_deathNoticeSo  the idea presented itself, why not see if any ZASUCHA in Niagara Falls can be located in those 21.8 million scanned pages. I am happy to report a very good success. Take a look at the image. It is from Tuesday, January 19th, 1937 edition of the Niagara Falls Gazette. [You will need to click to read death notices - Jacobs, Geraud, Kochan, Laydon, Mahoney, Morrison and ZASUCHA].

Now I said this was a part of a long standing (i.e. “incomplete”) SNA project of mine. I am trying to do ELIASZ/ELIJASZ research by analyzing the affiliated families in the ELIASZ Social Network in Biechow/Pacanow (Poland) and Detroit/Toledo/Cleveland/Buffalo/Niagara Falls/Syracuse (USA).  My thesis is that all of these people are closely inter-related from Poland and they continued/extended their villages in the USA.

So by following these “genetic markers” (literally) of my family tree, the affiliated families, that I would be led to new facts about my direct lineage and possibly artifacts (pictures, etc.) of my ancestors. I was also hoping to lure my distant 2nd/3rd/4th cousins to me via this blog and my research in hopes of a second bump beyond my circumstantial info of the SNA. You see they would see their family names and realize the connection and we would be able to do that genealogy swapping of intelligence and/or pictures and documents.

First, an aside [skip ahead to next paragraph if you are not a ZASUCHA], the death notice transcription:

ZASUCHA – Died in Mount St Mary’s hospital, January 19, 1937, Andrew Zasucha, beloved husband of Catherine, father of Helen and Joseph, son of Martin in Poland; brother of Roman of this city. Funeral services at 9:30 Thursday, January 21, from his home, 423 Eighteenth street and 10 o’clock in Holy Trinity church. Burial at Holy Trinity cemetery.

That is some excellent genealogy info there for Andrew Zasucha of Niagara Falls who was born in Pacanow, [old wojewodztwo Kielce], Poland !

Now I am spending many hours in Ancestry/Ellis Island ship manifests, Ancestry city directories, censuses, WWI draft registrations,  etc. and now historic NY newspaper scans. I am matching people up (my nodes in the picture) and drawing lines connecting the people(nodes) to other people. I have to take some care to get the nodes right in order to draw inferences, so I tend to a conservative approach of keeping nodes separate until I have a high degree of certainty they are the same node. I use spreadsheets to collect a timeline of data and then match up people before drawing the picture. This is my SNA methodology.

I did this current project because I noticed that my grand-aunt Mary arrived to my grand-uncle John Eliasz and were in Niagara Falls (not Buffalo/Depew like most and not Detroit). I was always puzzled about why Niagara Falls. Who or What drew them there (Niagara Falls) before their sojourn to Detroit? Now grand-aunt Mary came from Ksiaznice in Pacanow parish from her brother-in-law Jan Leszczynski to her brother Jan Eliasz in Niagara Falls in 1910. All of these facts matched my family tree (except for the Niagara Falls which nobody alive had any memory of anyone living there). None the less, I slavishly recorded the address: 235 11th Street, Niagara Falls, NY.

Now let me digress. This is why I want the PLAC tag in GEDCOM to be elevated to a Level 1 tag. I want to do these analyses in my family tree. I want to find people who shared the same/similar places for family events and see if there is any connection that I am not aware of — i.e. SNA (aka Cluster Genealogy). I need it in the genealogy file and I need reports to allow me to search on place and to conform these places into a hiearchy for analysis.

Fortunately, Stanczyk still has a good memory. I was gathering data about: Zasucha, Zdziebko, Zwolski, Hajek, Leszczynski, Eliasz/Elijasz, etc. These are all families found in Pacanow parish who came to the USA and settled in: Buffalo/Depew, Niagara Falls, Syracuse, some moving onward to Cleveland, Toledo and my grandparents moving onward further from Toledo to Detroit. When I was recording addresses from the city directories, I noticed a few Zasucha being at the 235 11th street address. That address rang a bell in my memory and I went back through my family’s ship manifests to see who had been at that same address. That is when I saw that my grand-aunt and my grand-uncle had been there. So now I had a thesis that any ZASUCHA at 235 11th street the surrounding environs, would close family to my grand-aunt/grand-uncle and be direct ancestors of ANNA ZASUCHA, my great-great-grandmother, wife of MARTIN ELIASZ of Pacanow. In fact, I am pretty certain now that I have gotten this far in my SNA, that ANNA ZASUCHA had a brother(s) who had sons:   Martin,   Adam,    Josef,    Jan.  These four men had children as follows who came to Niagara Falls:

Martin (father of Andrew in the above death notice) – Andrew(the deceased), Roman, and Jan

Adam – Michal, John, Karol, Marya, and Feliks

Josef – Benedykt (son of Josef), Feliks (a 2nd much-younger Feliks, son of Benedykt)

Jan – Roman (a 2nd Roman), Teofil, Josef, and Pawel

Now the ones of greatest interest to me are the children of Adam. This is because Karol and his brother Feliks lived at 235 11th street, the same address that my ELIASZ ancestors had lived at, in the same year! That shows a pretty strong family connection in my family tree (I cannot say for your tree or not) whenever I find it happening. Of course, the other ZASUCHA of Niagara Falls are also of some interest to me as they ALL came from Pacanow. I can be pretty sure that everyone from Pacanow (or Biechow) parish is likely to share a distant (non-linear) family relationship as determined by connecting family trees.

So I owe some thanks to FultonHistory.com – An Historical Newspaper  (mostly NY) website and its creator  Tom Tryniski. Tom’s efforts have provided my the above death notice. I also found an Emil C. Mrozek (a physician) from Erie County, NY and his exploits of winning a bronze star in WWII. I also found an article of a Richard (aka Ryszard) Kryszewski who died tragically at the age of 18 in a car-train crash in Depew, NY. Now I had Richard’s cause of death from the newspaper article. So some articles are uplifting and some are tragic, but I collect them all for my ancestors.

Some people mock my genealogical research as chasing down dead people. My wife, Teréza, takes the learned Jewish position that I am doing a good deed (mitzvah) in keeping these ancestral memories alive. Tereza likes to call me the “Soul Keeper”. This blog of my musings is filled with my genealogical / family stories. Besides being a “cousin magnet”, this blog is my effort to record these stories.

 

PLACes: Biechow, Pacanow [in Poland],  Detroit, Toledo, Cleveland, Buffalo/Depew, Niagara Falls, Syracuse

NAMEs: ELIASZ/Elijasz, Kedzierski/Kendzierski, Leszczynski, Sobieszczanski, Fras(s), Mylek, Hajek, Mrozek, Kryszewski

May 11, 2012

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

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

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

Interesting Artifacts

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

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

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

Places in Poland

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

August 30, 2011

#Genealogy – Ancestry.com Has Free Access Week (until 9/5) for Immigration Records

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk just wanted to let his readers know they have this Labor Day Week/Weekend to search Ancestry.com for free in at least their Immigration records!

I took advantage of this to do some new searches related to the Social Network Analysis (SNA) I did a while back. I also remembered my Haller’s Army article too and so I decided to search for one of my returning Haller’s Army vets (actually his brother Leon). Boleslaw returned in 1920 on Princess Matoika and I got to thinking, I know his brother Leon fought in World War I (in the US Army — not Haller’s Army); Perhaps I can find US Troops returning from World War I too.

Well all of a sudden I found Leon Wlecial on his INITIAL arrival in America in 1913. Too bad it was only the Hamburg Ship Manifest which has such little detail. But then my forensic mind kicked in. If he came to US via Hamburg there had to be a NYC or Philadelphia arrival record for him. I tried variations on the name to no avail to find the matching ship manifest in NYC/Philadlephia. I finally decided to look at all arrivals on 12/20/1913 on SS Pretoria. I searched for all “Leons” assuming they butchered the last name on indexing. No Leon Wlecial in the Leons??? I then did a search on all “Lean”s and lo and behold there was my Leon hiding amongst the Leans with his last name also butchered coming form his wife (??? — never knew he was married) and going to his brother Boleslaw whom I knew well and had a lot of documentation on. So indeed this was my Leon Wlecial (as if there could be another Leon Wlecial with a brother Boleslaw Wlecial in Detroit, MI).

Now the Wlecial/Wlecialowski name is very rare indeed so I did not need much convincing but this info was too good. I now knew Leon had been married in Poland to a woman named “Maten” (??) from whom he was arriving from. I also knew he was living in “Baczanow” (a corruption of Pacanow, often written Paczanow in Ship Manifests) and that he was born in Rusek. Rusek, really ???   Well that might explain why I found his two siblings birth records in Pacanow, but not his. Note to self – FIND R-U-S-E-K (if it exists) in a Gazetteer. I also now had a new residence for his brother Boleslaw Wlecial who was living at 449 Grady Ave, Detroit, MI on 12/20/1913 apparently if you can believe the stuff written on Ship Manifests.

The moral of this story was … Do NOT stop at just the Hamburg Ship Manifest. It means there is a matching Ship Manifest in Ellis Island or for Philadelphia port. Use the date and ship name if the name does not pop up in NYC/Philadelphia searches. You can always go page by page on the Ship Manifest, but often some shrewd guessing can help you divine how the name was mangled by an indexer misreading the Ship Manifest.

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

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