Posts tagged ‘History’

October 20, 2010

Doomsday has been Delayed Due to Unavoidable Circumstances

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk has regrettably to be the bearer of bad news to this court (of public opinion).  Contrary to Tea Party (aka Teabaggers, until they understood the implications), the world’s demise will now be delayed. I felt compelled to blog about this, since in the recent past I have written on the topic:

Mayan Calendar - no more dates

10/10/10 - another doomsday (come and gone)

So I am now compelled to write again, since science has now weighed in on the topic. To whit the folks at LiveScience.com have released word, that the end of the world as we know it has been unavoidably delayed. This jester appreciated the uncommon good science in their thoughts. However, I was disappointed that they did not question the fact that the calendar is not over because the Mayan Long Calendar reads: 13.0.0.0.0 . Now for people with an aversion to the number 13 this may be a rare occurring unlucky date. It is still a rare astrological alignment date that occurs every 6500 or so years.

I urge people to read the book, “The Origin Map” if they now wish to switch from an end-of-world meme to the ever popular astrological-day-of-import meme. Actually, I found Dr. Thomas  Brophy more compelling than most horoscope practitioners. Particularly as he matched his calculations to an archaeological dig.

October 16, 2010

Wojtek – The Anders Army (WWII) Fighting Bear Gets A Monument !

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Wojtek fought in World War II for the Polish Army famously in Italy at Monte Cassino. He carried ammunition (heavy artillery shells) for the troops.  Wojtek was a Syrian brown bear cub adopted by soldiers of the 22nd Artillery Supply Company of the Polish II Corps. In 1942, a local boy found a bear cub near Hamadan, Iran. He sold it to the soldiers of the Polish Army stationed nearby for a couple of canned meat tins. As the bear was less than a year old, he initially had problems swallowing and was fed with condensed milk from an emptied vodka bottle. The bear became quite an attraction for soldiers and civilians alike, and soon became an unofficial mascot of all units stationed nearby. Because of this, he was officially drafted into the Polish Army and was listed among the soldiers of the 22nd Artillery Supply Company of the Polish II Corps. [Source:  Wikipedia article]

Happily, this heroic bear survived the war and settled down to live in Edinburgh, Scotland (in the zoo). The bear used to be visited by Polish veterans and they would greet him with some Polish and the bear would sit up and beg for cigarettes!!! Apparently, Wojek, like many army troops like cigarettes and beer. Wojetk finally passed in 1963 (about age 21).

Well I am happy to say that Wojtek is getting a monument in Scotland.  See the article here . He has a Facebook page too. An even better story about Wojtek is here. Back in January 2008, they started to work on honoring this amazing bear and to educate people about Wojtek, according to a BBC article.

October 15, 2010

St. Stanislaus, Catholic Church, Philadelphia, 1905

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

For a brief history of the church, please visit the following link: Stanislawo , which also has a picture of the interior of the church. The church was founded: 1891 – St. Stanislaus (Polish), 240 Fitzwater St., 215-925-2631 [Source: Genealogical Society of PA ] .

This jester was doing some research and was given a copy from its Marriage register of 1905.  I am endeavoring to supply these random snippets I am given, as a random act of genealogical kindness.  So I am hopeful that someone can use this info.

The page had 5 couples, plus half a couple (the bride) of a sixth marriage. These six marriages ranged in date, from 4-February-1905 –  6-February-1905. I wanted to list these six couples in my blog in hopes that their ancestors can find them via Google or Bing or some other search engine. Email me for the full size image and a second page listing parents / witnesses.

  1. Groom: <cut off>                             Bride: Aniela Renska, age 18, Front Street, Philadelphia, PA
  2. Groom: Piotr Rozanski, 23            Bride: Anna Sento, age 17,  751 So. Front Street, Philadelphia, PA
  3. Groom: Jozef Dorczyk, 21              Bride: Maria Dudkiewicz, age 18,  735 So. Front Street, Philadelphia, PA
  4. Groom: Jozef Szelagowski, 26       Bride: Stanislawa Adamska, age 19,  502 Water Street, Philadelphia, PA
  5. Groom: Wawrzyniec Oszeiki, 30   Bride: Bornislawa Petkowska, age n/a,  11 Callowhill Street, Philadelphia, PA
  6. Groom: Kazimierz Nowik, 28         Bride: Anna Zytkowska, age n/a,  Coatesville, PA

October 12, 2010

Count Kazimierz Pulaski

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

With this being National Polish Heritage Month and a good bit about Pulaski being written or even televised and of course the parades, I thought I would add to the milieu of this worthy American.

I said American, because on November 7th, 2009, Count Pulaski became an honorary American citizen, posthumously. It was put forth by Senator (now President) Obama. He is one of only seven individuals so honored, five posthumously. Count Pulaski saved General George Washington’s life with his valor and service, without which there might never have been a USA. It was from this heroic action that he received his Brigadier General commission.

Sadly, the Brigadier General was killed in service to our nation, at the siege of Savannah. His his final resting place is still disputed between a burial at sea and a location in Georgia. He was the Father of the American Calvary. His banner for his legion was created by some Moravian women from Bethlehem, PA. There are nearly 8,000 mentions of “Count Pulaski” in Footnote.com database. Many are in the Continental Papers, but today’s genealogical / historical treasures come from the PA Archives (also in Footnote.com). Since this jester now resides in PA, I have included two pages from the PA Archives of the soldiers of Pulaski’s Legion who were from PA.

Pennsylvanians in Pulaski’s Legion:

Captain Henry Bedkin
Quarter-Master John Shrader
Sergeant Richard Laird

Privates…
Isaac Andrew
John Bentley
Thomas Bond
Frederich Boyer
Richard Cheney
William Coram
Frederich Cook
William Furnshield
Joseph Fogg
William Formshell
Joseph Gale
Benjamin Johnston
Martin Miller
Peter Miller
John Myer
James Rolls
Frederich Ruger
Peter Snyder
Edward Smith
John Smith 3rd
William Sommerlott
Henry Walker
George Ziegler
George Yohe

Teamster
John Shuler

October 10, 2010

10/10/10 Doomsday?

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Some say that 10/10/10 is a doomsday date. Others say 12/21/12 or 12/12/12, when the Mayan calendar is said to end. I say all this pressure of not knowing is stressful.

This fixation on Doomsday reminds me of the plethora or Protestant prophets who went around America, predicting the date of the end of the world. Some even re-computed and re-predicted when their doomsday rolled around and the world failed to expire.

This device to my left is an authentic doomsday device. It can be purchased here:

http://www.thinkgeek.com/computing/accessories/9116/

The good thing about this doomsday device, for budding megalomaniacs, is that when it fails to bring about the end of the days, you can still use it as a four port USB hub. Thus I find this more useful, then say, Glenn Beck ( a modern doomsday prophet), because it serves some other purpose besides what it purports to be.

William Miller was one such preacher. His predicted date was 10/22/44. 1844 that is. Needless to say, Miller and his Millerites were wrong! Do you know what 10/23/1844 was known as?  “The Great Disappointment”. Perhaps we can re-purpose that label for Glenn Beck or any other of these modern day doom and gloom sayers. Here are 220 “Date Setters” all of whom were wrong.

Sadly, unlike the Hale-Bopp comet that came and went, Beck and his ilk have not made like Heaven’s Gate Devotees and disappeared. Perhaps in 2012 or in 2016 they will disappear from the airways when they will no longer have a Barrack Obama to rail against. Every yin must have a yang. And so it is true for every ding -dong.

Have a Happy 10/10/10! See you next year on 11/11/11 and by all means do not forget to look me up,  12/12/12. After that we should be good for another century.

 

October 3, 2010

Russian Poland 1867-1875

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk, was traipsing through some archives this week for the Suwalki gubernia. In particular, the parish records for Wizajny . One thing I noticed was how complete the church records are. It was very complete (the Roman Catholic records) from 1808-1884. It is too bad that my ancestors did not come from this parish !   However, if your surname is Narkiewicz, your ancestors do — how fortunate for you.

So I was reading the church books (or the microfilm anyway) for 1867-1875. Well as you may or may not know 1868 is the year the Czar proclaimed that the Polish records in Vistula Land gubernias (formerly Congress Kingdom of Poland and  Grand Duchy of Warsaw before that) be written in Russian forever more (or at least until 1918 which signaled the end of Russian occupation of Poland — and the records returned to being kept in Polish). So this multi-lingual,  genealogical jester was reading Polish in 1867. As the calendar year flipped over, I was wondering if the next year (1868) would be in Polish or Russian — i.e. how fast did the Czar’s ukase get implemented. I was surprised twice. 1868 started off being written in Polish, but about half way along, the church records swithced over to be written in Russian.

So 1867 was all Polish. Then 1868 was about a half year in  Polish and half year in Russian. By 1869, all of the records were in Russian. I was always curious about this. because in the ancestral parishes of my grandparents, there were no records available from this era (only 1875-1884 on LDS microfilm). In case, you were wondering, the format was paragraph format, still written in the manner prescribed by Napoleon’s Codex. Let me point out a not so obvious bonus to American Polonia.

Because you can read the Polish records for the period immediately before 1868, you can learn the family surnames and village names of your parish as they were in Polish and this will help you translate the Russian surnames. Having a familiarity of the village names means you need not struggle with the transliteration from Russian/Cyrillic to Polish/Latin before making your best attempt to “translate” the proper nouns.

Have a Happy October, which is the National Month of Polish Heritage in the United States.

September 19, 2010

Black Sheep Sunday: “A Bullet Sings Goodbye”

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

This is my first blog, in conjunction with GeneaBloggers. So hello other GeneaBloggers!

I think most genealogists seek an ancestor who was a king or queen, maybe relationship to a historical figure or a Pilgrim. Some of us even seek ancestor of some notoriety like Jesse James of John Dilinger. It offers relief from the many leafs in our tree that are just mundane. Now I would not mind a king or Daniel Boone or being a Polish Genealogist maybe Kasimierz Pulaski. I was not seeking a notorious, Black Sheep to liven up the old family tree, but alas these things do happen.

OK, my Black Sheep is from Detroit, MI. Actually, Stanley Gawlick [sic], really born Stanislaw Gawlikowski, was a street tough during the roaring 1920’s and a member of the “Shotgun Gang”. Stanley was born about 1902 in Poland and came along with his Father Antoni & mother Katarzyna through Ellis Island. I do not know how Stanley went bad.

“Well, Here’s Stanley”

That was Stanley’s MO. He liked to introduce himself that way at the bank robberies. A tad narcissistic, n’est-ce pas? Apparently, that was par for the times. As you can see, his headline is entitled, “A Bullet Sings Goodby[sic]“

Well here is his mug, printed in the Detroit News,  that fateful day, the 5th of August 1924. Now this newspaper clipping was saved by my cousin’s parents. When I asked my father, who was not born at that time, he said he never remembered anyone in the family speaking of this.

This goes to show that historical newspapers can provide you with vital record info too, such as date of death and cause of death (gun shot wound). I am an aficianado of the Polish Daily (Detroit), named, Dziennik Polski.  They provided an even longer article !

Well I said it was probably just a local story. Then a year later, I found another article on this crime in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, that describes the crime. From the article in the Dziennik Polski, I am wondering whether the female  robber may have been a common-law wife or whether she was just a gun moll. Along for an exciting ride.

That’s my Black Sheep meme and I am sticking to it ! Let me hasten to add that Stanley and I share no blood. We are merely related by marriage.

September 19, 2010

What Do You Know?

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

What Do You Know?

This jester has been a trusted advisor at the court of two kings and many companies, both large and small. As a matter of course, you develop a book of precepts to deal with a great many situations and to provide yourself with a context in which you ferret out a truth when you only have partial information. You also develop a toolkit and like the proverbial Felix The Cat, you pull something out of your bag of tricks, when the situation arises.

I want to talk today about timelines and facts. As I was saying last paragraph, I had some precepts and platitudes to carry me through uncharted waters. One of my favorites was, “The man with one clock always know what time it is, but a man with two (or more) clocks is never certain what time it is.” Whilst I knew my ojciec (father) was one of seven children, I was fine. But imagine my confusion, as I was chiding my god-father (my Uncle Steve) that he did not know his birthday and that the Diocese of Toledo said, he was born a month earlier – as an aside, my uncle was correct and the Diocese of Toledo was wrong.  A week later my uncle mails to me his birth certificate from Lucas County, OH and it does show his birthday as we always celebrated it. So it was good that I received another source fact for his birth. Now this is not a diatribe on whether the church was correct or the state (of OH) was correct on recording vital records. No,  the state certificate had other “facts”. On it was a question, “Number of children for this mother”, with three parts.

  • Part A. Born alive and still living: 3 (of course, Aunts Alice and Catherine and now uncle Steve)
  • Part B. Born alive, but now dead: 1 (Hmmm??)
  • Part C. Stillborn:                                  0.

But clearly at the time Uncle Steve’s birth, he was the fourth child, not the 3rd. So my father was one of 8 (not one of seven). Ok, so there was another child who was born and died before my father was born. I could not expect him to know of this fact. I also knew that this child was not stillborn. So I mentioned this bit of unexpected news to my father. Now this triggered a conversation that we had never had. He said he was born at home (not in a hospital) and that in 1926 this was not uncommon. Well Stanczyk always knew things were “different” in the olden days. Then he proceeds to bring out his “delayed birth certificate”. Ok since there was no official record of his birth, he had to have a copy of his baptism and a witness swear that they knew his true birth date. Not too surprising, but interesting as I scanned his “delayed birth certificate”. A fascinating birth certificate from 1943 (showing my dad to be one year too young to serve in the military in 1943). But this birth certificate from Wayne County, MI had two questions on it: “Number of children born alive to this mother” and “Number of children still living”. Now with answers nine and seven respectively. Now hold on here a second, my father was the 9th child, not the 7th as he had supposed.

But this goes to show. A few months ago I was certain my dad was one of seven children. A few weeks later I was disabused of that long-held fact and “knew” he was one of eight. Now I was confronted with the fact he was one of nine. So I am like the man with 3 clocks in his house. Who were these other two children, that we had no knowledge of? Let’s start with when were they born…

Timeline

Fortunately, I had learned of the marriage date of my grandparents and had the church record from Poland. They were married, the 28th of January, 1907 in Biechow, Poland. So lets start with that date in our timeline.

Dates Description of Event Children Alive

1/28/1907          Jozef Elijasz & Walerya Leszczynska marry in Biechow                                                                    0

1909 or 1910    Alice (aka Aleksandra) Eliasz was born in Poland.                                                                                 1?

5/31/1910       Josef Eliasz arrives Ellis Island on SS Finland from wife Walerya in Zabiec to

brother-in-law Teofil Leszczynski@41 Neoga Street, Depew, NY

9/15/1913      Valeria(Waleria, age 27) Eliasz arr. in USA with Alice(Alexandra, age 4) in Phila.

on SS Prinz Aldabert; Sailed 9/2/1913 from Hamburg, Germany                                                      1

8/27/1914    Catherine Eliasz born in Depew, NY (see birth cert+baptismal cert);                                                 2

10/5/1916    Stephen E. Eliasz born in Toledo, OH baptised 11/8/1916 St Anthony                                               3

3/14/1919    Joseph S. Eliasz born in Toldeo, OH (1108 Campbell Street)                                                                   4

11/27/1920 Bernice Eliasz born in Toledo, OH and baptised in Detroit.                                                                      5

2/11/1924    Ted Eliasz born in Detroit, MI                                                                                                                               6

8/18/1926   Chester S. Eliasz born in Detroit, MI at home.                                                                                                7

So we have “gaps” in the timeline in: 1908,  and 1909 or 1910, [ignore 1911-1912 when apart], 1915 as possibilities for Baby#1. This baby must be born before Steve in 1916. Baby #2 must be born between 1916 and 1925. We have “gaps” in: 1917, 1918, 1921, 1922, and early 1923, technically even in late 1924 could be another birth. Finally 1925 was possible.

Now fortune smiled down upon me when I was searching Mt Olivet’s cemetery records for a missing uncle. They had a Henry Eliasz who died in January 1923. So I sent away for the death certificate and was shocked to find that Henry, was Baby#2 (of the two unknown siblings of my father). He was born to my grandparents, prematurely in December 1922 and died one month later in January 1923. One mystery solved.

Now my aunt Alice maintained until her dying days, that she was born in 1910. I have no proof to the contrary other than the Ship Manifest on 1913 saying she was four in 1913, implying a birth year of 1909. As luck would have it, a genealogist in Poland whose family came from my ancestral villages agreed to perform some research for me. I was seeking my grandparents and any other born in Poland, their birth certificates. In the package I received was church record of a birth of a Wladyslaw Jozef Eliasz born on the 31st of March 1908 to my grandparents. So now, I had unknown baby #1’s birth and my timeline is now almost complete. I still need to find aunt Alice/Aleksandra’s birth record, but now I know, my dad was one of nine children (and that he was the ninth child born to Jozef & Walerya).

June 12, 2010

20-December-2012

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Mayan Calender

Many of you may recognize the title date, as the day the world ends. This popular notion is from the Mayan Long Calendar. On 12/20/2012 we will be: 12.19.19.17.19 and rollover to 13.0.0.0.0 on 12/21/2012. Pretty nifty, right on the winter solstice. Now according to Mayan stories the last creation was on 12.19.19.17.19 the previous time. But what is the Mayan Long calendar and what do the numbers: 12.19.19.17.19 mean?

The Mayans reckon their calendar into 5 parts (hence: 12,19,19,17,19). The last number is called a K’in and 1 K’in = 1 day. The Mayans being rather astute in their calculations use a system that is roughly base-20 (as opposed to our base-10). So they count from zero to 19. So K’in in their system would be the units. Next “digit” up is the winal which is equal to 20 k’in (or 20 days). After that, the next number is called a tun which is equal to … only 18 winals (or 360 days). Next, we have the K’atun which is equal to 20 winals (or 7200 days). Finally, we arrive at the B’aktun which equal to 20 k’atun(or 144,000 days). So, when they write the long date:

12.19.19.17.19 they really mean:

(12*144,000) +   (19*7200) + (19*360) + (17*20) + (19 *1) days = 1,871,999 days or 5128.76 years.  So they are counting from the date:  26-February-3117 BCE using the Gregorian calendar and projecting it backwards well prior to its creation. Ok, you might argue that is almost the vernal equinox.  Hmmm. Wait what is the date of 12/21/2012 in the Mayan Long Calendar: 13.0.0.0.0 .  This is not the end of their calendar, as has been commonly expounded by many people hyping new-age kinds of things or books or apocalyptic movies or Sara Palin as President. In fact, there are 7 full B’aktuns left in their calendar, meaning the human race can count on living another 33,139.73 yrs (no worries until the year 35,151 or so). While 12/21/2012 may appear to be an unlucky day to triskadecaphobiacs [people who fear the number 13], it does not mean an end to the Mayan calendar and certain doom.

Now wait a minute, the Mayan story said, that the last time, their calendar was 12.19.19.17.19 was the creation date. Ok, let’s ignore the fact that there must have been  1,871,998 prior days before creation (since we are not starting from 0.0.0.0.0). But lets go with it and see where we end up, shall we?

Let’s start at 12/20/2012 which will be the next 12.19.19.17.19 in the Mayan Long Calendar. Ok, we can now infer that the time prior must have been 38,268 years from 12/20/2012. So subtracting  38,268 from 2012 and allowing for the fact that there was no year ZERO, then in 36257 BCE,  at or near the winter solstice, the world was created. Assuming 20 years per generation (as we established in a prior blog), we find that we each have 1913 or 1914 prior generations, that we will need to account for in our family tree [direct line backwards].

Well I have about  another 1900+ generations to research, but at least I can now relax, now that I know the world will not end on 12/20/2012. I was feeling pressured to finish my research in the next 2.5 years. Now that I know the Mayan Calendar will not run out  for another 33,000+ years, I know I have plenty of time to research and publish the family tree.

I am not certain why they broke the base-20  on the tun (it being only 18 times the winal). But the 360 days in a year is only an error of 1.4% which is as good or better than the Julian calendar and if we consider they started using their calendar 2/26/3117 BCE, then I think we can say they were pretty good mathematicians and astronomers.

Why did the Mayans and Egyptians orient their pyramids to point to  Orion’s Belt? Could they possibly have known that our solar system is in the Milky Way Galaxy’s Orion-Cygnus spiral arm? Why did they pick 12.19.19.17.19 ( as the creation date)? That equates to  Sagittarius which according to NASA’s website,  the center of the Milky Way galaxy is in the general direction of Sagittarius constellation. Were they good astronomers or did they just believe that passing the winter solstice is when things get created?

I guess those will be musings for another time!

June 5, 2010

Congressional Record

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon


Ok, perhaps you think that Washington D.C. has a rather large concentration of fools/jesters/harlequins and this is merely Stanczyk pandering some professional courtesy to his Professional peers. I can hardly blame you for thinking them like myself.  The difference is that they get paid to be fools and Stanczyk  is just an amateur. Of course, if you want Stanczyk for the Senate, write me  in this fall in PA’s senate race. Then Stanczyk too can be a professional fool and surely I can do no worse.

I was lamenting the Library of Congress changing their links again and breaking my web pages.  As many of you know, I have a web page on Dziennik Polski (the Detroit daily Polish language newspaper). This jester is rather fond of newspapers for their value in their historical context and for their use in genealogy. So I was reviewing my web page when I noticed the LOC link broke again. Damn! I am fixing that.

I did a little googling to find the new page. Instead I stumbled across the Congessional Record itself. Fortunately, I had written, the 108th Congress, 29-September-2004, and page S9931 in my article on the web. This was enough for me to locate the exact page in the actuall Congressional Record which available online (1998-present). Here is the link:

http://www.gpoaccess.gov/crecord/browse.html

So your research experiment is to:

  1. select Archived Tables (pick 2004, click on “Go” button.
  2. scroll down to number 120 (which equates to 29-September, 2004) click on the link in Senate column: S9867
  3. this loads a PDF document. Scroll to bottom type in field next to Go to page button, then type S9931 and click

This will have to suffice, until I fix my link. At least you can find my reference and more importantly, it is a valuable resource for research (albeit primarily on the doings of fools in D.C.). Be a good electorate and read…then vote informed with FACTS not the current rhetoric that tries to masquerade as facts when its is just a freak show misrepresentation. The circus is always in town and right now the clowns run amok.

May 31, 2010

Mount Vernon Cemetery – Philadelphia

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

This is Mount Vernon cemetery. Now before you think this the George Washington’s Mt Vernon, it is not that one. This is a cemetery in Philadelphia nearly next door to Philadelphia’s famous, historical Laurel Hill cemetery that is on the hill above Philadelphia overlooking the Schuykill River (quite a lovely vista — in fact today the jester met an artist at the Mt Laurel cemetery painting a landscape on an absolutely beautiful day surrounded by these wonderful cemetery monuments).

Mount Vernon Cemetery to my horror is now a nearly defunct cemetery. There appears to be very little in the way of funds to maintain this lovely old cemetery. Overgrowth is obvious, the paths for cars is overgrown and truly I needed the caretaker to guide me through and not run over any tombstones. The picture at the top of this blog is obviously an old image. The entrance which is what the picture shows,  is now very much overgrown and disheveled and looks nothing like the image. I spoke to Norman the caretaker and he said that almost all families are no longer providing for upkeep. I felt for Norman as he is very local and doing his best to keep this cemetery together on something less than a shoestring budget.

This cemetery has Drew Barrymore’s ancestors (find-a-grave) ! This jester does not have family interred here. I would however be willing to help Norman do a project to capture the genealogy from his records and the tombstones and develop some kind of saleable product to help sustain this cemetery. But realistically, unless the lovely Drew Barrymore were to  provide some kind of endowment fund or help raise funds for this cemetery, it will  become perpetually defunct and eventually go back to the state of Pennsylvania for guardianship. My guess  is that  if anything happens to Norman, this cemetery will die. Death of a Cemetery.

Mount Vernon Cemetery Philadelphia                 28-February-1856   —  2010?

May 12, 2010

Dziennik Polski [Detroit]

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Dziennik Polski 1924Dziennik Polski (“Polish Daily”). Many times this has been used as a title for a local  Polish language newspaper. This jester originally came from Detroit, MI where we too had such a newspaper. One day I was having a meal  with mój ojciec (my father). I had decided to go to the Library of the State of Michigan in Lansing the next day and I was going to do my first foray into reading an historical newspaper on microfilm. The newspaper I selected was Dziennik Polski; I am not even certain why I chose that newspaper, perhaps it was an article I read in the PGSM’s Eaglet newsletter. Now Michigan was blessed with many Polish language newspapers:

And those were just from Wayne County. I was going to try and find the birth announcements for my father and his siblings and perhaps I’d also find some death notices too.

Surprise

At any rate, as we eat a meal together I told my father that I was going to the State Library and perhaps read some newspapers. Out of the blue and for the first time, my father tells the family how his mother, Walerya, used to read the Dziennik Polski newspaper! What serendipity he mentioned the exact newspaper I was going to research. So I was armed with birth dates and off I went secure in the knowledge that my new idea would be successful. For if my busia read the newspaper, then surely she must have put announcements into to it too. Now the more experienced genealogists are probably laughing at that naiveté. Well I did not find my father’s birth being announced. However, I did find my uncle Thaddeus’ birth being announced and the street address was one my father had recalled to me in an earlier conversation. Well you can imagine I was hooked on this charming little Polish language newspaper.

I was certain, that I’d find my great uncle Jan’s death announcement – but I did not have the date, just that it was after my grandfather’s death (06-January-1930). So I would just gut it out and search this newspaper for all of the 1930’s decade until I found him. By now you must realize that this  is a daunting task. Each microfilm contains about 2-3 months of newspapers and I found I could do one microfilm in a single day. By my math I would need 40 days at the Library or possibly on average maybe only 20 days. Of course, I no longer lived in Michigan, so that posed a problem. Of course, they also did not have every day on the microfilm either, so it just might not be on the microfilm. Finally, it was during the Great Depression, so death announcements would not be there unless you paid for them; That was certainly going to be a problem for my widowed grandmother with 7 kids to feed.

Well Stanczyk is still pursuing this enterprise, albeit more slowly due to the tough economic times. I enjoy the genealogy and also the history preserved in these newspapers. I also get some kind of surreal connection to my grandmother by putting myself in her place and reading these historical newspapers in her native tongue. I have painstakingly gathered some expertise on this newspaper and gathered info the PGSM Eaglet, my own research and the work of the PGSCTNE and have built an index now with over 20,000 names. Because this is a Polish language newspaper, it is largely a story of the Poles who settled in Detroit, MI (and of course Hamtramck). I have that index and my collected research available here on Rootsweb website:  Dziennik Polski .

Read your local newspaper or that of your grandmother’s. Read the Second World War, through your grandmother’s eyes. It is horrific to see Hitler and Stalin splashed across the pages of the 1920’s and 1930’s and to know that they eventually will collectively kill nearly 40 million people – back then, for busia  it was news, now for this jester it is history. History carries a much greater impact when read through the context of your ancestors and the newspapers of their lives.

May 2, 2010

Biechow & Pacanow databases…

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Yesterday this jester wrote about an interaction with another genealogist and how it caused me to do my research in a different way and how by doing this survey, I was able to find two small related Elijasz facts buried in another family’s church record.

The blog was not suitable for three column (or even nicely viewable in single column). So I wanted to publish the database on my Rootsweb page. So here is Pacanow 1883 Births .

I have done surveys of some years records and published them onto the Internet. The reason I do this is draw other genealogists to me, by their Googling their family tree and finding my pages and then querying me to see if we are related in some way. Over the years I have run into many genealogists and/or distant cousins who have supplied vital or emotionally  priceless photos.

Here are my Biechow parish databases too:

1810 Biechow Births

1811 Biechow Births

1812-1831 Survey

So if your ancestral village was in Biechow parish or Pacanow parish send me your query. Perhaps we are related somewhat closely. Or if your name is the following list (these are just Biechow/Pacanow family names):

Eliasz, Elijasz, Heliasz, Leszczynski, Wlecialowski, Paluch, Zasucha, Zwolski, Odomski, Kedzierski, Kalucki, Kordos, Siwiec, Wojtys, Gawron, Fortuna,  Grudzien, Piotrowski, Juda, Bebel, Bordziak, Bugaj, Kostyra, Podolski, Wrobel, Wrzesnia, Watroba, Gula,  Janicki, Kapusta, Baran, etc.

Why not send me a query?

April 25, 2010

Memes & Things

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

This jester was listening to NPR this morning on the way to the market. The show on “Speaking of Faith”: http://speakingoffaith.publicradio.org/programs/2010/alzheimers/

Spoke of the subject’s need to capture Alzheimers patient’s memories before they were gone. A tragedy that tugs at my Slavic soul. My aunt/God Mother Kitty suffered and died from Alzheimers, as did my younger brother’s, father-in-law. An awful fate, the loss of your memories. Now this jester has had many talks with his elders, some of whom were in their eighties and nineties. Another aunt died before she could capture her memories of my Busia. I had encouraged Aunt Bernice for years to write and to send me her drafts for me to edit for her. Alas it never happened and they were lost.

So this show tugged at my genealogical mind. I am sure all genealogists mourn the loss of valuable document or artifacts of their family’s history. I just want to encourage genealogist to do a few things:

  • Capture the memories of your elders onto the page (or the computer)
  • Backup your research; a backup copy onsite and another copy offsite.
  • Write your Family History and publish it (to book would be best, but to the Internet at least, both is best).

In many ways we are recording the dying memories of our family, the same as NPR’s guest. The entropy of time acts as Alzheimers to each of our genealogies. We must work swiftly and surely to record the memories before they are lost. Feel free to edit and revise your “final work” to incorporate the latest research until you too can no longer do the work.

Our history and our blogs are memes that function in much the same way as DNA does for life. We try to preserve biological diversity of animals or food crops by saving these “scraps” for a future so they will not be lost and can be enjoyed by the future. Does anyone backup the Internet? Are we just heading for another Library of Alexandria catastrophe? Write books on your family history; The books will last 500 years; The Internet or your computer media will not last anywhere near that long. Food for thought!

March 20, 2010

Pacanow

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Pacanow Church circa 1918

Stanczyk’s dziadkowie (grandparents) came from Biechow and Pacanow parishes. Each of those two parishes had a few others villages that made up the parish. It is my fondest dream that I should return to these ancestral towns and see the churches, cemeteries, libraries, Urzad Stanu Ciwilego (USC which are roughly equivalent to a County Clerk’s Office in the USA). Not to mention visit a couple of archives too.

My grandfather, Jozef Eliasz (aka Elijasz) and his father Jozef and his father Marcin were from Pacanow. Other families from Pacanow parish,  like the Wlecialowskich who married into the Eliasz family and who also came to America and lived across the road from my grandmother Valeria’s farm. My grandfather Jozef help build Ciotka Rosie’s farmhouse (really a barn) with her husband Adam Gawlikowski. Ciotka Rosie (nee Wlecialowski) had a mother named Katarzyna Eliasz, who was my grandfather’s aunt. There was also Kedzierski family that my grandfather’s older brother, Jan Eliasz married into and some Kedzierskis also came to America. Funny, Stanczyk even found a friend, amongst the professional genealogists, the multi-talented Ceil Wendt Jensen whose Zdziepko ancestors came from Pacanow and settled in the Detroit area. So in a way the Polish diaspora from the parish of Pacanow reformed in Detroit (and Toledo, and Buffalo, and I am sure other Great Lake states).

Miraculous Cross

Stanczyk wants to visit Pacanow’s church (Sw. Marcin / St. Martin) as a pilgrimage. The picture,  near the top of this column, is the church as my grandfather would have known it (circa 1918). I wonder if my grandfather and his family helped in one of the many rebuilds or expansions of  the church. My grandfather, Jozef, was a carpenter and he built a steeple on Corpus Christi Church in Detroit.

This church whose cross has been a source for pilgrims to worship due to its uniqueness dating back to the middle ages,  has one more chapter. During World War II, something miraculous happened in that church. It was partially destroyed, all but the section that had the agonizing Jesus upon this sacred cross. The Russian soldiers were going to finish their godless work and tear it down. When they attempted to pull the cross down, they were blinded multiple times, until they ran away (these Bolshevik atheists) and witnesses heard them scream that the God in Pacanow is very strong. Imagine that miraculous event in my family’s ancestral church!

I am hopeful to see this church which has recently been recognized by the Vatican as a minor Basilica. It is a beautiful icon and has some church relics around it.

March 6, 2010

Random Musings…

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

This jester watched “Who Do You Think You Are” (WDYTYA). I was touched and enjoyed the first episode. I hope all interested parties do not get the impression that genealogy is so easy or so fast. Perhaps it was not emphasized, but there about a half dozen of genealogical researchers (who appeared on film — I am sure there were more behind the scenes), who handle the various specialties: California, Gold Rush, New England, Salem Witch Trials,  Cincinnati OH/ Germans. I think that demonstrates that you need various skills in various areas and no one genealogist can possibly know it all or be the efficient in areas outside of his/her specialization. I learned some things and look forward to learning more about areas outside my own sphere of expertise.

I hope the WDYTYA will slog through the many blogs and find hints. So, here are two suggestions that I thought of as I watched that can help add even more connections to those watching.

Suggestion 1.

There were opportunities to connect to others (as possible sequels/foreshadowing) and just being literate. For example, I like to occasionally do some genealogy on literati. So I have looked into Nathaniel Hawthorne’s genealogy. His book the “Scarlet Letter” about the Salem trials would have been such a good side bar note. Not because I want useless trivia to clutter up the show, but because Hawthorne’s ancestor was one of the judge’s. They could have shown his ancestor’s name and connected Sara Jessica Parker to Hawthorne in this odd sort  of juxtaposition that would have added something for Sara and for those watching. Indeed it drove Hawthorne to write the story and caused him to alter his family name(to an alternative spelling) — another good lesson to budding genealogists.

Suggestion 2.

Give the genealogists, researchers, archivists/archives, and historical sites 30 seconds on the film listing them and put their info one the website too (not just the celebrities). A “Thank you to…” still shot listing all of the above and an audio directing viewers to the web site page for more info on these people.

Go to the web site and check out the “about” and exclusive “menus”, in particular the “did you know” menu selection.

Random Musing #2

Did you know there have been approximately, 106 Billion people on this planet over all time? So in theory we’d only need slightly less than 37 generations in our tree to have everyone in our family tree. Of course, that would mean we’d have all people in the family tree before we even went back in time to the Norman Conquest (1066). Obviously there were people before that time. Why doesn’t the math work? As you go back in time, you should see some people appearing multiple places in the tree. So perhaps we need more than 37 generations to all be related.

For those with a scientific mindset, we find in genetics that the genealogical “Eve”, appeared about 200,000 years ago. Oddly enough, the genealogical Adam, appeared only 60,000 years ago. Apparently, he killed off or somehow prevented all previous others from passing on their male DNA. Just so people do not get the idea that partho-genesis did not occur for 140,000 years before male DNA appeared or wonder why that gap. Let’s work with the 200,000 year number. Assuming each generation is about 20 years (Baby Boomers are 1946-1964, a nineteen year span) then we should need 10,000 generations. Just so we are on the same page: Genealogical Eve and Adam are  homo sapiens, not  any of the other prior prototypes of humanity. That is why we are not talking of millions of years, but only 200,000 years. I once read that the aboriginal Australians believe they have a genealogical tree of 48,000 generations (and they kept track of them!!!). That does not seem to match with the current thoughts that they have resided on Australia for a mere 50,000 years. It does seem unreasonable to have a generation each and every year. This jester once met a man at a recent genealogical conference who claimed he had traced his genealogy back to King David(with source documents of evidence). Forgive me for doubting, but I did wonder, but did not give voice to my skepticism nor voice the obvious  question of why, he could not take his genealogy back to Adam, son of God. The rest of David’s genealogy is recorded in the Bible.

Go read a good book!

January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

i_red

nauguration Day has arrived and there can be no larger historic moment than this one today (01/20/2009), which is the Inauguration of America’s 44th President, Barack H. Obama. Stanczyk however is of mixed moods. Alas, his ticket to the swearing-in and the seating at the parade were pulled last minute in a bureaucratic snafu that finds Stanczyk in Audubon, PA (home of the French American Naturalist for whom the Audubon Society is named — John James Audubon).

Stanczyk had planned to bring his grandmother’s Naturalization Papers, ala Edward Zwick, the director of “Defiance” did when he filmed Defiance in Poland/Lithuania/ByeloRussia. Stanczyk’s grandparents came from the Russian-Poland partition, in what the Russians called the Kielce gubernya (and the Poles Kielce wojewodztwo) at the time of the 1880’s it was in the Stopnica powiat.

woj_kielce_pow_stopnica

kingdomofpolandmap_18151

Kingdom of Poland (Russian – Poland partition)   •   Kielce woj.  Stopnica pow.  •

So this fool was outdone by an even better fool and my attempt to mix my travels and my history with my family not to mention my potential cocktail fodder at palace retinue happenings was bolloxed. At this historic moment let me pause my musings for some coffee whilst I watch the coronation, excuse me, the inauguration.

Don’t forget every administration requires a fool and in these times I am available. Of course, I realize that Washington D.C. is rife with fools, but you can still pick an erudite fool who can stand out from the many and perhaps correct the omission of a Slavic from your Cabinet. God Bless Obama!

January 18, 2009

Chadds Ford and Beyond

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

As mentioned in my previous post, this jester was traveling through Chester County and its idyllic rolling hills when Baldwin’s Book Barn was dicsovered amongst these pastoral lands. Stanczyk had forgotten that a local artist family, resided hereabouts. I speak of the Wyeths. Now I am moved to speak of Andrew Wyeth given his recent passing. I have found his artwork quite evocative — from the heartwarming Americana and rural pastiches to his more erotically charged Helga images. Helga’s mysterious qualities aside, I liked the warmth of the American spirit imbued into the local landscapes. His artwork warmed the soul in the same fashion as if some baritone gave voice to a Robert Frost poem.

wyeth_christinasworld1

Christina’s World is wonderfully illustrative of this pastoral land, I am wandering through.

In fact, the above painting was hung in a local B&B that Stanczyk and his żona warmed themselves at its hearth. So in some kind of cognitive resonance we stumbled upon Baldwins Book Barn who proudly displayed much wares about the local artist family. Then Andrew Wyeth, our subject, died this week in the very midst of our Wyeth cognitive resonance revelry and Stanczyk did not want his passing to be lost amid the imminent inauguration of America’s 44th President, Barack H. Obama.

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