Posts tagged ‘Kedzierski’

May 13, 2012

Martha Stewart … Are We Related ?

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk, took note of when my friend and noted professional genealogist Ceil Wendt Jensen did an article for Ancestry.com magazine(2009, #3) on Martha Stewart’s ancestry. For a long time, I knew her maiden name was Kostyra. So when I noticed that Ceil had done an article and detailed much of Martha’s family tree, I asked her is she from Pacanow too?  [Now you may not know that both Stanczyk and his friend Ceil have ancestors from Pacanow]. I had asked because, I had Kostyra in my family tree. Ceil told me, ‘No.’

So when I noticed that 5/6/2012 episode on Finding Your Roots,  was going to have a segment on Martha Stewart, I watched again. It was interesting that Martha’s roots (and DNA) include Tartars and again they mentioned Kostyra and a few village names, but not Pacanow.

Now I read a column by the famous genealogist Megan Smolenyak (at Huffington Post??) on, “10 Things You Didn’t Know About Martha Stewart’s Family Tree – Huffington Post” on Martha Stewart. What caught my eye was …

If you have any of the following surnames in your family tree, you could be a cousin of Ms. Stewart’s: Adamczyk, Albiniak, Baran, Ciman, Flis, Grab, Grosiewicz, Grysztar Kak, Kielar, Kisielinska, Kiszka, Kostyra, Krol, Krukar, Krulicka, Kulpa, Lach, Lazinska, Litwin, Macuga, Misiak, Okon, Oleszko, Orzeł, Penar, Rajchel, Ruszkowski, Rygiel, Rzad, Siwy, Skubik, Strzalinska, Tomczyk, Wasi, Wojtan, Wolyniec and Zukowsa.

Now if you notice, I BOLDED, some of the above family names (many of the others I am not certain of) in the list of possible cousins. I cannot speak to the commonness of those names, but each one is from my paternal grandparent’s (Eliasz/Leszczynski) parishes and some of those are actually in my family tree.

By all means go read Megan’s article. It is another interesting piece on Martha Stewart (aka Jadwiga Kostyra).

So Martha perhaps we are cousins (albeit very distant ones). Any Eliasz/Elijasz, Leszczynski, Ozarow, Major, Wlecial, Kedzierski in your tree (Martha)?

How about you readers? Any of you have those names in your tree? Do you research in Biechow or Pacanow (villages in the old Kielce wojewodztwo)? Email me!

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!

November 20, 2011

John Elijasz Eliasz Elias

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

In Michigan, the Big Boy restaurants are owned by the ELIAS Brothers (as opposed to Bob’s or Frisch’s in other parts of the USA). In fact, in MI the Elias name is somewhat common, especially among Italians and Syrians. So unless I see a name like Boleslaw Elias or Wladyslaw Elias — I tend to filter those names out as NOT Polish.

My Grand-Uncle Jan Elijasz was born in Pacanow on 6th-December-1880 the first born child of Jozef Elijasz and Maryanna Paluch. I have his church birth record. I also have his marriage record to Pelagia Kedzierski (also in Pacanow). I have his Ellis Island ship arrival record (as Eliasz) with his brother-in-law Wlodzimierz Kedzierski. Once Jan/John was here in the USA, his name varied back and forth between Elijasz and Eliasz, before settling on Eliasz. I have in the US Censuses from 1920 and 1930. I also had his WWI Draft Registration (which referenced my grandfather Jozef as the nearest contact). But I could never find a record of his death.

I constantly searched for him in Mt Olivet cemetery and its records, after all my grandfather, his brother was there (as were others). My father and one uncle told me he died after my grandfather (a short time my uncle said). My dad remembered a train going by the cemetery at the burial (he was young). So I searched for cemeteries in Detroit and also in Macomb County (last known residence from 1930 Census) that were near to railroad tracks and called cemetery after cemetery (year after year in case they found new records). Annually around the new year, I would post a searching-for plea in the MI genealogy mailing lists and Yahoo groups for MI (Wayne/Macomb). I even started researching historical newspapers of MI, vowing to search the entire decade of the 1930′s until I found him. That is how my efforts with the Dziennik Polski newspaper came about.

One year a fellow genealogical researcher (with Mt Clemens Public Library), Ann Faulkner, took pity upon my annual plea — being familiar with my Dziennik Polski efforts and she, unbeknownst to me, undertook a small search for the death of my great-uncle John Eliasz using the information I supplied in my posts. Well I have told this story before in my blog, about how this kind woman found John Eliasz and I was certain it was him because she found an obituary and a church burial record (transcription) that listed enough other details for her and I to confirm that this John ELIAS was my grand-uncle John Eliasz. With this info I did order his death certificate (see below). The death certificate listed my great-grandparents’ names, so I had yet another further confirmation. I have to admit if I had seen ‘John Elias’, I may have ignored it due to not being “Polish enough” and due to the fact that Syrians and Italians from MI outnumbered the Polish Eliasz by a good bit. I might have missed it, but Ann fortunately, did not.

I cannot explain how my grand-aunt, Mary Eliasz Gronek who reported his death had not corrected the various people, writing his obituary, his church burial record, and even his death certificate. My dear grand-aunt had a horrible record of mis-dating her brothers’ birth dates on their death certificates — so it is a VERY good thing I have their birth records from the church in Pacanow to have the correct dates. On my grandfather’s death certificate, she had even filed an affidavit to correct his birth date (which was very nearly correct) to a very much wrong birth date — I had so many birth dates for my grandfather, that if I had not found his birth record, I would NEVER have known anything more than a consensus birth of “late March 1885″ [ignoring my grand-aunt's May 15, 1887 which was an outlier guess]. Who knew you could file an affidavit to change data on a death certificate? Has any other genealogist encountered such an affidavit? How would I go about finding such an affidavit? Genealogy is very complex, having to winnow the truth from so much inaccurate chaff.

Quite a name evolution huh?  Elijasz to Eliasz to Elias. My grand-uncle John’s name kept getting shorter. Is it any wonder; since his paper trail was disappearing as fast as his last name over time. It is a major reason why I list the family tree as Elijasz/Eliasz/Heliasz which are all correct versions (Elias just being a typographical error). I have also had to accept Elyasz and Eljasz too as variants. Never mind that I have seen ELIASZ Polonia in St Louis, MO area “Anglicize” their name to Ellis. I have to feel sympathy for Donna Mierzejewski-McManus (fellow Polish genealogy blogger) as she sifts through the MANY variants of her Mierzejewski name.

There are quite a few morals to this over long tale…  Be persistent, Collaborate with others (particular experts in regions), Use Historical Newspapers, Do RAOGK for others, be creative in finding a way around genealogical road blocks. But genealogists who research Slavic names, must be prepared to try many, many variants of their last names, over and over again in ALL searches. You may have to go back to prior searches and retry a new name variant when you find the new variation.

 

John Elias (sic) Death Certificate

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