Posts tagged ‘Lithuania’

May 12, 2012

Jason Sudeikis / Who Do You Think You Are? (#WDYTYA, @LisaKudrow) #Genealogy

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Last night’s Who Do You Think Are? show was another interesting episode. Stanczyk got an idea whilst watching the show. Why not, play along on Ancestry.com?

Now this occurred to me because I am helping friends who are Lithuanian and I noticed that tie-in right away. But what really made it personal and very interesting for me was to find Jason’s 2nd great-grandfather, Joseph had immigrated/worked in Mahanoy City, PA (a mining community). As it turns out, this is a big Polish/Lithuanian/Italian community due to the miner immigrants around the beginning of the twentytieth century. It is also a city where the Eliasz-Solomon family has roots.

So I wanted to right away get on Ancestry.com and see if there were any Sudeikis ties (or near ties) to our roots. I really enjoyed the mining research — that is an area of research I was considering since one ancestor died much too young. I too was thinking a mining accident my explain the death.

Of course, after seeing Jason’s search for the ship manifest I had other questions too. I think the season needs to add a final show after a summer re-run season where genealogists can write in and ask questions. Like last night I saw a fellow tweeter was wondering about the CT Sudeikis family whether they had been contacted as part of the research. Me,  I was wondering two things about the ship manifest:

  1. Why was Mary sent back to get Stanley (since Mary was only 14, not the 16 as shown on the ship manifest; Compare 1900 Census with ship manifest.). I felt the young age of the girl getting her even younger brother, who now had even younger siblings in Pennsylvania would have been an interesting topic for Jason to react to.
  2. Also, why was poor Stanley Sr. the last Sudeikis left over in Lithuania? Notice that his older (non-American born siblings) all came over in 1898 leaving only Stanley to come over  two years later. Again, this would have been a dramatic point to explore with Jason. Perhaps that abandonment in Lithuania was why Stanley Sr. felt he could so easily abandon Jason’s family in Chicago for the CT family.

Also I have a question for the show and Lisa Kudrow. Did your researchers learn where in  Lithuania, Jason’s ancestors came from? I think the ship manifest (yes I am obsessed with the ship manifest) had a misspelled ancestral village. My guess would be Wizajny — which is actually in modern Poland very near the Lithuanian border in what would have been the Suwalki wojewodztwo (and afterwards the Russian Empire’s Suwalki gubernia). I have done research in that area before that is why my mind immediately went to that village when I saw the village of the ship manifest.

I think the show could exploit Lisa and/or the on-air genealogists and possibly the stars in responding to the questions. Is there a place for fans to write-in their suggestions? Why not a year-end show at the end of summer/beginning of fall to let people get their questions answered and perhaps do some “behind the scenes” info or show clips that were cut due to time constraints. Make this show be a full hour (instead of 30 minutes). Come on Genealogy Buffs — write @LisaKudrow and make the request!

P.S.

Let me take this opportunity to wish my beloved wife, Tereza, the mother of my only children, a very Happy Mother’s Day 2012 ! Tereza, thank you for creating our little dynasty by having my twin sons !!!

We love you Tereza!

xoxoxo

May 2, 2012

May 3rd Constitution Day — #Poland, #Lithuanian, #History

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Tomorrow is May 3rd and in Poland and Lithuanian it is celebrated as Constitution Day (first celebrated jointly on May 3rd 2007). But Stanczyk is getting ahead of himself in this story.

This jester trusts by now that you know that Poland was country with the second constitution. I am also hopeful that you had read a prior blog article of mine: “Poland 1794, The Tempest, and Catherine The Great” . For the discussion on Poland’s Constitution, I’d like to try my hand at an even broader context.

1732

Stanczyk maintains that 1732 was a very bad year for Poland. On 17 January 1732 Stanislaw Poniatowski was born in Wolczyn (which is in modern day Belarus). If the year had begun badly, then it would get much worse. On 13 September 1732, the secret treaty was signed at the Alliance of the Three Black Eagles. This was a secret treaty between Prussia, Russia and Hapsburg-Austria Empires (all three had Black Eagles as emblems — in stark contrast to Poland’s White Eagle). They agreed to maintain Poland in their “status quo” suffering from a non-functional szlachta with a Libretum Veto — meaning a single veto could derail any new law, further meaning that laws almost never got passed [sounds like 2009-2012 Washington D.C. does it not?]

Now let me narrate the rest of the story, before I give Constitution Day’s Timeline.

In 1750 Poniatowski met his mentor, the Briton, Charles Hanbury Williams . Williams was the British ambassador to Russia. They met again in 1753. Now while the Poniatowskich were a noble family, their family fortunes were not so great as the great magnate families. So they had to align themselves and hope for a strategic marriage for Stanislaw to a wealthier family. None the less, Stanislaw’s father was able to procure him some nominal titles. In 1755, the elder Poniatowski got his son Stanislaw, the title of Stolnik of Lithuania. Stolnik was a court office in Poland and Russia,  responsible for serving the royal table. Keep that image in mind.

So armed with his new title of Stolnik of Lithuania, Stanislaw accompanied the British Ambassador to Russia, where the young Poniatowski met the also young (but very formidable) Catherine who had not yet become Empress of Russia (nor yet earned, her appellation, “The Great”). Stanislaw Poniatowski was only at the Russian court for one year. By 1756 Poniatowski was ordered to leave the Russian Court amidst some “intrigue”. It is thought that this intrigue resulted in the birth of Anna Petrovna (by Catherine the Great) on the 9th December 1757. It is also said that Stanislaw always hoped his bedding of Catherine would result in a future marriage for him. This jester thinks that Stanislaw deluded himself to think he had successfully wooed Catherine and that marriage was possible for the two of them. This jester also further thinks that Catherine, used this virtual “apron string” to manage Poniatowski to do her Russian bidding in Poland.

In 1762 Catherine used her new position as the Russian Empress and she was able to get Stanislaw to be elected King of Poland on 6 September 1764. It has now been 32 years of managing Poland’s status quo by the Three Black Eagles. So by 17 February 1772 the Three Black Eagles agreed to partition Poland. On August 5th, 1772 the occupation manifesto was issued and foreign troops entered Poland’s sovereign territory and forced a cession Sejm to convene with King Poniatowski and agree to the partition manifesto (probably Stanislaw thought it was best to go along with Russia in this matter and that this obedience would be rewarded) on 9/18/1773. Not much leadership in this jester’s mind was exhibited, but opposition to three Empires was probably futile anyway.

Life goes on for another decade. Stanislaw uses what little wealth of the Kingdom to foster arts & science, but with Prussia’s control of the Baltic Ports,  and using its control to extort high custom duties from Poland on 80% of Poland’s economic trades to further collapse Poland’s economy and that limits Poniatowski’s wealth/power. Poniatowski also continues his hope for a noble marriage, but he does engage in a morganatic marriage to Elzbieta Szydlowska in 1783 and thereby maintains his options for a royal marriage.

In 1788 the Four Year Sejm convenes and Stanislaw thinks he can help Catherine The Great in her war with the Ottoman Empire by raising an army in Poland — which Catherine quickly squashes, but leaves the Polish Sejm alone while she wars with the Ottomans. Left to their own devices, this “Enlightened” body of lawmakers passes a constitution on 3rd May 1791. Even King Poniatowski celebrates this event. If you have read my prior blog article listed above, then you know this will NOT end well for Poland (or Poniatowski who is forced to abdicate the Polish throne 11/25/1795).

I think you can see that Poniatowski, Stolnik of Lithuania, served up Poland as a feast for Catherine The Great to enjoy repeatedly until even she was forced to make him abdicate and spend the remainder of his three years of life as a nominal prisoner in St Petersburg, Russia (so he could not meddle further in Russian affairs). Poniatowski died 2/12/1798 in St Petersburg, Russia. Poniatowski’s remains were removed and re-buried in Wolczyn, Belarus — until that church fell into disrepair. Poland reclaimed Poniatowki’s remains and he was buried a third time (14 February 1995) in St. John’s Cathedral in Warsaw, Poland — the very site where he had celebrated the Polish Constitution on May 3rd 1791.

Timeline of the Constitution:

5/3/1791 – Constitution is Passed (2nd in the world).

May 1792 Constitution Day is celebrated.

July 1792 King Poniatowski  joins the Targowice Confederation against Poland and his own nephew (and Kosciuszko too) who were fighting the War To Defend The Constitution with Russia and Catherine the Great who was now freed up from warring with the Ottomans and now able to show her displeasure.

1793-1806 – Constitution Day is banned during the the 2nd/3rd Partition years.

1807-1815 – Constitution Day is celebrated in the Duchy of Warsaw thanks to Napoleon.

1815-1918 – Constitution Day is unofficially celebrated / discouraged in Congress Poland

April 1919 – The re-emerged Polish Republic celebrates Constitution Day again until 1940.

World War II – Constitution Day is banned again.

1945 – Constitution Day is celebrated.

1946 – The Communists cancel Constitution Day. They substitue May Day (May 1st) as an attempt to replace the Constitution Day celebration.

April 1990 – Poland out from under the Communist yoke celebrates Constitution Day again.

May 3rd 2007 – Poland & Lithuania celebrate Constitution Day jointly echoing their former Commonwealth days. This is the first jointly celebrated Constitution Day.

Perhaps one day, the USA will celebrate with Poland on May 3rd as the two countries with the oldest constitutions. [Now, please I know Polonia all over the USA, but most notably in Chicago mark May 3rd annually.]  Indeed you are reading this blog about May 3rd. So Polonia  still mark the day, the old country adopted the second oldest constitution.

Happy Constitution Day!

April 22, 2012

Alytus / Olita – Udrija / Baksiai — #Polish, #Lithuanian, #Genealogy

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Recently, Stanczyk was asked about a Pennsylvania family and if I could find their ancestral villages, so they could make a family pilgrimage to get in touch with their Genealogical Roots.

See the red annotation (circle / underline) near the map center. This is region as shown from a 1757 map of the Polish / Lithuanian Commonwealth.

One of the immediate points of this region needs to be made explicit. Obviously, it was a part of the Lithuanian Duchy before, then Part of Poland, it became part of Prussian-Poland partition, then part of the Russian Empire, before becoming Lithuania in modern times.

That much border re-drawing causes a lot of languages / archives to come into play. Records can be expected to be found in Latin, Lithuanian, Polish, German, Hebrew/Yiddish and Russian.

The region is known in various languages. So I sought out JewishGen ShtetlSeeker to help me learn all of the various names and here is the pop-up if you hover over the Alytus name:

Most researchers will want to take note of it as Olita in Suwalki wojewodztwo (when in the Polish Kingdom) or as Oлита (Russian/Cyrillic) in Troki uyezd, Vilna gubernia.

Family Search has microfilm for both Catholic and Jewish metrical books:


Lithuania, Alytus – Church records (1)
Metrical books, 1797-1873
Lithuania, Alytus – Jewish records (1)
Metrical books, 1835-1914

Pradziad has some archival records too. Their records are for Jewish metrical records in the year range: 1835-1872 .

Obviously, if you visit the locale, then parish records may exist in Udrija or Baksiai parishes/synagogues in the Alytus region of Lithuania. Besides the Catholic records, there may also be Lutheran records too.

A more modern map (Olita/Alytus) can be found on the Polish map site mapywig.org . Please NOTE this is a large / detailed map. The area of this article is in the left-center area on the river.

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