Posts tagged ‘Polish culture’

December 2, 2010

Christopher Columbus Discovers … He Is POLISH!

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Polonia, this jester is pleased as punch to tell you, that you can now celebrate Columbus Day as well as Pulaski Day, so get out there in September with the Italians and celebrate with pride our newest Pole, Christopher Columbus! Portuguese historian Manuel Rosa has spent the better part of two decades studying the Columbus myth and has now reached a new conclusion, that everything we thought we knew about Columbus was wrong.

First book up on the background articles:

Apparently Columbus’s grandfather was the founder of the Jagiellonian Line of Polish Kings. And his father was Wladislaw III . Wladislaw III was thought to have died at the Battle of Varna in 1444. Luckily for America he survived, found absolution in Palestine for his wrongs, and settled in Portugal, where the Portuguese King gave him land on  the island of Madeira,  and he married Portuguese aristocracy and had two sons (one of which was Columbus).

Now this story makes sense of why Columbus had access to no less than four royal lines who he could approach and propose such a venture of discovering a new path to the Orient (uh America, ummm, the Caribbean Islands). A Book is coming and National Geographic is also interested in the story. Manuel Rosa is now seeking access to DNA to prove his theory. In the mean time, lets see some Polish flags next September at the Columbus Day Holiday Parades and reclaim our prodigal son from the Italians. This will be a nice entre into October (Polish History Month, Pulaski Day celebrations) giving Polonia two months of pride. Also drink some Madiera wines. It appears we can thank our Polish son for this wine appearing in the Americas — a nice red wine. This also adds to the credibility that Columbus was born on the Island of Madiera (a Portuguese territory at the time) and not in Genoa.

November 24, 2010

Milosz, Dlugosz and Eliasz … Shhh

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Czeslaw Milosz (June 30, 1911 – August 14, 2004), the Nobel Prize author,  should have the 100th Anniversary of his birth commemorated, June, next year. I do not know why I took a fancy to this person who took my mind captive. It is probably because he was Polish (and a naturalized American) and his first name was the same as my ojciec (father). That got me to read this man’s works. But what kept me reading his works is his Captivating Mind and his way around the rhythm of language (quite extraordinary to be so  talented in two languages).  So I was reading a book of his, “The History of Polish Literature“; London-New York: MacMillan, 1969. When I read, I am rather immersive, so I read the text and Google the concepts or the author. It provides a richer experience for me. So I noticed that Milosz (or the concept that was Milosz) is about to turn 100!

This jester has many of this writer’s books in his personal library. I chose the Road Side Dog for a picture, because I am a long time dog  aficionado and I have made a reservation, “to let” some of Milosz’s ideas for my own writings. So from my readings today in The History of Polish Literature“, here are a few memes and things for you think upon:

  • Marcholt – The Polish Aesop, particularly the connection to the Wise King Solomon
  • Sowizrzal
  • Melusine
  • Jan Dlugosz ( 1415-1480)

In the above list, the first three are literary characters, while the fourth is a historical figure and writer. His historical writings are  a rich source. See Annales Poloniae.  Jan Dlugosz endeared himself to me by teaching himself Cyrillic in order to be to source info from the Letopisi. So this jester identifies with Dlugosz and his need to read Cyrillic texts to have ready access to Russian information.

Alas, in the partitions of Poland by the three black-eagled Empires,  my ancestors were  mostly in the Russian-Poland partition, so reading Cyrillic handwriting and Russian language (pre 1918 language reforms) became a necessary skill. I think I dislike the Russification of the ELIASZ name into Elijasz. I still remember my Busia teaching me that our last name was in the Old Testament and that we were named for the prophet Elijah. In Polish, it appeared as ELIASZ.  So when I got further into the genealogical research and I saw post-partition Catholic priests change the name into Heliasz and Elijasz, I saw something of a diminishing of respect for its biblical roots. But whether we are ELIASZ or HELIASZ or ELIJASZ or even ELJASZ or ELYASZ. I still see Elijah. In fact, amongst the Slavic peoples, other variations exist: Iliasz, Oliasz, and Uliasz. So now you know, that this jester’s family with the short name (6 characters) of which uncharacteristically,  half of them are vowels is very much Polish with  a very uncommon Polish name.

 

A Reasonably Complete Bibliography of Czeslaw Milosz can be found in the New World Encyclopedia  article.

October 27, 2010

Romanov Russian Royalty.. oh my

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

This jester has a deep appreciation for Dr. Stephen Morse and his many works, especially those related to genealogy. I have used his One Step Web Page for many years. So it was thrill to meet him at various conferences and I was touched at his kind offer to help  moje zona read her grandparent’s tombstone (alas the jester struggles with his Hebrew language skills). I have followed his recent work to make yet a 3rd generation soundex algorithm (for us Slavics).

Originally, we had American Soundex, which you still see on Immigration documents (mine is E420). Then along came the most excellent Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex which was a vast improvement for those whose heritage was Slavic (mine is 084000) and you would see it on Russian Consular records.  Recently Dr Morse has developed the Bieder-Morse Soundex algorithm which further improves name matches (by eliminating false matches). So my family name would have Bieder-Morse soundex tokens of:  elaS elas [exact match tokens only] . I think only the JewishGen website has implemented that matching.

Now Dr Morse has an article(Genetic Genealogy Revisited) in the APG’s professional journal: “Association of Professional Genealogists QUARTERLY”. It was on the use of genetics in genealogy and he used the Romanov Family mystery as a demonstration of using genetics to solve a question. Now I read in the Current issue of the Smithsonian,  the Resurrecting the Czar, article. It too covers the latest background on murder mystery of Czar Nicholas II and his family and attendants. I found that the two aritcles read together give a fascinating account of the story.

Now this jester is not a fan of the Russian Empire (even though my grandparents and their parents were born into Russian-Poland partition).  The Rus betrayal of Poland not even a century after the great  King Jan Sobieski, the Savior of Vienna [indeed all of Europe],  the “Lion of Lechistan” and  their betrayal again in 1939 at the start of World War II sour my feelings for our brother Rus. So while I enjoyed the two articles read back-to-back, I was appalled by a few “royalists” who want to bring back the monarchy to the Russian Federation. One woman artist actually is hoping for a Russian fascist (to clean up the mess??) followed by a transition back to the monarchy. That would be quite a rewind of history huh?

Czech, Lech and Rus - there is a legend of three brothers that settled central and eastern Europe. Czech went on to found the Czechs and Rus went on to found the Russians. Lech and Lechistan became Poland. So we can see again that monarchies and the battles between them are really nothing more than family squabbles done on a grand scale. By the way both articles mention the British monarchy  and their family connection to the Romanovs (via Hapsburgs).  Canute the Great was a Grandson of Mieszko I (first king of Poland) and of course another ancestor of this jester, the twice king Stanislaw Leszczynski, had a daughter marry into the Bourbons. Alas all of Poland’s goodwill and family relationships could not prevent the Deluge and Poland’s slip from History’s main stage. We will have to content ourselves that Rus and their partitions, produced Kosciuszko and Pulaski and they in turn helped to produce America.

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 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 8, 2010

October is National Polish Heritage Month

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

October is our National Polish Heritage Month in the USA. So I thought, how about talking about Polish Name Days. Each day in the calendar is associated with one or more (always more) names. In fact this day is more celebrated than the person’s birth day, in Poland?? It may be more prevalent in Western Poland. A Person may celebrate his birthday, but that is usually a private matter. Whilst,  the name day celebration,  he celebrates with friends or co-workers. This used to derived from the church calendar and its Saints and their feast days. But now name days are largely separate from church calendar.

For more information, please see this Wikipedia article .  Here is the list for October…

Polish Name Days – October

October
1 Benigna, Cieszysław, Dan, Danisz, Danuta, Igor, Jan, Remigiusz
2 Dionizy, Leodegar, Stanimir, Teofil, Trofim
3 Eustachiusz, Eustachy, Ewald, Gerard, Gerarda, Gerhard,
Heliodor, Józefa, Kandyd, Sierosław, Teresa
4 Edwin, Franciszek, Konrad, Konrada, Manfred, Manfreda, Rozalia
5 Apolinary, Częstogniew, Donat, Donata, Faust, Fides,
Flawia, Igor, Justyn, Konstancjusz, Konstans, Placyd
6 Artur, Artus, Bronisław, Bronisz, Brunon, Emil, Fryderyka,
Roman
7 Amalia, Justyna, Marek, Maria, Rościsława, Stefan,
Tekla
8 Artemon, Bryda, Brygida, Demetriusz, Laurencja, Marcin, Pelagia,
Pelagiusz, Symeon, Wojsława
9 Arnold, Arnolf, Atanazja, Bogdan, Dionizjusz, Dionizy, Jan,
Ludwik, Przedpełk
10 Franciszek, German, Kalistrat, Lutomir, Paulin, Tomił
11 Aldona, Brunon, Burchard, Dobromiła, Emil, Emilian,
Emiliusz, Germanik, Maria, Marian, Placydia
12 Cyriak, Eustachiusz, Eustachy, Grzymisław, Maksymilian,
Ostap, Salwin, Serafin, Witołd, Witold, Witolda
13 Daniel, Edward, Gerald, Geraldyna, Maurycy, Mikołaj,
Siemisław, Teofil
14 Alan, Bernard, Dominik, Dzierżymir, Fortunata, Kalikst,
Kaliksta
15 Brunon, Gościsława, Jadwiga, Sewer, Tekla, Teresa
16 Ambroży, Aurelia, Dionizy, Florentyna, Galla, Gallina,
Gaweł, Gerard, Gerarda, Gerhard, Grzegorz, Radzisław
17 Lucyna, Małgorzata, Marian, Sulisława, Wiktor,
Wiktoriusz
18 Julian, Łukasz, René
19 Ferdynand, Fryda, Pelagia, Pelagiusz, Piotr, Siemowit,
Skarbimir, Toma, Ziemowit
20 Budzisława, Irena, Jan Kanty, Kleopatra, Wendelin, Witalis
21 Bernard, Celina, Dobromił, Elżbieta, Hilary,
Klemencja, Pelagia, Pelagiusz, Urszula, Wszebora
22 Abercjusz, Filip, Halka, Kordelia, Kordula, Przybysława, Sewer
23 Iga, Ignacja, Ignacy, Jan, Marlena, Odilla, Roman, Seweryn,
Teodor, Włościsław, Żegota
24 Antoni, Boleczest, Filip, Hortensja, Marcin, Rafaela,
Rafał, Salomon
25 Bończa, Bonifacy, Chryzant, Daria, Inga, Kryspin, Maur,
Sambor, Taras, Teodozjusz, Wilhelmina
26 Dymitriusz, Ewaryst, Eweryst, Łucjan, Lucyna, Ludmiła,
Lutosław
27 Frumencjusz, Iwona, Sabina, Siestrzemił, Wincenty
28 Juda, Szymon, Tadeusz, Wszeciech
29 Euzebia, Franciszek, Longin, Longina, Lubogost, Narcyz, Teodor,
Wioletta
30 Alfons, Alfonsyna, Angel, Angelus, Edmund, Klaudiusz,
Przemysław, Sądosław, Zenobia
31 Alfons, Alfonsyna, Antoni, Antonina, August, Augusta, Godzimir,
Godzisz, Lucylla, Łukasz, Saturnin, Saturnina, Urban, Wolfgang
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 16, 2010

Poland’s Archival Website Databases

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

The United States has its own National Archives (NARA). Well so too does Poland and for the European nations their archives go back centuries!   Today I want to speak about the home land’s archiwum. Poland’s archive is on the Internet, po angielskiu is at:

http://www.archiwa.gov.pl/lang-en/news.html

If you get the Polish version (po polskiu), just click on the British Union Jack flag and you can see the English language version. Now I am jabbering about this today, because the PGSCTNE sent me their newsletter yesterday and in it was an article by Kahlile Mehr (whose presentations I have enjoyed many times).  In it he speaks about the European archives on the Internet. So I posted on my avatar’s LinkedIn page a discussion, in Polish Genealogists,  to see how many people have availed themselves of the Polish Archive’s databases.

Now I have used the Pradziad database before to see what kind of vital records are held in archives (and those archive locations) for the parishes in Poland that Stanczyk’s ancestors come from (Biechow, Pacanow, etc.). I have from time to time tried to garner something of value from the Sezam database over the years to no avail. Well there are also  IZA and ELA databases. Go here to see the four databases covering Poland’s State Archives. Now Kahlile’s article published in PGSCTNE’s “Pathways & Passages” newsletter talked about ELA and he said you could find “residence books” in ELA. Now these are not historical directories, but are inventories of families residing in some village (not necessarily parish) for some year(s). So I searched this database for my villages (including those villages that were NOT the parish).

I got a lot of hits. The titles were in Polish. Ok Stanczyk, trohe rozumiem po polskiu. So to make sure I understood the titles returned I would cut and paste them into Google’s Translator, which does well enough to give me the gist of what I will find in these “fonds”. It even gives me the contact info for the archive location holding said title/fond.

I love Pradziad and it definitely helps me plan for research in Poland. But now I am beginning to get a little savvy with ELA. I did find some possibilities. But I found one extraordinary nugget that I must go see. I found a Cadastral Map document for one of my ancestral villages. These are like the historical USA, Plat Maps which list land owners. Now I was surprised because Stanczyk’s ancestors come from the part of Poland that was in the Russian partition of Poland (often denoted, Russian-Poland, in US Census or Ellis Island Ship Manifests). I was surprised because I was told that Cadastrals were mainly in the Austrian or Prussian partitions of Poland. Now to be sure, my ancestor’s villages were just across the Vistula (Wisla) from the Austrian partition and for a few years were a part of the Krakow wojewodztwo (or departement in the Grand Duchy of Warsaw). So I guess they did a Cadastral map for this village. Now I know it exists and I must go see it.

So Khalile, let me just say, “THANKS!”

You should go search the Pradziad, ELA and IZA and SEZAM databases. Oh, you do not need to worry about diacriticals in your searches. In fact. I recommend you leave them out rather than use the wrong one or miss one.  I tried it both ways, as Pacanow and as Pacanów. Both returned the exact same results. Likewise for other villages I tried. So fire up Google (or whatever translator you prefer) and go search and discover what treasures are in Poland’s State Archives.

Do not forget about the Church Archives or the actual Parish’s books or the USC offices. But at least the Polish State Archives have their library catalogs on the Internet.

September 7, 2010

Komunikat z Konsulatu Polskiego

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Communications with the Polish Consulate

Communications with the Polish Consulate

Stanczyk, apologizes for being derelict of duty. Has it really been 2.5 months? Much has happened since my twin daughter Valeria died, that required Stanczyk’s attentions.  Oddly it is another death that happened 80 years ago that caught my attention, as I try to muse along.

I was reviewing some digital pictures I took years ago of a January 22nd, 1930 newspaper page that contained some columns posted by the Polish Consulate in Detroit. Stanczyk has long been a fan of the Dziennik Polski and I have just this Labor Day weekend, posted an update to my index of Polish peoples whose names appeared in the Dziennik Polski newspaper in various columns (birth announcements, funeral cards, marriage announcements, divorce announcements, class pictures from local High Schools, and even Polish Consulate postings). So this muse added another 64 names to my index (over 20,100) people now:

http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~meliasz/detroit/DziennikPolski/Complete_Index_DziennikPolski.htm

It has been two years between updates (this fool’s Mac died, just before the economy died). So I have finally gathered a sundry of  open source (i.e free) tools to edit/post files to web sites on an MS Windows laptop (distasteful). So look for future updates.

At any rate, I found a Kędzierski who may or may not be related to a family that my grand-uncle Jan married into listed. This caught my eye and also a communique about a Marjanna Skowronkówna. It appears her family in Poland (via the court in Jaslo in Krakow area) are trying to determine for certain her death. This woman was the daughter of Jan Skowron and his wife Barbara nee  Filasow, was born 1st October 1866. She came to America the second time in March of 1913 (remember this is a 1930 newspaper posting) and the family has heard nothing since 1914 when she was last known to be a housekeeper for Greek-Catholic priest, V, Dobry in Uniontown, PA. As I said, this was posted 22-January-1930 issue of Dziennik Polski, in Detroit, MI [in case an ancestor reads/Googles this blog].

Now the above was written in Polish (I used Google Translate to help me), so it was not the fact of a daughter being deceased unbeknownst to her family that caught my eye, but the fact that her birth date, her parents’ names and  her birth place were given. What immensely valuable genealogical data can be found in these Polish Consulates communiques!

Now as for Pawel Kędzierski,  a relative of his living in France, named Michal Kędzierski, was looking for him. They gave Pawel’s last known address as the state of Ohio. Note to Fool, check to see if these Polish Consulate postings appeared simultaneously through out USA Polish newspapers; I say this since we see Ohio and Uniontown, PA being written about in a Detroit, MI newspaper.

For those who read Polish fluently here is the clip of Marjanna Skowronkowna’s communique:

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 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.

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.

December 16, 2009

Anioł Stróz – Guardian Angel

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Guardian Angel

Guardian Angel

Anioł Stróz, once I translated this phrase and found it meant, “Guardian Angel”, I immediately had multiple themes (or is it memes)  for this blog.

How many times have you felt that a beloved relative who has passed, was aiding you in finding answers to your genealogical research? I know I have felt this to be the case and I have heard other genealogists say the same. That is one kind of guardian angel — for us genealogists.

I have also felt fortunate to be saved from a few “close calls”. Once, immediately after being saved from a collision with a deer. My radio played some music with the lyric “saved by an angel”. How spooky is that? That is the kind of guardian angel most of us think of. The benevolent, ethereal kind that saves us from harm.

Today, however, I have started blogging about my father’s prayer book, which had this title in Polish.  I will post a picture of the prayer book and the prayers cards I found inside it  — as soon as I replace my broken Mac. This genealogical memento is a treasure for me as it connects me to my father and his religious studies from when he was just a little boy.  Also, because of the cards and inscription, I have an extra memory of my paternal grandmother in the form of her handwriting.

It is not one of those fabled family Bibles that had many generations of ELIASZ or LESZCZYNSKI with birth, marriage and death dates.  It was my father’s prayer book, but it is my connection to him (bless his heart he is now 83 years old with two older brothers still alive — real family treasures) and it is my connection to his mother Walerya Leszczynska Eliasz.

Chester Eliasz was born at home, in Detroit, MI in 1926. On, 6/24/1928 he was baptised at Corpus Christi Church – 2291 East Outer Drive, Detroit, MI. This is the same church where my grandfather Joseph Eliasz built the Bell Tower. His  God Parents were: Wladislaw Gronek & Janina Leszczynska [I do not even know who Janina was/is). As a boy, Chester attended Immaculate Conception Church in Hamtramck as a boy. {near his Craig St home  — no longer existent due to Poletown Plant}. On 6/5/1938: he made his 1st Holy Communion, while he lived at 6468 Craig Street [from prayer book] @ St Johns Church on East Grand Blvd, Detroit. It is this Anioł Stróz that I hold and blog about now (12/18/2009).

As I draw to a close in 2009, I do think upon my genealogical guardian angel(s), who have helped me find, many Polish church records from the parishes in Biechow and in Pacanow. In 2009, my Anioł Stróz were many real people as well as the many spiritual kind, who helped me acquire amongst other treasures: my grandfather’s birth record from Pacanow (and a few of his siblings), my grandparent’s marriage record from Biechow  and other treasures that solved puzzles connecting the ELIASZ family to Gawlik {owski} family via the Wlecialowskich (i.e. Rosa Wlecialowski Gawlikowski — whose mother was Katarzyna Eliasz). That is nice!

Ciotka Rosie and her family lived across the street (Fairchild Rd) from my grandmother’s farm in MI. This time of year they would come Christmas Eve and sing a Christmas carol outside my grandmother’s farmhouse [when I was just a young, impressionable boy, circa 1960’s]. At the time, I was told they are friends of the family. Now in 2009, I find they too are part of the ELIASZ family and that my “cousin”, Kim Gawlik Kowalski, the genealogist from TN,  is actually a real 4th cousin of mine.

Merry Christmas, Eliasz, Leszczynski, Gawlikowski, Wlecialowski and even Gronek, Sobieszczanski, Mylek, and Mrozek too — wherever we all are this 2009! May our family trees cross in the coming year!

February 13, 2009

Eliasz i Elijasz i Heliasz i …

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

P

olish names are a bit enigmatic for those of us native English speakers of the Polish diaspora. Now let me hasten to add that Stanczyk is not of the Jewish faith, but is Catholic, but none-the-less there was a large Polish diaspora to many parts of the English speaking world, particularly my, corner America. Like any good Polish-American, I knew that our name meant, ‘Elijah’ like the prophet. This knowledge was deeply rooted in me by my Busia (grandmother), who used to show me her copy of the bible, which was of course written in Polish. Sure enough, in the Old Testament, amongst the books of the prophets was the story of Elijah and it was indeed written as ‘Eliasz’.

My family is from the Russian partition of Poland in the old wojewodztwo (or gubernia) of Kielce in the villages surrounding the Biechów and Pacanów parishes.  So in the years from about 1868 to 1918 the church records were written in Russian using the Cyrillic alphabet. In Russian, Eliasz looks like:

Елиашъ    Елияшъ    Элиашъ

Over the years, I have found  the ELIASZ name written as Eliasz, Eljasz, Elijasz, Elyasz, and Heliasz. Those are just the correct spellings. Now I know what you are thinking, how is ELIASZ Polish. It is only six letters long and half of those letters are vowels. This proponderance of vowels is very un-Polish. Any way, I was treated to a little lesson by one of my favorite Genealogy authors, lecturer, group members: Fred Hoffman. Fred is the Polish Surname guy and linguist extraordinaire in the Yahoo Group -> Polish Geniuses .

In an earlier post, this jester wrote about Ann Faulkner and how she found my great-uncle Jan (John) Eliasz death documents. Besides one entry written as Elijasz, it also listed my great grandparents names in particular my great-grandmother’s maiden name. It also listed a new great-uncle: Thomas (undoubtable Tomasz) Eliasz. Now flash forward a couple of weeks and I returned to a Polish web site: Nasza Klasa (“Our Class”), a kind of Polish Reunion.com — at least it is a social network site ala Facebook or MySpace. I had given up on Nasza Klasa due to my rather limited Polish language skills (Trojhe rozumiem po polskiu). I had managed to find Eliasz and Heliasz in Poland and near to my ancestral villages but nobody in my direct line. Well because of Fred Hoffman mentioning to me about consonantal Y’s and such polysyllabic linguistic jargon and due to the data Ann Faulkner had found, it finally dawned on me to search for Elijasz. Now I had never pursued this as I thought it was just a Russification of our correct name ELIASZ and surely after 1918, my family would have returned to either ELIASZ or HELIASZ and left that particular Russian transliteration in the proverbial dust.

Needless to say I was wrong. Recently, two Dorotas emailed me at Nasza Klasa. Dorota Blome (Elijasz) and Dorota Turner (Elijasz) both from Pacanów roots. These two lovely women are using friends and family to help me locate family records and are actually sending me scanned pictures of relatives. I think one or both of these may be direct line cousins of mine. Now in an even better chance of luck, I happened to meet Elzbieta Heliasz. Now Elzbieta’s family is from Biechów parish, but she speaks no English. Old Stanczyk speaks trojhe po Polskiu. Via google translators and such I was able to  trade some emails and I think I determined she is from a line HELIASZ/ELIASZ that are cousins to my grandfather (not direct relatives, but close). Well fortunately, Elzbieta has a very clever son, Łukasz, who speaks pretty good English. Well this lovely duo of near ELIASZ relatives from the parish of the earlier ELIASZ family that may have seeded Pacanów ELIASZ family lines. They actually went to the Biechów priest and retrieved my grandparents marriage documents!  Now I am not certain what marriage documents they found or are sending, but the excitement builds. It turns out that my Pacanów Joseph Eliasz and my Biechów Walerya Leszczyńka got married in Biechów, not Pacanów. This is not that surprising, since it is customary to marry in the bride’s village — but it is hardly definitive as I have counter examples in my family tree.

Well it is 102 years later, but here is to my grandparents and their marriage (28-January-1907) in Poland, without which I would not be writing these words today from America. Go to Klasa America, Nasza Klasa may hold the ancestors of your family that did NOT come over from the old country. Think Globally and work on the Internet.

May God Bless my new found Heliasz and Elijasz relatives for their kindness.

January 16, 2009

Hello Internet… are you there?

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

w_blueelcome to my blog!

If you read the About you will see that I am Stanczyk. As a jester, I will try to be amusing while I am musing.  Do you like my picture (I was painted by Matejko)?

stanczyk1

What you cannot tell is that I am Polish and I am sitting in a library.  I have been employed by three Polish kings: Alexander, Sigismund the Old and Sigismund Augustus. I am an unabashed bibliophile hence why I spend so much of my free time in libraries. I like to trace my less than regal family lineage which can be found hither and yon about the Internet. I also tend to wander for work and what not.

I have wandered to many libraries, like The Library of Congress, the Family History Library (in Salt Lake City), and recently to a rather interesting bookstore. My wandering jests took me to Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, where I visited Baldwin’s Book Barn. This bookstore amused me and I easily whiled away more than an hour combing through the barn and its four floors with 300,000 books! Genealogists and bibliophiles make haste to their store.

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