John Eliasz

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

While I was toiling away at the Salt Mines in Wilmington, DE, I was musing about the long hard toil for the past three years that Stanczyk had been doing since I made my grandfather’s brother Jan Eliasz (great-uncle) an emphasis of my genealogical research. saltminewieliczka

I had brief snatches of info on John Eliasz. I had found his actual birth record in LDS microfilm, so I knew his actual birth date. I also had his World War I draft registration which was kind enough to give me a second birth date to cause me to doubt the birth record I had found was actually his. I also had the 1920 & 1930 US Censuses.

From family lore, I had that “Uncle John” had died around the same time as my grandfather (who died 06-January-1930). There was even a memory of him being buried at Mt. Olivet cemetery (Detroit, MI). Well family lore had been mostly accurate and my grandfather had been buried at Mt Olivet, so the facts seem to fit. So year after year I would call Mt Olivet and inquire about John/Jan Eliasz and they never did have info on him, but one year they located a record on an infant Eliasz baby named Henry who would have been an uncle if hed had survived his premature birth. So I kept hope that Mt Olivet  would eventually locate the record of my great-uncle after all my persistence had located a previously unknown uncle (who even my dad did not know had been born).

In the meantime I began searching the Dziennik Polski (Detroit) newspaper which I learned that my Busia read every day. I had the rotten luck of finding a family birth announcement the very first time and so was hooked. Now I have a whole web site dedicated to Dziennik Polski (Detroit) . I have collected many vital records of  Poles from Detroit, but I have not found John Eliasz’s death announcement. At last year’s (2008) United Polish Genealogical Societies conference in Salt Lake City’s famous Family History Library I dedicated an abundance of time to Detroit microfilm for naught — no John Eliasz. I pestered 2nd and 3rd cousins to ask parents or to look through funeral cards for any clue.

For 3+ years I had no luck other than an occasional mention in Detroit City directory. Last year I posted to MI-Polish asking for help — no luck. This year I thought I might post to MI-Macomb (County) mailing list asking for help. But after three years I did not really expect a reply. Well this was one jester who was fooled. A kindly genealogist took note of Stanczyk’s plea and took the scant information provided and paid Stanczyk a little act of genealogical kindness. This researcher, Ann Faulkner (who I am sure some will recognize), used her awesome skills and the sensational resources at Mt Clemens Public Library (MCPL) and she found two scraps on John Eliasz!  She posted the info and I confirmed that both of her findings were indeed my great-uncle since she had included little details that only made sense to someone in my family (by naming in-laws and friends). She perseveered through the slavic genealogist’s worse curse: misspelled/mistranscribed names and found John Elias and John Elijasz (both common variants on ELIASZ). So I just wanted to take a moment and to thank Ann Faulkner — honored genealogist and helper to many. Thanks Ann, you brought a tear to this jester’s face.

Now I have his death date/cemetery and as a bonus another great-uncle (Thomas Eliasz) in Poland.

Well I really must go, my Internet broadband signal is getting weak here in the bowels of the salt mine.

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