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.
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.
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!