Archive for ‘History’

July 7, 2011

Ancestral Villages – Poland, Kielce (old woj.), Stopnica (pow.)

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stopnica Pas 47 Slup 32 Wojskowy Instytut Geograficzny 1938 (scale 1:100,000)

This picture is a map of the villages that Stanczyk’s ancestors were from. The river in the South-East corner of the map is the Wisla / Vistula river. To the South-central area are a few more villages that could not be shown: Oblekon and also Szczucin (across the Vistula). North of the Vistula, was the Russian-Poland partition. South of the Vistula was the Austrian-Poland partition. These partitions arose from Austria (aka Austrian-Hungarian Empire), Prussia, and Russia colluding in 1772, 1792, and finally in 1794 to divvy up the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth until Poland had vanished from the map of Europe for about 125 years, until it reappeared in 1918. Between 1797 and 1815 various ex-expatriate Polish legions fought along side Napoleon, so the final boundaries of the three partitions continued to evolve until 1815 when Napoleon was finally defeated for good. It is ironic to me that this region on the map above changed hands so many times and that I had ancestors in two kingdoms who would marry across parishes (and indeed national boundaries).

So it was not really surprising to me that my Busia (grandmother) spoke: Polish, Russian and German and most Catholics prior to Vatican II did know a smattering of Latin since church masses were often in Latin. Indeed, my father related to me that my grandmother was fluent enough to make money during the Great Depression by translating letters to/from English to/from  Polish/Russian/German for Americans to be able to carry on correspondences in the old country.

Stanczyk remembers my grandmother speaking to me as a child in perfect English (with the lovely/charming Central European accent). I also vividly remember that after her stroke, she could only speak Polish (her native language). I would converse with my dad acting as translator between us in her kitchen over percolated coffee (ye gads — has it been nearly a half century of coffee drinking for me) from when I was about five or six years old.  My dad laughingly relates how when he was a boy, my grandmother would chastise him that his Polish was no good and that he should speak to her in English. Obviously his Polish was good enough that years later,  the three of us could chit-chat over coffee quite comfortably.

Stanczyk’s remembrances have caused me to digress. The point of this map was to list the villages where I have found vital records / church records for my Eliasz / Leszczynski / Wlecialowski / Kedzierski families. So here is my list (anyone else from here?):

Biechow (parish) – Biechow, Piestrzec, Wojcza, Wojeczka, Chrzanow

Pacanow (parish) – Pacanow, Zabiec, Kwasow

Various Other Parishes/Villages – Zborowek, Ksiaznice, Swiniary, Oblekon, Trzebica, Szczucin and I am sure many of the rest of villages surrounding these villages, but I have yet to see or connect the records to main branches of the family tree.

Now excuse me,  I must go get some more coffee.

July 6, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy – Gazetteer: Skorowidz Meijscowosci …

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk loves maps. But how do you know which map to examine and where Babcia’s village is? Well today’s post is about a Gazetteer:

Skorowidz Miejscowości Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej [Index of Placenames of the Republic of Poland] circa 1931.

Now this also touches on a previous article, in that I have this Gazetteer bookmarked from a Digital Library in Poznan, Poland. So it is an online resource available through your browser.

A gazetteer is a geographical dictionary or directory, an important reference for information about places and place names (see: toponymy), used in conjunction with a map or a full atlas. It typically contains information concerning the geographical makeup of a country, region, or continent as well as the social statistics and physical features [source: Wikipedia]. The features genealogists look for are: administrative levels (state/woj., county/pow., township/gmina) or location of parishes/parafialny. So the “Skorowidz” gives us this info, if we can know the name of the place/village we are looking up info upon.

I have created a mini index of this Gazetteer age paging through 2096 pages sequentially or randomly is not very productive. My index page for Skorowidz Miejscowości Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej is here.  So I wish you good research in locating your ancestral village and its parish/synagogue. One final note!  There are many excellent Gazetteers for Poland, but that will be another article.

July 4, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy – Historical Dziennik Polski (Detroit) Newspaper

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk wishes all Americans a Happy Fourth Of July !

I just wanted to update my readers that my page on the Dziennik Polski (Detroit, MI) Newspaper has been updated to include a new repository: PARI – Polonica Americana Research Institute on Orchard Lake, St Mary’s campus, whose Director is the well known Ceil Wendt Jensen (who has ancestors from Stanczyk’s ancestral village, Pacanow).

Their holdings are 1904-1920 on microfilm and 1930’s-? in bundles of actual newspapers.

Mój pies (my dog), Java wants everyone to keep their dog safe today and not to lose your dogs due to the fireworks and the fright they cause in dog’s sensitive ears.

July 2, 2011

#History – 4th of July Holiday – Reading of Declaration of Independence

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Independece Hall Philadelphia

education use from

Stanczyk was not born in Philadelphia, but moved here over two decades ago. But I really love the city of Brotherly Love. I like to call it the cradle of American civilization and we are the keystone state because of our position within the original 13 colonies.

One of the reasons I love Philadelphia is its oldness (relative to America — not the rest of the world). I like to play tourist in my adopted home town. So I have seen the celebrated points of the colonial history of our town. Now we are on the verge of another 4th of July and that means the Welcome America celebration which seems to get longer every year (is it two weeks long now?) and with good reason for all of the special events (fireworks, concerts, liberty medals, etc.) that occur.

But let Stanczyk clue you in on a free activity for you and your kids that makes you feel a part of America’s past. Do not just visit the Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell / Visitor center, the Constitution Center and the recently opened National Museum of American Jewish History. These plus all things Ben Franklin, Betsy Ross, Elfreth Alley, are worthy ventures (take a carriage ride to get a lay of the land — Stanczyk’s favorite). One event Stanczyk stumbled upon was the Historical re-enactment of the reading of the Declaration of Independence. This happens 4 days later (July 8th). It will be in the courtyard behind Independence Hall. Free for all wandering through. It gives your family a real sense of the American narrative and allows you to pretend you were there at the inception of this grand experiment ! Buy the kids a copy of the Declaration and/or Constitution this is what the Independence Holiday is all about. The National Archives in Washington D.C. has an original document that you can visit.

Declaration of Independence

July 2, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy – Library Of Congress Chronicling America

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk was reading the Genealogical Society of PA email/newsletter. They were talking about the Library of Congress’ (LOC)  Chronicling America program. This program is about saving/collecting/digitizing Historical US Newspapers, including Ethnic Language (i.e. Polish) newspapers.

Casual readers of Stanczyk will realize that I favor using Historical newspapers to fill in gaps or to provide context in your family history. My own ojciec (father) told me about an ethnic newspaper (Dziennik Polski) that his mother used to read daily in Detroit. That was over a meal the night before Stanczyk was going to the state of Michigan’s Library & Archives and I had plans to read microfilm of Dziennik Polski. So, on the basis of this kismet I searched Dziennik Polski and the first time I searched, I found my grandmother listed as a mother giving birth to a baby boy (my uncle Ted) and it listed the address where my grandparents lived so I was able to confirm it was my family. Thereafter, I was hooked on Historical newspapers.

At any rate, I digress (but I hope I have motivated you to look). Stanczyk’s own Dziennik Polski (Detroit) newspaper page came from the LOC’s Chronicling America program and adding their info to my own research to create my Rootsweb page. That is specific to just the Dziennik Polski (Detroit) newspaper (with a small mention to other MI Polish language newspapers). But today I searched the LOC for Polish Language newspapers in the LOC and my results are below:

American Historical Polish Language US Newspapers in LOC –

Happy and Blessed 4th of July everyone !

June 27, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy – Useful Websites … #4 Genealogical Societies in Poland

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk, continues with his favorite websites in Poland. I hope you speak Polish or at least have mastered using Google Translate .

Pay especial attention to: Polskiego Towarzystwa Genealogicznego (Polish Genealogical Society). They have valuable databases online and their forums have experts, some of whom speak English and generally all of them are friendly and knowledgeable. Stanczyk once found a Polish genealogist who had ancestors from the same villages as mine. This fine lad (Jacek) from Krakow even shared images from church books with me and he was amenable to being a genealogy researcher for me on a trip to an Archive! I also found some distant cousins who traded emails with me on the website’s email facility and that was helpful. One of my grandfather’s cousins was a member of Haller’s Army (aka Blue Army)  and I was able to find his record amongst the fallen in one of their books, which answered why he was no longer found in any US census or in any US death record [since he had died in World War I overseas in Poland’s post WWI battle with Russia]. These snippets of info have been able to enrich my family tree. Finally, they have a database of parishes that is invaluable.

Take a look and see what you find …

Genealogical Societies (Some w/ Heraldic Info) WebSite
Bydgoskie Towarzystwo Heraldyczno–Genealogiczne
Galicyjskie Towarzystwo Genealogiczne
Kaliskie Towarzystwo Genealogiczne
Kujawsko-Pomorskie Towarzystwo Genealogiczne
Lubelskie Towarzystwo Genealogiczne
MaloPolska Towarzystwa Genealogicznego
Opolskie Towarzystwo Genealogiczne
Ostrowskiego Towarzystwa Genealogicznego
Polskiego Towarzystwa Genealogicznego (Polish Genealogucal Society)
Pomorskie Towarzystwo Genealogiczne
Śląskie Towarzystwo Genealogiczne
Suwalskie Towarzystwo Genealogiczne
Świętokrzyskie Towarzystwo Genealogiczne “Świętogen”
Towarzystwo Genealogiczne Centralnej Polski
Towarzystwo Genealogiczne Ziemi Częstochowskiej
Towarzystwo Genealogiczno – Heraldyczne w Poznaniu
Warszawskie Towarzystwo Genealogiczne
Wielkopolskie Towarzystwo Genealogiczne „Gniazdo”
Heraldic Societies in Poland WebSite
Polskie Towarzystwo Heraldyczne
Związek Szlachty Polskiej

Let me know what you find!

June 22, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy – Shoemaker’s Guild (Leszczynski, Biechow)

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Pretty nifty poster or book page huh? Stanczyk found this in a Polish Digital Library. This masonic-looking page, with the all-seeing eye in the clouds with cherubs, etc. is a notice of a Shoemaker’s Guild from the “Year of Our Lord 1842” in the gubernia of Kielce.

Now this is of interest to me because my great-grandfather, Tomasz Leszczynski listed his occupation in the church birth records on the 1860’s, as shoemaker & innkeeper  — which I always thought was a rather clever combination as travelers would need shoe repairs and why not get those while you are staying at the inn. So this image is contemporaneous (roughly) with my great-grandfather and the thought occurred to me perhaps I can find records in a Guild Book about my great-grandfather.

So here is Stanczyk’s million dollar question:  “Has anyone done any research in Poland and located these guild books in any Archive or Library and been able to locate ancestors?” Question two, “Was the search worthwhile — what kind of info did you find?”

Come on genealogists, let’s crowd-source, collaborate, or social network a solution here. OK? Anyone near Biechow parish, Pinczow Archive or Kielce Ecclesiastical Archive or a Library in or around one of those three cities in Poland? Can you help a Polish-American jester out? Email me or even comment on this blog… I’ll be waiting.

June 18, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy: Rummaging Through Genealogy Indexer

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Since Genealogy Indexer website has grown so much since my last exploration, Stanczyk decided to do some rummaging through the new data. I was searching for Pacanow with and without my anctesor’s surnames.  I hit upon the page on Stopnica (actually the second page) from the digital book: Geographic Dictionary of the Kingdom of Poland and Other Slavic Countries, vol. 11 (1890)  (in Polish: Słownik Geograficzny Królestwa Polska i inne kraje ..). This time frame is just after the birth of my paternal grandparents. So it is an accurate context for their lifetime in Poland. On page 373 of the book, I was reading about the deaconate of Stopnica (in the diocese of Kielce) and it listed the 32 parishes that made up Stopnica’s deaconate. Here is the list of 32 parishes:

Beszowa, Busko, Chmielnik, Gnojno, Janina, Dobrowda, Drugnia, Kargow, Koniemloty, Kotuszow, Ksiaznice, Kurozweki, Lisow, Nowe Miasto Korczyn (Nowy Korczyn),  Olesnica, Ostrowce, Pacanow, Piasek-Wielki, Pierzchnica, Piotrkowice, Potok, Sedziejowice, Solec Stopnica, Strozyska, Szaniec, Szczaworyk, Szydlow, Swiniary, Tuczepy, and Zborowek.

Stanczyk has seen microfilm on many of these parishes or seen ancestor surnames in many of these places at the website. Anyone else from here?

June 17, 2011

Genealogy Indexer – Historical Polish City Directories

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Yesterday, Stanczyk was extoling the virtues of the Genealogy Indexer web site. This site has OCR’ed Historical City Directories from Poland’s Digital Libraries and built a database of names from this OCR work.

I also recommended Americans not use diacriticals (accents) unless you can use them correctly as incorrect use will cause you to miss records. Using correct diacriticals or none gives the same results, so mis-used diacriticals is the only way you can miss data. So do NOT use diacriticals.

The image above shows the query screen, where Stanczyk queried on ‘pacanów, eljasz‘, using the keyboard symbol next to the query field to enter diacriticals (I know some of you will want to do this despite my admonitions otherwise). This is actually a handy tool for entering Cyrillic or other Slavic characters on our USA keyboards. Just cut/paste from this website to another website or form or document. At any rate, my query returned five results (only three shown above). I chose the second one to illustrate in this article. The links will take you to a digital image of the document (using Deja Vu browser plug-in) that matches your query result. How cool is that?

So I selected the second link (1930 above).

The resulting digital image was a City Directory Phone book. The language is Polish, but there is a second language (French) too! So if the image is unreadable in one language perhaps you can read the other and figure out what was unreadable in the other. It is also helpful in translating  too, to have two languages.  The first part is a description of the place-name (like a Gazetteer) written in both Polish and French.

The top two paragraphs are Polish, then French Gazetteer description of the place-name (Pacanow). We can see that 1930 Pacanow had 2598 residents an interesting fact to know. After these first two paragraphs we see, what we would call “Yellow Page” listings by business type. It starts with Doctor(s) (Lekarze) and then from there on it flows alphabetically (in Polish) with Midwife, Pharmacy, etc. Each business type is followed by one or more names. These names are your putable ancestors.

I was interested in Kolowdzieje (Wheelwright) business Eljasz M. [This is possibly my grandfather’s uncle Marcin Eliasz]. Also the Wiatraki (Wind Mills) business was VERY interesting because we find both Eljasz and Zasucha names. Now this makes Stanczyk’s day as my 2nd great grandfather   was Martin (aka Marcin) Elijasz and he married an Anna Zasucha. These Wind Mill owners are very likely close ancestors of Stanczyk.

There are many surnames from my family tree besides Eljasz and Zasucha, we find:  Poniewierski, Pytko, Siwiec, Wlecial, and Wojtys. Now I can put an occupation by my ancestors. Nice. Very Nice!

June 15, 2011

Polish Genealogy – Useful Websites …

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk wants to collect under this continuing subject line good URLs / links to websites that provide very good to excellent Polish Genealogy data or possibly reference materials for genealogical research.


TwitterTwitter – @gindexer

This  first website (URL) is one I wrote about in the Polish Genealogists LinkedIn Group (here) back in October 2009. Its name is Genealogy Indexer . Back in October, 2009 they had: 77,000 pages of historical directories (business, address, telephone, etc.), 28,000 pages of 64 yizkor books (memorials to Jewish communities destroyed during the Holocaust). Now 20 months later they have: 141,000 pages of historical directories (business, address, telephone, etc.), 28,000 pages of 64 yizkor books (memorials to Jewish communities destroyed during the Holocaust), 11,000 pages of lists of Polish military officers, and 17,000 pages of community and personal histories. That is an +83% increase, so we can say this is a very active website/database to add to your bookmarks/favorites.

PLEASE take note they list what page # (usually on a digital book from a Polish Archive/ University) you need to look at in their search results. Stanczyk personally loves those digital books/documents made available online by Polish Libraries and Archives.

I have already had some successes. They OCR’ed these digital resources and built indexes — very nice!

For example I searched on “Pacanow, Eljasz” to find ancestors from ancestral village of PACANOW. You do NOT need to supply diacriticals (like the slahsed ł ) — so notice in the ‘o’ in Pacanow does not have the accent ( ó ) on it.

It also worked for “Pacanow, Wlecial” — where I do have a slashed ł at the end. The results were identical whether I used the diacritical or not. Being an American, I liked the convenience of not having to type (or cut/paste) a diacritical character on my searches.

You do need a browser add-in called Deja-Vu (.DjVu plug-in) to view the actual image associated with the OCR data.

I use Historical City Directories for my American ancestors. Now I can do the same for my Polish Ancestors too.

A big thanks to genealogist Logan Kleinwaks for providing this excellent  Polish (Catholic and Jewish) genealogy resource !

Tomorrow: An example of my genealogyindexer findings…

June 13, 2011

Chess & Chess Champions

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Fischer-Spassky 6

It has been a woefully long time since this jester has had eyes for the chessboard other than an occaisional romp with moja żona. So Stanczyk is ashamed that while reading the New York Times newspaper, I found out that the World Chess Champion is Viswanathan Anand (2007-current). Anand is an Indian Grandmaster and as my math informs me has been World Champion for four years (this September). When the Chess Championship was split, he also held the FIDE Championship in 2000-2002. Now I  admit I was stunned by this !

In Stanczyk’s lifetime the World Chess Champion has always been Russian/Soviet, with a brief respite for American Bobby Fischer (1972-1975). In fact, before Anand & Fischer, the last non-Russian Champion was Max Euwe (Netherlands)  1935-1937. Since 1886 when they began recording a World Chess Champion, there have only been 15 Champions across that 125 years span. So for the last four years, Stanczyk has been oblivious. Indeed, my mind’s eye still was set back in the Gary Kasparov years. So it is like I am awaking from a decade long coma to find out who the new World Chess Champion is.

The World Chess Championship is played every other year. So 2012 is the next match for the World Championship. Oddly, where the World Chess Championship will be played will not be decided until  June 30th 2011. We do know who will be competing for thte title. It will be Anand and Israeli Boris Gelfand. The Chess Clock is ticking … where will the next championship be? What is sure is that 2012 will definitely see yet again, another non-Russian World Chess Champion.

Longest reigning Champion was Emanuel Lasker, at an astounding 28 years.  The complete list of Champions:

June 10, 2011

Dziennik Polski (Detroit) – Historical Daily Newspaper

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

If you are a loyal reader of Stanczyk’s then you must be aware of the penchant for ethnic newspapers; In particular for Polish language ethnic newspapers. I like using Historical newspapers to fill-in otherwise missing info or spots in my research where there are gaps and no other viable resource to turn to.

They used to say, “Everyone gets in the newspaper three times (if you are lucky): birth announcement, marriage announcement and death notice.”. If you are {un}lucky then perhaps you will also have other magazine or newspaper articles written about you too.

Well Stanczyk has a page dedicated to the places where you can research the Dziennik Polski (Polish Daily) of Detroit, MI. The Dziennik Polski page list the archives where you can read/research your family history. Now this jester needs to add in some more info from Orchard Lakes, St. Mary, MI. They host a program on their campus called, “Polonica Americanna Research Institue” (PARI). Ceil Wendt Jensen, the Director of PARI at Polish Mission has informed me that they are another source of Dziennik Polski (Detroit) newspapers. They have both bound copies (from the 1930’s and forward) and microfilm from 1904-1920 [they are still completing their inventory of microfilm], but that range is close.

So look for this jester to make a visit to their campus sometime this year and see for himself what is happening at PARI. Look for an update after my visit. Also look for an update to my Dziennik Polski web page with the updated info when I have verified the findings.

Oh, one more thing, loyal readers, please consider answering the call in  their “Friend of Polish Mission Membership Drive”. Their membership form is here.

May 1, 2011

Santo Subito – The Blessed John Paul II (Part Two)

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

✠ The Blessed John Paul II ✠

Today this Jester was moved to tears at the Mass of Beatification for The Blessed John Paul II. The Mass just completed was beautiful ! Bless His Holiness, Pope Benedict and all others whose preparation and works made today such a moving mass.

Today is Part Two – This is where Stanczyk wanted to write about Karol Józef Wojtyła‘s genealogical lineage. Blessed be those whose long lineage gave us this magnificent man.

Karol Józef Wojtyła b. 18-May-1920 in Wadowice. He was youngest of three children born to Emilia Kaczorowska + Karol Józef Wojtyła Sr. His beloved mother died in childbirth in 1929 and thus the 4th child within her too must have perished.

Karol Józef Wojtyła’s parents were as named above. Karol Józef Wojtyła Sr. was born 18-July-1879 in Lipnik (near Bielsko). His mother, Emilia Kaczorowska was born 26-March-1884 in Krakow. They were married 10-February-1906 in Wadowice. Karol Józef Wojtyła’s family died in 1914 (sister Olga), 1923 (grandfather Maciej Wojtyła), 1929 (mother Emilia), 1932 (brother Edmund), 1941 (father Karol) leaving him  a solitary pilgrim throughout his life.

Maciej WOJTYLA (paternal grandfather) was born 01-January-1852 in Czaniec. Anna PRZECZEK (paternal grandmother) was born 03-September-1878. Maciej also had a second wife: Maria ZALEWSKA born: 01-February-1861 in Lipnik , the daughter of Jozef ZALEWSKI. Feliks KACZOROWSKI (maternal grandfather) was born 26-June-1849 in Biala. Maria Anna SCHOLTZ (maternal grandmother) was born circa 1853.

The Wojtyła line continues backward with: Franciszek WOJTYLA + Franciszka GALUSZKA and one final generation: Bartlomiej WOJTYLA born circa 1788 Czaniec +  Anna HUDECKA born 1792 Bulowice. The Wojtyła family are purported to be from Czaniec originally (near Biala in the south of Poland).

As a genealogist, I should point out that all of this information is not sourced and should be verified by church records.

April 30, 2011

Santo Subito – John Paul “The Great” II (Part One)

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk honors, His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, who is being beatified tomorrow (1st-May-2011).

I want to write two parts upon this pope. Part One, is I want to write about his religious lineage. Part Two (on 5/1/2011), I want write about his genealogical lineage. The parallels to that statement should  be obvious, so I will not draw it. If you do not get it, then read a good book.

Both parts will start with Karol Józef Wojtyła‘s birth. If you look at the prayer card to the left, you will see:

Birth-Priest-Bishop-Cardinal-Pope-Deceased-Beatified. That is the timeline: 1920-1946-1958-1967-1978-2005-2011, a period 91 years. If canonization occurs then we may well be speaking about a century or more. The dates are to the left (uh, or above) on the prayer card. But that is not what I meant by the great pope’s religious lineage. What I mean is right here ( So here is his religious lineage:

Episcopal Lineage / Apostolic Succession:

There is also another religious lineage. The great pope is the 264th pope in direct line back to Saint Peter (the Apostle). John Paul II, was not the longest reigning pope, nor was he the oldest pope. That is his papal lineage (also a religious lineage).

The known Catholic lineages are:

1. The Patriarchate of Constantinople claims unbroken succession to the Throne of Saint Andrew.
2. The Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria claims unbroken succession to the Throne of Saint Mark.
3. The Russian Orthodox Church claims unbroken succession to the Throne of Saint Andrew.
4. The Armenian Apostolic Church claims unbroken succession to the Thrones of Saint Bartholomew and Saint Thaddeus (Jude).
5. The Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria claims unbroken succession to the Throne of Saint Mark.
6. The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church (Indian) claims unbroken succession to the Throne of Saint Thomas.
7. The Orthodox Church of Cyprus claims unbroken succession to the Throne of Saint Barnabas.
8. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church claims succession to the Throne of Saint Philip.
9. The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem claims succession to the Throne of Saint James the Just, although this line includes Patriarchs in exile.
10. The Roman Catholic Church claim unbroken succession to the Throne of Saint Peter called “Prince of the Apostles”. This is the papal lineage of John Paul II.
Interestingly, the only religious lineage that does not go back to an undisputed Apostle is  #9 above (the Patriarch of Jerusalem). Saint James the Just was not the Apostle James (brother of Saint John the Apostle), but the hotly disputed brother of Jesus. Having said that why are there no  Orthodox Churches with lineages back to the two Apostles (and brothers), James and John? Stanczyk does not know! If anyone does, please email me.
April 29, 2011

Metal Id Card ? ? ?

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk has a question for the vast army of Genealogists out there on the Internet. Today’s blog has a picture of my deceased grandfather’s social security card. This card is brass (I think). Here’s the question:  Did the U.S.A. ever issue metal social security cards ? Does anyone else have a metal social security card ?

Does anyone else have an oddity from an ancestor that you are puzzling over? Send me your comments and pictures.

April 23, 2011

1926 – Polish Declarations of Admiration and Friendship for the United States

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

In 1926, on the 150th Anniversary of the founding of the United States of America, the children and government of Poland had undertaken a massive effort of friendship with their Polish Declaration of Admiration & Friendship for the USA. Poland had only re-emerged 8 years earlier at the end of World War I, from nearly a 150 years of occupation! Imagine if you will, a nation occupied nearly the entire history of these United States of America who with the help of the Allied Powers in World War I (including the USA) and with the aid of Americans (USA and Canadians) who formed an expatriate army, known as Haller’s Army or the Polish Army in France.  These Allied Powers through 1918 and Haller’s Army through the early 1920 skirmishes, re-established the borders of Poland between the two World Wars and bottled up Communism for another two decades.

You will be forgiven gentle reader if you have never heard of this gift from the people and government of Poland to the people and government of the USA on their 150th Anniversary of our nation’s founding. President Calvin Coolidge received the gift and placed it into the Library of Congress  (LOC) where it was forgotten until 70 years later in 1996 when it was re-discovered. The LOC has digitized 13 of the 111 volumes which has the signatures of approximately 5.5 Million Polish school children. There is also an index to the location names of the schools in the other volumes that have not yet been digitized. The main LOC page (also reachable from the index page above is here):

The LOC has not produced a searchable index person names from the digitized volumes. Fortunately, there exists a web app with nearly 3,000 pages scanned to produce a person name index of nearly 250,000 people by the the PTG (Polish Genealogical Society) with a summary of the project so far here. The PTG searchable index is reachable from their main page:

and clicking upon ‘Declarations‘ on the left side of the main page. The page is in Polish.  ‘Tom’ = Volume (type 1 – 13) and ‘Strona’ = Page. You can use the LOC website to locate the volume and page of  interest to you and reach the same page here at PTG. You enter the TOM and the STRONA and click on the ‘Pokaz’ button to go to the image of that volume and page to read the names. Remember that most schools have more than one page. PTG however, also has a way to search on the names. In the first field (no name) you can type a last name and click on the ‘Wyszukaj’ button to search on the name. The check box (‘dokladnie’) should be left unchecked (to avoid having to enter diacritics) for the name you are searching on. Many American Polish names are spelled differently from their original names in Poland. You  can overcome this somewhat by using a wildcard character at the end. For example, if Stanczyk wanted to search for ELIASZ or ELIJASZ or ELJASZ, he could enter ‘EL%’ and click on the ‘Wyszukaj’ button to search for those possible spellings.

The wildcard can also be used in the middle as shown in the picture below:

Stanczyk got all good matches except for number 2. In particular,  matches 3,4,5 are probably Stanczyk’s ancestors, since Tom/Volume 13, Strona/Page 419-420 is for the school in the village of Pacanow from whence Stanczyk’s direct lineage comes from. Now I could use those Tom’s and Strona’s to bring up the image of the page with those signatures and save the image in my family history.

There is also a nice web page in the LOC, called Emblem of Goodwill with many details of the friendship between Poland and the USA. It also includes pictures of the artwork in the volumes and even a few photos of two classes.

April 6, 2011

Remember Me?

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

On March 22, 2011, The United States Holocaust Memorial museum, announced a new program: Remember Me? Their press release statement can be read on the web site here .

They are trying to use the Internet and Social Networking to reunite families / genealogies separated during by the Holocaust and Displacements that occurred during  World War II. Already they have had some success. Stanczyk was deeply moved about this program and its connection to history and genealogy. This is a blessing for the Jewish peoples and perhaps other Europeans who were displaced during the war. That was 66 years ago.  Why did this idea take so long to be conceived? More importantly, why did I learn of this from the BBC America Network’s World News program? It has been over two weeks since this release came out. How did my links to various genealogical web sites and blogs and other tricks I use fail to inform me of this such that I was bowled over by the TV being my first source of this information?

Three children (uh? seniors) were identified in the first 48 hours of the website and three more have been identified today (6th-April-2011), including Michel Sztulzaft, who was on the BBC news segment Stanczyk watched. PLEASE everyone take a look!

Truth be told Stanczyk has been very busy the last two weeks on frantic matters related to my heart and family. But I just checked Tracing The Tribe, I did not see it there.   Please write Stanczyk and let him know if you wrote about this important topic before the TV segment on the BBC or whether you too were just informed.

The web site for Remember Me?:

March 24, 2011

Memory Lane – Aleksander & Chase

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

When I was born, life was simpler. In fact, Life was a magazine. The day I was born, the cover of Life, was as shown on the left. Marilyn Monroe greeted my birth (unbeknownst to her).

I will save a newspaper or magazine from your birth day, my sons, for you to reminisce about (G-d willing). I will also plant two oaks for my twin sons to grow along with you. Your matka (mother), will commemorate your birth in so many more ways, including planting trees in the Middle-East (i.e. Israel).


March 15, 2011

Historical Ethnic Newspapers – Balch Collection in READEX

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

The Balch Collection is a Philadelphia genealogy resource. Back in 2002 it merged into the Historical Society of Pennsylvania (HSP). The HSP is one the finest genealogical repositories in Philadelphia, if not in the country. The Family History Library is still far and away the best, but this fine resource is invaluable, especially if your ancestors are from Philadelphia and/or are from the colonial families — particular those of historical prominence. This Balch Collection resource contains an enormous collection of ethnic resources — hence the Ethnic Studies that it is known for.

So this morning,  as Stanczyk read the online newsletter of the PGSA , I noticed this news item (mentioned in the subject). Now this jester has a soft spot for historical newspapers (see my Dziennik Polski fetish). So the Balch Collection being available electronically caught my eye, especially because I noticed the list of languages included the Język polski (Polish Language) newspapers.

The Balch Collection Inventory for Polish language historical newspapers includes:

Newspaper/Serial Publisher Location
Czas Times Brooklyn
Dziennik Zjednoczenia, City Edition Chicago
Dziennik Zjednoczenia, Country Edition Chicago
Dziennik Zwiazkowy (Polish Daily Zgoda) Chicago
Glos Polek (Polish Women’s Voice) Chicago
Gwiazda Philadelphia
Gwiazda Polarna Stevens Point, WI
Jednosc (Unity) Philadelphia
Jutrzenka (Morning Star) Cleveland
Narod Polski (Polish Nation) Chicago
Nowiny Polskie Milwaukee
Ognisko New York City
Ognisko Domowe Detroit
Patryota Philadelphia
Pol-Am Journal (Association of the Sons of Poland) Scranton, PA
Pol-Am Journal (Chicago Edition) Scranton, PA
Pol-Am Journal (National Edition) Scranton, PA
Pol-Am Journal (Polish National Alliance of Brooklyn, USA) Scranton, PA
Polish American Journal Scranton, PA
Polonia w Ameryce Cleveland
Republika-Gornik Pensylw anski Wilkes-Barre, PA
Sokol Polski New York City

Here is the READEX press release for more info. I promise to update you, my faithful readers,  when I have some more info on this announcement.

February 27, 2011

Genealogy and Antiques

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

German Fraktur - Birth & Baptism

Stanczyk wishes that the Poles would create artwork of this style for their births. How beautiful this German Fraktur artwork of a family Birth and Baptism. Now I would hasten to add that this is not my family, but none the less it drew my attention and I had to take a picture, so I asked the proprietor if I may take a picture of this lovely piece and obviously he said yes.

This baptism and birth record is yet another example of the places we genealogists can find our answers. This lovely record surrounded by two angels and topped by an American Eagle and covered with detailed ornate borders and ended with four birds that would make John James Audubon proud … Hmmm I wonder is he was  ever inspired by these contemporary PA Dutch treasures.

The picture on the left is a record of Joseph Carl Rupp’s birth/baptism. Birth 5/19/1848 and Baptism in July 23rd of the same year in Macungie Township, Lehigh County, PA. It is all in German.

This jester loves the beauty in such art. You,  my faithful readers, can find further information and enjoyment in  other examples online at our own local Philadelphia Free Library at the following link on Fraktur:

Takle a look at this jester’s favorite Fraktur, of Michael Groff’s Birth/Baptism.

January 8, 2011

Biechow – Births in 1753 & 1754

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

The Biechow parish Stanczyk keeps writing about was shuffled amongst many administration units that changed as the borders changed, which in Europe was often.  After the partitions started in 1772, my ancestors were briefly in the Austrian partition. In the Napoleonic era, they were a part of the Duchy of Warsaw and were in the Departmente of Krakow. Post Napoleon, they were in the Kielce wojewodztwo of  the Congress Kingdom of Poland.  My ancestral villages pretty much stayed put after that point and were in Kielce wojewwodztwo or gubernia depending on the whims of the czar until about 1918. Today, they are in wojewodztwo of SwietyKrzyskie.

The records were originally kept in Latin. The earliest Latin records were scant/terse, let me call them blurbs, like little Power-Point bullets scrawled upon the pages of the church books. Eventually they became more formulaic and I’d see what I call the Latin paragraph form (really a few sentences). Copies would be made and shipped to the Archdiocese Archives and these were often recorded in the Latin Box form that was prevalent in the Austrian partition. Napoleon while he was briefly in charge, instituted a format according to the Napoleonic code, that was written in the lingua franca of each locale. So about 1805, we see the church records being kept in a Polish paragraph form (quite long) as specified by the Napoleonic Codex. In 1868, the Czar decreed a change from Polish to Russian, but the Napoleonic format stayed, so the records switched from Polish paragraphs to Russian/Cyrillic paragraphs. So this jester since he was forced to, has acquired the ability to read enough Latin to read the genealogical blurbs of Catholic priests and is quite skilled in reading the Polish paragraphs and is still increasing his knowledge of Russian paragraphs, but has long since been able to pick out the salient facts of the vital records even in Russian with Cyrillic character set (as opposed to Polish language written in the Latin alphabet).

Now let me hasten to add, that this was true of Catholic church records. Obviously if your ancestors were Jewish, then you have additional burdens in your research, including reading Hebrew.  The format of recording vital records also differed amongst the three partitioning / occupying Empires. Stanczyk writes from a Russian-Poland partition experience.

Having said that, in a very long preamble, today’s post is about the pre-partitioned, Polish vital records. In 1753 & 1754 these were Latin paragraph form (very terse still, but better than those of the 17th century). I want to examine a couple of these records for today’s discourse and ask for some help.  Here is what we are dealing with …

Stanczyk’s eyes weary fast when trying to read these early Latin blurbs. Handwriting had not been perfected in those days. Also I find a good many misspellings on the family names or sometimes even the village names. This is still better than what was present in the 17th century. Each line starts with a day (month, year are usually assumed). These are really baptismal record (as opposed to birth), so it records the baptism, the parents and the God Parents of the baby and the villages of the people involved.

Now here is where Stanczyk is looking for help. Please take a look at the next image (click on it to see a full size copy) and help this jester understand the concept of ‘alias’. In this record we will see a surname of  Michałek as an alias for Materna. Is this some kind of case of name “evolution”. The Michałek family name disappears and the Materna family name becomes a common village surname. Why would a surname become aliased? In these early Latin records, it happens a few times and Stanczyk is trying to understand what is happening and why?

January 4, 2011

Biechow Parish 1814 Marriages

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

1814 Groom Age Bride Age Rec#’s Notes Widowed Galician Village ~Birth Yr, Groom ~Birth Yr, Bride
1 Wincenty Sardela 24 Maryanna Zarazionka 25 115,116,117 1790 1789
2 Wincenty Rayczowski 19 Maryanna Kaminszczonka 19 112,113,114 1795 1795
3 Ignacy Maychra 25 Franciszka Sobonka 24 109,110,111 bride was a widow 1 1789 1790
4 Piotr Orlowski 23 Katarzyna Kotanska 22 106,107,108 1791 1792
5 Marcin Grzywacz 23 Maryanna Zmyslowna 24 103,104,105 1791 1790
6 Michal Watroba 22 Franciszka Czaplonka 16 100,101,102 1792 1798
7 Jan Luszcz 18 Katarzyna Mrzyglodowna 15 98,99 no marriage record 1 1796 1799
8 Jakob Bayka 24 Anjela Maychrowna 20 96,97 groom was a widower; no marriage record 1 1790 1794
9 Gabrych skladzien 28 Elzbieta Jurkowska 17 93,94,95 1786 1797
10 Jan Fosara 25 Giertruda Stefanie 18 90,91,92 1789 1796
11 Piotr Prukop 23 Magdalena Zmyslowna 36 87,88,89 bride is a widow (maiden name Fortuna) 1 1791 1778
12 Maciej Wrobel 23 Malgorzata Domin 20 86 only marriage record (no banns) 1791 1794
13 Jan Kanty Woycika 40 Elzbieta Cepilka 34 83,84,85 both were widowed. 1 Szczucin 1774 1780
14 Jozef Obara 32 Malgorzata Wieczorkowa 30 80,81,82 bride was a widow 1 1782 1784
15 Marcin Piopzona 27 Maryanna Stracka 29 77,78,79 1787 1785
16 Maciej Wrobel 23 Malgorzata Domin 20 75,76 see marriage record #86 1791 1794
17 Jakob Dydysia 40 Franciszka Czaplonka 24 72,73,74 groom was a widower 1 1774 1790
18 Lukasz Wodziak 19 Maryanna Poniewierczonka 21 69,70,71 1795 1793
19 Grzegorz Smydra 41 Dorota Kaminszczonka 20 66,67,68 groom was a widower 1 1773 1794
20 Jan Szydla 19 Marta Goleniowna 18 63,64,65 1795 1796
21 Jacenty Fortuna 26 Maryanna Pawelkowna 16 60,61,62 1788 1798
22 Grzegorz Ziemba 34 Maryanna Maychrowa 43 57,58,59 bride was a widow 1 1780 1771
23 Stanislaw Materna 23 Agnieszka Pekaciczka 34 54,55,56 bride was a widow (maiden name Lutego) 1 1791 1780
24 Benedykt Blayda 22 Agnieszka Zielinszczonka 17 51,52,53 1792 1797
25 Jan Zdrala 34 Helena Stoykowa 30 49,50 bride was a widow; no marriage record 1 1780 1784
26 Jakob Maychra 44 Teresia Karamanaczyna 46 46,47,48 both were widowed. 1 1770 1768
27 Maciej Bebel 21 Maryanna Pireczka 21 43,44,45 1793 1793
28 Franciszek Garstka 30 Malgorzata Zaraszczonka 25 40,41,42 groom was widower 1 1784 1789
29 Marcin Juda 41 Maryanna Salaszyna 30 37,38,39 both were widowed. 1 1773 1784
30 Jakob Domin 40 Agata Wroblowna 25 34,35,36 1774 1789
31 Piotr Ragana 29 Kunegunda Blaydowna 24 31,32,33 1785 1790
32 Kazimierz Walaska 54 Malgorzata Maychrowa 35 28,29,30 both were widowed. 1 1760 1779
33 Maciej Luszcz 41 Barbara Leykowna 22 25,26,27 groom was a widower 1 1773 1792
34 Woyciech Omyla 30 Helena Zarazionka 16 22,23,24 groom was a widower 1 1784 1798
35 Woyciech Zdybia 33 Jadwiga Cyskowa 25 19,20,21 both were widowed. 1 1781 1789
36 Jozef Kosiolka 53 Maryanna Gorszczonka 27 16,17,18 groom was a widower 1 1761 1787
37 Stanislaw Dalackowski 60 Helena Goleniewska 44 13,14,15 both were widowed. 1 1754 1770
38 Kazimierz Kordos 56 Maryanna Stokarzka 38 10,11,12 both were widowed. 1 1758 1776
39 Jan Kaminski 56 Elzbieta Nowakowna 29 7,8,9 groom was a widower 1 1758 1785
40 Grzegorz Kopcia 46 Helena Nowakowa 24 4,5,6 both were widowed. 1 1768 1790
41 Bartlomiej Obara 45 Maryanna Wroblowna 20 1,2,3 groom was a widower 1 1769 1794
Counts: 24
Avg Male Age 32.59 Avg Female Age 25.44 Percentage of 2nd Marriages: 58.54
December 16, 2010

Tomasz Leszczyński de Biechów (part two)

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

The 2nd Marriage of Tomasz Leszczynski

The 2nd Marriage of Tomasz Leszczynski

This is the second part of my search for Tomasz and family. The first aritcle is here . This amazing find was done by my equally amazing friend from Krakow, Jacek.  Stanczyk prized his great-grandfather Tomasz so much, Jacek made an extra effort on my behalf. Thank You Jacek (researcher / genealogist of the Sokolowskich from Swiniary/Biechow/Pacanow/Zborowek parishes).

This document is an alegata. Let me review a bit of Polish genealogical terms to help other new-to-Polish-genealogy researchers. The Polish archives have a few databases ( I have written of them before ), but the most critical to me so far has been Pradziad. If you search their database for Biechow (do not bother with diacriticals), you will find:

urodzenia – Births

małżeństwa – Marriages

zgony – Deaths

and … alegata – Addendum (other, miscellaneous).

So this is an addendum … to something. Now this alegata is fascinating on many levels to me. First off, it is from 1885 and it is testimonial from 1863 !  So this document recounts the events of 22 years ago (from 1885).  Second, since it is the era from 1868..1918, it is written in Russian as is required and … also in Polish. Take a closer look…

Alegata from October 1885 about ...

This portion is written in Russian (old style Cyrillic). Notice the stamp which shows that a fee/tax was paid and the date: 4th-October-1885. The last words (bigger than the rest) mean.. BIRTH RECCORD. Oh, so this recounts a birth from 1863. To give you a place we read the first three lines …

Gubernia Kieleckie

Uezd Stopnickie

Parish Biechow

This is from the Russian Empire era where this portion of Poland is one of ten gubernias previously from the Duchy of Warsaw (Russian- Partition of Poland also known as Congress Kingdom of Poland before the czar made it direct territories of the Russian Empire which would last until 1918).

The three pages go on to describe the birth of a female child to Marcin Major &  Katarzyna  z  Ozarowiczow. I like that this birth was originally recorded at 7pm (in 1863) and describes a birth from 5am. Such detail! It is commendable that their bureaucrats worked late into the evenings. Oh this is a quote of the birth record of my great-grandmother Aniela born Piestrzec (part of Biechow parish)! Oh so the Polish is a direct transcription from the church record of 20-July-1863.

All that was great! But the third page was a Marriage Certificate. I had waited so long to see my great-grandfather’s marriage certificate. Now I would have a definitive age and his parent’s names. I was disappointed that his age was not listed in the record?? Oh, well I know he was born 1835 +/- 2 years, so his second bride was as young as his children from his first marriage. My 50-ish great-grandfather was married again and I know in 1886 what happens (Stanczyk’s babcia comes along).  It appears Tomasz is the town burgher and a farmer and now Aneila lives in Pacanow, while Tomasz still lives in Biechow. Wait a second, neither set of parents are listed. I know Aniela’s from the first two pages retelling her birth. But I had hoped to learn Tomasz’s parent’s names. Oh, this IS a disappointment!

Now I will have to track down his marriage record from his first marriage and that would be the late 1850’s, an era where no microfilm exists in Biechow. I do not even know where Julianna Kordos was born; I do know her parent’s names and her approximate age — so if I do find her record I will know it is her.

December 16, 2010

Swinary Parish – A Survey of Births 1826-1852

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Once again, I have reviewed the images of the indexes to compile a brief survey of the births in the Swinary parish.  As I posted before this Swinary is in southern Poland:

Świniary – 409 osób(people) woj.:  świętokrzyskie,   powiat: buski,  gmina: Solec-Zdrój,    Polish Postal Code: 28-131
Year Count Of Births
1826 124
1827 111
1828 99
1829 95
1830 96
1831 53
1832 95
1833 92
1834 99
1835 112
1836 94
1837 91
1838 99
1839 111
1840 98
1841 92
1842 114
1843 97
1844 109
1845 86
1846 N/A
1847 N/A
1848 N/A
1849 N/A
1850 80
1851 N/A
1852 86

I do not know what to make of the data. There are years missing and the first year was the highest birth registration. 1831 seems to be an outlier with only 53 births. From reading in books, works in newsletters (like by Dr. Paul Valasek), and in my own grandmother’s parish of Biechow which is very nearby, I know 1831 to be a year of the Cholera epidemic. So perhaps an epidemic limited births (or at least their registration).

From birth records (so this may not be a complete/exhaustive list), we see the following villages make up the Swiniary parish:

Ludwinow, Oblekon, Parchocin, Swiniary, Trzebica, Wlosnowice, and Zielonki .

One final note, this parish was in the old wojewodztwo, Kielce in this era (1826-1852).

Other Surveys of Nearby Parishes, I have previously done:

Biechow 1810
Biechow 1811
Biechow 1812-1831
Pacanow 1883 10 sample births Out Of 203 Births
Pacanow 1884 15 sample
December 5, 2010

Tomasz Leszczyński de Biechów (part one of many)

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Tomasz Leszczynski It was said by my elders and confirmed by distant cousins who had heard the same story, that Tomasz Leszczynski lived to the ripe old age of 104! For me as it was for Tomasz, I am sure that is a mixed blessing. Now perhaps my grandmother, my father (and his siblings) and perhaps even myself have inherited that longevity. That would be, should be  a blessing. In 104 years of life on this planet, you could generate a whole  lot of genealogy and played  a large role in that genealogy. Tomasz outlived his first wife (Julianna) and took a second wife (Aniela). It is from Aniela and Tomasz  that my grandmother comes, the first born child of that second union.

Tomasz was a shoemaker and an innkeeper, those are facts recorded in the church records of Biechow. There are family stories about Tomasz (was he or was he not descended from royalty). How did my grandmother, Valeria, inherit a mill (not certain what kind of mill) in Łodz ??? In an era of limited literacy, my grandmother was fluent in Polish (undoubtedly her native language), Russian (Biechow was in Russian-Poland partition), and German (the Austrian-Hungarian Empire was just across the Vistula river). Plus she learned English when she arrived here in America, so four languages she was fluent(read/write/speak) in.

The picture that was given to me by Carol (my 2nd cousin, who I have never met in person). The picture is hard to see, it so old (perhaps a century old). But it appears that Tomasz wears a tie and he is seated outside with his wife Aniela [see full picture at end]. I was told that my Busia (Valeria) was one of 12. Well so far I have info on Tomasz having 14 children across his two wives. Indeed two of those children died in infancy (so 1 of 12 cannot be said to be incorrect info). But he lived to be 104. So I have not found his death record (circa beginning of World War 2), but I am fairly confident when I find it, that it will NOT list his parents (as many church death records do), the curse of a long life, your survivors no longer remember that far back. I was never able to find the Leszczynski records in Biechow, except for one record that I believed at the time was my great-grandfather Tomasz’s first wife (Julianna Kordosów). So I recorded the fact, uncertain as I was (time will tell). This jester later joined a Polish social network (Nasza Klasa) and eventually I traded emails with a kind woman who spoke no English. Her maiden name was Heliasz and was from Biechow parish. We realized that we were still too far apart with too many missing links to connect our family trees (although we are very close to connecting them). Unbeknownst  to me she went to Biechow and got the marriage record of my grandparents! So it was true. My grandmother was from Biechow and her father was Tomasz Leszczynski and her mother Aniela Major. So now I had confirmed many US documents listing these two whose names were spelled many ways. Well I was elated for sure. Still why so little info on the Leszczynskich  from Biechow when I had so many microfilm from the LDS spanning decades/centuries even. Well I had also joined a Polish Genealogical Society website ( From there I met a genealogist (Jacek of Krakow) whose family also came from Biechow. I lamented to him my problem of not finding Leszczynski when I had so much evidence that this where they were from. Well Jacek, was also very kindly and he found a few early records from Biechow born to Tomasz Leszczynski and a Julianna Kordos from the early 1860s (not in the LDS microfilm I had seen). So now I had a pretty strong confirmation that the death record of Julianna Kordos from Pacanow parish, was indeed my great-grandfather’s first wife. But I do not have a marriage record for Tomasz and either wife nor do I have any birth info on Tomasz other than an indication he was born in the mid 1830’s. So I cannot go further back. If only I could find a marriage record of Tomasz and one of his wives, then I would know his parents’ names.

Aniela Major & Tomasz Leszczynski

Let me end this posting at this point, but the story continues…

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 20, 2010

Doomsday has been Delayed Due to Unavoidable Circumstances

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk has regrettably to be the bearer of bad news to this court (of public opinion).  Contrary to Tea Party (aka Teabaggers, until they understood the implications), the world’s demise will now be delayed. I felt compelled to blog about this, since in the recent past I have written on the topic:

Mayan Calendar – no more dates

10/10/10 – another doomsday (come and gone)

So I am now compelled to write again, since science has now weighed in on the topic. To whit the folks at have released word, that the end of the world as we know it has been unavoidably delayed. This jester appreciated the uncommon good science in their thoughts. However, I was disappointed that they did not question the fact that the calendar is not over because the Mayan Long Calendar reads: . Now for people with an aversion to the number 13 this may be a rare occurring unlucky date. It is still a rare astrological alignment date that occurs every 6500 or so years.

I urge people to read the book, “The Origin Map” if they now wish to switch from an end-of-world meme to the ever popular astrological-day-of-import meme. Actually, I found Dr. Thomas  Brophy more compelling than most horoscope practitioners. Particularly as he matched his calculations to an archaeological dig.

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 15, 2010

St. Stanislaus, Catholic Church, Philadelphia, 1905

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

For a brief history of the church, please visit the following link: Stanislawo , which also has a picture of the interior of the church. The church was founded: 1891 – St. Stanislaus (Polish), 240 Fitzwater St., 215-925-2631 [Source: Genealogical Society of PA ] .

This jester was doing some research and was given a copy from its Marriage register of 1905.  I am endeavoring to supply these random snippets I am given, as a random act of genealogical kindness.  So I am hopeful that someone can use this info.

The page had 5 couples, plus half a couple (the bride) of a sixth marriage. These six marriages ranged in date, from 4-February-1905 –  6-February-1905. I wanted to list these six couples in my blog in hopes that their ancestors can find them via Google or Bing or some other search engine. Email me for the full size image and a second page listing parents / witnesses.

  1. Groom: <cut off>                             Bride: Aniela Renska, age 18, Front Street, Philadelphia, PA
  2. Groom: Piotr Rozanski, 23            Bride: Anna Sento, age 17,  751 So. Front Street, Philadelphia, PA
  3. Groom: Jozef Dorczyk, 21              Bride: Maria Dudkiewicz, age 18,  735 So. Front Street, Philadelphia, PA
  4. Groom: Jozef Szelagowski, 26       Bride: Stanislawa Adamska, age 19,  502 Water Street, Philadelphia, PA
  5. Groom: Wawrzyniec Oszeiki, 30   Bride: Bornislawa Petkowska, age n/a,  11 Callowhill Street, Philadelphia, PA
  6. Groom: Kazimierz Nowik, 28         Bride: Anna Zytkowska, age n/a,  Coatesville, PA

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 database. Many are in the Continental Papers, but today’s genealogical / historical treasures come from the PA Archives (also in 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

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

John Shuler

October 10, 2010

10/10/10 Doomsday?

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Some say that 10/10/10 is a doomsday date. Others say 12/21/12 or 12/12/12, when the Mayan calendar is said to end. I say all this pressure of not knowing is stressful.

This fixation on Doomsday reminds me of the plethora or Protestant prophets who went around America, predicting the date of the end of the world. Some even re-computed and re-predicted when their doomsday rolled around and the world failed to expire.

This device to my left is an authentic doomsday device. It can be purchased here:

The good thing about this doomsday device, for budding megalomaniacs, is that when it fails to bring about the end of the days, you can still use it as a four port USB hub. Thus I find this more useful, then say, Glenn Beck ( a modern doomsday prophet), because it serves some other purpose besides what it purports to be.

William Miller was one such preacher. His predicted date was 10/22/44. 1844 that is. Needless to say, Miller and his Millerites were wrong! Do you know what 10/23/1844 was known as?  “The Great Disappointment”. Perhaps we can re-purpose that label for Glenn Beck or any other of these modern day doom and gloom sayers. Here are 220 “Date Setters” all of whom were wrong.

Sadly, unlike the Hale-Bopp comet that came and went, Beck and his ilk have not made like Heaven’s Gate Devotees and disappeared. Perhaps in 2012 or in 2016 they will disappear from the airways when they will no longer have a Barrack Obama to rail against. Every yin must have a yang. And so it is true for every ding -dong.

Have a Happy 10/10/10! See you next year on 11/11/11 and by all means do not forget to look me up,  12/12/12. After that we should be good for another century.


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 19, 2010

Black Sheep Sunday: “A Bullet Sings Goodbye”

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

This is my first blog, in conjunction with GeneaBloggers. So hello other GeneaBloggers!

I think most genealogists seek an ancestor who was a king or queen, maybe relationship to a historical figure or a Pilgrim. Some of us even seek ancestor of some notoriety like Jesse James of John Dilinger. It offers relief from the many leafs in our tree that are just mundane. Now I would not mind a king or Daniel Boone or being a Polish Genealogist maybe Kasimierz Pulaski. I was not seeking a notorious, Black Sheep to liven up the old family tree, but alas these things do happen.

OK, my Black Sheep is from Detroit, MI. Actually, Stanley Gawlick [sic], really born Stanislaw Gawlikowski, was a street tough during the roaring 1920’s and a member of the “Shotgun Gang”. Stanley was born about 1902 in Poland and came along with his Father Antoni & mother Katarzyna through Ellis Island. I do not know how Stanley went bad.

“Well, Here’s Stanley”

That was Stanley’s MO. He liked to introduce himself that way at the bank robberies. A tad narcissistic, n’est-ce pas? Apparently, that was par for the times. As you can see, his headline is entitled, “A Bullet Sings Goodby[sic]”

Well here is his mug, printed in the Detroit News,  that fateful day, the 5th of August 1924. Now this newspaper clipping was saved by my cousin’s parents. When I asked my father, who was not born at that time, he said he never remembered anyone in the family speaking of this.

This goes to show that historical newspapers can provide you with vital record info too, such as date of death and cause of death (gun shot wound). I am an aficianado of the Polish Daily (Detroit), named, Dziennik Polski.  They provided an even longer article !

Well I said it was probably just a local story. Then a year later, I found another article on this crime in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, that describes the crime. From the article in the Dziennik Polski, I am wondering whether the female  robber may have been a common-law wife or whether she was just a gun moll. Along for an exciting ride.

That’s my Black Sheep meme and I am sticking to it ! Let me hasten to add that Stanley and I share no blood. We are merely related by marriage.

September 19, 2010

What Do You Know?

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

What Do You Know?

This jester has been a trusted advisor at the court of two kings and many companies, both large and small. As a matter of course, you develop a book of precepts to deal with a great many situations and to provide yourself with a context in which you ferret out a truth when you only have partial information. You also develop a toolkit and like the proverbial Felix The Cat, you pull something out of your bag of tricks, when the situation arises.

I want to talk today about timelines and facts. As I was saying last paragraph, I had some precepts and platitudes to carry me through uncharted waters. One of my favorites was, “The man with one clock always know what time it is, but a man with two (or more) clocks is never certain what time it is.” Whilst I knew my ojciec (father) was one of seven children, I was fine. But imagine my confusion, as I was chiding my god-father (my Uncle Steve) that he did not know his birthday and that the Diocese of Toledo said, he was born a month earlier – as an aside, my uncle was correct and the Diocese of Toledo was wrong.  A week later my uncle mails to me his birth certificate from Lucas County, OH and it does show his birthday as we always celebrated it. So it was good that I received another source fact for his birth. Now this is not a diatribe on whether the church was correct or the state (of OH) was correct on recording vital records. No,  the state certificate had other “facts”. On it was a question, “Number of children for this mother”, with three parts.

  • Part A. Born alive and still living: 3 (of course, Aunts Alice and Catherine and now uncle Steve)
  • Part B. Born alive, but now dead: 1 (Hmmm??)
  • Part C. Stillborn:                                  0.

But clearly at the time Uncle Steve’s birth, he was the fourth child, not the 3rd. So my father was one of 8 (not one of seven). Ok, so there was another child who was born and died before my father was born. I could not expect him to know of this fact. I also knew that this child was not stillborn. So I mentioned this bit of unexpected news to my father. Now this triggered a conversation that we had never had. He said he was born at home (not in a hospital) and that in 1926 this was not uncommon. Well Stanczyk always knew things were “different” in the olden days. Then he proceeds to bring out his “delayed birth certificate”. Ok since there was no official record of his birth, he had to have a copy of his baptism and a witness swear that they knew his true birth date. Not too surprising, but interesting as I scanned his “delayed birth certificate”. A fascinating birth certificate from 1943 (showing my dad to be one year too young to serve in the military in 1943). But this birth certificate from Wayne County, MI had two questions on it: “Number of children born alive to this mother” and “Number of children still living”. Now with answers nine and seven respectively. Now hold on here a second, my father was the 9th child, not the 7th as he had supposed.

But this goes to show. A few months ago I was certain my dad was one of seven children. A few weeks later I was disabused of that long-held fact and “knew” he was one of eight. Now I was confronted with the fact he was one of nine. So I am like the man with 3 clocks in his house. Who were these other two children, that we had no knowledge of? Let’s start with when were they born…


Fortunately, I had learned of the marriage date of my grandparents and had the church record from Poland. They were married, the 28th of January, 1907 in Biechow, Poland. So lets start with that date in our timeline.

Dates Description of Event Children Alive

1/28/1907          Jozef Elijasz & Walerya Leszczynska marry in Biechow                                                                    0

1909 or 1910    Alice (aka Aleksandra) Eliasz was born in Poland.                                                                                 1?

5/31/1910       Josef Eliasz arrives Ellis Island on SS Finland from wife Walerya in Zabiec to

brother-in-law Teofil Leszczynski@41 Neoga Street, Depew, NY

9/15/1913      Valeria(Waleria, age 27) Eliasz arr. in USA with Alice(Alexandra, age 4) in Phila.

on SS Prinz Aldabert; Sailed 9/2/1913 from Hamburg, Germany                                                      1

8/27/1914    Catherine Eliasz born in Depew, NY (see birth cert+baptismal cert);                                                 2

10/5/1916    Stephen E. Eliasz born in Toledo, OH baptised 11/8/1916 St Anthony                                               3

3/14/1919    Joseph S. Eliasz born in Toldeo, OH (1108 Campbell Street)                                                                   4

11/27/1920 Bernice Eliasz born in Toledo, OH and baptised in Detroit.                                                                      5

2/11/1924    Ted Eliasz born in Detroit, MI                                                                                                                               6

8/18/1926   Chester S. Eliasz born in Detroit, MI at home.                                                                                                7

So we have “gaps” in the timeline in: 1908,  and 1909 or 1910, [ignore 1911-1912 when apart], 1915 as possibilities for Baby#1. This baby must be born before Steve in 1916. Baby #2 must be born between 1916 and 1925. We have “gaps” in: 1917, 1918, 1921, 1922, and early 1923, technically even in late 1924 could be another birth. Finally 1925 was possible.

Now fortune smiled down upon me when I was searching Mt Olivet’s cemetery records for a missing uncle. They had a Henry Eliasz who died in January 1923. So I sent away for the death certificate and was shocked to find that Henry, was Baby#2 (of the two unknown siblings of my father). He was born to my grandparents, prematurely in December 1922 and died one month later in January 1923. One mystery solved.

Now my aunt Alice maintained until her dying days, that she was born in 1910. I have no proof to the contrary other than the Ship Manifest on 1913 saying she was four in 1913, implying a birth year of 1909. As luck would have it, a genealogist in Poland whose family came from my ancestral villages agreed to perform some research for me. I was seeking my grandparents and any other born in Poland, their birth certificates. In the package I received was church record of a birth of a Wladyslaw Jozef Eliasz born on the 31st of March 1908 to my grandparents. So now, I had unknown baby #1’s birth and my timeline is now almost complete. I still need to find aunt Alice/Aleksandra’s birth record, but now I know, my dad was one of nine children (and that he was the ninth child born to Jozef & Walerya).

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