Archive for ‘History’

June 12, 2010

20-December-2012

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Mayan Calender

Many of you may recognize the title date, as the day the world ends. This popular notion is from the Mayan Long Calendar. On 12/20/2012 we will be: 12.19.19.17.19 and rollover to 13.0.0.0.0 on 12/21/2012. Pretty nifty, right on the winter solstice. Now according to Mayan stories the last creation was on 12.19.19.17.19 the previous time. But what is the Mayan Long calendar and what do the numbers: 12.19.19.17.19 mean?

The Mayans reckon their calendar into 5 parts (hence: 12,19,19,17,19). The last number is called a K’in and 1 K’in = 1 day. The Mayans being rather astute in their calculations use a system that is roughly base-20 (as opposed to our base-10). So they count from zero to 19. So K’in in their system would be the units. Next “digit” up is the winal which is equal to 20 k’in (or 20 days). After that, the next number is called a tun which is equal to … only 18 winals (or 360 days). Next, we have the K’atun which is equal to 20 winals (or 7200 days). Finally, we arrive at the B’aktun which equal to 20 k’atun(or 144,000 days). So, when they write the long date:

12.19.19.17.19 they really mean:

(12*144,000) +   (19*7200) + (19*360) + (17*20) + (19 *1) days = 1,871,999 days or 5128.76 years.  So they are counting from the date:  26-February-3117 BCE using the Gregorian calendar and projecting it backwards well prior to its creation. Ok, you might argue that is almost the vernal equinox.  Hmmm. Wait what is the date of 12/21/2012 in the Mayan Long Calendar: 13.0.0.0.0 .  This is not the end of their calendar, as has been commonly expounded by many people hyping new-age kinds of things or books or apocalyptic movies or Sara Palin as President. In fact, there are 7 full B’aktuns left in their calendar, meaning the human race can count on living another 33,139.73 yrs (no worries until the year 35,151 or so). While 12/21/2012 may appear to be an unlucky day to triskadecaphobiacs [people who fear the number 13], it does not mean an end to the Mayan calendar and certain doom.

Now wait a minute, the Mayan story said, that the last time, their calendar was 12.19.19.17.19 was the creation date. Ok, let’s ignore the fact that there must have been  1,871,998 prior days before creation (since we are not starting from 0.0.0.0.0). But lets go with it and see where we end up, shall we?

Let’s start at 12/20/2012 which will be the next 12.19.19.17.19 in the Mayan Long Calendar. Ok, we can now infer that the time prior must have been 38,268 years from 12/20/2012. So subtracting  38,268 from 2012 and allowing for the fact that there was no year ZERO, then in 36257 BCE,  at or near the winter solstice, the world was created. Assuming 20 years per generation (as we established in a prior blog), we find that we each have 1913 or 1914 prior generations, that we will need to account for in our family tree [direct line backwards].

Well I have about  another 1900+ generations to research, but at least I can now relax, now that I know the world will not end on 12/20/2012. I was feeling pressured to finish my research in the next 2.5 years. Now that I know the Mayan Calendar will not run out  for another 33,000+ years, I know I have plenty of time to research and publish the family tree.

I am not certain why they broke the base-20  on the tun (it being only 18 times the winal). But the 360 days in a year is only an error of 1.4% which is as good or better than the Julian calendar and if we consider they started using their calendar 2/26/3117 BCE, then I think we can say they were pretty good mathematicians and astronomers.

Why did the Mayans and Egyptians orient their pyramids to point to  Orion’s Belt? Could they possibly have known that our solar system is in the Milky Way Galaxy’s Orion-Cygnus spiral arm? Why did they pick 12.19.19.17.19 ( as the creation date)? That equates to  Sagittarius which according to NASA’s website,  the center of the Milky Way galaxy is in the general direction of Sagittarius constellation. Were they good astronomers or did they just believe that passing the winter solstice is when things get created?

I guess those will be musings for another time!

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June 5, 2010

Congressional Record

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

108th Congress

Ok, perhaps you think that Washington D.C. has a rather large concentration of fools/jesters/harlequins and this is merely Stanczyk pandering some professional courtesy to his Professional peers. I can hardly blame you for thinking them like myself.  The difference is that they get paid to be fools and Stanczyk  is just an amateur. Of course, if you want Stanczyk for the Senate, write me  in this fall in PA’s senate race. Then Stanczyk too can be a professional fool and surely I can do no worse.

I was lamenting the Library of Congress changing their links again and breaking my web pages.  As many of you know, I have a web page on Dziennik Polski (the Detroit daily Polish language newspaper). This jester is rather fond of newspapers for their value in their historical context and for their use in genealogy. So I was reviewing my web page when I noticed the LOC link broke again. Damn! I am fixing that.

I did a little googling to find the new page. Instead I stumbled across the Congessional Record itself. Fortunately, I had written, the 108th Congress, 29-September-2004, and page S9931 in my article on the web. This was enough for me to locate the exact page in the actuall Congressional Record which available online (1998-present). Here is the link:

Senate Section page S9931

 

So your research experiment is to:

  1. select Archived Tables (pick 2004, click on “Go” button.
  2. scroll down to number 120 (which equates to 29-September, 2004) click on the link in Senate column: S9867
  3. this loads a PDF document. Scroll to bottom type in field next to Go to page button, then type S9931 and click

This will have to suffice, until I fix my link. At least you can find my reference and more importantly, it is a valuable resource for research (albeit primarily on the doings of fools in D.C.). Be a good electorate and read…then vote informed with FACTS not the current rhetoric that tries to masquerade as facts when its is just a freak show misrepresentation. The circus is always in town and right now the clowns run amok.

May 31, 2010

Mount Vernon Cemetery – Philadelphia

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

This is Mount Vernon cemetery. Now before you think this the George Washington’s Mt Vernon, it is not that one. This is a cemetery in Philadelphia nearly next door to Philadelphia’s famous, historical Laurel Hill cemetery that is on the hill above Philadelphia overlooking the Schuykill River (quite a lovely vista — in fact today the jester met an artist at the Mt Laurel cemetery painting a landscape on an absolutely beautiful day surrounded by these wonderful cemetery monuments).

Mount Vernon Cemetery to my horror is now a nearly defunct cemetery. There appears to be very little in the way of funds to maintain this lovely old cemetery. Overgrowth is obvious, the paths for cars is overgrown and truly I needed the caretaker to guide me through and not run over any tombstones. The picture at the top of this blog is obviously an old image. The entrance which is what the picture shows,  is now very much overgrown and disheveled and looks nothing like the image. I spoke to Norman the caretaker and he said that almost all families are no longer providing for upkeep. I felt for Norman as he is very local and doing his best to keep this cemetery together on something less than a shoestring budget.

This cemetery has Drew Barrymore’s ancestors (find-a-grave) ! This jester does not have family interred here. I would however be willing to help Norman do a project to capture the genealogy from his records and the tombstones and develop some kind of saleable product to help sustain this cemetery. But realistically, unless the lovely Drew Barrymore were to  provide some kind of endowment fund or help raise funds for this cemetery, it will  become perpetually defunct and eventually go back to the state of Pennsylvania for guardianship. My guess  is that  if anything happens to Norman, this cemetery will die. Death of a Cemetery.

Mount Vernon Cemetery Philadelphia                 28-February-1856   —  2010?

May 12, 2010

Dziennik Polski [Detroit]

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Dziennik Polski 1924Dziennik Polski (“Polish Daily”). Many times this has been used as a title for a local  Polish language newspaper. This jester originally came from Detroit, MI where we too had such a newspaper. One day I was having a meal  with mój ojciec (my father). I had decided to go to the Library of the State of Michigan in Lansing the next day and I was going to do my first foray into reading an historical newspaper on microfilm. The newspaper I selected was Dziennik Polski; I am not even certain why I chose that newspaper, perhaps it was an article I read in the PGSM’s Eaglet newsletter. Now Michigan was blessed with many Polish language newspapers:

And those were just from Wayne County. I was going to try and find the birth announcements for my father and his siblings and perhaps I’d also find some death notices too.

Surprise

At any rate, as we eat a meal together I told my father that I was going to the State Library and perhaps read some newspapers. Out of the blue and for the first time, my father tells the family how his mother, Walerya, used to read the Dziennik Polski newspaper! What serendipity he mentioned the exact newspaper I was going to research. So I was armed with birth dates and off I went secure in the knowledge that my new idea would be successful. For if my busia read the newspaper, then surely she must have put announcements into to it too. Now the more experienced genealogists are probably laughing at that naiveté. Well I did not find my father’s birth being announced. However, I did find my uncle Thaddeus’ birth being announced and the street address was one my father had recalled to me in an earlier conversation. Well you can imagine I was hooked on this charming little Polish language newspaper.

I was certain, that I’d find my great uncle Jan’s death announcement – but I did not have the date, just that it was after my grandfather’s death (06-January-1930). So I would just gut it out and search this newspaper for all of the 1930’s decade until I found him. By now you must realize that this  is a daunting task. Each microfilm contains about 2-3 months of newspapers and I found I could do one microfilm in a single day. By my math I would need 40 days at the Library or possibly on average maybe only 20 days. Of course, I no longer lived in Michigan, so that posed a problem. Of course, they also did not have every day on the microfilm either, so it just might not be on the microfilm. Finally, it was during the Great Depression, so death announcements would not be there unless you paid for them; That was certainly going to be a problem for my widowed grandmother with 7 kids to feed.

Well Stanczyk is still pursuing this enterprise, albeit more slowly due to the tough economic times. I enjoy the genealogy and also the history preserved in these newspapers. I also get some kind of surreal connection to my grandmother by putting myself in her place and reading these historical newspapers in her native tongue. I have painstakingly gathered some expertise on this newspaper and gathered info the PGSM Eaglet, my own research and the work of the PGSCTNE and have built an index now with over 20,000 names. Because this is a Polish language newspaper, it is largely a story of the Poles who settled in Detroit, MI (and of course Hamtramck). I have that index and my collected research available here on Rootsweb website:  Dziennik Polski .

Read your local newspaper or that of your grandmother’s. Read the Second World War, through your grandmother’s eyes. It is horrific to see Hitler and Stalin splashed across the pages of the 1920’s and 1930’s and to know that they eventually will collectively kill nearly 40 million people – back then, for busia  it was news, now for this jester it is history. History carries a much greater impact when read through the context of your ancestors and the newspapers of their lives.

May 2, 2010

Biechow & Pacanow databases…

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Yesterday this jester wrote about an interaction with another genealogist and how it caused me to do my research in a different way and how by doing this survey, I was able to find two small related Elijasz facts buried in another family’s church record.

The blog was not suitable for three column (or even nicely viewable in single column). So I wanted to publish the database on my Rootsweb page. So here is Pacanow 1883 Births .

I have done surveys of some years records and published them onto the Internet. The reason I do this is draw other genealogists to me, by their Googling their family tree and finding my pages and then querying me to see if we are related in some way. Over the years I have run into many genealogists and/or distant cousins who have supplied vital or emotionally  priceless photos.

Here are my Biechow parish databases too:

1810 Biechow Births

1811 Biechow Births

1812-1831 Survey

So if your ancestral village was in Biechow parish or Pacanow parish send me your query. Perhaps we are related somewhat closely. Or if your name is the following list (these are just Biechow/Pacanow family names):

Eliasz, Elijasz, Heliasz, Leszczynski, Wlecialowski, Paluch, Zasucha, Zwolski, Odomski, Kedzierski, Kalucki, Kordos, Siwiec, Wojtys, Gawron, Fortuna,  Grudzien, Piotrowski, Juda, Bebel, Bordziak, Bugaj, Kostyra, Podolski, Wrobel, Wrzesnia, Watroba, Gula,  Janicki, Kapusta, Baran, etc.

Why not send me a query?

April 25, 2010

Memes & Things

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

This jester was listening to NPR this morning on the way to the market. The show on “Speaking of Faith”: http://speakingoffaith.publicradio.org/programs/2010/alzheimers/

Spoke of the subject’s need to capture Alzheimers patient’s memories before they were gone. A tragedy that tugs at my Slavic soul. My aunt/God Mother Kitty suffered and died from Alzheimers, as did my younger brother’s, father-in-law. An awful fate, the loss of your memories. Now this jester has had many talks with his elders, some of whom were in their eighties and nineties. Another aunt died before she could capture her memories of my Busia. I had encouraged Aunt Bernice for years to write and to send me her drafts for me to edit for her. Alas it never happened and they were lost.

So this show tugged at my genealogical mind. I am sure all genealogists mourn the loss of valuable document or artifacts of their family’s history. I just want to encourage genealogist to do a few things:

  • Capture the memories of your elders onto the page (or the computer)
  • Backup your research; a backup copy onsite and another copy offsite.
  • Write your Family History and publish it (to book would be best, but to the Internet at least, both is best).

In many ways we are recording the dying memories of our family, the same as NPR’s guest. The entropy of time acts as Alzheimers to each of our genealogies. We must work swiftly and surely to record the memories before they are lost. Feel free to edit and revise your “final work” to incorporate the latest research until you too can no longer do the work.

Our history and our blogs are memes that function in much the same way as DNA does for life. We try to preserve biological diversity of animals or food crops by saving these “scraps” for a future so they will not be lost and can be enjoyed by the future. Does anyone backup the Internet? Are we just heading for another Library of Alexandria catastrophe? Write books on your family history; The books will last 500 years; The Internet or your computer media will not last anywhere near that long. Food for thought!

March 20, 2010

Pacanow

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Pacanow Church circa 1918

Stanczyk’s dziadkowie (grandparents) came from Biechow and Pacanow parishes. Each of those two parishes had a few others villages that made up the parish. It is my fondest dream that I should return to these ancestral towns and see the churches, cemeteries, libraries, Urzad Stanu Ciwilego (USC which are roughly equivalent to a County Clerk’s Office in the USA). Not to mention visit a couple of archives too.

My grandfather, Jozef Eliasz (aka Elijasz) and his father Jozef and his father Marcin were from Pacanow. Other families from Pacanow parish,  like the Wlecialowskich who married into the Eliasz family and who also came to America and lived across the road from my grandmother Valeria’s farm. My grandfather Jozef help build Ciotka Rosie’s farmhouse (really a barn) with her husband Adam Gawlikowski. Ciotka Rosie (nee Wlecialowski) had a mother named Katarzyna Eliasz, who was my grandfather’s aunt. There was also Kedzierski family that my grandfather’s older brother, Jan Eliasz married into and some Kedzierskis also came to America. Funny, Stanczyk even found a friend, amongst the professional genealogists, the multi-talented Ceil Wendt Jensen whose Zdziepko ancestors came from Pacanow and settled in the Detroit area. So in a way the Polish diaspora from the parish of Pacanow reformed in Detroit (and Toledo, and Buffalo, and I am sure other Great Lake states).

Miraculous Cross

Stanczyk wants to visit Pacanow’s church (Sw. Marcin / St. Martin) as a pilgrimage. The picture,  near the top of this column, is the church as my grandfather would have known it (circa 1918). I wonder if my grandfather and his family helped in one of the many rebuilds or expansions of  the church. My grandfather, Jozef, was a carpenter and he built a steeple on Corpus Christi Church in Detroit.

This church whose cross has been a source for pilgrims to worship due to its uniqueness dating back to the middle ages,  has one more chapter. During World War II, something miraculous happened in that church. It was partially destroyed, all but the section that had the agonizing Jesus upon this sacred cross. The Russian soldiers were going to finish their godless work and tear it down. When they attempted to pull the cross down, they were blinded multiple times, until they ran away (these Bolshevik atheists) and witnesses heard them scream that the God in Pacanow is very strong. Imagine that miraculous event in my family’s ancestral church!

I am hopeful to see this church which has recently been recognized by the Vatican as a minor Basilica. It is a beautiful icon and has some church relics around it.

March 6, 2010

Random Musings…

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

This jester watched “Who Do You Think You Are” (WDYTYA). I was touched and enjoyed the first episode. I hope all interested parties do not get the impression that genealogy is so easy or so fast. Perhaps it was not emphasized, but there about a half dozen of genealogical researchers (who appeared on film — I am sure there were more behind the scenes), who handle the various specialties: California, Gold Rush, New England, Salem Witch Trials,  Cincinnati OH/ Germans. I think that demonstrates that you need various skills in various areas and no one genealogist can possibly know it all or be the efficient in areas outside of his/her specialization. I learned some things and look forward to learning more about areas outside my own sphere of expertise.

I hope the WDYTYA will slog through the many blogs and find hints. So, here are two suggestions that I thought of as I watched that can help add even more connections to those watching.

Suggestion 1.

There were opportunities to connect to others (as possible sequels/foreshadowing) and just being literate. For example, I like to occasionally do some genealogy on literati. So I have looked into Nathaniel Hawthorne’s genealogy. His book the “Scarlet Letter” about the Salem trials would have been such a good side bar note. Not because I want useless trivia to clutter up the show, but because Hawthorne’s ancestor was one of the judge’s. They could have shown his ancestor’s name and connected Sara Jessica Parker to Hawthorne in this odd sort  of juxtaposition that would have added something for Sara and for those watching. Indeed it drove Hawthorne to write the story and caused him to alter his family name(to an alternative spelling) — another good lesson to budding genealogists.

Suggestion 2.

Give the genealogists, researchers, archivists/archives, and historical sites 30 seconds on the film listing them and put their info one the website too (not just the celebrities). A “Thank you to…” still shot listing all of the above and an audio directing viewers to the web site page for more info on these people.

Go to the web site and check out the “about” and exclusive “menus”, in particular the “did you know” menu selection.

Random Musing #2

Did you know there have been approximately, 106 Billion people on this planet over all time? So in theory we’d only need slightly less than 37 generations in our tree to have everyone in our family tree. Of course, that would mean we’d have all people in the family tree before we even went back in time to the Norman Conquest (1066). Obviously there were people before that time. Why doesn’t the math work? As you go back in time, you should see some people appearing multiple places in the tree. So perhaps we need more than 37 generations to all be related.

For those with a scientific mindset, we find in genetics that the genealogical “Eve”, appeared about 200,000 years ago. Oddly enough, the genealogical Adam, appeared only 60,000 years ago. Apparently, he killed off or somehow prevented all previous others from passing on their male DNA. Just so people do not get the idea that partho-genesis did not occur for 140,000 years before male DNA appeared or wonder why that gap. Let’s work with the 200,000 year number. Assuming each generation is about 20 years (Baby Boomers are 1946-1964, a nineteen year span) then we should need 10,000 generations. Just so we are on the same page: Genealogical Eve and Adam are  homo sapiens, not  any of the other prior prototypes of humanity. That is why we are not talking of millions of years, but only 200,000 years. I once read that the aboriginal Australians believe they have a genealogical tree of 48,000 generations (and they kept track of them!!!). That does not seem to match with the current thoughts that they have resided on Australia for a mere 50,000 years. It does seem unreasonable to have a generation each and every year. This jester once met a man at a recent genealogical conference who claimed he had traced his genealogy back to King David(with source documents of evidence). Forgive me for doubting, but I did wonder, but did not give voice to my skepticism nor voice the obvious  question of why, he could not take his genealogy back to Adam, son of God. The rest of David’s genealogy is recorded in the Bible.

Go read a good book!

January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

i_red

nauguration Day has arrived and there can be no larger historic moment than this one today (01/20/2009), which is the Inauguration of America’s 44th President, Barack H. Obama. Stanczyk however is of mixed moods. Alas, his ticket to the swearing-in and the seating at the parade were pulled last minute in a bureaucratic snafu that finds Stanczyk in Audubon, PA (home of the French American Naturalist for whom the Audubon Society is named — John James Audubon).

Stanczyk had planned to bring his grandmother’s Naturalization Papers, ala Edward Zwick, the director of “Defiance” did when he filmed Defiance in Poland/Lithuania/ByeloRussia. Stanczyk’s grandparents came from the Russian-Poland partition, in what the Russians called the Kielce gubernya (and the Poles Kielce wojewodztwo) at the time of the 1880’s it was in the Stopnica powiat.

woj_kielce_pow_stopnica

kingdomofpolandmap_18151

Kingdom of Poland (Russian – Poland partition)   •   Kielce woj.  Stopnica pow.  •

So this fool was outdone by an even better fool and my attempt to mix my travels and my history with my family not to mention my potential cocktail fodder at palace retinue happenings was bolloxed. At this historic moment let me pause my musings for some coffee whilst I watch the coronation, excuse me, the inauguration.

Don’t forget every administration requires a fool and in these times I am available. Of course, I realize that Washington D.C. is rife with fools, but you can still pick an erudite fool who can stand out from the many and perhaps correct the omission of a Slavic from your Cabinet. God Bless Obama!

January 18, 2009

Chadds Ford and Beyond

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

As mentioned in my previous post, this jester was traveling through Chester County and its idyllic rolling hills when Baldwin’s Book Barn was dicsovered amongst these pastoral lands. Stanczyk had forgotten that a local artist family, resided hereabouts. I speak of the Wyeths. Now I am moved to speak of Andrew Wyeth given his recent passing. I have found his artwork quite evocative — from the heartwarming Americana and rural pastiches to his more erotically charged Helga images. Helga’s mysterious qualities aside, I liked the warmth of the American spirit imbued into the local landscapes. His artwork warmed the soul in the same fashion as if some baritone gave voice to a Robert Frost poem.

wyeth_christinasworld1

Christina’s World is wonderfully illustrative of this pastoral land, I am wandering through.

In fact, the above painting was hung in a local B&B that Stanczyk and his żona warmed themselves at its hearth. So in some kind of cognitive resonance we stumbled upon Baldwins Book Barn who proudly displayed much wares about the local artist family. Then Andrew Wyeth, our subject, died this week in the very midst of our Wyeth cognitive resonance revelry and Stanczyk did not want his passing to be lost amid the imminent inauguration of America’s 44th President, Barack H. Obama.

January 16, 2009

Hello Internet… are you there?

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

w_blueelcome to my blog!

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

stanczyk1

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

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

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