Archive for ‘Pacanow’

August 30, 2011

#Genealogy – Has Free Access Week (until 9/5) for Immigration Records

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk just wanted to let his readers know they have this Labor Day Week/Weekend to search for free in at least their Immigration records!

I took advantage of this to do some new searches related to the Social Network Analysis (SNA) I did a while back. I also remembered my Haller’s Army article too and so I decided to search for one of my returning Haller’s Army vets (actually his brother Leon). Boleslaw returned in 1920 on Princess Matoika and I got to thinking, I know his brother Leon fought in World War I (in the US Army — not Haller’s Army); Perhaps I can find US Troops returning from World War I too.

Well all of a sudden I found Leon Wlecial on his INITIAL arrival in America in 1913. Too bad it was only the Hamburg Ship Manifest which has such little detail. But then my forensic mind kicked in. If he came to US via Hamburg there had to be a NYC or Philadelphia arrival record for him. I tried variations on the name to no avail to find the matching ship manifest in NYC/Philadlephia. I finally decided to look at all arrivals on 12/20/1913 on SS Pretoria. I searched for all “Leons” assuming they butchered the last name on indexing. No Leon Wlecial in the Leons??? I then did a search on all “Lean”s and lo and behold there was my Leon hiding amongst the Leans with his last name also butchered coming form his wife (??? — never knew he was married) and going to his brother Boleslaw whom I knew well and had a lot of documentation on. So indeed this was my Leon Wlecial (as if there could be another Leon Wlecial with a brother Boleslaw Wlecial in Detroit, MI).

Now the Wlecial/Wlecialowski name is very rare indeed so I did not need much convincing but this info was too good. I now knew Leon had been married in Poland to a woman named “Maten” (??) from whom he was arriving from. I also knew he was living in “Baczanow” (a corruption of Pacanow, often written Paczanow in Ship Manifests) and that he was born in Rusek. Rusek, really ???   Well that might explain why I found his two siblings birth records in Pacanow, but not his. Note to self – FIND R-U-S-E-K (if it exists) in a Gazetteer. I also now had a new residence for his brother Boleslaw Wlecial who was living at 449 Grady Ave, Detroit, MI on 12/20/1913 apparently if you can believe the stuff written on Ship Manifests.

The moral of this story was … Do NOT stop at just the Hamburg Ship Manifest. It means there is a matching Ship Manifest in Ellis Island or for Philadelphia port. Use the date and ship name if the name does not pop up in NYC/Philadelphia searches. You can always go page by page on the Ship Manifest, but often some shrewd guessing can help you divine how the name was mangled by an indexer misreading the Ship Manifest.

August 12, 2011

Church Metrical Books … Embellishments, Oddities, and Notations #2

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Today’s Church Metrical Book meme is on Marginalia. This margin note is from the birth of Tomasz Elijasz (Record #130) born (ur.) 6-September-1881 in Pacanow parish. Tomasz was the son of Ludwik Elijasz and Elzbieta Miklaszewski.

Your eyes are not fuzzy, both record and the marginalia are written in Cyrillic (Russian). Stanczyk loves reading marginalia, because it is almost like gossip. I read it from the context of the vital record of the birth. “So little Tomasz. I see you are going to grow up and marry(malz.) Marianna Wojczyk on 19-February-1912 and it will be recorded in the Pacanow church book as record #34 of 1912 Marriages.”

It is almost like you are acting in the role as a cleric angel for God. You know the future of this little baby!

Now I like these margin notes because I can often find the female Elijasz being married off. Once they are married, I often lose track of them, so these margin notes may be a last chance to find them until I see a death notice, if I do not have their marriage record. Since this is Russian-Poland, the records are in Russian from 1868-1918. Sometimes, the margin note is in Polish (say if the marriage happened in/after 1918). So you will have a Russian birth and Polish marriage notation.

So how is it that not every birth  record has a margin note? Well the list of possibilities should include…

  1. The baby died in infancy or childhood
  2. The “baby” emigrated before being married
  3. The “baby” never married before dying
  4. The “baby” got married somewhere else (in another parish/country or perhaps only a civil marriage)

Every once in a while you will see a priest still record the marriage if it was in another country or parish and the catholic priest of the remote locale wrote the priest in Pacanow. Not always, but sometimes this happens.

August 7, 2011

#Polish, #Genealogy – The Pillars of the Eliasz Social Network of Pacanow

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon


was very sleepy/tired when the last posting was written! As I looked at this Social Network Analysis  (SNA) that I performed and the resulting diagram from the data I realized two more things.

There were five old men, the pillars of this Social Network who were the progenitors of this data, if not literally, then at least figuratively. These august gentlemen, were Marcin Elijasz (about 1819),  Pawel  (abt. 1825) & Antoni (abt. 1830) [undoubtedly brothers] Odomski, Antoni Wojtys (abt. 1823) and Franciszek Zwolski (abt. 1823). In fact, Franciszek Zwolski & Antoni Wojtys were the witnesses at my 2great-grandfather Marcin Elijasz ‘s death in 1879. If you have one of those five men in your family tree, then welcome, for  we are surely relatives. Indeed it is true for just about everyone in the diagram.

Second, this SNA diagram – that messy scribble from my last posting, with the nodes and the connecting lines is properly viewed in two ways. First off, the SNA diagram is a road-map for reading these church records (in Pacanow and to some degree the adjoining parishes) and providing a much richer/complete context for understanding the families: Elijasz (Heliasz), Zasucha, Wojtys, Zwolski, Odomski, Siwiec, Paluch, Lewinski, Piotrowski and Major and Wlecialowski. However the SNA diagram is a bit unwieldy in being able to quickly read/find any single individual. So the Second view is that it is a database. Now Stanczyk is database architect and data analyst by trade. So I will reorganize this data from its visual representation into a more “tabular” data friendly representation that is searchable/sortable. I will also redraw the diagram and organize its visual presentation because that visual road-map is invaluable. It is easy to count the hops between nodes (people) and get a sense of connectedness or remoteness between two individuals in quick fashion.

I urge people to incur the pain of producing such a diagram and then re-viewing your church records and/or family group sheets again.  It also shows the clear import of transcribing witness names and AGEs, as well as the mother and father’s ages and the God Parents names. It is too bad that the GEDCOM, file format of our family trees,  mostly buries this info in NOTES/COMMENTS because it is hard to query/report/analyze these pieces of data that link/glue nuclear families together.

My family tree never indicated to me that it was important to take note of the ODOMSKICH. Nor really the Zwolski or Wojtys and certainly not the Zasucha. The Lewinski and Piotrowski were not even on the radar before. The SNA diagram really shows the rich/complex tapestry of the social network in Pacanow for my ancestors.

August 7, 2011

#Polish, #Genealogy – Social Network Analysis Project Complete

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Social Network Analysis Diagram

Ok, Stanczyk does not think you can make heads or tails out of the SNA diagram (even though at full size / resolution it should be readable).

I started this experiment to see if I could convince myself if some people living contemporaneously with my great-grandfather were siblings or not. I did NOT have the marriage or birth records for four ELIJASZOW (Franciszek, Ludwik, Petronella, and Tekla). SO I lacked the conclusive proof.  In fact, before I started this study, I did not even have Tekla.

I have used a previous analysis of Affiliated Families and surveying all records of these “Afffiliated” families. What I did was to check these families on birth records or death records where they record the woman’s maiden name to see if I could find female relatives whose married names I did not know. That worked moderately well with my limited set of data/microfilm to look at. So it occurred to this jester that I could apply a technique called Social Network Analysis to the field of genealogy — by using Church Records where they list witnesses and God Parents. This technique is similar to what police use when examining mobsters and their network. You may have seen it on TV police shows or movies that try to break up a crime ring. The idea is that the same names (i.e. people) will show up repeatedly in the list of witnesses (where I have ages) and in the list of God Parents (where I do not have ages). My theory is that I can PREDICT if any of these four ELIASZ ancestors are related to my lineal descent line by examining all of the affiliated families and plotting all people involved in a diagram with Node (the circle) and lines connecting the nodes (denoting a familial relationship). By seeing many connections between groups I could determine/PREDICT  nuclear families.

I think it works. I will now need to get access to Polish Archives or Parish books to confirm my work. But here is what I found. My conclusion is this:

Franciszek does not appear to be a sibling of my grandfather (or his other presently known siblings). Why, he does not share the same connections to critical people that Ludwik, Petronella, or the newly found Tekla do.

I do believe this technique predicts that Ludwik, Petronella and Tekla are my great-grandfather’s siblings. Their birth years do fit the gaps in between the other existing siblings without conflict — another possible confirmation. To be honest even Franciszek fits the gaps too (even with adding Ludiwk, Tekla, and Petronella). So he is still possibly a sibling but the technique says ‘NOT‘ because he does not hang with the same network of people.

Now here are some observations. I chose ZASUCHA and ODOMSKI as affiliated families for this survey (and not in the prior survey). I did not choose them previously because they occur so little in my family tree — usually just a female who marries a male ELIASZ and her just her parents (or in the case of ZASUCHA, just the woman who married my great-great-grandfather). The WOJTYS family name was added too. Now I know this name was affiliated, but only to a remote branch of ELIASZ/HELIASZ that I have not been to connect to the lineal descent line. So again they have NOT been used in any other analysis but as I went along, I added this name to the study (particularly after I found TEKLA ELIASZ WOJTYS).

What I found was that ODOMSKI and WOJTYS are the ‘glue’ in the ELIASZ social network. Also true for ZASUCHA and a bit less to ZWOLSKI and  PALUCH or MAJOR still less and just a tiny bit to Lewinski and Piotrowski (these two families will need a further follow-up analysis by themselves). What I found to a large degree was that a handful of individuals in these “glue” families showed up over and over in the network. Now I call these families and indeed these handful of people the glue, because they glued the disjoint groups together into one cohesive group.

If you remember the Kevin Bacon movie, ‘6 Degrees of Separation” then you get the premise that  we are all connected. What these handful of ‘glue people’ did was to show that my hypothetical siblings were two degrees apart (or their children).

So I will proceed on my assumptions. But beyond giving me a set of assumptions that have become more than just little  hunches, I have other new “findings”.  I believe the ELIASZ-HELIASZ family connection is so strong that I think I could convince my distant cousins to give up their notion, ‘They (the HELIASZ) are not related to us’. Now I have written about Elzbieta HELIASZ Kapusta who has kindly aided my genealogy so graciously of her own accord. She too did not think we were related. But I thought otherwise, even though I could not prove it, I still cannot “prove” in any sense that a professional genealogist would accept — it juts goes against the common “Standard of Proof”. However, the study has shown that even the HELIASZ are in the Social Network and strongly in it. So much so, that this Michal HELIASZ I think is a brother to my great-great-grandfather. I truly believe that at most he is a first cousin to great-great-grandfather, Martin Elijasz. If that is true then Elzbieta HELIASZ Kapusta and I are 5th cousins (or 6th cousins if Michal HELIASZ is 1st cousin to Martin Elijasz).

The HELIASZ family (of Elzbieta’s line) have connections to the same Wojtys and Zwolski. Both Elijasz and Heliasz have SIWIEC too. Indeed, the Wojtys, Zwolski and Siwiec have intermarried into both Elijasz and Heliasz. I will need Michal Heliasz’s marriage record to Anna ?uknown-maiden-name and Martin Elijasz’s marriage record to Anna Zasucha to see if they share the same parents or if their parents share the same parents.

I also believe this new TEKLA is a sibling of my great-grandfather and not the TEKLA, daughter of GASPAR ELIASZ. Earlier in the study I was considering both possibilities equal. But the social network says differently. Indeed TEKLA and PETRONELLA are clearly sisters and it looks by their birth years that they were probably consecutive born siblings of their father, my 2g-grandfather, Martin Elijasz.

I would recommend this technique to people where they are missing information/records. I do not propose this to be an end around of the”Genealogical Standard of Proof”. It is not that. It is a method to predict further research. This is helpful if you need to write to a Polish Archive (or a Polsih Parish) because it allows you to ask the correct question. For example in my case, I should write to Poland and ask the authoritative source(s): …

Does TEKLA ELIASZ have a birth record from about 1853 in Pacanow or a marriage record to Franciszek Wojtys from the 1870’s in Pacanow. I am looking for a TEKLA Elijasz wife of Franciszek Wojtys(born about 1843) and whose parents are Marcin Elijasz and Anna Zasucha.  Likewise, I would also ask similarly for Ludwik Eliasz (born about 1844) and for Petronella Eliasz (born about 1856). I could just ask the local Polish Archivist for all children born to the marriage of Marcin Elijasz and Anna Zasucha of Pacanow [whose children should all be born in the range  1847-1866], (their birth records and their marriage records). Then I would expect to see in the results: Ludwik, Tekla, and Petronella right along with my: Jozef,  Martin, Katarzyna and Jan Elijasz.

If I get the answers I expect (that Ludwik, Tekla and Petronella are siblings of my great-grandfather Jozef Elijasz), then I also get confirmation that my new theory and indeed the application of Social Network Analysis is useful in predicting nuclear family members.

This is a tedious study technique and requires some bookkeeping and compact notation to carry out effectively. I finally stopped my data collection with 1-2 years of data still left because I had too much data and too little space. Fortunately, the trends were obvious. I would also recommend using one village (or if you use other adjoining parishes) that you just indicate with a non-circle symbol ONLY for those records that are not a part of the “default” parish — you can just assume the rest are from the default parish and not clutter your diagram further than is necessary.

August 4, 2011

#Polish, #Genealogy – Social Network Analysis work is progressing…

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

My Social Network Analysis is progressing, albeit slowly. Stanczyk is drawing his diagram and the bookkeeping is terrible. How do you distinguish one dot (person) from another? It is forcing me to make each dot much bigger so I can record a distinguishing bit of info. I have more lines than I thought because …

You have a father, a mother, a baby, 2 wtinesses, 2 God Parents (sometimes more) [in birth records], 2 sets of parents [in marriage records].

So here are my family names that I am working with: Elijasz, Zasucha, Paluch, Odomski, Wlecial, Miklaszewski, Zwolski, Major, Wojtys, Siwiec, Piotrowski, Lewinski, and my discarded names ( Grudzien/Grudnia, Poniewirski, Janicki, Pytka, and Kordos). The surprises  are that I needed to add Piotrowski and Lewinski and that I had to discard Janicki. We had no family knowledge or record of Piotrowski or Lewinski and I did have knowledge of Janicki (various spellings). Now dropping a name means less work. But adding a name means going back to the beginning and searching for them too. A lot more work.

Early on I have already found a new female (Tekla Elijasz) relative under her married name (Wojtys). So there is some fruit. But I can see some foreshadowing from the research already. First off my research is already predicting two new siblings(Ludwik and Petronella) for my great-grandfather Jozef Elijasz (as I suspected), one person inconclusive,(Franciszek) and the new TEKLA is an issue. If she is truly a new relative then she is most probably a sibling of my great-grandfather. However, there is another TEKLA in that era (although  the birth years are 3-5 years apart) and the looseness of ages in the Polish church records is presenting a challenge. If TEKLA is the exisiting TEKLA, then the research is telling me(predicting) that my great-great-grandfather (Martin Elijasz) has another  brother Gaspar/Kasper. The age of the “new” TEKLA fits in the gaps of my great-grandfather’s siblings so I cannot eliminate her on that basis. In fact the ages of all the “new” predictions seem to fill in the gaps of my great-grandfather’s siblings.

One of my candidate relatives also has church records in the adjoining Biechow parish, so I will need to look at her family name (and the new Tekla) in those parish records too, so more of my research parameters are being tweaked. I also had a finding of one social network dot having a Kalucki God Mother. Now this Kalucki is exceeding rare in the records I have access to. My Kalucki fixation is because my grand-aunt Genowefa Leszczynski married a Kalucki (source from an obituary of my grand-uncle Michael Leszczynski). Also, the lady in Poland who sent me my grandparent’s marriage records (Elzbieta Heliasz Kapusta) has her great-grandfather showing up in my research and he is connected to some of the same families she mentioned (Siwiec,  Zwolski) and I know Wojtys from American relatives of Elzbieta. So once again another reconfirmation that Heliasz are really Elijasz (and both are really ELIASZ, i.e. that all three are the same family name) .

August 2, 2011

The Social Network Experiment

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

The last time I did a survey of “genetic marker” families in search of female Eliasz and was modestly successful. That article on affinity had some data and one approach. This time I want to look at 1878-1884 in Pacanow using another approach I have watched Police use on Mobsters or the military use on terrorists — I call this technique, the “Social Network” (SN).  In fact, there is some theory behind this. What I am proposing is called formally, “Social Network Analysis”. (SNA)

My goal was to “prove” if some ELIJASZOW in Pacanow were siblings of my great-grandfather or not. My problem is that I have incomplete information so I cannot prove anything conclusively. But I have  a few theories that I want to test. Whatever I find, I will use to test against archive data in Poland and see if my theory pans out or not. Can this technique predict familial relationships or not?

Here are the S.N. Experiment Parameters:

  1. Birth Data in Pacanow parish
  2. Years: 1878-1884 [that is all I have to work with]. That is seven years.
  3. Even with ONLY seven years, I cannot read every record. There on average 190 births per year and all records are in Russian (Cyrillic character set), old style (pre-1918 reform) characters in abundance, and there are handwriting/paper/image/mistakes issues in the priest’s  writings to deal with.
  4. Index Issues. My favorite is the inaccurate index (missing data or wrong name or wrong record #).
  5. Select some family names that have an affinity with ELIJASZ and chase just those records.
  6. Prove a connection to the children of Marcin Elijasz & his wife Anna Zasucha ( at present I KNOW of Jozef, Martin, Katarzyna and Jan).
  7. My candidates are Ludwik and Franciszek and Petronella  Elijasz. Are they siblings of the KNOWN children?

My focus is on ELIJASZ and ZASUCHA, but I decided to include other family names that connect through wives or husbands that marry into ELIJASZ family of this era. As my study proceeded, I added/subtracted some families as I collected data (or didn’t as the case may have been). Give me a week to collect data and build a chart showing the social network connections (and re-arrange the chart a time or two).

My data points will be considerably less, but I envision an SNA diagram like this:

Social Network Analysis Diagram

July 29, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy – Major, Zasucha, Zborowek, Ksiaznice Miscellanea

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Dateline Zborowek, 2-June-1878 –  This marriage announcement was slightly delayed.  Maryanna Zasucha, age 38 of Komorow, daughter of Sebastyan & Apolonia (nee Cygan) Zasucha married  Walenty Golen, age 23 of Wojcza [Editor: An early cougar], son of Jozef & Maryanna (nee Midorowicz) Golen. This was witnessed by: Toma Zasucha (age 37) & Jozef Plieta.

I am posting this as I am searching for Zasucha in and around Pacanow who may be related to great-great-grandmother Anna Zasucha, who married Marcin/Martin Elijasz of Pacanow. So I am thinking perhaps these Komorow Zasucha of the Zborowek parish may possibly be related.

Here is some miscellanea of the parish of Zborowek – made up of the following villages: Zborowek, Biskupice, Komorow, Orzelec, and Zalesie.  Parish  Ksiaznice (who records were noted in the 1878 Zborowek as a separate parish-within-a-parish) is made up of the following village(s): Ksiaznice [Editor: ???].

The Ksiaznice Question

Which leads to another question of Stanczyk’s. Why are there three parishes in the same vicinity: Pacanow-Ksiaznice-Zborowek. These fine parishes are closely surrounded by Biechow and Beszowa parishes. Can someone from Poland explain to me how this parish arrangement arose? At the very least, Ksiaznice seems excessive even for Poland.

Major Miscellanea

Stanczyk emailed a Kornelia Major of SwietoGen Genealogical Society. I am hoping for a return email. Hence the above marriage record posted. I am also give my great-grandmother’s (Aniela Major) info below in hopes there is a family connection between us and you can fill me in on a portion of the family tree (drzewo genealogiczne) or help me with Pacanow church records.

Aniela Major was born (urodziny): 31-July(Lipca)-1866 in Piestrzec, Poland  and married Tomasz Leszczynski on 22-October(Padz.)-1885 in Pacanow. Aniela was the daughter of Martin Major of Piestrzec and  Katarzyna Ozarowicz. That is sum total of my knowledge of the Major family.

So, proszę,  Kornelia Major or any other Major in SwietoGen or elsewhere in the region, email Stanczyk .

July 24, 2011

Ecclesiastical Archive for: Biechow, Ksiaznice, Zborowek … and Pacanow?

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk said a week ago he would show a series fonds in the Catholic Church Archive in Kielce, Poland. These fonds are microfilmed church books of the various parishes in the Kielce Diocese. Sadly, the church does not publish a library catalog of its holdings. Let’s review these images which I collected a long time ago and do not seem to be available any more upon the Internet. I also hope to beseech my readers (in Poland — I know there are a few of you tanks to my Flag Counter), to help me acquire at least Pacanow and I also hope for Swiniary too. Please email Stanczyk if you can help me locate Kielce Diocessan Holdings for: Pacanow and Swiniary parishes (parafii). I can accept a text file of the details or even an image (JPG, GIF, TIF, BMP, PNG) or even a PDF document.

Now lets take a look at what I have (and what I am seeking) …

Biechow Holdings in Kielce


Biechow Parish Holdings

These birth/baptismal , marriage/marriage banns, and death church records have been microfilmed by the LDS (aka Mormons).

The LDS also have three microfilm covering the years 1875-1884 which are church records written in Russian that do not appear in this image of their holdings. Now to be fair the image is a few years old and perhaps the Diocessan Archives has been updated since this was taken.

A careful comparison seems to indicate that the LDS microfilm are missing some things that Diocese has and that the Diocese may be missing some things that the LDS have. If this is true then it would appear this is not the source of the LDS microfilm.

You can find the LDS microfilm for my Biechow parish here  and also here too .

If anyone knows if the Diocessan Church Archives in Kielce has microfilm for Biechow from the years 1861-1910, please email me (see above for my email link),  so I can do complete research plans.

I also hope someone out there in the Internet can answer why there is not alegata listed in the Kielce Diocessan Church Archives. Poland’s  State Archives (PRADZIAD) has alegata mcirofilm. Why would the Kielce Diocessan Church Archive be lacking in this manner? I hope this present somewhere in their holdings. I have had excellent success with alegata records giving me missing data.

Finally, my last question is, does the Church Archive also have physical books or only microfilm? If the books exist, can you take photographs of the books themselves?

Now lets look at Ksiaznice. Most people are not aware that Ksiaznice was ever a parish or possibly they were not aware that microfilm existed for Ksiaznice separate from other parishes. I think people just think that Ksiaznice’s church records were added to either Zborowek or Pacanow.

Ksiaznice Holdings in Kielce

Ksiaznice Parish Holdings

The LDS does not have any microfilm of my Ksiaznice which is from the area around Pacanow. Now I did notice some scant records in the Pacanow(Zborowek?) microfilm for Ksiaznice. But look at all that Diocese’s Archive has in Kielce !

I will have to spend a lot of time here to figure out if any of my missing records are here or not. But the holdings looks very complete indeed  — very few gaps !

There is no LDS microfilm for my Ksiaznice, so I have no link to post for you. Clearly, LDS does not get their microfilm from the Diocessan Church Archive. I guess its microfilm  comes directly from the parish books. Again this is probably why people never think of Ksiaznice as a parish separate and apart from Zborowek. Yet look at all of the data they have.

Back at the beginning of July, I talked about this book I used about Biechow parish, from the SwietoKrzyskie Digital Library, in the book,
Historical Description of Churches, Cities, Monuments, & Memorials of Stopnica“, written by Jan Wisniewska in 1929. This book describes all of these parishes in today’s posting too, plus more. That is how I knew about Ksiaznice.

And now lets review the third parish that I have, Zborowek.


The LDS does have microfilm for Zborowek. To be precise, they have one microfilm covering the years  1878-1884 for birth, marriage and death church records.

The Zborowek LDS microfilm can be found here. But look at the holdings in the Diocessan Archives ! Their records span the years 1736-1887 ! That is again a lot more than you can get from your local Family History Center which has only 6 years I spoke of above.

Again, Stanczyk has his work cut out for him to review the records in Zborowek. I can only dream about the possibilities.

So now gentle reader you know why I am seeking the holdings for Pacanow and Swiniary in the Kielce Diocessan Archives. The potential to close the holes in my family tree and answer all questions back to just before the three partitions of Poland for my Elijasz, Leszczynski, Wlecialowski, and Kedzierski lines is almost more than I can bare. You see I am hoping to plan the search beforehand, so I am prepared for a rather lengthy visit to the Church Archives.

Zborowek Parish


July 19, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy – Biechow Church Records an Inventory

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk is trying to digest Debbie G’s (from TX and Yahoo Group Polish Geniuses) insight and observations. I will need to analyze her feedback in relationship to the data I have seen (which is just about everything extant). So first, I would like to speak about the LDS microfilm, then I want to speak about Pradziad (Poland’s State Archives which contains civil and ecclesiastical data), and finally the  Ecclesiastical Archive for the parish of Biechow. I have in my possession a complete list of all microfilm — that would leave only actual physical books in the parish and possibly the civil and ecclesiastical archives. This discussion is just to convince  myself (and others) of what exists and to compare the sources available to me and draw up an action plan of what I have yet to view.  A further article will compare Debbie’s House Number experiences (which I know include many trips to Poland and its parishes and archives — sadly none in my area) with my data from Biechow. Today’s posting is a long one, but if you stick with it, you should learn where to find sources of data for your ancestral parish.

LDS Microfilm – Family History Library (Salt Lake City)

URL: Biechow microfilm       Family History Library Catalog:

First off, I need to admit, I still use the original web user interface, so if you do a place name search from their Library Catalog in their new beta-web interface it will look different, but the data will be the same — I have verified that.

The second line is a single microfilm (LDS Mf# 936665) which says it is a microfilm of the original church records from 1674-1847 inclusive, but many gaps exist. The records are all in Latin. Before 1797, the records are what I call Latin Paragraph Form (the earliest are more like Latin sentence or two, than paragraph). From 1797-1847 the data is in the Latin Box Form with standard columns that seem to vary little across all of Poland. Prior to the Latin Box Form, which includes, the column, ‘Numerus Domus’ (or in some areas an abbreviation of those words), I can state unequivocally, there are NO house numbers recorded. If these really are the actual church records and not a copy then house numbers were not recorded in the Latin paragraph form. After the introduction of the Latin Box Form, the house numbers are used (although not always in the years where they are collected). After reading Debbie G’s comments I will go back to the Latin Box Form and confirm the years they have recorded house numbers. I do know that house numbers are also present in the Polish Long Paragraph Form for the early years of Polish records. I will confirm these dates too. I can also state unequivocally, there are NO house numbers recorded in the Russian Long Paragraph Forms.

The top line resolves in the microfilm notes into 8 separate microfilm: 936660-936664 (five film),  and 1257788, 1807660, 1807661. These last three are for the years 1875-1884 and as such are in Russian (using the Cyrillic character-set). The first five microfilm are written in Latin until 1797, then in Polish for the years 1797-1847. There are no microfilm for years 1848-1868 which would be in Polish, nor are there any for 1869-1874 which would be in Russian. These eight microfilm are supposed to be copies of the original church records. 1868 is usually a cross-over year, part Polish records and part in Russian.

You can view these nine total microfilm at the Family History Library for free or rent copies and have them sent to your local Family History Center to view. I have done both for all nine microfilm. If you have followed my blog, I have taken pictures of these microfilm records and used them in my family tree and in this blog to good effect. I have analyzed these records and inventoried and built indexes of the details of what is present on each microfilm. So I am more than conversant about these nine microfilm. I can say unabashedly, that I have an expert level knowledge of these nine microfilm and derived my own data in summaries or studies I have undertaken from the detailed records. So it should be understood that I have acquired the ability to read Latin, Polish and Russian. I am self-taught and did so in order to trace my genealogy in the Russian-Poland partition (although, as I have said these villages went from Poland to Austria to France to Russia back to Poland autonomy).

Urząd Stanu Cywilnego (USC) – Civil Registration Office

A real secular civil registry did not exist in Poland until after World War II (1945/1946). Before that vital records were maintained by religious adminstrators. In Catholic churches from the 16th century by Papal edict, but it took many decades and future edicts before Church record keeping became reliable and consistent. Since Poland became partitioned in the late 18th century, there arose three ways of civil registration. So I believe the local USC will only have from 1945-forward. I will refer the reader to a couple of Wikipedia pages that offer the details:

Suffice it to say that the religions (protestant churches / synagogues) did not gain individual official recognition as civil registrations until:

In the Austrian partition in 1782, in Prussian partition since 1794, and in the Russian partition in 1825. Napoleon by his civil code established a standard for civil registration and in lieu of any civil office, had the Catholic priest serve in this capacity (1808-1815), such that from 1808-1825 officially in Russian partition, although 1828-1830 may have been when Protestant and Jewish religions were able to finally get control of their own civil registrations and not be recorded in the Catholic Church registers. In my Biechow records, I think I see Jewish records recorded from 1810-1828 in the Catholic register. However, the fact it went past the official 1825 date, is probably more indicative of the rural nature of the region and the scarcity of Jews in some areas. Keep in mind that Napoleon (and his Codex Napoleon) and Russian Czars dictated the civil registration rules in Biechow for most of its records [1808-1918]. During the few years when Biechow was in the Austrian partition (1772-1807) there was probably no change in church registrations, since this era was largely Latin to start and the Austrians maintained the Latin record keeping.

PRADZIAD – Poland’s State Archives

URL:  [ link to my Biechow]     PRADZIAD Database:

Biechów           rzymskokatolickie         alegata              1875-1886, 1888-1893, 1895, 1897-1898, 1901, 1904-1905

Biechów           rzymskokatolickie         małżeństwa       1875-1905

Biechów           rzymskokatolickie         urodzenia          1875-1905

Biechów           rzymskokatolickie         zgony                1875-1905

The above table shows my Biechow village. The second column is the Polish word for Roman Catholic. The Third word is record type.

małżeństwa = Marriages ;  urodzenia = Births (usually also has baptisms) ; zgony = Deaths   [your basic vital records]

alegata   =  addendum [often used to show that someone can be married in the church or has converted religions]

Well pretty much it is just 1875-1905, which is good for my grandparents and their siblings (births and marriages maybe). It also means reading Russian since 1868-1918 the records are kept in Russian. So if I view these in the regional Archive in Kielce, then I could add info to the microfilm I have already viewed,  for just the years 1885-1905 inclsuive. That is helpful, because I need my grandmother (Busia) Walerya Leszczynska’s birth record from about 1st-November-1886 in Biechow? I also want to search all of the alegata for: Elijasz, Leszczynski, Kedzierski, and Wlecialowski.

Kielce – Ecclesiastical Archive


The Church too has copies of the parish books/records that it keeps. Biechow is in the Kielce Diocessan Archive in the city of Kielce itself. I once found this image on the Internet on a Polish genealogy forum (now long since gone). Goes to show, you should keep the static web pages you find on your local hard drive.

Most of these are in the LDS microfilm: 936660, 936661, 936662, 936663, 936664, and 936665. Following the record groups are little notes, that I believe represent the fonds within the Church Archive that  hold those records. There are a few that are NOT in the LDS microfilm. Likewise there are a few in the LDS microfilm that are not in the Church Archive. SO I will need to look at these microfilm in the Church Archive in Kielce.

I have a similar image for Ksiaznice and Zborowek. My heart is heavy because I have never been able to find a similar document (text or image) for Pacanow. PLEASE can someone in Poland help me? It requires a visit to the Church Archive in Kielce to get this info (possibly a phone will get it). At any rate, if can get Pacanow, please can you email Stanczyk at

So once you find your ancestral parishes, this is what you should do. Build an inventory (a to do list) and a plan to get access to these resources for your family genealogy. Finding your ancestral parish is a process. I need to document my ideas, but that is another posting or two.

Lastly, plan to visit the parish office and the local priest. Be nice (obnoxious Americans please skip this step) and bring a gift of thanks for the priest and his office. When you leave, perhaps you can make a religious offering to the priest for a having a mass for your ancestors. What better way to honor your family and the local parish (or synagogue)! Please make the path easier for the next genealogist by being kind and respectful and generous. There may also be monuments and/or cemeteries in the area or at the church. Do not forget those too.

July 18, 2011

#Polish, #Jewish, #Genealogical Research – Church Census

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Perhaps you sneaked a peak at some new pages I recently created. My blog stats indicate that is so. So you may have witnessed the data for this story. But lets take a step back  for a moment.

In Poland, most Gminas or Powiats or large cities (ex. Warsaw) have a website, much like our cities or counties in the USA. These are the basic administrative units: Gminas make up Powiats which make up Voivodeships . Comparable to Townships(Boroughs) -> Counties -> States in the USA. So an understanding of these units of administration and their historical changes is fundamental to tracing your genealogy. Like us, they also have a history and their history is long, VERY LONNNNG in duration. In Poland, the Church is also an organizing presence and like here, they have parishes, deaconates, and dioceses. These too have very long histories. Understanding these units of administration, both civil and ecclesiastical can aid you in finding records to research. So this long preamble leads to my next useful website, which is quite specific to the locale of my ancestral villages  and what you need to do is to find the one that corresponds to your ancestral village and do likewise. Mine is:

So grab your Google Translator and follow along, please. Pacanow Gmina is the organizing unit for most of my ancestral villages (and the neighboring gminas cover the remainder). The above link (on a  line by itself) is an older web page that I have kept for years and it is now becoming buried in the official government page that is useful to residents. This page is useful to historians and family history researchers. It covers the history and tradition of both the civil and the ecclesiastical (i.e. parish) histories. Why do I or you care about these fine histories that a local historical society has produced — well if you have been a genealogist for a while you know that Historical Societies are the genealogist’s best friends. They have collected and preserved much of value that will further aid in our family history research. And so it is here. Pacanow is both a parish/deaconate (thus the ecclesiatical) and the civil gmina so they have both histories. From their pages, I have culled Church Censuses for this area covering circa 1340 through 1787 (not continuous, but snaphots at various times) that their local historians researched from church records. So on my Parish Census page is my resulting spreadsheet from a couple of their mages. These are statistical summaries, not individual records. So to be clear I am not talking about a Spis Ludnosci which contains a family and its names for generations in a parish. May we all be so lucky to find such in our individual researches.

Years – 1340, 1618, 1664, 1699, 1747/48, 1782/82, 1787

These are early years. In Biechow, one the parishes these censuses mention, my actual church records that LDS have microfilmed only go back to 1674-1675, then nothing until some deaths from 1697-1743. I have looked at these microfilm and the records are sparse (and in Latin). That being said, these censuses now allow me to evaluate what I have “detailed” records for. From the 1747/48 census I can see how Biechow has many more females than males. That explains why I can see men have many second wives (no doubt after their 1st wives die in child-birth or from the rigors of life with many children) to often much younger wives who can bear the man still more children. I have to wonder at the sizes of the homes. Even with the astonishing infant/child mortality rates of this era, families are large. Deaths are overwhelmingly people under 18 with the usual percentage of deaths for mature adults only a small percentage of the overall total. Populations are growing since the births outnumber the deaths, slightly.

All of these years are before the partitions  of Poland, except for the last two censuses (which come after the first partition of 1772). Now this last census(1787) is interesting for another reason. There was a census of Jews by parish. Now we cannot expect that the Jewish peoples attended the churches and the year 1787 was prior to the 1810-1830 years when the Catholic Church was also required to be the civil registrar and the Jews needed to register their births and marriages with the Catholic Church priest who was also the civil registrar. Like New Orleans which organizes its administrations by parishes, these early/rural parishes acted also as civil units of administration and collected censuses. The overall percentage across all parishes, was that Jewish peoples were about 6.44% of the total population. In Biechow, I see the percentage was 2.6% and that fairly closely matches the rates of Jewish records I see in the overall births from the years 1810-1830  in the Biechow parish church register.

Now that gives us a window into the first partition of Poland. Even though Stanczyk writes of Biechow/Pacanow being in the Russian-Poland partition, this early era was pre-Napoleon and these parishes were in the Krakow voivoide and Stopnica powiat, which were controlled by Austria  (more properly the Austrian-Hungarian Empire). At any rate, in the interest of the Blessed Pope John Paul II and his ecumenical efforts and to honor my own Jewish wife, I have included the Jewish census numbers here with the Catholic numbers to aid the Jewish researchers in their quest. I have collected some records in the early 1810’s that were in Biechow, since I noticed the JewishGen and JRI have not indexed Biechow. Now you know why. There were only 2.4% of the total population and  those scant numbers may have gone unnoticed so far by researchers. I would encourage JRI/JewishGen to take a look at my Parish Census blog page (in reality on Rootsweb).

Well this posting is too heavy on numbers and too slight on story, so let me end it here for today.


P.S. I am glad I put their numbers into a spreadsheet. I did find they had numerical errors (one total) and also an editing error, as the total for Jews was 1,000 more than the 821 they showed, thus they dropped the leading ‘1’ by some editorial typo. A spreadsheet quickly caught those errors.

July 17, 2011

Pacanów – The Church and A Tip.

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

St. Martin - Pacanów Church about 1918

Stanczyk, writes about Pacanów and Biechów … a lot! These are my ancestral villages. I have never been there, but they are in my very bones.

Today’s picture is from the World War I era of Pacanow and its church area. Today Sw. Marcin is now a minor basilica. The church is such a part of Poland and its history. It is also a major part of its families’ histories. Without the Church, there would be very little in the way of genealogy. As you can see the image is from Poland’s National Digital Archive (NAC). Remember I wrote about these archives, right?

I write about these two parishes, each of which has many villages that comprise their individual parishes. My reason is simple. I am always in search of others whose family history is also from these two parishes.

I have had some success in seeking out these people. For example, I met a good friend Jacek (from Krakow) at a Polish Genealogy website:  . I also met the wonderful, Elzbiety (Heliasz nee) Kapusta. She spoke no English and I am NOT fluent in Polish, but armed with Google Translator and some determination, I made my way to (a Polish Facebook social network website = “Our Classes/Classmates”). This wonderful woman was born in the Biechow parish where my grandparents(dziadkowie) were married ! She took it upon herslef to get the church record of their marriage and even a copy of the civil record too and mail these documents to me. Bless Her Always for that kindness — which I did not even ask her to do!

But that was an active search and it also led me to find a second cousin (whom I have never met face-to-face, who was born in Pacanow and now lives in TX). So active searches of Polish websites are a must, if you cannot actually visit Poland and its churches and/or archives. But this BLOG is an overt attempt to draw (i.e. a passive search) others related to me  or connected to these parishes to seek me out. So this is an inverted search process. Hence, all of the material on names of people or places in hopes that someone someday Googles my blog and contacts me. So that is my latest tip to Polish Genealogists — write a blog and post items on your family so distant cousins far and wide can reach you.

Coming Up …

In the next week or two, I will be writing about other research that I have collected on these two parishes including:

Historical Census of the Pacanow deaconate, Census of the Jewish Population in this area,  Church Archive holdings of Biechow / Ksizanice / Zborowek

Please join me. Blessings For Your Sunday!


July 10, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy – A Noble Birth in Biechow 1674

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

11th-July-1674 Birth of Maryanna Niedzwiedz

Stanczyk was combing through dusty tomes again. Cough, Cough — excuse me.

This picture is from my cell phone. It is the earliest noble birth I have found for the village of Biechow (near Pacanow in the old wojewodztwo of Kielce). Let me humbly offer the translation (from Latin) …

Jozef Wałcerz, Biechow parish priest, baptized Maryanna, daughter of the Nobleman Jan Gaspar Niedzwiedzki & Agnes of Biechow. Her God Parents both were of noble birth were  Jerzy Paczakowski of Słupia and Ewa Pawłowska of Sobowice. [regrettably I was not able to read Jerzy/George’s job/title].

In a fit of boredom I decided to do some cross-research for verification. Previously, I have mentioned the digital libraries in various regions of Poland. So…

From The SwietoKrzyskie Digital Library, in the book,
Historical Description of Churches, Cities, Monuments, & Memorials of Stopnica“,
written by Jan Wisniewska in 1929, see pages 20 and 28 (in Polish):

A Father Jozef Walcerz pastor of Biechow, tithe of/to Pacanow, started his work in
1671 and worked until 1693. In 1672,  Fr. Walcerz fixed half of the church  roof, the bell tower,
and  the chancel floors and repaired the graveyard chapel damaged by a hailstorm.

So indeed, my ability to read priestly Latin handwriting from 1674 is fairly accurate (assuming my ability to translate early 20th century Polish is acceptable). The 1929 book does not put a slashed ‘l’ in Walcerz, but the priest himself did use the, ‘ł’ as the image above shows. At least, I verified the priest. Can anyone verify the nobelman(Nobilium) or the two noble born (generosa) god parents from this church record?

The Church book is from 1674-1675, so I am certain of the date. This was not from ‘Martius’, because on the facing page, this record and others were under the heading, ‘Julius’. The page tops were labeled with 1674. The heading of the record indicates ‘the 11th day in the morning’. The numbers in this tome do indeed range from 1 to 31, so this is indeed the day number and not the hour of the day.

Anyone related to Jan Gaspar/Kasper Niedzwiedzki or his wife Agnes of Biechow or their daughter Maryanna? Send me a note and let me know. Have a blessed Sunday.


Post Scriptum

The digital book cited above listed the following parishes, for which you can find these descriptions and lists of priests. The parishes in bold are connected to my genealogy:
Balice , Beszowa , Biechów ,  Busko , Chmielnik, Dobrowoda , Drugnia , Gnojno , Janina , Kargów , Koniemłoty , Kotuszów , Książnice , Kurozwęki , Lisów , Oleśnica , Ostrowce , Pacanów , Piasek Wielki , Pierzchnica , Piotrkowice , Potok , Sędziejowice , Solec , Stopnica , Strożyska , Szaniec , Szczaworyż , Szczebrzusz , Szydłów (woj. świętokrzyskie) , Świniary , Tuczępy , Widuchowa , and  Zborówek

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 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.

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