Click on picture to see another article.
You must forgive Stanczyk, dear reader, as life has called me away from my writing and research of late. But in the snatches of time I have been able to wrest away from my responsibilities I have been researching one of the more interesting branches in my family tree, the Kędzierski line (aka Kendzierski along with many Americanized spellings, that I will not enumerate).
You may wish to study this timeline image I have included in today’s article. If you click on it, it will take you a page produced from a spreadsheet with the data more easily digestible.
For Americans, our most interesting ancestors are the intrepid ones who managed to find their way from the old country to our shiny shores to join the milieu we call these United States of America.
What makes this affiliated family (from the Elijasz/Eliasz branch point of view) so interesting is their old world artifacts that help to tell the story of the days in Poland. Their story is filled with a Russian Passport, Polish Church Marriage Record (in Russian/Cyrillic) from 1902, a Certificate of Completion from a Count’s Mill, some Forms from Haller’s Army Enlistment as well as Ship Manifests or Naturalization Certificates.
Now most of my family reside in one ancestral village for long periods of time (after WWI that changes). This Kedzierski family (see late 19th century photo at the bottom) seems to have had some mobility, because they are not found in just one place. Indeed, without these many artifacts, I should not expect to be able to find their records anywhere at all.
I usually use the timeline tool to help me establish where/when to look for USA documents. Today in Poland, two weeks later in the USA (at some port, often Ellis Island), then on to some alluring American city for a few generations. But this time, I needed the timeline to place where in Poland to look for documents for this rather mobile family.
Places in Poland
Actually the proper context would be Polish Places in the Russian-Poland partition of the Russian Empire. The earliest location seems to be Kroczyce, the location of Pelagia Kedzierska‘s birth. By the time her younger brother Ludwik comes along, he is born in Stopnica.We find the next Kedzierski child, Wlodzimierz, being born in either Samsonow or Tumlin (multiple documents, multiple birthplaces). For Jan and Tadeusz we have no knowledge yet of their birthplaces.
So lets move forward in time. In 1902, the 15th of September 1902 to be precise, we find our first document of the Kedzierski family. Pelagia Kedzierska marries my grand-uncle Jan Elijasz in Pacanow parish (both newlyweds live in Pacanow village). But wait a second, Pelagia’s part of the marriage record indicates she was born in Kroczyce and raised in Pacanow. It was from this document that we first learn the parent’s names.
In 1906, we find some very interesting documents for Lucyan (aka Ludwik, aka Louis) Kedzierski. The Certificate of Completion, says that Lucyan was employed in Count Renard’s Mill in Dębowa Góra near Sosnowiec from March 19th, 1906 until October 29th, 1906. It appears this completion, qualifies him for a passport. We find Lucyan with a Russian Passport, stamped 6th October, 1906 (just before completion) followed by a ship manifest arrival in Ellis Island, 16th November, 1906! That’s a pretty tight timeline — the 19th century moved swiftly.
Lucyan’s Ship Manifest indicates that he came from Ninska/Nioska/Niwska none of which could be found on a map and that he was born in Stopnica (mispelled on ship manifest, but spelled correctly on his Naturalization Certificate) and he was going on to Schenectady, NY (although he ended up in Syracuse, NY from which we have most of the rest of his documentation).
Next we move on to 1914. This was actually the first document found many years ago. On a 7th March 1914 NYC (Ellis Island) ship manifest (aboard the Graf Waldersee) from Hamburg (departed 18th February), I found a Jan ELIASZ from his wife Pelagia in Pacanow going to Buffalo (to a friend??? Andrzej Widamski –no record of this friend). At first I was not even sure that this was MY Jan Eliasz (who knew there were so many Jan Eliasz). In my novice years I either ignored or the images were so poor, I did not notice a manifest marking (originally in pencil) with a line between Jan Eliasz and the man above, Wlodzimierz Kedzierski. On the line’s arc was written “br-i-l”, an abbreviation for their relationship being brothers-in-law. So Pelagia was Wlodzimierz’s sister (aaah, a maiden name). Wlodzimierz indicates he is coming from Bobrek (north of Oswiecim) and that he was born in Tumlin.
Moving forward to 1917, we have Lucyan’s WWI Draft Registration and also his Naturalization Certificate. These are good for confirming other facts that link this family together.
Finally, in 1917 & in 1918 we find Wlodzimierz’s enlistment in Haller’s Army (Jozef Haller) papers. Now Wlodzimierz is the only person I have seen that enlisted twice (once in Detroit in 1917 and a second time in Pittsburgh in 1918). This was very fortuitous! Wlodzimierz Kedzierski is unique in the USA. He is the only Wlodzimierz Kedzierski ever in the USA. Ok you may be skeptical, but he uses the same birthdate on both forms and he lists his brother Lucyan in Syracuse, NY on both forms as his closet US contact. On one form he lists his wife as his closest contact in Poland and the other he lists his sister Pelagia as his closest contact (both are in Pacanow in 1917/1918). On his 1918 Pittsburgh form, he lists his parents (Kazimiera & Julian) to be notified of his recruitment and they are living in Pacanow in May 1918.
So as a result of Wlodzimierz’s double attempt we have a fairly complete picture of the family. Now add in another genealogist supplying pictures of Jan (who became Jean in Montreal) and Theodore who we had a picture with an inscription on the back to his “brother Ludwik” from Louis Kendzierski’s personal effects. So now we arrive at the promised family photo recently supplied by a distant cousin and then given to me. Enjoy!
Stanczyk, was not aware that the US Government once contemplated the sale of Ells Island.
The 9 Feb 1958 article (from Daytona Beach Morning Journal — in Google’s Newspaper Archives) spoke about the condition of Ellis island and some of the cost drivers. Then the author diverges a bit into opinion and claims Ellis Island was a “scandal ridden bedlam” and that between 1900-1914 was the great “Slav Invasion apparently from Southern Europe and the Balkans – whew, for a minute there I thought they were talking about Czechs, Poles, and Russians.
Still this besmirching of the Southern Slavs in 1958 seems to be similar to today’s brand of xenophobia and is even filled with speculation … “How many persons turned away were lunatics?”. No, who-what-when-where-and-why in that journalism.
Dick Eastman‘s Online Newsletter also had a blog on Ellis Island recently (3/9/2012) … The 9 March 2012 MailOnline (UK periodical) had a article on Ellis Island with some eerie photos of before the island was made into a National Park. Please do go take a look at the pictures.
These two articles provide quite a context for Ellis Island after it was retired and before it was to become a National Park.
Stanczyk wants to tell you, my faithful readers, a story of Remembrance. This is a fitting tale, since it came from Fold3′s providing free access to its WWII databases for Veterans Day (also known as Remembrance Day or Armistice Day). It is the story of Feliks Elijasz, a Catholic Shoemaker from Warsaw, Poland. Feliks shares a last name with Stanczyk’s family, but there is no evidence that Feliks is an ancestor. This story is derived from an historical form (see the end of this article). This story is also another case of cognitive resonance, due to its connection to my wife and a friend she made a while ago and this woman who gave moja zona some significant historical photos earlier this week (just copies, not the originals).
Feliks Elijasz, was a Shoemaker (and as I said a Catholic). Feliks was born the 17th-November-1896 in Warsaw. At the time of this form’s creation, Feliks was living in Warsaw, on Okopowa 30 ( a street address). Warsaw was in occupied Poland at the time. His parents were Wiktor Elijasz (also a shoemaker in Warsaw) and Paulina Elijasz (nee Szczigolska), with whom he lived. Feliks was married to Janina Elijasz (nee Woclarksa). He and his wife had at least one child (20 years old). Feliks was an infantryman in the Polish Army from 1920 to 1921. [Since that is after World War I, it is probable that Feliks fought the Russian Bolsheviks in the border war of that time period.]
Feliks had the bad sense to do something for which he was arrested in Warsaw, on the 10th-August-1944. He was admitted to prison in Krakow, on the 13th-August-1944. Feliks died while incarcerated on the 2nd-March-1945. That is horrible! The horror is further compounded because that prison camp was liberated just a month later on the 11th-April-1945. The prison camp was Buchenwald!!! The form is from the Buchenwald Camp documents, called, “Camp Records – Inmate Cards“, page 2177. There a few other details (describing Feliks’ appearance, etc.). The file was discontinued, on the 16th-March-1945. So this entire remembrance was constructed by careful extraction from the historical document — which provided a treasure trove of detail to remember Feliks by.
Now the Cognitive Resonance part is about Buchenwald. Not two days earlier, my wife was given pages of photographs of the Dachau Trials (held at the same time as the more famous Nuremberg Trials). The pictures were of the prosecuted Nazis, the American Liberators, the witnesses, courtrooms, etc. I was able to identify the pictures as from the Dachau Trials, as there were other pictures taken (and published on the Internet) and the windows, light fixtures, room decor, etc, matched EXACTLY. These pictures were taken by a Norristown, PA soldier (who has since passed). His pictures did NOT contain, the infamous, “Witch of Buchenwald” who was prosecuted at the Dachau Trials (and convicted), but the other pictures that I matched these newly discovered historical pictures to, did, contain, Ilse Koch (the Witch of Buchenwald, amongst other appellations). Ilse Koch was the wife of the Buchenwald Commandant (Karl Otto Koch).
For the record my wife, has contacted the Shoah Foundation about this woman who has the original historical pictures that her father took in Dachau in 1945. So these pictures will be recorded/preserved for posterity by professionals. We did not handle the originals, merely copies that the woman had given to my wife. I know the new pictures are from Dachau Trials, because the soldier signed the back of one picture with his name and his location (Dachau). He was the soldier who was assigned to photograph the proceedings (I do not know/think he was the only photographer) and he was also required to witness the death sentences carried out on at least three different individuals (two of the Nazis for which it appears he has something akin to funeral cards for and Claus Karl Schilling, the camp doctor whom the soldier mentioned witnessing his death). That soldier/photographer was Carmen Frangiosa a man who witnessed and photographed history.