Archive for ‘Polish History’

April 15, 2018

Poland Genealogy Between 1918-1939

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk has noted an uptick in interest in my Army Conscripts (poborowe) pages.

  1. Conscript Lists of Kieleckie Wojewodztwo
  2. Genealogy in Poland Between The Wars (1918-1939, Conscript Lists)

Here is a link to Google Doc (large PDF):

1932 Conscript List — https://drive.google.com/open?id=1AGfIiAjrkiwSvopGOBYSFx7W96-8jIR_

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December 22, 2014

1772 Polish Wojewodztwo, Diocese, and Deaconates — #Polish #Genealogy #Maps

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

1772_ParishesInPoland_mapXVIsegmentStanczyk is busy with holiday chores, including wishing you, my dear readers a Happy Holidays & a Happy, Healthy New Year too. As most regular readers know, I spend a lot of my time writing about genealogy with a focus on Polish genealogy and in particular in the geographical areas surrounding my paternal grandparent’s ancestral villages (Biechow & Pacanow in old wojewodztwa Kieleckie, now a part of SwietoKrzyskie woj.). Like most areas in and around Eastern /Central Europe the borders change … frequently. So today’s blog article is about 1772 just before the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth was partitioned amongst the neighboring empires (you know who you are/were, you Black Eagle Empires).

It is interesting to note that Pacanow was a much more important regional village in 1772. It was in fact, a deaconate, subordinate to the diocese of Krakow in the Gniezno Wojewodztwa. At that time, there were only two Wojewodztwo (Provinces): Gniezno in the west and Lwow (Lviv, Lemberg, Leopolis, the city of Lions in whatever language) in the east. Any other wojewodztwo were in the Lithuanian portion of the Commonwealth. So the civil/religious hierarchy of the time was: Poland->Gniezno->Krakow->Pacanow, which  along with Opatowiec deaconate contained most of the villages this author writes about [you might be tempted to toss in Polaniec and Sandomierz too]. That area is shown in the map at the top. I do a lot of research for my family in the above map, west of Polaniec and south of Pinczow (the lower/left quadrant) in almost every parish north of the Vistula (Wisla) river I have located a record for someone in my family tree  —  you might say, the bones of Stanczyk’s DNA are rooted here.

So let me enumerate the parishes from this 1772 map that are present in my genealogy:

Biechow & Pacanow (grandparents), Stopnica, Ksziaznice, Zborowek, Swiniary, Olesnica, Szczebrzusz, Beszowa, Opatowiec, Busko and probably another 8-9 other villages with a person here or there. I think Solec too, but I have not found that record yet. I also a few stray, unconnected family records from Szczucin (the only parish south of the Vistula … so far). Are these in your bones too? Drop me a line in the New Year and we can compare family trees.

By the way, this research is from the PGSA’s CD-ROM, “The Latin Church in the Polish Commonwealth in 1772” [ISBN – 978-0-924207-12-9 ].

December 18, 2014

Polish Columbus Author — Dr Manuel Rosa Discovers America … Again #History #Polish #Genealogy

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Dr. Manuel Rosa long time historian, some-time IT professional is returning to the USA again on:

Feb 10th, 2015 at the: Florida International University (in Miami, FL) to present, “COLUMBUS: The Untold Story“. This was brought to my attention by, “Lourenço Damas” on 16th December. Lourenco has been a previous commenter/contributor to this blog.

I have posted a few times on Manuel Rosa and his research that Christopher Columbus may have been the son of King Wladyslaw III, going by the name, “Henry the German (Alemao)” to hide from Turks who thought they killed him. When is the book going to be published in English?

To review the factual claims … read this blog article. Some arguments are compelling, others are an exegetical stretch. I thought we were waiting on DNA to confirm/refute this theory? Where is that DNA test, Dr. Rosa? This is beginning to feel like “Ancient Astronaut” TV fodder since it does not progress to accepted fact by continued research and/or intellectual debate amongst historians in historical journals.


July 23, 2014

The Polish-American Man And His Service In World War I — #Genealogy, #Polish, #History

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk has just come to realize that my Polish-American ancestors had such a love for their old country that they found many ways to serve.

 

Dateline 28-July-1914  —  The world went mad again. I am reminded of this century mark in 2014, just five days before the solemn memorial date. In the USA we call it World War I. Obviously there had been other multi-national conflicts dating back at least to the time of the American War For Independence. It is now a century since that fateful day that World War I started.  America maintained its neutrality, indeed it was in a period of isolationism. But the Old World does not leave the New World apart and isolated from the Old World. The USA  did not enter the war until April 6, 1917.  Wilson was unable to rustle the sleeping giant from its slumber and engage in this World War. Not until when a German U-boat sank the British liner Lusitania in 1915, with 128 Americans aboard did we begin to waken from our stupor and our anger rouse us to action. Still something kept us restive for  many months more.

 

A Century Later

So when Russian and/or Russian-Rebels in Ukraine,  shot down the Malaysian MH17 airplane  on 17 July 2014. Nearly a hundred years to the day! The parallel was not lost on Americans. Many pondered is this it? Are we going to start World War III? How horrific to even write those words, “World War III” — may it never be so. To see those thugs in Eastern Ukraine gleefully pick among the dead and steal their watches or credit cards and then ignore the dead???  Quelle horreur !  If there had been 128 Americans on MH17 like there were upon the Lusitania who knows what may have happened. Still 298 people died in an act of murder. The only thing more sickening to the commission of the murders is to watch  the loathsome Russian-speaking thugs in that part of the world try to propagandize the incident and frame innocent people for THEIR crime.

Dear Diary, I have to say that when I hear Russian-speaking thugs say the plane that they shot down was filled with dead people beforehand or that MH17 was the missing MH370 (which was lost over Indian Ocean) was also a further disgusting phlegm spewed  by these Russian-speaking thugs who had bragged upon the Russian-Facebook they shot down a Ukrainian cargo plane only to delete their Russian Tweet (on VK [originally VKontakte, Russian: ВКонтакте]) when they realized it was a Dutch filled Malaysian civilian airplane on its way to Kuala Lumpur and then summarily deleted their tweet little realizing it had been saved by media watchers. The EU slumbers while the Russian bear lumbers. Now it is not America who needs to be awakened.

 

The Pole-AM in World War I

A while ago I wrote about finding another ship manifest about returning Haller’s Army vets returning from World War I. This was a Canadian ship manifest. Like the Poles in America, the French-Speaking Canadians too wished to serve before Canada entered the war (for France). So a Canadian ship was bringing back some Haller’s Army vets with their own Canadian vets who served in France for the French.

It was a short time afterwards that this jester found a Canadian World War I Draft registration for a John Leszczynski  [name badly butchered multiple ways]. In fact, I would not have recognized it was one of my own had it not made a reference to a nearest relative living at 417 E. Webber St, Toledo, Ohio. That was an address of another of my great-grandfather’s grandsons. Later on I found a 1916 Toledo City Directory that said John Leszczynski lived at that same address too.

So in my family I had USA ancestors fighting in the Canadian Expeditionary Force in 1916, a few Haller’s Army Volunteers who served in France and one in Poland after 1918. I also had some American Army draftees too! So in fact, my family served in three different armies in World War I while being USA residents (soon to be citizens). They served in Canada and the USA and in France for Poland and then in Poland for Poland to fight in the Polish-Russian Border War  (1918-1921) settled by the Treaty of Riga. Three Armies, Four countries, Two Wars. My beloved ancestors, so loved their old country, Poland that they found ways to serve it in the war. They served before the USA entered the war, they served after the USA entered the war and they served after the USA left the World War to serve Poland in its fight against the Bolsheviks.

Those men loved Europe, enough to leave the safety of their American homes to return to the Old World and fight for their beloved old country (and/or their new country). I leave this history lesson for the EU to learn from. These men, those who lived, came home to the USA, became citizens and helped build this great nation.

Remember history;  So you recognize it when you’re repeating it!

 

 


April 20, 2014

Genealogy Indexer – Logan Kleinwak — #Genealogy, #Historical, #Directories

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Recently, while Stanczyk was on Twitter, I saw that  Logan Kleinwak (Genealogy Indexer / @gindexer) was again busy,  very busy.  Perhaps you do not remember that his website: http://genealogyindexer.org , publishes Historical Directories, Yizkor Books, Military Lists, etc.

GenealogyIndexer_2

What I noticed besides he was very busy indexing things and putting them online for searches is two things:

  1. In my 1st thought I noticed, “Collections” (each a menu to a page of resource links)
  2. My 2nd thought was Logan added a Latin-to-Cyrillic feature

I do not mention his excellent little piece of code to implement a keyboard for implementing whatever language’s special characters that are a might difficult to type on American keyboards. That I posted about before.

The Collection  I searched was “Directories”  and I saw:

Obviously this is the Gubernia of my paternal ancestors. So I was excited and I knew it was in Russian (i.e. Cyrillic characters) — a challenge.  AH, … now we see the need for the 2nd thoughtful feature, ‘Add Latin->Cyrillic’. This feature automatically adds the equivalent Cyrillic characters to the Latin characters you are searching for, in order to locate the equivalent, transliterated string in the Russian Directories. That is well thought out! Indeed Genius!

So my thanks to Logan for his fine piece of programming and history/genealogy indexing that he has done. If you have not done so, you owe it to yourself and your research to check out Genealogy Indexer. Add it to your social network (Facebook and Twitter) and bookmark the website in your browser.

 

 

Related Blog Articles …

03-May-2012 — Genealogy Indexer – Logan Kleinwak 

28 Feb 2012 — Dying for Diacriticals – Beyond ASCII

15 Jun 2011 —  Polish Genealogy – Useful Websites …

 

May 3, 2013

The Second Constitution … — #Polish, #History, #Law

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Konstytucja_3_Maja

The Constitution of May 3, 1791 (Konstytucja Trzeciego Maja) was drafted between October 6, 1788, and May 3, 1791, when it was adopted by the Great Sejm of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth . The contitution’s adoption was preceded by a period of agitation with the Convocation Sejm of 1764 and the election of Stanisław August Poniatowski as the Commonwealth’s last elective monarch.

The constitution had sought to prevail over and eliminate the anarchy, caused by  the Liberum Veto, which had put the Country/King at the mercy of any single Sejm deputy who chose, or was  bribed by an internal interest or external foreign power, to undo all the legislation that had been passed by the Sejm. The constitution’s adoption met with immediate hostilities, both political and military by the Commonwealth’s neighbors. In the War in Defense of the Constitution, the Commonwealth’s ally Prussia, broke its alliance with the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, which was effectively defeated by the three Empires: Russia, Prussia, & Austria-Hungary (aka Hapsburg).

[NOTE the parallels between this Sejm’s  use of liberum veto  and the U.S. Congresses of 2008-present who have abused/utilized omni-present obstructionist tools: filibuster and cloture to keep the Obama administration for achieving its goals.]

British historian, Norman Davies describes the legal document as “the first constitution of its type in Europe”; Other historians documented it as the world’s second oldest codified national constitution after the U.S. Constitution, which was effective on March 4, 1789 — just two years earlier.

The Commonwealth’s 1791 Constitution remained in effect for all of 14 months and 3 weeks. It would be a long time until the Second Republic would re-emerge after World War I and Poland would re-appear and be a free republic again.

[Source Material from Wikipedia]

April 28, 2013

Pocket: A Polish-Jewish Hero — #Polish , #Jewish, #History

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

c.michael eliasz-solomon shared with you:
Simcha Rotem

University Michigan, Wallenberg Medal Lecture

Living history is so finite. I hope my blog captures the fragility and preserves history / family history before they are lost. Also, I know I am writing for a future. They will look back upon blogs and judge their quality when studying this era and what this era found important. I find Simcha Rotem, an eye witness / participant of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of World War II compelling and authentic.

‍   #History    #Poland    #Jewish    #HERO

A Polish-Jewish hero
economist.com – Article source
Don’t have time to view this now?

Get Pocket
pocket_embossed.gif

April 14, 2013

A Church Register Novelty in Koprzywnica — #Genealogy, #Polish

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Poland_1807_1815_AnnotatedIn another case of finding something interesting whilst researching something else, I found a type of Church Register Index that I have not seen before in any other parish. So today’s blog is about that novel index I found. See the Church Register in the picture (see below).

Dateline Koprzywnica parish, 1810 – In what was after the 3rd partition was Austrian-Hungarian territory (Austrian-Poland in green), has now been annexed by Napoleon in 1809 into the Duchy of Warsaw and in another five years will be Congress Poland (Vistulaland, Russian-Poland). But in 1810 we are speaking of Koprzywnica in the powiat of Staszow and the Departement of Radom. No, that is not wojewodztwo — it is the French, Departement that is the highest level of administration in the Duchy of Warsaw. The map shows that a huge swath of green from the  Austrian-Poland partition (zabior) was annexed into the Duchy in 1809. Stanczyk’s own ancestors once again switched Empires from Austria to France. So too did the citizens of Koprzywnica (and a great many cities, towns, and villages). Poof, now the records go from Latin, in the perfunctory Latin Box (Table) Format to the lingua franca of Polish paragraph with French-style two witnesses.

So Koprzywnica, like Stanczyk’s own ancestral Villages (Biechów and Pacanów) was briefly Austrian, then French (very briefly), then Russian until 1917-1918 whence it became just Poland again. We can find Koprzywnica in the gazetteer, Skorowidz Miejscowoscy Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej as being in the powiat Sandomierz, wojewowdztwo Kielce (circa 1920’s/1930’s).

Indexes are so very helpful. It is always a let down when a parish book or a year within the book lacks any kind of index. That means I will have to look at each and every record to see if any are related to me / my research. Early Latin paragraph form church records often do not have any index  — they barely denote the year change. So that means you have to read each and every badly handwritten paragraph of Latin — very rare to find a priest with good Latin handwriting. That is why the Latin Box Format was more welcome. At least I could find the pieces of info and the handwriting was less of an issue. But the Latin Box format did not have indexes either.

So it was helpful when Napoleon implemented the Codex Napoleon in the Duchy of Warsaw. So by 1810 you see the records written in Polish (lingua franca) in a paragraph form that is specified by the Codex Napoleon. And these new records have indexes!

OK, the indexes initially are by letter: A, B, C, …, Z. So you have just under 26 pages of indexes. It is an improvement. Quickly the church realizes it can save paper by running the index all together with all letters on a single (or a few) page(s) in order alphabetically. Very efficient to scan these indexes for your families. And it was also easy to spot when a priest added a late addition to the index at the back after all other names (even though it was evidently in the wrong spot lexicographically speaking).

OK 1868-1918, we find Russian / Cyrillic indexes. In addition to priests not knowing Russian well and ordering names phonetically before later on,  we find the index in Cyrillic proper lexical order you will have to scan carefully. Cyrillic kind of forces that to those of us weaned on a Latin alphabet. But you sometimes find the Russian indexes sorted in Cyrillic lexical order … by the first name ??? That is not very useful. Sometimes the index is in chronological order (akt # / record # order) making it barely more useful then scanning every record.

But when we find a well formed index (or a not so good index) it is always for one event: Birth/Christening, Marriage / Marriage Banns, Death Records. One index for Births, one for Marriages and one for Deaths … assuming none are missing, 3 indexes. That is what makes the following index so very interesting …

The Index (Skorowidz)

1810KoprzywnicaINDEX_pg4_JewishNames_righthalf This was supposed to be a Marriage Index !! But it was five scanned pages! This would have to be an extraordinarily large city to have that many marriages! What are all of those columns ?? That is what I asked myself.

Let’s see what those columns are:  Record # (Akt #), Village Name, Person Name(s), Births (Urodzin), Deaths (Zeyscie), Banns (Zapowiedz), and finally Marriages(Malzenstwa) Kart # (you can safely ignore). This index is an all event index. Births-Deaths-Banns-Marriages all interleaved. In fact, when I look at each event (B/M/D) I see the same 99 event-record pages and the same five index pages. It appears that all events are in the same register! This is rather unique — as I said previously I have not seen this before in other parish registers I have seen.

So in this “combo style” index (which needs a proper name) you cannot have a single name  for marriage record, so marriage records have two names (as usual), but this requires two lines in this style of index — since we are multi-columnar. We also see that Banns are indicated ‘I‘ or ‘II‘ — the third bann being the actual marriage itself. The Roman numeral written above the word Zapowiedz. So since the index is in Akt# order, it is a chronological order too. It could be interesting from a demographic perspective (what time of year do most marriages occur or  do a higher concentration of deaths occur in winter months). If this style index had occurred during an epidemic year, then we could have seen all of the deaths occurring in a great streak without interruption by other events. 1810 in Koprzywnica was not such an epidemic year.

There is one more fascinating aspect to this index. In the Napoleonic era (1807 thru 1829) we find that Catholic priest acts as the civil administrator and that Jewish/Evangelic/Orthodox vital records are written in the Catholic register. How is this noted in the index — which again I have not seen elsewhere? Look at the scanned register image for this blog. Pay attention to Records #’s:

85, 86, and 91.

It so happens that each of these records is a Marriage Banns event type. But, notice that each begins ‘Zyda‘.  Żyd = Jew, hence Żyda is plural for Jews. Żydów = Jewish. This indicates that this is a Jewish civil record being recorded.  Now I know that Jewish vital records are recorded in the Napoleonic era Catholic registers. But it is unusual that it is indicated in the index (as opposed to being in the record itself).

So this was a very fascinating find after all. I was actually looking for a particular Leszczyński but I found a novel index and indeed a novel parish register overall.

Related Posts

The Fourth Partition (23 January 2013) – A Discussion of the Duchy of Warsaw, with a map

Historical Eras of Poland (21 January 2013) – A set of Stanczyk defined eras of Poland of particular use to genealogists. An historical definition of Poland’s eras (1569-present) based upon history’s impact on genealogical research.

 

Post Scriptum

The index from this column was found in the Polish website: genealodzy.pl (PTG) of which I written many times before. Their METRYK project of scanned church books is where I found the 1810 Koprzywnica Index.

April 5, 2013

AP Kielce, An Inventory of the National Archive in Kielce, Poland — #Genealogy, #Polish, #Archive

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

APKielce

From a forum at genealodzy.pl  Stanczyk saw a PDF document mentioned. When I looked at it, I saw it was an inventory (in progress) of the holdings of  the National Archive in Kielce (AP w Kielcach). So I have produced a condensed version of their work-in-progress. Yes, most of these are related to Stanczyk’s family tree. For their complete inventory list (which was 424 items), see the link (URL) at the bottom of this table.

Now I mention this particular AP (National Archive) because it is the archive that covers the Russian-Poland partition that my ancestors were from. There may be other inventories for other archives.

AP KIELCE

 # Nr zespołu – # Rec. Group Stan na dzień (as of) 2013-02-01 Nazwa daty skrajne – date range księgi – books metry ilość sfotografowanych ksiąg – number of books photographed ilość zrobionych zdjęć – number of photos taken Braki – deficiencies
1 388 Beszowa 1875-1911 54 71 58 3770 oddział Sandomierz
2 341 Biechów 1875-1908 55 0.83 55 2 538
3 146 Kazimierza Wielka 112 1.03
4 353 Oleśnica 1875-1911 61 0.97 69 3 506
5 812 Opatów 1825,1890-1906 14 0.39 11 2369 oddział Sandomierz
6 152 Opatów 120 1.31
7 658 Opatów-gr 1834-1836 4 0.04 4 36 oddział Sandomierz
8 44 Opatów-moj 1831-1910 46 0.95 47 6860 oddział Sandomierz
9 814 Opatów-pr 1896-1915 19 0.23 20 573 oddział Sandomierz
10 871 Ożarów 1890-1910 3 0.06 4 445 oddział Sandomierz
11 45 Ożarów-moj 1826-1909 43 0.61 43 3419 oddział Sandomierz
12 355 Pacanów 1875-1908 62 0.91 64 3 703
13 373 Pacanów moj 51 0.76
14 245 Połaniec 1810-1910 106 2.05 106 12507 oddział Sandomierz
15 252 Połaniec-moj 1826-1910 88 0.99 92 3425 oddział Sandomierz
16 246 Staszów 1810-1910 103 1.65 103 10146 oddział Sandomierz
17 253 Staszów-moj 1826-1910 84 1.33 86 6236 oddział Sandomierz
18 362 Stopnica 48 0.88
19 374 Stopnica moj 46 1.29
20 582 Stopnica pr 3 0.02
21 97 Tumlin 189 1.67
22 370 Zborówek 1875-1908 58 0.66 65 2 295

Source: http://s6.genealodzy.pl/pliki/asc/apkielce.pdf

I tried to provide a reasonable translation (using Google Translator with some hand-tweaks) of the Polish Column Headings in English.

LEGEND (3rd Column):

A suffix of moj or -moj indicates Jewish records.

pr – Orthodox Catholic

ew – Evangelical

gr – Greek Orthodox

The rest (or any with  rk) would indicate Roman Catholic.

I believe the Column Heading METRY indicates the actual shelf space of storage this record group physically occupies. I believe the units would be in Meters (m). Remember Europe uses ‘,’ where America uses a decimal point. Some appear to be missing the decimal point. In most cases, it appears that Excel has translated the comma to decimal point, but if you look at the source document, you should be aware of this cultural difference.

April 3, 2013

Wordless Wednesday … Polish Historical Calendar — #April, #Polish, #Historical, #Calendar

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

  • 3 April/Kwiecień 2013 Dateline Philadelphia – Stanczyk,

Kalendarz Historyczny Polski (Kwiecień)

Polish Historical Calendar

April 1st – Death of Zygmunt I (King), 2nd – Death of Andrzej Leszczynski (Archbishop of Gniezno).

Hmmm, the month starts ominously. This jester likes that on the 20th- Krakow Cathedral (Church Blessing/Consecration, at founding?). A Good Day Indeed!

April 2, 2013

Jan III Sobieski … — Things I Find Whilst Looking Up Other Things

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Chocim 1673

Jan III Sobieski – Victorius at Chocim 1673

Stanczyk ,

AngelicCrownOfVictory is a big fan of Jan III Sobieski. Today’s meme, a continuing meme in this blog came about because Valerie Warunek had posted about Digital Library of Polish and Poland Related News Pamplets.  That mention of a new library launched me on another research adventure. When I was looking up other things in Leszno, for Hyam Salomon, I found a Latin text related to Jan Sobieski. This jester loves Jan Sobieski’s letters, particularly those to his beloved wife. This document recounted his victory of 1673 of the Battle of Chocim and was a missive to the pope. This would be a pattern for  King Jan III ‘s future battles — letters before and after battle. After the battle, a missive was sent to the pope. King Jan III was a good Catholic monarch.

He claimed the Triumphant Crown in the Name of Poland and the Polish Eagle.

Triumphant_AquilaPolona

My Latin is not sufficient to render the phrase to the left (I see Polish Eagle = Aquila Polona). But it was signed the Dragon.

Hmmm. Interesting.  I know the Transylvanians aided Jan III Sobieski. But I am supposing this is a reference to the Order of the Dragon, a monarchic chivalric order meant to defend Europe’s Christians (from the Ottoman Empire). This battle is a good 100 years after Vlad Tepes (“The Impaler”) aka known as Dracula, son of the Dragon (Vlad II). Vlad II was a member of the Order of the Dragon, but his son Vlad Tepes was not a member of the order. So my thesis is that Jan III Sobieski was a member of the monarchic Order or the Dragon. Note that Wladyslaw II (Jagiellonian dynasty — possible Columbus grandfather) was also a member. So perhaps there was a strong connection of this chivalric order to the kings of Poland.

So here are a list of (source: Wikipedia) …

Monarchic Chivalric Orders:

  • Late medieval monarchical orders (14th & 15th centuries attached to a monarch):
Order of Saint George, founded by Charles I of Hungary in 1325
Order of the Band, founded by Alfonso XI of Castile in ca. 1330
Order of the Garter, founded by Edward III of England in 1348
Order of the Star, founded by John II of France in 1351
Order of the Most Holy Annunciation, founded by Amadeus VI, Count of Savoy in 1362.
Order of the Ermine, founded by John V, Duke of Brittany in 1381: 1st order to accept Women.
Order of the Dragon, founded by Sigismund of Hungary in 1408.
Order of the Golden Fleece, founded by Philip III, Duke of Burgundy in 1430
Order of St Michel, founded by Louis XI of France in 1469
  • Post-medieval foundations of chivalric orders:
Order of Saint Stephen (1561)
Order of the Holy Spirit (1578)
Blood of Jesus Christ (military order) (1608)
Order of the Thistle (1687)
Order of Saint Louis (1694)
Order of Saint Stephen of Hungary (1764)
Order of St. Patrick (1783)
Order of Saint Joseph (1807)
  • Monarchical orders whose monarch no longer reigns but continues to bestow the order:
Order of the Golden Fleece (Austrian branch)
Order of the Holy Spirit
Order of Prince Danilo I (Montenegro)
Order of Saint Peter (Cetinje)
Royal Order of Saint George for the Defense of the Immaculate Conception (Bavaria)
Order of the Crown (Romania)
Order of Carol I (Romania)
Order of the Immaculate Conception of Vila Viçosa (Portugal)
Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George (Two Sicilies)
Order of the Eagle of Georgia (Georgia)
March 26, 2013

Cristobal Colon (Discoverer Formerly Known as Columbus) … Polish-Lithuanian & Italian Noble — #Genealogy, #Polish, #Lithuanian

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Rosa_InPAStanczyk loves this story. That the discoverer formerly known as Christopher Columbus (who really should be known by his Portuguese name: Cristobal Colon) may be Polish-Lithuanian royalty.

Stanczyk has written a few times on this Columbus / Wladyslaw III genealogy-genetics-history riddle. The Don Quixote of this tale is Manuel Rosa (an an information technology analyst and amateur historian). Mr. Rosa’s claims of the Polish (or more properly Lithuanian, as in Jagiellonian) Wladyslaw III lineage date back to November 2010.

Prior Stanczyk Polish Columbus stories …

1. 02-December-2010 – Christopher Columbus Discovers … He Is POLISH!

2. 27-December-2010 – Wladislaw III – Father of Columbus

Plus a few mentions: 2011, & 2012 at the start of Polish Heritage Month (each October).

Well here is the latest update, from “the Lithuania Tribune“. You can read the lengthy article which is most informative.

Factual Claims:

  • Rosa has published two books (one in Spanish and one in Polish). NO English version yet.
  • Columbus married Filipa Moniz Perestrelo. Filipa was not only daughter of a high noble and Captain of the Portuguese Island of Porto Santo, but a member of the elite Portuguese Military Order of Santiago
  • Cristobal Colon’s noble wife: Filipa Moniz was one of the twelve elite “donnas” of the Portuguese Military Order of Santiago.
  • Colon was descended from legendary Roman General Colonius (not listed in wikipedia List of Roman Generals )
  • Columbus never wrote in Italian or Genoese [not even to his brothers]
  • Columbus’ writings were: rough Castilian punctuated by noteworthy and frequent Portuguese words
  • Prof. José Lorente’s DNA studies prove that the discoverer Cristóbal Colón’s DNA did not match any of 477 Colombo families from the Genoa area.
  • Colón was a royal prince, son of a Portuguese noblewoman from the Italian Colonna family and a man named Henrique Alemão (Henry the German) resident on the Portuguese island of Madeira
  • Henrique Alemão (Henry the German) = false moniker of Wladyslaw III used for hiding on Madiera Island (presumably from the Ottomans)
  • 1498 Will and later Genoese documents proved to be forgeries/fakes
  • Prince Georges Paleologue de Bissipat, an exiled Byzantine nobleman living in France nicknamed “Colombo the Younger”, said to be a relative of Christopher Columbus was also a relative of King Wladyslaw III

The author laments (“… it is lamentable that, up until now, there is little or no debate in America or Lithuania to either accept or contradict”) that only Portuguese and Polish academics have currently debated this topic. Well then Rosa needs to have published/translated the book in Lithuanian and English if he wishes for further debate.

Are there any historians out there? Can anyone refute or supply proof of the above factual claims? Columbus letters and their language should be easy to establish. What about these other people named: General[Roman] Colonius, Portuguese nobles related to Filipa Moniz Perestrelo, or Prince Georges Paleologue de Bissipat ? Come on European Historians help out this poor jester with some factual links or books/documents — so much is online these days.

The next Manuel Rosa appearance is: April 6, 2013, where Manuel Rosa will present a lecture at Boalsburg’s Columbus Chapel, (http://www.boalmuseum.com/columbus-lecture.html) where more evidence will be presented, in Boalsburg, PA which is North-West of Harrisburg (contact: contact 814-466-9266 or office@boalmuseum.com).

I’d love to have this story proven true or false. It is time for the sensationalism to end. Did National Geo ever televise this story as reported earlier? This jester never saw it. What happened with the Colon DNA being compared to Wladyslaw III descendants? So far we only have that he is not related to Colombos who are Genoese. But since he had Roman heritage, I presume he has some Italian DNA. What about the Slavic DNA? Those pesky Slavic DNA markers are pretty different from Italian DNA markers. I am hoping we have Y-Chromosome DNA testing which should show Slavic markers and MT DNA testing which should show Italian/Portuguese markers.

I accept that Cristobal Colon must have had royal blood to marry a noble woman and have such access to European courts. I also accept that a noble man would have had the education that a peasant wool-worker could never have had. I am uncertain about the heraldic symbols. The rest I am unqualified to judge — hence the plea for help.

March 3, 2013

The Horror ! The Horror ! … — #History, #Holocaust

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

TheScreamToday’s title comes from a quote from Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad (born Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski).

In today’s NY Times (article), The Holocaust Just Got More Shocking, by Eric Lichtblau. Read this article, which enumerates the disturbing horror of WWII to ever greater numbers.

If you trace genealogy, particularly Jewish genealogy, but also Polish Christian genealogy too, you will encounter these stories — over and over again. The Horror!

Read the NYT article, but the numbers being reported by the researchers, are that they have  now cataloged some 42,500 Nazi ghettos and camps throughout Europe.

Here’s a partial breakdown:  30,000 slave labor camps; 1,150 Jewish ghettos; 980 concentration camps; 1,000 prisoner-of-war camps; 500 brothels filled with sex slaves; and thousands of other camps used for euthanizing the elderly/infirm, performing forced abortions, etc. The victims were not just Jews being victimized; They were Poles, Russians, gypsies, homosexuals, and the mentally impaired. Dr. Megargee (one of the researchers)  had expected to find perhaps 7,000 “camps”, but the number quickly passed 11,500, then 20,000, then 30,000, and now is currently about 42,500 camps. A staggering, mind numbing number.

The numbers are so much higher than we originally thought

— Hartmut Berghoff

History will now show that far more than 6 Million victims were claimed by Nazi atrocities. The Horror! The Horror!

Other Related Stanczyk Blog Posts …

Feliks Elijasz, Roman Catholic Shoemaker
February 11, 2013

Polish National Archives to post 2.4 Million Historic Church Records — #Genealogy

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk ‘s position has been overrun! I was trying to write a blog, but the course of events has been running at EXTREME Internet speed so much of this blog post may be “old news” to you — but in case its not, this is very exciting news!

NAC Scanning 2.4 Million RecordsAccording to a Polish website (The National Digital Library of Poland) …

URL: http://nac.gov.pl/node/682

  • By mid-year (2013), they plan to digitize 2.3 Million  historical  (>100 years old) vital records.
  • This will happen in two phases: March,  June
  • This PDF file (see link) lists 40 pages vital records from MANY parishes (a few synagogues too):
  • It appears the plan is to digitize about 1.37 Million records by March and the remainder (another 1 Milliion) by the end of June.

These are actual church record images! I hope they plan on digitizing records from the Kielce Archive (please do PACANOW, BIECHOW, SWINIARY, BESZOWA, ZBOROWEK, KSIAZNICE and STOPNICA parishes).

Can anyone detail the plans for JUNE yet? Unfortunately, the 1.37 Million records in March are NOT from the KIELCE archive or any parish where Stanczyk’s ancestors resided?

Do not forget about GENETEKA database in the meantime:

Thanks in advance for any answers from our genealogists resident in Poland!

January 21, 2013

Historical Eras of Poland … For Genealogists

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk has lived much history and God willing,  will live much more of it. So across the generations, you see the changing borders of Eastern / Central Europe and how it affects us genealogists (not that I am ignoring the plight of our ancestors that had to evolve with the changing landscape). From the beginning, I was always advised to learn about “The three partitions” and determine which of the three partitions my forebears came from  — good advice, but Poland’s history is a much richer tapestry than just the three partitions (zabory).

So today’s blog is about the Eras of Poland and the names I have chosen to call them going forward so that we can all “be on the same page”. Please forgive this jester as I will limit the discussion to the eras post-Piast dynasties, starting with the Polish-LithuanianCommonwealth. This roughly matches the Papal nuncios that dictated that churches must record the vital records of the parishioners. So we find the beginnings of genealogies for all peoples and not just for the magnate families or the royals.

Let me just utter the era names I wish to use going forward when I write about genealogies or histories. Let me get the mystery out of the way and also let the debates and arguments proceed. Some of these are overlapping eras, because not only are we discussing a vast span of time, but we are also talking about vast distances and a broad swath of peoples / religions / governments.

 

ERAS

ERA Name Beg. Date End Date Synonyms / Alternate Names
POLISH-LITHUANIANCOMMONWEALTH 07/01/1569 08/04/1772 RZECZPOSPOLITA, FIRSTREPUBLIC
AUSTRIAN PARTITION 08/05/1772 07/21/1807 ZABÓR AUSTRIA, GALICIA, GALICIA AND LODOMERIA, GALICJI, GALIZIEN, LODOMERIA
PRUSSIAN PARTITION 08/05/1772 07/21/1807 ZABÓR PRUSY, GRAND DUCHY OF POSEN
RUSSIAN PARTITION 08/05/1772 07/21/1807 ZABÓR ROSYJSKI
JEWISH PALE OF SETTLEMENT 01/01/1791 3/8/1921 ЧЕРТÁ́ ОСЕДЛОСТИ, CHERTA OSEDLOSTI
DUCHY OF WARSAW 07/22/1807 06/08/1815 KSIĘSTWO WARSZAWSKIE
AUSTRIAN POLAND 06/09/1815 11/10/1918 GALICIA
CONGRESS POLAND 06/09/1815 03/06/1837 KINGDOM OF POLAND, KONGRESÓWKA
PRUSSIAN POLAND 06/09/1815 11/10/1918 Bezirks: POSEN, POMMERANIA, DANZIG (GDANSK) etc.
CRACOVIANREPUBLIC 10/01/1815 12/31/1846 CRACOWREPUBLIC, RZECZPOSPOLITA KRAKÓWSKA
KINGDOM OF POLAND 03/07/1837 12/31/1866 KONGRESÓWKA, КОРОПЕВСТВО ПОПЬСКОЕ
RUSSIAN POLAND 01/01/1867 11/10/1918 КОРОПЕВСТВО ПОПЬСКОЕ,   KINGDOM OF POLAND,   VISTULALAND,   CONGRESS POLAND,   KONGRESÓWKA,   ПРИВИСЛИНСКИЙ КРАЙ,   KRAJ PRZYWIŚLAŃSKI
POLAND 11/1/1918 9/1/1939 SECONDREPUBLIC
WWII ERA 9/2/1939 12/31/1946 Occupied Poland, General Government, German Occupied, Russian Occupied
POLAND 1/1/1945 6/30/1975 Post World War II Poland
POLAND 7/1/1975 12/31/1998 1989 is commonly referred to as the start of the THIRDREPUBLIC
POLAND 1/1/1999 Present Times THIRDREPUBLIC and beyond to the present

Some of the era names are well understood and some are controversial (for a lot of reasons). First off, I wanted to make a distinction between the PARTITION era (1772-1815) which I saw as including the Napoleonic wars and ending with Napoleon’s defeat and the Treaty of Vienna.

So I separate AUSTRIAN PARTITION from AUSTRIAN POLAND. The distinction is subtle but I believe defensible. The three Partitions and the Duchy of Warsaw (French protectorate) are separate because during these times there was at least a scrap of Poland in existence (excepting for a decade proceeding Napoleon’s victories). The AUSTRIAN/PRUSSIAN/RUSSIAN POLANDs represent the slightly more than one century that Poland had “disappeared” from European maps. That century coincides with the Great Migration of Poles (including Jews) to the USA – a significant genealogical event for the Slavic Genealogist.

You will note the CracovianRepublic which gets a lesser amount of attention and eventually is folded into AUSTRIAN POLAND. Also there is the JEWISH PALE OF SETTLEMENT (more about that in a bit).

RUSSIAN POLAND is treated differently than I have seen it handled before. My ancestors come from this area, so you will have to forgive me if this appears a bit chauvinistic. I delineated the RUSSIAN occupation finely. So you see a Russian Partition followed by a Duchy of Warsaw followed by  Congress Poland ( a TSARIST hegemony) followed by the Kingdom of Poland and finally resulting in RUSSIAN POLAND. The nuances in the RUSSIAN Zabor (partition) follow the changes in administrative boundaries that so affect genealogical research. Genealogists also should take note that vitals records in RUSSIAN POLAND are written in Russian/Cyrillic and use Gregorian Calendar from late spring 1869 through the collapse of the Russian Empire near the end of World War I in 1917. So, Polish language records are found before and after that period of time. Similarly, for Latin/Hebrew languages for religious records (although you do find Latin, Hebrew and even some Polish records during 1869-1917 timeframe in some limited ways). Since the Russian language edict almost matches exactly the above RUSSIAN POLAND era, I did not create yet another era specifically for that era of Russian language. I merely note it here.

PaleOfSettlementMAPThe JEWISH PALE OF SETTLEMENT was created by the Russian Tsarina, Catherine the Great. She added to the PALE over the years as the Russian Empire acquired new lands. So as I refer to the JEWISH PALE OF SETTLEMENT, it is the 15 western Guberniya where Russian Empire Jews were forced to settle. In practice it also included the 10 Guberniya of the PolishKingdom (Congress Poland/Vistula Land). So Russian Jews had a total of 25 Guberniya where they could live (with some exclusions for large cities which were forbidden to most Jews) within the Russian Empire (European Portion). Most or all of the areas within the 25 Guberniya used to be a part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (1569-1772), so I thought it important to include the JEWISH PALE OF SETTLEMENT in order to speak of the 15 Guberniya that underlie that geographic area and that era of time (1791-1918) as well as some minor forays on my part into Jewish Genealogical research.  The 15 specific guberniya are (roughly North to South):

Kovno,  Vitebsk,  Vilna (Wilno),  Grodno,  Minsk,  Mogilev,  Volhynia,   Kiev,   Chernigov,  Poltava,  Podolia,  Bessarabia, Kherson,  Ekaterinoslav,  and  Taurida (the Crimean Penninsula)

The astute reader will note four POLAND eras. These cover the two decades between World War I and the up to the time of World War II began. It  also covers the Post World War II era. They also overlap the Second and Third Republics of Poland. Finally, the fine-grain view of Post World War II Poland is coincident with the redefinition of  Wojewodztwo (Provinces) and their underlying powiaty (counties). Again, the emphasis is in order to support genealogical research.

I have not mentioned the WWII era (World War II) yet. I need to do some specific research to see how Nazi / Soviet occupations affected the administrative jurisdictions and what impact if any that had on genealogy during the war. I leave that for some future blog(s).

No mention of religious hierarchies and their administrative boundaries have been addressed, but obviously, that too has an impact on genealogical research. The religious boundaries reflect the changes caused by changing national boundaries, but overall the religious boundaries were more stable until modern times necessitated re-arranging or closing religious areas.

OK, that is my blog and those are my eras. You may now proceed to critique my choices. But I have now defined my terms for future “Polish” genealogical blogs.  As usual, I look forward to your comments and emails.

February 24, 2012

London, England – WDYTYA — #Polish, #Genealogy, #TV,#Show

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

At the London “Who Do YOU Think You Are?“, the largest genealogy event in the English-speaking world will be held this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in London, England @ a three-day expo at the Olympia Exhibition Hall (February 24-26, 2012).

Between February 24 and 26 the Kresy-Siberia Foundation will have a stand at the “Who Do You Think You Are?” — the world’s biggest family history show.

Tens of thousands of Poles imprisoned in Russian labour camps or “gulags” across the far reaches of Siberia between 1940 and 1941 were freed in 1941, when Russia decided to become an ally of Great Britain in 1941 the prisoners were freed to form the Polish Second Corps — who fought so heroically in North Africa and the Italian campaign of 1943-44, (i.e. battle of Monte Cassino).

Many of these men settled in and adopted as their home, the communities in Bath, Trowbridge and Bristol. Perhaps this event will lead to new connections between these displaced families and their ancestors/descendants in other parts of the world.

Stanczyk wishes to note that the Polish Second Corps included: Wojtek soldier bear – mascot of 22nd Artillery Supply Company, who I have written about a few times.

 

http://www.thisissomerset.co.uk/Chance-Polish-descendants-trace-roots/story-15298065-detail/story.html

 

November 23, 2011

Genealogy Journals / Magazines – AVOTAYNU — #Polish, #Jewish, #Genealogy

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk is always seeking out high quality resources that provide context for understanding and/or to provide ideas for new avenues of research. One of the great resources since about 1985, has been Avotaynu. Besides their journal of the same name which is the largest circulation magazine of Jewish Genealogy, they also publish many reference books for Eastern Europe that are of aid Jewish and Non-Jewish researchers alike.

They maintain an index of their published issues (1985-2008) here (http://www.avotaynu.com/indexsum.htm). It is broken down by various countries. This material can also be found in back issues, libraries, and they offer a CD covering the entire 24 year span. This jester sat down to produce a Polish Index for Polish Genealogists of all stripes (Enjoy!):

# Title / Description ISSUE YEAR
1 Jewish records at the Genealogical Society of Utah II/1/03 1986
2 Index to Polish-Jewish records at Genealogical Society of Utah II/1/05 1986
3 Book review: The Jews in Poland and Russia–Biographical Essay III/1/38 1987
4 Origin of Russian-Jewish surnames III/2/03 1987
5 Breakthrough in access to Polish-Jewish records IV/1/10 1988
6 Book review: Jews of Posen in 1834 and 1835 IV/2/26 1988
7 Update on project to microfilm Jewish records in Poland IV/3/12 1988
8 Doing research in the Polish State Archives IV/3/21 1988
9 Jewish Historical Institute in Poland V/2/07 1989
10 Jewish genealogical research in Poland V/2/08 1989
11 Trip to Poznan: The Poland that was not V/3/16 1989
12 Professional genealogists in Poland V/4/04 1989
13 List of former Jewish residents of Lodz V/4/15 1989
14 Caricatures in Polish vital statistic records VI/1/16 1993
15 Polish trip for Jewish genealogists planned VI/1/41 1993
16 Using Prussian gazetteers to locate Jewish religious and civil records in Poznan VI/2/12 1993
17 Sephardic migrations into Poland VI/2/14 1993
18 A genealogical tour through Poland VI/3/16 1993
19 Program Judaica to document Jewish history VI/3/19 1993
20 Jewish researcher in Poland VI/3/39 1993
21 Jews in Poland today VI/4/63 1993
22 Polish maps available in the U.S. VIII/1/58 1993
23 Weiner discusses developments in Poland and Ukraine VIII/3/64 1993
24 A 1992 research trip to Poland VIII/4/12 1993
25 Survey of Jewish cemeteries yields results VIII/4/17 1993
26 Cites Polish “rip off” IX/1/65 1988
27 Asks why survey of Polish cemeteries does not include all regions IX/1/67 1988
28 Polish-Jewish genealogical research–A primer IX/2/04 1988
29 More on the survey of Polish cemeteries IX/2/13 1988
30 Book review: Korzenie Polskie: Polish Roots IX/2/61 1988
31 Polish-Jewish heritage seminar planned for July in Krakow IX/2/65 1988
32 Asks for clarification (of Polish-Jewish records) IX/3/66 1988
33 Stettin emigration lists found IX/3/67 1988
34 Head of the Polish State Archives clarifies policies IX/4/04 1988
35 Book review: Jews in Poland: A Documentary History IX/4/69 1988
36 More on Polish-Jewish Genealogical Research X/1/12 1994
37 Directory of Polish State Archives X/1/14 1994
38 Archives of the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw X/1/41 1994
39 Jewish genealogical research in Polish archives X/2/05 1994
40 Jewish surnames in the Kingdom of Poland X/2/15 1994
41 Polish sources at the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People X/2/21 1994
42 Success in dealing with Polish archives X/2/48 1994
43 Gleanings from a symposium on bibliographies of Polish Judaica X/4/56 1994
44 Polish name lists sought XI/1/67 1995
45 Nineteenth-Century Congress Documents and the Jews of Congress Poland XI/3/24 1995
46 Polish Vital Records for the Very Beginner: The Polish Language Challenged XI/4/29 1995
47 Alternate surnames in Russian Poland XII/2/15 1996
48 Census records and city directories in the Krakow Archives XII/2/27 1996
49 Book review: The Jews in Poland and Russia: Bibliographical Essays XII/2/63 1996
50 Alternative research sources in Poland XII/2/65 1996
51 Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw XII/3/51 1996
52 Director General of the Polish State Archives dies XII/3/55 1996
53 An interview with the new Polish State Archivist XII/4/03 1996
54 On-site Jewish genealogical research in Poland: an overview XII/4/04 1996
55 The Jewish cemetery in Warsaw XII/4/56 1996
56 Book review: Polish Countrysides: Photographs and Narrative XII/4/81 1996
57 German and Polish Place Names XIV/2/33 1998
58 List of More than 300,000 Polish Holocaust Survivors Received by USHMM In Wash. DC 19th- and 20th-Century Polish Directories as Resources for Genealogical Information XIII/1/25 1997
59 Hamburg Passengers from the Kingdom of Poland and the Russian Empire XIII/2/63 1997
60 Lw¢w Ghetto Records Being Indexed XIII/3/66 1997
61 Cites Location of Polish Directories XIII/4/98 1997
62 Jewish Roots in Poland: Pages from the Past and Archival Inventories; And I Still See Their Faces: Images of Polish Jews; Guide to the YIVO Archives; Luboml: Memorial Book of a Vanished Shtetl XIV/1/63 1998
63 Comments on Jewish Roots in Poland XIV/2/65 1998
64 Report on Jewish Communities in Poland Today XIV/2/65 1998
65 How I Found a New Ancestor in Krak¢w, Poland XIV/4/65 1998
66 18th-Century Polish Jewry: Demographic and Genealogical Problems XV/4/9 1999
67 Tips on Translating Entries from Slownik Geograficzny XVI/3/49 2000
68 The Polish Concept of Permanent Place of Residence XVI/3/12 2000
69 More About Polish Books of Residents’ Registration XVI/3/14 2000
70 Can Jewish Genealogists Successfully Research 18th-Century Poland? XVI/3/16 2000
71 History Book Illuminates Jewish Life in Poland XVI/3/40 2000
72 Book Review: History of the Jews in Poland and Russia XVI/3/65 2000
73 Book Review: In Their Words: A Genealogist’s Translation Guide to Polish, German, Latin and Russia Documents. Volume 1: Polish XVI/4/87 2000
74 Breaking New Ground: The Story of Jewish Records Indexing-Poland Project XVII/1/7 2001
75 Documenting the Fate of the Jews of Ostrow Mazowiecka XVII/3/19 2001
76 German and Polish Archival Holdings in Moscow XVII/4/11 2001
77 Internet Site Names Polish Towns XVII/4/79 2001
78 Researching Pre-1826 Vital Records in Congress Poland XVIII/2/19 2003
79 Book Review: Jewish Officers in the Polish Armed Forces, 1939-1945 XVIII/3/62 2003
80 Ashes and Flowers: A Family Trek to Jewish Poland and Romania XVIII/4/11 2003
81 Two Polish Directories Online XVIII/4/91 2003
82 Polish Passport Policy 1830-1930: Permits, Restrictions and Archival Sources XIX/1/21 1998
83 Book Reviews: Zród a archiwalne do dziejów Żydów w Polsce XIX/3/65 1998
84 Jewish Surnames in Russia, Poland, Galicia and Prussia XIX/3/28 1998
85 Using Polish Magnate Records for Posen XIX/3/25 1998
86 Avotaynu Online Database Lists Nobility Archives XIX/4/21 1998
87 Hidden Jews of Warsaw XX/1/47 2004
88 Polish archives in Bialystok, Knyszin and Lomza XX/2/50 2004
89 Polychromatic Tombstones in Polish-Jewish Cemeteries XX/2/39 2004
90 Tracing Family Roots Using JRI-Poland to Read Between the Lines XX/2/15 2004
91 Biographical lexicon of Polish rabbis and admorim XX/3/47 2004
92 Flatow Jewish Cemetery Tombstones Discovered XX/4/79 2004
93 Polish City Directories Now Online XXI/3/67 2005
94 Morgenthau Mission to Poland to Investigate the 1919 Pogroms: A Genealogical Resource XXII/2/14 2006
95 What Can We Learn from Slownik Geograficzny? XXII/2/31 2006
96 Spiritual Genealogy: A Look at Polish Notary Documentation XXII/2/38 2006
97 Notes Polish Book and Magnate Records  XXII/3/63 2006
98 Exhibit of the Jews of Poznán, 1793–1939 XXIII/1/71 2007
99 Strategies for Assigning Surnames to Early JRI-Poland Records XXIII/2/22 2007
100 Book Review: Posen Place Name Indexes XXIV/1/51 2008
November 17, 2011

Feliks Elijasz, Roman Catholic Shoemaker – Found in Fold3.com Free WWII database

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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.

The Inmate Card of Feliks Elijasz …

November 4, 2011

Joseph Conrad = Jozef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

During, October (Polish Heritage Month), when I wrote about Polish literati, I neglected to mention, Joseph Conrad. A huge oversight on my part, that I did not realize until afterwards, when I had read Donna Pointkouski’s comment with a link to her fine article on Polish authors.

I hope you can already guess the reason for my mental blunder, Joseph Conrad, was born Jozef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski. He was born 3-December-1857 in Berdichev (Polish: Berdyczów, in the Russian Gubernia, of Kiev). Donna’s article said his first language was Polish and his second language was French and that Joseph Conrad did not become fluent in English until his 20’s. I have to wonder that perhaps that there must have been some Russian nestled in between Polish and French given his birthplace and early life. At any rate, it is a marvel that he could be so literate in English and that his literary prose so remarkable, considering it was not his native language. Now he has a rather lengthy bibliography and this jester can only claim to have read, Heart of Darkness (1899).

Check out the wikipedia article from the above link. Look at the picture of Conrad. You can see the noble birth writ upon his face and his intellect is there too in his eyes. This man should have been an author – thank goodness he became one.

For Stanczyk, who came across Conrad later in life and having only read Heart of Darkness, I categorized him in with his contemporaries: Robert Louis Stevenson, Rudyard Kipling, & Sir Henry Rider Haggard (who? – author of Solomon’s Mines, creator of the “Lost World” literary genre) and their literary inheritors: Edgar Rice Burroughs (not so much Tarzan as his John Carter character) and Robert E. Howard. There may be many others, but these are the ones I have read. I am sure Ernest Hemmingway read Conrad from Hemmingway’s quotes and there are elements in Hemmingway’s works/life that bring to mind Joseph Conrad. So I guess my brain “Anglicized” this brilliant author who wrote such fluid prose in English and imbued it with his Slavic soul.

That is my mea culpa for omitting Joseph Conrad in October and I am sticking with it.

October 27, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy – Useful Websites … #7 Prussian Army’s Personnel Losses in World War I

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk was reading  his emails, when he noticed Ceil Wendt-Jensen  has published a useful website on the various Polish / Michigan genealogy mailing lists.

As the Article title suggests this is another database of military personnel from World War I. This one is unlike the ones you’d find at genealodzy.pl . It is however, similar to these databases and even links to the same Fallen in World War I website. But as I said this website/database is different from those.

The aim of the Prussian Army project (link: http://www.genoroots.com/eng/databases.php) is to provide an easy way of searching through the Deutsche Verlustlisten. This is the Prussian Army’s Personnel Losses during World War I .

The authors of the project: Aleksandra Kacprzak  and  Mariusz Zebrowski. They are still updating so check back from time to time. If you click on the “Prussian Army project” link above it will take you to its databases page. There  under the ‘Prussian  Army’ Heading you will see a link ‘Search’. Click on ‘search’ link. You should see the following search form:

Fill in a name and click on the ‘Search’ button. That is it. Should you find an ancestor, you can email them for more info. There is a very modest charge for this follow-on service (the search is free, the detailed info is where the cost is). So if you find someone, then …

e-mail: prusy22@wp.pl. When asking for further information, you must provide the ordinal number (‘L.P.’), the first and last name and the rank of the person in question. The additional information costs 2 Euro per name (=$2.82 as of 10/27/2011), payable via PayPal (to prusy22@wp.pl ). Stanczyk is not affiliated and has no conflict of interest in these entrepreneurial Poles. I did not find any of my ancestors, so I cannot tell you what details you may find. My ancestors were from the Russian-Poland partition (and hence would have been in the Russian army) — keep in mind this Prussian army (not Russian, not Austrian).

Good Luck! Please send me an email with a sample detail if you send for it. Thanks!

October 20, 2011

Polish Heritage Month – Artists & Scupltors

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Copernicus' Deathbed by Walery Elijasz

We always salute the famous historical heroic figures like Pulaski or Kosciusko or possibly scientists like Madame Skladowska Curie and Mikolaj Copernicus or maybe a musician like Fryderyk Chopin. But I do not want this month to go by without a listing of the literary talents and the artistic talents. Yesterday I wrote about the writers and today I wanted to mention the painters and scupltors.

Piotr Michałowski, Jan Matejko (Stanczyk’s portrait painter — see below for self-portrait), Walery Elijasz (guess why he is in the list), Stanisław Wyspiański (also was on the list of writers yesterday too).

Here are an abbreviated list of painters & scupltors for you to explore:

Olga Boznańska, Konstanty Brandel, Xawery Dunikowski, Julian Fałat, Jacek Malczewski, Józef Mehoffer, Józef Pankiewicz, Ferdynand Ruszczyc, Jan Stanisławski, Władysław Ślewiński, Wojciech Weiss, Leon Wyczółkowski, Konstanty Laszczka

Walery Elijasz who may or may not be related to this author was famous for his  book illustrations and travels through Zakopane where he was a major part in the founding an artists colony there.

Jan Matejko - self portrait

If Stanczyk could get you to view one artist’s works it would be Jan Matejko (1838-1893). His home is a museum in old city Krakow and can be visited. He is the artist whose painting is at the top of this blog. You have probably seen his painting of Polish kings in books or on Polish stamps. This jester has a work of his on Copernicus (on a rooftop with his scientific tools, “Conversation with God“) that is much beloved. Jan Matejko also wrote a small book in Polish on the Polish kings using his artwork on them and provides a genealogical/historical sketch of each king. Besides his historical paintings of Battles and Kings, he is also renown for his portraiture. The Krakow Academy of Fine Arts where he served for many years was named for him in 1979. He was a true Master of the Fine Arts.

October 19, 2011

#Polish #National #Heritage Month – Continuing … James Michener “Poland”

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

James Michner's Poland 1st EditionWe always salute the famous historical heroic figures like Pulaski or Kosciusko or possibly scientists like Madame Skladowska Curie and Mikolaj Copernicus or maybe a musician like Fryderyk Chopin. But I do not want this month to go by without a listing of the literary talents and the artistic talents.

Polish Literature is richly nuanced and uniquely Slavic. If you have read this blog for a while, you will have seen a mention of Stanislaw Lem or Czeslaw Milosz and a few others. There are so many to choose from: Mikolaj Rej, Jan Kochanowski, Adam Mickiewicz, Juliusz Slowacki, Henryk Sienkiewicz, Stanislaw Wyspianski, Wladyslaw Reymont,  Stanislaw Witkiewicz, Wisława Szymborska or Slawomir Mrozek. For more information, please click on “Polish Literature” or my favorite website for Polish Lit: Staropolska .

Today’s article is on James Michener’s “Poland“. Michener may not be Polish (he never knew who his biological parents were), but he is another of those great local literary talents of my adopted hometown of Philadelphia. This book is a historic novel with some fictional literary devices utilized to stitch together a coherent  narrative around ten historical topics of Poland. These ten episodic chapters can be read straight through or sampled individually.

If you only read one chapter this month,  of this easy reading novel, then read chapter five (on Jan Sobieski and his heroic salvation of Europe at the Battle of Vienna).

They probably sung a hymn / poem from the early 14th century, called Bogurodzica (Mother of God) which is the oldest poem in the Polish Language. You can hear this fascinating hymn here . This poem has no Latin equivalent, so it roots are entirely Slavic.

By the way, you may want to read Czeslaw Milosz’s book, “The History of Polish Literature” for more background on today’s article, including Bogurodzica.

Tomorrow … A Selection of Artists.

— Stanczyk

P. S.

You may want to read Donna Pointkouski’s Top Ten More Ways To Celebrate Polish Heritage Month  for more ideas on this month of ours.

October 7, 2011

#Genealogy – Russian – Poland Administrative Regions

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

In my last article, I spoke about UKASE = Decree. Today, I wanted to write about another Ukase. By the edict (ukase) of Czar Peter the Great on December 18, 1708, he divided Russia into eight guberniyas. A Gubernya (aka Gubernia) is roughly equivalent to a State in the USA or a Province in Canada and is very equivalent to a Wojewodztwo in Poland. Gubernya is a Russian word and is written in Cyrillic as, губерния .

The number of Gubernya and the area they covered changed over time. So if you check out the map from my MAPS page from 1820, my ancestors would have lived in the Krakow gubernya. But by my grandparent’s time they lived in the Kielce (aka Kieleckie) gubernya — no their village of residence did not change, but the Russian Administrative regions had been  re-defined a few times.

A good Gazetteer should be able to give you the Gubernya for your ancestral village. Knowing the administrative region may help you locate where the records are for your ancestors. Obviously, you should check their parish first. But you will also want to know the region to locate the civil or religious archive that might have backup records (vital records, court records, military records, voter lists, etc) for you to research.

Also you should know the Russian, as well as the Polish words and spelling of your ancestor’s residence(s). If nothing else, so that you can Google for data on the Internet. The results you get from Googling “Gubernya” will be different the results you get from Googling, “губерния“.

If your family is from the same area as Stanczyk’s then you may see …

Келецкая губерния = Kielecka Gubernia

Trust me the “orange-ish” area is Kielecka Gubernia.

Near the bottom-right you will see Stopnica and Pacanow (стопнйча, пачанов).

–Stanczyk

October 3, 2011

Polish American Heritage Month

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Yesterday’s Pulaski Day Parade (10/2/2011 Philadelphia) was another event in the Month long celebration of Polish American Heritage Month. This year there is a focus on Polish Scientists and in particular, Madam Curie, whose 100th anniversary of her 2nd Nobel Prize (November 2011). Marie Sklodowska Curie was the first scientist (man or woman) to win two Nobel Science Prizes. I believe only Linus Pauling has equaled her achievement.

Stanczyk‘s favorite magazine, “Smithsonian” (October 2011), also has and article on this amazing scientist. Please honor the month and the woman by reading this fascinating article, “The Passion of Madame Curie“.

Remember, to honor Columbus Day and any of its parades with your Polish flag. In the last year it was reported by a Portuguese researcher (Manuel Rosa) that Christopher Columbus is really a Polish son (and not Genovese). So this is new Polish Heritage we need to celebrate. This blog has a couple of articles (here is the original article).

 

August 24, 2011

#Polonia – October is Polish History Month – This Year We Celebrate …

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk notes we are six weeks from the start a whole lot of Polish Celebration. First off,  October is Polish History Month in the USA.

Next,  the second Monday in October is the Polish-Portuguese-Italian-American holiday we usually note as COLUMBUS DAY (traditionally October 12th). This year, thanks the Portuguese Historian Manuel Rosa, who has spent 20 years researching Columbus and who determined that Columbus is the son of Wladyslaw III, grandson of Wladyslaw II Jagiełło,  ( see prior article here ), we need to take our Polish Flags out on Columbus Day to the parade and celebrate with the Italian-Americans and reclaim our Polish son (or at least our share). Since Wladyslaw II Jagiełło is the first King of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, perhaps our Lithuanian brothers need to bring their flags too.

Third, the very next day in 2011 (October 12) is Casimir Pulaski Memorial Day. A Heroic Soldier of the American Revolutionary War who died for the founding of America (at the siege of Savannah).

Here is a link to Poland’s History.   Columbus Book by Rosa. Dr Rosa, when is the English Language Edition Coming (Polish Edition)?

Do Not Forget Columbus Day, Polonia  — bring the Polish Flag!

August 17, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy – Haller’s Army in My Tree [part three]

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

y Family Tree has many heroic men and women or I would not be here blogging today. It is only by standing on the shoulders of giants that I can see farther — Issac Newton borrowed that quote from a much earlier time; But it is still true today. In today’s article, my third of three ( Article1Article2 ) on Haller’s Army and the heroic 25,000 men who volunteered from America to fight for Poland in World War I, by fighting in France’s army (and their blue uniforms).

There are three men in my family tree who volunteered and fought in Haller’s Army:

  • Boleslaw Wlecialowski
  • Wlodzimierz Kendzierski
  • Pawel Elijasz

I do not know how many people have such in their Polish genealogy, but this strikes me as a large number for one family. What is interesting is that the story for each is so different.

Wlecialowski

Last article, I mentioned that you use the PGSA.org database to look-up your ancestors and see if they volunteered. The results should look something like:

So armed with the Name and Location you should be able to tell if it is your ancestor or not without having to order the form(s). However, it is inexpensive enough that you can order multiple people when in doubt. Better yet, go to the Polish Museum of America in Chicago and then you can review the form in person before ordering.

Boleslaw Wlecialowski registered in Hamtramck, MI. on his Form C,  he mentions that his nearest relatives in Poland are Maciej and Katarzyna Wlecialowscy in the Gubernia of Kiecle, Gmina & Miasto of Pacanow. That is invaluable! Of the three forms, Form C is the most valuable because it asks for nearest relatives in both the US and in Poland. Form A has the basic info (name, address, etc.) and Form B (the medical form) is perhaps the least valuable form of the three. Form L is just the collection of all three forms.

Boleslaw Wlecialowski Haller’s Army Form: A

Boleslaw Wlecialowski Haller’s Army Form: C

 When Boleslaw returned his ship manifest on the SS Princess Matoika said he was returning to his sister Rozalia Gawlikowski in Detroit, MI.

The above ship manifest is an image of the manifest header with lines 17-19 spliced in to show Boleslaw’s record on his return from Haller’s Army. He returned 21-July-1920 and his passage was paid for the by the US Government (on page 2 not shown).

Kendzierski

Now Wlodzimierz Kendzierski (aka Kędzierski) is interesting on two accounts. First he registered twice. Once in Detroit and once in Pittsburgh! Now that was helpful because he listed different contacts in the US in the two documents. It was also interesting because I could not find his returning ship manifest (although I did find his brother Ludwik return — but who had not registered?). Genealogical mysteries! Now we know he served because we have a picture of Wlodzimierz in his Haller’s Army uniform.

Wlodzimierz Kedzierski

So he definitely served. I suspect the Ludwik Kedzierski returning (August 1922) to his cousin in Pittsburgh was really Wlodz. But this is interesting. Perhaps the two registrations are because one registration office said ‘no’ to his volunteering and the second office said ‘yes’.

Once again, it was invaluable that we ordered both sets of forms and both forms indicated he was the same person (naming a sister, brother, brother-in-law, and a wife with known addresses). Although Wlodzimierz is an uncommon first name and the complete combination is rare indeed. What it did do was show a family connection to the Pittsburgh Kedzierski which we did not previously know.

Elijasz

Now the third family member was interesting in yet another way. Both Boleslaw (who became Bill) and Wlodzimierz (who became Walter) returned to US and lived full lives as Americans. However, Pawel Elijasz was an enigma. I could never decide how he was related because I only had a ship manifest and a 1910 US Census from Depew, NY. So until I found his registering for Haller’s Army and finding out that he lived with a cousin of my grandfather’s who was Pawel’s brother I did not know how Pawel fit in. Then I found his birth record from Pacanow and his marriage record from Pacanow and the birth record of Pawel’s daughter and his being a God Father to a nephew all in Pacanow. So those church records which connected him with the Pawel in Haller’s Army and which connected him to the Eliasz/Elijasz in America answered many questions for me. Including what happened to Pawel after 1910. I now knew he registered in 1917 in Toledo, OH for Haller’s Army and that he lived with his brother Wincenty Elijasz at 1054 Campbell Street, Toledo, OH (down the road from my grandparents and next door to a married sister Wiktoria, Elijasz Mylek). So now I had a bit more timeline for Pawel. I just assumed he went back to Poland to live with his wife and daughter (and hence why no 1920 or 1930 US Census records). Imagine my shock when I found this last piece of data at a Polish Genealogical Society website. The link just preceding is to a database: “List of Casualties of the Polish Army, killed in action or died from wounds from the years 1918-1920” . I found out that Pawel had died, while serving in Haller’s Army ( 2/13/1920 in Łuck, Poland )  [see next image of a book page].

So now I knew the rest of Pawel’s story. But it was his Haller’s Army registration that answered so many questions and connected up church records in Poland with US Vital records.

As an aside, finding out that Pawel was a brother of Wincenty and Wiktoria Elijasz and not a brother of my grandfather was still a great find.  For Pawel’s sister Wiktoria is the only ELIASZ in the whole family tree with the following distinction.

Wiktoria has Vital records in US/Poland with her last name spelled as: ELIASZ, ELIJASZ and HELIASZ.

So now you know why the family tree acknowledges all three names as one family name.

I have had ELIASZ and HELIASZ combos (modern and historical). I have had ELIASZ and ELIJASZ combos in my own family. But Wiktoria is unqiue in that she was the only ELIASZ who has used all three versions of the family name at one time or another in her life.

Wiktoria is also God Mother to two of my uncles. Wiktoria is also related to the lovely Elzbieta Heliasz Kapusta who sent to me, my grandparent’s marriage records (both civil and church) from Poland where Elzbieta lives and who does not speak a single  word of English. So it is a small world indeed.

I do not have a Polish Consulate newspaper article saying any of my three ancestors earned land from Poland for their service. I also do not have any info from PAVA, but the next time I travel to NYC, I will look them up and see if Boleslaw or Wlodzimierz were ever PAVA members. I will try and find an example of the Polish Consulate messages to an American-Pole in a Polish Language US newspaper where they were seeking an Haller’s Army veteran now living in the USA and post it here for you my good readers to see. I hope this series of postings has motivated you the Polish Genealogist to seek out this unique Polish genealogical resource and then track down the other connecting pieces to this puzzle.

Let Stanczyk know!

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: http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Library/FHLC/frameset_fhlc.asp

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: http://bit.ly/qe2pn2  [ link to my Biechow]     PRADZIAD Database: http://baza.archiwa.gov.pl/sezam/pradziad.php?l=en

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

URL: http://www.kielce.opoka.org.pl/?mod=contents&g=kuria&id=archiwum

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 mike@eliasz.com.

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

Wojtek the World War II Army Bear – Polish Soldiers Mascot

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Wojtek in his Edinburgh Zoo Cage

Many people are still Googling my Blog about Wojtek. I wrote an article about Wojtek being honored with a statue for his WWII heroics. Obviously this bear was much beloved.

Here is a link to a story from 1959 in Przekrój. 1959, nr 723 (15 II) : http://mbc.malopolska.pl/dlibra/doccontent?id=59278&dirids=1 .

The author knew Wojtek personally , tells the story of the famous bear who was the mascot of Polish soldiers (Anders Army) in Iran and Italy. He also ponders whether Wojtek after 13 years will return from Scotland to Poland.

–Stanczyk

July 14, 2011

#Jewish #Genealogy – An Homage to Moja żona

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Moja żona (my wife) Tereza is a very good wife indeed. So I wished to honor her by doing some research for the Jewish faithful. I suppose many genealogists are unaware that much of Europe owes its church records and their format to the Codex Napoleon. Another side effect of this edict was to create a new civil registry of civil records, which Napoleon originally placed responsibility with the Catholic church. So peoples of all faiths had to register with the Catholic church for the years 1810-1830 [approximately] until civil data could be collected by all faiths in their own church/temple/synagogue.

So whilst I was collecting other genealogical research data, I decided to pay extra attention to the Jewish births listed to honor my wife. I am sure this was an onerous requirement for Jewish citizens to have to record their vital records with the Catholic church. This village of my ancestors has NOT been indexed by JRI, as there was no significant Jewish presence in these villages, but there were Jews indeed! So what was probably an imposition for Jews may now be a blessing and a mitzvah for me (and my wife). Why a blessing? So many Jewish records were destroyed during World War II (and possibly in other pogroms) that any echo, any echo at all of those who were here is a blessing.

Births in Biechow (departement de Krakow) for years 1810, 1811, 1813 and 1815

[ source: LDS microfilm # 936660]

First note that 1812 and 1814 had no registry at all for anyone. In 1810 there 50 recorded births and of those fifty, one record was Jewish:

1810 Births – Record #24 – Pinkiesz Szmulowicz (father), Hercyk (baby) and Marya Manasow (mother)

In 1811 there were 116 births and three records were Jewish:

#68 Zelmanowiczowna, Rywka (baby)

#91 Faycer, Jasek (baby)

#96 Menkierowna, Bela (baby)

In 1813 there were 76 births and two records were Jewish:

#26 Wulfowna, Chaja

#36 Fisolowna, Faytsia

In 1815 there were 99 births and one record was Jewish:

#62 Wolf, Sura (baby);  Jasek Wolf (father); Blima Haymnowiczow (mother).

Well I guess you can see why JRI ignored LDS Microfilm #936660. Out of 341 births only seven (just 2%) were Jewish births. Jewish genealogists, feel free to collect this data and add it to your database. These records are in Polish in this era.

Stanczyk

July 11, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy – The Biechow Clergy 1326-1919 r.

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Today, I wanted to follow up with the images of the list of priests of the parish of Biechow (parafii Biechów). Please read yesterday’s post for the web link (URL) to image of the digital book I used.

Stanczyk cobbled together the “digital” pages 27-29 into a single GIF image, so you my faithful reader could examine for yourself.

Yesterday we were looking at a Latin paragraph image of a birth/baptism from 1674. The priest was indeed Jozef Walcerz as I read from the priest’s own handwriting (to verify that I could read the handwriting accurately).

Father (Ks.) Michal Krolikowski’s service from 1852-1900 put him on many of the images of Stanczyk’s family. Those were mostly from the years of Russian-Poland occupation (and language mandate/ukase), so I have his signature upon Russian/Cyrillic church records. Because the records for Biechow are extensive, I am able to confirm many of the priests on this list, so this book confirms my church records and the church records confirm this book’s scholarly research.

So we have Latin records, then Polish records, then Russian records (1868-1918) and finally Polish again.

I added this cross-research because I was trying to add a context for my ancestor’s lives to my family history to pass on to my ancestors. It was also a good exercise in verifying my ability to read the old style handwriting (whatever langauage) you see in church records.

Below I would like to share Father Michal Krolikowski’s signature upon the happy day and event of my great-grandfather Tomasz Leszczynski ‘s   marriage to his second wife and my great-grandmother, Aniela Major (pronounce My-Yore). It seems I have a family history of short Polish names that do not look Polish because they are short and vowel filled. This signature was upon an allegata describing the marriage and happily providing my great-grandmother’s birth information. No need to rub your eyes, the signature and seal are in Russian (a Cyrillic “alphabet”).

For those who do not read Russian …

Biechow October  5/17 th day 1885 th year

Father Michal Krolikowski

?-title (NastoJatel  — not in my Russian-English dictionary, probably ADMINISTRATOR) of Biechow

[NOTE: there are two day numbers (double-dating) because Russia was still using the Julian calendar while Poland had long since switched to the modern Gregorian calendar that we use today. Notice that in 1885 the difference was 12 days. Knowledge of this may help you decipher the date when you can only read one date. Starting sometime in 1900 the difference would grow to 13 days. Russia did not switch from the Old Style dates to the Gregorian calendar until january 31st,  1918 (thus eliminating the need for double-dating).]

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.

–Stanczyk

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

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