Posts tagged ‘History’

July 18, 2011

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

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

July 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 7, 2011

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

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pacanow (parish) – Pacanow, Zabiec, Kwasow

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

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

July 2, 2011

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

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Independece Hall Philadelphia

education use from

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

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

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

Declaration of Independence

July 2, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy – Library Of Congress Chronicling America

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

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

American Historical Polish Language US Newspapers in LOC –

Happy and Blessed 4th of July everyone !

June 27, 2011

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

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

Take a look and see what you find …

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

Let me know what you find!

June 22, 2011

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

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

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

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

June 10, 2011

Dziennik Polski (Detroit) – Historical Daily Newspaper

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

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

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

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

May 1, 2011

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

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

✠ The Blessed John Paul II ✠

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 30, 2011

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

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

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

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

Episcopal Lineage / Apostolic Succession:

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

The known Catholic lineages are:

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

Metal Id Card ? ? ?

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

April 23, 2011

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

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 6, 2011

Remember Me?

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

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

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

The web site for Remember Me?:

March 24, 2011

Memory Lane – Aleksander & Chase

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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


March 15, 2011

Historical Ethnic Newspapers – Balch Collection in READEX

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

The Balch Collection Inventory for Polish language historical newspapers includes:

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

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

February 27, 2011

Genealogy and Antiques

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

German Fraktur - Birth & Baptism

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

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

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

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

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

January 8, 2011

Biechow – Births in 1753 & 1754

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 4, 2011

Biechow Parish 1814 Marriages

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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