Posts tagged ‘Musings’

February 13, 2009

Eliasz i Elijasz i Heliasz i …

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon


olish names are a bit enigmatic for those of us native English speakers of the Polish diaspora. Now let me hasten to add that Stanczyk is not of the Jewish faith, but is Catholic, but none-the-less there was a large Polish diaspora to many parts of the English speaking world, particularly my, corner America. Like any good Polish-American, I knew that our name meant, ‘Elijah’ like the prophet. This knowledge was deeply rooted in me by my Busia (grandmother), who used to show me her copy of the bible, which was of course written in Polish. Sure enough, in the Old Testament, amongst the books of the prophets was the story of Elijah and it was indeed written as ‘Eliasz’.

My family is from the Russian partition of Poland in the old wojewodztwo (or gubernia) of Kielce in the villages surrounding the Biechów and Pacanów parishes.  So in the years from about 1868 to 1918 the church records were written in Russian using the Cyrillic alphabet. In Russian, Eliasz looks like:

Елиашъ    Елияшъ    Элиашъ

Over the years, I have found  the ELIASZ name written as Eliasz, Eljasz, Elijasz, Elyasz, and Heliasz. Those are just the correct spellings. Now I know what you are thinking, how is ELIASZ Polish. It is only six letters long and half of those letters are vowels. This proponderance of vowels is very un-Polish. Any way, I was treated to a little lesson by one of my favorite Genealogy authors, lecturer, group members: Fred Hoffman. Fred is the Polish Surname guy and linguist extraordinaire in the Yahoo Group -> Polish Geniuses .

In an earlier post, this jester wrote about Ann Faulkner and how she found my great-uncle Jan (John) Eliasz death documents. Besides one entry written as Elijasz, it also listed my great grandparents names in particular my great-grandmother’s maiden name. It also listed a new great-uncle: Thomas (undoubtable Tomasz) Eliasz. Now flash forward a couple of weeks and I returned to a Polish web site: Nasza Klasa (“Our Class”), a kind of Polish — at least it is a social network site ala Facebook or MySpace. I had given up on Nasza Klasa due to my rather limited Polish language skills (Trojhe rozumiem po polskiu). I had managed to find Eliasz and Heliasz in Poland and near to my ancestral villages but nobody in my direct line. Well because of Fred Hoffman mentioning to me about consonantal Y’s and such polysyllabic linguistic jargon and due to the data Ann Faulkner had found, it finally dawned on me to search for Elijasz. Now I had never pursued this as I thought it was just a Russification of our correct name ELIASZ and surely after 1918, my family would have returned to either ELIASZ or HELIASZ and left that particular Russian transliteration in the proverbial dust.

Needless to say I was wrong. Recently, two Dorotas emailed me at Nasza Klasa. Dorota Blome (Elijasz) and Dorota Turner (Elijasz) both from Pacanów roots. These two lovely women are using friends and family to help me locate family records and are actually sending me scanned pictures of relatives. I think one or both of these may be direct line cousins of mine. Now in an even better chance of luck, I happened to meet Elzbieta Heliasz. Now Elzbieta’s family is from Biechów parish, but she speaks no English. Old Stanczyk speaks trojhe po Polskiu. Via google translators and such I was able to  trade some emails and I think I determined she is from a line HELIASZ/ELIASZ that are cousins to my grandfather (not direct relatives, but close). Well fortunately, Elzbieta has a very clever son, Łukasz, who speaks pretty good English. Well this lovely duo of near ELIASZ relatives from the parish of the earlier ELIASZ family that may have seeded Pacanów ELIASZ family lines. They actually went to the Biechów priest and retrieved my grandparents marriage documents!  Now I am not certain what marriage documents they found or are sending, but the excitement builds. It turns out that my Pacanów Joseph Eliasz and my Biechów Walerya Leszczyńka got married in Biechów, not Pacanów. This is not that surprising, since it is customary to marry in the bride’s village — but it is hardly definitive as I have counter examples in my family tree.

Well it is 102 years later, but here is to my grandparents and their marriage (28-January-1907) in Poland, without which I would not be writing these words today from America. Go to Klasa America, Nasza Klasa may hold the ancestors of your family that did NOT come over from the old country. Think Globally and work on the Internet.

May God Bless my new found Heliasz and Elijasz relatives for their kindness.

January 24, 2009

John Eliasz

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

While I was toiling away at the Salt Mines in Wilmington, DE, I was musing about the long hard toil for the past three years that Stanczyk had been doing since I made my grandfather’s brother Jan Eliasz (great-uncle) an emphasis of my genealogical research. saltminewieliczka

I had brief snatches of info on John Eliasz. I had found his actual birth record in LDS microfilm, so I knew his actual birth date. I also had his World War I draft registration which was kind enough to give me a second birth date to cause me to doubt the birth record I had found was actually his. I also had the 1920 & 1930 US Censuses.

From family lore, I had that “Uncle John” had died around the same time as my grandfather (who died 06-January-1930). There was even a memory of him being buried at Mt. Olivet cemetery (Detroit, MI). Well family lore had been mostly accurate and my grandfather had been buried at Mt Olivet, so the facts seem to fit. So year after year I would call Mt Olivet and inquire about John/Jan Eliasz and they never did have info on him, but one year they located a record on an infant Eliasz baby named Henry who would have been an uncle if hed had survived his premature birth. So I kept hope that Mt Olivet  would eventually locate the record of my great-uncle after all my persistence had located a previously unknown uncle (who even my dad did not know had been born).

In the meantime I began searching the Dziennik Polski (Detroit) newspaper which I learned that my Busia read every day. I had the rotten luck of finding a family birth announcement the very first time and so was hooked. Now I have a whole web site dedicated to Dziennik Polski (Detroit) . I have collected many vital records of  Poles from Detroit, but I have not found John Eliasz’s death announcement. At last year’s (2008) United Polish Genealogical Societies conference in Salt Lake City’s famous Family History Library I dedicated an abundance of time to Detroit microfilm for naught — no John Eliasz. I pestered 2nd and 3rd cousins to ask parents or to look through funeral cards for any clue.

For 3+ years I had no luck other than an occasional mention in Detroit City directory. Last year I posted to MI-Polish asking for help — no luck. This year I thought I might post to MI-Macomb (County) mailing list asking for help. But after three years I did not really expect a reply. Well this was one jester who was fooled. A kindly genealogist took note of Stanczyk’s plea and took the scant information provided and paid Stanczyk a little act of genealogical kindness. This researcher, Ann Faulkner (who I am sure some will recognize), used her awesome skills and the sensational resources at Mt Clemens Public Library (MCPL) and she found two scraps on John Eliasz!  She posted the info and I confirmed that both of her findings were indeed my great-uncle since she had included little details that only made sense to someone in my family (by naming in-laws and friends). She perseveered through the slavic genealogist’s worse curse: misspelled/mistranscribed names and found John Elias and John Elijasz (both common variants on ELIASZ). So I just wanted to take a moment and to thank Ann Faulkner — honored genealogist and helper to many. Thanks Ann, you brought a tear to this jester’s face.

Now I have his death date/cemetery and as a bonus another great-uncle (Thomas Eliasz) in Poland.

Well I really must go, my Internet broadband signal is getting weak here in the bowels of the salt mine.

January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon


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

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



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

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

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

January 18, 2009

Chadds Ford and Beyond

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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


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

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

January 16, 2009

Hello Internet… are you there?

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

w_blueelcome to my blog!

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


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

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


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