Posts tagged ‘Polish culture’

February 25, 2018

The Other Things Found — #Historical #Polish #Newspapers

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

While Stanczyk was searching newspapers for military conscripts, he found many items useful to genealogy…

Today was a landholders chart for Niegosławice village, in Pacanów gmina, Stopnica powiat of 22-June-1933.

Found in Newspaper: Kielecki Dziennik Wojewódzki

Stanczyk would like to call your attention to one of his ancestors, on line 12 (Leon Wleciał).

This chart had four columns:

Line Number, Landholder(s), Plot Number, Plot area in ha (hectares).

So on Line #12 (col. 1), we see Leon Wleciał (col. 2), Plot #18 (col. 3), 6.1019ha (col. 4).

This Leon was not the Leon who came to America, but the Leon who was a witness/god-father in church records for the Wleciałowscy who came to America (and some who stayed in Poland too).

You want to search for:

Okręgowego Urzęd Ziemskiego

(Official District Land in <gubernia-name>).

May 19, 2016

Romanov Russian Royalty … REDUX

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

This jester has a deep appreciation for Dr. Stephen Morse and his many works, especially those related to genealogy. I have used his One Step Web Page for many years. So it was thrill to meet him at various conferences and I was touched at his kind offer to help  moje zona read her grandparent’s tombstone (alas the jester struggles with his Hebrew language skills). I have followed his recent work to make yet a 3rd generation soundex algorithm (for us Slavics).

Originally, we had American Soundex, which you still see on Immigration documents (mine is E420). Then along came the most excellent Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex which was a vast improvement for those whose heritage was Slavic (mine is 084000) and you would see it on Russian Consular records.  Recently Dr Morse has developed the Bieder-Morse Soundex algorithm which further improves name matches (by eliminating false matches). So my family name would have Bieder-Morse soundex tokens of:  elaS elas [exact match tokens only] . I think only the JewishGen website has implemented that matching.

Now Dr Morse has an article(Genetic Genealogy Revisited) in the APG’s professional journal: “Association of Professional Genealogists QUARTERLY”. It was on the use of genetics in genealogy and he used the Romanov Family mystery as a demonstration of using genetics to solve a question. Now I read in the Current issue of the Smithsonian,  the Resurrecting the Czar, article. It too covers the latest background on murder mystery of Czar Nicholas II and his family and attendants. I found that the two aritcles read together give a fascinating account of the story.

Now this jester is not a fan of the Russian Empire (even though my grandparents and their parents were born into Russian-Poland partition).  The Rus betrayal of Poland not even a century after the great  King Jan Sobieski, the Savior of Vienna [indeed all of Europe],  the “Lion of Lechistan” and  their betrayal again in 1939 at the start of World War II sour my feelings for our brother Rus. So while I enjoyed the two articles read back-to-back, I was appalled by a few “royalists” who want to bring back the monarchy to the Russian Federation. One woman artist actually is hoping for a Russian fascist (to clean up the mess??) followed by a transition back to the monarchy. That would be quite a rewind of history huh?

Czech, Lech and Rus – there is a legend of three brothers that settled central and eastern Europe. Czech went on to found the Czechs and Rus went on to found the Russians. Lech and Lechistan became Poland. So we can see again that monarchies and the battles between them are really nothing more than family squabbles done on a grand scale. By the way both articles mention the British monarchy  and their family connection to the Romanovs (via Hapsburgs).  Canute the Great was a Grandson of Mieszko I (first king of Poland) and of course another ancestor of this jester, the twice king Stanislaw Leszczynski, had a daughter marry into the Bourbons. Alas all of Poland’s goodwill and family relationships could not prevent the Deluge and Poland’s slip from History’s main stage. We will have to content ourselves that Rus and their partitions, produced Kosciuszko and Pulaski and they in turn helped to produce America.

Now we come to 2016 …

There is an artist,  Olga Shirnina, who has taken Romanov family photos and colorized them. Please read the article: RBTH (Romanov family photos in color) from “Russia Beyond The Headlines”.
Romanov Links:

Romanov Photos British Archives

Romanov Family Tree

June 28, 2011

Happy 100th Birthday Czesław Miłosz

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Sto,  that is a lot.  Stanczyk is getting old, …  really, really old. Has it already been a century since the birth of Nobel Laureate, Czeslaw Milosz ?  Time flies when you are a royal jester. In two days, we will be celebrating Milosz’s 100th birthday. Milosz is near and dear to moje serce (my heart). When asked about his nationality, Milosz replied …

I am a Lithuanian to whom it was not given to be a Lithuanian.”  and “My family in the sixteenth century already spoke Polish, just as many families in Finland spoke Swedish and in Ireland English, so I am a Polish not a Lithuanian poet.”

A complex mind indeed. But I get Milosz. His family was from the era of the Polish-Lithuanian Commnwealth, literately Polish as were most in the circles of power or in the intelligentsia circles. So his thoughts were Polish, but his world view was Lithuanian where he was born. Of course this is in counter-point to Milosz being born into the Russian Empire. On June 30th, 1911 (Milosz’s birth) in the village of Szetejnie, his family was a member of the Russian Empire (Kovno Gubernia), just one of ten provinces in Russian-Poland (occupied Poland) inside the much larger Russian (still Czarist) Empire. Milosz however, was never Russian, not Czarist and no, not ever a Soviet.

I get Milosz. His Slavic soul still whispers to me and his way with words kept rapt, my attention. Much of his poetry/prose was indeed of his memory of Lithuanian places or experiences. That is not to negate his Polish experiences both pre and post Communism. His novel, “The Captive Mind”, a brilliant anti-Stalinist piece that made him well known, … in the Western, non-communist world. His works were unknown in Poland and the West thought of him as a political writer, not a poet. Milosz emigrated to the USA in 1960 and in 1961 started his tenure in Slavic Literature/Studies at  UC Berkley, and became a US citizen in 1970. In 1980, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. Oddly, because his works were banned in Communist Poland, he was largely unknown as a writer in Poland until the award. Gradually, after the fall of Communism (by the 1990’s), Milosz moved back to Poland and lived and died in Krakow in 2004.

Crypt of the Meritorius

After a solemn mass at the Krakow Basilica of St. Mary’s, where a letter was read by the Pope, Blessed John Paul II,  of the Pope’s last correspondence with the poet. The funeral procession followed the Royal Road to the church of St. Michael the Archangel & St. Stanislaus on the Rock (na Skalce), where his sarcophagus is interred in its crypt. This crypt holds a Polish National Pantheon of literati.

Stanczyk only owns four works by Milosz:  The History of Polish Literature,  New and Collected Poems (1931-2001),  Road-Side Dog (two copies), and   Milosz’s Alphabet. I hope my readers will not think less of me, because I say, that the Road-Side Dog is my favorite. Milosz, I started writing far too late, but I assure you that there are many of your, Subjects, that I wish, To Let. Mój piesek (my little dog), Java, is not so little and seldom Road-Side, but her and I have a voice and your subjects To Let and some topics of our own to bark at visitors as they go by.  Milosz, bless me with your literate spirit.  I get you  Milosz and you live on in my,  and I assume many  minds and hearts,  forever. Pity you did not live to this era of blogging and Twitter. I doubt you’d have tweeted, but the blog would have been a fine media for your splendid thoughts.

Happy Birthday Czeslaw! Sto lat!

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 23, 2011

President O’bama

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

This Jester does not recall so much discussion on a president’s genealogy / vital records before. So as the President goes off to Europe, we once again hear about his ancestry ( Kenya, Hawaii,   IRELAND). President O’bama through his mother has a 3g grandfather named Falmouth Kearney (and 3g grandmother  Charlotte Holloway  — let’s not forget the women) from Moneygall, (County Offaly), Ireland. The President’s direct ancestry back through the Dunham lineage can be proudly found at Moneygall’s website.

Apparently the good genealogical research is due to the village’s Anglican priest, Stephen Neill (a muse himself), who barely has any parishioners in the overwhelmingly Catholic area but is arguably its most popular figure.

It was he who, in 2007, pored through birth and baptism records of the Templeharry Church of Ireland, 3 miles (5 kilometers) outside Moneygall, and made the fateful discovery of Falmouth Kearney’s baptism. He had received calls from American genealogist Megan Smolenyak who was pursuing the many branches of President Obama’s family heritage. Megan, too, will be in Moneygall to meet the president. [see also “Finding O’Bama” ]

Stanczyk also awaits the President’s visit to Poland on Saturday. Let’s change the VISA requirements for Polish people to come to the USA to match the rest of the EU nations. After-all, Poland has been a part of the coalition in Afghanistan. Let’s reward this loyal ally with the same privileges as the UK or France or Germany! I would like to remind people that Poland was the nation who upon being restored to its rightful borders after World War I, took the time to honor America’s 150th Anniversary with their Emblem of Friendship in 1926 from the children of Poland to the citizens of America (see prior Stanczyk musing 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 24, 2011

Happy Easter ✞ Wesołych Świąt

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Happy Easter    Wesołych Świąt

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.

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.

March 9, 2011

Ash Wednesday – A Time For Preparation

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk is a Latin Rite (i.e. Roman) Catholic. Stanczyk does not wear blinders. I also observe what the Eastern Rite Catholics follow and think and try to be integrative of their tradistions, as I have with moje zona’s Jewish Traditions. Lent is a season of 40 days. It is assigned a symbolism as roughly equivalent to Jesus’ 40 days of fast and temptation. The count of days to be 40, also matches the count of years that Moses and the Israelites roamed the deserts in their exodus from Egypt to the Holy Land. Going further back still we see that Noah’s Flood, The Great Deluge, lasted 40 days.

It therefore should be understood, that the number 40, symbolically equates to “Preparation”. Stanczyk will leave  it as an exercise for you the righteous reader to reflect and to understand what was the preparation in each of those three events. So what are we preparing for in Lent? From the Coptics, they declare it is a time of spiritual struggle or a time to draw closer to G-d. It is funny that those two phrases make me think of Israel (the person,  not the nation). His name means, ‘Wrestles with G-d”. Spiritual Struggle, Drawing Closer to G-d. So perhaps this is a time for Israel (not the person, not the nation, but the collective of all G-d’s people) to prepare.

Let me end this musing with the Coptic tradition of the six weeks of Lent (they also have a preparatory week and a Holy Week) so they actually celebrate 56 days (40 days of Lent, 9 other days of fasts, Holy Week[Monday after Palm Sunday through Saturday the eve of Easter], plus EASTER, the Great Day). Here are how they observe their six weeks of Lent:

  • Week 1 – “Struggle”, ends with the Sunday reading of the “Temptation in the Wilderness”
  • Week 2 – “Repentance”, ends with the Sunday reading of the “The Prodigal Son”
  • Week 3 – “The Gospel”, ends with the Sunday reading of the “Samaritan Woman”
  • Week 4 – “Faith”, ends with the Sunday reading of the “Healing the Paralytic”
  • Week 5 – “Baptism”, ends with the Sunday reading of the “Healing the Blind Man”
  • Week 6 – “Salvation”, ends with the Sunday reading of the “Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem on Palms Sunday” [Palm Sunday]

Each of the days has a reading associated with it [not just the Sunday reading which is the emphasis of the week]. Many good readings and blessings of the season to those of faith.

March 1, 2011

Stan “The Man” Musial – Presidential Medal of Honor

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

This jester always eagerly awaits, Fred Hoffman‘s Gen Dobry newsletter every month. As usual I was intrigued by an article. They wrote about Stan Musial and how on February 15, 2011 how President Obama presented him (along with others) the Presidential Medal of Honor. Like moje zona, I keep a database of my ethnicity in my head. This also intrigued me as the MUSIAL (or more likely, MUSIAŁ) name is also found in my grandparents parish and it is found in some abundance in Detroit / Toledo areas. In fact, there is at least one Musial-Eliasz combination from Detroit/Toledo, so I mused, “Was Stan the Man’s family from my ancestral villages?”.

That is the premise of today’s blog. I went to the Wikipedia link above and found out that Stan’s father was Lukasz and that Stan was born in Donora, PA (nestled on the banks of the Monongahela River in South-West corner of PA). Since Stan was born in Donora, PA, then perhaps it was his father who emigrated to the USA. So I went  to and searched their Immigration records for Lukasz. Of course, as most Polish names are, it was misspelled (Musial was correct, but Lukasz was spelled/indexed as Lukacz). Lukasz came from Myslowa and arrived in the US on 30th-January-1910 on the President Grant ship at the age of 16 (implies a birth year about 1894)!  He was heading to Donora, PA. I’d say, I found my man. Oh Stan,  if you are interested, your grandfather’s name is Piotr. Lukasz’s ship manifest said he was born in Myslowa. Stanczyk did not know the name of Myslowa, so I went to the website tried to locate it. It came up with three possibilities in present day Poland and all were spelled Myslow. I did check the excellent reference by Brian Lenius and it did show a Myslowa and indicated its parish was:  Podwoloczyska [the ship manifest did indicate Austria-Polish].  So no matter which of the four locales are correct, the MUSIALs were NOT from my ancestral villages.

But if you are related to “Stan the Pan” Musial, then perhaps this is the lead you need to follow up on. Congratulations Stan Musial on your well deserved Medal of Honor.

January 15, 2011

1797 Marriage in Swiniary parish, Jakob Eliasz & Zuzanna Paszenska

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Today, as I await the arrival of Aleksander & Chase, I was reading some Polish / Latin microfilm from the parish of Swiniary (south eastern Poland of today). I was searching for a marriage record for Tomasz Leszczynski & Julianna Kordos. No success in that hunt.

But I did find Julianna’s parent’s marriage record (in 1832) !  So that was exciting. Previously, I had found Julianna’s birth record  in the year after her parents were married. But I found a bonus piece of data in an index and again in the Latin Box format of an ancestor of mine. This excited me, because this was the earliest Eliasz found in the parish of Pacanow. His name was Jakob Eliasz, yes, that is E-L-I-A-S-Z (not ELIJASZ as is the Russian form). Jakob was a 40 year old widower from Pacanow who married Katarzyna Paszenska of Oblekon, who was only 23 years old. House #1! That is usually the first house in a village and was most likely the house nearest the church.  I am uncertain whether this was house number one in Pacanow or Oblekon ( I am, leaning to Oblekon since this is the Swiniary parish). But that is a bit surprising that a man from Pacanow ventured a bit up stream along the Vistula river to Oblekon to marry a woman. This was marriage on 4th-October-1797, so Jakob must have been born about 1757. So this the only record of I have of an Eliasz in Pacanow in the 18th century. The LDS microfilm for Pacanow spans only the years 1875-1884.

Jakob pre-dates Stanczyk’s 2nd-great-grandfather Marcin Elijasz, who was born about 1819 and who I know died in 1879 at the age of 60 (oh how Stanczyk hates those ages that end in zeroes). On that basis, I assume that Marcin was born in Pacanow in 1819. So Jakob predates Marcin by about 62 years. That makes Jakob about 2 or 3 generations earlier than Marcin. Perhaps, I will be able to add that many generations to my family tree in my lineal descent line.  Does anyone out there have a marriage record for Marcin Eliasz (or Elijasz) married to Anna Zasucha?

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
January 1, 2011

Happy New Year 2011 – Where Are My Roots ?

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Happy New Year, genealogists (and others)! This year Stanczyk wanted to start with a posting of where his roots are from and hope that another genealogist with similar roots may have leads or other info for me.

Biechow – the original parish I knew of from Ellis Island ship manifests. Many Eliasz and Leszczynski came from here. Moje Busia said she was born here as did my eldest aunt (Alice, aka Aleksandra). I need to find their birth records to confirm. All Leszczynski birth records have been found here.

Pacanow – this is where my grandmother, Walerya emigrated from. In 1913 she said she came from her father, Tomasz Leszczynski in Pacanow. My grandfather and all of his siblings whose birth recorsd have bee found were born here. I also have my great grandfather (Jozef) ‘s marriage record to Marianna Paluch [followed by the birth records of my grandfather, et. al.]. My great-great-grandfather (pra-pra-dziadek) died here in 1919 and as per his death record he was 60(ish). Alas no listing of his parents and I have not located his birth record or his marriage record to Anna Zasucha.

Now Stanczyk, has been speaking of parishes, but also these were the villages of record too. In the Biechow parish, many Eliasz (or Elias, Heliasz, Elijasz) have been born/married/or died. These events happened in: Piestrzec (most common),  Wojcza, and Chrzanow. The village of Piestrzec, was my great-grandmother, Aniela Major’s birth place.

Kwasow – The village of the Wlecialowskich family births. Kwasow is in the Pacanow parish. Maciej Wlecialowski married my great-grandfather’s sister, Katarzyna Elijasz. Rozalia Wlecialowski was a god-mother to at least one of grandparents’ children (Wladyslaw Jozef Elijasz). Rozalia Wlecialowski came to Detroit and married Adam Joseph Gawlikowski. Roza (aka Ciotka Rosie) would be a life-long friend to moje busia, Walerya.

Zabiec – This village is also in Pacanow parish. My grandfather Jozef said he came from his wife Walerya who resided in Zabiec in 1910. Oddly enough, little Wladyslaw Jozef was born in Biechow parish in 1908 (record #42).

Zborowek and Ksiaznice – These villages were once parishes (of some kind) and are now a part of Pacanow parish. Some Elijasz were born or married here.

Swiniary – This parish and the village was the birth place of my great-grandfather Tomasz Leszczynski’s first wife: Julianna Kordos. Might this be the place he was married in too? Perhaps 2011 will bring an answer to this question.


This jester is searching for: Eliasz/Elijasz/Heliasz, Leszczynski, Wlecialowski, Paluch, Major, Zasucha, Kordos, and Kedzierski from these villages. Many other families from these villages are represented in our family tree:

Bugay, Czapla, Fortuna, Grudzien, Mizdrak, Janoski/Janowski, Baran, Podolski, Wrzesnia, Wrobel, Bebel, Bordziak, Kostyra, Gadawska, Gula, Gawron, Garztka, Kopra, Maliga, Maicher, Nalepa, and too many others. Eventually most families from the above villages inter0married over the centuries. Please write to me if you a family name above or a village from above.


December 27, 2010

News From … The Head Office of State Archives (Poland)

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Digitalization of  Leszno  Archive
21 December 2010

The State Archive  in Leszno and Poznan invite you to promote the project “Digitalization of Leszno  Archive. ” The meeting will be held on Wednesday 22 December this year(2010) at  11.00 at the headquarters of the State Archive in Leszno,  Street:  Solski 71st Promotion will be accompanied by the opening of the exhibition “The History of Leszno in the Archival Documentation. ”

The project was implemented under the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage “Digital Resources” priority “Digitisation of Archival Heritage” with the cooperation of the City of Leszno.

Source: The Head Office of State Archives

December 16, 2010

Tomasz Leszczyński de Biechów (part two)

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

The 2nd Marriage of Tomasz Leszczynski

The 2nd Marriage of Tomasz Leszczynski

This is the second part of my search for Tomasz and family. The first aritcle is here . This amazing find was done by my equally amazing friend from Krakow, Jacek.  Stanczyk prized his great-grandfather Tomasz so much, Jacek made an extra effort on my behalf. Thank You Jacek (researcher / genealogist of the Sokolowskich from Swiniary/Biechow/Pacanow/Zborowek parishes).

This document is an alegata. Let me review a bit of Polish genealogical terms to help other new-to-Polish-genealogy researchers. The Polish archives have a few databases ( I have written of them before ), but the most critical to me so far has been Pradziad. If you search their database for Biechow (do not bother with diacriticals), you will find:

urodzenia – Births

małżeństwa – Marriages

zgony – Deaths

and … alegata – Addendum (other, miscellaneous).

So this is an addendum … to something. Now this alegata is fascinating on many levels to me. First off, it is from 1885 and it is testimonial from 1863 !  So this document recounts the events of 22 years ago (from 1885).  Second, since it is the era from 1868..1918, it is written in Russian as is required and … also in Polish. Take a closer look…

Alegata from October 1885 about ...

This portion is written in Russian (old style Cyrillic). Notice the stamp which shows that a fee/tax was paid and the date: 4th-October-1885. The last words (bigger than the rest) mean.. BIRTH RECCORD. Oh, so this recounts a birth from 1863. To give you a place we read the first three lines …

Gubernia Kieleckie

Uezd Stopnickie

Parish Biechow

This is from the Russian Empire era where this portion of Poland is one of ten gubernias previously from the Duchy of Warsaw (Russian- Partition of Poland also known as Congress Kingdom of Poland before the czar made it direct territories of the Russian Empire which would last until 1918).

The three pages go on to describe the birth of a female child to Marcin Major &  Katarzyna  z  Ozarowiczow. I like that this birth was originally recorded at 7pm (in 1863) and describes a birth from 5am. Such detail! It is commendable that their bureaucrats worked late into the evenings. Oh this is a quote of the birth record of my great-grandmother Aniela born Piestrzec (part of Biechow parish)! Oh so the Polish is a direct transcription from the church record of 20-July-1863.

All that was great! But the third page was a Marriage Certificate. I had waited so long to see my great-grandfather’s marriage certificate. Now I would have a definitive age and his parent’s names. I was disappointed that his age was not listed in the record?? Oh, well I know he was born 1835 +/- 2 years, so his second bride was as young as his children from his first marriage. My 50-ish great-grandfather was married again and I know in 1886 what happens (Stanczyk’s babcia comes along).  It appears Tomasz is the town burgher and a farmer and now Aneila lives in Pacanow, while Tomasz still lives in Biechow. Wait a second, neither set of parents are listed. I know Aniela’s from the first two pages retelling her birth. But I had hoped to learn Tomasz’s parent’s names. Oh, this IS a disappointment!

Now I will have to track down his marriage record from his first marriage and that would be the late 1850’s, an era where no microfilm exists in Biechow. I do not even know where Julianna Kordos was born; I do know her parent’s names and her approximate age — so if I do find her record I will know it is her.

December 16, 2010

Swinary Parish – A Survey of Births 1826-1852

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Once again, I have reviewed the images of the indexes to compile a brief survey of the births in the Swinary parish.  As I posted before this Swinary is in southern Poland:

Świniary – 409 osób(people) woj.:  świętokrzyskie,   powiat: buski,  gmina: Solec-Zdrój,    Polish Postal Code: 28-131
Year Count Of Births
1826 124
1827 111
1828 99
1829 95
1830 96
1831 53
1832 95
1833 92
1834 99
1835 112
1836 94
1837 91
1838 99
1839 111
1840 98
1841 92
1842 114
1843 97
1844 109
1845 86
1846 N/A
1847 N/A
1848 N/A
1849 N/A
1850 80
1851 N/A
1852 86

I do not know what to make of the data. There are years missing and the first year was the highest birth registration. 1831 seems to be an outlier with only 53 births. From reading in books, works in newsletters (like by Dr. Paul Valasek), and in my own grandmother’s parish of Biechow which is very nearby, I know 1831 to be a year of the Cholera epidemic. So perhaps an epidemic limited births (or at least their registration).

From birth records (so this may not be a complete/exhaustive list), we see the following villages make up the Swiniary parish:

Ludwinow, Oblekon, Parchocin, Swiniary, Trzebica, Wlosnowice, and Zielonki .

One final note, this parish was in the old wojewodztwo, Kielce in this era (1826-1852).

Other Surveys of Nearby Parishes, I have previously done:

Biechow 1810
Biechow 1811
Biechow 1812-1831
Pacanow 1883 10 sample births Out Of 203 Births
Pacanow 1884 15 sample
December 12, 2010

Swiniary parish – 1827 Births (a selection)

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

  1. Kasper Rosinski
  2. Agnieszka Kuckowna (Kuc is probable root)
  3. Agnieszka Głosowna
  4. Agnieszka Gubalonka
  5. Agnieszka Fortunianka (Fortuna family name)
  6. Agnieszka Halastrzonka
  7. Maryanna Komarkowna

A note is due here. The names are in chronological order. Kasper being the first baby born in the parish in 1827. When I see clusters of names in a row, I think Polish Name day – Kasper is the 6th of January and Agnieszka is the 21st of January, so perhaps those are the approximate dates for these babies.

  1. Sbastyan Błaydo
  2. Antonina Giolewska
  3. Agata Ciostkowna
  4. Salomea Malinowska
  5. Maciej Wiziaszek
  6. Salomea Wybałowna
  7. Elzbeita Kuzonowna
  8. Maciej Kramarz
  9. Jozef Błaszczyk
  10. Maciej Misior
  11. Maciej Kawalski
  12. Maciej Juszczyk
  13. Jozef Dudek
  14. ? Kiszczanka
  15. Kazimierz Juszczyk

… It continues on from there. This is from an index which was not ordered, except by Akt # (i.e. 1, 2, 3, …). Implicitly that is chronological.  By the way, that flurry of Maciej’s probably occurred around the name day of February 24th. In Stanczyk’s family name day was not utilized to any great consistency. But this parish seems to have some tradition of naming babies by the name day.

Stanczyk has indexes from about 1826-1852. I found my great-grandfather’s first wife’s birth record in 1833. In fact, the microfilm had the Latin Box data (usually copies in Russian-Poland partition) and the Polish Paragraph form for the same years, so I could get the data in both forms. This era uses house numbers (pod numerum) which I have found useful again. My ancestor, Julianna Kordos, was born to her father from his 2nd wife. I see her father having babies with wife #1, then when Julianna and her siblings are born it is to wife #2. Julianna’s father is Adalbertus (Latin form) Kordos and I knew it was him because of the house number was common across wives. So keep your eyes open for other clues sometimes they can provide yet another reason to accept the church record as your ancestor.

Juliana Kordosowna birth index in 1833 (record #34)

Juliana Kordosowna birth index in 1833 (record #34)

December 2, 2010

Christopher Columbus Discovers … He Is POLISH!

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Polonia, this jester is pleased as punch to tell you, that you can now celebrate Columbus Day as well as Pulaski Day, so get out there in September with the Italians and celebrate with pride our newest Pole, Christopher Columbus! Portuguese historian Manuel Rosa has spent the better part of two decades studying the Columbus myth and has now reached a new conclusion, that everything we thought we knew about Columbus was wrong.

First book up on the background articles:

Apparently Columbus’s grandfather was the founder of the Jagiellonian Line of Polish Kings. And his father was Wladislaw III . Wladislaw III was thought to have died at the Battle of Varna in 1444. Luckily for America he survived, found absolution in Palestine for his wrongs, and settled in Portugal, where the Portuguese King gave him land on  the island of Madeira,  and he married Portuguese aristocracy and had two sons (one of which was Columbus).

Now this story makes sense of why Columbus had access to no less than four royal lines who he could approach and propose such a venture of discovering a new path to the Orient (uh America, ummm, the Caribbean Islands). A Book is coming and National Geographic is also interested in the story. Manuel Rosa is now seeking access to DNA to prove his theory. In the mean time, lets see some Polish flags next September at the Columbus Day Holiday Parades and reclaim our prodigal son from the Italians. This will be a nice entre into October (Polish History Month, Pulaski Day celebrations) giving Polonia two months of pride. Also drink some Madiera wines. It appears we can thank our Polish son for this wine appearing in the Americas — a nice red wine. This also adds to the credibility that Columbus was born on the Island of Madiera (a Portuguese territory at the time) and not in Genoa.

November 24, 2010

Milosz, Dlugosz and Eliasz … Shhh

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Czeslaw Milosz (June 30, 1911 – August 14, 2004), the Nobel Prize author,  should have the 100th Anniversary of his birth commemorated, June, next year. I do not know why I took a fancy to this person who took my mind captive. It is probably because he was Polish (and a naturalized American) and his first name was the same as my ojciec (father). That got me to read this man’s works. But what kept me reading his works is his Captivating Mind and his way around the rhythm of language (quite extraordinary to be so  talented in two languages).  So I was reading a book of his, “The History of Polish Literature“; London-New York: MacMillan, 1969. When I read, I am rather immersive, so I read the text and Google the concepts or the author. It provides a richer experience for me. So I noticed that Milosz (or the concept that was Milosz) is about to turn 100!

This jester has many of this writer’s books in his personal library. I chose the Road Side Dog for a picture, because I am a long time dog  aficionado and I have made a reservation, “to let” some of Milosz’s ideas for my own writings. So from my readings today in The History of Polish Literature“, here are a few memes and things for you think upon:

  • Marcholt – The Polish Aesop, particularly the connection to the Wise King Solomon
  • Sowizrzal
  • Melusine
  • Jan Dlugosz ( 1415-1480)

In the above list, the first three are literary characters, while the fourth is a historical figure and writer. His historical writings are  a rich source. See Annales Poloniae.  Jan Dlugosz endeared himself to me by teaching himself Cyrillic in order to be to source info from the Letopisi. So this jester identifies with Dlugosz and his need to read Cyrillic texts to have ready access to Russian information.

Alas, in the partitions of Poland by the three black-eagled Empires,  my ancestors were  mostly in the Russian-Poland partition, so reading Cyrillic handwriting and Russian language (pre 1918 language reforms) became a necessary skill. I think I dislike the Russification of the ELIASZ name into Elijasz. I still remember my Busia teaching me that our last name was in the Old Testament and that we were named for the prophet Elijah. In Polish, it appeared as ELIASZ.  So when I got further into the genealogical research and I saw post-partition Catholic priests change the name into Heliasz and Elijasz, I saw something of a diminishing of respect for its biblical roots. But whether we are ELIASZ or HELIASZ or ELIJASZ or even ELJASZ or ELYASZ. I still see Elijah. In fact, amongst the Slavic peoples, other variations exist: Iliasz, Oliasz, and Uliasz. So now you know, that this jester’s family with the short name (6 characters) of which uncharacteristically,  half of them are vowels is very much Polish with  a very uncommon Polish name.


A Reasonably Complete Bibliography of Czeslaw Milosz can be found in the New World Encyclopedia  article.

October 27, 2010

Romanov Russian Royalty.. oh my

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

This jester has a deep appreciation for Dr. Stephen Morse and his many works, especially those related to genealogy. I have used his One Step Web Page for many years. So it was thrill to meet him at various conferences and I was touched at his kind offer to help  moje zona read her grandparent’s tombstone (alas the jester struggles with his Hebrew language skills). I have followed his recent work to make yet a 3rd generation soundex algorithm (for us Slavics).

Originally, we had American Soundex, which you still see on Immigration documents (mine is E420). Then along came the most excellent Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex which was a vast improvement for those whose heritage was Slavic (mine is 084000) and you would see it on Russian Consular records.  Recently Dr Morse has developed the Bieder-Morse Soundex algorithm which further improves name matches (by eliminating false matches). So my family name would have Bieder-Morse soundex tokens of:  elaS elas [exact match tokens only] . I think only the JewishGen website has implemented that matching.

Now Dr Morse has an article(Genetic Genealogy Revisited) in the APG’s professional journal: “Association of Professional Genealogists QUARTERLY”. It was on the use of genetics in genealogy and he used the Romanov Family mystery as a demonstration of using genetics to solve a question. Now I read in the Current issue of the Smithsonian,  the Resurrecting the Czar, article. It too covers the latest background on murder mystery of Czar Nicholas II and his family and attendants. I found that the two aritcles read together give a fascinating account of the story.

Now this jester is not a fan of the Russian Empire (even though my grandparents and their parents were born into Russian-Poland partition).  The Rus betrayal of Poland not even a century after the great  King Jan Sobieski, the Savior of Vienna [indeed all of Europe],  the “Lion of Lechistan” and  their betrayal again in 1939 at the start of World War II sour my feelings for our brother Rus. So while I enjoyed the two articles read back-to-back, I was appalled by a few “royalists” who want to bring back the monarchy to the Russian Federation. One woman artist actually is hoping for a Russian fascist (to clean up the mess??) followed by a transition back to the monarchy. That would be quite a rewind of history huh?

Czech, Lech and Rus – there is a legend of three brothers that settled central and eastern Europe. Czech went on to found the Czechs and Rus went on to found the Russians. Lech and Lechistan became Poland. So we can see again that monarchies and the battles between them are really nothing more than family squabbles done on a grand scale. By the way both articles mention the British monarchy  and their family connection to the Romanovs (via Hapsburgs).  Canute the Great was a Grandson of Mieszko I (first king of Poland) and of course another ancestor of this jester, the twice king Stanislaw Leszczynski, had a daughter marry into the Bourbons. Alas all of Poland’s goodwill and family relationships could not prevent the Deluge and Poland’s slip from History’s main stage. We will have to content ourselves that Rus and their partitions, produced Kosciuszko and Pulaski and they in turn helped to produce America.

October 16, 2010

Wojtek – The Anders Army (WWII) Fighting Bear Gets A Monument !

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Wojtek fought in World War II for the Polish Army famously in Italy at Monte Cassino. He carried ammunition (heavy artillery shells) for the troops.  Wojtek was a Syrian brown bear cub adopted by soldiers of the 22nd Artillery Supply Company of the Polish II Corps. In 1942, a local boy found a bear cub near Hamadan, Iran. He sold it to the soldiers of the Polish Army stationed nearby for a couple of canned meat tins. As the bear was less than a year old, he initially had problems swallowing and was fed with condensed milk from an emptied vodka bottle. The bear became quite an attraction for soldiers and civilians alike, and soon became an unofficial mascot of all units stationed nearby. Because of this, he was officially drafted into the Polish Army and was listed among the soldiers of the 22nd Artillery Supply Company of the Polish II Corps. [Source:  Wikipedia article]

Happily, this heroic bear survived the war and settled down to live in Edinburgh, Scotland (in the zoo). The bear used to be visited by Polish veterans and they would greet him with some Polish and the bear would sit up and beg for cigarettes!!! Apparently, Wojek, like many army troops like cigarettes and beer. Wojetk finally passed in 1963 (about age 21).

Well I am happy to say that Wojtek is getting a monument in Scotland.  See the article here . He has a Facebook page too. An even better story about Wojtek is here. Back in January 2008, they started to work on honoring this amazing bear and to educate people about Wojtek, according to a BBC article.

October 12, 2010

Count Kazimierz Pulaski

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

With this being National Polish Heritage Month and a good bit about Pulaski being written or even televised and of course the parades, I thought I would add to the milieu of this worthy American.

I said American, because on November 7th, 2009, Count Pulaski became an honorary American citizen, posthumously. It was put forth by Senator (now President) Obama. He is one of only seven individuals so honored, five posthumously. Count Pulaski saved General George Washington’s life with his valor and service, without which there might never have been a USA. It was from this heroic action that he received his Brigadier General commission.

Sadly, the Brigadier General was killed in service to our nation, at the siege of Savannah. His his final resting place is still disputed between a burial at sea and a location in Georgia. He was the Father of the American Calvary. His banner for his legion was created by some Moravian women from Bethlehem, PA. There are nearly 8,000 mentions of “Count Pulaski” in database. Many are in the Continental Papers, but today’s genealogical / historical treasures come from the PA Archives (also in Since this jester now resides in PA, I have included two pages from the PA Archives of the soldiers of Pulaski’s Legion who were from PA.

Pennsylvanians in Pulaski’s Legion:

Captain Henry Bedkin
Quarter-Master John Shrader
Sergeant Richard Laird

Isaac Andrew
John Bentley
Thomas Bond
Frederich Boyer
Richard Cheney
William Coram
Frederich Cook
William Furnshield
Joseph Fogg
William Formshell
Joseph Gale
Benjamin Johnston
Martin Miller
Peter Miller
John Myer
James Rolls
Frederich Ruger
Peter Snyder
Edward Smith
John Smith 3rd
William Sommerlott
Henry Walker
George Ziegler
George Yohe

John Shuler

October 8, 2010

October is National Polish Heritage Month

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

October is our National Polish Heritage Month in the USA. So I thought, how about talking about Polish Name Days. Each day in the calendar is associated with one or more (always more) names. In fact this day is more celebrated than the person’s birth day, in Poland?? It may be more prevalent in Western Poland. A Person may celebrate his birthday, but that is usually a private matter. Whilst,  the name day celebration,  he celebrates with friends or co-workers. This used to derived from the church calendar and its Saints and their feast days. But now name days are largely separate from church calendar.

For more information, please see this Wikipedia article .  Here is the list for October…

Polish Name Days – October

1 Benigna, Cieszysław, Dan, Danisz, Danuta, Igor, Jan, Remigiusz
2 Dionizy, Leodegar, Stanimir, Teofil, Trofim
3 Eustachiusz, Eustachy, Ewald, Gerard, Gerarda, Gerhard,
Heliodor, Józefa, Kandyd, Sierosław, Teresa
4 Edwin, Franciszek, Konrad, Konrada, Manfred, Manfreda, Rozalia
5 Apolinary, Częstogniew, Donat, Donata, Faust, Fides,
Flawia, Igor, Justyn, Konstancjusz, Konstans, Placyd
6 Artur, Artus, Bronisław, Bronisz, Brunon, Emil, Fryderyka,
7 Amalia, Justyna, Marek, Maria, Rościsława, Stefan,
8 Artemon, Bryda, Brygida, Demetriusz, Laurencja, Marcin, Pelagia,
Pelagiusz, Symeon, Wojsława
9 Arnold, Arnolf, Atanazja, Bogdan, Dionizjusz, Dionizy, Jan,
Ludwik, Przedpełk
10 Franciszek, German, Kalistrat, Lutomir, Paulin, Tomił
11 Aldona, Brunon, Burchard, Dobromiła, Emil, Emilian,
Emiliusz, Germanik, Maria, Marian, Placydia
12 Cyriak, Eustachiusz, Eustachy, Grzymisław, Maksymilian,
Ostap, Salwin, Serafin, Witołd, Witold, Witolda
13 Daniel, Edward, Gerald, Geraldyna, Maurycy, Mikołaj,
Siemisław, Teofil
14 Alan, Bernard, Dominik, Dzierżymir, Fortunata, Kalikst,
15 Brunon, Gościsława, Jadwiga, Sewer, Tekla, Teresa
16 Ambroży, Aurelia, Dionizy, Florentyna, Galla, Gallina,
Gaweł, Gerard, Gerarda, Gerhard, Grzegorz, Radzisław
17 Lucyna, Małgorzata, Marian, Sulisława, Wiktor,
18 Julian, Łukasz, René
19 Ferdynand, Fryda, Pelagia, Pelagiusz, Piotr, Siemowit,
Skarbimir, Toma, Ziemowit
20 Budzisława, Irena, Jan Kanty, Kleopatra, Wendelin, Witalis
21 Bernard, Celina, Dobromił, Elżbieta, Hilary,
Klemencja, Pelagia, Pelagiusz, Urszula, Wszebora
22 Abercjusz, Filip, Halka, Kordelia, Kordula, Przybysława, Sewer
23 Iga, Ignacja, Ignacy, Jan, Marlena, Odilla, Roman, Seweryn,
Teodor, Włościsław, Żegota
24 Antoni, Boleczest, Filip, Hortensja, Marcin, Rafaela,
Rafał, Salomon
25 Bończa, Bonifacy, Chryzant, Daria, Inga, Kryspin, Maur,
Sambor, Taras, Teodozjusz, Wilhelmina
26 Dymitriusz, Ewaryst, Eweryst, Łucjan, Lucyna, Ludmiła,
27 Frumencjusz, Iwona, Sabina, Siestrzemił, Wincenty
28 Juda, Szymon, Tadeusz, Wszeciech
29 Euzebia, Franciszek, Longin, Longina, Lubogost, Narcyz, Teodor,
30 Alfons, Alfonsyna, Angel, Angelus, Edmund, Klaudiusz,
Przemysław, Sądosław, Zenobia
31 Alfons, Alfonsyna, Antoni, Antonina, August, Augusta, Godzimir,
Godzisz, Lucylla, Łukasz, Saturnin, Saturnina, Urban, Wolfgang
October 3, 2010

Russian Poland 1867-1875

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk, was traipsing through some archives this week for the Suwalki gubernia. In particular, the parish records for Wizajny . One thing I noticed was how complete the church records are. It was very complete (the Roman Catholic records) from 1808-1884. It is too bad that my ancestors did not come from this parish !   However, if your surname is Narkiewicz, your ancestors do — how fortunate for you.

So I was reading the church books (or the microfilm anyway) for 1867-1875. Well as you may or may not know 1868 is the year the Czar proclaimed that the Polish records in Vistula Land gubernias (formerly Congress Kingdom of Poland and  Grand Duchy of Warsaw before that) be written in Russian forever more (or at least until 1918 which signaled the end of Russian occupation of Poland — and the records returned to being kept in Polish). So this multi-lingual,  genealogical jester was reading Polish in 1867. As the calendar year flipped over, I was wondering if the next year (1868) would be in Polish or Russian — i.e. how fast did the Czar’s ukase get implemented. I was surprised twice. 1868 started off being written in Polish, but about half way along, the church records swithced over to be written in Russian.

So 1867 was all Polish. Then 1868 was about a half year in  Polish and half year in Russian. By 1869, all of the records were in Russian. I was always curious about this. because in the ancestral parishes of my grandparents, there were no records available from this era (only 1875-1884 on LDS microfilm). In case, you were wondering, the format was paragraph format, still written in the manner prescribed by Napoleon’s Codex. Let me point out a not so obvious bonus to American Polonia.

Because you can read the Polish records for the period immediately before 1868, you can learn the family surnames and village names of your parish as they were in Polish and this will help you translate the Russian surnames. Having a familiarity of the village names means you need not struggle with the transliteration from Russian/Cyrillic to Polish/Latin before making your best attempt to “translate” the proper nouns.

Have a Happy October, which is the National Month of Polish Heritage in the United States.

September 16, 2010

Poland’s Archival Website Databases

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

The United States has its own National Archives (NARA). Well so too does Poland and for the European nations their archives go back centuries!   Today I want to speak about the home land’s archiwum. Poland’s archive is on the Internet, po angielskiu is at:

If you get the Polish version (po polskiu), just click on the British Union Jack flag and you can see the English language version. Now I am jabbering about this today, because the PGSCTNE sent me their newsletter yesterday and in it was an article by Kahlile Mehr (whose presentations I have enjoyed many times).  In it he speaks about the European archives on the Internet. So I posted on my avatar’s LinkedIn page a discussion, in Polish Genealogists,  to see how many people have availed themselves of the Polish Archive’s databases.

Now I have used the Pradziad database before to see what kind of vital records are held in archives (and those archive locations) for the parishes in Poland that Stanczyk’s ancestors come from (Biechow, Pacanow, etc.). I have from time to time tried to garner something of value from the Sezam database over the years to no avail. Well there are also  IZA and ELA databases. Go here to see the four databases covering Poland’s State Archives. Now Kahlile’s article published in PGSCTNE’s “Pathways & Passages” newsletter talked about ELA and he said you could find “residence books” in ELA. Now these are not historical directories, but are inventories of families residing in some village (not necessarily parish) for some year(s). So I searched this database for my villages (including those villages that were NOT the parish).

I got a lot of hits. The titles were in Polish. Ok Stanczyk, trohe rozumiem po polskiu. So to make sure I understood the titles returned I would cut and paste them into Google’s Translator, which does well enough to give me the gist of what I will find in these “fonds”. It even gives me the contact info for the archive location holding said title/fond.

I love Pradziad and it definitely helps me plan for research in Poland. But now I am beginning to get a little savvy with ELA. I did find some possibilities. But I found one extraordinary nugget that I must go see. I found a Cadastral Map document for one of my ancestral villages. These are like the historical USA, Plat Maps which list land owners. Now I was surprised because Stanczyk’s ancestors come from the part of Poland that was in the Russian partition of Poland (often denoted, Russian-Poland, in US Census or Ellis Island Ship Manifests). I was surprised because I was told that Cadastrals were mainly in the Austrian or Prussian partitions of Poland. Now to be sure, my ancestor’s villages were just across the Vistula (Wisla) from the Austrian partition and for a few years were a part of the Krakow wojewodztwo (or departement in the Grand Duchy of Warsaw). So I guess they did a Cadastral map for this village. Now I know it exists and I must go see it.

So Khalile, let me just say, “THANKS!”

You should go search the Pradziad, ELA and IZA and SEZAM databases. Oh, you do not need to worry about diacriticals in your searches. In fact. I recommend you leave them out rather than use the wrong one or miss one.  I tried it both ways, as Pacanow and as Pacanów. Both returned the exact same results. Likewise for other villages I tried. So fire up Google (or whatever translator you prefer) and go search and discover what treasures are in Poland’s State Archives.

Do not forget about the Church Archives or the actual Parish’s books or the USC offices. But at least the Polish State Archives have their library catalogs on the Internet.

September 7, 2010

Komunikat z Konsulatu Polskiego

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Communications with the Polish Consulate

Communications with the Polish Consulate

Stanczyk, apologizes for being derelict of duty. Has it really been 2.5 months? Much has happened since my twin daughter Valeria died, that required Stanczyk’s attentions.  Oddly it is another death that happened 80 years ago that caught my attention, as I try to muse along.

I was reviewing some digital pictures I took years ago of a January 22nd, 1930 newspaper page that contained some columns posted by the Polish Consulate in Detroit. Stanczyk has long been a fan of the Dziennik Polski and I have just this Labor Day weekend, posted an update to my index of Polish peoples whose names appeared in the Dziennik Polski newspaper in various columns (birth announcements, funeral cards, marriage announcements, divorce announcements, class pictures from local High Schools, and even Polish Consulate postings). So this muse added another 64 names to my index (over 20,100) people now:

It has been two years between updates (this fool’s Mac died, just before the economy died). So I have finally gathered a sundry of  open source (i.e free) tools to edit/post files to web sites on an MS Windows laptop (distasteful). So look for future updates.

At any rate, I found a Kędzierski who may or may not be related to a family that my grand-uncle Jan married into listed. This caught my eye and also a communique about a Marjanna Skowronkówna. It appears her family in Poland (via the court in Jaslo in Krakow area) are trying to determine for certain her death. This woman was the daughter of Jan Skowron and his wife Barbara nee  Filasow, was born 1st October 1866. She came to America the second time in March of 1913 (remember this is a 1930 newspaper posting) and the family has heard nothing since 1914 when she was last known to be a housekeeper for Greek-Catholic priest, V, Dobry in Uniontown, PA. As I said, this was posted 22-January-1930 issue of Dziennik Polski, in Detroit, MI [in case an ancestor reads/Googles this blog].

Now the above was written in Polish (I used Google Translate to help me), so it was not the fact of a daughter being deceased unbeknownst to her family that caught my eye, but the fact that her birth date, her parents’ names and  her birth place were given. What immensely valuable genealogical data can be found in these Polish Consulates communiques!

Now as for Pawel Kędzierski,  a relative of his living in France, named Michal Kędzierski, was looking for him. They gave Pawel’s last known address as the state of Ohio. Note to Fool, check to see if these Polish Consulate postings appeared simultaneously through out USA Polish newspapers; I say this since we see Ohio and Uniontown, PA being written about in a Detroit, MI newspaper.

For those who read Polish fluently here is the clip of Marjanna Skowronkowna’s communique:

June 5, 2010

Congressional Record

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Ok, perhaps you think that Washington D.C. has a rather large concentration of fools/jesters/harlequins and this is merely Stanczyk pandering some professional courtesy to his Professional peers. I can hardly blame you for thinking them like myself.  The difference is that they get paid to be fools and Stanczyk  is just an amateur. Of course, if you want Stanczyk for the Senate, write me  in this fall in PA’s senate race. Then Stanczyk too can be a professional fool and surely I can do no worse.

I was lamenting the Library of Congress changing their links again and breaking my web pages.  As many of you know, I have a web page on Dziennik Polski (the Detroit daily Polish language newspaper). This jester is rather fond of newspapers for their value in their historical context and for their use in genealogy. So I was reviewing my web page when I noticed the LOC link broke again. Damn! I am fixing that.

I did a little googling to find the new page. Instead I stumbled across the Congessional Record itself. Fortunately, I had written, the 108th Congress, 29-September-2004, and page S9931 in my article on the web. This was enough for me to locate the exact page in the actuall Congressional Record which available online (1998-present). Here is the link:

So your research experiment is to:

  1. select Archived Tables (pick 2004, click on “Go” button.
  2. scroll down to number 120 (which equates to 29-September, 2004) click on the link in Senate column: S9867
  3. this loads a PDF document. Scroll to bottom type in field next to Go to page button, then type S9931 and click

This will have to suffice, until I fix my link. At least you can find my reference and more importantly, it is a valuable resource for research (albeit primarily on the doings of fools in D.C.). Be a good electorate and read…then vote informed with FACTS not the current rhetoric that tries to masquerade as facts when its is just a freak show misrepresentation. The circus is always in town and right now the clowns run amok.

May 12, 2010

Dziennik Polski [Detroit]

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Dziennik Polski 1924Dziennik Polski (“Polish Daily”). Many times this has been used as a title for a local  Polish language newspaper. This jester originally came from Detroit, MI where we too had such a newspaper. One day I was having a meal  with mój ojciec (my father). I had decided to go to the Library of the State of Michigan in Lansing the next day and I was going to do my first foray into reading an historical newspaper on microfilm. The newspaper I selected was Dziennik Polski; I am not even certain why I chose that newspaper, perhaps it was an article I read in the PGSM’s Eaglet newsletter. Now Michigan was blessed with many Polish language newspapers:

And those were just from Wayne County. I was going to try and find the birth announcements for my father and his siblings and perhaps I’d also find some death notices too.


At any rate, as we eat a meal together I told my father that I was going to the State Library and perhaps read some newspapers. Out of the blue and for the first time, my father tells the family how his mother, Walerya, used to read the Dziennik Polski newspaper! What serendipity he mentioned the exact newspaper I was going to research. So I was armed with birth dates and off I went secure in the knowledge that my new idea would be successful. For if my busia read the newspaper, then surely she must have put announcements into to it too. Now the more experienced genealogists are probably laughing at that naiveté. Well I did not find my father’s birth being announced. However, I did find my uncle Thaddeus’ birth being announced and the street address was one my father had recalled to me in an earlier conversation. Well you can imagine I was hooked on this charming little Polish language newspaper.

I was certain, that I’d find my great uncle Jan’s death announcement – but I did not have the date, just that it was after my grandfather’s death (06-January-1930). So I would just gut it out and search this newspaper for all of the 1930’s decade until I found him. By now you must realize that this  is a daunting task. Each microfilm contains about 2-3 months of newspapers and I found I could do one microfilm in a single day. By my math I would need 40 days at the Library or possibly on average maybe only 20 days. Of course, I no longer lived in Michigan, so that posed a problem. Of course, they also did not have every day on the microfilm either, so it just might not be on the microfilm. Finally, it was during the Great Depression, so death announcements would not be there unless you paid for them; That was certainly going to be a problem for my widowed grandmother with 7 kids to feed.

Well Stanczyk is still pursuing this enterprise, albeit more slowly due to the tough economic times. I enjoy the genealogy and also the history preserved in these newspapers. I also get some kind of surreal connection to my grandmother by putting myself in her place and reading these historical newspapers in her native tongue. I have painstakingly gathered some expertise on this newspaper and gathered info the PGSM Eaglet, my own research and the work of the PGSCTNE and have built an index now with over 20,000 names. Because this is a Polish language newspaper, it is largely a story of the Poles who settled in Detroit, MI (and of course Hamtramck). I have that index and my collected research available here on Rootsweb website:  Dziennik Polski .

Read your local newspaper or that of your grandmother’s. Read the Second World War, through your grandmother’s eyes. It is horrific to see Hitler and Stalin splashed across the pages of the 1920’s and 1930’s and to know that they eventually will collectively kill nearly 40 million people – back then, for busia  it was news, now for this jester it is history. History carries a much greater impact when read through the context of your ancestors and the newspapers of their lives.

March 20, 2010


by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Pacanow Church circa 1918

Stanczyk’s dziadkowie (grandparents) came from Biechow and Pacanow parishes. Each of those two parishes had a few others villages that made up the parish. It is my fondest dream that I should return to these ancestral towns and see the churches, cemeteries, libraries, Urzad Stanu Ciwilego (USC which are roughly equivalent to a County Clerk’s Office in the USA). Not to mention visit a couple of archives too.

My grandfather, Jozef Eliasz (aka Elijasz) and his father Jozef and his father Marcin were from Pacanow. Other families from Pacanow parish,  like the Wlecialowskich who married into the Eliasz family and who also came to America and lived across the road from my grandmother Valeria’s farm. My grandfather Jozef help build Ciotka Rosie’s farmhouse (really a barn) with her husband Adam Gawlikowski. Ciotka Rosie (nee Wlecialowski) had a mother named Katarzyna Eliasz, who was my grandfather’s aunt. There was also Kedzierski family that my grandfather’s older brother, Jan Eliasz married into and some Kedzierskis also came to America. Funny, Stanczyk even found a friend, amongst the professional genealogists, the multi-talented Ceil Wendt Jensen whose Zdziepko ancestors came from Pacanow and settled in the Detroit area. So in a way the Polish diaspora from the parish of Pacanow reformed in Detroit (and Toledo, and Buffalo, and I am sure other Great Lake states).

Miraculous Cross

Stanczyk wants to visit Pacanow’s church (Sw. Marcin / St. Martin) as a pilgrimage. The picture,  near the top of this column, is the church as my grandfather would have known it (circa 1918). I wonder if my grandfather and his family helped in one of the many rebuilds or expansions of  the church. My grandfather, Jozef, was a carpenter and he built a steeple on Corpus Christi Church in Detroit.

This church whose cross has been a source for pilgrims to worship due to its uniqueness dating back to the middle ages,  has one more chapter. During World War II, something miraculous happened in that church. It was partially destroyed, all but the section that had the agonizing Jesus upon this sacred cross. The Russian soldiers were going to finish their godless work and tear it down. When they attempted to pull the cross down, they were blinded multiple times, until they ran away (these Bolshevik atheists) and witnesses heard them scream that the God in Pacanow is very strong. Imagine that miraculous event in my family’s ancestral church!

I am hopeful to see this church which has recently been recognized by the Vatican as a minor Basilica. It is a beautiful icon and has some church relics around it.

December 16, 2009

Anioł Stróz – Guardian Angel

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Guardian Angel

Guardian Angel

Anioł Stróz, once I translated this phrase and found it meant, “Guardian Angel”, I immediately had multiple themes (or is it memes)  for this blog.

How many times have you felt that a beloved relative who has passed, was aiding you in finding answers to your genealogical research? I know I have felt this to be the case and I have heard other genealogists say the same. That is one kind of guardian angel — for us genealogists.

I have also felt fortunate to be saved from a few “close calls”. Once, immediately after being saved from a collision with a deer. My radio played some music with the lyric “saved by an angel”. How spooky is that? That is the kind of guardian angel most of us think of. The benevolent, ethereal kind that saves us from harm.

Today, however, I have started blogging about my father’s prayer book, which had this title in Polish.  I will post a picture of the prayer book and the prayers cards I found inside it  — as soon as I replace my broken Mac. This genealogical memento is a treasure for me as it connects me to my father and his religious studies from when he was just a little boy.  Also, because of the cards and inscription, I have an extra memory of my paternal grandmother in the form of her handwriting.

It is not one of those fabled family Bibles that had many generations of ELIASZ or LESZCZYNSKI with birth, marriage and death dates.  It was my father’s prayer book, but it is my connection to him (bless his heart he is now 83 years old with two older brothers still alive — real family treasures) and it is my connection to his mother Walerya Leszczynska Eliasz.

Chester Eliasz was born at home, in Detroit, MI in 1926. On, 6/24/1928 he was baptised at Corpus Christi Church – 2291 East Outer Drive, Detroit, MI. This is the same church where my grandfather Joseph Eliasz built the Bell Tower. His  God Parents were: Wladislaw Gronek & Janina Leszczynska [I do not even know who Janina was/is). As a boy, Chester attended Immaculate Conception Church in Hamtramck as a boy. {near his Craig St home  — no longer existent due to Poletown Plant}. On 6/5/1938: he made his 1st Holy Communion, while he lived at 6468 Craig Street [from prayer book] @ St Johns Church on East Grand Blvd, Detroit. It is this Anioł Stróz that I hold and blog about now (12/18/2009).

As I draw to a close in 2009, I do think upon my genealogical guardian angel(s), who have helped me find, many Polish church records from the parishes in Biechow and in Pacanow. In 2009, my Anioł Stróz were many real people as well as the many spiritual kind, who helped me acquire amongst other treasures: my grandfather’s birth record from Pacanow (and a few of his siblings), my grandparent’s marriage record from Biechow  and other treasures that solved puzzles connecting the ELIASZ family to Gawlik {owski} family via the Wlecialowskich (i.e. Rosa Wlecialowski Gawlikowski — whose mother was Katarzyna Eliasz). That is nice!

Ciotka Rosie and her family lived across the street (Fairchild Rd) from my grandmother’s farm in MI. This time of year they would come Christmas Eve and sing a Christmas carol outside my grandmother’s farmhouse [when I was just a young, impressionable boy, circa 1960’s]. At the time, I was told they are friends of the family. Now in 2009, I find they too are part of the ELIASZ family and that my “cousin”, Kim Gawlik Kowalski, the genealogist from TN,  is actually a real 4th cousin of mine.

Merry Christmas, Eliasz, Leszczynski, Gawlikowski, Wlecialowski and even Gronek, Sobieszczanski, Mylek, and Mrozek too — wherever we all are this 2009! May our family trees cross in the coming year!

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 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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