Posts tagged ‘Polish’

August 17, 2011

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

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

  • Boleslaw Wlecialowski
  • Wlodzimierz Kendzierski
  • Pawel Elijasz

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

Wlecialowski

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

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

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

Boleslaw Wlecialowski Haller’s Army Form: A

Boleslaw Wlecialowski Haller’s Army Form: C

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

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

Kendzierski

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

Wlodzimierz Kedzierski

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

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

Elijasz

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let Stanczyk know!

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August 14, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy – Haller’s Army (aka Blue Army / Polish Army in France) [part 2]

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Gentle readers, today’s article is about the many genealogical or personal ties to the history of Haller’s Army. The focus is on what the genealogist may want to pursue to flesh out his/her family tree.

Background

The era was World War I  (1914-1918) and the world was mad with war and carnage and pestilence. There were 16.5 million deaths and 21 million wounded making it the 6th deadliest conflict (or possibly 2nd/3rd worse if you include the Flu Pandemic deaths). [See: this cheery web page on the estimate of Wars, Pandemics, Disasters,  and Genocides that caused the greatest number of deaths.] Out of this madness, was an army of diaspora Poles formed, of which over 25,0001

came from the US via a US sanctioned formation of a foreign force, which had to be constituted in Canada due to USA fears and its isolationist policies that limited President Wilson.

These brave 25,000 men were added to another contingent of 35,000 Polish men formed largely from prisoners of war from the German and Austria-Hungarian armies inside France,  who were now willing to fight against Central Powers as a part of the Allied/Central Powers.  They fought bravely in World War I,  before the USA entered the war and for nearly four more years (1918-1922) after World War I officially ended in the Polish-Bolshevik War (aka Polish-Soviet War).

Poster — from wiki

More Background can be found here (Haller’s Army website) or at the wiki page (Blue Army).

Registration Centers

The recruitment centers were in the Polish Falcons centers. The Polish Falcons were called the Związek Sokołów Polskich w Ameryce (ZSP)  and this is what you will find on Haller’s Army enlistment forms. The Polish Falcons still exist and are headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA. There are reportedly 115 Polish Falcon Nests across 15 states. Each Nest has its own history that it maintains.

PGSA Database

The Polish Genealogical Society of America (PGSA.org) maintains a database of the Haller’s Army registrations that can be searched for your ancestor(s). It is free to search and there is a modest charge to get a copy of the actual documents. The search page is here: (http://www.pgsa.org/haller.php) . These documents are archived by the Polish Museum of America in Chicago. This data is also on LDS Microfilm by region see this page for details .

There are three types of forms. These forms are in Polish. You need not worry about that as the PGSA offers example forms in English (FormA | FormC) in PDF format.  On the forms you find the following info:

  • Form A is an intention to volunteer and contains the name, address, age, and marital status.
  • Form B is a medical examination report for the volunteer.
  • Form C is the final commitment paper. It includes date and place of birth and usually the name and address of a parent or other close relative.  The Form’s family notes include close family in USA and in Poland.

Returning Soldiers

The Allies issued medals to their victorious soldiers so you may have in your family heirlooms one of these. This website has an index of the various medals (with images). Many of the websites whose links are in this article also have pictures of men in uniforms — which included their distinctive hats.

We tend to think the soldiers were all Polish men and that these men were Catholics, but our Polish-Jewish brethren also served in Haller’s Army. This page from Polish Roots is about the Jewish soldiers who served and provides a table of many of the men known to be Jewish.

The ship manifests in Ellis Island record the return Haller’s Army soldiers, who returned en masse. You can see the soldiers who are listed on pages together with a note on the bottom, “Reservists”. That notation should eliminate any confusion with other possible passengers/crew members. The soldiers returning from the European theater are known to have arrived via Ellis Island on the following ships:

  • SS Antigone (from Danzig – April 18, 1920)
  • SS Princess Matoika (from Danzig – May 23, 1920)
  • SS Pocahontas (from Danzig – June 16, 1920)
  • SAT  Mercury (US Army Transport), from Danzig, June 16, 1920 / arrived in New York, June 28 1920
  • SS President Grant (from Danzig) – February 16, 1921
  • SS Latvia  – August 17, 1922

 Links to the Ship Manifests

http://bit.ly/rlVaaQ  SS Princess Matoika from Danzig in 1920 [more dates than shown above] 4253 Returning Troops

http://bit.ly/p3ViM2 SS Pocahontas from Danzig  in 1920 [please note the ship name is P-O-C-A-H-O-N-T-A-S. It was misspelled on the PGSA.org website].   4199 Returning Troops

http://bit.ly/nwYwsx SAT Mercury from Danzig June 1920.  2074 Returning Troops

http://bit.ly/n6YRot SS Antigone from Danzig April 1920. 1628 Returning Troops

http://goo.gl/F48dg5 SS President Grant from Danzig February1921. ~1900 Returning Troops3

http://bit.ly/pGwQa5 SS Latvia from Danzig  August 1922. 1517 Returning Troops

Returning passage – Payment of passage was split between the Polish and United States Governments. [see column 16] on ship manifest. It appears some soldiers returned with wives and children too [so those numbers above are not all soldiers].

One more connection. Similar to  the VFW for US veterans, there is a Polish-American organization in NYC called POLISH ARMY VETERANS ASSOCIATION2

They (PAVA  or SWAP) have genealogical data from their membership forms. According to Dr Valasek, the membership application for the association has the usual, date, place of birth, current address, and occupation; It also had something most descendants of Hallerczycy desperately want to know:  the unit in which the man fought, and his rank upon leaving the army. There is also the identification of which post the soldier joined.  Each post has its own history, as well as photos, banquet books, anniversary booklets, etc. All valuable adjuncts to your research once you identify the correct post, (or, as it’s known in Polish, placówka). There is also a question on the form, Do jakich organizacji należy? , to what organizations does he belong. More avenues for research.

Fallen Soldiers

In any war, there are casualties. Haller’s Army is no different. Stanczyk likes this Polish Genealogical Society (http://genealodzy.pl/name-Straty.phtml) named aptly, The Polish Genealogical Society. They have many databases, but they have search front-ends for two related to Haller’s Army. The one from the link above is for:  List of Casualties of the Polish Army, killed in action or died from wounds from the years 1918-1920.

With this link I was finally able to determine that one of my ancestors who was in America up through the 1910 census, but was missing from the 1920/1930 censuses, whom I had previously thought had returned to Poland — had really died while serving in Haller’s Army. I found his Haller’s Army Forms at PGSA and then from this Polish website I found a scanned image of a Polish book listing his name, date/place of death.

Soldier Benefits

Some soldiers who came to America who served in Haller’s Army, earned benefits from the new Polish nation. I have seen land grants awarded (not to my ancestors). They often had to be contacted through the Polish Consulates in America. This leads to my final recommendation — using Historical Polish Language Newspapers from that era to find out about your soldier. The newspaper may write about the returning units in a story and possibly a picture. I have also seen that the Polish Consulate took out listings in the newspaper and referred to Haller’s Army veterans they were seeking to inform them of their veteran benefits. See my Dziennik Polski (Detroit) page at the top menu-tabs for an example what these Polish Consulate ads might look like.

Let me finish today’s article by mentioning Dr. Paul S. Valasek’s book on the subject matter: Haller’s Polish Army in France http://www.amazon.com/Hallers-Polish-Army-France-Valasek/dp/0977975703 and also another book entitled: Remembrance http://www.hallersarmy.com/store/Remembrance.php. written by Charles Casimer Krawczyk.

Tomorrow … Haller’s Army in My Family Tree

–Stanczyk

Notes:

1=Polish Falcons History page . Paul Valasek says the number is above 24,000. The wikipedia says the number is 23,000.

2=PAVA,   address: 119 East 15th Street,  New York,  NY 10003   –   e-mail:  <info@pava-swap.org>,  telephone:  212-358-0306

3= The addition of the President Grant came about from a Newspaper Article mentioned by Daniel Wolinski. A picture of the article has been appended after these notes.

FortDixNJ_HallersArmy_Returnees_1921

August 10, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy – Finding a 3rd Cousin …

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Petronella Elijasz Zwolska

 

Subsequent to writing my posts upon Social Network Analysis (SNA) in which my research predicted three siblings of my great-grandfather Jozef Elijasz (son of Martin Elijasz & Anna Zasucha). The three new siblings (proposed and which will now be researched) are: Ludwik Elijasz (most likely), Petronella Elijasz Zwolski, and Tekla Elijasz Wojtys.

In one of those cognitive resonance situations, a 3rd cousin, a genealogist from Ancestry.com contacted and sent me some pictures of my 2great-grand aunt Petronella Elijasz.

I would dearly like to thank, Marilynne for her kindness in sending me her ancestor’s picture.  Since our common ancestor is Martin (aka Marcin) Elijasz, that makes her my third cousin. I do not believe that Marilynne actually read my blog and found me via the SNA postings. So as I maintain this is just one of those cognitive resonance happenings. But this is why not just pursing the direct lineal descent line, but some  parallel branches is also important. Genealogy is a fascinating way to find out, “Who Do You Think You Are?”.

–Stanczyk

July 21, 2011

#Russian – #Poland #Genealogy : Swiniary Birth Index 1826

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Julianna Kordos - Birth (ur.) 04-May-1833

Stanczyk has a great-grandfather by the name Tomasz Leszczynski. Old Tomasz, whose hands were big as hams, was a shoemaker and an innkeeper. Old Tomasz lived to be 104 years old. All cousins, no matter how distant agree their parents/grandparents, said Tomasz lived to be 104. That is a lot. More than Sto Lat. He lived a lot of life (from about 1836 – 1940) and saw a lot of tumultuous events. He was also married twice.

I am related to Tomasz’s through his second wife,  Aniela Major (My-Yore or My-Yur, mispelled in America as Meyer). I have this Catholic church wedding record from the Alegata. So I know their wedding date and her parents (why are no parents listed for old Tomasz?). I also have the church records of Julianna Kordos (his first wife)’s death (zmarl) from 27-November-1881 in Pacanow. So I was searching the parishes around Biechow and Pacanow when I stumbled upon a dusty tome from Swiniary.  Lo and Behold, good readers,  I did find Julianna Kordosiowna’s birth record in Swiniary. I know it is hers, because her parents were listed in her death record and here they are as the proud parents of baby Julianna, who was born (ur.) 4-May-1833 in Oblekon, Swiniary parish, Swietokrzyskie, Poland (old woj. Kielce). As it turns out, Julianna was the first born child of this marriage (Wojciech Kordos & Wiktorya Chalastra). So it should come as no surprise to any genealogist,  that I found her parent’s marriage record the year before in 1832 in Swiniary parish.

Well I wanted to publish some Swiniary indexes to celebrate my good fortune and perhaps to locate others related to this line of Kordos and my Leszczynski line. So here is the Swiniary Parish Birth Index from 1826 (roku):

# First Name Last Name
1 Kasper Stanek
2 Kasper ?szyk
3 Agnieszka ?owna
4 Jozef P ?? l ? k
5 Maciej Szczepanek
6 Jozef ?
7 Sebastjan i Agnieszka Rosi?nscy
8 Maciej Kolodziej
9 Maciej Klosek
10 Dorota Gawlowna
11 M/ G?
12 Dorota Liebionka
13 Agata Sokolowszonka
14 Agata Gmyrowna
15 Maciej Skolbania
16 Jozef Dyrdul
17 Jozefa Turinowa
18 Ma?? Malik
19 Agnieszka Pokasianka
20 Katarzyna Wieczorkowna
21 Franciszka Banionka
22 Maryanna Orlowska
23 Maryanna Gadiewska
24 Franciszka Doroska
25 Kazimierz Biskup
26 Zofia Dudkowna
27 Jozef Janoski
28 Jozef Pisarczyk
29 Jozef Stanek
30 Jozef Jankowski
31 Jozef Plecka
32 Franciszka Kawionka
33 Jozefa Banasowna
34 Wojciech Mazur
35 Agnieszka Szufranowna
36 Wojciech Stanek
37 Maryanna Kloskowna
38 Wojciech Szurpala
39 Katarzyna Dynakowna
40 Katarzyna Kawina
41 Wojciech Kania
42 Wojciech Uchwal
43 Jozefa Biskupowna
44 Antonina Szekogorska
45 Franciszka Jos??owna
46 Katarzyna Sosionowna
47 Stanislaw Juda
48 Stanislaw Zaniej
49 Stanislaw Uzydlo
50 Zofia ?
51 Stanislaw Dyrdul
52 Stanislaw Kuron
53 Stanislaw Podzszen
54 Helena Ksiabiodowna (sp?)
55 Helena Nowakowna
56 Antoni Przybycien
57 Malgorzata Mislanka
58 Malgorzata Rybakowna
59 Antoni Kaszoski
60 Antoni Starosciak
61 Antoni Janusziewicz
62 Jan Durek
63 Malgorzata Dabielka
64 Malgorzata Skowron
65 Antoni Bzepecki (sp?)
66 Magdalena Kosior?
67 Anna Kossterzanka
68 Antoni Zioladkiewicz
69 Maryanna Woytalowna
70 Malgorzata Marzalowna
71 Magdalena Ztoadziowna
72 Piotr Habinas
73 Adam Czekiej
74 Anna Klionczakowna
75 Maryanna Skowronowna
76 Maryanna Dulakowna
77 Anna Sowianka
78 Franciszka Kloskowna
79 Katarzyna Izdneralowna
80 Wawrzeniec Durek
81 Helena Gmyrowna
82 Bartlomai Juszczyk
83 Bartlomai i Katarzyna Babina
84 Bartlomai Sobieczkada
85 Stanislaw Stanek
86 Roza Sikorzanka
87 Wiktorya Dydluka
88 Szczepan Wizbicki
89 Michal Mieswiodonski
90 Stanislaw Sakowna (sp?)
91 Jadwiga Skowronska
92 Jadwiga Dudayczykowna
93 Michal Uchwal
94 Jadwiga Gawlowna
95 Jadwiga Szu?
96 Jadwiga Zey?
97 Jadwiga Tomarska
98 ? Gad?
99 Marcin ?
100 Mikolaj Widoski (sp?)
101 Barbara Polakowna
102 Jedrzej Dabrowski
103 Mikolaj i Jedrzej Dal?ow
104 Jedrzej Byla
105 Maryanna Zaskowna
106 Katarzyna Juszczykowna
107 Helena Nowakowna
108 Jedrzej Scliga
109 Ambrocy Skolbania
110 Mikolaj Orzimek
111 Lucija Witorzynowna
112 Sebastjan Siwiek
113 Szczepan Kasperak
114 Tomasz Jadel
115 Szczepan Soja
116 Szczepan Witdoczyk
117 Szczepan Kasperak
118 Szczepan Gebala
119 Agnieszka Golkdunca (sp?)
120 Sebastjan Juda
121 Agnieszka Czekasiowna
122 Sebastjan Wawrzeniec
123 Agnieszka Plakowna
124 Franciszka Durziowna
July 17, 2011

#ThingsIFind when looking up other things … Stanislaw Lem, 1956, Przekroj

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

I think I have a new repeating meme. Its called, #ThingsIFind looking up other things. I guess being a court jester, I  like to laugh. So this magazine/newspaper article tickled my fancy. It is from a magazine named, Przekroj in 1956. I am taking its name to mean “Cross-Section” (please can a native Pole or someone else  fluent in Polish correct me). I did not think this magazine would answer my research question, but I could not resist the cover’s picture of Polish Bison. Now Stanczyk has always had a penchant for fiction and who doesn’t cut their teeth on science fiction, so when I saw “Stanislaw Lem“, I knew him from when I used to buy Sci-Fi books. What intrigued me was the little illustration to his article. Such whimsy!

Here’s the link in case you are interested:  http://mbc.malopolska.pl/dlibra/doccontent?id=59127&dirids=1

July 17, 2011

Pacanów – The Church and A Tip.

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

St. Martin - Pacanów Church about 1918

Stanczyk, writes about Pacanów and Biechów … a lot! These are my ancestral villages. I have never been there, but they are in my very bones.

Today’s picture is from the World War I era of Pacanow and its church area. Today Sw. Marcin is now a minor basilica. The church is such a part of Poland and its history. It is also a major part of its families’ histories. Without the Church, there would be very little in the way of genealogy. As you can see the image is from Poland’s National Digital Archive (NAC). Remember I wrote about these archives, right?

I write about these two parishes, each of which has many villages that comprise their individual parishes. My reason is simple. I am always in search of others whose family history is also from these two parishes.

I have had some success in seeking out these people. For example, I met a good friend Jacek (from Krakow) at a Polish Genealogy website: genealodzy.pl  . I also met the wonderful, Elzbiety (Heliasz nee) Kapusta. She spoke no English and I am NOT fluent in Polish, but armed with Google Translator and some determination, I made my way to NaszaKlasa.pl (a Polish Facebook social network website = “Our Classes/Classmates”). This wonderful woman was born in the Biechow parish where my grandparents(dziadkowie) were married ! She took it upon herslef to get the church record of their marriage and even a copy of the civil record too and mail these documents to me. Bless Her Always for that kindness — which I did not even ask her to do!

But that was an active search and it also led me to find a second cousin (whom I have never met face-to-face, who was born in Pacanow and now lives in TX). So active searches of Polish websites are a must, if you cannot actually visit Poland and its churches and/or archives. But this BLOG is an overt attempt to draw (i.e. a passive search) others related to me  or connected to these parishes to seek me out. So this is an inverted search process. Hence, all of the material on names of people or places in hopes that someone someday Googles my blog and contacts me. So that is my latest tip to Polish Genealogists — write a blog and post items on your family so distant cousins far and wide can reach you.

Coming Up …

In the next week or two, I will be writing about other research that I have collected on these two parishes including:

Historical Census of the Pacanow deaconate, Census of the Jewish Population in this area,  Church Archive holdings of Biechow / Ksizanice / Zborowek

Please join me. Blessings For Your Sunday!

Stanczyk

July 15, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy – #Gazetteers and Other Similar Resources

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Gazetteers. You have got to love them to do genealogical research outside the USA. How do you learn the maps of the country your grandparents or great-grandparents knew? Today’s atlases  or Google Maps only give you the view as of the present (at least point at which it was published). You need an historical perspective. Hence why you need to use Gazetteers. Maps/Atlases give you the picture and Gazetteers give you the intelligence/ontext about the maps.

Here’s an  list of excellent  Gazetteers:

  • Skorowidz Miejscowości Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej
  • Genealogical Gazetteer of Galicia
  • Gemeindelexikon für das Königreich Preußen. 
  • ShtetlSeeker
  • Kartenmeister
  • Slownik geograficzny królestwa polskiego i innych krajów slowiańskych.

Stanczyk has developed his resource (an index of an index?) on the Skorowidz Miejscowości Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej [Index of Placenames of the Republic of Poland]. The Skorowidz is an excellent resource for all of Poland covering all parts (Russian-Poland, Austrian-Poland and German-Poland partition areas) that were within the borders of Poland circa 1934. This is the resource you need to use to find your ancestral parish. It is online (click the above link to reach the online version). It has a short-coming: it does NOT list the synagogues   — pity, otherwise excellent.

The flat out best Gazetteer for its research and even for its included maps to give a sense of location relative to today is Brian Lenius’ well researched, Genealogical Gazetteer of Galicia. As its name implies it is only for Galicia, an area that is presently with Poland and Ukraine. This area of historical Poland was in the Austrian-Poland partition and finally eastern parts after Napoleon, were in the Russian-partition. Brian’s book does include synagogues!  Some treatment of Polish versus German names and Ukrainian names is also mentioned. It is not online. Buy the book if you find ancestors lived in Galicia.

The Gemeindelexikon is a very good resource for what was Prussia (or Prussian-Poalnd) areas. It also indicates the location of parishes and gives statistics for sex, ethnicities, or religious affiliation. It is online in the BYU library. But if you have Ancestry.com, it has a faster and easier user interface to the information.

ShtetlSeeker is part of the JewishGen website and is  predominantly a resource for Jewish settlements, villages, synagogues, data, etc. I also use it for my Catholic family villages. It is particularly useful if you do not know the spelling of your ancestral village. It also provides on the map with icons of other resources: Yizkor books, JRI-Poland data. It is by definition online.

Kartenmeister is for those parts of Poland formerly ruled by Prussia. It is online. It is an excellent resource if you only know the Polish name or the German name of a locale and you need to know the other name. It also has maps. It has two mini-lists cross-references: Lithuanian-German-English and Latin-German-English. Which makes sense in that those languages are the language of Prussian records for their territories.

The Slownik geograficzny królestwa polskiego i innych krajów slowiańskych is a multi-volume gazetteer / dictionary of places in Poland and other Slavic kingdoms. The dictionary is written in Polish. It is online here. That is yet another Polish Digital Library that I have written about recently (Malopolska). Each volume (or Tome abbreviated T. or tom.). Some translations are on the PGSA.org website or you use the Google Translator. It is filled with abbreviations (PGSA is helpful).

Here are a couple of more resources…

Family Search with their excellent wiki(s) has a page on Poland Gazetteers. The LDS also have these resources as microfilm or books within their Family History Library.

The LDS also has a PDF (you need Adobe Acrobat Reader) for Finding Places in the former RUSSIAN EMPIRE . This PDF is not a gazetteer, but is a valuable resource. You can Google ‘Spisok naselennykh mest  gubernii’ to find individual volumes in Libraries or possibly online. Finally, see this wiki page for Russian Empire Gubernya Gazetteers.

PGSA.org has a list of map resources here. They also have a project to index the 1907, The Illustrated Geographic Atlas of the Kingdom of Poland . An esthetically lovely historical atlas, with the indexes providing you with an indication of which villages are the parish. Stanczyk indexed the Stopnicki powiat.

July 14, 2011

#Jewish #Genealogy – An Homage to Moja żona

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

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

[ source: LDS microfilm # 936660]

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

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

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

#68 Zelmanowiczowna, Rywka (baby)

#91 Faycer, Jasek (baby)

#96 Menkierowna, Bela (baby)

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

#26 Wulfowna, Chaja

#36 Fisolowna, Faytsia

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

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

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

Stanczyk

July 11, 2011

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

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For those who do not read Russian …

Biechow October  5/17 th day 1885 th year

Father Michal Krolikowski

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

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

July 10, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy – A Noble Birth in Biechow 1674

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

11th-July-1674 Birth of Maryanna Niedzwiedz

Stanczyk was combing through dusty tomes again. Cough, Cough — excuse me.

This picture is from my cell phone. It is the earliest noble birth I have found for the village of Biechow (near Pacanow in the old wojewodztwo of Kielce). Let me humbly offer the translation (from Latin) …

Jozef Wałcerz, Biechow parish priest, baptized Maryanna, daughter of the Nobleman Jan Gaspar Niedzwiedzki & Agnes of Biechow. Her God Parents both were of noble birth were  Jerzy Paczakowski of Słupia and Ewa Pawłowska of Sobowice. [regrettably I was not able to read Jerzy/George’s job/title].

In a fit of boredom I decided to do some cross-research for verification. Previously, I have mentioned the digital libraries in various regions of Poland. So…

From The SwietoKrzyskie Digital Library, in the book,
Historical Description of Churches, Cities, Monuments, & Memorials of Stopnica“,
written by Jan Wisniewska in 1929, see pages 20 and 28 (in Polish):

A Father Jozef Walcerz pastor of Biechow, tithe of/to Pacanow, started his work in
1671 and worked until 1693. In 1672,  Fr. Walcerz fixed half of the church  roof, the bell tower,
and  the chancel floors and repaired the graveyard chapel damaged by a hailstorm.

So indeed, my ability to read priestly Latin handwriting from 1674 is fairly accurate (assuming my ability to translate early 20th century Polish is acceptable). The 1929 book does not put a slashed ‘l’ in Walcerz, but the priest himself did use the, ‘ł’ as the image above shows. At least, I verified the priest. Can anyone verify the nobelman(Nobilium) or the two noble born (generosa) god parents from this church record?

The Church book is from 1674-1675, so I am certain of the date. This was not from ‘Martius’, because on the facing page, this record and others were under the heading, ‘Julius’. The page tops were labeled with 1674. The heading of the record indicates ‘the 11th day in the morning’. The numbers in this tome do indeed range from 1 to 31, so this is indeed the day number and not the hour of the day.

Anyone related to Jan Gaspar/Kasper Niedzwiedzki or his wife Agnes of Biechow or their daughter Maryanna? Send me a note and let me know. Have a blessed Sunday.

–Stanczyk

Post Scriptum

The digital book cited above listed the following parishes, for which you can find these descriptions and lists of priests. The parishes in bold are connected to my genealogy:
Balice , Beszowa , Biechów ,  Busko , Chmielnik, Dobrowoda , Drugnia , Gnojno , Janina , Kargów , Koniemłoty , Kotuszów , Książnice , Kurozwęki , Lisów , Oleśnica , Ostrowce , Pacanów , Piasek Wielki , Pierzchnica , Piotrkowice , Potok , Sędziejowice , Solec , Stopnica , Strożyska , Szaniec , Szczaworyż , Szczebrzusz , Szydłów (woj. świętokrzyskie) , Świniary , Tuczępy , Widuchowa , and  Zborówek

July 9, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy – Odds & Ends, New Data

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Bronislawa Eliasz Born 19030427

from LDS Microfilm #1898357

Stanczyk wants to write about databases of data for Polish Genealogists. But that is a large topic and requires some gathering of data and links (URLs). SO instead here are a few teasers (odds & ends):

  1.  From my Rootsweb NYErie Message Board/Mailing List, I found a New Poznan Research Database (posted by Ruth Susmarski). This is an excellent effort and a worthy candidate for that iGoogle Genealogy page (see yesterday’s posting) that I hope you are building. This comes from the Greater Poland Genealogical Society of Gniazdo . So if you have ancestors from Western Prussian-Poland partition this should be helpful resource. They have an RSS feed too. Link: http://www.basia.famula.pl/en/
  2. I see that on June 28th, 2011, the FamilySearch.org website added a new Polish database of  2,204,751 images. This is data for: the parishes in the Częstochowa, Gliwice, Lublin, and Radom Roman Catholic Dioceses of Poland  (Russian-Poland, Austrian-Poland partitions).  [see sample image above] Link: https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/show#uri=http://hr-search-api:8080/searchapi/search/collection/1867931

I did a quick check of the FamilySearch database (#2 above) and found 31 exact or close matches to Eliasz. When I clicked through the list I found they had data from Szczucin parish (which is Austria-Poland) partition. In fact I am fairly certain the Szczucin Eliasz are distant cousins as this is just across the bridge (over the Vistula river) from my other Eliasz / Elijasz / Heliasz. I looked up the microfilm for Szczucin for 1867-1903 it is LDS Microfilm # 1898357. This matches the Szczucin in Brian Lenius’s gazetteer: “Genealogical Gazetteer of Galicia“.

July 7, 2011

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

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pacanow (parish) – Pacanow, Zabiec, Kwasow

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

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

July 4, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy – Historical Dziennik Polski (Detroit) Newspaper

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk wishes all Americans a Happy Fourth Of July !

I just wanted to update my readers that my page on the Dziennik Polski (Detroit, MI) Newspaper has been updated to include a new repository: PARI – Polonica Americana Research Institute on Orchard Lake, St Mary’s campus, whose Director is the well known Ceil Wendt Jensen (who has ancestors from Stanczyk’s ancestral village, Pacanow).

Their holdings are 1904-1920 on microfilm and 1930’s-? in bundles of actual newspapers.

Mój pies (my dog), Java wants everyone to keep their dog safe today and not to lose your dogs due to the fireworks and the fright they cause in dog’s sensitive ears.

July 2, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy – Library Of Congress Chronicling America

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

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

American Historical Polish Language US Newspapers in LOC – http://t.co/CeEjpWv

Happy and Blessed 4th of July everyone !

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 26, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy – Useful Websites … #3 Mapa.Szukacz.pl

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

To recap, please look at Stanczyk’s little graphic. We have covered genealogyindexer.org, Poland’s Digital Libraries (Biblioteka Cyfrowa), and now number three in our series:  Mapa.Szukacz.pl  .

If you want to trace Polish genealogy a good many skills are required of the researcher. The ability to read a map or a gazetteer is critical. Where is Babcia’s village?  So mapa.szukacz.pl is good for locating today’s existing villages/towns/cities. If you use Google Maps, then the basic concept should be familiar to you. But Stanczyk likes mapa.szukacz.pl because you lookup the village. To lookup a placename you enter the village in the field with the title ‘Miejscowość’ in the pink dialog box with the title, ‘Pokaż na mapie’ (‘Show on Map’). Finally, you press the button named, ‘Pokaż’ (Show). That is it. The village appears, assuming it still exists and you are fortunate enough to spell it correctly. If the placename you entered is a common one, then you may see a list of choices to examine and pick from. That is it and you have located dziadek’s (grandfather’s) home town. Of course, you have probably done some extensive research to get to this point. But now you have the lay of the land of your ancestral village. The radio buttions by ‘Zebliż’ change the zoom of the map; so adjust to your needs. All this is well and good and mostly just like Google Maps, except the ability lookup by name. But there have been a few new tricks added to this wonderful tool.

It already gave you the population (ex. 1275 osób, like for Pacanow). You need not enter the diacriticals. It also gave you woj. ,  pow. ,  and gmina. Which you may think of as  state, county, and township/borrough. Write these down, you will need them over and over again. Sadly, these levels of administration have changed since your grandparent’s time. You also get a postal code and telephone prefix in case you seek out family in the mother country. If that were all it would be a useful tool. But as I said, they have enhanced this web application. There is a valuable drop down named, ‘Przydatne punkty’ (“Useful points’). It only allows you to pick one selection. I find ‘kościoły’ (Churches) and ‘cmentarze’ (Cemeteries) the most useful to a genealogist. A word to the wise. The symbols that pop-up on the map (if any,  at your zoom level) are woefully incomplete. So the church you are seeking may not show, as in my case. But I am hopeful that they will keep adding to his valuable resource. This option is akin to that of ‘search nearby’ in Google Maps. Originally, I did not use Google Maps for Poland or Ukraine because it was woeful in listing villages and its ability to search nearby was no good for countries that did not have English as their primary language. But I see today that those issues have been resolved by Google. But Mapa.szukacz.pl still gives you the population and administration levels and other demographics that Google has yet to provide. Stanczyk does have to praise Google in one way. The ‘little yellow man’ that you can place on most US roads to get a web-cam still panoramic view of the location is replaced with little blue ‘dots’ where you can drop him and see photographs from that spot (Which Pacanow seemed to have many). So I guess you should use both maps.google.com and mapa.szukacz.pl to geo-locate your ancestral village. To get  the spelling correct, perhaps you can use JewishGen’s (also now in ancestry.com) Shtetl Seeker tool to help you get the spelling correct. Alas, that is another useful website for another day….

June 25, 2011

Historical Newspapers – Gazeta Kielecka 1899

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk was combing the many Digital Libraries in and around my ancestral villages looking for clues, contacts or vital records as published in periodicals or guild books. So I was at: Swietokrzyska Digital Library

That is when I found this funeral ad. This I knew in a minute when I saw, as it was very familiar from reading the Dziennik Polski (Detroit) ethnic newspaper, which is itself an historic newspaper now. At any rate, I hate to leave vital records behind and since this was the only vital record in the 4 pages of the Gazeta Kielecka, I could afford to spend some of my effort to help some other poor genealogist(s).

Poor Jozefa was survived by her husband and children (no names provided). She died in Pinczow on January 17th, 1899 at the age of 37 (born/ur. about 1862). Her maiden name was Baranow (Baranowskich family) and married name was Pogorzelska. It is unclear to me whether she was the wife of a duty collector or whether her occupation was duty/excise tax collector (inspektora akcyzy).

 

Jozefa Pogorzelska z Baranow died (zmarla) 17-Jan-1899
June 24, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy – Useful Websites … #2

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Donna Pointkouski ‘s question (about the Shoemaker’s Guild) reminded Stanczyk that he has needed for a while to collect his bookmarks/favorites/URLs together on the useful websites in Poland. In particular, the Online Archives.  Some of the nifty historical images in this blog have been gathered from these valuable resources.

Most genealogists know that you can use the LDS website familysearch.org and search for microfilm of Polish parishes or synagogues. But what if you wanted to search what was available in Poland itself as a way to see what else is available if you go to Poland to search its civil or ecclesiastical archives. Well, Stanczyk uses The Head Office of State Archives (the state archives of Poland) and in particular, I search the PRADZIAD database. You may also want to look at SEZAM, or ELA databases too.

But my images have been coming from Digital Libraries (in Polish = Biblioteka Cyfrowa). I have been collecting a spreadsheet of these digital libraries. They frequently use Dj Vu plug-in to display the scanned images of the books (or other materials). Some regional genealogy societies also have digitized books  (Książki Bibliotek Cyfrowych) on their websites. The one Stanczyk uses for his research is:  Digital Library of Malopolska (LittlePoland) .

The National Digital Archive has 15 million photos and thousands of audio files too. Recently they also implemented an interface (which seems to be implemented at a handful of Polish Archives) to search multiple Polish Archives. The image at left is “Search in Archives” in Polish.

So I have compiled a spreadsheet of Poland’s Archives and their websites. I believe most have an online catalog and some have also digitized some collections and placed those online too. So I have a TAB for Digital Libraries. Finally, I have compiled the Eclesiastical/Diocessan Archives. Since collecting these from Polish websites, I have determined that Poland and its websites are very dynamic and many links are broken. I have been researching them and correcting them where possible. Since this article is already too long …   tomorrow  a partial sample of the spreadsheet to enlighten people on what to search for.

June 22, 2011

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

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

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

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

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

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

June 18, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy: Rummaging Through Genealogy Indexer

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Since Genealogy Indexer website has grown so much since my last exploration, Stanczyk decided to do some rummaging through the new data. I was searching for Pacanow with and without my anctesor’s surnames.  I hit upon the page on Stopnica (actually the second page) from the digital book: Geographic Dictionary of the Kingdom of Poland and Other Slavic Countries, vol. 11 (1890)  (in Polish: Słownik Geograficzny Królestwa Polska i inne kraje ..). This time frame is just after the birth of my paternal grandparents. So it is an accurate context for their lifetime in Poland. On page 373 of the book, I was reading about the deaconate of Stopnica (in the diocese of Kielce) and it listed the 32 parishes that made up Stopnica’s deaconate. Here is the list of 32 parishes:

Beszowa, Busko, Chmielnik, Gnojno, Janina, Dobrowda, Drugnia, Kargow, Koniemloty, Kotuszow, Ksiaznice, Kurozweki, Lisow, Nowe Miasto Korczyn (Nowy Korczyn),  Olesnica, Ostrowce, Pacanow, Piasek-Wielki, Pierzchnica, Piotrkowice, Potok, Sedziejowice, Solec Stopnica, Strozyska, Szaniec, Szczaworyk, Szydlow, Swiniary, Tuczepy, and Zborowek.

Stanczyk has seen microfilm on many of these parishes or seen ancestor surnames in many of these places at the genealodzy.pl website. Anyone else from here?

June 17, 2011

Genealogy Indexer – Historical Polish City Directories

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Yesterday, Stanczyk was extoling the virtues of the Genealogy Indexer web site. This site has OCR’ed Historical City Directories from Poland’s Digital Libraries and built a database of names from this OCR work.

I also recommended Americans not use diacriticals (accents) unless you can use them correctly as incorrect use will cause you to miss records. Using correct diacriticals or none gives the same results, so mis-used diacriticals is the only way you can miss data. So do NOT use diacriticals.

The image above shows the query screen, where Stanczyk queried on ‘pacanów, eljasz‘, using the keyboard symbol next to the query field to enter diacriticals (I know some of you will want to do this despite my admonitions otherwise). This is actually a handy tool for entering Cyrillic or other Slavic characters on our USA keyboards. Just cut/paste from this website to another website or form or document. At any rate, my query returned five results (only three shown above). I chose the second one to illustrate in this article. The links will take you to a digital image of the document (using Deja Vu browser plug-in) that matches your query result. How cool is that?

So I selected the second link (1930 above).

The resulting digital image was a City Directory Phone book. The language is Polish, but there is a second language (French) too! So if the image is unreadable in one language perhaps you can read the other and figure out what was unreadable in the other. It is also helpful in translating  too, to have two languages.  The first part is a description of the place-name (like a Gazetteer) written in both Polish and French.

The top two paragraphs are Polish, then French Gazetteer description of the place-name (Pacanow). We can see that 1930 Pacanow had 2598 residents an interesting fact to know. After these first two paragraphs we see, what we would call “Yellow Page” listings by business type. It starts with Doctor(s) (Lekarze) and then from there on it flows alphabetically (in Polish) with Midwife, Pharmacy, etc. Each business type is followed by one or more names. These names are your putable ancestors.

I was interested in Kolowdzieje (Wheelwright) business Eljasz M. [This is possibly my grandfather’s uncle Marcin Eliasz]. Also the Wiatraki (Wind Mills) business was VERY interesting because we find both Eljasz and Zasucha names. Now this makes Stanczyk’s day as my 2nd great grandfather   was Martin (aka Marcin) Elijasz and he married an Anna Zasucha. These Wind Mill owners are very likely close ancestors of Stanczyk.

There are many surnames from my family tree besides Eljasz and Zasucha, we find:  Poniewierski, Pytko, Siwiec, Wlecial, and Wojtys. Now I can put an occupation by my ancestors. Nice. Very Nice!

June 15, 2011

Polish Genealogy – Useful Websites …

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk wants to collect under this continuing subject line good URLs / links to websites that provide very good to excellent Polish Genealogy data or possibly reference materials for genealogical research.

GENEALOGY INDEXER – http://www.genealogyindexer.org/

TwitterTwitter – @gindexer

This  first website (URL) is one I wrote about in the Polish Genealogists LinkedIn Group (here) back in October 2009. Its name is Genealogy Indexer . Back in October, 2009 they had: 77,000 pages of historical directories (business, address, telephone, etc.), 28,000 pages of 64 yizkor books (memorials to Jewish communities destroyed during the Holocaust). Now 20 months later they have: 141,000 pages of historical directories (business, address, telephone, etc.), 28,000 pages of 64 yizkor books (memorials to Jewish communities destroyed during the Holocaust), 11,000 pages of lists of Polish military officers, and 17,000 pages of community and personal histories. That is an +83% increase, so we can say this is a very active website/database to add to your bookmarks/favorites.

PLEASE take note they list what page # (usually on a digital book from a Polish Archive/ University) you need to look at in their search results. Stanczyk personally loves those digital books/documents made available online by Polish Libraries and Archives.

I have already had some successes. They OCR’ed these digital resources and built indexes — very nice!

For example I searched on “Pacanow, Eljasz” to find ancestors from ancestral village of PACANOW. You do NOT need to supply diacriticals (like the slahsed ł ) — so notice in the ‘o’ in Pacanow does not have the accent ( ó ) on it.

It also worked for “Pacanow, Wlecial” — where I do have a slashed ł at the end. The results were identical whether I used the diacritical or not. Being an American, I liked the convenience of not having to type (or cut/paste) a diacritical character on my searches.

You do need a browser add-in called Deja-Vu (.DjVu plug-in) to view the actual image associated with the OCR data.

I use Historical City Directories for my American ancestors. Now I can do the same for my Polish Ancestors too.

A big thanks to genealogist Logan Kleinwaks for providing this excellent  Polish (Catholic and Jewish) genealogy resource !



Tomorrow: An example of my genealogyindexer findings…

February 13, 2009

Eliasz i Elijasz i Heliasz i …

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

P

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 Reunion.com — 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)?

stanczyk1

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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