Welcome!

Welcome to my Polish blog! My Polish great grandpa was orphaned during the Chicago flu epidemic of 1918 & spent his life looking for all of his siblings. Some family stayed in Chicago & some returned to Poland. Some family was Catholic, & some are believed to be Jewish. I post the things I learn in efforts it may help someone else in their research. I also hope this blog helps me connect with others that know about the people I'm learning about. Digital images of records or links are put inside most postings so you can view records full screen. I encourage comments. Feel free to sign the guestbook, stating who you're looking for. Maybe we can all help each other out this way, because there are many challenges with Polish research. I hope you enjoy learning with me. And I hope to be taught more about my Polish heritage.
I have added a few languages to this blog through Google translate. I hope that it may be accurate enough with the communication of ideas.
Thanks! -Julie

Witam! (Polish translation of Welcome)

Witam w moim polskim blogu! Mój pradziadek został osierocony w czasie epidemii grypy w 1918 roku i spędził wiele lat poszukując swojego rodzeństwa. Część rodziny pozostała w Chicago a część wróciła do Polski. Część rodziny była katolikami a część, jak przypuszczam, wyznania mojżeszowego. Piszę w moim blogu o rzeczach które odkrywam i o których dowiaduję się mając nadzieję, że pomogą one wszystkim zainteresowanym w ich własnych poszukiwaniach. Wierzę, że ten blog pomoże mi w skontaktowaniu się z ludźmi którzy wiedzą coś na temat osób ktorych poszukuję. Zdjęcia cyfrowe lub linki umieszczone są w większości moich komentarzy i artykułów, można więc otworzyć je na cały ekran. Gorąco zachęcam do komentarzy. Proszę wpisać się do księgi gości i podać kogo Państwo szukacie. Może będziemy mogli pomóc sobie nawzajem, ponieważ nie jest łatwo znaleźć dane których szukamy. Mam nadzieję, że zainteresuje Państwa odkrywanie ze mną tajemnic przeszłości. Mam rówież nadzieję poznać lepiej moje polskie dziedzictwo.

Dodałam do mojego blogu automatyczne tłumaczenia poprzez Google. Ufam, że będą wystarczające w zrozumieniu o czym jest mowa w artykułach i komentarzach.

Dziękuję! - Julie

Натисніть на прапор, щоб подивитися на українській мові

Щелкните флаг для русского перевода

Kliknij na flagę, aby zobaczyć w języku polskim

09 March 2015

Exciting FamilySearch explanations at Rootstech 2015


This month I have been busy enjoying watching Rootstech videos and preparing for our local Family History Day conference, which will be this Saturday. I'm giving a presentation (locally) on how to get around in the FamilySearch Family Tree and how to do searching on FamilySearch. Like using the filters, FamilySearch wiki etc. I really loved watching Dear Myrtle's Ambush cams at Rootstech. They were so fun to watch, I felt like I got to meet people.

One of the first things I loved about FamilySearch is how it's really worldwide oriented. (Not just the United States.) And how we're all connected, the bigger picture. One of the early record collections on FamilySearch was the 1895 Argentina Census, where I saw some Cabitto relatives. Most databases before, were based on the English soundex systems. Which really doesn't help you if you have a Russian (or really any Non-English) surname. On FamilySearch.org, if you type in a residence or birth place outside the United States it searches similar spellings to the that ethnicity. For example, when I searched "Sanetra" and typed "born in Poland", it looked up spellings like Szanetra, Scanetra, and Zanetra.  I got a lot more search results that were real possibilities. Mazurkiwicz and Wandzel had a lot more variations which was very helpful because I never would have thought clerks or other record keepers would spell it those other ways. English soundex spellings and pronunciations would just not work for these types of names!!

Here's some impressive things I learned watching Rootstech videos this week. I watched these sections of the videos a few times to make sure I wrote the numbers down correctly: FamilySearch CEO Dennis Brimhall talked about the benefits of the partnerships with FamilySearch (Thurs keynote). Currently FamilySearch is partnering with: Ancestry.com, Find My Past, My Heritage,  American Ancestors (New England Historical Genealogical Society), family me, and Global Family Reunion. Brimhall told about a project he was excited about, saying this was a great example of benefits to the partnerships and he thanked the CEO of Ancestry.com. FamilySearch did a project of filming 80 million church and civil records for Mexico in 1952. He explained there are not enough Spanish speaking indexers for this project. It would take 40 years for FamilySearch volunteers to complete this project. But Ancestry.com has asked to help do the indexing for this project and they said it will be done and available by the end of this year! FamilySearch and Ancestry.com also made 545 million records available and visible on both sites this year. FamilySearch will always keep their site free, even with their partnerships.

Ron Tanner, a lead developer for FamilySearch gave these amazing numbers in his presentation called: FamilySearch FamilyTree 2014 and Beyond:
  • They do updates 3 times a day.
  • approximately 2.5 million new persons added to the tree every month
  • approximately 2.6 million conclusions that are changed/written every month
  • 4.5 million sources added to the tree each month
  • 1.1 billion persons in the tree with 89 million sources
  • In a year FamilySearch went from 12 million to 89 million sources!
In Feb 2011, a pilot version of FamilySearch was released. I'm happy to say that I was one of the beta testers! In March 2013 it was released to the public. It's really exciting to see all the record collections continuously added from around the world. On 27 Feb 2015, 19.2 million record were added from Canada, Brazil, Puerto Rico, and the United States. Dennis Brimhall said during the Thursday Keynote address that FamilySearch partnered with Genealogy Bank to do over 100 million names from obituaries last year. 319,000 volunteers worked on these obituaries last year. That was 1.3 million names every day going into Family Search. Pretty amazing things are happening! One thing I liked though, with all this cool hi-tech stuff I was seeing, Joshua Taylor (at RootsTech) talked about the tech things he couldn't live without, yet he said he still needed his library card. A good balance I think. One last partnership with FamilySearch that I'm personally excited about, wasn't actually part of Rootstech. It's a partnership with the country of Italy. Familysearch is indexing and making accessible the Italian civil records. Below is today's status on the familysearch indexing page. (9 March 2015) Also below is 1 of 3 indexing collections our Italian Cabittos need and are looking forward to. No matter your ethnicity or nationality, if it's not there yet, it's coming!







01 March 2015

Polish surnames, websites to help

I read an interesting article in the PGSA email list sent today (1 Mar 2015) "Gen Dobry!". It was written by Fred Hoffman, titled: Another surname resource: Locate My Name
 (I'm not seeing a link or I'd put it here.) So in summary, there is a Polish name section of this site. Benefits include that the site is in English, and you don't have to know the special characters of other alphabets etc. The site is very simple and also has frequent updates so you'll want to keep checking it out. http://www.locatemyname.com/
Mr Hoffman also recommends these 2 links. He states, "Both have their flaws and idiosyncracies; and both are in Polish." 

<http://www.herby.com.pl/indexslo.html> and <http://www.moikrewni.pl/mapa/>. 


I find sites like these about surnames helpful tools. I thought I'd test out the site myself. I'm thinking I may have looked at the site a few years ago and that there is much more than the last time I looked. I know Sanetra is not that common of a surname, this confirms that. The site shows the name shows up in United States, UK, France, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Poland, and South Africa. I clicked on Poland, and here is the search results:  http://www.locatemyname.com/usa/Sanetra. It shows what they can account for with records and what they estimate the surname is. There's a highlighted map, and statistics given world wide on the name. They also give common first names that go with the surname, and blogs about the surname. My surname of Cabitto is even more rare, and we know all the Cabittos in the United States. Looking at the numbers, I think it's counting adults ages 18 and older. I was surprised and happy to see that my blog you're reading right now is listed on the Sanetra surname!




25 January 2015

Old year book pictures? Have you seen your grandparents' year book?

How long have year books been around? Where can you find old year books? Do you have a year book? Have you seen your parents and grandparents year books?

Fern & Olive Dortch yearbook picture
I've been thinking about teenagers and graduation type things in my personal life. I was telling my kids the other day the story about when I graduated from high school. Our school was on a hill, facing the ocean. We all usually wore sunglasses because the California sun was so bright. A few students asked the principal if we could keep our sunglasses on during the ceremony, because it was so bright, facing the ocean. It had never been done before, (wearing sunglasses during the whole graduation ceremony), but the principal agreed and he and the vice principal wore sunglasses too, to show their support.

A friend copied a picture of Fern and Olive Dortch's year book page for me. (click icon to view full page) They were born and raised in Kankakee, IL. Their father Jasper Dortch was born in Mecklenburg, VA.

On Ancestry.com, I see that there are schools and churches grouped together under yearbooks. A lot of churches publish centennial events that are listed as year books. There are at least 262 listed under schools and churches on Ancestry.com. One is a Presbyterian church in New Jersey in 1894. Some yearbook listings are outside the USA. Sometimes the churches taught schools and had a year book. Here's a site I found interesting with many USA year books, information, and old pictures. You can browse by state: http://www.old-yearbooks.com/

I have always thought my grandpa Sanetra was cool. But when I show other people (including family) his picture now and then pictures of him as a  cool football player, his prom picture, his motorcycle, and that he had acne as a teenager too, then he becomes more real, and you want to learn more about that person. Do you know if your grandparents played sports, liked science, played chess, played a musical instrument or liked to dance? If you haven't seen their year book or asked them if they had one, give them a call. Or ask your parents about it. What was their graduation day like? How much school did they complete? (Previous rural farming generations often did not complete high school, but rather 5th or 8th grade completion was considered sufficient). Have you told your children what your graduation day was like?

15 December 2014

New Holocaust Survivors database

Kurt Mathia is an expert Jewish genealogy researcher working with familysearch.org. I wanted to share the latest message he sent me, thinking this would be of interest to many researchers, and people just trying to learn more about their family post WWII. Here's the message:

13 Dec 2014:
"We visited at Yad Vashem last week. They will be adding a Holocaust Survivors database to the existing Shoah database and will want pages of testimony submitted. By the way, they need many more pages of testimony for the Shoah database. Only about 3,000,000 have been submitted according to the archivist we spoke to."

My reply back: 13 Dec 2014
That is wonderful! And truly impressive. This will be a great resource to the many Polish Catholic researchers in addition to Jewish genealogists, as many Polish Catholics were also in camps. Thanks for the info.

24 November 2014

organizing my digital genealogy and cemetery pictures

This is a copy of the post I did today for my Virginia blog. I wish I had lots of Polish family cemetery pictures! Virginia pictures are easier for me because I live in Virginia. I have been frequently asked  to explain my organizing and why. So I thought I'd do this post here too. All of it can apply to this blog too, as far as organizing digital records, except I won't have cemetery slide shows to post on this blog. 
_______________________________________________________
I've taken a lot of pictures! I've also scanned many files. I've studied how professional archivists and professional photographers organized their pictures, with 10,000+ files. One problem I found, was that the typical way of storing (and default way of my computer) is lots of folders by date. But sometimes folders get stuck inside of other folders. When I first made the goal of going as folder free as possible, I found I had over 2,000 duplicate files! If one file was stored in say Jun 2009 and the same file stored in Nov 2011, the file could be duplicated and stored twice. I've been asked by a lot of people how I organize my files. I hope this post may help.

All the effective organization systems I read about, stored files by date, without folders. I had previously stored them by surname, in surname folders. Sort of a digital way of the old paper filing system. But of course surnames can overlap, causing duplicates. I found that using Windows 7, I could easily search files, so all my files could be stored in one large folder and I could still easily find a file in seconds. I started relabeling my files, and immediately started seeing some interesting things. I love seeing things by date! I see more relationships and patterns. All the 1860's files look pretty similar, just like 1980's pictures will have a similar look to them. By seeing them in order, I could for example, point out to my grandpa, "this picture was taken when you were 15, do you remember it?" And yes, he did remember, it had just been awhile since he'd seen those people. It wasn't one of his personal pictures, but he remembered it because he could associate it with his age then.

I currently have only 5 genealogy folders. (I used to have about 200 folders.) My current folders:
1) My mother's files
2) My father's files
3) My father in law's files (I'm now caretaker of those records)
4) General gen files, info that can apply to all the files, like info about record collections, notes I took at meetings etc.
5) Me & my husband - scans of: certificates, pictures, cards etc for the family we started, more current stuff

I have one other folder on my desktop, labeled "Gen scans". That's my not completely processed working file. Until I can get it ready to be archived into my "Gen files" folder into 1 of the 5 folders sub-folders. "Gen scans" where I put stuff when I borrow a collection for a week to scan. Where I still need to relabel pictures, and lastly, tombstone pictures. As I load new files into "Gen files", from that working folder of "Gen scans", I back the files up on cloud, and an external hard drive.

I finally figured out what I wanted to do with my tombstone pictures dilemma. I had each cemetery in a folder, with county and date labeled. Pictures in the order I took them. I walked in rows and was careful to note family groups. So the order I took pictures was important because it showed family relationships. These are very small rural Virginia cemeteries on old farms, or tiny churches. But I also wanted to have these files be searcheable by surname and the date. In this case, not date taken, but the death date on the tombstone, (which would not hold the order of pictures taken). My recent solution to my challenge, to do both things I wanted (date and order taken): create a slide show in the order pictures were taken. In that slide show, I have started to write the place, and date pictures were taken, which the folder name had the job of doing previously. Then, after the slide show is complete, I label the cemetery pictures just like all the other files, by the date on the record and a surname, or the whole name. If say the file is muster roll, I'd list it as "1863-07-David Dunn-muster roll-death". The year, then month, then day, holds all the records in chronological order. I have several thousand files but If I type in "David Dunn", only a couple files show up, all relevant. Bonus, the search result is only a few seconds! If I only have a year, I type just the year. If my grandma says "I know that picture was between 1940 and 1946, but that's the best I can do for a date" then I label the picture "1940s-Stowe AZ" (approximate date, surname and place).

Example of my filing system
I will start posting the cemetery files here in blog posts, then if you look on the "pages" part, far right, you'll see the "cemetery slide shows" page.

PS. My family pictures are stored the same way. I have just one folder, in "my pictures" labeled "pictures archives." They are backed up on external hard drive and cloud. As my camera and computer by default add in new folders, I routinely go through them, re-label and then archive. Then delete those new folders. Just one folder with several thousand pictures (I have the archive of all the family wedding pictures etc) and its all easily searchable.