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

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25 July 2016

Guestbook update

I have been locked out of my guestbook for awhile now, since Feb 2014. People could post but I couldn't edit or reply. I also couldn't see contact info to reply. I got back into it today, so I will start updating the surname index and replying to questions. I just deleted a few spam messages too.
Sorry for the delay in replying. Guestbook surname index has been updated now.

18 July 2016

Ervin and Ida Sanetra

Paul used to have a construction business with his brother Ervin until he moved to Arizona for his health, in the mid 1940's. Paul's children were born in St Charles, which is in Kane County, Illinois. The two families lived near each other and were friends. They wrote letters to each other and tried to visit at Thanksgiving or Christmas. I have a few pictures of them visiting together. Paul Sanetra was married to Catherine Stowe. Ervin Sanetra was married to Ida Eggert. You can click on the pictures to view them full screen.
1952 Ervin and Ida

1952-Ida and Catherine
1952 Ervin and Catherine

Aug 1953 Catherine, Paul and Ida

Aug 1953 Catherine, Paul, Ida

Apr 1963 Catherine and Ida

Apr 1963 Ida

30 May 2016

How to get more Polish records available

The more people who help index and transcribe records, the faster we can get the records we are looking for, searchable in a database.

I really love searching on FamilySearch. It's free, nice filters, and a great database. It's a worldwide database. When you type in a country of birth, such as a Slavic country, the search pulls up typical Slavic spellings, instead of the English soundex systems which many databases were built on. I recently found Jozef and Bronislaw Sanetra's birth records in Chicago, from a recent indexing project. This was an amazing and helpful discovery for me. The Chicago courthouse didn't see the records, but they showed up when FamilySearch digitized and indexed the collection. There are preservation teams all over the world, including in Poland, digitizing and preserving collections never before accessible. Here's a short video clip to explain indexing. I really like that the pictures and stories go with records. I don't have nearly as much time as I like, and sometimes I have trouble typing with my hand weakness. But I try to help with indexing when I can, because I feel its really important. Hope you enjoy this video clip, and hope you can volunteer to help index or transcribe more records.

09 May 2016

My personal life notation: my thoughts on wheelchairs, for me

I have struggled to kept up with blog posting about my my favorite thing I do to decompress, family history. My personal life has been crazier than usual. I was just officially permanently put in a wheelchair this month, and trying to readjust to my surroundings. I really am fine, and am actually relieved it's finally happened. I've had chronic health problems for years. So I've been expecting this for awhile.

I've met a lot of people with chronic health problems over the years who asked me to explain how I think through my problems. People ask me to write books. I can't. I just do little pieces as blog posts here and there when I can. I've read tons of books and watched tons of videos on how paraplegics adapted to their new situation. Their stories and explanations of their feelings helped me a lot, helping me realize my thoughts were pretty normal. I'm working on some posts about specific simple things that really helped me this month. So in case it helps someone, I wrote my story on my other blog today about trying to simplify my life with crazy health problems. In case you are interested there are two posts today. One about an article printed in the newspaper about Susan who has the same health problem I do. The other post is my thoughts on becoming a permanent wheelchair user. 2 posts dated 9 May 2016: http://juliesimplifieslife.blogspot.com/

21 April 2016

Homesteading in Canada, Polish immigrating

Sept 2012, a lady emailed me saying that she couldn't find a connection to my family yet. But she had several of the same surnames I did, and her family was also from Zywiec, Poland. Her family traveled to Crowsnest Pass in Alberta, Canada, where she saw the name Sanetra a few times. http://www.crowsnestpass.com/ I never would have thought to look for any Sanetras in Alberta! Maryanna Klosak Wojtas who I've written several posts about, had a sister in law that moved to South Dakota. I've since read that a number of Polish stayed in the big cities like Chicago and Minneapolis, saving up, to go west and start a homestead. A large number of recent immigrants continued west to homestead from 1900-1920.

Old farm near Paradise, CA -David Cabitto's picture
One of the first things I ponder, when I try to figure out what happened to someone, is to learn what was normal for that time and place. Then I learn what was normal for that family. For example, for many generations, in my family, the girls were often marrying at age 16, sometimes as young as 15 or 14. I married at age 20, the oldest age (by 2 years) for at least 8 generations. My friend's family was much wealthier than mine, still living in England. Most the women in her family married after age 21, averaging age 25 at the time of their marriage. Another pattern to look for is military involvement. Many people in the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and WWII were given land (and often citizenship) in exchange for being a US soldier. It was part of their payment. After the War of 1812 and Revolutionary War, many families went to the frontier (of that time) to claim their land.

One of the first things we want to do is learn why our family immigrated. Was it for political refuge? If so, when Poland had new leadership after WWI, and Galicia became part of Poland again, people would want to return. Many people did. Did they come to America to own their own land? For at least 200 years the 3 biggest reasons I've seen for people immigrating to the United States is to own their own land, political refuge, and religious freedom. For hundreds of years, in many European countries you were either a land owner, or you worked for one. Who your parents were usually determined which kind of life you would have, until the colonial days of  North and South America. A smaller number of people were fortunate to be merchants. Most of my ancestors came to America in its early days, to own their own land, and be farmers. The majority of my ancestors decided to stay put in Virginia or North Carolina until about the WWII time period. But many thousands of other people loved the frontier, the possibilities and excitement of it all. They dreamed of the challenge to tame wild land, and become self sufficient on their farms. The Homesteading Act in the United States enticed many thousands of people west. They often had 5 years to put up a barn, improve the land, then they were allowed to keep and own that land they worked on developing. Many immigrants started arriving from Europe with plans to go west to get homesteading land. After seeing the success of the United States homesteading, Canada started their own homesteading act. One of the interesting things I've been reading is that Canadians seemed to be more tolerant and accepting. Many freed American slaves wanted to get to Canada's homesteading land, because they believed they could really start over better in Canada. Irish also started having a hard time getting jobs after the potato famine, with signs in shop windows saying "no Irish". So the homesteading acts greatly appealed to Irish as well. I've also read in a number of places that Norwegians and Polish liked to live in the northern Midwest, especially around the Great Lakes because it was a similar climate and farming that they were already used to. That would also be true of southern Canada. So far, the Sanetra's I knew were carpenters. They would be far less likely to want a homestead, and more likely to remain in the city with their trade skills.

I'm really not familiar with Canadian records yet. But I am currently trying to learn more so I can look for some of my missing Polish family in Canada. Here is a link to a Canadian Government page with information about the Canadian Homesteading and land grants. Canadian land grants info click here
Here is a link to NARA (National Archives) about the US homesteading: US homesteading info click here