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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26 October 2015

Free Lance Star newspaper articles about family history

One of my favorite things to do is family history. I love volunteering at my local family history center. I teach classes on how to use FamilySearch. I also give people individualized help, trying to help them discover more about their ancestors. I really love FamilySearch, because there is a huge world wide focus.  World wide records accessible to the public, for free!! With huge amounts of records regularly added. I wish I had more hours in the day to help with indexing, and digitizing projects! I help with indexing when I can, and look forward to when I can volunteer to help with digitization-preservation projects. There's several premium subscription sites like Ancestry.com, Fold3, My Heritage, NewspaperArchive.com and FindMyPast that our center gets (free to patrons). I personally love and subscribe to most of these sites and also use them in addition to FamilySearch while helping visiting patrons. Here's an article printed today (26 Oct 2015) in my local paper. (Fredericksburg, VA) I'm pictured, showing what I love to do. I feel very rewarded volunteering time for family history. I also enjoy being a member of the Fredericksburg Genealogical Society.
newspaper article link

I also am really excited about the Freedmen's project that is a partnership between FamilySearch and the Smithsonian. Here's a link to more info about that project, including videos and pictures about the collections. http://www.discoverfreedmen.org/media

I helped with a local kick off for Freedmen's project and that was in this Friday's newspaper. (23 Oct 2015)
local Freedmen project in newspaper

03 October 2015

Bronislawa and Jan Skorupski

The last 2 years, I've been looking for all the Bronislawa's in the USA that I could find, born in 1901. I even looked for "Bernice" as many Bronislwa's changed their name to that. One by one I went to prove or disprove if each person I found on a record was my Bronislawa Sanetra who went missing Feb 1911. (While immigrating to her family in Chicago.) So far I've disproved all but this one, a Bronislawa Skorupski. I assume that Bronislawa changed her surname to be the same as whoever took her in, otherwise we would have found her. She was only 10 when she arrived. I've been trying to find any record for either Bronislawa or Jan Skorupski. So far I'm only seeing this 1920 record, and possibly Jan's immigration record through Ellis Island. Although the 1920 Census says he was born in New York.

Here is the link to the 1920 Census record on FamilySearch.org: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MZWJ-PV2

Does anyone know anything about his family? If so, please send me a message.

24 August 2015

Saint Nicholas Catholic Church, in Evanston, Illinois, United States

We thought that Rosalie Wandzel and Adam Sanetra came to the US for refuge, and chose Chicago to be near other Poles starting their new life. It was quite a surprise to be told by a Catholic archivist in Chicago that Paul and Stanley were baptized by a German priest in a church that did Mass in German. We were also told that Evanston was known as a German community and everyone spoke German there. About the time of WWI, they stopped speaking German publicly there, and Mass was no longer given in German. We didn't even know Rosalie and Adam knew German! Evanston is now listed as a "suburban city" in Cook County. It's about 12 miles north of Chicago. (19 km) We know that Adam and Rosalie moved around a lot. But it is odd that Adam and Rosalie didn't continue having their children baptized at St Nicholas, even though they moved several miles away into the city of Chicago. It appears they began moving frequently after Ervin was born in 1907, and when their daughter Bronislawa arrived and never found our family in 1911. The Catholic Archivist explained to me that in this time period, just like in the old world, you picked your church, and all your religious ceremonies/sacraments were held in the same church. If you moved 3 hours away, and you were about to get married, you and your family got on a bus and went back to where you were baptized. I asked a friend who is military what she does for her family's records today. She explained to me that when her children had First Communion, that information was sent by their priest, back to the church that her children were baptized at. So the records are still kept together at the church they were baptized at.

Here is a link to St. Nicholas church, showing two pictures of the church and the history. I have two letters from the church in the 1950's, answering Paul's questions about his baptism and his brothers'. There's a nice drawing of the church as part of the letterhead. http://www.nickchurch.org/history/ The cornerstone for the church standing today was placed in 1904. First Mass was held 6 Oct 1906. Stanislaus Sanetra was baptized at Saint Nicholas in Apr 1904, and Paul Sanetra in Jun 1905. Here is a link about Evanston which is in Cook County, Illinois where Stanley, Paul and Ervin Sanetra were born. Bronislaw and Jozef were born in Chicago. http://www.cityofevanston.org/evanston-life/history-demographics/ Saint Nicholas church said they did not have a baptism record for Ervin, so we are still trying to figure out where he was baptized. 

I'm finding it's really important to understand the traditions and patterns for our families and also what was considered normal for their community in that time and place. Whenever there's a break in the pattern, it's important to ask why then go look for the answer. Asking questions of why Rosalie and Adam went to a German speaking church and community when they were Polish, led me to finding out Rosalie's family was most likely from Germany and moved to Poland, and that she might have been Jewish. I also found out that Rosalie's name (first and last name) was spelled the German way, not the Polish way, and that later in life when Paul had Alzheimer's he would count and say phrases in German. When his sons asked him where he learned that, he said his mother taught him (when he was very little).

23 July 2015

DNA testing, my experience

It has been a crazy time for me lately. Thankfully I have found some really big helpful things in my personal life. I have a rare genetic disease that has baffled medical specialists for decades. Dr. Lehman-Horne is my new hero! He has worked really hard for years with people around the world to identify genetic mutations for the problems I have, and to make information accessible to patients and doctors. Most people funding research aren't interested in rare diseases like mine, especially because no medications work for me (or most people like me). I often have violent reactions to medications.

There are lots of good choices for DNA testing. There's one DNA test that only profiles periodic paralysis, but it's 500$ which I couldn't stomach right now. Especially after many years of enormous medical expenses trying to keep safe and for life threatening issues, (like seeing if my episodes were TIA's) which the hospitals didn't even address correctly anyway. (So frustrating!) Also, I knew that if I did DNA testing that I wanted the family history part too! So I chose 23andme because I was told it showed several genetic markers for my problem. I posted a tree on My Heritage to connect with my 23andme DNA profile. My grandfather previously did an Ancestry.com test. Two of my children are also now showing symptoms, so I just had one child complete the Ancestry.com DNA test and mailed it in yesterday.

The last few years it has been extremely difficult to regularly see, type, walk and speak. I was also plagued with very frequent complicated migraines that completely incapacitated me, which would then be followed with no ability to walk. Periodic Paralysis is an ion channelopothy, so basically every cell in my body is affected. I've always fought really hard to keep walking, and to keep trying to live a somewhat normal life. Now I know what to fight back with! (potassium, 70% alkaline diet, avoiding sugar and lots of carbohydrates, balancing electrolytes. Then of course avoiding my food allergy issues like gluten, dairy, soy and nightshades. I still have to take it easy, which does try my patience, and I have to really think things through to prevent daily episodes. (Example: Now I know that popcorn and soda will guarantee no walking for me for 24 hours!) Now I am better able to reply back to people, and do what I love, family history: learning family stories, get back to researching, and finding new records. If you have messaged/emailed me and not heard back from me, then I have not seen your message. Please re-send it.

I've digitized all my records now. I have a small bookshelf that's my archives which contains original records and letters in archival safe boxes. Otherwise I am paper free. Hooray! I've been re-reading stories passed on to me, to prepare for some upcoming interesting posts. Right now I plan to post every 2 weeks, and I have reminder alerts set up. If I can get things even calmer in my life, I'll post once a week.

I've already heard from several people with DNA matches. There are a few I'm still not seeing where the connections are. Some people have found matches to me 200 years back. If you think you might be a match to me, send me a message and I can direct you to various places I have posted trees. I do hope this will help us piece together Polish families and other connections we've had "brick walls" with. I'm looking forward to the future of how DNA can help with research and health!

Another post I did about me and Periodic Paralysis:

15 May 2015

Julia Kwiatkowski Janik Drechny

I have done other posts on Julia. Please click on her various surname tags of Kwiatkowski, Janik and Drechny to see more. In 1923, Adam Sanetra stated on the Ellis Island manifest that he was going to see his brother in law Karol Janik. He could have said anything, even "friend". I still haven't found a relationship link yet. In 1923, Adam was living with Julia and Karol Janik. Julia was first married to Wladyslaw Kwiatkowski. After he died, she married Karol Janik. After Karol died, Julia was married for just 4 years to Peter Drechny before he died.

I called St. Adalbert's cemetery to confirm Julia was buried there, as her death certificate states. There are 5 plots in the family plot, which is lot 349, section 19:
1) Karol Janik 1878-1928
2) Julia Kwiatkowska Janik Drechny 1873-1947
3) ?
4) Joseph Kwiatkowski 1895-1952
5) Wladyslaw Kwiatkowski 1868-1910

My grandparents went to visit St. Adalberts. Only Julia's stone was visible. They cleared some grass off the edges to get a picture. They could see spaces for other tombstones. But they could not tell if stones weren't ever put up, or if the grass has completely grown over them. Above is a short video clip they made for me, to show me the family plot. This visit was September 2010.

Dziennik Chicagoski newspaper obituary