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

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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. 
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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.

27 October 2014

Indiana records digitizing, soon available

I saw this post on "Dear Myrtle" this week. (Oct 23rd)

 http://www.indystar.com/story/news/2014/10/23/indiana-partners-ancestrycom-digitize-records/17778547/

Here's the first paragraph on that page:  "The Indiana Commission on Public Records has approved a contract with Ancestry.com to digitize more than 13 million birth certificates, death certificates, and marriage records, Gov. Mike Pence announced Thursday."

A large number of people started moving from Chicago (About WWII time period) to Indiana, to places like Gary, and LaPorte Indiana. The family of Jozef Sanetra and Rozalia Mrozek moved from Chicago to LaPorte, Indiana. Kazimierz Bazarnik and his wife Matilda Malinowski lived in Chicago, married in Gary, got their citizenship in Chicago then later moved to Gary, Indiana, I believe spending the rest of their lives there. Kazimeirz was the nephew of Alfreda Mazurkiewicz who was the second marriage of Adam Sanetra. Alfreda, Kazimierz and his mother Anna immigrated together. .

This is great news for those looking to do more research about their ancestors!

02 October 2014

Inquiries to the Red Cross, after WWII

I discovered an amazing collection of records at the Holocaust museum. Joseph Sanetra wrote to the Red Cross to find our family, and they found us in about 1961. Thousands of people wrote letters like his stating when they last saw their family member, info that could help identify a relative (like a birth date) and sometimes sent in a picture.

I was told that just after the war, the Red Cross gave the letter inquiry info to the Army, and the US Army and British Army did the searching. Stalin made mail inquiries, (such as this) stop in areas he controlled, which affected mail inquiries in other areas as well. Then after his death in 1953, mail inquiries searching for family started getting easier.

I was told the inquiries late 1950's and in 1960's, those records would be held by the Polish Red Cross. (Since the inquiries I'm looking for are Polish). The searches just after the war, investigated by British and US Army are in a database now. And the Holocaust Museum has access to this database. They looked up a few names for me during my visit, and I took home a copy of one case.

14 August 2014

The Holocaust museum is much more than exhibits

Several years now, I've questioned whether a few relatives of mine were Jewish or Catholic. I have a picture of two of them. When I show their name, or picture, or say where they lived,  whether I'm talking to currently practicing Jews or Catholics, (senior citizen age), they tell me, "oh most definitely Jewish!". But when I ask, "how do you know? Can you explain it to me?" I'm told, with a shrug of the shoulders,"You just know these things".

I talked with a Catholic priest who worked in old Catholic archives. He told me it's true that in the 1920's to 1940's the time period I was looking at, a lot of Jewish women did marry Catholic men. And when they moved to this country it was a new start, you didn't question what the husband said. So there are Jewish women buried in Catholic cemeteries in Chicago. The priest recommended I try visiting the Holocaust museum because they could help with people like mine who I believe hid behind Catholic marriages. It's more than just information about the holocaust in the museum. I spoke with another person recently who said something similar about help for my questions. The people I'm looking for are not showing up in Catholic records when the rest of the family does, and I really don't know about Jewish records, although so far I have not had luck with the Jewish genealogy online site. The museum can help me learn where to start.

This week, I called the holocaust museum. I told the guy that I didn't even know if my family was Jewish or not, but I was told by a few people they were. Could someone help me with that? To know if they are Jewish? I also told him part of my family was there during the invasion, could they help with things like that? He assured me they could help with all these things. I thought the museum/research part was just for if you already knew you were Jewish or to understand what happened to the Jews. And then of course the purpose of learning history, so it doesn't repeat. But now I realize the museum can even help people like me trying to figure out if their family was Jewish, and just overall understanding things better. The research part is open Mon-Fri. I have so many questions to ask, I can hardly wait for my visit!!
Here is a link to the website to learn more about it: http://www.ushmm.org/

29 July 2014

Organizing all my years of genealogy notes with Evernote

 Here is a post I did on my Virginia blog. This is all names and info relevant to my Virginia families, but the concepts can apply to any record keeping or researching ideas. I've been trying to organize all my stacks of notes. I'm working on getting things together to go look for long forgotten cemeteries and interviewing "old timers" who did farming the old fashioned way. About another month I should have all my Virginia emails in archive then I will work on my Polish emails, which are not as many and I started on much later with my Polish research, when I inherited copies of the records and information of Paul Sanetra Sr from his son Richard. The same concepts, just a new notebook. I think seeing connections will be extremely helpful for my Polish families. Already I have seen where the map and city directories have helped me, when I could not find records.
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I wanted to take a little break from my usual posts to explain something I've been trying, in case it may be of interest or help to any of you. I've spent the last month trying to organize my genealogy stuff better. I developed a system that has worked amazingly well for me, with huge potential. A friend told me he used Evernote for genealogy. I wasn't sure how, and didn't have a chance to ask him for a long time. I set up an account, didn't get it right away, and I let it go for about a year. Then I read something about someone organizing all their daily tasks, blog posts, etc in Evernote, so I became curious again. I went to Evernote's website and watched the intro videos. Then I went to Google and typed "Evernote" and saw over 100 videos listed, of people showing how they used Evernote. I watched the top viewed ones, then got an idea of how I could use it for genealogy. I have the free version: windows, and droid for my phone.

I had hundreds of emails I saved over about 12 years, referencing court cases, records, notes on searching for cemeteries, ...lots of important things I didn't want to loose. But then finding where the info was, wasn't so easy. Which email? Which file was it stored in? Windows 7 searches occasionally found the files, Gmail much better. I started testing out tags in other programs and instantly loved tags/filters. So when I saw tags in Evernote I knew exactly what I wanted to do with them! Another thought: I had a plat, with the name JR Cole. At first I didn't really think I didn't needed to remember the name, because it wasn't a blood line. But after awhile, I started to see his name as a neighbor on other plats, as a witness on other records, but then I couldn't remember where. My lesson was learned. I found he was a close neighbor and his family married into mine lot. So every surname in my Mecklenburg/Brunswick emails gets a tag.

I've been doing this for about a month now. I've created about 10 household notes in a household notebook on cooking, sewing and gardening. The rest is working on this system I created in genealogy notebooks. I took about 250 email messages and created 170 notes in 18 notesbooks. Most of those digital notebooks are main surname lines like Dortch, Poythress, Jones, Taylor. Then I have one for cemetery searching, and interviews. I currently have over 250 tags. I take an old email message and copy/paste it into a note on Evernote. Then I tag all the things I want to remember in that new note. Here's some specific examples of what I do.

Example, my friend and relative Hobson Scott Wright sent me a Gray family picture we were trying to identify people in those pictures. The picture attached and email text goes in a note. It is in the notebook labeled "Gray". My tags are "Hobson Wright", "Gray", "VA-Danville", "identifying picture", "98th Regt group". Then notes about who we emailed and asked about the picture will go on that note. Right now that info is stored in a lot of places. It will be nice to have it all in one place, connected.

Another example: I went to Mecklenburg and visited the Rideout cemetery off Nellie Jones Rd. I visited it with 4 people. Those 4 people each have tags, also "cemetery searching", "98th Regt group", and "Ridout" are tagged.

Another example: someone emailed me a chancery case. Hobson Scott Wright and the 4 people who went to the Rideout cemetery with me commented on the case. There were 6 names in the case and 3 different surnames as witnesses, not in the case. That note has 15 tags: Hobson, the 4 names who also went to Rideout cemetery, the 6 surnames in the case, the 3 surnames as witness, and the word "chancery". So from these 3 examples you can see Hobson Scott Wright would already have 3 tags. When I click on "Pearson" or "Thomas" or "Jones" or "Purdy" or "Ireland-Armagh" tags, you would also see his name showing up, as one of the other tags on those notes.

Other types of tags I created: Just things I wanted to remember: If they went to Rehoboth church, or Kingswood, or Olive branch, or Sardis. If they died in military conflict, if they were in the military, then subcategories of which war, if a note has got a person's mailing address, if it's got an interview inclosed, if there's GPS coordinates in the note, etc.

I'm already seeing so many more patterns and connections! And as I type in notes, underneath my note, it shows other notes I have with similar subjects. As I search in Google, on the right, there's a box that shows similar Evernote notes I have on the subjects I'm searching. Evernote reads PDF's, does voice to text, ...so many amazing things! Evernote really can help you remember everything, help make your info organized, in your style, extremely accessible, very smart searching! I'm a huge fan now, if you can't tell.

PS. I recently showed my friend my system. He said had never thought of the tags. He just used notes to type up where he had searched, more like writing in a journal. But after seeing how I used the tags and OCR searching power, he thought that would help him and others, so I thought I'd share. 
For more information here is Evernote's site, the page with intro videos: http://evernote.com/video/