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

Kliknij na flagę, aby zobaczyć w języku polskim

Google Translate

15 March 2018

Bronislawa Sanetra: 1911 Ellis Island and Special Inquiry

Bronislawa Sanetra traveled with two women that I’m convinced she was related to and knew well. But were either women responsible for her? Did Marianna leave Minneapolis to go escort Bronislawa from Poland to her family? Are there more records to go with this Special Inquiry page? I've asked these questions for about 10 years now, and I can finally say the answer to all these questions is “no”.  Here are some things I learned to help me conclude that. 

What was Special Inquiry? A very generalized summary: if an inspector thought you could be a "burden to society" you were held, until a decision could be made. Examples: Poor health, possible criminal, no job skills, immigration violations, and traveling without an adult could mean possible orphan. If you were under the age of 16, you were only held long enough to contact who you where traveling to, your sponsor.  Sometimes with other violations listed on a person's record, they were held longer, interviewed, and that interview was recorded. I thought this page explained Special Inquiry well, on Jewish Gen Web. This explains the manifest markings, and the Special Inquiry process. This also includes an example of someone who risked deportation and that hearing:
I also found this resource: http://stephendanko.com/blog/269

This Special Inquiry record was the last record I could find for Bronislawa. I first knew about this record from an Ancestry.com hint. I had already saved the manifest record into my tree. The Special Inquiry lists at the back of the manifest were indexed later. I wanted an interview transcript like I saw on these two websites, or at least more information about why Bronislawa was held. I wrote letters, made lots of phone calls, got papers notarized, no answers. I kept being told the record didn't exist anymore. But I saw these other examples, so I kept asking archivists and showing these examples of what I was looking for. I made two different calls to ask an Ellis Island historian archivist questions. He helped me understand the Ellis Island process for children and explained what Bronislawa's record notations meant. Last year, I went to the National Archives and spoke to someone specializing in these records. Here is my example of Bronislawa Sanetra and what I learned these records mean. I was taught that if you were held and risked deportation, then a record might still exist. But the way Bronislawa Sanetra's record is notated, she was never in danger of deportation, so there is no further record available for her. She would not have been interviewed. Now I am content and do believe this Special Inquiry page is indeed the last record Ellis Island would have for Bronislawa Sanetra.

Bronislawa Sanetra and Marianna held Special Inquiry

The researchers I spoke to at Ellis Island and the National Archives explained to me what would have happened to Bronislawa and Marianna. Bronislawa was marked "under 16". This notation means Bronislawa was traveling unaccompanied. Ellis Island would have telegraphed whoever was listed, in this case, her father Adam Sanetra. Law enforcement would verify Adam Sanetra did indeed live at the address given. Adam Sanetra would have been telegraphed about which train his daughter Bronislawa would be put on, and asked would he be there to pick her up? After Adam confirmed he would be there, then Ellis Island would put Bronislawa on the train. Typically, "under 16" was a 24 hour hold. The fact that it took 5 days for Bronislawa was unusual. I'm told that delay most likely meant there was some difficulty locating Adam Sanetra for him to reply to the telegram. There is no further notation, meaning as far as Ellis Island knew, she reached her family. If someone hadn't been there to get Bronislawa at the train station, she should have been returned to Ellis Island, and a notation would have been added to that effect. 

Marianna Klosak Wojtas was held because she violated "section 11." Archivists I spoke to said they weren't exactly sure what section 11 was,  but it most likely means she violated a citizenship law. When you signed naturalization papers then, you also signed an oath you wouldn't leave the country for 7 years without notifying authorities. Marianna had only been in the country about 5 years. 

I looked through the manifest to see if anyone else was marked like Bronislawa and Marianna. There were two others in their group. Anton Wolamin was also marked as under 16 and violating section 11. He left Ellis Island the day before Bronislawa and Marianna though, on February 24th. Amelia Fic was also marked on Special Inquiry, but it appears she was deported though. 

Here is the example of Anton Wolamin:

Note, Anton has a niece and nephew listed with him. All 3 of their meals are counted and listed with Anton, as was the way all families were notated on this record. But no such notation is listed for Bronislawa and Marianna. They have separate meals calculated. Although Anton is an adult accompanying two children, so his being held is a little confusing.

Here is the listing for Amelia Fic: 

All of the people in these examples were in section 14 of the ship. Each section is often about 2-3 pages on the manifest. The number on the Special Inquiry page listed in these examples after the number 14 (section) gives the line number on the manifest, in section 14. So Anna Lach, Marianna Klosak Wojtas and Bronislawa Sanetra were line # 5, 6 and 7, in section 14. Anton, his niece and nephew were line 18, 19 and 20. Amelia Fic was line 16. Here they are on the manifest, both pages:

I now know that Bronislawa did travel with relatives. Marianna most likely rode the same train as Bronislawa, because they left the same day. But we don't know for sure. Archivists told me the train from Ellis Island to Chicago was non-stop, arrived the same time each evening. Then the next stop was Minneapolis. But neither Marianna Wojtas or Anna Lach would have been technically responsible for Bronislawa, or they wouldn't have needed to detain Bronislawa long enough to confirm her family would be there and that the correct address was given. Their meals were separate, no relationship was notated on the manifest or special inquiry. I'd like to think that when Bronislawa didn't reach her family, she would want to go to family she knew, like the women she traveled with. But she was also only 9 years old with just enough money for traveling expenses. I have been trying to learn what I can about the Minneapolis relatives, in case when Bronislawa was old enough, she lived with or near these relatives. 

Another thing archivists told me to consider was the IPL. Immigration Protection League. Various religious groups and societies greeted women and children, then helped them travel safely to their destinations, staying with them until the immigrant reached the person  they would live with in the USA. Hundreds of women were involved in helping immigrating women and children with things such as translations, and serving as companions for safety. The IPL was started in Chicago by Grace Abbott who worked with Jane Addams at the Hull House. The Immigration Protection League started for Chicago in 1908. By 1911, they had a building across the street from the train station in Chicago to help family find each other and find a place to stay if needed. In 1901, Jane Addams started the Juvenile Protection Agency, in part to protect children immigrating. So I am told that in 1911, Bronislawa should have had someone ride the train with her from Ellis Island to Chicago, that spoke Polish, to safely get her to her family. And that those agencies and groups were created to try to prevent the very thing that happened with Bronislawa: not getting to our family somehow.

For now I can say that Bronislawa Sanetra was still alive and Ellis Island notates she was put on a train February 25th, 1911 to go to her family. She was not returned to Ellis Island, she was admitted to the USA. She is not in the cemetery for people who died at Ellis Island, she did not file for Social Security, and she did not apply for US Citizenship. She was not adopted through the Catholic Church or through the state of Illinois. She was not married (or any record) at Holy Cross church in Minneapolis, the church her related travel companions attended. The family in Poland did not hear from her, they thought she was with us. And she was not on the train when our family went to meet her in Chicago. Feb 25th, 1911 at age 9 (listed as age 7) is the last (most recent) record we can find. Paul Sanetra and his siblings wrote countless letters throughout their lives looking for Bronislawa, including to unions, churches, Red Cross and other groups trying to reunite families. I still have more newspapers to look through, and I am still determined to find out what happened and how long Bronislawa lived.

Here is a timeline chart I made: 

Anna Lach
Marianna Klosak Wojtas
Bronislawa Sanetra
Date left Bremen
11 Feb 1911
11 Feb 1911
11 Feb 1911
Date arrived Ellis Island
20 Feb 1911
20 Feb 1911
20 Feb 1911
Date left Ellis Island
Feb 20th, not held
Feb 25th, held 5 days
Feb 25th, held 5 days
Where to?
Minneapolis, to uncle Wojciech Suchon
Minneapolis to husband Jozef Wojtas
Chicago to father Adam Sanetra
Next record found
15 May 1911-Marriage to Maciej Wrobel , Holy Cross Church, Minneapolis
3 Dec 1911-daughter Julianna Wojtas born and baptized at Holy Cross Church, Minneapolis


24 February 2018

Alfreda Mazurkiewicz family: Kolbuszowa, Chicago, Żywiec

Alfreda Mazurkiewicz was only in the United States for 8 and a half years, so it’s been difficult for me to learn more about her. The ship manifest says she was from Krakow. But a friend helped me find Alfreda’s death record which had a notation that she was baptized at Kolbuszowa. Several people helped me with translations between English and Polish to get Alfreda’s baptism record, which I happily received this week. I typed the information into FamilySearch so I can share the information and create this fan chart attached. The baptismal record was 2 years and 1 month different than we had in our records.  

Alfreda immigrated to the United States in Jan 1914, with her sister Anna Baranowski and her nephew Kazimierz Bazarnik (Anna’s son). In Dec 1920 Alfreda married Adam Sanetra in Chicago civilly, not in a church. In June 1922, Adam took the family members he knew where they were, back to Poland: Adam, Alfreda, Bronislaw and Jozef. Alfreda’s daughter Jadwiga Sanetra was born in Mar 1923. Adam returned to the United States to work and look for his children, leaving Poland when Jadwiga was 4 months old.  After a year of work, Adam returned to Poland. Jadwiga was 4 years old when her father Adam Sanetra died. 

Alfreda Zofia Mazurkiewicz was born 13 Jan 1884, baptized at All Saints Catholic Church in Kolbuszowa. Her record was not in this church, this record collection is at a library. 

Alfreda’s parents were Antoni Mazurkiewicz and Maria Olszowy. Her paternal grandparents were Kazimierz Mazurkiewicz and Maria Koczoń. Alfreda’s maternal  grandparents were Jan Olszowy and Agata Białek.

Jadwiga Sanetra chart (click on it to view full screen)