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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17 October 2016

Stürmer or Streicher Library trying to reunite owners with their books

I read an amazing story this week about a group of people trying to return books to families that were confiscated/stolen during WWII. Here is a link to that page: Books trying to reunite with owners
Can you imagine trying to return 10,000 books stolen by Nazi's to their original families? I imagine the internet helps, trying to spread the message around the world. The article said the books came from 514 Austrian towns and other European localities, in 25 languages. A list of some names who had their books stolen is also on this web page. 

I subscribe to the newsletter from: kontakt@GenTeam.at
That is how I heard about this story. A letter was attached from the director of this project, Magister Leibl Rosenberg. It appears most of the books were taken from Jewish families. I will look forward to updates on this project and wish them the best, in this huge endeavor.

18 September 2016

Paul Sanetra, 1940s Arizona pictures

Paul Sanetra went to the orphanage when his mother died, at age 13. After that, for decades, Ervin was the only sibling he knew. Paul couldn't find the rest of his siblings, but they (Paul and Ervin) always kept looking for them. They lived near each other and kept in touch after Paul moved to Arizona for health reasons. Paul's wife Catherine was one of 11 children. (One died as a baby). He was very close to Catherine's siblings and their spouses. Paul and his brother in law Jesse Buckner and father in law George Stowe all got land, divided it and they (themselves) built houses beside each other. Here are 3 Arizona pictures I love of this group.They moved to Arizona mid 1940's. This was just outside Pheonix. Today this area is concrete and dense population. This was still as I like to think of as "the old west."

13 September 2016

Karolina Matuszek: deafness, communication, languages

Karolina is the cute one with the braids, smiling.
I wrote about this picture in Feb 2013, (see link for story) but I wanted to post it and again, and say: I love this picture so much! I appreciate this picture even more as I myself struggle with communication now. Karolina left home for several years to get an excellent education in the German language. She learned to lip read the German language, and get by in a "hearing world". She attended the Vienna School for the Deaf. Her family spoke Polish, but they learned German to communicate with her. What a big, difficult, yet amazing thing! What a huge accomplishment for Karolina and her family!  http://sanetra-genhistory.blogspot.com/2013/02/karolina-matuszeks-picture-helps-me.html Communication is so important, and can be so challenging. When we can't hear, speak or understand another language, it can be very frustrating, and make life's challenges much more difficult. I think parents' struggles to try to help their children understand language has always been there and always will be. Especially if immigrating or having health challenges. This is a subject and feeling that we may understand and empathize with our ancestors.

Over the last 20 years, I've gained a much bigger appreciation for trying to communicate through language barriers, including autism. I've wanted so much to learn other languages, but this is a skill I'm terrible at, no matter how hard (or how many years) I try. ASL (American Sign Language) is the only language I've ever been able to remember and understand. Probably because it's visual and I think visually. And it's based off the language I already know. Thankfully my family is now learning to sign with me since I have speech challenges. I've always wanted to sign ASL really well. Probably from the first time I saw it on the Sesame Street TV show. During 5th grade, I learned some signs from my teacher and her daughter who was deaf. Back then, they had to sign SEE, (signing exact English) in the classroom. That was tedious. I love ASL, and am glad that is the language allowed now. I took 2 college classes of ASL 20 years ago. It was new to our area then. My husband and I were dating while I took those classes. I practiced my lessons and tests with him as my audience. Now high schools offer it as a language here. I love that. I stopped classes, to address multiple health challenges for me and my little ones.  And...now its 20 years later! I'm relearning, reviewing and starting new classes.

I've been reading a lot about deaf history recently. My mother in law was hard of hearing, deaf without her hearing aids. She learned to read lips. She never learned to sign and had no interest when I took classes. Her generation wasn't very friendly to "being different." Understanding what people said was always a challenge for her though. She'd pretend she understood rather than admit she didn't understand the conversation. I can understand that though. I've read it often took 6-8 years of intense training to be able to read lips in one language. In the 1890's to 1900, deaf children had intense immersion type training but they didn't get to live at home, or do "normal things" children their age did. Most farmers didn't send their toddlers away for 6 years. That wasn't normal. The majority of people in the US back then were farmers. Yet these children were expected to act and live like everyone else. Like there was nothing wrong or different. If someone had a bushy mustache, mumbled or looked away a lot, it was hard to follow their conversation. I was surprised to read that in my country in the 1890's to 1900 there was a big deal about not being different, a need for solidarity in everything that could be united. The phrase "United We Stand or United We Fall" was more than just political views. Still suffering after the civil war, there was a big fear about being different, or old problems and divisions could resurface. There were two opposing views in our country: Alexander Graham Bell was for lip reading and fitting in. Gallaudet was for signing and a language with gestures and hand movements. Both had deaf family members. Bell was against signing and felt being seen as different or caught signing would harm the children. At that time he was right, in a way. These children wouldn't be able to have an easy life, and they wouldn't be hired if employers thought they were "disabled". It amazes me people would say any physical weakness also meant inferior intellect. Did people really think that?! Or was that just an excuse for their bad behavior?! Well, just saying and writing these prejudices made people's lives more difficult. So people had to hide their problems for survival.  But families wanted to communicate, and often felt signing communicated better, and it was easier with quicker language skills. These are difficult concepts for me to grasp. Because I wonder things like: who gets to define normal? And who gave them the right? No one goes through life without at least one physical challenge. No one thinks or feels the same as everyone else, on every subject. Yet these issues have been (and still are) struggles for many people around the world. And so many people get severely injured in wars, battles, and attacks.

I'm grateful I live in a time and place where I can just be myself. Where tolerance is...better..., regarding languages and disability. Can you imagine being deaf and trying to pretend you had no difference in processing language? Or that you might not get a job, just because you couldn't hear? Or had a slight limp? For parents of children with autism, can you imagine trying to figure out what your child needs during a meltdown, and you're told no hand gestures? Can you imagine other people telling you that you are wrong and harming your child, because they don't like your version of communication? Parents with communication challenges want to be able to reassure their children. Just conquering the ability to speak or sign a few words is so precious and often misunderstood by others. Can you imagine having to send your child away for 6 or more years to learn to communicate? A chance for surviving in a world that uses a different language than you do? Or imagine having to miss your sibling that long? Can you imagine being a refugee and all of a sudden you have no idea what anyone around you is saying? And now your language is the "wrong language?" Or a new immigrant and the only way you ever knew how to communicate, you aren't aloud to speak or you get in trouble? And publicly humiliated. Can you imagine the immense pressure of immigrants (early 1900's) to learn English quickly, so people didn't try to cheat them out of the little money they had? Or trick them with work contracts?

Paul Sanetra knew Polish, probably up until age 13 when his mother died. Near the end of Paul's life with Alzheimer's we realized he remembered some German words from when he was a little boy. He said his mother (Rosalie Wandzel) used to say those words to him. But in the early 1900's in America, children got in trouble (and humiliated) for speaking anything but English. By the time Paul spent some time in the orphanage, he lost the language. When he was about age 50 and started to find his siblings, he had to hire a translator, because he forgot and couldn't get the language back. For years (school, orphanage, work) it was drilled into him that he could only speak English.

I'm grateful for the pioneers that tried to find solutions to help people overcome language barriers. I'm glad people are taught to do both lip reading and signing now.  I'm glad children can be expected to speak English in schools (in my country), yet their first language isn't discouraged anymore. Now learning languages is encouraged and considered a part of a good education. I'm glad there's communication therapy for autism. I'm glad that when we're different we don't have to pretend we're the same as everyone else. I'm glad getting jobs and being treated fairly is getting so much better than it used to be.

I lived in Los Angeles for a few years. There were a number of political refugees in my high school. From Kosovo, Iran, El Salvador and Russia. A lot of effort was made to help the teenagers feel welcome and safe. I became good friends with several of these new students. They had some crazy stories! They were really hard working students, who wanted to master several languages, be good students and contribute to their community. If your parents, or grandparents immigrated, do you know their story? Do you know why they moved to a new country? Do you know what they did to adjust to a new place? How they learned a new language? Did they move to communities were others were from the same culture? Or spoke the same language? Do you know how many languages they knew? Did they keep the same religion or join a new religion in their new country? Did they have the same occupation here as their old country? Even if they were factory workers, did they sing or draw? Invent things? Neighborhood sports games at the end of the street? These are the kinds of questions I ask and I'm trying to learn the answers to, for my immigrating ancestors. Regarding my Polish ancestors, ...it's so hard to find these answers! But I'll keep looking and asking.

Side notes:
* Karolina Matuszek was the sister in law of Bronislaw Sanetra. Paul and Bronislaw were bothers. 
* A little info about Bell and lip reading: Bell-lip reading click here
*Info about Gallaudet University and what they do. I just bought a biography about Gallaudet that I look forward to reading. It amazes me how much he helped to address such an enormous problem, and helped improve the quality of living and communication. Gallaudet click here 
I feel that American Sign Language is a beautiful language. One that I want to learn really well.

05 August 2016

Wandzel sisters: Fall River, MA

Three Wandzel sisters came to the United States: Anna, Stanislawa and Ludwika.They list their parents as Wojciech Wandzel and Victoria Zuzak. The sisters first settled in Fall River, Massachusetts. Then they traveled to Ohio and spent the rest of their lives in Cleveland, Ohio. The sisters state on records that they were born in Zywiec, Poland.

My ancestor Rosalie Wandzel (born in 1887) had a grandfather named Wojciech Wandzel, but he was married to Anna Byrda.  Rosalie was the daughter of Wawrzyniec Wandzel who was the son of Wojciech and Anna. Several other people on these ships were from Zywiec, heading to Fall River, MA. Ludwika's husband was also from Zywiec. I don't yet know of a connection between these Wandzel's and mine. But Wandzel is a rare name, and they're from the same place as my family. These sisters are about the same age as Rosalie, so it is possible they were cousins. I will keep looking for records that show relationships. If anyone knows more about these sisters, I'd love to hear from you.
1936-Joseph Korab, Stanislawa's husband

  1. Anna Wandzel immigrated first. She arrived 6 Jul 1907. She was age18, single, servant. She was traveling to a friend's house named Aniela Klis, in Fall River, MA. 
  2. Stanislawa Wandzel arrived 13 Jul 1909. She was age 17, single, a servant, traveled with her cousin Karol Kublin to her sister Anna Wandzel, in Fall River, MA.
  3. Ludwika Wandzel arrived 4 Mar 1913. She was 18, single and a servant. Ludwika was going to her sister Stanislwa's house. She traveled with 2 women also going to Stanislawa's house: A friend Helena Yuyosz and Marya Wojtusink, is listed as a sister to Stanislawa Wandzel, but her father is listed as Marcin Wojtusink, so maybe sister in law?
Here's a time line for these sisters:
  • 1889 Anna Wandzel born Zywiec, Poland
  • 1894 Stanislawa Wandzel born Zywiec, Poland
  • 1896 Ludwika Wandzel born Zywiec, Poland
  • 1907 Anna immigrated to Fall River, MA
  • 1909 Stanislawa immigrated to Fall River, MA
  • 1911 About 1911 Anna married Jan Wieszczek in MA
  • 1912 Anna has son Walter Wieszczek in MA
  • 1913 Ludwika immigrated to Fall River, MA
  • 1914 Stanislawa married Joseph Korab. (Joseph Korab had 2 children from previous marriage: Stanley 1908 and Mary 1912)
  • 1915 Stanislawa has daughter Stefania or Stella Korab in MA
  • 1916 Anna has son Mathew Wieszczek in MA
  • 1917 Ludwika married Charles Kupczak, in OH
  • 1919 Ludwika has daughter Johanna Kupczak in OH
  • 1920 Ludwika has son Frank K. Kupczak in OH
  • 1920 Sisters Anna and Stanislawa lived next door to each other in MA
  • 1930 All 3 sisters lived beside each other on East 31st Street in Cleveland, OH. For the rest of their lives they lived in Cleveland, Ohio.
  • 1936 Joseph Korab is naturalized, (see picture in this post.)
  • 1940 Anna household census note: James Biernot is living in the house who sign's brother in laws, Jozef Korab's naturalization record.There are a few Biernot and Sanetra family connections.
  • 1943 Ludwika's husband Charles Kupczak died
  • 1962 Jozef Korab, Stanislawa's husband died
  • 1971 Jan Wieszczek, Anna's husband died.
  • 1975 Anna died, age 88
  • 1980 Stanislawa died, age 85
  • 1997 Ludwika died, age 99

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.