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

Kliknij na flagę, aby zobaczyć w języku polskim

Google Translate

31 January 2018

Caputa family immigrated: Janusz Caputa, priest

Janusz Caputa was born and died in Poland as the family history report given to me stated. But I was surprised to discover he was also a US citizen and died in the US Consule in Poland. Janusz was a priest. I have not yet found his immigration information, but I have found 2 newspaper articles in 1965 state that he was an Assistant Reverend at St. Micheal's in Hamburg, NY. (at age 39). He also had a city directory address listing in Buffalo, NY.

Attached is an immigration record for Janusz parents: Jozef Caputa and Janina Ostrowska. I thought this was a wonderful record showing exact birth dates and previous address. I did not know before this record, that any of my Polish family lived in England. Janusz' sister Lena Caputa married Zbigniew Berezowski Dec 1951 in Bradford, Yorkshire, England. Jozef, Janina, and Lena are all listed in my family report as dying in Montreal. I have not found immigration record for Lena either, but it appears they all immigrated to Canada.

Jozef Caputa was the son of Maria Sanetra and Maceij Caputa. Maria was Adam Sanetra's sister. Maceij Caputa (Adam's brother in law) was a witness in 1900 for Adam Sanetra and Rosalie Wandzel's marriage in Zywiec, Poland. Jozef Caputa and Paul Sanetra would have been first cousins. Jozef preceded Paul in death, dying Feb 1995. Paul continued to look for family his whole life, but he did not know about or find Janusz Caputa.


09 December 2017

Ervin Sanetra, and His Brother Paul



1920s-Ervin left, Paul Sanetra right (brothers)

Brothers Ervin and Paul Sanetra were very close. They tried to do things together whenever they could. They couldn’t find any other family for decades (39 years). They went to St Hedwig’s orphanage when their mother Rosalie died in Oct 1918. This was the last time they saw the rest of their siblings and their father. Ervin was 11 and Paul 13 years old. There weren’t enough beds for children 14 and older, so Stanley (age 14) was never admitted to the orphanage. Jozef and Bronislaw were younger and remained in the orphanage. Ervin and Paul were old enough to be farmed out, which they were. When Adam Sanetra came back to pick up his 5 sons in 1920, only the 2 youngest were left: Bronislaw and Jozef. The orphanage had lost track of Paul and Ervin.  

Paul went to work on the Deering family farm. On the 1920 Census, he was living with them on Foundry Rd, in Wheeling, Cook, Illinois. Paul said the Deering family was very good to him. They worked him hard, but they also worked hard beside him. Ervin and Paul were able to visit each other for holidays and special occasions. This picture attached would be one of those visits as teenagers, as well as the picture at the top of the blog with their friend Roy Miers. I haven’t been able to find Ervin on the 1920 Census, but my guess is that he was in Kane County. Ervin was sent to Aurora or St. Charles, in Kane County. He lived there the rest of his life. I looked through the Census manually at the St Charles School for Boys but I did not see Ervin’s name. 

Ervin’s wife, Ida Eggert, had been living in Kane County for a while. They were married about 1928-1929. Their son Norman was born after the 1930 Census, in Sep 1930. About the time Paul turned 18, he moved to St Charles to be near Ervin. Paul was listed as living there on the 1930 Census. Paul and Ervin had a construction business together until Paul had a health crisis. Paul then moved to Arizona in the mid 1940’s to recover physically and financially where he could work year-round in warmer weather. Paul and Ervin wrote letters to each other, visited each other and took a few road trips together. 

I was very surprised when I found Ervin’s baptismal record to see that he was born 6 months and 8 days earlier than we thought. Ervin was born March 1st and baptized March 10th. We thought his birthday was Sept 7th, which was even reported on Social Security. We also thought Ervin was born in Evanston, Illinois. But now we know he was born in Chicago.  I couldn’t find Ervin’s baptismal records at first, in the Chicago Catholic records on FamilySearch. I changed the search parameters to any Sanetra with a father named Adam. Searching this way showed Ervin’s record, but I still haven’t found Bronislaw’s record. 

I was also surprised to see that Ervin was baptized in a congregation that was mostly Kashubian ethnicity in 1907. Joseph was baptized at St Josaphat Catholic Church, about 14 miles south of St Nicholas Church where Ervin’s two older brothers Stanley and Paul were baptized. Google maps tells me that’s about a 35-minute drive with light traffic.  Here is a link with a picture of the church http://polfamily.info/st-josaphat-chicago  Interestingly, this web page mentions people from Żywiec are in marriage book Volume 2. 

Ervin Sanetra's baptism record
I was very happy to discover that Ervin’s godmother, Magdalena Biernat, was the same person as Jozef’s godmother. (Ervin’s youngest brother). I can’t find very many consistent things with Adam Sanetra and his family. I’ve found lots and lots of addresses listed for Adam and his children. 6 of Adam’s children were baptized in 5 different Catholic churches; churches not that far away from each other. Adam also had a 7th child after he returned to Poland, who doesn’t appear to have been baptized. So, to see Magdalena listed as a godmother for two sons, at two different churches, and still associated with the family 5 years later, seems a pretty big deal to me. I also guess that she’s related, for these reasons. We know of some Biernats who were related to our Sanetras in Poland, but that was in the early 1800’s. I’m not aware of any more recently related Biernats. I think I found this Magdalena on the 1910 Census. When I discover more regarding Magdalena, I’ll do a blog post about her. 

In 1957, Ervin and Paul heard from their brother Bronislaw and discovered he was living in Ukraine. In 1961, they heard from Jozef Sanetra, living in Poland. The Red Cross helped Jozef find his brothers. Soon after they also heard from Bronislaw’s family in Poland and they discovered they had a sister Jadwiga, from their father’s second marriage, who was living in Lębork, Poland. Ervin lived until 1969, only a few years after the brothers started to find their siblings. 

26 November 2017

1833-1925 Chicago Catholic church records on Family Search

Stanley Sanetra baptism
Our family has had a copy of the baptismal records for Paul and Stanley Sanetra since 1951. It used to be, you'd write to a church and forms were filled in, as your copy for your genealogy records. But scanned images of church book records in Chicago have been going up on FamilySearch. Two weeks ago, I was happy to discover records for Saint Nicholas Church are now online. You can see our earlier copy from 1951, and also the newer released collection on FamilySearch. Note: my Sanetras first lived in Evanston, Illinois, then moved to Chicago by the time Bronislaw was born in 1910. I'm told when my family lived in Evanston (early 1900's), it was a German speaking community, and mass was in German at this church. In Chicago, our family lived in  Polish communities.

Here is a link to this collection from 1833-1925. : https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/1452409
The source information says this collection is from:  GS Film Number 001579545

I was thinking that it is odd that we were told Ervin Sanetra was born in Evanston too, but was not baptized in the same church as Paul and Stanley. I searched this collection and after trying several different types of searches, I did find Ervin's record, but it did not say what I thought it would say. I'm working on a separate blog post about that. Part two next Sunday.

Stanley Sanetra Baptismal record, bottom right

Paul Sanetra baptismal record

Paul Sanetra baptismal record, top right


Update: 28 Nov 2017, Note: this connection is not completely indexed yet on FamilySearch. 

12 September 2017

Organizing Research Thoughts: Mostly Digital, With a Little Paper





I decided it was time for a little shift in my paper verses digital organization. I completely stopped keeping paper files about 10 years ago. There are some great digital record keeping tools that I use. Firstly, I love Evernote, it’s perfect for my organizing needs. I also love having Microsoft Word documents and Excel sheets as my research notes. I have several thousand genealogy documents on my computer. I prefer digital information retrieval as opposed to looking through a paper file cabinet. I love my trees on Ancestry.com and that I can pin sources to people in my trees, like a digital bulletin board. Even so, sometimes my body can only handle looking at a computer screen for short periods of time. And also, sometimes I want to remember more than what I typed up for others. So, I keep stacks of cut scrap paper in my desk drawer, ready to scribble thoughts or notes on as I think of things, until I can come back later to that topic. Sometimes this leads to having huge stacks of words and phrases written down, that I never did get back to, days or weeks later. They aren’t usually complete thoughts either. Lately, I’m often only typing up partial files. Once I start typing, I realize there are still questions I need answered, incomplete source notations, or further research is needed before I feel like I can share. When I have a lot of partially finished things, it makes me feel very irritable and frustrated with myself. My solution? Go back to keeping a paper journal, in addition to my digital organization method.
I like to think of myself as a detective, for my genealogy. I enjoy reading old public domain mysteries, and historical fiction mysteries. Lately I’ve been reading stories Alan Pinkerton wrote about his company’s real cases.  There were so many great detectives with smart research methods, all before the days of computers and databases! Alan Pinkerton’s stories are amazing to me because of how many undercover detectives were involved, sometimes months of investigating for just one person. I also thought it was pretty genius that everyone had to regularly write up reports to Alan, with their thoughts, ideas, what they’ve done, etc. They used regular telegraph reports in code and a paper write up at the end of a case. Other authors write about detectives that map out their ideas on paper. By writing it out, you can see how people, places and events fit together, and patterns are easier to spot.
I have kept a small and simple temporary file system for the last 15 years, that has worked well for me. I have only 6 folders for genealogy. I keep them in my desk drawer. One folder is for my volunteer work with genealogy. The other 5 folders are for different subjects such as: my Polish research, my Irish-Mecklenburg VA group, and notes people have sent me about DNA matches they have with me. The folders are pretty thin, nothing is meant to stay permanently in any of these folders. It’s information I haven’t put into the computer yet, pages with notes I took during a phone call, planning pages for a trip to the archives, or notes from a courthouse or cemetery visit I haven’t organized yet. Last month I added something new that has been helpful. I put a sheet of bright card stock in each folder so that I can write questions as I think of them, on that folder’s subject. It helps me to have the questions all on one page. I also have a page for blog post ideas and blog posts I started writing, with what info I still need to finish that post. In the Mecklenburg, VA Facebook group I’m moderating, I’m trying to post “a question of the week” every Tuesday. I have a sheet of card stock with ideas for the questions on one side. The other side of the page has notes on the questions I asked with the corresponding dates.
A few years ago, I kept 2 journal notebooks: one for on my Polish research, the other my Irish research. I felt I needed the notebooks then, since the research was all so new and foreign to me, with so much to think about. I filled in two composition notebooks for my Polish research, that I still review 5 years later. I stopped keeping a journal because I thought it might be more efficient to just use Evernote tags and notes. But I’m finding that because of the way I think and process information, I still need to write things out on paper. My Polish notebooks for Chicago research really helped me think things through when I couldn’t find people, and I was studying maps to manually look people up through census maps. I usually write paragraphs on the right side, and draw stuff out on the left side of the page. In my Mecklenburg, VA notebook, I drew circles for property, writing which neighbors were to the north and east around those circles. I drew squares for Census maps showing city blocks in Chicago. I wrote the enumeration district number inside the square, then the street names around the square for that location. I also wrote whether I found the person in that district or not, and where I found the address that I was looking up on the Census maps, then the Census. I also wrote out timelines for that house, family, or individual.
Instead of waking up and jumping right into emails and work stuff, I’m trying to make it a priority to do what has consistently helped me before, but seems hard to maintain. First thing in the morning, it helps me to sit on my deck and ponder the words I scribbled onto scraps of paper. Writing out complete sentences in my journal helps me complete my thoughts or write out a more detailed story. It helps me think about what I know, what I still want to know, who might know the answers, etc.  The pictures in my mind get sharper and more focused. It becomes easier to share information, because I’ve already processed my thoughts and formatted them in paragraph format.
 My conclusions? I love being mostly digital, but I need a little paper too. When I feel limited on how much I can look at computer screens, I can still write with a pen and paper, and add colored pencil notations. I especially love writing with my 1930s fountain pen.  I will continue to use Evernote and digital files, I’m just adding journaling back in. I've realized when I do genealogy, I need that writing, composing on paper process. I can type things up later, so I can avoid looking at a computer screen while I’m thinking about how I want to write something. I do keep my research log notes in my genealogy database. I use my paper journal as more than just a research log. It includes things like where I looked for answers, why a record says that, my thoughts during an interview, my descriptions of places, something I learned and my curiosity about if it could apply to this person I'm researching, things I learned or found interesting at a genealogy presentation, notes on books I’m reading for genealogy… and whatever else I need it to be. Writing in complete sentences and paragraph format helps me process my thoughts and helps me visualize things better, see connections, and feel more focused. Journals helped me before, so I’m returning to that process again.
Note, this post was written for both my Mecklenburg, VA and Polish blogs

28 June 2017

Holocaust Museum project: Diaries

Digitizing, translating and making diaries available for everyone to see is truly amazing. I heard about this on my last visit to the Holocaust Museum. The museum library was so beyond my expectations!! It's collections, the archivists, and that the people there know multiple languages, as well as an amazing knowledge of historical background, understanding various ethnicity heritages, and geography. Check out this project with a video clip explaining it, including details about this project to digitize over 200 diaries, written in 17 languages. They will be published as they are written along with English translations. I thankfully read about the project details and kickstarter, on Dick Eastman's blog: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ushmm/save-their-stories-undiscovered-diaries-of-the-hol