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

22 February 2009

Good Polish genealogy resource

Here is a site I found, that I find amazingly helpful. Just wanted to spread the word in case it can help someone else.
There are a few translation helps, information on names, newspaper resources, information on specific Polish people (like a lady who helped hundreds of Jews escape), handwriting helps, how to write to Poland,...I have spent hours on this site and not even seen all the many wonderful resources it offers. A truly wonderful resource!

Ellis Island immigration

Note: 7 Feb 2010-changed spelling of surname from Loch to Lach

I discovered while searching the familysearch pilot program web site, that there were more Sanetra's in that database than the ellisisland.com database. The LDS church did the indexing for the Ellis Island records, but the Ellis Island site doesn't have the complete index posted yet.
Here is a link/address to the pilot record search page, which has the complete database. You can search by just the immigration records, and there are some amazing search features on this page. This database will remain free. If you have not accessed the Ellis Island page before, it will ask you to register to see the images, and it is free to register. The pilot record search page will link you to the images on Ellis Island's web page. :

I have started to create a chart following the Sanetra's and who they married, from Zablocie, Poland. And whether they settled in Chicago, Minneapolis or elsewhere. I will see if there's a way to post that chart. In the meantime, some names I have been charting are: Sanetra, Klosak, Wojtas, Keller, Wandzel, Biel, and Lach. My goal was to see when people came, who they were going to see, and who they left behind. I thought Adam Sanetra was the first in his family to immigrate, but I see from these records he actually came to see relatives I haven't heard of yet. So now we know others paved the way for him to come to America. By creating this chart, I saw a lot of people I'd never heard of who were listed as relatives. Now if only I could figure out how the clerks and census takers decided to spell my relatives names, so I could find the records!

Marianna Klosak married Jozef Wojtas

Note added: 4 Aug 2010- see posting 4 Aug 2010 for updates and commentary to this post. 

Marianna is listed as the daughter of Joseph Klosak and Regina Waloszek. Marianna died relatively young, at age 31 from TB (Tuberculosis). Her death certificate says just Mary, but immigration says Marianna. I found what appears to be her on the 1910 Census. This is the only Mary or Marianna Klosak I could find, plus the dates are pretty close, and her father's name matched. I did a search on just Klosak's in Minneapolis, and this is the only entry close to a Mary. Here's my notes there:
Marianna is listed as Mary, single, age 23, immigrating in 1909, not able to read and write, from Austria Poland. She's living with her widowed father Joseph, who's 51, immigrated in 1890, and his occupation is a sewer. It's faded but it looks like he might work as a sewer in the paper factory, listed as part of the logging industry. His house is listed as owned free and that it's a house, not a farm. They live in Minneapolis, the district name is faded and illegible.
In 1911, Marianna immigrated and was listed as married, and age 21. I started asking around and it appears, some younger people in this time period, while they were single, went back and forth taking family members across. So someone with knowledge of the area, and the family, could help other family members on their journey. Marianna could have married just after this Census, the immigration record where she was listed as married was almost a year after this census page. Ages weren't always written on records correctly with language barriers.
I'm still not sure how this Marianna is an aunt of Branislawa Sanetra. But it seems she was here in The States, and then went back to get Bronislawa to bring her to her family.

19 February 2009

Helen Sanetra

Helen Sanetra
A Helen Sanetra wrote my grandmother Catherine Stowe Sanetra a few times in the mid 1960's. Helen's family was from Zablocie, then settled in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Helen was the daughter of Thomas Sanetra and Jadwiga Biel. (from Zablocie) Thomas, Jadwiga, her widowed mother Regina, and (Jadwiga and Thomas' children): Aneila, Stanislaus, Anna, and Antoni immigrated in 22 Dec 1913. Then Jadwiga and Thomas had Helen and Joseph, who were born in Minneapolis. I just reread their letters, and unfortunately neither Helen nor my grandmother were ever able to find out how they were related. But here's some things that stand out for me: Branisalwa Sanetra, (called "Bessie" by my family) Adam Sanetra's oldest child, had to immigrate separately. When Bessie did immigrate, she traveled with Maryanna Wojtas, listed as her aunt. Maryanna and Bessie could not find their family in Chicago, so they (probably) went to Minneapolis, to live with Maryanna's husband, Jozef Wojtas. The address on Helen's letter was only about 3 blocks away from where Maryanna's address was on Maryanna's death certificate in 1923. Maryanna, Bessie and Helen's families were all from Zyweic-Zablocie. And they all lived in the area called St. Anthony's Parish, in Minneapolis. I hear that today, mass is still given in Polish at St. Anthony's church. Also, Marianna Wojtas maiden name was Klosak, and we have several Klosak and Biel relatives. We just don't know how they're related yet. I'm hoping one day someone will recognize some info I'm posting and help me figure things out.


Our Polish relatives were separated by war & it's tragedies. It took over 50 years of writing and working with genealogists, for Paul Sanetra to find his youngest brother. Other siblings he never saw for the rest of his life. So trying to use some newer technology to find more relatives, and to preserve what little history we know. So we can remember what our ancestors lived for and loved.