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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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23 July 2011

Mary Bialek

On Feb 13, 2011, Krista Rogman wrote the following on my guest book. I wanted to answer her questions here, because these are common questions we all have. My hope is by answering her questions here, it may give you some ideas in searching for your family with similar situations.
From Krista:
My grandmother was Mary Bialek who I think was born in Zywiec 1896 to Joseph Bialek and Frances Kastelink. I believe there were 8 children. Mary and her twin sister took a cattle boat to the USA and eventually made it to Gary, Indiana.
I'm not sure how to get started on how to find information about Mary's family and track if there are any living relatives. It is possible that some of them moved to Krakow.
Any ideas on how to get started?
Thank you!

My first thought while reading this, is that the Naturalization index for Gary, Indiana is on So I went to and immediately saw this record:
(Click on it to view full screen.)  I assume this record means her married name is Zabinski? Her residency and birth year match what we know. The important thing here, is her immigration date. I could not find her listed on indexes. Marya was not showing up in searches for Mary. So I searched for her by her date of arrival and saw her right away. Here is the image on the New York Immigration Records database on
Immigration record page 1 of 2
This page had a good amount of information. But I knew that this page looks like a page from Ellis Island record, which are usually two pages long in 1912. So I went to Ellis Island, and found this exact same record . Here is that link: Ellis Island link for Mary Bialek
Immigration record page 2 of 2
Then I went back to the image in and saw they did have both pages, I just had to click the "next" button, in the viewer. So here is the second page of the Ellis Island record:

This two page immigration record shows that Mary Bialek and her twin sister did indeed travel together, to Gary, Indiana. Their father was Josef Bialek, living in Zywiec, proving what Krista was told was all true. What is very interesting to me, is that they were going to live with a brother-in-law, and a cousin traveled with them. So more family names to look for! Marya and her twin sister Josefa were traveling to Gary, Indiana, to a brother-in-law named Klemlus Mozinak? I cannot read that handwriting! If you look at the destination column, and name of relative coulmn it says: Gary, Indiana. Line two and three say "brother-in-law." The next person down, (Helena) says that relative who is Mary's brother-in-law, is Helena Ostrowska's cousin. Helena's father is Roman Ostrowski, and he was also living in Zywiec. All three girls, Mary, Josefa and Helena were all age 17, and servants.

I was thinking that I have heard the name Ostrowska before. So I just pulled up my tree. I do not have the name "Bialek" in my tree, the closest name I have is Biela. But, I do have a few Ostrowska people in my tree, living in Zablocie-Zywiec. I have not heard of Roman Ostrowski, or his daughter Helena before this record. In my tree, I have Josef Ostrowska born 1859, who married a Maria Sanetra. This Josef was son of Kasper Ostrowska and Malgorzata _________. There is also a Janina Ostrowska born in 1907 who was a daughter-in-law of a Maria Sanetra and Maciej Caputa. This Maria Sanetra is sister to Adam Sanetra, my great...grandfather, pictured at the top of this blog.

So what would I do next? I would first take this immigration record and order it from the NARA website in Chicago, through email. Then I would look for a Bialek-Zabinski marriage in Gary, Indiana to see if that is who Mary married, or try to find why that name is on her naturalization record. Then I would look for Mary and Josefa Bielek, Helena Ostrowski, and the relative they went to stay with, all on the 1920 Census in Gary, Indiana. If they are there (Gary) in 1920, I would then look for them in the 1930 Census. I would also see what else I could find, to see if the house they went to really was Mary and Josefa's sister's house. I would also try to look for when their sister immigrated to see who she went to go live with, or to see if she was the first in the family to immigrate. I would also double check the religion of these people. My guess would be Catholic. If so, I would look for records in the Catholic church in Gary, Indiana. I would also try to see how Helena is related as a cousin. There's the questions that I can think of for now. I am also curious to see if we have a connection with the Ostrowska family?

This is how you order the Naturalization record. The link to the NARA page is on my blog, right column. You send an email to this address:
Type up a request for the record. I typed in "requesting naturalization record for _____," in the subject line. In the email, I typed up the information on the index and stated I wished to order the record. I attached the index record to the email. The National Archives, (Chicago branch), will reply back to conform they have the record, tell you the expense and where to mail a check. The record I got this way, was seven dollars. Prices vary. From the time I emailed the request, to receiving the record was less than two weeks. 
Hope these thoughts and this information may be of help to someone.

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