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

26 July 2011

Szczotka or Sotka Genealogy-resources for Cleveland, Ohio

On 5 Apr 2011 Rosemary Sotka (Szczotka) signed my guest book. I have several things I can tell her, (that might interest others with Cleveland roots) so I am answering her questions here in this blog post, where I have more space.

"What a wonderful site this is. I am searching for information for surname Szczotka from Slaskie Province, Zywiec, Milowka. Poland. My Grandfather Michal (Michael) born around 1875,came to US in 1906 with his wife Katha nee Porenski and 2 daughters and settled in Cleveland, OH. He was 31 in 1906. He died around 1928-1930 in Cleveland. My Father was around 8 at the time and now has memory loss so he is unable to help. I do know that my Grandfather came to US first to stay with his brother Jozef in Cleveland. At some point they changed the name to Sotka. Any information or referrals would be much appreciated."

Rosemary, thank you for signing my guestbook!  I went to check my 3 favorite databases for records: familysearch.org (free records), footnote.com and Ancestry.com, (The latter two I pay for subscriptions.) Here are some helpful things available for Cleveland Ohio, which is in the County of Cuyahoga. On footnote.com, there is a collection called "Ohio Northern Naturalizations". This is not the index, this is the actual record that I have had to send off for my relatives in Chicago! Footnote also has the Cleveland City directories from 1861-1923. These two databases are extremely valuable regarding looking for immigrant ancestors. I did not see your family in here on quick searches. I even manually went to 1907 and 1908 in the directories, then went to the "Sz" page. It doesn't mean your family is not in these collections. It just means their names are not spelled correctly in this database. I would keep searching with various spellings. Clerks may have dropped a "Z" or "S", at least. Also, the city directory should be complete, but the naturalization collections are still being digitized and not complete.

On Ancestry.com and Footnote.com, the 1930 Census is there. (click on icon to view full screen) Katha is listed as Catharina B. Szczotka. I thought it was odd she was not listed as widowed, but rather married. Yet I couldn't find her husband. Then I found Michael on the Ohio death index as dying on 28 Apr 1930. The Census was taken 15 Apr 1930, so Catharina wasn't a widow, until 15 days after this record was made. My guess is that Michael was in a hospital, with his name spelled incorrectly, or he was overlooked. Katha is on the Ohio death index for 13 Feb 1969. This Ohio death index was on Ancestry.com.

On familysearch.org, I found several immigration records. It was an easy find because Ellis Island spelled the name correctly. 8 Oct 1905, Michael immigrated and said he was going to his brothers house, Jozef Szczotka, at 1133 Clair St (?), in Cleveland, Ohio. Michael-Ellis Island 1905 Then in 8 Nov 1906, Jozef again comes through Ellis Island saying he's going to his brother-in-law's house, Marcin Zientik (?). Michael-Ellis Island link 1906 Ten days later, 18 Nov 1906, Katha arrives with their children Anna and Franciska. Katha, Anna & Franciska-1906 There is a Jozef Szczotka who arrived 17 May 1904, which I believe should be Michael's brother that arrived before him. But the name is not linked to the right page, so I couldn't read the record, just the index.

You are fortunate that Michael, Katha and some of their their children remained in Cleveland and didn't move. That will make them much easier to find. From the Ellis Island record and this 1930 record, I can tell you they had at least 5 children:
               1) Anna born about 1903
               2) Franciska born about 1905
               3) John J. born about 1911
               4) Mary born about 1919
               5) Charles born about 1921

Since the family arrived in 1906, the first Census they would be on, is the 1910 census. I recommend searching for the family on the 1910 and 1920 Census. I recommend taking Michael and Katha's death dates, and looking for Cleveland newspapers that day, (and maybe also 2-3 days later) for an obituary. That would tell about other family members. Some areas with a lot of Polish Catholics, like Chicago and Minneapolis, have obituaries in Polish, in a Catholic church newspaper. I don't know what newspaper resources are available in Cleveland. I would also take the death indexes and get a copy of their death certificates. If the informant knew, then the parents names should be listed on the death certificate. I didn't even do Sotka searches. Micheal and Katha's death records did not have their name changed, so my guess would be the next generation. But since you know there are two spellings, keep trying both spellings! If you can find the church for where your family lived, in Poland, write to get the marriage record for Micheal and Katha. Probably between 1900-1903. Their marriage record in the church will list their parents and possibly grandparents names. Baptismal records I've seen in that time and area, have parents, grandparents and godparents names on the record. So I recommend looking for a baptismal record for Anna and Franciska. I will email you a copy of this post, as well as the list of names on the Ohio death index list. Here is a link to Cleveland Genealogy help and resources, at Rootsweb.com: http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ohcuyah2/. Here is also a link to Cindi's List, for Ohio genealogy resources: http://www.cyndislist.com/us/oh/societies/. Happy searching! Hope that helps with a few ideas of things to look for, to learn more about your family.

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 Ancestry.com. So I went to Ancestry.com 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 Ancestry.com.
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 Ancestry.com 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: Chicago.Archives@nara.gov
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.

22 July 2011

"catching up" on posts

Dear readers, genealogists, family history enthusiasts, and friends,

          I have stacks of papers on my desk, of things I found or wanted to ask people about. I have found answers to guestbook questions (Polish blog). I have found information I think would be interesting to others, searching for similar information. The pile of papers keeps growing, along with my impatience with myself. I regret that I am extremely delayed in getting back to people, and sharing this information I've been acquiring little by little. I have had some health problems greatly slow me down since last July. I am thankfully recovered and much healthier, but I am frustrated that it is still taking me so long  to get back to everyone. I will always have little setbacks (neurologically caused), but in general, I believe my health is under control enough to resume contact with everyone again. If you have emailed me before, or signed the guest book before, and you still haven't heard back from me by September the first, I apologetically will need another email sent to me: julie.cabitto@gmail.com
I do really, really love genealogy and preserving records. It has always been my interest and my refuge from challenges. Just wanted to explain and apologize for why so many people have not heard back from me for so long, and tell you answers and replies are still coming! Look forward to hearing more from you all,
Thanks, Julie

03 July 2011

Marianna Klosak and Jozef Wojtas

I finally found Marianna Klosak Wojtas on the Census! I found it by the "fuzzy searches" on familysearch.org. That search engine looks up possible close spellings, unless you tell it to do exact searches. It is better than soundex searching. There was an Anna Wojlasz that came up on my search results, and she was the right age. It looks like the Census taker forgot to cross the "t" in Wojtas, and that the surname is really Wojtasz.
I had: Jozef born 1887, Marianna born 1892, Anna born 1910, Julianna born 1911, Rosa born 1913, and Caroline born 1915. Jozef and Marianna were born in Poland and immigrated. The children were all born in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The 1920 Census has: Joseph born 1887, Mary born 1892, Anna born 1910, Julia born 1912, Rosa born 1914, and Clara born 1916. This 1920 Census was in Rusk, Wisconsin, east of Minneapolis.

Marianna Klosak and Jozef Wojtas lived mostly in the Minneapolis area. Here is a timeline, of the dates I know about:
  • 1910 Jozef and Marianna were married in Minneapolis
  • 1910 child Anna Wojtas was born in Minneapolis
  • 1911 (Feb) Marianna traveled with Bronislawa Sanetra, stating on Ellis Island records she was traveleing to Minneapolis where her husband Jozef Wojtas lived 
  • 1911 child Julianna Wojtas born in Minneapolis
  • 1913 child Rosalie  Wojtas born in Minneapolis
  • 1915 child Caroline Wojtas born in Minneapolis
  • 1915 Minneapolis city directory: 216 3rd Ave NE 
  • 1916 Minneapolis city directory: 220 3rd Ave NE
  • 1917 Minneapolis city directory: 222 3rd Ave NE
  • 1917 WWI draft registration. Jozef was listed as alien, wife and 4 children, working at Waldorf Paper Mill. His address was 222 3rd Ave NE
  • 1920 Census, Rusk Wisconsin (about 70 miles east of Minneapolis)
  • 1923 Minneapolis city directory: 813 Marshall St NE
  • 1923 Marianna dies of TB, address on death certificate: 813 Marshall St.
  • 1964 Jozef Wojtas died, said he was widowed, his spouse was Mary. Address: 15 Growland Terrace, Minneapolis, MN. He is in the SSDI (Social Security Death Index) so he most likely became a citizen.
There was also a John Wojtas, married to a Maryanna Sandak 20 Jan 1913. They lived at 635 Marshall St, while Jozef Wojtas lived at 813 Marshall St. John worked at the same Paper Mill as Jozef, as stated on John's WWI draft card. I do not know yet whether John and Jozef were related. John and Marianna Wojtas had at least Anna, Stella, Joseph and Robert Wojtas. John died in 1939.  The lived their lives in America in Minneapolis. On the WWI draft registration card, it said Jozef's dependants were a wife and 4 children, which would be wife Marianna, and children: Anna, Julia, Rosa and Caroline. Which tells me that Bronislawa Sanetra was not living with the Wojtas family in 1917, or the 1920 Census. Marianna Klosak Wojtas is still the last person I know of, to have seen Bronislawa Sanetra. It is surprising to me that Marianna went to Poland, leaving behind a young baby, and while expecting another baby. I assumed traveling was very expensive and not a lot of going back and forth for young married women with young children. Even though the passage there and back could be done in under a month, it is still surprising to me that a young mother brought our relative Bronislawa Sanetra to America.