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

08 September 2012

Paul Sanetra and his friend Joe Gonkie 1928

Wisconsin Capital 2 Sep 1928
Wisconsin Capital 2 Sep 1928

Joe Gonkie- Wisconsin Capital 2 Sep 1928
Ferry Boat Wisconsin Dells 2 Sep 1928

Wisconsin Dells 2 Sep 1928
Paul Sanetra, ?, ?, Joe Gonkie 2 Sep 1928


















I am not sure who Joe Gonkie is. I think it is spelled Gonkie, that's what the handwriting looks like to me. See the Capital picture above with writing on the front, that I titled "Joe Gonkie-Wisconsin Capital 2 Sep 1928". I just have these few pictures. It looks like Paul took a trip with some friends. My guess would be the other two people in the picture with Paul and Joe are Joe's family. But the picture was not labeled. Paul Sanetra was 23 years old in these pictures. This was the time period in between leaving the family that raised him until he married. Click on pictures to view full screen.

31 August 2012

Paul Sanetra with his friends Fred, Zella and Gussie Hoffman July 4th, 1930


Paul Sanetra went with his friends to  Paw Paw, Lake Michigan, staying at Asuwikit Cottage. The pictures were just labeled Zella and Fred Hoffman. And another Gussie and Zella and Paul. So I actually do not know if Hoffman is really Gussie's last name. I also don't know if Hoffman is Zella's married or maiden name. I don't know anything about these people other than that I have these few pictures. I tried to find them on the Census but could not. We assume they were just friends of Paul Sanetra and he took this vacation trip with them. Paul Sanetra was 25 years old in these pictures, and was single. Paul married Catherine Stowe in 1933. Click on pictures to view full screen. If you know the people in the pictures, I would love to heard from you. I will post an update about their names if I find one.
Zella and Gussie 4 Jul 1930
Fred and Zella Hoffman 4 Jul 1930
Zella, Paul and Gussie 4 Jul 1930

Paul Sanetra 4 Jul 1930

25 August 2012

Paul Sanetra and John Dailey in St. Charles, 1930

Paul Sanetra lived with the Derring family when he was farmed out from the orphanage. Paul was living with them on the 1920 census. He said they were a good family and they all worked hard together. I found a newspaper article, later (about the late 1920's) showing that the family decided to give up farming and move to town. They auctioned off the farm.  I could not find Paul on the 1930 Census but figured he should be in or near St. Charles because his brother Ervin was there. I was given a few pictures to scan from the 1928-1940. I saw a post card and picture of John Dailey. I asked my grandpa, (Paul's son) "Who was John Dailey?" He said, "Sorry, that was before my time. I guess that was his good friend." Imagine my surprise when I found the 1930 Census and Paul was living with John Dailey (and his brother and mother), who was also a builder. Paul also included in this photo book a few job sites in St. Charles in the early 1930's, that he worked on. I was thinking, even though I know people alive then, technically, pictures from 1930 can be considered old. I often think of old as pre-1900, but forget that anything 1900 is now 112 years old. And something in 1930, that is 82 years, a lot can happen to  place in 82 years. I am posting these pictures, hoping maybe someone from the Dailey family might want to see them too. My grandpa Paul Sanetra preserved them well. I have pictures of two other families for future posts, plus a few unlabeled pictures, that will be my next few posts. (Click on images to view full screen) Enjoy!
Paul Sanetra post card to Mrs. Mary Dailey 1930

Paul Sanetra post card to Mrs. Mary Dailey Dec 1930

Paul Sanetra and John Dailey-1932

28 June 2012

billion graves website
















This is a really neat video clip, (58 seconds), with GPS technology. You will even know where specifically the tombstone is in the cemetery! I have found some old cemeteries and shared with others to help. Some people have helped me find some of my ancestors. It is nice to help each other. This is something I have been thinking about a lot more since I can not travel as much and lately haven not been able to drive. This would be a huge benefit to others who can not travel. I live near a lot of old battlefields that I can visit with my family on weekends and can help as well. I just signed up today and can not wait to start. It is not exactly the same thing as findagrave. Check it out. If you have loaded images to findagrave as I have, can it hurt to have your info in two places? I believe the more accessible information like this is, the better! Now I am going to go read the new info part more on their website....http://billiongraves.com/contribute.php

PS-I am really only familiar with United States Cemeteries and Virginia cemeteries where I live.  But this site is expecting to be worldwide.

update- I also read that there are thousands of images already photographed by volunteers, waiting for transcriptions to be added into the website. All on the same link in this post. So if you can't drive, and want to help, you can still transcribe!

14 May 2012

More about Marianna Klosak and Joseph Wojtas family

I have learned a lot more about the family that brought our Bronislawa Sanetra over.  I just still don't know the exact connection, or if their family (descendants) knows what happened to Bronislawa. Marianna was married, had a one year old child named Anna and appears to have gone back to Poland just to get my relative Bronislawa.  I know it was about 10 days one way travel, but to do this, I believe she must have really been related to my family. I am still trying to find descendants, hoping someone will remember hearing about Marianna going to Poland to get a 9 and a half year old girl after a 7 year wait and then not finding her parents, in Feb 1911. Bronislawa Sanetra's grandmother was a Klosak. We are thinking the 7 year wait was due to medical reasons. Because as Rosalie and Adam were boarding the ship, they were told Bronislawa could not go, but she could travel later with a relative. Here is a summary of what I have learned about the Wojtas descendants:

Joseph Wojtas was the son of Valentini Wojtas and Anremae Sajner according to his marriage record. But since his brother John and sister Sophia (Zophia) all had a daughter named Anna, I am thinking the mother's name was probably Anna. On John's marriage record the mother's name was spelled Aunae. Joseph and John Wojtas were both married in Holy Cross Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Also their children were baptized there, up until 1915. Then I learned from Joseph's obituary that he also had a sister named Sophia Wojtas, with the married name of Filipek, in South Dakota. I've been able to find a number of records for the family. One thing of interest was more Klosak connections. Also interesting, was that Joseph Wojtas daughter Anna, who was born in Minneapolis, was living in Poland at the time of her fathers death, in Apr 1964, apparently unmarried. How wonderful there were still connections to Poland! I wonder if Anna knew any of my family in the United States or any of my Klosak's in Poland in the 1960's?

Descendants of Valentini Wojtas and Annie Sajner in the United States:
1. Sophia Wojtas (1885-1965) married John Filipek ( b.abt 1888)  6 Jul 1909 Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
     1. Mary 1911
     2. John 1912-2004
     3. Stanley 1915-2001
     4. Joseph 1924
     5. Frank 1925-2006
     6. Anna 1926
     7. Amelia 1928
2. Joseph Wojtas (1887-1964) married Maryanna Klosak(1882-1923)  10 Jan 1910 Holy Cross Church, Minneapolis
     1. Anna b. 1910 (not married, went to Poland)
     2. Julianna b. 1911 married Edmund Joseph Letourneau 1910-1975
     3. Rose Rita b.1913-1985 married John Frank Capko b. abt 1915.
     4. Carolina b.1915-1969 married Carl Ersbo 1915-1995
Then Joseph married a lady named Agnes (between 1923 when Maryanna died to 1927 when Mary was born) who had two children John and Rose Thon. Joseph and Agnes also had a child named Mary.
        5. John Thon married Ann abt 1940
        6. Rose Thon married a Mr. Olson
        7. Mary Wojtas married a Mr. Harmon
3. John Wojtas (1888-1939) married Maryanna Sandak,(b. abt 1894) (daughter of Adalbert Sandak and Regina Klusak) 20 Jan 1913 Holy Cross Church, Minneapolis
     1. Anna b.1913
     2. Stephania or Stella b. 1915
     3. Joseph b. 1921
     4. Robert b. 1926

Click on pictures to view full screen. 
Minneapolis Tribune, 28 Apr 1964 pg. 20

1935 South Dakota State Census from familysearch.org

25 March 2012

1940 Census, a note about familysearch and Sanetras

Last weekend, I went to a meeting to learn more about indexing and the 1940 Census, which is about to be released in 8 days, on April 2.  Familysearch is looking for lots of volunteers, because they'd like to have the census fully indexed and available by the end of this year. That's a major accomplishment! I can't remember the exact source now, but it was from an earlier meeting I went to, where I was told that it took 18 years to index the 1880 census and 18 months to index the 1930 Census. There was a lot more people to index in 1930! But there were also a lot more volunteers, and it was done through digital means and the internet. All records will be free and on the familysearch website. Here is the link to the page on familysearch about indexing: https://www.familysearch.org/volunteer/indexing
Some statistics I wrote down in class:
  • In  2010, 185 million records were indexed by familysearch volunteers. (People like you and me)
  • 500,000 records were digitized per day
  • about 60 mil records per year are being digitized at the rate people are indexing right now
In 1940, Alfreda, Jadwiga, Bronislaw, and Jozef left the country and this part of our family is in Poland, except Bronislaw. (Invasion of Poland was 1939) Adam Sanetra has already died. All of Adam's children that we know of are married and starting to have children, except Jadwiga. Paul and Ervin know about eachother and stayed close, but they couldn't find anyone else in their family. They kept writing letters looking for Stanley, Bronislawa, Bronislaw, Jozef, and their father (not knowing he had died or left the country, or remarried). We have a better chance of finding Stanley and Bronislawa on the 1940 census, because it's one more record to search. As soon as the records are searchable, which is done by indexing records. Can't wait for another database to try to find more family!

04 February 2012

Galicia Jewish Museum, photographs, and why I think it is an important subject

I was searching for books about Galicia, which was the name of the part of Poland our family was from, when Adam Sanetra immigrated to America. I bought a book I wanted to tell everyone about.  The name of the book is called, "Rediscovering Traces of Memory-The Jewish Heritage of Polish Galicia." The subject of this book interested me, because it was about finding traces of Jews in the Galicia part of Poland. The book is written by Jonathan Webber, with photographs by Chris Schwarz. The information and pictures in this book are from the Galicia Jewish Museum in Krakow.

The first paragraph on the inside flap of book says, "Since the Holocaust, traces of memory are virtually all that remain in Poland after more than 800 years of Jewish life there. This remarkable album, published on behalf of the Galicia Jewish Museum in Krakow, offers a sensitive way of looking at that past. Based entirely on arresting, present-day colour photographs of Polish Galicia, it shows how much of that past can still be seen today if one knows how to look and how to interpret what one sees."

The photographer Chris Schwarz dedicated his life to these pictures, trying to create an awareness from his pictures. His goal was to document and educate. I am an amateur photographer, so I had a great appreciation for his efforts. I also have great appreciation for people trying to preserve history. The author and photographer worked together for 15 years on this picture collection, interviewing many people, trying to preserve memories and get a museum started. In 2002, about 1,000 pictures were ready for an archive. A museum was opened in 2007 to show the collection and display the research efforts.

There are 74 photographs, fully captioned. With annotation and more notes in the back of the book. (book totals 186 pages)  There is  a picture of a beautiful library, with wall and ceiling murals, which was once a synagogue. There is also a picture of a highway sign marked "Dobra" that is marked with a red line through it, with an explanation that there is nothing Jewish left there to photograph. There is also a photograph of a German Chancellor visiting to "promote Holocaust education and foster reconciliation." as the book states. Here is a link to the book on Amazon, if you are interested to see more about the book. I bought it to learn more. I do not benefit in any way from the sale of this book: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0253221854/ref=oh_o03_s00_i00_details

There are two more pages in the book I wanted to mention. 1) I also found the topographical map of Galicia helpful. 2)  There is also a page about place names I wanted to mention, in case it helps anyone with research.  The place name page states, if you only know a place by it's Yiddish name, you may have trouble finding it on a map. The book explains that people often thought they came from a place too small to be on a map and that's why they couldn't find where their family was from. But it was really a language barrier problem, not a small town problem. The Galician map makers would have listed the towns with names in German, Polish and Ukrainian names, not in Yiddish. If you only know the name in Yiddish, I would suggest trying the Jewish Gen website to find the other name for the place. http://www.jewishgen.org/ On this opening page, you can search for a town name.

Here is a link to the museum, it is in Polish: http://www.galiciajewishmuseum.org/
Here is a link to the translated English page:  http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=pl&u=http://www.galiciajewishmuseum.org/&ei=lQUtT_etJerX0QHiv929Cg&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CDgQ7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dgalicia%2Bjewish%2Bmuseum%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26hs%3DCRy%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26prmd%3Dimvns

I believe that whether you  have Jewish ancestry or not, this subject can and should be of interest. It is amazing to me that one political group of people (Nazis) could try to wipe out hundreds of years of history, and appear to have succeeded. But records, memories, writing down those memories, interviewing, taking pictures to document, creating a museum to educate...these are all things that will keep one political group, (the Nazi's), from erasing the Jewish history that was also part of Poland's history. The more we can learn about history, the more we can prevent the history from repeating. The other side to this, is there are other good history lessons we can learn from the history of Poland, like King Kazimierz welcoming the Jews and providing a haven for them. Also the Polish people living side by side with neighbors of various religions without the prejudices seen around the world even today. (See post 16 Aug 2011. The Vilnius Lancers had Christians, Jews and Muslims in the same unit in 1938.) I think what Jonathan Webber and Chris Schwarz did with this book and museum were a great educational undertaking. The museum website said 25,000 people from around the world visit annually. The photographer died in 2007. So at least 175,000 people have already seen the photographs, about 100,000 have seen his pictures since his death. That is the start of two men trying to preserve and document memories, with the assistance of many, who also believe in preserving history, over several decades. I believe in preservation and records!





04 January 2012

Help for information about Jewish villages that disappeared in Poland

Updated 7 Jan 2012- Here is a link to the United States Holocaust museum website, listing resources. There are links about education, research, history, available in several languageshttp://www.ushmm.org/education/

Posting 4 Jan 2012:
I have been reading and hearing about whole Jewish communities disappearing from Poland, during WWII. Not just damaged, because a pile of rubble would still show something was there. I mean that not a trace was left. No bricks or stones of the synagogue left. Tombstones taken away. The Nazi leaders wanted to erase the history, as if no Jews had ever been there. In some ways, the history has been erased because so many people do not know there was ever a thriving Jewish community in these places. Zabłocie had a large synagogue and Jewish community. That is all gone now. But records still exist, and that will prevent history from being totally erased. So what do you do, or where do you look, if you think you might have Jewish relatives, but the Nazi's tried to erase the history? Where are the records now? Where have the records moved to? I started asking people questions.

I'm told the best source online, is the Jewish Genealogy site: http://www.jewishgen.org/
I found a helpful, interesting video. I just bought it on Amazon and watched it this weekend. If you are looking for Jewish relatives in Poland, (Pre-WWII) I highly recommend this video. There are subtitles in: Hebrew, Russian, Finnish, Polish, Arabic and English. It won awards. This story takes place in Ciechocinek, Poland, where all Jewish traces were erased. The movie documentary time is just over a half hour long. (I am not all connected to this movie. I just bought it and think it's great.) This does show where records were moved to. I learned some new things and felt some questions were answered with this DVD.

There were two sources of information especially intriguing to me in the video. They went to an old school, and stated the old school records had as much information as a birth record. There were also school pictures, like an American year book, with group pictures. The family also knew the name of the shop their ancestor owned. In an office, someone checked books, written in Yiddish, by the resistance groups, of all that happened to the shop, or any knowledge of the people. School books and books written by the Jews about their people are still here, and not destroyed. There are amazing resources with better technology and communication today, with more opportunities yet in the future. This is where I got the DVD: "Traces" movie link on Amazon

I have also been told several times, when I ask people questions, that I need to visit the holocaust museum in Washington DC. I've been told they also help with education and research in areas such as this. I hope to visit there soon. When I visit the museum, I'll post any resources they give me.