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

15 December 2014

New Holocaust Survivors database

Kurt Mathia is an expert Jewish genealogy researcher working with familysearch.org. I wanted to share the latest message he sent me, thinking this would be of interest to many researchers, and people just trying to learn more about their family post WWII. Here's the message:

13 Dec 2014:
"We visited at Yad Vashem last week. They will be adding a Holocaust Survivors database to the existing Shoah database and will want pages of testimony submitted. By the way, they need many more pages of testimony for the Shoah database. Only about 3,000,000 have been submitted according to the archivist we spoke to."

My reply back: 13 Dec 2014
That is wonderful! And truly impressive. This will be a great resource to the many Polish Catholic researchers in addition to Jewish genealogists, as many Polish Catholics were also in camps. Thanks for the info.

24 November 2014

organizing my digital genealogy and cemetery pictures

This is a copy of the post I did today for my Virginia blog. I wish I had lots of Polish family cemetery pictures! Virginia pictures are easier for me because I live in Virginia. I have been frequently asked  to explain my organizing and why. So I thought I'd do this post here too. All of it can apply to this blog too, as far as organizing digital records, except I won't have cemetery slide shows to post on this blog. 
I've taken a lot of pictures! I've also scanned many files. I've studied how professional archivists and professional photographers organized their pictures, with 10,000+ files. One problem I found, was that the typical way of storing (and default way of my computer) is lots of folders by date. But sometimes folders get stuck inside of other folders. When I first made the goal of going as folder free as possible, I found I had over 2,000 duplicate files! If one file was stored in say Jun 2009 and the same file stored in Nov 2011, the file could be duplicated and stored twice. I've been asked by a lot of people how I organize my files. I hope this post may help.

All the effective organization systems I read about, stored files by date, without folders. I had previously stored them by surname, in surname folders. Sort of a digital way of the old paper filing system. But of course surnames can overlap, causing duplicates. I found that using Windows 7, I could easily search files, so all my files could be stored in one large folder and I could still easily find a file in seconds. I started relabeling my files, and immediately started seeing some interesting things. I love seeing things by date! I see more relationships and patterns. All the 1860's files look pretty similar, just like 1980's pictures will have a similar look to them. By seeing them in order, I could for example, point out to my grandpa, "this picture was taken when you were 15, do you remember it?" And yes, he did remember, it had just been awhile since he'd seen those people. It wasn't one of his personal pictures, but he remembered it because he could associate it with his age then.

I currently have only 5 genealogy folders. (I used to have about 200 folders.) My current folders:
1) My mother's files
2) My father's files
3) My father in law's files (I'm now caretaker of those records)
4) General gen files, info that can apply to all the files, like info about record collections, notes I took at meetings etc.
5) Me & my husband - scans of: certificates, pictures, cards etc for the family we started, more current stuff

I have one other folder on my desktop, labeled "Gen scans". That's my not completely processed working file. Until I can get it ready to be archived into my "Gen files" folder into 1 of the 5 folders sub-folders. "Gen scans" where I put stuff when I borrow a collection for a week to scan. Where I still need to relabel pictures, and lastly, tombstone pictures. As I load new files into "Gen files", from that working folder of "Gen scans", I back the files up on cloud, and an external hard drive.

I finally figured out what I wanted to do with my tombstone pictures dilemma. I had each cemetery in a folder, with county and date labeled. Pictures in the order I took them. I walked in rows and was careful to note family groups. So the order I took pictures was important because it showed family relationships. These are very small rural Virginia cemeteries on old farms, or tiny churches. But I also wanted to have these files be searcheable by surname and the date. In this case, not date taken, but the death date on the tombstone, (which would not hold the order of pictures taken). My recent solution to my challenge, to do both things I wanted (date and order taken): create a slide show in the order pictures were taken. In that slide show, I have started to write the place, and date pictures were taken, which the folder name had the job of doing previously. Then, after the slide show is complete, I label the cemetery pictures just like all the other files, by the date on the record and a surname, or the whole name. If say the file is muster roll, I'd list it as "1863-07-David Dunn-muster roll-death". The year, then month, then day, holds all the records in chronological order. I have several thousand files but If I type in "David Dunn", only a couple files show up, all relevant. Bonus, the search result is only a few seconds! If I only have a year, I type just the year. If my grandma says "I know that picture was between 1940 and 1946, but that's the best I can do for a date" then I label the picture "1940s-Stowe AZ" (approximate date, surname and place).

Example of my filing system
I will start posting the cemetery files here in blog posts, then if you look on the "pages" part, far right, you'll see the "cemetery slide shows" page.

PS. My family pictures are stored the same way. I have just one folder, in "my pictures" labeled "pictures archives." They are backed up on external hard drive and cloud. As my camera and computer by default add in new folders, I routinely go through them, re-label and then archive. Then delete those new folders. Just one folder with several thousand pictures (I have the archive of all the family wedding pictures etc) and its all easily searchable.

27 October 2014

Indiana records digitizing, soon available

I saw this post on "Dear Myrtle" this week. (Oct 23rd)


Here's the first paragraph on that page:  "The Indiana Commission on Public Records has approved a contract with Ancestry.com to digitize more than 13 million birth certificates, death certificates, and marriage records, Gov. Mike Pence announced Thursday."

A large number of people started moving from Chicago (About WWII time period) to Indiana, to places like Gary, and LaPorte Indiana. The family of Jozef Sanetra and Rozalia Mrozek moved from Chicago to LaPorte, Indiana. Kazimierz Bazarnik and his wife Matilda Malinowski lived in Chicago, married in Gary, got their citizenship in Chicago then later moved to Gary, Indiana, I believe spending the rest of their lives there. Kazimeirz was the nephew of Alfreda Mazurkiewicz who was the second marriage of Adam Sanetra. Alfreda, Kazimierz and his mother Anna immigrated together. .

This is great news for those looking to do more research about their ancestors!

02 October 2014

Inquiries to the Red Cross, after WWII

I discovered an amazing collection of records at the Holocaust museum. Joseph Sanetra wrote to the Red Cross to find our family, and they found us in about 1961. Thousands of people wrote letters like his stating when they last saw their family member, info that could help identify a relative (like a birth date) and sometimes sent in a picture.

I was told that just after the war, the Red Cross gave the letter inquiry info to the Army, and the US Army and British Army did the searching. Stalin made mail inquiries, (such as this) stop in areas he controlled, which affected mail inquiries in other areas as well. Then after his death in 1953, mail inquiries searching for family started getting easier.

I was told the inquiries late 1950's and in 1960's, those records would be held by the Polish Red Cross. (Since the inquiries I'm looking for are Polish). The searches just after the war, investigated by British and US Army are in a database now. And the Holocaust Museum has access to this database. They looked up a few names for me during my visit, and I took home a copy of one case.

14 August 2014

The Holocaust museum is much more than exhibits

Several years now, I've questioned whether a few relatives of mine were Jewish or Catholic. I have a picture of two of them. When I show their name, or picture, or say where they lived,  whether I'm talking to currently practicing Jews or Catholics, (senior citizen age), they tell me, "oh most definitely Jewish!". But when I ask, "how do you know? Can you explain it to me?" I'm told, with a shrug of the shoulders,"You just know these things".

I talked with a Catholic priest who worked in old Catholic archives. He told me it's true that in the 1920's to 1940's the time period I was looking at, a lot of Jewish women did marry Catholic men. And when they moved to this country it was a new start, you didn't question what the husband said. So there are Jewish women buried in Catholic cemeteries in Chicago. The priest recommended I try visiting the Holocaust museum because they could help with people like mine who I believe hid behind Catholic marriages. It's more than just information about the holocaust in the museum. I spoke with another person recently who said something similar about help for my questions. The people I'm looking for are not showing up in Catholic records when the rest of the family does, and I really don't know about Jewish records, although so far I have not had luck with the Jewish genealogy online site. The museum can help me learn where to start.

This week, I called the holocaust museum. I told the guy that I didn't even know if my family was Jewish or not, but I was told by a few people they were. Could someone help me with that? To know if they are Jewish? I also told him part of my family was there during the invasion, could they help with things like that? He assured me they could help with all these things. I thought the museum/research part was just for if you already knew you were Jewish or to understand what happened to the Jews. And then of course the purpose of learning history, so it doesn't repeat. But now I realize the museum can even help people like me trying to figure out if their family was Jewish, and just overall understanding things better. The research part is open Mon-Fri. I have so many questions to ask, I can hardly wait for my visit!!
Here is a link to the website to learn more about it: http://www.ushmm.org/

29 July 2014

Organizing all my years of genealogy notes with Evernote

 Here is a post I did on my Virginia blog. This is all names and info relevant to my Virginia families, but the concepts can apply to any record keeping or researching ideas. I've been trying to organize all my stacks of notes. I'm working on getting things together to go look for long forgotten cemeteries and interviewing "old timers" who did farming the old fashioned way. About another month I should have all my Virginia emails in archive then I will work on my Polish emails, which are not as many and I started on much later with my Polish research, when I inherited copies of the records and information of Paul Sanetra Sr from his son Richard. The same concepts, just a new notebook. I think seeing connections will be extremely helpful for my Polish families. Already I have seen where the map and city directories have helped me, when I could not find records.
I wanted to take a little break from my usual posts to explain something I've been trying, in case it may be of interest or help to any of you. I've spent the last month trying to organize my genealogy stuff better. I developed a system that has worked amazingly well for me, with huge potential. A friend told me he used Evernote for genealogy. I wasn't sure how, and didn't have a chance to ask him for a long time. I set up an account, didn't get it right away, and I let it go for about a year. Then I read something about someone organizing all their daily tasks, blog posts, etc in Evernote, so I became curious again. I went to Evernote's website and watched the intro videos. Then I went to Google and typed "Evernote" and saw over 100 videos listed, of people showing how they used Evernote. I watched the top viewed ones, then got an idea of how I could use it for genealogy. I have the free version: windows, and droid for my phone.

I had hundreds of emails I saved over about 12 years, referencing court cases, records, notes on searching for cemeteries, ...lots of important things I didn't want to loose. But then finding where the info was, wasn't so easy. Which email? Which file was it stored in? Windows 7 searches occasionally found the files, Gmail much better. I started testing out tags in other programs and instantly loved tags/filters. So when I saw tags in Evernote I knew exactly what I wanted to do with them! Another thought: I had a plat, with the name JR Cole. At first I didn't really think I didn't needed to remember the name, because it wasn't a blood line. But after awhile, I started to see his name as a neighbor on other plats, as a witness on other records, but then I couldn't remember where. My lesson was learned. I found he was a close neighbor and his family married into mine lot. So every surname in my Mecklenburg/Brunswick emails gets a tag.

I've been doing this for about a month now. I've created about 10 household notes in a household notebook on cooking, sewing and gardening. The rest is working on this system I created in genealogy notebooks. I took about 250 email messages and created 170 notes in 18 notesbooks. Most of those digital notebooks are main surname lines like Dortch, Poythress, Jones, Taylor. Then I have one for cemetery searching, and interviews. I currently have over 250 tags. I take an old email message and copy/paste it into a note on Evernote. Then I tag all the things I want to remember in that new note. Here's some specific examples of what I do.

Example, my friend and relative Hobson Scott Wright sent me a Gray family picture we were trying to identify people in those pictures. The picture attached and email text goes in a note. It is in the notebook labeled "Gray". My tags are "Hobson Wright", "Gray", "VA-Danville", "identifying picture", "98th Regt group". Then notes about who we emailed and asked about the picture will go on that note. Right now that info is stored in a lot of places. It will be nice to have it all in one place, connected.

Another example: I went to Mecklenburg and visited the Rideout cemetery off Nellie Jones Rd. I visited it with 4 people. Those 4 people each have tags, also "cemetery searching", "98th Regt group", and "Ridout" are tagged.

Another example: someone emailed me a chancery case. Hobson Scott Wright and the 4 people who went to the Rideout cemetery with me commented on the case. There were 6 names in the case and 3 different surnames as witnesses, not in the case. That note has 15 tags: Hobson, the 4 names who also went to Rideout cemetery, the 6 surnames in the case, the 3 surnames as witness, and the word "chancery". So from these 3 examples you can see Hobson Scott Wright would already have 3 tags. When I click on "Pearson" or "Thomas" or "Jones" or "Purdy" or "Ireland-Armagh" tags, you would also see his name showing up, as one of the other tags on those notes.

Other types of tags I created: Just things I wanted to remember: If they went to Rehoboth church, or Kingswood, or Olive branch, or Sardis. If they died in military conflict, if they were in the military, then subcategories of which war, if a note has got a person's mailing address, if it's got an interview inclosed, if there's GPS coordinates in the note, etc.

I'm already seeing so many more patterns and connections! And as I type in notes, underneath my note, it shows other notes I have with similar subjects. As I search in Google, on the right, there's a box that shows similar Evernote notes I have on the subjects I'm searching. Evernote reads PDF's, does voice to text, ...so many amazing things! Evernote really can help you remember everything, help make your info organized, in your style, extremely accessible, very smart searching! I'm a huge fan now, if you can't tell.

PS. I recently showed my friend my system. He said had never thought of the tags. He just used notes to type up where he had searched, more like writing in a journal. But after seeing how I used the tags and OCR searching power, he thought that would help him and others, so I thought I'd share. 
For more information here is Evernote's site, the page with intro videos: http://evernote.com/video/

19 May 2014

Stories video clip

Note: Update 15 Aug 2014. I moved this video to the section "videos" under "pages" section, upper left, above the church picture.

I just added a little video clip into my blog. It was created for the 2014 Rootstech Conference. I couldn't get it into a post, so I put it just above the welcome message. I really liked this video, because to me, this is what family history is all about. It shows what I feel, that everyone has a story. I read recently that genealogy is names and dates, family history is the stories and pictures. So check out the little video clip, about two minutes. How many of those things do you think your family did? If you don't know, who can you ask to understand better?

I like to encourage people to upload stories and pictures to their online trees, for the benefit of other family members. Family they know, and relatives they haven't met yet. I've been working at my tree on Ancestry.com and familysearch for about 10 years. I have a lot of pictures and stories I'm trying to share with my family just a little at a time. It takes too long to thing about digitizing an entire bookshelf. But an hour each Sunday is manageable and very doable. Enjoy the video. I wish you the best at discovering your family stories!

20 April 2014

Easter Sunday and thinking about the church your ancestors attended

Today is Easter Sunday. A special Sunday when many people of the Christian faiths around the world attend church. So I thought I'd like to mention thinking about the importance of religion and family history.

What ceremonies or religious things were important to your ancestors? Most likely, because it was important, it was recorded. Either by the church, or in a family Bible or diary. Does that record still exist? If so, it would probably be a great help to you. Ask your relatives. Most religious records list parents names and/or a spouse. Religious records can really help prove the links in our tree a little better. Various rites in religions such as: Sacraments, Holy Communion, Marriage, the various terms for naming a baby.

Different religions and ethnicities have ways of doing things. Patterns. Do you know the pattern for your family? For the religion and ethnicity of your ancestors? I've spoken with several historians that work with Catholic archives in Chicago and Minneapolis. The typical pattern for a Polish Catholic family about 1900-1920 was to settle near the Great Lakes, (similar land and weather to their old home), settle in a Polish neighborhood, pick a Catholic church, then stick with it. Even if that family moved from Chicago to Gary, Indiana,.... if there was a wedding, tradition and the family pattern would say they go back to the church the bride was baptized in. Even if it is a 3-4 hour drive, the whole wedding party would drive that distance. It keeps all the records in one church. Like in Europe. I hear about my husband's Italians, that if you know the Catholic church (which we do), then you can follow the records back for hundreds of years.

One of the historians in Chicago called me, wanting to discuss my letter and to tell me exactly how much Adam Sanetra broke typical patterns. She was curious and asked if I knew why. I told her I had no idea, until she explained all this to me. We didn't even know they spoke German. Adam Sanetra, a Polish Catholic, moved to a German speaking town, his first two children were baptized in a church that only did German mass until that had to change with WWI. Then each child was baptized in a different church. Two of which I still haven't seen, and Jozef was baptized in an Irish church with mass in Gaelic. All of the churches were just a few miles apart too.

Religion can affect where you are buried. In rural America, people were often buried on their family farms. Catholic historians have explained to me there's some pretty specific things about their burial. A Catholic priest-historian explained to me that there are Jewish women buried in their cemeteries during WWII time. If the husband claimed his wife was Catholic for her safety, then, things just happened. Other times, the church allowed them to have the ceremony at the church with family but they were buried somewhere else.  There were many mixed religion marriages during WWII.  Also, many religions used to be very against cremation, but are no longer against it today.

The majority of the marriage records for my ancestors, before WWII, were performed at a church, (of many different denominations.) Unless there were conflicts with different religions, then they may have chosen justice of the peace. There are two main type of marriage records. A ledger: a book listing one after the other who was married, in the courthouse. And a certificate. I was married at a church, and there is a certificate for the church, and it is also recorded on the ledger at the courthouse. The same is true for relatives I have found a hundred years ago. Usually the pastor or priest's name and sometimes the name of the church are also on the certificate. Often the same records you have today for yourself, also existed 100 years ago.(click on images to view full screen)
Here is Karol Janik, marrying Julia. Adam Sanetra said on Ellis Island this was his brother in law. Not sure how yet. This says Holy Trinity Church, which is a Catholic church in Chicago. So there should also be a courthouse record too, from the ledger books.Example of one from Virginia:
Ledger marriage books at courthouses

right half of marriage ledger


Also for fun wanted to add in two Easter cards that Paul Sanetra (son of Adam) got from his nephew Adam (grandson of Adam) about the early 1980's


30 March 2014

Rosalie Wandzel and the flu epidemic 1918-some Pandemic notes

Rosalie Wandzel Sanetra death certificate
31 Mar 2014-correction to this post. I made a mistake and just double checked with my grandparents. Rosalie did not have a funeral, her children were not with her. They were kept away from her to not catch the flu. And then she was just buried without a funeral.  None of the other children or their father Adam got the flu. Paul thought his mother was buried in a Catholic cemetery because they went to a Catholic orphanage and they were baptized Catholic.

Rosalie Wandzel died in the big flu pandemic of 1918. As you can see from this certificate, she died in St. Elizabeth's hospital. She was buried in the Bohemian Cemetery, several miles north and rather out of the way from where the family ever lived with their many addresses. Interesting thing was, Paul was so sure his mother's burial was in a Catholic cemetery, and he spent the rest of his life looking in all the Catholic cemeteries in Chicago for his mother's burial place. He would have loved to have given her a tombstone. (Now it is too late for the cemetery.) Rosalie was buried in the Bohemian cemetery which was for many nationalities/ethnicities: German, Polish, Jewish, ...all were welcome. A Catholic priest told me this was often done back then when people had no money. Rosalie was buried in a paupers/term grave (also common then), and they had 7-10 years to pay. When paid in full, she'd be moved to a family plot. But by then, Adam had died, was back in Poland, the children were half in the United States and half in Poland, and the children didn't know. So she, along with many others, are still in paupers graves, and no one knows who's in which plot, so you can't put a tombstone up.

The hospital Rosalie went to still exists. Here is a link to a history page about hospitals in Chicago, especially Jewish and Catholic hospitals. The one Rosalie died in was Catholic. St. Elizabeth's was founded in 1887. http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/602.html Here is the current address today to look up on Google maps:
1431 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

I was told by lots of people the reason we couldn't find Rosalie's death certificate was because so many people died, that death records just weren't kept. People were quarantined so they couldn't keep records. I now know, that it was much more orderly than I was told. It was a very scary time, and the numbers are quite awful! But reporting might just be delayed a few days or so. The way I found Rosalie's death certificate was a burial permit, and her name was spelled wrong.

I have recently read 3 interesting historical fiction books. I learned from them that this flu had some unique things. People had purple spots (not like measles, but actual spots), and turned ashen gray right before they died. I'm looking for some good proof and explanations for these things.  I've found some really interesting sites that I'll blog about next week. About the statistics for Chicago, the country etc. I also learned things like that the military was hit very hard, as well as American Indians.

To close today's post, I found this article, the day Rosalie Wandzel Sanetra died, a great grandmother of mine. It was in the Chicago Tribune, about the flu epidemic, statistics that week, etc. It was the entire right column, so I split it to make it more visible. Here is a link to the actual page, if you have fold3 accessibility: http://www.fold3.com/image/25/138607431/ 
(Click images to view full screen)
Source: Chicago Tribune, 13 Oct 1918, pg 1. 

flu part 1

flu part 2

09 March 2014

First Catholic Church in America and religious freedom

I saw a familysearch indexing project of interest to me. I wanted to post about it on my blog for others with Polish Catholic relatives who settled in Chicago. It's called : Illinois Chicago Catholic Church records from 1833-1910. The project is 39% complete. Here is direct infomation about that project specifically: https://familysearch.org/indexing/projects/USIllinChicagoCChurcRecor18331910PartA

This weekend, I went to Old Saint Mary's City, Maryland. This was the Capital before Annapolis, and the 4th United States colony settlement. For those of you who don't know, Maryland was created as a colony to be a haven for the Catholics. But even though it was a haven, it was still under British rule, which wasn't very tolerant of religion back then. Catholics could not own land and I've read they were even sometimes taxed higher than Protestants. I saw the oldest Catholic church in America. The very first built, was wooden, and burned down during political unrest. The second was built on the same site, this church, in 1667. The amazing thing was, during political unrest, they were ordered to take down the church and not practice Catholicism, because Church of England/Episcopalian was the official religion then. The church was buried. This was before the separation of church and state, which started with the United States new government. Archeological digs and a lot of work happened to restore the church.  I saw pictures of the church being unearthed and rebuilt about 300 years later. By the time Catholics and Jews immigrated in large numbers about the year 1900, religious freedom was much better established in the United States. (And England as well.) I think this particular Catholic church has a fascinating history! Three lead coffins were discovered and studied! Part of the founding Calvert family. I am thankful for so many founding fathers (men and women) who paved the way for religious freedom in our country today. And for military today that help keep our freedoms. Hope you enjoy these pictures. Check out the church's history here. It shows step by step pictures of reconstruction: https://www.stmaryscity.org/research/archaeology/the-chapel-log/
You can also read more about the city on the web site. This city was Catholic. The other settlements near the same time like Jamestown and Plymouth were Protestant.

Here's some of my pictures (click on pictures to view full screen):

01 March 2014

Fairs, announcements and great new things coming soon with digitizing projects!

Note: I live in Virginia, and my focus today was on Virginia records. This is a post I did on my Virginia blog. But I felt most the info would be relevant to this blog as well. I believe these partnerships will do amazing things and help make many records accessible. I love spending time in the Library of Virginia. They are so amazing about record preservation and accessibility. The staff is so knowledgeable, friendly and helpful.  It was great to see the cooperation of various groups to learn about genealogy, and try to get some new ideas to try. Here is a recent email I got about Polish records, so it isn't all VA records. I look forward to much more like this, with cooperation: https://familysearch.org/blog/en/familysearch-adds-352000-indexed-records-images-collections-czech-republic-hungary-poland-united-states/

I missed my goal last weekend of doing weekly posts. I was busy preparing for today's local family history fair, practicing my presentation, and a trip to Library of Virginia. Today was a wonderful day! Next time, I'll post on here ahead of time about it. It was a huge success, so another will be done next year. Enormous amounts of preparation went into this. The committee was amazing! I was happy to be a speaker, and enjoyed sitting in the lunch room with the guests from LVA, UVA and locals like me, with varying subject interests. The thought for the fair, was that not everyone could travel to Utah for the Rootstech conferences. This was to make similar types of info available locally. Here is the link to the page for the Fredericksburg, VA fair we had today: http://fredvafamilyhistoryday.com/

Another thing that I have gotten emails and seen presentations about, is joint partnerships with familysearch and Ancestry.com. Whenever familysearch signs a contract, they say the index must always remain free. Indexers before familysearch, did the 1880 Census index and Ellis Island manifest. Those records are of course still free, years later, as the original agreement was made. The numbers of indexers and the rate projects are being digitized and accessible online is really mind boggling. But the familysearch team has bigger, higher goals than even I can fully comprehend. Check out this goal to digitize 70 billion records worldwide! Even with all the amazing volunteer work, at the rate projects are going now, it would take 250-300 years to index. With the new partnership of familysearch, heritage quest, Ancestry.com, Find my past,etc...all the collaborative effort, the records will be accessible in 25-30 years as opposed to 250-300 years. How amazing! Here is the infographic: https://familysearch.org/node/2520 Here is more detailed description, about the partnerships and picture: https://familysearch.org/node/2523

I wanted to find some official statements, not emails and presentations I've seen. There were announcements in Sep 2013 and at Rootstech in Feb 2014. Here is a link to familysearch.org about the partnership in Sep, making 1 billion records available in 5 years: https://familysearch.org/blog/en/familysearch-ancestrycom-working-records-online/
Here is the familysearch Feb info discussed at Rootstech: https://familysearch.org/blog/en/details-free-account-access-familysearch-partner-websites/
Here is the Sep announcement from Ancestry.com's page:
Eastman also wrote about this too, (back in Sept) on his blog.

15 February 2014

Bronislawa Sanetra, our missing relative, born 1901

We have only two records for Bronislawa. This is her birth record in Poland. The other record is her immigration to the United States 19 Feb 1911. She and Marianna Klosak Wojtas were held for special inquiry. I wrote to numerous places trying to obtain information about that, since that is the last record we have for her. Many people told me no such record existed. I wrote to several places I was told the record would be, even paying the fees, doing everything exactly the way the archivists told me and was sent back my letter being told things like no A file exists, when I asked specifically for the special inquiry report.
This page for special inquiry was at the end of the ship manifest. The interesting thing, is that I asked lots of historians, and no one I asked could tell me what "section 11" was, that Marianna was being held for. Apparently she broke some law.
I read about special inquiry on the Jewish Gen webpage. And that there were transcripts. I kept trying to tell people these records existed but kept running into dead ends. So far, I have not been able to get a special inquiry report for Bronislawa and Marianna, but hope to one day. See this interesting article in Jewish Gen website: http://www.jewishgen.org/infofiles/manifests/bsi/

And what I really want, a copy of a transcript for what happened to Bronislawa. Because she never reached her father. So this would be the last piece of information available for her. Transcript example, the records do exist, contrary to what some people tried to dismiss when I asked about this collection : http://www.jewishgen.org/infofiles/manifests/bsi/hearing1.html

08 February 2014

Guestbook post addendum, updated 20 Apr 2017

18 Feb 2014
There is currently tag limit so that's why this is the 3rd post for tagging. I went through and tried to reply to all the missed guestbook messages. Guestbook surname index was reformatted. I found a few spam things slipped through the filters so got those out too. Here's the names updated, written here so I can tag them: Nasluchacz, Kremkoski, Lach, Demczyszyn, Florko, Picker, Sanetra, Czarnecki, Reed, Kubas. 

06 February 2014

quick blog update-future postings

This has been an extra tough year with health. I feel like I've gotten behind on everything. I keep two blogs, this one and one on Mecklenburg, VA genealogy. Both have completely different ways I do things. My Virginia blog emphasizes rural challenges, Virginia records, pictures and stories. I live in VA so I'm starting to post pictures of things I take, relevant to family history. Both blogs are important to me and I love them. Regretfully, I got a year and a half behind on emails and messages. I've spent most of the last two weeks replying back to all the emails and messages and should be done, all caught up with email this weekend. Next, I will be looking at the guestbook and replying there too. I've been scanning a lot too and will be getting things ready to share on both blogs. I now have a set time of day to work on my blogs, with both blogs posting each Sunday. I am truly sorry if you have sent me messages and didn't hear back right away. I'm working hard to make sure that doesn't happen again. I saved every message, so if you have tried to reach me and haven't heard back from me by Sunday, then I didn't get your message. Please re-send.