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 October 2015

Free Lance Star newspaper articles about family history

One of my favorite things to do is family history. I love volunteering at my local family history center. I teach classes on how to use FamilySearch. I also give people individualized help, trying to help them discover more about their ancestors. I really love FamilySearch, because there is a huge world wide focus.  World wide records accessible to the public, for free!! With huge amounts of records regularly added. I wish I had more hours in the day to help with indexing, and digitizing projects! I help with indexing when I can, and look forward to when I can volunteer to help with digitization-preservation projects. There's several premium subscription sites like Ancestry.com, Fold3, My Heritage, NewspaperArchive.com and FindMyPast that our center gets (free to patrons). I personally love and subscribe to most of these sites and also use them in addition to FamilySearch while helping visiting patrons. Here's an article printed today (26 Oct 2015) in my local paper. (Fredericksburg, VA) I'm pictured, showing what I love to do. I feel very rewarded volunteering time for family history. I also enjoy being a member of the Fredericksburg Genealogical Society.
newspaper article link

I also am really excited about the Freedmen's project that is a partnership between FamilySearch and the Smithsonian. Here's a link to more info about that project, including videos and pictures about the collections. http://www.discoverfreedmen.org/media

I helped with a local kick off for Freedmen's project and that was in this Friday's newspaper. (23 Oct 2015)
local Freedmen project in newspaper

03 October 2015

Bronislawa and Jan Skorupski

The last 2 years, I've been looking for all the Bronislawa's in the USA that I could find, born in 1901. I even looked for "Bernice" as many Bronislwa's changed their name to that. One by one I went to prove or disprove if each person I found on a record was my Bronislawa Sanetra who went missing Feb 1911. (While immigrating to her family in Chicago.) So far I've disproved all but this one, a Bronislawa Skorupski. I assume that Bronislawa changed her surname to be the same as whoever took her in, otherwise we would have found her. She was only 10 when she arrived. I've been trying to find any record for either Bronislawa or Jan Skorupski. So far I'm only seeing this 1920 record, and possibly Jan's immigration record through Ellis Island. Although the 1920 Census says he was born in New York.

Here is the link to the 1920 Census record on FamilySearch.org: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MZWJ-PV2

Does anyone know anything about his family? If so, please send me a message.

24 August 2015

Saint Nicholas Catholic Church, in Evanston, Illinois, United States

We thought that Rosalie Wandzel and Adam Sanetra came to the US for refuge, and chose Chicago to be near other Poles starting their new life. It was quite a surprise to be told by a Catholic archivist in Chicago that Paul and Stanley were baptized by a German priest in a church that did Mass in German. We were also told that Evanston was known as a German community and everyone spoke German there. About the time of WWI, they stopped speaking German publicly there, and Mass was no longer given in German. We didn't even know Rosalie and Adam knew German! Evanston is now listed as a "suburban city" in Cook County. It's about 12 miles north of Chicago. (19 km) We know that Adam and Rosalie moved around a lot. But it is odd that Adam and Rosalie didn't continue having their children baptized at St Nicholas, even though they moved several miles away into the city of Chicago. It appears they began moving frequently after Ervin was born in 1907, and when their daughter Bronislawa arrived and never found our family in 1911. The Catholic Archivist explained to me that in this time period, just like in the old world, you picked your church, and all your religious ceremonies/sacraments were held in the same church. If you moved 3 hours away, and you were about to get married, you and your family got on a bus and went back to where you were baptized. I asked a friend who is military what she does for her family's records today. She explained to me that when her children had First Communion, that information was sent by their priest, back to the church that her children were baptized at. So the records are still kept together at the church they were baptized at.

Here is a link to St. Nicholas church, showing two pictures of the church and the history. I have two letters from the church in the 1950's, answering Paul's questions about his baptism and his brothers'. There's a nice drawing of the church as part of the letterhead. http://www.nickchurch.org/history/ The cornerstone for the church standing today was placed in 1904. First Mass was held 6 Oct 1906. Stanislaus Sanetra was baptized at Saint Nicholas in Apr 1904, and Paul Sanetra in Jun 1905. Here is a link about Evanston which is in Cook County, Illinois where Stanley, Paul and Ervin Sanetra were born. Bronislaw and Jozef were born in Chicago. http://www.cityofevanston.org/evanston-life/history-demographics/ Saint Nicholas church said they did not have a baptism record for Ervin, so we are still trying to figure out where he was baptized. 

I'm finding it's really important to understand the traditions and patterns for our families and also what was considered normal for their community in that time and place. Whenever there's a break in the pattern, it's important to ask why then go look for the answer. Asking questions of why Rosalie and Adam went to a German speaking church and community when they were Polish, led me to finding out Rosalie's family was most likely from Germany and moved to Poland, and that she might have been Jewish. I also found out that Rosalie's name (first and last name) was spelled the German way, not the Polish way, and that later in life when Paul had Alzheimer's he would count and say phrases in German. When his sons asked him where he learned that, he said his mother taught him (when he was very little).

23 July 2015

DNA testing, my experience

It has been a crazy time for me lately. Thankfully I have found some really big helpful things in my personal life. I have a rare genetic disease that has baffled medical specialists for decades. Dr. Lehman-Horne is my new hero! He has worked really hard for years with people around the world to identify genetic mutations for the problems I have, and to make information accessible to patients and doctors. Most people funding research aren't interested in rare diseases like mine, especially because no medications work for me (or most people like me). I often have violent reactions to medications.

There are lots of good choices for DNA testing. There's one DNA test that only profiles periodic paralysis, but it's 500$ which I couldn't stomach right now. Especially after many years of enormous medical expenses trying to keep safe and for life threatening issues, (like seeing if my episodes were TIA's) which the hospitals didn't even address correctly anyway. (So frustrating!) Also, I knew that if I did DNA testing that I wanted the family history part too! So I chose 23andme because I was told it showed several genetic markers for my problem. I posted a tree on My Heritage to connect with my 23andme DNA profile. My grandfather previously did an Ancestry.com test. Two of my children are also now showing symptoms, so I just had one child complete the Ancestry.com DNA test and mailed it in yesterday.

The last few years it has been extremely difficult to regularly see, type, walk and speak. I was also plagued with very frequent complicated migraines that completely incapacitated me, which would then be followed with no ability to walk. Periodic Paralysis is an ion channelopothy, so basically every cell in my body is affected. I've always fought really hard to keep walking, and to keep trying to live a somewhat normal life. Now I know what to fight back with! (potassium, 70% alkaline diet, avoiding sugar and lots of carbohydrates, balancing electrolytes. Then of course avoiding my food allergy issues like gluten, dairy, soy and nightshades. I still have to take it easy, which does try my patience, and I have to really think things through to prevent daily episodes. (Example: Now I know that popcorn and soda will guarantee no walking for me for 24 hours!) Now I am better able to reply back to people, and do what I love, family history: learning family stories, get back to researching, and finding new records. If you have messaged/emailed me and not heard back from me, then I have not seen your message. Please re-send it.

I've digitized all my records now. I have a small bookshelf that's my archives which contains original records and letters in archival safe boxes. Otherwise I am paper free. Hooray! I've been re-reading stories passed on to me, to prepare for some upcoming interesting posts. Right now I plan to post every 2 weeks, and I have reminder alerts set up. If I can get things even calmer in my life, I'll post once a week.

I've already heard from several people with DNA matches. There are a few I'm still not seeing where the connections are. Some people have found matches to me 200 years back. If you think you might be a match to me, send me a message and I can direct you to various places I have posted trees. I do hope this will help us piece together Polish families and other connections we've had "brick walls" with. I'm looking forward to the future of how DNA can help with research and health!

Another post I did about me and Periodic Paralysis:

15 May 2015

Julia Kwiatkowski Janik Drechny

I have done other posts on Julia. Please click on her various surname tags of Kwiatkowski, Janik and Drechny to see more. In 1923, Adam Sanetra stated on the Ellis Island manifest that he was going to see his brother in law Karol Janik. He could have said anything, even "friend". I still haven't found a relationship link yet. In 1923, Adam was living with Julia and Karol Janik. Julia was first married to Wladyslaw Kwiatkowski. After he died, she married Karol Janik. After Karol died, Julia was married for just 4 years to Peter Drechny before he died.

I called St. Adalbert's cemetery to confirm Julia was buried there, as her death certificate states. There are 5 plots in the family plot, which is lot 349, section 19:
1) Karol Janik 1878-1928
2) Julia Kwiatkowska Janik Drechny 1873-1947
3) ?
4) Joseph Kwiatkowski 1895-1952
5) Wladyslaw Kwiatkowski 1868-1910

My grandparents went to visit St. Adalberts. Only Julia's stone was visible. They cleared some grass off the edges to get a picture. They could see spaces for other tombstones. But they could not tell if stones weren't ever put up, or if the grass has completely grown over them. Above is a short video clip they made for me, to show me the family plot. This visit was September 2010.

Dziennik Chicagoski newspaper obituary

23 April 2015

Update to post 23 Apr 2015 about Ludwig Sanetra's sister, Anna.

 See this Tumblr link, for a scanned image and info about Anna's calling card! (And even a note about her and her husband!) http://warnerprintingcompany.tumblr.com/post/111005881028/for-wm-e-boehner-1323-byron-st-chicago

Here is Anna on findagrave.com. She is buried with her daughter Franciszka who died young. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=beneker&GSfn=ann&GSbyrel=all&GSdyrel=all&GSob=n&GRid=66780841&df=all&

Here's a time line summary:
1890's: Anna was first married to an Anthony Mason or Missen. They had daughter Franciszka in 1898 in Poland, and immigrated about 1905-1907. Different records spell the surname both ways. Franciszka's death record states her mother was Anna Sanetra and father Anothony Missen.

1920: Anthony has died by 1920, and so had Franciszka. On the 1920 census it was Anna, widowed, her widowed son in law John Schauderna (who was married to Franciszka Missen), and grandson Francis Schauderna.

1930: On the 1930 Census, Anna was married to Fred Beneker a shoe maker. His house was owned, and they lived at 3809 Ward st, in Chicago. The calling cards were made about then. Fred died in 1936. Note, she was not a citizen by the 1930 Census.

1950's: In May 1952 she is listed as living, and a sibling of Ludwig Sanetras on his obituary.

1960's: She died 4 Mar 1966. Anna has the maiden name of Sanetra, married name of Beneker, and shows she used to have name of Missen, being buried by her daughter with that maiden name.
(Note, in 1967, sister Franciszka died, who outlived all her siblings, so they were not mentioned on Franciszka Sanetra Nasluchasz' obit.)

The records, names, dates and places all line up, so I am confident this is all correct and added Anna and her family into my Ancestry.com tree. I am still searching for immigration, a second marriage in Chicago for Anna to Fred Beneker, and hopefully I can get a death certificate to prove my links completely that her parents are indeed Jozef Sanetra and Regina Wojcik.

Found another sister for Ludwig Sanetra

Ludwig Sanetra, with siblings
Today I was reading through Ludwig Sanetra's obituary and realized he had a sister I never heard of before! I'm not seeing her in initial database searches yet. Her name is Anna, and she had the married name of Beneker. I will post an update when I find it.

Here's Ludwig's parents and siblings as I now know it:

Jozef Sanetra married Regina Wojcik (They were in Zablocie, Zywiec, Poland):
1) Franciszka Sanetra (1886-1967) married Karol Nasluchasz (1884-1958) They both immigrated to Chicago area and married in Chicago in 1910.
          1. Antonia Nasluchasz
          2. Frederick Nasluchasz
          3. Aloisa Nasluchasz
*2) Ludwig Sanetra (1887-1952) married Karolina Szczaia/Strawi (1893-1975) in Chicago in 1915. (Picture in this post)
          1. Franciszka Sanetra
          2. John Sanetra
          3. Karol Sanetra
          4. Anna Sanetra
          5. Mary Sanetra
3) Marianne Sanetra (3 children). Marianne lived part of her life in Germany. Dates not known. (Did not immigrate to United States.)
          1. Agnes Sanetra
    Marianne Sanetra married a Mr Stachon (picture in this post) and they had two children:
          2. Joseph Stachon
          3. Marta Stachon
4) Anna Sanetra married a Mr. Beneker.
Ludwig Sanetra and Caroline-Chicago 1915
Dates and places unknown, except that Anna was alive in May 1952 for her brother Ludwig Sanetra's obit. Also unknown if she was in the United States or Poland. 
5) Mr Sanetra. Brother unknown, but pictured with Ludwig above. Ludwig far left, brother believed to be far right. I believe Franciszka is center with husband Karol Naszluchasz standing behind her, based on pictures I have seen from the Nasluchasz family. Will work on conforming this. 

Please note: The photographs of Ludwig and Marianne Sanetra are from Dirk Varnholt's family pictures. We are sharing in hopes others may recognize and help us piece this family together. 
Ludwig Sanetra's obit

Marianne Sanetra and Mr Stachon


09 March 2015

Exciting FamilySearch explanations at Rootstech 2015

This month I have been busy enjoying watching Rootstech videos and preparing for our local Family History Day conference, which will be this Saturday. I'm giving a presentation (locally) on how to get around in the FamilySearch Family Tree and how to do searching on FamilySearch. Like using the filters, FamilySearch wiki etc. I really loved watching Dear Myrtle's Ambush cams at Rootstech. They were so fun to watch, I felt like I got to meet people.

One of the first things I loved about FamilySearch is how it's really worldwide oriented. (Not just the United States.) And how we're all connected, the bigger picture. One of the early record collections on FamilySearch was the 1895 Argentina Census, where I saw some Cabitto relatives. Most databases before, were based on the English soundex systems. Which really doesn't help you if you have a Russian (or really any Non-English) surname. On FamilySearch.org, if you type in a residence or birth place outside the United States it searches similar spellings to the that ethnicity. For example, when I searched "Sanetra" and typed "born in Poland", it looked up spellings like Szanetra, Scanetra, and Zanetra.  I got a lot more search results that were real possibilities. Mazurkiwicz and Wandzel had a lot more variations which was very helpful because I never would have thought clerks or other record keepers would spell it those other ways. English soundex spellings and pronunciations would just not work for these types of names!!

Here's some impressive things I learned watching Rootstech videos this week. I watched these sections of the videos a few times to make sure I wrote the numbers down correctly: FamilySearch CEO Dennis Brimhall talked about the benefits of the partnerships with FamilySearch (Thurs keynote). Currently FamilySearch is partnering with: Ancestry.com, Find My Past, My Heritage,  American Ancestors (New England Historical Genealogical Society), family me, and Global Family Reunion. Brimhall told about a project he was excited about, saying this was a great example of benefits to the partnerships and he thanked the CEO of Ancestry.com. FamilySearch did a project of filming 80 million church and civil records for Mexico in 1952. He explained there are not enough Spanish speaking indexers for this project. It would take 40 years for FamilySearch volunteers to complete this project. But Ancestry.com has asked to help do the indexing for this project and they said it will be done and available by the end of this year! FamilySearch and Ancestry.com also made 545 million records available and visible on both sites this year. FamilySearch will always keep their site free, even with their partnerships.

Ron Tanner, a lead developer for FamilySearch gave these amazing numbers in his presentation called: FamilySearch FamilyTree 2014 and Beyond:
  • They do updates 3 times a day.
  • approximately 2.5 million new persons added to the tree every month
  • approximately 2.6 million conclusions that are changed/written every month
  • 4.5 million sources added to the tree each month
  • 1.1 billion persons in the tree with 89 million sources
  • In a year FamilySearch went from 12 million to 89 million sources!
In Feb 2011, a pilot version of FamilySearch was released. I'm happy to say that I was one of the beta testers! In March 2013 it was released to the public. It's really exciting to see all the record collections continuously added from around the world. On 27 Feb 2015, 19.2 million record were added from Canada, Brazil, Puerto Rico, and the United States. Dennis Brimhall said during the Thursday Keynote address that FamilySearch partnered with Genealogy Bank to do over 100 million names from obituaries last year. 319,000 volunteers worked on these obituaries last year. That was 1.3 million names every day going into Family Search. Pretty amazing things are happening! One thing I liked though, with all this cool hi-tech stuff I was seeing, Joshua Taylor (at RootsTech) talked about the tech things he couldn't live without, yet he said he still needed his library card. A good balance I think. One last partnership with FamilySearch that I'm personally excited about, wasn't actually part of Rootstech. It's a partnership with the country of Italy. Familysearch is indexing and making accessible the Italian civil records. Below is today's status on the familysearch indexing page. (9 March 2015) Also below is 1 of 3 indexing collections our Italian Cabittos need and are looking forward to. No matter your ethnicity or nationality, if it's not there yet, it's coming!

01 March 2015

Polish surnames, websites to help

I read an interesting article in the PGSA email list sent today (1 Mar 2015) "Gen Dobry!". It was written by Fred Hoffman, titled: Another surname resource: Locate My Name
 (I'm not seeing a link or I'd put it here.) So in summary, there is a Polish name section of this site. Benefits include that the site is in English, and you don't have to know the special characters of other alphabets etc. The site is very simple and also has frequent updates so you'll want to keep checking it out. http://www.locatemyname.com/
Mr Hoffman also recommends these 2 links. He states, "Both have their flaws and idiosyncracies; and both are in Polish." 

<http://www.herby.com.pl/indexslo.html> and <http://www.moikrewni.pl/mapa/>. 

I find sites like these about surnames helpful tools. I thought I'd test out the site myself. I'm thinking I may have looked at the site a few years ago and that there is much more than the last time I looked. I know Sanetra is not that common of a surname, this confirms that. The site shows the name shows up in United States, UK, France, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Poland, and South Africa. I clicked on Poland, and here is the search results:  http://www.locatemyname.com/usa/Sanetra. It shows what they can account for with records and what they estimate the surname is. There's a highlighted map, and statistics given world wide on the name. They also give common first names that go with the surname, and blogs about the surname. My surname of Cabitto is even more rare, and we know all the Cabittos in the United States. Looking at the numbers, I think it's counting adults ages 18 and older. I was surprised and happy to see that my blog you're reading right now is listed on the Sanetra surname!

25 January 2015

Old year book pictures? Have you seen your grandparents' year book?

How long have year books been around? Where can you find old year books? Do you have a year book? Have you seen your parents and grandparents year books?

Fern & Olive Dortch yearbook picture
I've been thinking about teenagers and graduation type things in my personal life. I was telling my kids the other day the story about when I graduated from high school. Our school was on a hill, facing the ocean. We all usually wore sunglasses because the California sun was so bright. A few students asked the principal if we could keep our sunglasses on during the ceremony, because it was so bright, facing the ocean. It had never been done before, (wearing sunglasses during the whole graduation ceremony), but the principal agreed and he and the vice principal wore sunglasses too, to show their support.

A friend copied a picture of Fern and Olive Dortch's year book page for me. (click icon to view full page) They were born and raised in Kankakee, IL. Their father Jasper Dortch was born in Mecklenburg, VA.

On Ancestry.com, I see that there are schools and churches grouped together under yearbooks. A lot of churches publish centennial events that are listed as year books. There are at least 262 listed under schools and churches on Ancestry.com. One is a Presbyterian church in New Jersey in 1894. Some yearbook listings are outside the USA. Sometimes the churches taught schools and had a year book. Here's a site I found interesting with many USA year books, information, and old pictures. You can browse by state: http://www.old-yearbooks.com/

I have always thought my grandpa Sanetra was cool. But when I show other people (including family) his picture now and then pictures of him as a  cool football player, his prom picture, his motorcycle, and that he had acne as a teenager too, then he becomes more real, and you want to learn more about that person. Do you know if your grandparents played sports, liked science, played chess, played a musical instrument or liked to dance? If you haven't seen their year book or asked them if they had one, give them a call. Or ask your parents about it. What was their graduation day like? How much school did they complete? (Previous rural farming generations often did not complete high school, but rather 5th or 8th grade completion was considered sufficient). Have you told your children what your graduation day was like?