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

12 December 2016

Catherine Stowe Sanetra - square dancing and western clothes

Catherine & Paul Sanetra square dancing

I love this picture of my great grandparents! This weekend, I was asking their son Richard Sanetra about some of his pictures. I will start posting pictures with stories as I learn them.

Today, Phoenix, Arizona, is a big city, with lots of roads and buildings. It's been fascinating to see pictures my grandfather had of Phoenix (and the surrounding area) in the mid 1940's. Lots of sand and dirt! They used to ride their horses to the store, in places that are now highways. A lot can change in 70 years!

This picture was taken in the 1950's. Paul and Catherine were in a square dancing group in Phoenix. Not professional, they just got together for fun. There were about 40-50 couples. Catherine sewed her dancing outfits, matching outfits for she and her husband. Western style shirts were pretty popular then. People paid Catherine to make men's western shirts. She got about 35$ for making a shirt, in the 1950's, which is pretty good money. Catherine and Paul loved dancing and had a lot of fun square dancing with their friends.

14 November 2016

1913-Another Bronislawa and Stanley Sanetra, Brooklyn, NY

I finally found where that index about Bronislawa was referencing! Continuation of this post: Bronislawa Sanetra 1913 index ...I could not find the record in searches for Ellis Island, on their website, or on Ancestry.com. I had to manually look through it.  The Index said the ship was the Rhein Oct through Dec 1913. I saw a few ships were on this index. I decided to try to go to the beginning of the index book on the microfilm to see what the index numbers meant. When I got to the beginning of the book, it said this was an index for The Frankfurt ship which sailed 13 Oct 1913. The Rhein did sail in Oct but it was Oct 7th, and that book was later on the same microfilm.  The book Bronislawa was in did not give info about what the numbers meant. But I saw one number pattern on the index, and that was the section of the ship was the first number. In the upper corners of the manifest pages you can see the section number. On Ellis Island.org, I went to "search ship", typed in Frankfurt, clicked on 13 Oct 1913, then looked for section 13 and found her very quickly. I can't believe doing so many searches, this record does not show up anywhere. Thankfully the index told me how to manually find it. Now I'm curious to learn more about this family I'm not seeing on records.
There's 2 pages for this record. Summary: Bronislawa Sanetra age 25, married, housewife. Children: Stefania, Stanislaw (twins? Stefania listed as 7 -3/4, Stanislaw 7), Julian; Bronislawa was born at Wilno, Poland. Children listed as born in the United States. The husband of Bronislawa was Josef Sanetra. (or Sanetro). I think her father's name is spelled Felix Kiechwedowice. Final destination, Brooklyn, NY where Josef Sanetra lived. So this Bronislawa was born about 1888 in Wilno, Poland and Sanetra is her married name. This also means there should be one other Stanley Sanetra showing up on records. He's 2 years younger than my Stanley and the Stanley in Minneapolis. Also I noted, only Bronislawa was on an index, not her children. Maybe the index was only for people not born in the US?

30 October 2016

New record for Bronislawa Sanetra

Update 14 Nov 2016: continues with this post:  1913-Another Stanley and Bronislawa Sanetra

I found a new record for Bronislawa! Now I'm trying to find the manifest that matches this. I heard there's some new immigration collections being indexed. I did a search yesterday on FamilySearch and found there are new immigration indexes. In 1911, two Bronislawa Sanetra's immigrated to the US. They are the only two Bronislawa's I've ever been able to find. One is ours, who never made it to our family, she was a young girl. The other, was an adult, who married Rudolph Cender and remained in New York the rest of her life.
Here is from the new collection I found. This is not listed with Ellis Island under collections. This is a new collection, an index to immigrants arriving in New York.
1911-1913 immigration : Bronislawa Sanetra
I had never seen this 1913 entry before yesterday. Sailed from Bremen, on the ship Rhein. Arrived between Oct to Dec 1913, and final destination New York. I spent awhile trying to find this record. I looked on Ellis Island. The Rhein did sail Oct, Nov and Dec 1913. Each ship was listed as having 800-1000 passengers. I found some records on Ancestry.com that had been digitized from microfilm. But I only sifted through about 300-400 names scrolling through for each month. I know I didn't see the whole ship, even though I scrolled through all the manifest there. So I'll keep looking.
1913 Bronislawa Sanetra immigration
Here's a link to the image: to image Bronislawa 1913 Third name from the bottom.
This could be a different person I haven't heard of yet. Or it could be our Bronislawa. She may have had to go back because she didn't find her parents and this was her trying to come back. The Ellis Island record of 1911 is the last record I have for our Bronislawa.
Looking forward to seeing what more I can learn about this Bronislawa.

Correction: 9 Nov 2016- The only other Bronislawa Sanetra I know, (besides my family), was married to Rudolph Cender; She was married when she immigrated. So she traveled with the name of Bronislawa Cender, not Sanetra. She immigrated in 23 Aug 1911 with her son Raymond Cender.

17 October 2016

Stürmer or Streicher Library trying to reunite owners with their books

I read an amazing story this week about a group of people trying to return books to families that were confiscated/stolen during WWII. Here is a link to that page: Books trying to reunite with owners
Can you imagine trying to return 10,000 books stolen by Nazi's to their original families? I imagine the internet helps, trying to spread the message around the world. The article said the books came from 514 Austrian towns and other European localities, in 25 languages. A list of some names who had their books stolen is also on this web page. 

I subscribe to the newsletter from: kontakt@GenTeam.at
That is how I heard about this story. A letter was attached from the director of this project, Magister Leibl Rosenberg. It appears most of the books were taken from Jewish families. I will look forward to updates on this project and wish them the best, in this huge endeavor.

18 September 2016

Paul Sanetra, 1940s Arizona pictures

Paul Sanetra went to the orphanage when his mother died, at age 13. After that, for decades, Ervin was the only sibling he knew. Paul couldn't find the rest of his siblings, but they (Paul and Ervin) always kept looking for them. They lived near each other and kept in touch after Paul moved to Arizona for health reasons. Paul's wife Catherine was one of 11 children. (One died as a baby). He was very close to Catherine's siblings and their spouses. Paul and his brother in law Jesse Buckner and father in law George Stowe all got land, divided it and they (themselves) built houses beside each other. Here are 3 Arizona pictures I love of this group.They moved to Arizona mid 1940's. This was just outside Pheonix. Today this area is concrete and dense population. This was still as I like to think of as "the old west."

13 September 2016

Karolina Matuszek: deafness, communication, languages

Karolina is the cute one with the braids, smiling.
I wrote about this picture in Feb 2013, (see link for story) but I wanted to post it and again, and say: I love this picture so much! I appreciate this picture even more as I myself struggle with communication now. Karolina left home for several years to get an excellent education in the German language. She learned to lip read the German language, and get by in a "hearing world". She attended the Vienna School for the Deaf. Her family spoke Polish, but they learned German to communicate with her. What a big, difficult, yet amazing thing! What a huge accomplishment for Karolina and her family!  http://sanetra-genhistory.blogspot.com/2013/02/karolina-matuszeks-picture-helps-me.html Communication is so important, and can be so challenging. When we can't hear, speak or understand another language, it can be very frustrating, and make life's challenges much more difficult. I think parents' struggles to try to help their children understand language has always been there and always will be. Especially if immigrating or having health challenges. This is a subject and feeling that we may understand and empathize with our ancestors.

Over the last 20 years, I've gained a much bigger appreciation for trying to communicate through language barriers, including autism. I've wanted so much to learn other languages, but this is a skill I'm terrible at, no matter how hard (or how many years) I try. ASL (American Sign Language) is the only language I've ever been able to remember and understand. Probably because it's visual and I think visually. And it's based off the language I already know. Thankfully my family is now learning to sign with me since I have speech challenges. I've always wanted to sign ASL really well. Probably from the first time I saw it on the Sesame Street TV show. During 5th grade, I learned some signs from my teacher and her daughter who was deaf. Back then, they had to sign SEE, (signing exact English) in the classroom. That was tedious. I love ASL, and am glad that is the language allowed now. I took 2 college classes of ASL 20 years ago. It was new to our area then. My husband and I were dating while I took those classes. I practiced my lessons and tests with him as my audience. Now high schools offer it as a language here. I love that. I stopped classes, to address multiple health challenges for me and my little ones.  And...now its 20 years later! I'm relearning, reviewing and starting new classes.

I've been reading a lot about deaf history recently. My mother in law was hard of hearing, deaf without her hearing aids. She learned to read lips. She never learned to sign and had no interest when I took classes. Her generation wasn't very friendly to "being different." Understanding what people said was always a challenge for her though. She'd pretend she understood rather than admit she didn't understand the conversation. I can understand that though. I've read it often took 6-8 years of intense training to be able to read lips in one language. In the 1890's to 1900, deaf children had intense immersion type training but they didn't get to live at home, or do "normal things" children their age did. Most farmers didn't send their toddlers away for 6 years. That wasn't normal. The majority of people in the US back then were farmers. Yet these children were expected to act and live like everyone else. Like there was nothing wrong or different. If someone had a bushy mustache, mumbled or looked away a lot, it was hard to follow their conversation.  People had to hide their problems for survival.  But families wanted to communicate, and often felt signing communicated better, and it was easier with quicker language skills.

Can you imagine a new immigrant and the only way you ever knew how to communicate, you aren't aloud to speak or you get in trouble? Can you imagine the immense pressure of immigrants (early 1900's) to learn English quickly, so people didn't try to cheat them out of the little money they had? Or trick them with work contracts?

Paul Sanetra knew Polish, probably up until age 13 when his mother died. Near the end of Paul's life with Alzheimer's we realized he remembered some German words from when he was a little boy. He said his mother (Rosalie Wandzel) used to say those words to him. But in the early 1900's in America, children got in trouble (and humiliated) for speaking anything but English. By the time Paul spent some time in the orphanage, he lost the language. When he was about age 50 and started to find his siblings, he had to hire a translator, because he forgot and couldn't get the language back. For years (school, orphanage, work) it was drilled into him that he could only speak English.

I lived in Los Angeles for a few years. There were a number of political refugees in my high school. From Kosovo, Iran, El Salvador and Russia. A lot of effort was made to help the teenagers feel welcome and safe. I became good friends with several of these new students. They had some crazy stories! They were really hard working students, who wanted to master several languages, be good students and contribute to their community. If your parents, or grandparents immigrated, do you know their story? Do you know why they moved to a new country? Do you know what they did to adjust to a new place? How they learned a new language? Did they move to communities were others were from the same culture? Or spoke the same language? Do you know how many languages they knew? Did they keep the same religion or join a new religion in their new country? Did they have the same occupation here as their old country? Even if they were factory workers, did they sing or draw? Invent things? Neighborhood sports games at the end of the street? These are the kinds of questions I ask and I'm trying to learn the answers to, for my immigrating ancestors. Regarding my Polish ancestors, ...it's so hard to find these answers! But I'll keep looking and asking.

Side notes:
* Karolina Matuszek was the sister in law of Bronislaw Sanetra. Paul and Bronislaw were bothers. 
* A little info about Bell and lip reading: Bell-lip reading click here
*Info about Gallaudet University and what they do. I just bought a biography about Gallaudet that I look forward to reading. It amazes me how much he helped to address such an enormous problem, and helped improve the quality of living and communication. Gallaudet click here 
I feel that American Sign Language is a beautiful language. One that I want to learn really well.

05 August 2016

Wandzel sisters: Fall River, MA

Three Wandzel sisters came to the United States: Anna, Stanislawa and Ludwika.They list their parents as Wojciech Wandzel and Victoria Zuzak. The sisters first settled in Fall River, Massachusetts. Then they traveled to Ohio and spent the rest of their lives in Cleveland, Ohio. The sisters state on records that they were born in Zywiec, Poland.

My ancestor Rosalie Wandzel (born in 1887) had a grandfather named Wojciech Wandzel, but he was married to Anna Byrda.  Rosalie was the daughter of Wawrzyniec Wandzel who was the son of Wojciech and Anna. Several other people on these ships were from Zywiec, heading to Fall River, MA. Ludwika's husband was also from Zywiec. I don't yet know of a connection between these Wandzel's and mine. But Wandzel is a rare name, and they're from the same place as my family. These sisters are about the same age as Rosalie, so it is possible they were cousins. I will keep looking for records that show relationships. If anyone knows more about these sisters, I'd love to hear from you.
1936-Joseph Korab, Stanislawa's husband

  1. Anna Wandzel immigrated first. She arrived 6 Jul 1907. She was age18, single, servant. She was traveling to a friend's house named Aniela Klis, in Fall River, MA. 
  2. Stanislawa Wandzel arrived 13 Jul 1909. She was age 17, single, a servant, traveled with her cousin Karol Kublin to her sister Anna Wandzel, in Fall River, MA.
  3. Ludwika Wandzel arrived 4 Mar 1913. She was 18, single and a servant. Ludwika was going to her sister Stanislwa's house. She traveled with 2 women also going to Stanislawa's house: A friend Helena Yuyosz and Marya Wojtusink, is listed as a sister to Stanislawa Wandzel, but her father is listed as Marcin Wojtusink, so maybe sister in law?
Here's a time line for these sisters:
  • 1889 Anna Wandzel born Zywiec, Poland
  • 1894 Stanislawa Wandzel born Zywiec, Poland
  • 1896 Ludwika Wandzel born Zywiec, Poland
  • 1907 Anna immigrated to Fall River, MA
  • 1909 Stanislawa immigrated to Fall River, MA
  • 1911 About 1911 Anna married Jan Wieszczek in MA
  • 1912 Anna has son Walter Wieszczek in MA
  • 1913 Ludwika immigrated to Fall River, MA
  • 1914 Stanislawa married Joseph Korab. (Joseph Korab had 2 children from previous marriage: Stanley 1908 and Mary 1912)
  • 1915 Stanislawa has daughter Stefania or Stella Korab in MA
  • 1916 Anna has son Mathew Wieszczek in MA
  • 1917 Ludwika married Charles Kupczak, in OH
  • 1919 Ludwika has daughter Johanna Kupczak in OH
  • 1920 Ludwika has son Frank K. Kupczak in OH
  • 1920 Sisters Anna and Stanislawa lived next door to each other in MA
  • 1930 All 3 sisters lived beside each other on East 31st Street in Cleveland, OH. For the rest of their lives they lived in Cleveland, Ohio.
  • 1936 Joseph Korab is naturalized, (see picture in this post.)
  • 1940 Anna household census note: James Biernot is living in the house who sign's brother in laws, Jozef Korab's naturalization record.There are a few Biernot and Sanetra family connections.
  • 1943 Ludwika's husband Charles Kupczak died
  • 1962 Jozef Korab, Stanislawa's husband died
  • 1971 Jan Wieszczek, Anna's husband died.
  • 1975 Anna died, age 88
  • 1980 Stanislawa died, age 85
  • 1997 Ludwika died, age 99

25 July 2016

Guestbook update

I have been locked out of my guestbook for awhile now, since Feb 2014. People could post but I couldn't edit or reply. I also couldn't see contact info to reply. I got back into it today, so I will start updating the surname index and replying to questions. I just deleted a few spam messages too.
Sorry for the delay in replying. Guestbook surname index has been updated now.

18 July 2016

Ervin and Ida Sanetra

Paul used to have a construction business with his brother Ervin until he moved to Arizona for his health, in the mid 1940's. Paul's children were born in St Charles, which is in Kane County, Illinois. The two families lived near each other and were friends. They wrote letters to each other and tried to visit at Thanksgiving or Christmas. I have a few pictures of them visiting together. Paul Sanetra was married to Catherine Stowe. Ervin Sanetra was married to Ida Eggert. You can click on the pictures to view them full screen.
1952 Ervin and Ida

1952-Ida and Catherine
1952 Ervin and Catherine

Aug 1953 Catherine, Paul and Ida

Aug 1953 Catherine, Paul, Ida

Apr 1963 Catherine and Ida

Apr 1963 Ida

30 May 2016

How to get more Polish records available

The more people who help index and transcribe records, the faster we can get the records we are looking for, searchable in a database.

I really love searching on FamilySearch. It's free, nice filters, and a great database. It's a worldwide database. When you type in a country of birth, such as a Slavic country, the search pulls up typical Slavic spellings, instead of the English soundex systems which many databases were built on. I recently found Jozef and Bronislaw Sanetra's birth records in Chicago, from a recent indexing project. This was an amazing and helpful discovery for me. The Chicago courthouse didn't see the records, but they showed up when FamilySearch digitized and indexed the collection. There are preservation teams all over the world, including in Poland, digitizing and preserving collections never before accessible. Here's a short video clip to explain indexing. I really like that the pictures and stories go with records. I don't have nearly as much time as I like, and sometimes I have trouble typing with my hand weakness. But I try to help with indexing when I can, because I feel its really important. Hope you enjoy this video clip, and hope you can volunteer to help index or transcribe more records.

09 May 2016

My personal life notation: my thoughts on wheelchairs, for me

I have struggled to kept up with blog posting about my my favorite thing I do to decompress, family history. My personal life has been crazier than usual. I was just officially permanently put in a wheelchair this month, and trying to readjust to my surroundings. I really am fine, and am actually relieved it's finally happened. I've had chronic health problems for years. So I've been expecting this for awhile.

I've met a lot of people with chronic health problems over the years who asked me to explain how I think through my problems. People ask me to write books. I can't. I just do little pieces as blog posts here and there when I can. I've read tons of books and watched tons of videos on how paraplegics adapted to their new situation. Their stories and explanations of their feelings helped me a lot, helping me realize my thoughts were pretty normal. I'm working on some posts about specific simple things that really helped me this month. So in case it helps someone, I wrote my story on my other blog today about trying to simplify my life with crazy health problems. In case you are interested there are two posts today. One about an article printed in the newspaper about Susan who has the same health problem I do. The other post is my thoughts on becoming a permanent wheelchair user. 2 posts dated 9 May 2016: http://juliesimplifieslife.blogspot.com/

21 April 2016

Homesteading in Canada, Polish immigrating

Sept 2012, a lady emailed me saying that she couldn't find a connection to my family yet. But she had several of the same surnames I did, and her family was also from Zywiec, Poland. Her family traveled to Crowsnest Pass in Alberta, Canada, where she saw the name Sanetra a few times. http://www.crowsnestpass.com/ I never would have thought to look for any Sanetras in Alberta! Maryanna Klosak Wojtas who I've written several posts about, had a sister in law that moved to South Dakota. I've since read that a number of Polish stayed in the big cities like Chicago and Minneapolis, saving up, to go west and start a homestead. A large number of recent immigrants continued west to homestead from 1900-1920.

Old farm near Paradise, CA -David Cabitto's picture
One of the first things I ponder, when I try to figure out what happened to someone, is to learn what was normal for that time and place. Then I learn what was normal for that family. For example, for many generations, in my family, the girls were often marrying at age 16, sometimes as young as 15 or 14. I married at age 20, the oldest age (by 2 years) for at least 8 generations. My friend's family was much wealthier than mine, still living in England. Most the women in her family married after age 21, averaging age 25 at the time of their marriage. Another pattern to look for is military involvement. Many people in the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and WWII were given land (and often citizenship) in exchange for being a US soldier. It was part of their payment. After the War of 1812 and Revolutionary War, many families went to the frontier (of that time) to claim their land.

One of the first things we want to do is learn why our family immigrated. Was it for political refuge? If so, when Poland had new leadership after WWI, and Galicia became part of Poland again, people would want to return. Many people did. Did they come to America to own their own land? For at least 200 years the 3 biggest reasons I've seen for people immigrating to the United States is to own their own land, political refuge, and religious freedom. For hundreds of years, in many European countries you were either a land owner, or you worked for one. Who your parents were usually determined which kind of life you would have, until the colonial days of  North and South America. A smaller number of people were fortunate to be merchants. Most of my ancestors came to America in its early days, to own their own land, and be farmers. The majority of my ancestors decided to stay put in Virginia or North Carolina until about the WWII time period. But many thousands of other people loved the frontier, the possibilities and excitement of it all. They dreamed of the challenge to tame wild land, and become self sufficient on their farms. The Homesteading Act in the United States enticed many thousands of people west. They often had 5 years to put up a barn, improve the land, then they were allowed to keep and own that land they worked on developing. Many immigrants started arriving from Europe with plans to go west to get homesteading land. After seeing the success of the United States homesteading, Canada started their own homesteading act. One of the interesting things I've been reading is that Canadians seemed to be more tolerant and accepting. Many freed American slaves wanted to get to Canada's homesteading land, because they believed they could really start over better in Canada. Irish also started having a hard time getting jobs after the potato famine, with signs in shop windows saying "no Irish". So the homesteading acts greatly appealed to Irish as well. I've also read in a number of places that Norwegians and Polish liked to live in the northern Midwest, especially around the Great Lakes because it was a similar climate and farming that they were already used to. That would also be true of southern Canada. So far, the Sanetra's I knew were carpenters. They would be far less likely to want a homestead, and more likely to remain in the city with their trade skills.

I'm really not familiar with Canadian records yet. But I am currently trying to learn more so I can look for some of my missing Polish family in Canada. Here is a link to a Canadian Government page with information about the Canadian Homesteading and land grants. Canadian land grants info click here
Here is a link to NARA (National Archives) about the US homesteading: US homesteading info click here

24 January 2016

How can DNA testing help with my family research? My testing

This was a post I did on my Mecklenburg, VA blog. There are also notes about hopes for DNA helping with our Polish family too. If you wish to compare to see if our families have matches, let me know by messaging me. (email, Facebook, Ancestry.com messages, 23andme messages, My Heritage messages, and findmypast messages)
I'm still really new at DNA research. I'm trying to learn all I can about it. I read articles, take DNA classes at genealogy conferences, bought a book, etc. I wondered, how can I apply it, and use it as a source for my personal ancestry? The more I read, the more questions I have. (A good thing.) Really, I find it all a completely fascinating concept. I've messaged with several people on Ancestry.com, 23andme (including My Heritage) and gedmatch.com who have the highest matches to me. Sometime I send messages. Sometimes others see I'm a match and message me. I plan to take DNA tests at multiple places. Just doing a little at a time. A lot of my highest match results, we connect 150-250 years ago! (And my family had 6 generations in 100 years!) For some of my family that's pre-USA time period, still mostly unknown areas for me.  Thankfully, most the people I message with have our families documented well enough that we can see where we match up. Others newer to family history, don't know enough yet to make connections. But the match is still there to keep in mind until newer and better sources arise.

I've had two interesting emails about DNA matches this week that I wanted to share. One lady told me her ancestor was Jeremiah Jones, and that he was supposed to be part of my family in Mecklenburg, VA. She said she'd seen lots of trees reflect this, but no sources listed. They just referenced eachother's trees. She saw I had sources listed, but not her Jeremiah. So she asked me what I knew about it. We concluded that her Jones family was not part of my Jones family. I had court documents stating those relationships, and who all the heirs were. Unfortunately I hadn't heard of her Jeremiah, so I wasn't able to tell her which family to look at. I added my info to gedmatch.com earlier this month. I gave her my DNA match number, and she checked it against her mother and her aunt. No matches at all! So DNA was able to back up that our families did not match. I hope it will soon help her identify the correct family.

George & Arthur Stowe. Sarah, Lucy Long, Violetta Stowe
My second story I think is really amazing. It's about my elusive Sarah. She was Cherokee. (See picture to the right. Clicking on it will enlarge it.) In this picture my ancestry is George Stowe, (far left), his mother Lucy Long, and her mother Sarah Jamison or Jempson. (George Stowe, was married to Fannie Gray, my Mecklenburg, VA ancestor pictured in the heading of this blog.) We know Sarah was first married to David Dunn and had 3 children (Nancy, James and infant). The youngest child died as an infant a year before David died in the battle of Chancellorsville, VA not too far from where I live now. Sarah then was supposed to have married a Jimmy or Billy Long. Sarah and the unknown Mr. Long had Lucy and a baby named Emmett who died soon after birth. For decades we wondered "who was Lucy's father?" About two years ago, a Long researcher told me, "I think Lucy's father is James Randolph Long, who is also my ancestor." We compared notes for several weeks. James Long married Catherine Havener and they had 10 children together. One of James and Catherine's children named William Long (Billy), married Nancy Dunn. (The daughter from Sarah's first marriage.) Another of James and Catherine's children named Wallace Long, married Matilda Adeline Dunn, a sister to David Dunn. (Sarah's first husband). A bit confusing, but it shows a lot of connection between this Dunn and Long family. My Sarah was listed in Matilda Dunn Long's family Bible with David Dunn and their 3 children. We kept searching for some good proof, because we wanted to make sure the relationships were all in our tree correctly, and because the 1870 Census had confusing and conflicting information. James and Catherine Long also had a daughter named Barbara Long Rhyne. She married (Rhyne), but did not have any children. In her estate record, she listed all of her siblings and included Lucy. Nancy Dunn was a sister in law and half sibling to Barbara, but she had already died. James Dunn, (Nancy's brother and Lucy's half brother) was not listed as a sibling to Barbara. James went to Texas with several of his grown and married children from his marriage to Catherine. Sarah and Lucy stayed behind. James died soon after his arrival to Texas. 

We were feeling pretty confident in our little pieces of evidence all getting put together. Recently 5 of us who believed ourselves to be descendants of James R. Long, all did DNA tests with 3 different companies. Someone recommended we all put our DNA info into gedmatch.com and compare. We all did, and discovered this weekend we all matched! Descendants from 2 of James and Catherine's children, and 2 of us from Lucy (from 2 different marriages of Lucy) all matched. I thought this was really cool that we were able to back up what we had researched. Those of us who tested, did not have Dunn DNA ancestry, (only connections by marriages) so our matches would have been through the James Long family. I read a few emails today, about surname studies, including one set up for James Long. That's my project goal for this week.

I told my grandparents about this yesterday. They were really excited at the possibilities with DNA. They said they really want to get Y-DNA testing done for my grandfather. He's already done the regular Ancestry.com test. My grandfather is half Polish. His father Paul was born in Chicago. Paul's oldest sibling was born in Zywiec, Poland, just before the family immigrated to the United States. There are a number of people who have told me think they are related to our family. Same place, records in same church, same rare surname, ...I was born about 56 years after flu epidemic family separations, and 36 years after the invasion of Poland. I think the majority of the people who could have answered my questions about ancestry didn't survive the flu epidemic of 1918, or were separated in WWII, and we're still not able to reconnect. I think there's really great potential for my grandfather to find out more about his Polish (Sanetra and Wandzel) ancestry this way.

My conclusion? DNA can be an extremely useful tool, and used as a source to corroborate other records we find. There's lots to continuously learn about, and I look forward to future findings!

04 January 2016

Memories of Chanukah, from JewishGen.org site

I got an email from Jewish Gen about Chanukah stories. I find that with some holidays, there's a lot of tradition that remains over the years. Other times, things get much more commercial.  I completely love reading stories about how people really lived!  I also love reading about things that are an important part of people's lives, like Chanukah. I hope you enjoy reading these stories as much as I did. (Sorry I did not get this out in time for Chanukah.)

The following is from my email, 10 Dec 2015. Each of the places below are links to the website.

Dear Julie,

We believe strongly that knowing "how people lived" is an important element of the Jewish genealogical search process, and that it's not enough to merely make a family connection.

For your convenience, we have compiled some Holocaust survivor testimonies about Chanukah before and during the Holocaust (which appear on various JewishGen pages). Reading them will give you a sense of what life was like in various communities throughout Europe, as well as remind us of a world that no longer exists.