Saturday, January 3, 2015

SNGF: Best Find of 2014, and Research Challenge for 2015

I'm joining Randy at Genea-Musings this week for some Saturday Night Genealogy Fun:

1)  What was your best research achievement in 2014?  Tell us - show us a document, or tell us a story, or display a photograph.  Brag a bit!  You've earned it!


This is pretty easy considering the small amount of research I did in 2014, though I'm pretty certain I'd have used this anyway.  While at GRIP I found where my Polish ancestors are from and expanded their names by multiple generations, thanks to Geneteka's database.  

My great-great grandparents Franciszek Karpiński and Józefa Szydlik were married in Ostrów Mazowiecka, Mazowieckie, Poland in 1904.  His parents are Jan Karpiński and Rozalia Zamojska; hers are Tomasz Szydlik and Barbara Gacioch.   Prior to this I had their names, the marriage year, and some names of their parents.

3rd great grandparents:
Jan and Rozalia were married in 1879, also in Ostrów Mazowiecka, Mazowieckie, Poland.  His parents are  Franciszek Karpiński and Ludwika Bieńkowska; hers are Paweł Zamojski and Katarzyna Łomot.

4th great grandparents:
Paweł Zamojski and Katarzyna Łomot were married in 1858 in Długosiodło, Mazowieckie, Poland.

Tomasz Szydlik and Barbara Gacioch were married in 1879 in Brok, Mazowieckie, Poland.  His parents are Ignacy Szydlik and Krystyna Krzewicka; hers are Jakub Gacioch and Marcjanna Ferenc.

Franciszek Karpiński and Ludwika Bieńkowska were married in 1841 in Ostrów Mazowiecka, Mazowieckie, Poland.  His parents are Stanisław Karpiński and Petronela Samson; hers are Grzegorz Bieńkowska and Rozalia Zawisza.  Ludwika had previously been married to a man named Adamie Makiński.

Ignacy Szydlik and Krystyna Krzewicka were married in 1840 in Ostrów Mazowiecka, Mazowieckie, Poland.  His parents are Szymon Szydlik and Kunegunda Wasielewska; hers Jan Krezewicki and Teresa Skudzieńska.

Jakub Gacioch and Marcjanna Ferenc were married in 1853 in Brok, Mazowieckie, Poland.  His parents are Marcin Gacioch and Agata Ferenc; hers are Tomasz Ferenc and Magdalena Ruszkowska.

5th great grandparents:
Szymon Szydlik and Kunegunda Wasielewska were married in 1809 in Jelonki, Mazowieckie, Poland.  His parents are Piotr Szydlik and Katarzyna Krystek; hers were Antoni Wasielewski and Marianna Kośnik.

Marcin Gacioch and Agata Ferenc were married in 1825 in Brok, Mazowieckie, Poland.  His parents are Paweł Gacioch and Agnieskza; hers Szymon Ferenc and Marianna Jachowska.

Tomasz Ferenc and Magdalena Ruszkowska were married in 1832 in Brok, Mazowieckie, Poland.  His parents are Wawrzyniec Ferenc and Wiktoria; hers are Andrzej Ruszkowski and Katarzyna Nadzyk.

In addition to these marriage records, there are birth and death records, as well as additional marriage records for collateral relatives.  Most of these include scans of the record.  I am grateful for those who transcribed them as I do not understand much Polish or Cyrillic. 

2)  We all have elusive ancestors.  What research problem do you want to work on in 2015?  Tell us where you want to research and what you hope to find.


For 2015 I want to work on my 2014 project of re-entering my research into Legacy.  I'm hoping to find things I had previously missed and organize everything so that when I have more time to research in the future I will be ready.  

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 in Review

1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before? Go on an extended family vacation as an adult.  It makes traveling with a baby much easier.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I'm not a fan of resolutions; I much prefer a word of the year.  My word for 2014 was "savor" and while I tried, I'm not sure I did as well as I could have.  For 2015 my word is going to be "passion" which is based on this post a bit.  I want to focus on things I love and leave the rest behind, both in action and in stuff in our apartment.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? My cousin had a son, Connor, and my friends had daughters, Anna, Penelope, and Maddie.  Lots of ladies in my infertility group got their miracle babies, as well.

4. Did anyone close to you die? No, thankfully.  We did go to a funeral for a friend's grandmother.

5. What places did you visit? Worchester, MA, Providence & Newport, RI, Toronto & Kingston, Ontario, Detroit, MI.  Plus the usual trips around Central and Western NY.

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?  A trip to see friends in NYC and a trip abroad.

7. What dates from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? May 30th, which was Julian's 1st birthday and my two cousin's weddings (September and November).  Not the exact days, but when Aaron's employer closed and when he found a new job.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?   Julian turning 1 as a happy, healthy, curious little boy.

9. What was your biggest failure? Not exercising nearly enough.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? I sprained my ankle, which is still an issue at times.

11. What was the best thing you bought? My spot at GRIP.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? I'm keeping my answer the same as last year: My husband.  He is amazing with Julian.  I couldn't do it without him.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? The reactions of many to the killings of unarmed black men and boys.

14. Where did most of your money go? Daycare.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Julian continues to do awesome things, like walking, which always amaze and excite me.

16. What song will always remind you of 2014? You are My Sunshine.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Happier
b) thinner or fatter? Fatter, though I'm finally working with a doctor to get my PCOS under control.
c) richer or poorer? Richer, thanks to Aaron's new job and a decrease in daycare in November.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Enjoying the moment, saving money, exercising, genealogy, blogging.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Worrying.

20. How did you spend Christmas in 2014? Saturday before Christmas with Perrines, Sunday before at Christmas caroling party, Christmas Eve with Casells, Christmas morning at my mom's, afternoon at Acquards, and evening watching Into the Woods with my husband and two of my favorite people.

21. Did you fall in love in 2014? It just keeps getting better with my two main men.

22. What was your favorite TV program? Criminal Minds.  Also rewatching Gilmore Girls and How I Met Your Mother.

23. What did you do for your birthday in 2014? I had off from work and went to lunch and coffee and the doctor by myself.  Don't remember at night.  Went to a play, Albertine in 5 Times, a few days later.

24. What was the best book you read? Fiction: What Alice Forgot by Laine Moriarty, Non-fiction: 168 Hours by Laura Vanderkam, Book club: The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell, Kids: We Are In a Book! by Mo Willems.

25. What did you want and get? My article proposal accepted!

26. What did you want and not get? To win the lottery.  I ought to start playing ;-)

27. What was your favorite film of this year? Into the Woods

28. Did you make some new friends this year? I met some great people at work.

29.What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? If Julian's play vacuum actually worked; I'd have the cleanest house ever ;-)

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014? Sweaters and tang tops with jackets for work.

31. What kept you sane? My family and friends.

32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? The Pope, again, and the Ebola aid workers.

33. What political issue stirred you the most? The killings of unarmed black men and boys by police.

34. Who did you miss? My Grandpa Acquard.  I wish he could have met Julian.

35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014. Worry less, it will work out in the end.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

GRIP 2014: Day 2

I Got a GRIP! Notepad
GRIP intro post and day 1 post. GRIP 2012 posts.

Day 2 of GRIP began with Dr. Hal Learman, PARI co-director, discussing "Geography, Gazetteers, and Maps."  I love maps, which comes in handy when researching a country such as Poland, whose borders have changed continuously throughout its history.  Some of the best maps to use for Polish research include the Geographical Dictionary of the Kingdom of Polish and Kartenmeister.  He also recommends Google searches and the FamilySearch catalog.  There are numerous books of Polish maps available as well.

Our second lecture of the day was "Using FamilySearch.org's Catalog, Indexes, and Digital Images."  This was a case study on finding foundation documents to push your family back to their ancestral village.  Ceil said to remember to always bring a pedigree chart to archives and libraries and to start with that, as it is impossible for the person there helping you to keep all of your information sorted in their head.  Check death certificates, passenger records, naturalization records, census records, and WWI and WWII draft cards for the name of the town your ancestor was born in.  Once you have found the American records, you can check FamilySearch for Polish records as well.

Wawel Folk Ensemble

After lunch, we had lecture three of the day on the Polish Genealogical Society, makers of the must-use Polish genealogy site Geneteka.  Volunteers have transcribed over 1 million names in civil records from throughout Poland.  Many of the transcribed names also have scanned images available.  I really cannot exaggerate how useful this site is.  For a a marriage record, the transcriber also gives the parents names and birth year and location of the bride and groom, which can easily lead to more records for your family.  While the site is not complete, they are continuously expanding it.

Our last lecture was "Poznan Project: Civil and Parish Marriage Index."  The Poznan Project is a website dedicated to transcribing the records of Poznan, which is commonly a problem area for genealogists.  If you have ancestors from this area, make sure to check out this site.


Our evening lecture was actually a performance by the Wawel Folk Ensemble.  Wawel had 10 people, 5 male, 5 female, and each "couple" dressed in an outfit from a different region. According to their blog, the regions were Kaszëbë, Podlasie, Biłgoraj, Rzeszów, and Sieradz. They would describe the outfit and region and then do a few dances.  It was fascinating to see the different outfits and dances they performed.  I'm also pretty sure life would be much better if we still had neighborhood get-togethers full of dancing and music.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

GRIP 2014: Day 1

You can also read my introduction post on GRIP 2014 and my posts on GRIP 2012.

Polish Panorama
The official start to GRIP was Monday and the first lecture in the Polish genealogy course was on the Polish Panorama at PARI given by PARI director Ceil Wendt Jensen.  The Panorama has 106 figures representing Poles from peasants to Pope John Paul.  Each figure is 30 inches high, moves along the stage on an automated track (bottom middle and right) and was designed by Zbigniew Baran.  My favorites were the peasant woman with her baby (top left), the winged hussar (middle right) and the partitioned Poland in mourning (top right).   There is also a mural designed by Marek Żółtak showing important churches of Poland (bottom left).

We then had two lectures on the Polish language for genealogists.  It began by looking at some of the records available for genealogists, including some that you cannot easily find online, such as a "list of souls", estate and manor records and travel documents.  We then got to practice Polish pronunciation with Eugenia Gorecki, who is the in-house translator at the Polish Mission.  I'm not sure Genia was too impressed by any of us...

The last lecture of the day was on the identification and history of ancestral villages.  This was of particular interest to me, as I have not found the exact villages my Polish ancestors emigrated from.  It is important to look at as many items as possible to try to find the name of the village.  They recommend WWI draft cards, naturalization papers and ship manifests.  There are a lot of online gazetteers that can assist in finding out where that village was at the time your ancestor lived there.  Considering all of the border changes in Poland, using maps from the correct time period is of utmost importance.


In addition to the course lectures, GRIP offers evening lectures, which are also free to the public, on different topics.  The first evening session was given by Polish Mission director Marcin Chumiecki on some of the projects they are currently doing.  The one that most amazed me is "Forbidden Art," an exhibit on the art prisoners produced in Auschwitz and Birkenau.  Currently on exhibit at the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Kansas, this looks both fascinating and heartbreaking.  There is a short online tour which I highly recommend (see YouTube video above) and I hope to make a trip to see this in the near future.

Monday, August 4, 2014

GRIP 2014: Polish Genealogy

I arrived yesterday for the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh's On the Road week in Orchard Lakes, Michigan for the "Advancing Your Polish Genealogy: 300 Years of Records" course.  I attended the inaugural GRIP in 2012, missed 2013 due to having a newborn, and when I saw the Polish offering at the Polonica Americana Research Institute (PARI), I knew exactly which course to sign up for this year.


Detroit Train Station
Getting to Orchard Park was quite the trip: we left Syracuse at 4 pm, met my mom and gramma for dinner in Waterloo, then Julian and I headed to Buffalo while my husband headed back home.  We arrived around 8 and I took a nap.  The train was supposed to leave the Buffalo-Depew station at 11:59 pm (she's leaving {leaving} on a midnight train to Detroit...), but due to delays and the water issue in Toledo, didn't leave until around 2 am.  We arrived in Toledo around 7:30 am, then took a bus to Detroit where I had quite the layover, which just got longer when my train to Pontiac, MI was over an hour late.  I finally arrived in Pontiac about 24 hours after I first left home where the wonderful director of PARI (and also one of my instructors this week), Ceil, picked me up from the train station and we made it to campus a little before 5.

Polish Panorama
I registered, met my lovely room mate Linda, got settled in the dorm, and headed to the opening night dinner.  After dinner, we got an overview of the Polish Panorama from Ceil, which I will discuss in detail on my post tomorrow.  All followed by an early bedtime.

I'll be posting about my experience at GRIP daily this week; let me know if you have any questions!

Sunday, July 13, 2014