November 2011

One of today’s themes over at GeneaBloggers is Sunday’s obituaries. I’ve been fortunate in that many of my ancestors have been concentrated near and in the northwest corner of Ohio, most in Toledo. There is a wealth of free, genealogical data available via internet for the region through both and other venues. But I wanted to make special mention today regarding the Google News Archives.

Not long ago, Google announced it would no longer expand the service and has indeed made it more difficult to locate the archives. However, they are still available here: There are many archived newspapers that you can browse and research for obituaries and newsclippings. This has been an invaluable source and when I get too tired of recording the uncountable number of Mierzejewski immigration records, I go here to see if I can backfill my genealogical data with obituaries or newsclips regarding my ancestors.

The Toledo area has three newspapers that are archived here:

  • The Toledo Blade. While the list states there are editions available from about 1869, there are huge holes in this collection. The collection is probably most valuable from about 1935ish forward. Many, many obituaries available for the 1940s forward.
  • The Toledo News-Bee.  This is a good resource for news and some obituaries from about the 1910s through the 1930s.
  • The Toledo Sunday News-Bee. This is a “sister” publication to the News-Bee. There are huge holes in this series, but is starts at about 1901 and may contains obituaries for the Toledo region.

There are plenty of screen capture/snipping tools out there that can be used to grab what you need from these images.  Google screen capture software if you need to obtain something to do this. (Of course, if all else fails, there’s always the ol’ PrintScreen and Paint trick, but a screen capture tool will make the job a bit easier.) Because I don’t want to make this a post about software or technology, I won’t go into any specific tools here. If you want a recommendation for a decent tool, drop me a message. There are free ones available that do a great job.

I’ve made some interesting discoveries and was able to ascertain some relationships by digging into these archives for obituaries and news bits. Hopefully, you too can before Google decides to fully retire this service. My thinking is that eventually it will go away, although I have not seen any statement yet to verify my thoughts.

I’ve been quietly working on gathering the immigration data for Mierzejewskis, using as many permutations of the name as I could. This has kept me extremely busy. I’ve gathered what I believe is fairly reliable data for all of the Mierzejewskis as I possibly could locate through Ellis Island only and have posted here in an Excel spreadsheet (2003)–set so that the data could be filtered. It’s probably best to filter the data by date so that you can locate groups who had traveled together.

I have also located some Mierzejewskis who have emigrated through Boston and possibly other ports; however, I have not recorded the data yet. As time goes on, I’ll add that data to this collection.

Two things have struck me while doing this exercise: 1) I previously assumed that women generally did not travel alone from Europe during the period. I was wrong! I found a number of women who were quite young and traveled alone or with small children without companionship. 2) I did not think any Mierzejewskis had emigrated to the US prior to about 1905-1910. Wrong again. Already, I’ve located a few who emigrated in the 1890s. I do not know if these persons had stayed or if they followed a pattern I detected in my family that they came and went a few times before deciding to remain here or in Poland.

I haven’t analyzed this information much besides these two observations. But it will be an interesting exercise I believe to see how my family (if I can sift through them from this already substantial set of data!) moved from Poland to the US and through New England westward.

A word about this data: Where possible, I have corrected given names and geographic places. (That is, if I could transcribe the name.) The exception to this is the LAST name is provided as it was entered into the database from Ellis or the service used (such as the National Archives). The reason I did NOT correct the names is there are various ways of spelling the surname and if you wish to pursue obtaining the record, you would need that particular transcription. I haven’t submitted any suggested edits or changes to Ellis Island or the National Archives (that in itself may be an overwhelming task AND there are likely other records that use many of the different versions of the name.)

The spreadsheet is located here if you want to download it.

Tomorrow is Veteran’s Day. In honor of my father the veteran, I have a scanned a handwritten document my father created during his World War II experiences. This is a list of his missions from July 13 through November 11, 1944. It will be 67 years ago tomorrow that the he had completed these missions with the rest of his Bomb Squad. What brave men! Click an image to enlarge it or download it. Give a vet some love tomorrow while you’re at it.

49th Bomb Squad Missions

49th Bomb Squad Missions

49th Bomb Squad Missions

49th Bomb Squad Missions

49th Bomb Squad Missions

49th Bomb Squad Missions

49th Bomb Squad Missions

49th Bomb Squad Missions

49th Bomb Squad Missions

49th Bomb Squad Missions

I have about 90+ records that I’ve been able to complete data entry for. See here. Updates as I can get to them.

Ok, I’ll admit. I went into stealth mode. Been quiet, but working on gathering all of the Mierzejewski immigration records I could find. Many permutations and I’m up to over 100 distinct and different Mierzejewski Ellis island manifest records. Slow going to query, transcribe, and record each.

Along the way (and I’m still not done), I came across an interesting discovery.

I found nothing that knocked my socks off until this afternoon–well, at least no one that I could immediately recognize outside my grandparents’ records. Earlier, I had noted that my grandmother’s brother, Kalixty, had emigrated to the US in 1911 per the 1920 census. But I came across an earlier immigration record for my grandmother’s brother, Kalixty. I located a manifest from Ellis that indicated he emigrated into the US on November 12, 1908 and was meeting his brother, Wladyslaw (Wladimir or Walter) in Branford, Conecticut. It clearly is Helena’s brother. Kalxity’s name is hard to interpret on this manifest–the Ellis Island transcribers had transcribed the name as Halikstin. However, upon careful inspection of the document, it is noted that he was born in Borowce, and his contact his his mother, Anna Mirzejewski in Borowce. The age fits perfectly. We have his birthdate documented as December 12, 1886 per his death certificate. His age on the manifest is listed as 22. Kalixty would have been 22 in 1908. Note that the surname is spelled MIRZEJEWSKI.

I have not yet located a manifest that indicates that Kalixty may have returned to Poland and returned to the US in 1911. But it’s still entirely possible–am still working through all the name permutations.

We can now trace that my grandmother’s family was in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. I think I have a lot of work ahead of me!

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