April 2012


A few days ago, Lukasz Bialecki of the Poznan Project emailed me the civil marriage record for Martinus (Martin) Rochowiak and Catherine (Katarzyna) Switala. Martin was a half-brother to my great-grandmother, Frances Rochowiak Przybylski. The civil marriage record provides us with a bit more detail about the family. The thumbnail below is difficult to read, but click it to enlarge to see the detail.

Civil marriage record for Martin Rochowiak and Catherine Switala November 1877

Civil marriage record for Martin Rochowiak and Catherine Switala, November 1877

Lukasz kindly sent along a translation of the record to me since it is written in German:

Farm worker Martin Rochowiak, born 3 Nov 1850 in Zendowo, resident in Murczyn, son of the farmer Adalbert Rochowiak (died in Zendowo) and his wife Marianna (married name missing, died in Zendowo).

Maid Catharina Switala, born 24 Sep 1857 in Murczyn, resident in Murczyn, daughter of the farmer Matheus Switala (resident in Murczyn) and his wife Marianna Zablocka (resident in Murczyn).

Witnesses Johann Wesolek, age 33 from Jaroszewo, Johann Zablocki, age 52 from Murczyn.

Now, from this translation we cannot ascertain for sure that Martin was a son of Marianna Chlebowska or Marianna Marzana. I’ve “assigned” him within my tree as the son of Marianna Chlebowska, based on the fact that per the this civil marriage record, he was born 3 November 1850 and Aldabertus married Marianna Mazana on 27 October 1851. So, not quite a year after Martinus was born, Aldabert married his third wife.

We also have the location where the Rochowiaks, Switalas, and Zablockis were living in 1850: Murczyn. Additionally, we now know that Adalbert was a farmer. We also now know that Adalbert and Marianna Mazana (using deductive logic for which Marianna) died in Zendowo.

If you note the signatures, as Lukasz pointed out to me, the groom was illiterate–he signed the record with three Xs but the bride was able to write and signed her own name.

Two obituaries today. One I was actually seeking, the other happened to be, quite coincidentally, published the same day and of some interest to my family tree. I often go back through the archived newspapers on Google to backfill my data with obituaries. So I purposefully went to seek Victoria Przybylski Sieja’s obit, I hadn’t located it before. However, published on the same day as hers — October 21, 1937 — was the obituary of my aunt’s (Celia Mierzejewski Starzynski) husband’s brother, John Starzynski.

Both obits are below and are transcribed.

Obituary, Toledo News Bee, Victoria Sieja, 21 October 1937

Obituary, Toledo News Bee, Victoria Sieja, 21 October 1937

Mrs. Victoria Sieja

Mrs. Victoria Sieja died Wednesday in her home at 1451 Avondale Avenue of a stroke suffered while working in the yard of her home. She was 53.

Mrs. Sieja was a member of St. Anthony’s Church. She leaves her husband, Frank Sieja; three daughters, Mrs. Clem Plenzler, Mrs. Casper Roman, and Miss Alice Sieja; six sons, Roman, Chester, Andrew, Daniel, Edmund and Norman, two sisters, Mrs. Anastazia Plenzler and Mrs. Eva Hejnicki, two brothers, Frank and John Przybylski, and seven grandchildren.

Services will be at 9:30 a.m. Saturday in the residence and at 10 a.m. in St. Anthony’s Church. Burial will be in Calvary. The body is in the residence.

John Starzynski, Obituary, Toledo News Bee, 21 October 1937

John Starzynski, Obituary, Toledo News Bee, 21 October 1937

STARZYNSKI SERVICES FRIDAY

Services for John (Starr) Starzynski, 27 E. Pearl Street, who died Wednesday, will be at 6:45 a.m. Friday in Stanley Urbanski Mortuary and at 7 a.m. in St. Adalbert’s Church. Burial will be in Calvary.

Mr. Starzynski, who was 29, had been ill a month. He was employed by Willys-Overland Motors, Inc. He leaves his wife, Mrs. Helen Starzynski; his parents, Mrs. and Mrs. Marion Starzysnki, and three bothers, Walter, Joseph, and Edward, all of Toledo.

Still working on that backlog of Calvary photos that I have. Today’s photos are names within my family tree but I have not made any connections.

George and Lucy Mielcarek, Calvary Cemetery

George and Lucy Mielcarek, Calvary Cemetery

Mielcarek
Father George
1865 – 1945
Mother Lucy
1868 – 1962
Grave: 337, Range or Lot: 13, Section: 41

Magdalena Koralewski, Calvary Cemetery

Magdalena Koralewski, Calvary Cemetery

Droga Matka
Magdalena Koralewski
1872 – 1919
Grave: 117, Lot: 4, Section: 43

Aloizy Lawecki, Calvary Cemetery

Aloizy Lawecki, Calvary Cemetery

Aloizy Lawecki
1914 – 1921
Grave: 17, Range or Lot: 1, Section: 32

Teofila Kempski Mruk, Calvary Cemetery

Teofila Kempski Mruk, Calvary Cemetery

Mother
Teofila Kempski Mruk
Grave: 2841, Range or Lot: 23, Section: 32

Per death certificate, Teofila’s father’s name was PRUCHNIAK.

When stumped with research or feeling that I need to take a break from specific persons or families, I often browse the online newspapers archived through Google. It’s fascinating to read about the worlds in which our ancestors survived–to connect their lives and backgrounds to historical events or find interesting tidbits that affected their societies and ways of life.

These past few days, I stumbled on a tragic story that affected the entire Polish community in Toledo, particularly the St. Anthony’s parish community. On Sunday, May 3, 1903, a large group of Poles from the Toledo area traveled via railroad to Detroit to attend a festival at St. Joseph’s church in Detroit. Many of these travelers were from St. Anthony’s parish. It seems as if none of the victims were part of my family; but no doubt, my family would have known many of them. Perhaps someone reading here will recognize a name and be able to make a connection to their family.

After a day of festivities, the group gathered at Canfield St. in Detroit about 8p.m. to return to Toledo.  Although this was not a regular stop for the train, it seems as if it was a stop scheduled for that day in anticipation of the large gathering for the festival. However, according to michiganrailroads.com:

“This was not a regular station stop and the train apparently did not send out an employee to flag the track.  At 8:30 p.m., a GTW train from Chicago was heading for Brush Street station.  It was most likely No. 8.  The crew knew nothing abut the train at Canfield Avenue until they were right on top of it and had no chance to stop the train in time.  Hearings showed that the crew on the excursion train were all “off the extra board” and not acquainted with the area and took too much for granted.”

Many persons were injured or killed in this train wreck, nearly all of whom were parishioners of St. Anthony’s. The Toledo News Bee on May 4 and May 5 followed the events and provided the names of the injured and killed. I’ve provided links to the archived stories. While the copy is not perfect, it is fairly readable and too big of a job to transcribe for here. However, here is a list of names that of those injured or killed as was posted in the May 4 edition of the News Bee. (I’ve transcribed the names below, but have not transcribed the description of injuries. Unless noted, victims were from Toledo–a few victims from Detroit were also listed in the article.)

Train accident victims, Toledo News Bee, 04 May 1903

Train accident victims, Toledo News Bee, 04 May 1903

The Dead

  • Frank Rozinski, age 25, 1465 Vance street
  • Watson Ludwick, aged 22, Junction avenue and Forrer street
  • Joseph Shafranski, aged about 26
  • Mrs. Frank Rozinski, 1465 Vance street or Helen Rodzwiecz, aged 19, 3017 Warsaw street
  • Stanislaus Orzechonski, aged 9, 1226 Campbell street
  • _________ Sabieialski, aged 10
  • Helen A. Palicki, aged 22, married, 45 Bronson street

The Injured

  • Mrs. Frank Otremba, aged 20, 826 Detroit avenue
  • Joseph Wozniak, 24, laborer, 1525 Buchanan street
  • Joseph Nitz, 18, laborer, 1306 Nebraska avenue
  • Joseph Kazruske, 18, 1132 Blum street
  • Rose Adamski, 20, 1267 Blum street
  • John Bush, 626 Hancock avenue (East Detroit)
  • Sadie Williams, 2140 Glenwood
  • Joseph Szaruleta, 407 Junction avenue
  • Joe Shafranski, 1109 Campbell street
  • Joe Picard, aged 12, 341 Superior street
  • Unidentified man
  • Mrs. Annie Urbaytis, about 25 years old, 2926 Lagrange street
  • John Malkoski, about 35 years old, 1115 Campbell street, was leading 10-year-old daughter who cannot be found
  • Mary Shafranski, 113 Campbell street, had baby in arms when hit and baby is missing
  • Joseph Jakrziski, 1000 Dubois street (Detroit)
  • Peter Orzechonski, 1226 Campbell street, his wife and two children, Mrs. Orzechonski dangerously and may die
  • James Powlocyk, 1215 Hamilton street
  • Mike Broski, 1715 Austin street
  • Chester Palicki
  • Stanislaus Sarnowski, 1307 Hamilton street

On May 5, the News Bee published an updated list of victims.

Toledo News Bee 05 May 1903 Railroad accident victims

Toledo News Bee 05 May 1903 Railroad accident victims

The Dead:

  • Joseph Szaruleta, 407 Junction avenue
  • Walter Ludwick, of Junction avenue
  • Frank Rozinski, 1465 Vance street
  • Mrs. Frank Rozinski, 1465 Vance street
  • Mrs. Helen Palicka, Lagrange street
  • Anthony Popek, aged 24 years, Tecumseh street
  • Ladislaw Sobieralski, boy, 13 years old
  • Stanislaus Orzechowski
  • Frank Jablonski, married, Campbell street
Toledo News Bee, 05 May 1903, railroad accident victims

Toledo News Bee, 05 May 1903, railroad accident victims

Toledo News Bee, 05 May 1903, railroad accident victims

Toledo News Bee, 05 May 1903, railroad accident victims

The Injured

  • Mrs. Mike Stelmaszak, 1417 Forrer street
  • Baby Orzechowski (injured head, and article states that it was predicted that the child would die)
  • Mike Broski, Langrange street, age 18
  • Joseph Szafianski, Campbell street, married
  • John Malkowski, Campbell street
  • Miss Helen Rodziewiez, Lagrange street
  • Rosa Adamski, Blum street
  • Mrs. Frank Otremba, Detroit ave. (of Toledo)
  • Salomea Witkowska, Blum street
  • John Krynski, Forrer street, 18 years old
  • Vincent Pawlaczyk, 1215 Hamilton street
  • Peter Orzechowski, Campbell street
  • Mrs. Peter Orzechowski

The stories provided by the News Bee are incredibly detailed. I encourage anyone interested in this story to read it directly from the the news archive. Reading these scans sometimes is difficult (I so empathize–I have poor eyesight so I want to transcribe whenever possible, but the job is too big to do so for a blog post)–but the stories would provide some genealogical detail for family members. I’ve posted a few of the pictures of the persons involved in this accident as well below.

Mr. and Mrs. Frank Rozinski

Mr. and Mrs. Frank Rozinski

Mrs. Helen Palicki

Mrs. Helen Palicki

Joe Wozniak

Joe Wozniak

Helen Rodzwiecz

Helen Rodzwiecz

While researching the Rochowiaks, I learned Lawrence Rochowiak had two sons named Joseph. The eldest, born to his first wife, Rosalia, was born in 1876. The younger, baptized Joseph Wladyslaw, was born to his second wife, Anna, in 1901. While I am still untangling the children of Lawrence and his two wives; I’d come across an  interesting tidbit that I believe would have involved Joseph Wladyslaw.

Per the 1930 census, Joseph Wladyslaw was a city of Toledo patrolman. That same year, on 27 May, the Toledo News Bee published an interesting little tidbit on Joseph:

Watch Your Turn (Published Toledo News Bee, 27 May 1930)

Watch Your Turn (Published Toledo News Bee, 27 May 1930)

The scan isn’t easy to read, so here is a transcription:

Watch Your Turn

Downtown Traffic Officer Out to Enforce the Law

Toledo motorists Tuesday were threatened with a new traffic menace in the person of Patrolman Joseph Rochowiak, who late Monday launched a single-handed crusade against 27 motorists who persisted in making a left turn at Erie street and Madison avenue between the hours of 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. , in violation of a traffic ordinance.

Unfortunately, there are no further details. How many of these drivers fought city hall and won?

A few gravestones from Calvary Cemetery again. None of these are directly tied to my family.

John Lawecki, World War I Veteran

John Lawecki, World War I Veteran, Died Aug. 10, 1921, Age 26

John Lawecki’s gravestone transcription:
World War Veteran
Meuse Argonne, Verdun
Army of Occupation
Died Aug. 10, 1921 Age 26

John’s burial record through Calvary reads:
No. 23038
Name: John Lawecki
Residence: 1417 Nebraska
Age: 28
Cause of Death: Thrombosis
Date of Interment: Aug. 13
Grave: 1823
Range or Lot: 12
Section: 3
Undertaker: W.J. Sujkowski

Casimir F. Koralewski 1890 - 1975

Casimir Koralewski 1890 - 1975

Casimir Koralewski’s grave is located here: Grave: S-1/2, Range or Lot: 21, Section 34

Beloved Daughter, Cecelia Lewandowski 1910 - 1911

Beloved Daughter, Cecelia Lewandowski 1910 - 1911

Cecelia Lewandowski’s grave is located here: Grave: 1283, Lot: 21, Section: 28

Three year old's delight, Easter morning

Three year old's delight, Easter morning

Now that I’m single and my kids are all grown up, I suppose that it is medically correct to say that I’m healthier because I don’t have all those fattening and sugary goodies around the house during holiday time–today, no chocolate bunnies or jelly beans. But after reading a few other blogs today, I starting reminiscing about the Easter dinner table. Here’s some of the goodies we had on the Easter dinner table–pretty much through the time my kids were grown and gone:

  • Kielbasa
  • Of course, hard boiled eggs. But these weren’t just cracked, peeled, and eaten. We made Eggs Jeannette with them. (Ok, they weren’t Polish, but Jacques Pepin’s French cooking made easy made these eggs hard to resist!)
  • Butter molded into pretty lambs
  • Ham (Have we a theme going here? — We were a pork eatin’ Polish family machine!)
  • Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate
  • Kapusta (sweet and sour cabbage, seasoned with — you guessed it — bacon!)
  • Polish coffee cake with raisins
  • Peeps — my mother could consume a box–an entire dozen–of these by herself

Time moves on, and I’m not so sure that I’m unhealthier for having had these delicious memories. And how can I not laugh when I remember my kids bargaining with their jelly beans? If mom or dad wanted any, we got the black licorice jelly beans! Who can not smile when remembering egg hunts and squeals of delight over something as simple as a basket of colored eggs and chocolates?

Happy Easter!

Because Saturdays are traditional days for marriages, thought I’d take a break from my Rochowiak obsession today and post the following photo. Per John Plenzler, this photo my be “William Grzechowiak and Helen Lakes, William is Josepine Grzechowiak (Plenzler)’s brother.” There is no other identifying information. My guess is that this photo was taken sometime in the 1920s. The style of the dresses seem to be from that period and a quick bit of research on William Grezechowiak found him and Helen on the 1930 census, living at 922 Marmion. Per the census, they were married when William was 24, Helen was 16. (Age at the time of census: William 32 and Helen 24.) They had two sons: Edward, 6 and Alphonse, 5 when the census was taken. So they may have been married sometime in 1922.

This is a remarkably well preserved photo and the detail is incredible. The bride is wearing full length gloves–her watch and new wedding ring are worn outside of the glove. Her veil has beautiful embroidery and she and her female attendants have beautiful, large bouquets of roses. This was definitely a studio photo–study the background a bit and you’ll notice a large painting in the center and perhaps a faux window or moveable partition to the left. Click the photo to enlarge.

Unknown wedding photo--perhaps the marriage of William Grzechowiak and Helen Lakes

Unknown wedding photo--perhaps the marriage of William Grzechowiak and Helen Lakes

If you have any information or can identify anyone in this photo, please leave a comment here or drop me an email.

While obtaining the marriage record for Adalbertus Rochowiak and Marianna Chlebowska, I had also asked Lukasz for the marriage record for their son, Martin, and Catherine Switała from November, 1877. The image isn’t near as clear as the one for Adalbertus and Marianna, and it’s a much larger image. So here are snippets showing just the record for Martin and Catherine. The top is the left side of the book, the bottom image is the right side of the book. I have to apologize for the size of the snippets. The original image was large and lower resolution, and it needed to be cropped and reduced quite a bit to fit on the screen here. You can click the snippets to enlarge. If you want a full copy, feel free to ask. I’m happy to send it on and can email it.

Left side: marriage record November 1877 for Martinus Rochowiak and Catherine Switała

Left side: marriage record November 1877 for Martinus Rochowiak and Catherine Switała

Right side: marriage record November 1877 for Martinus Rochowiak and Catherine Switała

Right side: marriage record November 1877 for Martinus Rochowiak and Catherine Switała

At the time of the marriage, Martin was 28 and Catherine 20. I cannot ascertain the exact date of the marriage; however, marriage banns were published on 20 October, 28 October, and 4 November. That should tell us that the marriage likely took place within the following week of the final publishing of banns. Catherine’s parents were Mathias and Marianna Zablocka. The couple was married in Góra Żnin.

Per the 1900 census, Martin and Catherine emigrated to the US in 1889. The children per that census were:

  1. Frances, b. 1880 (Poland)
  2. Agnes, b. 1882 (Poland)
  3. Teresa, b. 1883 (Poland)
  4. Joseph, b. 1890 (Toledo, Ohio)
  5. Jadwiga (Hattie), b. 1895 (Toledo, Ohio)
  6. Martha, b. 1899 (Toledo, Ohio)

I can’t say why, but I’m happy that I’m learning Frances had siblings and nieces and nephews in Toledo. This also makes me wonder if entire villages in Poznan emigrated to Toledo! (I am only half joking–the Plenzler family seemed to have emptied a few small villages themselves so far.) This also makes me wonder too if my great-great grandchildren would be able to find my family for their genealogy efforts. My family is now so very spread out over the United States–how difficult will that be in 90 or 100 years for my progeny to locate our whereabouts? Connecting the dots with my great-grandparents’ family who lived within a small radius together both in Poland and in Toledo continues to challenge me.

Again, I am posting a bit early for Geneablogger’s Wednesday theme, but I was excited to get a huge surprise today.

I had written to the Poznan Project over the weekend to obtain what I believed was Adalbertus Rochowiak’s (my 2nd great-grandfather) first marriage. I’m now thinking he was married three times–based on what I received today. The record I received would be the second marriage for Adalbertus. Lukasz kindly sent me the marriage record today. Here it is.

Aldalbertus Rochowiak and Marianna Chlebowski, marriage record 2 November 1832, Chomętowo, Poznan, Poland

Aldalbertus Rochowiak and Marianna Chlebowski, marriage record 2 November 1832, Chomętowo, Poznan, Poland

Roughly transcribed:

Specificato Copulatorum 1832
Nomina Vallarum: Zedowo

1832 die ii Novembris
Ego Andrea Kowalski Curatus
Stupensis, Benediti matrimonium inter
laboriosum Adalbertum Rochowiak vidius
de Gorzyce anno 34 et
Mariannam Chlebowska virginem de
Zedowo  ann0 24 filiam Valentine Chlebowski
vidui — Premipis bannis en utr???
Parochia nullo Impedimento detecto –
Br???ntibus
Benedicto Pietras
Paulo Bryzycky
Petro Bryzycky
et Mathias Białecki

Now, here too Adalbertus was indicated to be a widower (vidius), as he was in the marriage record to Marianna Mazana dated 27 October 1851. This record tells us he is living in Gorczyce, is 34 years old, and widowed. Marianna has not been married previously, is 24 years old, and her father, Valentine, is a widower. They were married in a village parish of Zedowo on 2 November 1832.

And a familiar names is popping up: Bryzykcy.

With these clues, I did notice there is one more record of a marriage for Adalbertus within the Poznan Project. This is to an Eva Malak in Gorzyce in 1825. It is possible this marriage produced children as well.

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