November 2012


A clip I’d come across from the Toledo Blade doing other research. Clip is dated November 5, 1940.

Pair to Observe Golden Wedding

Martin Majchszaks Will Attend Anniversary Mass Saturday.

Mr. and Mrs. Martin Majchszak, 2341 Kemper Ave., will observe their 50th wedding anniversary with a mass at 9 a.m. Saturday in St. Anthony’s Church. Msgr. Francis S. Legowski, pastor, will officiate.

The couple came to this country shortly after they had been married in Witkowo, Poland. Mr. Majchszak retired as a Toledo gardener 10 years ago. He is 74 and his wife, 72.

Mr. and Mrs. Majchszak are parents of Mrs. Mary Golembiewski, Sylvania, O.; Mrs. Lucy Olejniczak, Mrs. Pearl Voorhees, Mrs. Cora Jackson, Mrs. Nora Flanigan, Mrs. Helen Parnett, Mrs. Dorothy Stevens and Sister Mary Stanislaus of the Mercy Order. Sons include Anthony, a city policeman; Charles and Michael Majchszak, Toledo. There are 14 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Martin Majchszaks Golden Wedding Anniversary

Martin Majchszaks Golden Wedding Anniversary

Recently, I processed a large group of photos from Calvary that had a concentration of those who died from influenza. Noting that they had all died in 1918, I thought perhaps I had stumbled on an epidemic, and I did. I heard prior that there was a Spanish flu epidemic in Toledo in 1918, but hadn’t bothered to learn much about it until confronted with it. When looking up the deaths, many of the causes were listed as “La Grippe”–the term for the influenza that was epidemic in Toledo during the latter part of 1918.

While trying to verify some of these deaths, I’d come across the story below, published in the Toledo News-Bee November 7, 1918 that discussed what seems to be a city-wide quarantine imposed on citizens. As usual, I’ve transcribed the story and included the scan. There may be some genealogical tidbits for someone here. There is a mention of a person named Rose Koralewski. I am unsure of who this lady may be (she is not my grand aunt–that Rose died in 1916). I thought to include it here because I’ve noticed some queries hitting this blog for Koralewski and was thinking perhaps it might be useful to someone.

Here is the transcription, image of scan below.

Toledo News-Bee, November 7, 1918

Influenza Ban is Lifted

All Business Is Resumed; Schools Open Monday

The resumption of all business on Thursday thru the lifting of the influenza quarantine ban, was marked by more than usual activity. Moving picture houses and saloons did especially well, tho the happiness of the saloonists was marred a bit by the news that the state has “gone dry.”

All over the city patrons were able to get their “eyeopeners” in saloons before the sun came up. Street cars carried thousands to work before 8:00. Movie houses were filled before noon.

Theatres Crowded.

The Empire and Keith’s had big houses Thursday afternoon.

The closing order will be entirely lifted on Monday when public, private, and parochial schools will re-open.

On Thursday, 69 additional influenza cases, making a total of 5476, were reported. There were 11 deaths from influenza, making a total of 238, one from pneumonia, making a total of 125.

The Death List.

These were the influenza deaths on Thursday:

La Doria D. Thornburgh, 27, 2324 Fulton; Florence Maltman, 32, 2219 Michigan, Municipal Hospital; Heromin Reznerowicz, 4, 1762 Tecumseh; Jozef Baginski, 1, 40 Pearl, Edward A. Bolton, 36, 707 Western, St. Vincent’s Hospital; Irene Szymanski, 5, 1676 Vance; Rose Koralewski, 48, 526 Pulaski; Audrey M. Ragen, 2, 1323 Utah, Ora Bishop, 22, 1743 Huron, Mercy Hospital, Agatha Canton, 42, 3353 Maplewood, St. Vincent’s Hospital; Joseph Katafiasz, 39, 1110 Tecumseh.

From pneumonia: Ralph Baither, 10, 529 Wabash.

Influenza Ban is Lifted, Toledo News-Bee, November 7, 1918

Influenza Ban is Lifted, Toledo News-Bee, November 7, 1918

Hopefully everyone has had a wonderful Thanksgiving and is recovering from turkey and pie overload. While working on the photographs I had for Calvary Cemetery, I’ve found a stone that just makes no sense. I cannot for the life of me, using Ancestry, Family Search, looking through my own family data, scouring obituaries, etc. identify this person. Perhaps someone can identify. See photo below, the grave is located in Section 40, I believe in range/lot 18. I’m wondering whether the name is misspelled and should be Rochowiak? You can click the photo to enlarge.

France Rahowiak

Frances Rahowiak

Since the stone is clearly labeled “Mother,” I’m working with the assumption Frances was married. Unfortunately, I have no maiden name in which to use for a clue.

Within my family, there are two Frances Rochowiaks: one is my great-grandmother, Frances Rochowiak Przybylski. The other is the daughter of Martin Rochowiak and Catherine Switała, who by my calculations would be my first cousin, twice removed. Martin was a half-sibling of my great-grandmother. Martin’s daughter was born in Góra Kalwaria, Mazowieckie, Poland in 1880. She married Felix Tafelski and died in 1961. So there is no possible way this grave could be either my great-grandmother or this particular cousin.

If you have any clues, drop a line here or email me.

Today is Veteran’s Day. Thank a vet for his service, remember a vet who died in service to our country.

St. Hyacinth World War II memorial to its lost men, Calvary Cemetery

St. Hyacinth World War II memorial to its lost men, Calvary Cemetery

I am the Resurrection and the Life
For God and Country
World War II
1941 — 1945
Dedicated to and
in memory of
the youth of
St. Hyacinth’s Parish

Casimer Augustyniak
Francis Balcerzak
Harry Czaplinski
Melvin Klofta
Francis Myłek
Stanley Szkatulski
Theodore Stachowiak
Stanley Szczepankiewicz

Let none forget they gave
their all and faltered not
when come the call

Eternal rest grant
unto them O Lord
may they rest in peace

Erected by St. Hyacinth’s Parish

I’ve encountered an issue about our ancestors’ names. In short, I’ve had another volunteer who works to photograph and transcribe grave stones state I should “fix” my records because I am not transcribing correctly. I disagree and I will use your input to make decisions on how to proceed eventually. My practice is, whenever I have proof, I provide both the Polish and Americanized version of our ancestors’ names as well use the male version of the last name. I say “proof” as in the death certificate may provide an American name, the obit may use an American name or the male version of the surname, etc. I feel reasonably certain that this is how they were known in their communities by their friends and family; that is how their stories were handed down to us. There then may be what appears to be a discrepancy to an outsider that their gravestones may reflect a different name or a different spelling. However, that may not be known to their descendants.

I know many of the readers here have direct connections to Polish ancestors–your grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. Many of our ancestors who came here during the 1880s and forward were given, obviously, Polish first names. As our ancestors came here, they adopted Americanized names–for example, Andrew for Andrezj, Frances for Francziska, John for Jan, Stanley for Stanislaus, Bernice for Bronislawa, Hedwig or Hattie for Jadwiga, and so on. Often, their children were also baptized with Polish first names and those names were not used. Another name was used. This theme is obvious in my family until perhaps the 1920s or 1930s. One needs only to read the baptismal registries from St. Hedwig or St. Anthony to see this! My grandmother was baptized as “Anastazja” but she was well-known by her friends and family as “Nettie.” Her gravestone reads “Anastasia” and she signed documents in this way. However, a great-aunt was known as “Bernice” but her stone reads “Bronislawa.” She was known for nearly all of her life in the US as “Bernice.”

My question to you is this: How do you know the persons in your family research? Were they communicated to you by other family members using their Polish names or their Americanized names? In my family, it was nearly always using their Americanized names. My grandfather was never called Wladyslaw but Walter, as was his son Waclaw.

If you google or go to an ancestry site to look for your ancestors, do you search using Polish first names or another name? Would you have known what their Polish given name was when you began to seek them? My experience when I began, I started with my grandfather and grandmother–Helena and Walter Mierzejewski. I was aware that Walter’s first name was probably Americanized but would not have known exactly what it was. After all, Walter was the name provided on my dad’s birth certificate as his father!  My father always referred to his father and his brother as “Walter” when discussing them. Unfortunately, both of my grandparents and my uncle were dead before I was born, so I could not ask. And while I don’t have a photo yet of my Uncle Walter’s grave, I might totally throw others into a real tizzy: Walter may have “Waclaw Mierzejewski” on his stone; and yet, he legally changed his name to “Walter Myers.” What is on the stone may or may not be what is listed on official records or how they were truly known to their communities. To me, it makes clear sense to index and insert those names in a way they can be found. If someone is searching for Walter Myers, how should his stone be indexed such that it can be found–if indeed, the stone reads”Waclaw Mierzejewski?”(It very well could, son died before mother and mother had strong ties to Poland, but I do not know yet, I have not found his stone yet–I’m using this name as an example.)

I cannot say why that sometimes it seems as if Poles used Americanized names but their families provided stones with their Polish names; all I know is that it happened and if grave data and photos are used in genealogy, does it not make sense to index these records in a way that reflects both names?

My goal: to provide not only accurate data but to provide it in a way that is searchable and find-able. Genealogy is meant for sharing, and it just seems to me that if someone was known in his or her community by a name other than what is on his or her gravestone, that data needs to be provided up front for searching. Am I wrong or right? Or somewhere in between? Hit me with your best shot, fire away! Drop me an email or leave a comment here. I promise to follow up within a day or so.

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