Przybylski


Yes, I’ve been away. Yes, I know I’ve been negligent. It’s March Madness. Not much else needs to be said! Since it’s Selection Sunday and is quiet before my team is announced an automatic first seed, I thought I’d catch up a bit — but way to go Kentucky!

The past few weeks have been producing some offline conversations and email exchanges. One of these email exchanges surrounds a photo with the name of Figmaka attached to it–I have two copies. Each photo is exactly alike, but one scan has the name of Figmaka written at the bottom. I’ve provided the scan without writing on it.

I am unfamiliar with the name of Figmaka, but this photo was provided to me by John Plenzler. The gentleman in this photo is also in this mystery photo that I like to refer to as the GQ 7. No Przybylski or Plenzler brother married a Figmaka as far as I have been able to document, but it may be possible. So this is a real mystery.

Possible Figmaka Wedding Photo

Possible Figmaka Wedding Photo

If you can identify either the bride or groom in this photo, please let me know. Drop me an email or leave a comment here. There likely would be a Plenzler or Przybylski connection.

While going through my mom’s things, my sister found our grandparents’ and uncle’s obituaries.

John Plenzler (Published in The Blade, 03 August 1936)

John Plenzler died Sunday in his home at 722 Brown Ave. He was 51.

He leaves his wife, Mrs. Anastasia Plenzler, a son, Raymond, two daughters, Florence and Virginia, two sisters, Miss Mary Plenzler and Mrs. Sophia Szymanowski, and six brothers, Martin, Joseph, Robert, Frank, and Leo, all of Toledo, and Charles, Lambertville, Mich.

Services will be at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday in the residence, and at 9 a.m. in St. Stanislaus Church. [Burial] will be in Calvary.

John Plenzler, Obituary

John Plenzler, Obituary

Raymond  D. Plenzler (published in The Blade, 15 April 1960)

Raymond D. Plenzler, 46, of 1765 Buckingham St., died yesterday in Mercy Hospital.

Mr. Plenzler was a lifelong Toledo resident. He was a punch press operator at the Sheridan Manufacturing Co., 13 years.

Surviving are sisters, Mrs. Florence Soborowski and Mrs. Virginia Mierzejewski, both of Toledo.

Services will be Monday at 9 a.m. in St. Stanislaus Church, with burial in Calvary Cemetery. The body is in the Sujkowski Mortuary.

Raymond D. Plenzler Obituary

Raymond D. Plenzler Obituary

Anastasia Plenzler (Published in The Blade 15 March 1946)

Mrs. Anastasia (Nettie) Plenzler died Wednesday in her home, 722 Brown Ave. She was 55. She was a member of the St. Rita Society, St. Stanislaus Church and the Polish Roman Catholic Union, Group 14.

Surviving are her daughters, Florence and Virginia; son, Raymond; sisters, Mrs. Mary Erdman and Mrs. Eva Hejnick; brothers, Frank and John Przybylski, and one grandchild.

Services will be at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow in the Sujkowski & Sons’ Funeral Home and at 9 a.m. in St. Stanislaus Church. Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery.

Anastasia Plenzler, Obituary

Anastasia Plenzler, Obituary

Tuesday’s theme over at Geneabloggers is always an easy one for me. At least it pushes me to do something with the photos I have of Calvary and is a nudge to get me to post here. (I’m trying to post here when I can!)

Today’s photos are the graves for Tekla (Mruk) and her husband, John (Jan) Przybylski. Tekla is the daughter of Michal and Margaretha Plenzler, sister of Mary Mruk Zielinski.

Tekla (Mruk) Przybylski Calvary

Teckla (Mruk) Przybylski Calvary

Jan Przybylski Calvary

Jan Przybylski Calvary

Tekla was born in Poland (likely in Wiorek, Wielkopolskie, Poland–based on her parents’ marriage record) and arrived in Toledo at the age of 13 based on census data.  She and Jan had married 19 November 1894 in St. Anthony’s parish.

Jan was born in Poland, and I haven’t connected his family to that of my grandmother, Anastasia Przybylski Plenzler. He was the son of Michael and Rosalie Przybylski and have little information on Jan other than this.

The grave is located here: Grave 1498, Range or Lot 32, Section 2.

I was able to locate a death notice for Tekla, published in the Toledo News Bee on 7 September 1932, transcribed below:

PRZYBYLSKI, TECKLA–Age 58 years, Tuesday, at 5 p.m. at Mercy hospital, beloved wife of John, mother of Michael, Aloysius, Stephen and Clement. Funeral Saturday, Sept. 10, 8:30 a.m. from the residence, 1461 Vance street; 9 a.m. at St. Anthony’s church. Interment family lot Calvary cemetery. Friends invited. W.K. Sujkowski.

Jan’s (John) obituary was published in the Toledo Blade on 29 October 1947 and is transcribed below:

John Przybylski

John Przybylski, 78, died yesterday at home, 1461 Vance St., after a brief illness.

Mr. Przybylski was born in Poland and had lived in Toledo 55 years. He was employed at the Toledo Machine & Tool Co. until he retired 11 years ago. He was a member of the Union of Poles in America and the Firemen and Oilers Union.

Survivors are sons, Michael, Holland, O. and Aloysius, Stephen, and Clement, all of Toledo; four grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Services will be at 8:30 Friday in the Sujkowski & Son Mortuary and at 9 a.m. in St. Anthony’s Church. Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery.

Since today’s theme over at Geneabloggers is Tombstone Tuesday, I thought I’d post a few more of the grave photos I have from Calvary.

Rozalia Rochowiak, d. 15 July 1895

Rozalia Rochowiak, d. 15 July 1895

I stumbled upon this grave. I have not tied it to my family tree (who knows?) but it gives me hope that I’ll someday trace the Rochowiak line. It is located here:Grave: 4, Lot: 182, Section: 30. All I am able to transcribe off the stone is the name and the date of death which was 15 July 1895, date and location both verified through the Calvary Cemetery burial records.

This is another Rochowiak grave I stumbled upon.

Marta Marya Rochowiak

Marta Marya Rochowiak

Marta, baptized Martha, was the daughter of Frank and Kat Oskonski Rochowiak. I have not placed these persons in my tree (yet at least). Martha’s death certificate is also located here. The grave location is: Grave: 68, Lot: 2, Section: 32. The dates on the gravestone are birth 1915, death 1923.

Andrew and Mary Sieja

Andrew and Mary Sieja

Andrew and Mary Zielinski Sieja. Andrew was the son of Frank and Victoria Przybylski Sieja. Mary was the daughter of John and Mary Mruk Zielinski. Also see here for John and Mary’s grave photo. Andrew and Mary’s grave is located here: Grave: W 1/2, Range or Lot: 419, Section: 37.

The theme today over at GeneaBloggers is Wedding Wednesday. Today’s photo is partially identified and was taken by F. E. Koella Studios on Division Street in Toledo. I have no date; however, the photo does have a few clues. You can click the image below to get a large-sized, high-res copy to zoom in on the identification written on the photo.

Wedding photo of Charles and Margaret Mielcarek

Wedding photo of Charles and Margaret Mielcarek

There are three persons identified on the photo: Josephine Plenzler Przybylski (woman in the middle) and the bridge and groom are Margaret and Charles Mielcarek. I do not have the bride’s maiden name. Also if you look closely at the groom and the first gentleman on the left, they seem to look quite alike–possibly they are brothers?

I have not yet identified a Josephine Plenzler–at least, not one from the families in Toledo. Was there a Josephine Plenzler who belonged to the branches who moved to Indiana or Minnesota?

If you have any information or can help identify any of the people in this photo, leave a comment here or drop me an email.

I thought I’d post something sappy or funny about Thanksgiving. NOT! I came across something much more interesting even than Puritan pilgrims, turkey and sweet potatoes. And this is something I am thankful for finding! How about finding your “pilgrim” great-grandparent’s citizenship papers from 1880?

My post yesterday regarding the Toledo Lucas County Public Library was a teaser. I was in Toledo — last minute, spur-of-the-moment idea. (What adults can do with vacation time and the kids are grown!)

Because the weather wasn’t camera friendly (downpours), I decided I’d dig through some microfilm at the library. And I found what I believe to be my great-grandfather’s (Andrew Przybylski) citizenship records from the Lucas County Probate Court. See below. (Click images to obtain full size scans.)

Andrew Przybylski -- Certificate of intention to become a citizen

Andrew Przybylski -- Certificate of intention to become a citizen

Andrew Przybylski -- Declaration of Intention, Lucas County, Ohio Probate Court

Andrew Przybylski -- Declaration of Intention, Lucas County, Ohio Probate Court

I was at a point where I didn’t believe I would find much more on Andrew or his wife, Frances. I set out to see if I could locate naturalization or citizenship information on my Mierzejewski relatives. Alas, I came up empty handed with that effort except for one (and that will be the subject of another post at another time). But I went to the library with a list of names (Mierzejewski, Plenzler, and Przybylski) that I wanted to look for, at least through a list of voter registrations. The Toledo Lucas County main branch library has lists of registered voters that go back to at least the 1850s through the 1920s or so. I thought it would be a good stab in the dark to see if I could trace any relatives through those lists. And while I came home with little new Mierzejewski information, I feel I’ve hit a gold mine with this find and some records for the Plenzler family as well (and those too will be a subject for another time).

Another thing to notice on these documents, and it may be valuable to follow up with this in the future, is that Andrew’s surname was recorded incorrectly on the documents! The surname was spelled as PRZIBLSKI by the clerk. However, if you investigate the signature, Andrew had spelled his last name as PRZYBYLSKI.

While I cannot be 100% certain that this is indeed my great-grandfather, there is evidence that it is possible using a process of elimination:

  • Andrew’s first children born to Frances were born in Poznan (Marianna in 1875, Frank in 1876, John in 1878, and Rose in 1880).
  • I cannot definitely state that Andrew had come once to the US and remained permanently. I had searched so far in vain for any corresponding manifests that locate him in the 1880s–the only one I have been able to find so far has been through Castle Garden showing that he arrived here in February 1882. This would coincide possibly with him arriving here with his family–daughter Victoria was born in December of that year and there is a baptismal record via St. Anthony’s parish proving her birth in the US.
  • This was extracted using the voter registration lists from the 14th Ward for the period of around 1890. Vance Street, where the Przybylski family resided, was in the 14th Ward.
  • And…(baited breath…drum roll)… I had also located what appears to be son Frank’s Certificate of Naturalization, marked as “Minor’s Papers.” The dates on this document line up perfectly. Frank was born in 1876 and would have been 19 or 20 years of age at the time this legal document was executed. Per the librarian I spoke to, children were naturalized through their fathers (as were wives through their husband) during this period. However, a certificate of naturalization was an instrument for males particularly becoming of age in order to vote, marry, and join the military during this period. Additionally, From 1824 to 1906, minor aliens who had lived in the United States 5 years before their 23rd birthday could file both their declarations and petitions at the same time.

See Frank’s certificate of naturalization (“minor’s papers”) below.

Frank Przybylski Certificate of Naturalization

Frank Przybylski Certificate of Naturalization

With this, I must say I am grateful for libraries that keep all kinds of wonderful information, even if that information rarely sees the light of day. I had a wonderful librarian in the history section who knew exactly where to look for such arcane information — it was she who knew about the existence of the old voter registration lists from the late 1800s and informed me that if indeed one was registered to vote, there would likely be a copy of that person’s naturalization papers somewhere. Now, I have not found Andrew’s “final” papers–those that had declared his citizenship. But we know he must have obtained it if he were able to vote prior to his death in 1894!

Earlier I had written a few posts about John Przybylski, son of Andrew and Frances Rochowiak. See here and here.

What fascinates me about this man is why did he change his name? Family lore has it he was involved in running liquor from Canada. I do not know whether this is true. However, Ken Burns’ series on PBS this week, “Prohibition,” certainly got me thinking. The Detroit “Purple Gang” was quite active in Toledo. While we have no connection for John to the Purple Gang, his name change and exit from Toledo coincides with the organized crime and violence that stemmed from Prohibition.

A couple of good reads to introduce us to what and who composed the “Purple Gang” is Detroit’s Infamous Purple Gang by Paul R. Kavieff and  Unholy Toledo by Harry R. Illman.

When Prohibition was in effect, it was pretty easy for bootleggers to use the narrow waterways of the Detroit River, St. Clair Shores, and also Lake Erie to transport liquor from Canada. One theory existed that it was quite easy to do so as a recreational fisherman or during winter when one could cross the frozen Detroit River into Windsor with little problem. Usually, the booze went to Chicago where Al Capone sold it under the “Log Cabin” label but market demand was strong too in Toledo. The Purple Gang seemed to be in direct competition with Capone–in essence, trying to tell Capone to keep his hands off of the eastern Michigan market. Toledo seemed to be strategically located as a stopover and hideout for gangsters.

A United Press article located in The Southeast Missourian on March 24, 1936 summarizes the situation:

I don’t think we’ll ever find a documented reason for John’s movements and name change. I don’t know if he were ever involved in bootlegging. But history does provides some interesting insight and this situation certainly does give credence to the family lore. My guess would be John Przybylski was not a violent person and the name change was due in part to avoid the violence and from being sought out. Rather because liquor was a commonly consumed without shame or guilt in Polish Catholic families (it is not a “sin” according to the Catholic Church and vodka is a cultural drink for Poles), a theory could be that John likely was seeking sources for personal consumption or possibly playing the role of transport for a while. He certainly was living in Detroit at the time, the 1920 census places him there. But by 1927, we find evidence of him living in Miami.

Prohibition was in effect in the US for 13 years–1920 to 1933. It produced an empire built on crime and violence and created unique and colorful characters in our history such as Carrie Nation. (An interesting observation: A slogan used during Carrie Nation’s tirades was: “All nations welcomed except Carrie.”)

A basis used to justify Prohibition was “immorality”–to combat drunkness and poverty. Instead, it created a monster composed of violence and crime. Reading about the Purple Gang certainly opened my mind–these gangs at first were primarily composed of immigrants who were combating severe poverty and discrimination.

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