Rochowiak


It’s been quite a while since I’ve paid attention to this blog. There really is no reason for that, other than I simply haven’t taken the time to write much lately. I got involved in other activities and somewhere along the way, this website gathered dust. Funny how my priorities work–in my 30s and 40s, I was a whirling dervish. I hardly slept. Now in my 50s, I’m noticing that I am not so much into all of that “busy-ness” and prefer to take my time to get around to things, after I’ve slept.

Some of the genealogy activities I’ve participated in this year so far have been quite interesting. The Toledo Polish Genealogical Society conducted a field trip to Calvary Cemetery and honored many of the early Polish immigrants to Toledo this past May. I was honored to be invited to make a small presentation on Lawrence Rochowiak. Unfortunately, I was hit with an awful sinus infection that week due to allergies and in between sneezes and hacks, I was hardly intelligible. Despite the seasonal discomfort, it was a wonderful day, I learned so much by attending and was able to chat with members of the TPGS, catch up a cousin and learn more about many of the first Polish settlers in Toledo, including the idea that Calvary Cemetery land may have been donated by some of the early Polish settlers. I hope to learn more about that in the future.

While there (and as usual, when I make the occasional trip up to Toledo), I take as many photos of Polish graves as possible–as long as there is light outdoors and my camera batteries remain alive. (I actually carry three cameras: a Canon, a Samsung, and the cell phone–I will take photos until there is no more battery power left in all three.) So, this past spring and summer, quite a bit of my spare time at home was spent researching the headstones and uploading the photos to the Ohio Gravestone Photo Project. There now are about 1,600 records for Calvary on that website. Perhaps I’ve managed to dig up one of your relatives? Link is here: Lucas County, Ohio Gravestone Photo Project, Calvary Cemetery. If I’ve made any errors transcribing the stone or the data doesn’t seem right, let me know. (There is a link under the photo to email the contributor.)

I’ve also obtained some interesting military documents for my grandfather, John Plenzler and for my dad, Edward Mierzejewski. I have to scan the Marine records for my grandfather, but have uploaded an accident report that I’ve located for my father. I found it interesting–for a few months in early 1944, dad was stationed at Las Vegas Army Air Field (now Nellis AFB in Nevada) for training. While he was there, there was a crash of a B-17 where he was a crew member and was involved in the crash. I knew his discharge papers indicated he had attended a service school — Sperry Gun — for aerial gunnery but never followed up on that detail until this summer. I wrote to accident-report.com after querying for my father on the site. Lo and behold, dad’s name popped up and I order the report. The incident occurred 4 February 1944, and was due to landing gear that malfunctioned. Orders were for the pilots to locked down anything moveable on the plane and to fly until their fuel load was lightened so they could crash land.

Fortunately, no one was injured or killed in this accident, but the report has photos of the B-17G that was damaged in the flight and has names of the crew involved. If interested, a PDF of the report document is here. I haven’t transcribed it (too tired and lazy!), but it is interesting. I’ve been reading quite a bit about the role of the Army Air Forces in World War II lately, including a book title “Fortress Ploetsi: The Campaign to Destroy Hitler’s Oil Supply” by Jay Stout–which got my attention after studying my father’s July 1944 – November 1944 mission log, which did include Ploetsi. Simply astounding that my dad lived through that and helped put an end to the Nazis by destroying their critical fuel supplies.

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.

I’ve returned. Didn’t think I’d be gone too long? Summer was busy, hopefully fall won’t be so busy (meaning, I won’t be goofing off as much!).

Been meaning to follow up with more Rochowiak data I’ve been collecting. Worked to trace the Martin Rochowiak family, my great-grandmother’s half-brother. As noted previously, I do have the marriage record for Martin and his wife, Catherine. However, the data I have been able to locate has been incomplete so far. Here’s what I’ve found so for that I can at least verify.

Martin and Katherine were married 3 November 1877 in Góra Żnin, Poland. I cannot locate any ship manifests that could be considered at least close to either Martin or Katherine.  The 1910 and 1930 census records provides an immigration year of 1885; the 1920 census provides an immigration year of 1889. Per the 1920 census, Martin was naturalized in 1897. So that is an area for some research in the future–to review immigration records in the Toledo Lucas County Library to locate the naturalization records.

Martin and Katherine had seven children:

  1. Frances, b. 1880, d. 1961, m. Felix Tafelski. Frances likely was born in Poland.
  2. Agnes, b. 1882, d. 1928, m. Anthony Dutkeiwicz. Agnes was likely born in Poland.
  3. Teresa, b. 1883, d. unknown, m. George Suchala. Teresa was likely born in Poland..
  4. Joseph, b. 1880, d. unknown, m. Justina ?? — Joseph did not seem to marry until after the death of his parents. The 1930 census places Joseph living with his parents and the 1940 census shows him living at the same address with a wife named Justina. The address on the 1930 census indicates 406 Detroit; however, his father’s death certificate reflects an address of 408 (which is the same address as the 1940 census).
  5. Jadwiga, b. possibly December 1891, d. p0ssibly December 1953, m. possibly twice: once to a Buckowski and secondly to Frank K. Sieja. Her parents’ death notices list her as Hattie Buckowski. Her death certificate notes her husband as Frank K. Sieja and her name as Pauline and as Jadwiga.
  6. Rose, b 1893, d. 1931, m. Anthony Luczak.
  7. Martha, b. 1899, d. 1982, m. Benedict Idzikowski.

Martin died 12 February 1931. His death notice was published in the Toledo News Bee on 13 February 1931 and is transcribed below:

ROCHOWIAK, MARTIN–Age 80 years, beloved husband of Catherine, Thursday at 7 p.m. Father of Joseph, Mrs. Frances Tuselski, Mrs. Theresa Suchala, Mrs. Rose Luczak, Mrs. Hattie Buckowski, Mrs. Martha Idzikowski, 25 grand-children and six great-grandchildren. Funeral Monday, Feb. 16 at 7:45 a.m. from the residence, 408 Detroit Ave., and 8 a.m. at St. Stanislaus church. Interment family lot Calvary cemetery. W.K. Sujkowski

Katherine died just a few weeks later on 5 March. Her death notice was published on 6 March in the Toledo News Bee and is transcribed below:

ROCHOWIAK, KATHERINE–Aged 73, ???, widow of the late Martin Rochowiak, beloved mother of Joseph, Mrs. Frances Tafelski, Mrs. Theresa Suchala, Mrs. Rose Luczak, Mrs. Hattie Buckowski, Mrs. Martha Idzikowski, 26 grandchildren, and 6 great-grandchildren; Thursday at 10 a.m. Funeral Monday March 9, 8:45 a.m. from the residence, 408 Detroit Ave., 9 a.m. at St. Stanislaus church. Interment Calvary Cemetery, family lot. Friends invited.

More Calvary Cemetery photos.

Frank J. Jankowski

Frank J. Jankowski

Frank J. Jankowski
Grave: 2026, Range or Lot: 13, Section: 3

Veronica Szczepaniak Jankowski

Veronica Szczepaniak Jankowski

Victoria Jankowski
Grave: 2025, Range or Lot: 13, Section: 3

Frances M. Sobieralski

Frances M. Sobieralski

Frances M. Kujawa Sobieralski
Grave: 2047, Range or Lot: 13, Section: 3

Marian Rochowiak

Marian Rochowiak

Marian Rochowiak
Grave: 949, Range or Lot: 13, Section: 32

Have been slowly following up with locating and placing the Rochowiak family. Making some great headway. Found some good data for the Lawrence Rochowiak family.

While I had been given the tip that Lawrence married Rosalia Sklomokowska in Sts. Peter and Paul Church in 1875, I haven’t been able to really confirm that fact directly with an accurate marriage record. What I have found was a marriage record from Sts. Peter and Paul, dated 4 May 1875 that clearly reflects the name Laurentium Rochowiak. However, this record indicates a marriage to Rosalia Jaseizewski (sp?).

My thinking is that perhaps the priest made an error with the recording of the bride’s name. The marriage was witnessed by Ratka (sp?) and Josepha Janiski. The reason I do think this is very likely an error is that the first son to this marriage, Joseph, was born and baptized 26 November 1876. The parish baptismal records from Sts. Peter and Paul reflect this. It may be possible to find the Ohio marriage record through microfilm; however, my experience with some of the Lucas County records prior to about 1880 or so is that they are spotty if they exist at all. While many counties in Ohio may have records from this period, it seems that Lucas County was one of the last counties to be truly settled and governed in an organized manner — records just don’t seem to be available as easily prior to about 1880. (The city of Toledo seemed to be pretty much unwanted swampland until somewhere during the 1840s-1850s when the canals came in to support commerce; population doesn’t seem to have had much growth until the late 1870s. So it’s likely there was no or little formal civil recording of births, marriages, or deaths until a few years after Rose and Lawrence were married.)

Rose and Lawrence did have eight children that I can verify through church baptism records:

  1. Joseph, b. 1876. I have not been able to find any record for his death. An interesting thing to note with Joseph’s baptismal record is that his godparents or sponsors were Joseph Lisiakowski and Vincent Rochowiak. I am unsure if there were two men, perhaps the priest again made an error with name recording and the godmother may have been Josepha. But the more interesting thing to note is yet another Rochowiak. Martin, Lawerence, and Frances may have had yet another male relation (possibly brother or uncle) that had immigrated to Toledo. I have not yet located any records for a Vincent Rochowiak whose age range would align here; but it is something to keep an eye out for!
  2. Agnes, b. 1878 (St. Hedwig Parish), m. John Drzewiecki 1878 (St. Anthony’s parish). I have not be able to find any record for her death. But another interesting note: Her marriage was witnessed by Frank Przybylski.
  3. Frank, b. 1879, m. Katharine Okonska 1901 (St. Anthony’s parish), d. 1953. Another interesting note: marriage was witnessed by Victoria Przybylski.
  4. Mary, b. 1882, d. 1895 (St. Anthony’s parish). Mary’s burial record from Calvary indicates that she died of typhoid fever, two weeks after her mother died of the same.
  5. Anthony, b. 1882 (St. Anthony’s parish baptism record, Anthony’s godmother was Frances Rochowiak), d. 1929 (St. Anthony’s parish death record).
  6. Constansia, b. 1889 (St. Anthony’s parish baptism record, Martin Rochowiak was godfather). I have not been able to find any record for her death.
  7. Eva, b. 1891, d. 1891. It appears as if Eva was either stillborn or died shortly after birth.
  8. Anna, b. 1892. Per brother Frank’s obituary (Toledo Blade, 8 January 1953), it indicates she married a man named Flowers. I have not been able to find any record for her death.

Rosalia died 15 July 1895 per the death records from St. Anthony’s parish. She was buried in grave 4, lot 182, section 30 in Calvary Cemetery on the 16th of July. Per the burial record, cause of death was typhoid fever.

After Rose’s death, Lawerence married Anna Ziemkiewicz on 7 June 1897 per St. Anthony’s parish marriage records. This record indicates that Anna was born in Prussia. Additionally, this marriage was witnessed by Frank Przybylski and also by a Frank (Franciszek) Rochowiak. This cannot be an error on behalf of the priest because this is a signature indicating this person witnessed the marriage. So, it’s likely again that Frances, Martin, and Lawrence had another close male relative, possibly a brother or uncle, who was also living in the Toledo area.

Lawrence and Anna had two children that I could locate:

  1. Clara, b. 1898, m. Leo Szykowny, d. 1985 (obituary from the Toledo Blade, dated 8 November 1985).
  2. Joseph Wladyslaw, b. 1901 (St. Anthony’s parish baptismal record). I have not been able to locate a death record for this Joseph; however, through census records that indicated his occupation, we do know he was alive at least until 1930. A newspaper clipping mentions his work as a city of Toledo police officer.

Lawrence died 4 June 1930 per a Toledo News Bee death notice. The death notice does not indicate survivors other than his wife, Anna.

Anna died 22 April 1955, per the St. Anthony’s parish death records. I have not been able to obtain an obituary or death notice for Anna to locate survivors.

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.

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?

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