St. Hedwig


Over the weekend, I had a chance to visit St. Hedwig. I had attended a breakfast for the 10th anniversary of the Toledo Polish Genealogical Society and one of the members kindly invited me to visit their library, located in the old St. Hedwig’s school. A few photos below. Admittedly, it’s not in the Kuschwantz–but without Lagrinka and St. Hedwig’s, there would have been no Kuschwantz and St. Anthony’s, St. Stan’s, and other parishes.

St. Hedwig, Toledo, Ohio

St. Hedwig, Toledo, Ohio

Church now in oratory status

Church now in oratory status

Church cornerstone indicating year built and centennial year

Church cornerstone indicating year built and centennial year

John Przybylski, son of Andrew Przybylski and Frances Rochowiak, proved to be elusive. Through correspondence with a few distant cousins, some details on his life became uncovered. I had stories about John, but found no evidence of his existence until locating his brother, Joseph’s, obituary published in the Toledo News-Bee on July 9, 1937.

Family stories state that John had been running from gangs in Toledo and had been involved in obtaining liquor from Canada in the 1920s. I could not find any records of border crossings from Canada; however the 1910 census and the 1920 census indicates that he was living in Detroit during that period. Additionally, these census records indicate that he was married to a woman named Hattie. John’s occupation was listed as a molder; Hattie’s as a dressmaker. The 1920 census indicates the name change.

I then located a marraige index from St. Hedwig’s parish in Toledo that states John had married a Hedwig Krzyzaniak on June 20, 1906. Hattie appears to be an Anglecized version of her name.

While the 1920 census data reflects that John was born in Ohio, it’s likely this data is incorrect. His birthdate of May 7, 1878 was noted on his World War I draft registration card places him as the third child to Frances and Andrew, born before the fourth child, Rose, who was born in 1880. Through census data, I’ve noticed that the family emigrated to the US about 1880 0r 1881, and Rose was born in Poznan according to the 1900 census data that shows her with her husband, Casper Koralewski. So it is reasonable to assume that John also was born in Poznan. Family oral history also places John in Miami as a boat captain and states that he changed his surname from Przybylski to Seblaski to elude the gangs. It’s reasonable to assume that by the 1920 census, he was hiding his identity.  At the time of 1917-1918 draft effort, John was already using the last name of Seblaski and has an address in Detroit. His World War I draft registation places him in Detroit and notes wife, Hattie, as his nearest relative. What is interesting to note here is that his birthplace is listed as “Austria?”. This is an angle to research later–we know the family was from Poznan and that Poland during that period was divided between Germany, Austria, and Russia. It is also possible that John hid his true birth place in order to avoid being traced. Also by the 1917-1918 draft effort, John was already using the last name of Seblaski.

By 1927, there is evidence that John was living in Miami. An article in the Miami Daily News on June 12, 1927 mentions a John Seblasky. The article is located here and is transcribed below:

Man Saved from Death by Train By Police Dog

“King” Proves He Has More Than Ordinary Canine Sense in Heroic Feat

“King” may be a dog, but he is no ordinary dog. He has more than common dog sense. He saved a man’s life Friday night.

The man had gone out on a “party,” where a “good time was had by all.” It grew late and slowly and unsteadily he staggered homeward.

A taxicable driver let the man out at Biscayne blvd., between N. E. Sixth and Seventh sts., and he started–a bit wobbly, to be sure, toward the bayfront, apparently intending to “make” one of the boats.

But things sudenly became dark and the man fell across the railroad tracks. He didn’t seem to mind. He really didn’t know his precarious position. So he just slept. In the meantime, a freight train was slowly rumbling nearer and nearer.

“King,” who was being taken out for a walk by his owner, John Seblasky, of the yacht “Hedwig,” moored at Pier 4, broke loose. He apparently sensed something wrong. later, the dog came back and by barking and jumping on Seblasky’s shoulder indicated something was wrong.

Guided by the dog, Seblasky and an F. E. C. railroad watchman found the sleeping man. A few minutes after they dragged the body off the rails the freight train rumbled by.

“King” is a Doverman Pincher German shepherd, commonly known as “police dog.” And he came to the United States in company with a dog which Senator James Couzens of Michigan, its owner, has insured for $8,000.

The 1945 State Population Census of Florida places John in Miami as a boat captain but notes his birthplace as Michigan. Thanks to John Plenzler, a copy of his Captain of Port identification is available here and was issued also in 1945. Note that this identification provides his birthplace at Toledo, Ohio. John Seblaski passed away in 1950. John Plenzler related a story to me that his parents drove to Florida to visit John. When they arrived there, they learned John had passed away just days prior to their arrival.

A Florida state death abstract for John Leo Seblaski states the year but no specific date. No further data is available yet for Hattie and no children have yet been identified.

Below are a few photos of John Przybylski Seblaski, thanks to John Plenzler.

Joseph, Frank, and John Przybylski (left to right)

Joseph, Frank, and John Przybylski (left to right)

John Przybylski Seblaski (date unknown)

John Przybylski Seblaski (date unknown)

Celia Mierzejewski Starzynski

Celia Mierzejewski Starzynski

Celia was my father’s sister, the second child born to Wladyslaw and Helena Mierzejewski. Her mother, Helena was an unrelated Mierzejewska when she married Wladyslaw (Walter). Celia was born December 13, 1913 in Gerwaty, Poland.  

Celia immigrated to the US with her parents in 1923, at the age of 9, on the S. S. Frederick VIII sailing from Copehagen on February 8 and arriving in New York on February 20. The manifest notes that Wladyslaw (Walter) and Helena are traveling to Toledo to meet a brother, Jan. Jan is a brother to Helena.The address noted is on Boeckingham; however, this is a misspelling or mistranslation. The street is Buckingham, as there are other documents such as my father’s birth certificate that note this address.  

The 1930 census shows Celia living with her parents and siblings at 622 Woodstock. She and Joe married sometime after 1930.  

Joe was born March 13, 1910 and was baptized the same day in St. Hedwig’s parish as Adam Joseph Starzynski. Joe’s baptismal record is transcribed below: 

No. 50
Name of Person Baptized: Adam Joseph Starzynski
Date and Place of Birth: March 13, 1910
Date of Baptism: March 13, 1910
Father’s Name, Mother’s Maiden Name: Marianus Starzynski, Maria Lewandowski
Sponsors: Ignatius Kiszal, Stanislava Gorska
Priest: L. A. Kuzius (sp?)

His parents were Marion (Maryjan) Starzynski and Mary Lewandowski. Joe was the second of four sons born to Marion and Mary. Somewhere along the way as a child, Joe’s name changed from Adam to Joseph. I always simply knew him as Uncle Joe. The Starzynski family lived on Pearl Street as indicated in the 1910, 1920, and 1930 census records.  

Joe and Celia’s marriage produced one child, a daughter named Marcia. They lived at 813 Evesham. My sisters and I knew Celia as “Ciocia.” (Polish for “aunt” or “auntie.”) 

Celia worked at Champion Spark Plugs, as did my father, for many years. Joe worked at Kaiser Jeep, the predecessor to Chrysler Jeep. 

Celia died suddenly at home on December 21, 1978. Her obituary was published in the Toledo Blade on December 23, 1978 and is transcribed below:  

Celia Starzynski  

Mrs. Celia Starzynski, 65, of 813 Evesham Ave., died Thursday in her home. She was an employee of the Champion Spark Plug Co., 35 years, retiring in 1970. Surviving are her husband, Joseph, daughter, Mrs. Marcia Zielinski, and brother Edward Mierzejewski Services will be at 1 p.m. today in St. Hyacinth Church (link takes you to the St. Hyacinth death register record). She was buried in Calvary Cemetery. Her burial record is transcribed below:  

No. 83452
Name: Celia Starzynski
Address: 813 Evesham
Age: 65
Cause of Death: Bureau Vital Statistics
Date of Interment: 12/23/1978
Grave E-Pt
Range or Lot 130
Section 33
Funeral Director: Sujkowski
Remarks: Police Sta.  

(Note: The Police Station remark is made because Celia died just as the Christmas holidays were occurring. The night she passed away, Thursday December 21st, meant there was a difficult decision to be made–either hold the funeral and bury her on the 23rd of December or wait until after the holidays. While her death was due to natural causes, the report of death was held at the local police station until the death certificate could be issued at the Bureau of Vital Statistics. I wanted to make that clear lest anyone think something criminal happened–if you look closely at the burial records, there are a number of burials listed that way. It was simply due to the timing and government bureaucracy closing down for the holidays.) 

Joe passed away April 15, 1989.  His obituary was published in the Toledo Blade on April 17, 1989 and is transcribed below: 

Joe Starzynski

Joe Starzynski

Joseph A. Starzynski 

Joseph A. Starzynski, 79, formerly of Evesham Avenue, died Saturday in Oaks Care Center, Lima, O., where he was a patient four days. He worked 40 years in the trim shop at the former Jeep Corp, retiring in 1969. He was the widower of Celia Starzynski. Surviving are his daughter, Mrs. Marcia Zielinski and three grandchildren. Services will be at 10 a.m. tomorrow in St. Hyacinth Church. The body will be in the Sujkowski Mortuary, Airport Highway, after 2 today, with recitation of the Rosary at 8:30 tonight. 

Joe was buried through St. Hyacinth Parish. (Link takes you to the death record of the parish.) Burial was at Calvary Cemetery and the burial record is transcribed below: 

No. 93224
Name: Joseph A. Starzynski
Residence: Form. 813 Evesham
Age: 79
Cause of death: Prov. Death Cert.
Date of interment: 4/18
Grave: E Pt.
Range or Lot: 130
Section: 33
Funeral director: Sujkowski PP

I have found Margaretha!

Thanks to input from Judy Stewart, it appears that I’ve located Margaretha in Toledo. She is a sibling to Joseph Plenzler. Margaretha married Michael Mruk and they settled into the neighborhood near Joseph and Eva at 1465 Vance. Per the 1900 census, Margaretha and Michael emigrated to the US in 1884 and 16 children were born to Margaretha, 9 of whom survived per the census.

I have not yet found immigration records for the Mruks; however, through church and census records, I have located these children:

* If you read the entire document that contains Martin Mruk’s baptism record, note that Joseph and Eva had a child baptized during the same period: Stanislaus who was born October 25, 1887 and baptized October 26, 1887. There is a note indicating Stanislaus passed away on May 18, 1888.

Michael Mruk was godfather (or baptism sponsor) to my grandfather, John Plenzler.

Tecla Mruk married John Przybylski and per the 1900 census, she and her family were living next door to her parents at 1461 Vance. (Another Przybylski/Plenzler marriage!)

Mary married John Zielinski. Mary passed away on September 6, 1938 per her Ohio death certificate.

Margaretha passed away February 15, 1904. Her death was recorded through St. Anthony’s parish and she is buried at Calvary Cemetery.

Her death record through St. Anthony’s is transcribed below:

Date of Death and Burial: Feb. 15 – 17
Name of Person Interred: Margaret Mruk
Age: 54
Priest: A.J. Suplicki
Cemetery: Calvary

Her burial record through Calvary Cemetery is transcribed below:

No.
Name of deceased: Mary Mruk
Place of nativity:
Late residence: 1465 Vance
Age: 54
Color: W
Sex: F
Disease: Ulcus Vateserilos (?)
Date of Decease: 16 F
Date of Interment: 17 Feb.
Place of Death: Toledo
Married, Single or Widowed: M
No. of Grave: 513
No. of Lot: 11
No. of Section: 28
Name of Physician: 1449
Name of Undertaker: W. Sujka
Name of Parents of Kindred:
Remarks:

Michael Mruk passed away March 27, 1915 per his Ohio Death Certificate. He was interred through St. Hedwig’s Parish and buried at Calvary Cemetery. It appears from reviewing Michael’s death records that he married again after Margaretha’s death, but there is no indication who he married.

Michael’s death record from St. Hedwig’s is transcribed below:

Died 27th March 1915 Michael Mruk
Calvary
Bur. 29th March 1915 ??? in Europa
67 y 6 m 9 d

Michael’s burial record from Calvary is transcribed below:

No. 16193
Name of Deceased: Michael Mruk
Place of Nativity:
Late Residence: 2903 Higgins
Age: 67
Color: W
Sex: M
Disease: Chr. Gastritis
Date of Decease: March 27
Date of Interment: March 29
Married, Single or Widowed: M
Place of Death: Toledo
No. of Grave: 941
No. of Lot: 9
No. of Section: 30
Name of Physician: E.J. Henzler
Name of Undertaker: W.J. Sujkowski
Name of Parents or Kindred:
Remarks:

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