A newsclipping I found while researching Toledo Blade Obituaries. Article was published Saturday October 19, 1957. Nearly 60 years ago, it seems as if the Toledo inner city Catholic parishes began their decline and losing population to the suburbs.

St. Anthony’s Catholic Church to Mark 75th Anniversary

Bishop Rehring Will Have Part In Thanksgiving Mass Tomorrow

The 75th anniversary celebration of St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, famous for its 265-foot spire, one of the tallest on the city’s horizon, will open with a Mass of thanksgiving tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. Bishop George J. Rehring will take part in the ceremony.

Msgr. Francis S. Legowski, pastor for more than 35 years, will preach. A banquet will follow at the Wroblewski American Legion hall, 1274 Nebraska Ave. Steve Czolgosz is head of the jubilee celebration.

The celebration will conclude with an additional special Mass Nov. 10.

The parish was founded in 1881, with the first building opened for worship on Nov. 12, 1882.

The parish is the home church of nine priests, including the Rev. Anthony S. Pietrykowski, pastor of St. Hedwig’s parish. Original members of the parish consisted mostly of Polish immigrants who came to America during the decade preceding establishment of the church.

Once the largest in the diocese with 7,500 parishioners, the parish has dwindled numerically because of the establishment of nearby Catholic churches, and the trend among younger families toward suburban living. The latest diocesan year book lists 2,895 members.

st_anthony_75_anniversary

I am beginning to think that some links to connecting some of my Mierzejewski are in central Pennsylvania. My grandmother’s (Helena Mierzejewska) family seems to have come through central Pennsylvania. I have found them in Altoona, Reading, and in Cambria, Beria, and Blair Counties. I suspect they were there for a few reasons: coal mining was easy work to get and the land there likely drew them because they were farmers.

For sometime, I knew a few of my cousins were born in or around Reading or Altoona. But this weekend, I had zeroed in on a cousin named Zofia. Her father, Wladymir or Wladyslaw (my grand-uncle) had settled in Blair County for a time. I had Zofia’s passport application and I studied it for clues.

Zofia was born April 10, 1909 in Beria County. Her birth certificate was attached to the passport application. It indicates that her mother’s name was Apolonia.

Birth certificate, Zofia Mierzejewski

Birth certificate, Zofia Mierzejewski

In 1912, Wladmir or Wladyslaw married woman named Bronislawa (Bernice) Mierzejewska. Again, this is a case of a Mierzejewski marrying a Mierzejewska. So I have to assume Apolonia has passed away. The passport application mentions that Zofia is traveling with her step-mother from Warsaw, wishing to return to the United States, to her father’s home in Toledo, Ohio–to 1763 Buckingham. This is the address where my father was born.

Passport Letter of Inquiry Zofia Mierzejewski

Passport Letter of Inquiry Zofia Mierzejewski

What is interesting about this is this passport application is so that Zofia can travel from Poland back to the United States. She had been in Poland since 1921–about three years. At the time of the passport application, Zofia was about 15 years old, so she had left about the age of 12. The correspondence was in order to verify her US birth and provides documentation, so now we know where she was baptized: Our St. Mary of Czestechowa Church in Gallitzen, Pennsylvania. We also know now her birth was recorded in Altoona, Pennsylvania. Her father must have moved from Pennsylvania to Toledo during the time she was in Poland.

I have a passenger list for March 1924 that lists Wladimir with the address of 1763 Buckingham, Toledo, Ohio stating he is a brother of John. It is noted that Wladimir did not sail. He probably did not sail because Zofia did not have a passport yet to return to the United States. We even have a poor, many times reproduced, photo of Zofia as well as her signature.

Zofia Mierzejewski, Passport Documentation

Zofia Mierzejewski, Passport Documentation

I’d never met any of my grandparents, I was born well after all four had died. I have a faint, out of focus, and oddly-angled picture of my dad’s parents, and some lovely photos of my mom’s mother. So I had an idea of how they looked. But for everywhere I’ve looked and asked, no picture ever seemed to exist of my mom’s father, John Plenzler. I imagined he looked like his mother or father, and I have my great-grandparents’ wedding photo. But you can never be too sure if one does favor one parent or the other. I have a daughter who does not look like me or her sisters, she favors her father’s side of the family greatly. She definitely resembles her father’s sister in a striking manner in my eyes. On first look, she does not seem to be my daughter. But she is (and she inherited much of my personality). Sometimes, genes mix in unique ways to present a new version within the family.

I had always been curious about John’s appearance, so imagine my surprise when I received, thanks to the efforts of a cousin and his son, John Plenzler’s “Descriptive Book” that records elements of his enlistment in the Marines. I was mildly surprised and also began to see that it was possible that my mother resembled him much more than her mother.

According to a description based upon a physical examination of John dated August 4, 1909, he was described as having a ruddy complexion, dark brown hair, light brown eyes, about 5′ 7″ tall, and it seemed slender–he was described as having a mean circumference of 35″, with a 3″ expansion and a weight of only 139 pounds. I suspect he may have been a fairly muscular man–he was a street paver prior to enlisting in the Marines, that would have meant hours of physical labor. Based on this, he may have resembled his father–who in his wedding picture seemed to have met these descriptions as well. My mother was not a tall person, perhaps 5′-2″. I would not have described her complexion as ruddy, but fair and she had dark hair. But she had blue eyes. So I’m going to guess my grandmother Anastasia had blue eyes.

John also had some minor physical marks or distinctions noted on his record–a deformed small toe on his left foot, a scar on his hand, and a few moles. He also had 20/20 vision.

Seems as if I got few Plenzler genes reading this! I have poor vision (have had since I was a small child), light hair, blue eyes, and about as tall as my grandfather. I know in reality, I have half Plenzler and half Mierzjewski genes. But it just looks as if the Mierzejewski genes are dominant. Still, I wanted to find a way to “connect” with my grandfather, and this was an interesting document to read to do so–he died when my mom was quite young, so she didn’t have many memories of him and didn’t seem to have any photos of him when asked.

I think what I did find more interesting about John was his history in the Marines. There was no bravado, no battles he participated in that I know of, but within his history of good conduct one incident stood out. He was court marshaled for being AWOL for a day after liberty and returning to duty drunk. By virtue of a plea, he was sentenced to loss of 18 days’ pay and to perform extra police duties for the period of a month. The loss of pay equaled $10.62. I haven’t calculated what that would be worth 100 years later, but I suspect it to be considerable.

John Plenzler Duty List

John Plenzler Duty List

John was discharged with a notation of “very good” character and had made up the loss of one day to AWOL status. Upon his discharge, his commanding officer noted “character very good instead of excellent because of two trials by court marshal and not recommended for good conduct medal.”

The document is scanned and posted here if anyone is interested in reviewing it.

Happy New Year! May your year be blessed, peaceful, and filled with contentment.

So…today, I make up for lost time with an additional post. I apologize, but I just haven’t had the time to keep up with the genealogy work this year. I don’t foresee the next year providing me with much time, either. But I intend to make the most of the time I do have available!

While visiting Calvary Cemetery this past July, I did some row mowing with the camera. I had found a Jankowski grave that I cannot identify. I am related to some Jankowskis through my mother–two daughters of Martin Plenzler, Edna and Florence,  had married Stanley Jankowski. Florence had married Stanley first, they had three daughters. Then after Florence had passed away and Edna was widowed (Edna’s first husband was Danny Sieja), Edna and Stanley had married. So when I encountered this stone in Calvary, I was intrigued. However, no matter how hard I tried, I could not identify the persons buried there. It seems the stone sunk enough to cover the names of those it is memorializing.

The grave is located in Section 25. If you can identify these persons, please feel free to contact me here.

unknown_jankowski

Unknown Jankowski grave, Calvary Cemetery Toledo, Section 25

For quite sometime, we had been waiting for my parents’ gravestones to be placed. For quite some time, my father never had a gravestone–his original military stone had been broken and removed and when mom passed, we had planned to put matching stones on their graves. Well, time passed and the family had ordered the stones and we had never followed up with the cemetery. The stones had been delayed being placed, bad weather, warehouse mix ups, and a few other things occurred. So, this summer, when I had gone up to Toledo for a quick visit, I thought I would stop and check whether the stones had been placed and they had. I had taken photos but somehow neglected placing the photos here. Communication with a possible Mierzejewski contact this afternoon had reminded me that I had never placed the photos here.

Here are the photos of the stones. For me, it’s a sense of peace knowing my parents have a small reminder of their presence in this world.

Image

Edward B. Mierzejewski

gr_virginia_mierzejewski

Virginia Plenzler Mierzejewski

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.

I’ve been continuing on a quest to locate more data on my father’s family. As I’ve pointed out earlier when attempting to find all of the different variations of the surname, it becomes difficult locating these individuals because of the many variant name spellings.

Knowing that some of dad’s family did come through Pennsylvania, I had been scouring the records on FamilySearch.com in order to see if perchance I could find any hint of my family in Cambria and Blair counties or the regions surrounding Altoona. I knew to look at these areas because a few death certificates indicated that a few cousins were born in that region. This was a search similar to finding the proverbial needle in a haystack because of the name. But persistence paid off, and I’ve found more variants in the name spelling. I think this time the errors were literally due to clerical errors.

A huge question I’ve had is how, or if, Konstanty Mierzejewski is related to the family. (Note that while I have linked to a previous post that states I think Konstanty was a sibling of my grandfather, I have since had information that leads me to disregard that idea. But there is some good identifying material in that post in case anyone stumbles upon this website.) My guess is that Konstanty may well be related, but I can’t prove it yet. The parents I have for him are not those of either my grandmother OR my grandfather.  I have only been able to ascertain through a 1912 Philadelphia Passenger list that Konstanty had been born somewhere near Brwilno Gone, a considerable distance from my grandparents’ ancestral villages of Gerwaty and Borowce. All three villages surround Warsaw, and all were considered part of the Russian Partition of Poland. It is very possible Konstanty is no relation. Still, Konstanty’s life patterns were all too parallel to my grandparents’ family, he was in the Cambria County and Altoona, Pennsylvania regions shortly after his immigration here; my grandmother’s brother Wladyslaw Mierzejewski (not to be confused with her HUSBAND Wladyslaw Mierzejewski–can you understand my constant confusion?) had settled for a period in the Altoona, Pennsylvania region–his eldest daughter, Sophia was born in Altoona. Additionally, another of my grandmother’s brothers, Jan, had settled near Altoona for a time and his first daughter, Helen, was born in Altoona. The last in a trifecta of coincidences that leads me to believe Konstanty might very well be related through one of my grandparents is that upon my grandparents’ arrival here, they were living at 1763 Buckingham. They arrived in February, 1923 and this address is reflected on my father’s birth certificated dated December 23, 1924. Konstanty had used this address on his 1918 World War I draft registration. Unfortunately, I have not been able to trace the ownership of this home at the time (it was likely rented though) and by 1920, Konstanty had moved to Detroit Avenue, just a few blocks away. Coincidence or relationship? That is the question I am still trying to solve.

I digressed, considerably. Some digging through the few records for Pennsylvania on FamilySearch.com did bring two marriage records for the Mierzejewski clan! And were those names mangled.

I did locate the marriage record for Konstanty and Stephania. And this record provides a hint as to where the permutation spelling MIEZEJEWSKI may have arisen. It is how the name is spelled on the official county marriage record. However, in Konstanty’s situation, all other records that I’ve located use the spelling MIERZEJEWSKI. This marriage record doesn’t provide much information that I did not have prior, I knew the parents (Julian and Anna); however, the name of the priest marrying the couple is provided. That is a clue, and with that name may be able to trace the parish they were married in sometime! Also note that the bride’s name is incorrect. She is listed as Suffie, and we know her name was Stephania. Additionally, the bride’s surname is provided as Decosky, which also is incorrect, the name on other records for Stephania is DYKOWSKI. However, knowing these spellings may be helpful in the future. Click the image to view it full size.

Cambria County, Pennsylvania, Marriage Record for Konstanty Mierzejewski and Stephania Dykowski, 18 June 1907

The second Mierzejewski marriage record I’ve located was that for my grandmother’s brother, Wladyslaw (Walter) and his wife, Bronisława (Bernice). This marriage occurred November 6, 1912. And (the themes continue…do I hear the violins yet?) the names are misspelled and indicates that Mierzejewskis married other Mierzejewskis. I knew Bernice was a Mierzejewski prior to marriage; however, it is misspelled for both of the groom and the bride. For the groom, the name is spelled MIERZEYSKI and for the bride the name is spelled MERSEJEWSKA. I did learn one new interesting fact about my grand uncle. I did not know he was previously married. According to this marriage record, Wladyslaw was widowed September 2, 1910. So, another hint to follow. It may be possible his first wife died in Pennsylvania. I also did not know Bernice’s parents prior; their names are given as Peter and Emily–so some good possibilities to chase down with first names would be Piotr and Anelia or Emilia. Click to enlarge the record and view it full size.

Wladyslaw and Bronisława Mierzejewski marriage record, Blair County, Pennsylania 6 November 1912

I think another theme with my locating my grandparents’ family will be patience! Given that I know that at least several of my ancestors married others with the same surname and give how many ways the surname has been spelled, I think I’m just going to need a lot of patience. Lord, give me patience and give it to me now? Old joke, I know. But I know so much about my mother’s side of the family and so little of my dad’s that I wonder if they are playing tricks on me by revealing themselves to me ever so slowly. Mom’s family was wham bam thank you m’am, here we are! They were relatively easy to find and connect unlike my dad’s family. While I continue to learn about mom’s family, I also want that history in Russian Poland that forced my grandfather here in 1923!

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