Quick post but I’m still scratching my noggin over this one. Admittedly, I like history but let’s say it wasn’t my focus in school. I’m a tech geek and writer/analyst by trade. But I met with a few of my wonderful Mierzejewski relatives yesterday with my sister in tow, where it was revealed my grandfather Wladyslaw/Walter was a merchant marine. So, I guess that explains why the guy came and went into the US several times. So that begs the question: was Marzel also a merchant marine? I’ve found clues that his brother Marzel was also in the US several times but the trail goes cold on Marzel.

Also, does anyone have any history of the Polish merchant marines at the start of the 1900s? It appears by the little history I can cobble together that Wladyslaw could have been in the merchant marines as early as about 1902 or 1903. He was born in 1883 per his death certificate, so he would have been of age to be in the marines about 1902-ish.

Why I never knew this before, I don’t know. But it is definitely an interesting fact. I’d love to hear from anyone who knows or understands anything about the Polish merchant marines.

My manifest research with the Mierzejewski name is slowly (painfully slowly) producing a few small but possibly important results.

An unusual find I had was for a Joseph Mizejewski. The surname is spelled differently, depending upon the source. I’ve located eight Josephs through Ellis manifests with either the variant surname of MIERZEJEWSKI or MIZEJEWSKI.  The latest list of Mierzejewskis located through the Ellis Island manifests is here. I cannot quite ascertain which of the Josephs I have located on the manifest research is the one who ultimately landed in Toledo; but I have found what I believe to be the manifest information for his wife, Jozefa and son Joseph. It appears as if this branch of the family had resided in Pittsburgh for a time about 1904 (look at the manifest data and filter it based on dates). While I transcribed Jozefa’s last residence as Gumowo, I am beginning to ponder the possibility that the last residence is Goworów. Goworów would make some sense as it was the birthplace of my great-grandfather, Jan Mierzejewski (Wladyslaw’s father) and I could not locate a Gumowo.

Some research into the matter brought an unusual death to my attention.

While researching the name in Toledo, I came across a death record from St. Adalbert’s parish for  Joseph Mierzejewski, his death certificate (in which the surname is spelled MIZEJEWSKI), and some census data from 1920 (two pages: see here and here). The census data reflects an address on Maple Street although the later data (death certificate, parish death record, and news story below) reflects an address on W. Hudson Street. However, I’m 99% certain this is the same Joseph Mierzejewski. The two addresses are less than a half-mile apart, with St. Adalbert’s parish nearly equidistant from the two.

When I had read the death certificate, the cause of death startled me: “third degree burns over body,” with the contributory cause explained as “accidental explosion.”  In the section (bottom right corner) that asks for any external causes such as violence, the corner explained “public place, explosion in bonfire on public dump.” I scratched my head over that one! A bonfire is one thing. A bonfire in a dump though?

So I took a look through some archived newspapers and did find a small article from the Toledo News-Bee dated July 29, 1930 that helps bring some light to the matter. I’ve transcribed the story below the image.

Toledo News-Bee 29 July 1930, Death of Joseph Mizejewski

Toledo News-Bee 29 July 1930, Death of Joseph Mizejewski

BLAST ON CITY DUMP FATAL TO TOLEDOAN

Joseph Mizejewski Dies of Burns Received July 5

An explosion of undetermined origin July 5 on the Manhattan boulevard city dump had claimed the life of Joseph Mizejewski, 58, of 31 W. Hudson street.

Mizejewski died Monday night at Flower hospital of burns received when his clothing caught fire.

Coroner Frank G. Kreft was investigating Tuesday to learn the cause of the blast.

Mizejewski was standing in the dump watching rubbish burn when an explosion at the edge of the flames threw a sheet of fire around him. Children [playing] nearby helped him extingu[ish the] flames.

Note that in the news story, the surname is spelled MIZEJEWSKI.

Joseph’s death notice was published in the News-Bee the same day.

Joseph Mizejewski, Toledo News-Bee Death Notice 29 July 1930

Joseph Mizejewski, Toledo News-Bee Death Notice 29 July 1930

MIZEJEWSKI, JOSEPH–Aged 58 years, husband of Josephine. Monday, July 28. Funeral Wednesday, July 30, from his residence, 31 W. Hudson St., at 8:30 and in St. Adalbert’s church at 9 a.m. Interment Calvary cemetery. Urbanski mortuary.

I have little other data on Joseph but am deeply curious to discover whether or not he is a relative through my great-grandfather, Jan. His death certificate indicates only that his father’s name was Joseph and that he was born in Poland. No mother was named on the death certificate. If you have any further information or can lend some insight, please let me know. Drop a comment here or an email.

I promised myself today that I would not sit behind my computer all day doing genealogy. Promises were made to be broken. I intended only to write about the Zielinski family and a make a quick post about gleaning as much information from Google News Archives as possible before we lost that valuable and free resource.

Well because it was a dreary, grey, dismal Sunday here, I hunkered down instead to poke through more of the Catholic Diocese of Toledo’s baptismal records, in an effort to see if I could locate Amelia Zielinski and a few others there to establish a date of birth.

Needless to say, poking through those records is relatively dangerous for an adult fueled on coffee. I was scanning through the collection from St. Stanislaus’s parish and a name popped up that I had never seen before, but really feel compelled to research soon.

This surprise came to me via the baptism for a Paulina Klimczak. A copy of the record is located here, and I’ve transcribed it below:

1918
Nomen Infantis et Residentia: Paulina
Dies Mensis Annus
Nativitatis: Mar. 31
Baptismi: Apr. 7
Nomen Parentum: Stephanus Baranski, Stana. Klimczak
Locus Nativitatis: Toledo
Nomen Patrinorum: Wenceslaus Mierzejewski, Sophia Poniatowska
Nomen Ministri: A. Pietrykowski

Now, I have more strong evidence that there were Mierzejewskis residing in Toledo prior to my grandparents’ arrival in 1923.  However more research will be needed as I do not know who this Wenceslaus may be.  To the best of my knowledge, neither of my grandparents had a sibling whose name was Wenceslaus. Earlier, I had found a Constantia Mierzejewska just by strolling through Calvary Cemetery and photographing graves. It seems as if a number of Mierzejewskis had arrived in Toledo prior to my grandparents.

I had to make a quick post about this because this is a very intriguing discovery for me. I’ve often wondered why in the world my grandparents would have settled in Toledo, Ohio–face it, the only thing Toledo had going for it back then was the many, many industrial jobs connected to the auto industry in Detroit. It had no better weather than the east coast–Lake Erie winters are no picnic, the job market was not exactly kind (Toledo and Detroit were the epicenter of violent strikes in the 1920s through the 1940s, and there were a number of industrial accidents), and the area was riddled with quite a bit of crime during the heydays of Prohibition. The only things Toledo had going for it is that it was a fairly inexpensive place to live and that it had a need for much backbreaking unskilled labor.  So my curiosity is aroused once more. If anyone knows of a Wenceslaus Mierzejewski, please drop me a line her or an email and I’ll follow up. As I can find further information, I will post it as well.

I’ve been quietly working on gathering the immigration data for Mierzejewskis, using as many permutations of the name as I could. This has kept me extremely busy. I’ve gathered what I believe is fairly reliable data for all of the Mierzejewskis as I possibly could locate through Ellis Island only and have posted here in an Excel spreadsheet (2003)–set so that the data could be filtered. It’s probably best to filter the data by date so that you can locate groups who had traveled together.

I have also located some Mierzejewskis who have emigrated through Boston and possibly other ports; however, I have not recorded the data yet. As time goes on, I’ll add that data to this collection.

Two things have struck me while doing this exercise: 1) I previously assumed that women generally did not travel alone from Europe during the period. I was wrong! I found a number of women who were quite young and traveled alone or with small children without companionship. 2) I did not think any Mierzejewskis had emigrated to the US prior to about 1905-1910. Wrong again. Already, I’ve located a few who emigrated in the 1890s. I do not know if these persons had stayed or if they followed a pattern I detected in my family that they came and went a few times before deciding to remain here or in Poland.

I haven’t analyzed this information much besides these two observations. But it will be an interesting exercise I believe to see how my family (if I can sift through them from this already substantial set of data!) moved from Poland to the US and through New England westward.

A word about this data: Where possible, I have corrected given names and geographic places. (That is, if I could transcribe the name.) The exception to this is the LAST name is provided as it was entered into the database from Ellis or the service used (such as the National Archives). The reason I did NOT correct the names is there are various ways of spelling the surname and if you wish to pursue obtaining the record, you would need that particular transcription. I haven’t submitted any suggested edits or changes to Ellis Island or the National Archives (that in itself may be an overwhelming task AND there are likely other records that use many of the different versions of the name.)

The spreadsheet is located here if you want to download it.

Tomorrow is Veteran’s Day. In honor of my father the veteran, I have a scanned a handwritten document my father created during his World War II experiences. This is a list of his missions from July 13 through November 11, 1944. It will be 67 years ago tomorrow that the he had completed these missions with the rest of his Bomb Squad. What brave men! Click an image to enlarge it or download it. Give a vet some love tomorrow while you’re at it.

49th Bomb Squad Missions

49th Bomb Squad Missions

49th Bomb Squad Missions

49th Bomb Squad Missions

49th Bomb Squad Missions

49th Bomb Squad Missions

49th Bomb Squad Missions

49th Bomb Squad Missions

49th Bomb Squad Missions

49th Bomb Squad Missions

I have about 90+ records that I’ve been able to complete data entry for. See here. Updates as I can get to them.

Ok, I’ll admit. I went into stealth mode. Been quiet, but working on gathering all of the Mierzejewski immigration records I could find. Many permutations and I’m up to over 100 distinct and different Mierzejewski Ellis island manifest records. Slow going to query, transcribe, and record each.

Along the way (and I’m still not done), I came across an interesting discovery.

I found nothing that knocked my socks off until this afternoon–well, at least no one that I could immediately recognize outside my grandparents’ records. Earlier, I had noted that my grandmother’s brother, Kalixty, had emigrated to the US in 1911 per the 1920 census. But I came across an earlier immigration record for my grandmother’s brother, Kalixty. I located a manifest from Ellis that indicated he emigrated into the US on November 12, 1908 and was meeting his brother, Wladyslaw (Wladimir or Walter) in Branford, Conecticut. It clearly is Helena’s brother. Kalxity’s name is hard to interpret on this manifest–the Ellis Island transcribers had transcribed the name as Halikstin. However, upon careful inspection of the document, it is noted that he was born in Borowce, and his contact his his mother, Anna Mirzejewski in Borowce. The age fits perfectly. We have his birthdate documented as December 12, 1886 per his death certificate. His age on the manifest is listed as 22. Kalixty would have been 22 in 1908. Note that the surname is spelled MIRZEJEWSKI.

I have not yet located a manifest that indicates that Kalixty may have returned to Poland and returned to the US in 1911. But it’s still entirely possible–am still working through all the name permutations.

We can now trace that my grandmother’s family was in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. I think I have a lot of work ahead of me!

Another mystery wedding photograph. This is a wedding photograph for my first cousin, John Mierzejewski through my grand uncle, Ignacy Mierzejewski (my grandfather’s branch of the Mierzejewski family). Confusing isn’t it?

I’ve posted this photo previously, but it bears repeating because I’d like to identify the others in the photo eventually. That would provide me with possible Mierzejewski links and give a further indication of the family’s movements west from the east coast/New England areas into Ohio and possibly Michigan.

John Mierzejewski and Anna Mizlinska wedding photo

John Mierzejewski and Anna Mizlinska wedding photo

John married Anna Mizlinksa before 1919 (I do not have an exact date). The marriage likely took place in Connecticut as their first daughter, Josephine was recorded as having been born there per the 1930 census. By 1930, the family was living in Toledo, Ohio. Since the Mierzejewskis are rather scattered and a rather large clan, I do not know who may be in this photo other than John and Anna and have no knowledge (yet!) of other Mierzejewskis who may have been living in Connecticut about 1919. Many in the family seemed to have lived on the east coast or New England areas and then migrated west into Ohio and Michigan. If anyone has any insight or knowledge, please leave a comment here or email me.

John and Anna eventually divorced. John then married Jennie Bojarska-Weclawska and Anna then married Albin Obarski. John died in Toledo in 1970; Anna died in Toledo in 1992.

can be as exciting as reading the owner’s manual of your latest technology purchase. Shame on me for poking fun at the source of my paycheck, but I do understand–I only read those manuals myself if and only if something isn’t working. I prefer a good mystery or biography. But I entertained myself by reading more burial records this weekend with the latest bluster of fall weather we’ve had–cold, rain, and dreary. After all, isn’t genealogy both a bit of a mystery and part of the process of writing one’s family’s biography?

I had reason to eyeball those old records again while trying to conjure up any data about Stanley Mizejewski and Konstancja Mierzejewska. I’ve had a bit of luck as far as Konstacja goes. I did locate her burial record by reviewing burials from 1913 onward. Here is what I’ve located in the 1913 burial log:

No.15016
Name of Deceased: Constantia Mezejewska
Place of Nativity
Late Residence: 3250 Maple
Age: 20
Color: W
Sex: F
Disease: Nephritis
Date of Decease: Dec. 18 (1913)
Date of Interment: Dec. 20
Married, Single or Widowed: S
Place of Death: Toledo
No. of Grave: 1600
No. of Lot: 11
No. of Section: 3
Name of Physician: O. W. Kimbell
Name of Undertaker: J. W. Paulowski
Name of Parents or Kindred:
Remarks

I do believe the record keeper misspelled the last name and this location is where I took the photo–Section 3 of the cemetery.

Constantia’s address is given as a residence on Maple Street, which would place her within a block or so of St. Adalbert’s parish in the Lagrinka neighborhood.  I had hoped this clue would give me a hint about her, but it didn’t. Sometimes the parish records noted the survivors or nearest relatives; however, not so in the case. Here is the record of Constantia’s burial through St. Adalbert:

Date of Death/Burial: Dec. 20/Dec. 23
Name of Person Interred: Constantia Mierzejewski
Place of Birth: R. Poland
Age: 20 yr.
Disease:
Priest: J. P. Wachowiak
Cemetery: Calvary
Remarks: Pen. and Ext. Unct.

The remarks indicate that she received the sacraments of penance and extreme unction (last rites) prior to passing away. This indicates to me she did not die alone and someone would have had to call the priest for this function. This is the very earliest Mierzejewski death I’ve located so far in Toledo. Her age, 20, indicates she was born during the time span my grandfather, grandmother, and their siblings were born–1883. So my guess is that she would not have immigrated alone to the US–it was highly unusual for women at this time to come alone while traveling from Europe. (I’ve only noted this twice and each time I cannot ascertain for sure the women traveled alone.) It appears as if there were Mierzejewskis settling in Toledo as early as sometime after 1910. This point may become more important later as more of my grandparent’s and their siblings’ movements are discovered–remember my grandfather and his brother, Marzel, were located in Massachusetts and Cleveland around 1909. So someone had to tip Wladyslaw off about how great life was on the great north coast. A possible theory would be that Constantia is a relative of my grandmother, Helena. It was Helena’s brother, Jan, with whom Wladyslaw and Helena would live at 1763 Buckingham when they arrived in Toledo in 1923. And Buckingham is perhaps only 4 miles or so from the Maple Street address.

Marzel is a brother to my grandfather, Wladyslaw Mierzejewski. I’ve been trying to track the siblings of my grandparents, Helena and Wladyslaw Mierzejewski. As far as I know, Wladyslaw had these siblings:

Wladyslaw’s siblings (through his mother Anna Budziszewska–his father, Jan, was married three times):

  • Franciszek, born about 1868
  • Franciczeka, born about 1868 (twins?)
  • Ludwik, born about 1871
  • Jozef, born about 1874
  • Marzel, born about 1881

Wladyslaw was the  youngest of the children born to Jan and Anna, born in 1883 per his death certificate. (Side note: Again, it’s becoming a theme in my family–the birth date on his gravestone is different. His gravestone says 1877 was the year of birth. However, I am certain that this is the correct gravesite–we visited it as children with my parents each Easter, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day and I’ve verified the burial.)

Jan also married Anna’s elder sister and that marriage produced one son:

  • Ignacy

I cannot yet ascertain the order of the marriages to the Budziszewska sisters . So the best guess for Ignacy’s date of birth is likely between 1861 and 1868 OR after 1881, as Jan’s first marriage was to Eleanor Guszkowska and this marriage produced a daughter:

  • Konstancja, born about 1861

I’ve been running into the usual brick walls attempting to locate these siblings. We do know that several of the siblings came to the US only to return to Poland. I have found evidence of Marzel’s residence in the US, however.

A 1907 manifest from the Hamburg Passenger Lines indicates that Marzel is a passenger on a ship that landed in New York in January 1907. Careful inspection of this record indicates several Mierzejewskis were on this ship (note the name is spelled using a derivative spelling: Mizejewski):

  • Stanislaw Mizejewski, age 19 (residence, Guczin)
  • Stefan Mizejewski, age 17 (residence, Danisiewo)
  • Marzel Mizejewski, age 25 (residence, Jarnuti)

Danisiewo is just north of Tomasze and Jarnuti and Gucin is just south of Tomasze and Jarnuti–perhaps there is a connection to Marzel with Stanislaw and Stefan. Remember, there is a Stanislaw Mizejewski buried in Toledo’s Calvary Cemetery. He was born per the gravestone about 1891. My grandfather’s place of birth was Tomasze, so it’s likely that he had relatives who had settled in nearby villages. See this map.

There are no clues where Marzel or the other two men would have been after their 1907 arrival. It’s clear though that Marzel returned to Poland for a short while because there is another manifest, this time from Ellis Island dated November 1909 that clearly indicates he was traveling to the United States with Wladyslaw and it is clear the two are brothers. The contact information for the near relative from the country they came from is noted as Helena Mierzejewski. Helena is noted as Wladyslaw’s wife and as Marzel’s sister-in-law.

Now this raises not only one eyebrow for me, but both. The final destination for Wladyslaw was noted as New Bedford, Massachusetts. For Marzel, it is noted as Pittsfield, Massachussets. This in and of itself isn’t too surprising. But the 1910 census data places Marzel in Cleveland, Ohio!

Marzel is a boarder of the Gorgon family and it specifically states that his year of immigration was 1907. He is employed as a laborer in a car shop. Where is Wladyslaw?! I haven’t yet located him on a census for this period. It’s possible he returned to Poland, but this is a relatively short period of time (arrival was November 1909 and census taken in April 1910)–likely he’s in the US somewhere!

Marzel eventually returned to Poland, where he died in 1965. He was married to a woman named Czeslawa and three children:

  • Jadwiga
  • Thadeusz
  • Henryka

If anyone has any additional information, please contact me. Leave a comment here or drop me an email and I’ll follow up.

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