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.

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.

I realize that when one undertakes to research both sides of the family, that’s a very big undertaking. I’ve had a lot of help along the way from cousins, my mom, and my sisters. Still there are times I feel as if I’m neglecting one side or the other. Lately, I’ve been neglecting my dad’s side of the family. The Mierzejewskis in Toledo just don’t seem to want to be found. But sooner or later, I’m going to tease them out by hook or by crook. Many of the Mierzejewskis that I knew liked a good joke, so it’s likely they’re still playing games. (And yes, I am half serious by saying that–my dad was a joker and played some serious pranks–some day I should post the story how he answered the phone when my sisters and I were teenagers and boys would call for dates.)

Today is Tombstone Tuesday over at GeneaBloggers. So here are the graves of two possible Mierzejewski relatives. I cannot place them in my tree; however, chances are good I’m related to them. It all goes back to that business of having two grandparents, unrelated but with the same last name before marriage. However, you’ll notice the names aren’t spelled quite the same way. Like Plenzlers/Plencners, the Mierzejewski name has morphed over time as well.

These are the few graves that I have photos of from Calvary but have not recorded the grave location and cannot look up the grave location. If I ever find the locations, I’ll eventually post them.

First grave stone of the day is for Stanley Mizejewski.

Grave Stanley Mizejewski Calvary Cemetery

Grave Stanley Mizejewski Calvary Cemetery

I corresponded with Garret Mierzejewski, a Mierzejewski expert. Garret did have an obituary for Stanley. The obituary has no date other than the year, 1962. I’ve transcribed the obituary below.

Stanley Mizejewski

Stanley Mizejewski, 70, of 9735 Douglas Rd., Temperance, Mich., died Tuesday at Flower Hospital.

Mr. Mizejewski, born in Poland, lived in the Toledo area more than 50 years. He had been a machinist at the Baker Bros. Co. for 35 years, retiring in 1958.

Surviving are his daughters, Mrs. Virginia Berend and Mrs. Marcella McClean; son, Harold S. Brooks, all of San Diego and five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Services will be at 10 a.m. tomorrow in the Urbanski Mortuary, with burial in Calvary Cemetery.

I may be able to find Stanley’s grave location if I poke through the Calvary burial logs again. I attempted to last night, but 1962 seemed to be a particularly good year for business at Calvary. I got blurry eyed reading and might have missed it.

Here is the next grave. The stone is very worn, it’s difficult to read and I cannot fully transcribe it.

Unknown: Possibly Konstancia Mierzejewski grave Calvary Cemetery

Unknown: Possibly Konstancia Mierzejewski grave Calvary Cemetery

I believe the name on this gravestone may be similar to Konstancia Mierzejewska (the feminine form of the surname). However, it’s weather worn and difficult to read. The death year on the stone also is difficult to determine. Is it 1913, 1916, 1918, or 1919? As Garret pointed out to me, the birth year is clear enough to determine that this person was born in the 1850s. Yet as he pointed out, most of Mierzejewskis who came here were born in the 1880s, possibly 1870s. Mierzejewskis emigrated during a later phase of Polish migration to the US: my grandfather was documented as coming to the US as early as 1903 when he was just 18 or 19 and he returned to Poland a few times before settling permanently in Ohio. So this person is a unique surprise and it would be interesting to learn more about him or her.

If anyone has any information, please leave a comment or drop me an email.

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