I realize I haven’t been posting for quite some time. Life has just been incredibly busy. Genealogical events have happened: a marriage in the family, graduations, and an engagement. My family continues to evolve, change, and progress and provide infinite sources of contentment as well as challenges. A huge career change happened for me as well the past few months and I’ve never denied my workaholic tendencies. (I get “lost” in what I am involved in–it’s a trait many introverts have–I just get involved in what I am doing and lose track of time and it’s the reason my genealogy is worked on in spurts. I seem to lack the ability to work steadily an hour here, and hour there on anything. I HAVE to do ALL that I can NOW! I often wonder what ancestor of mine was like that.) I guess this blog will need to suffer whenever I lack the time or ability to pay attention to it.
During the past several months, I did manage to get some research done as well as prowl both Calvary and Mount Carmel cemeteries. Nothing exciting came out of my cemetery prowls (yet, I haven’t worked on all of the photos) but I’ve found a database that I completely fell in love with: Basia. This database is an effort to transcribe and digitize the vital and civil records in the Polish National Archives based on an effort called the Asia project which is making these archived documents accessible. You can search either the Basia or Asia — but it is the Basia website that will provide you with scanned documents. (To use Asia, which will at least provide you with a list of all documents that reference the name or terms you are using, go here: http://szukajwarchiwach.pl/.) All documents and records available through Basia or Asia are from the Poznan area (I can’t tell if the effort will expand beyond Poznan). More historical documentation, from before the early 1900s is available in Basia it seems.
Basia can be read in English if you use the Chrome browser. I’ve tried it also with Firefox and IE–it works fine with any browser, but Chrome has an add-in that will translate non-English text on the fly. Asia, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to translate for me in Chrome. I am not sure why that is–the text does not seem to be coming via graphics but from the database. So if you are unable to read Polish, it would be handy to have Google translate open in another browser window. I love both of these websites, and because Basia has provided me very easily with a number of key documents I can’t sing its praises enough!
A while back, I had a theory that my 2nd great-grandmother, Mary Lesiecka, had remarried. I had found a reference to a marriage of Mary Lesiecka to a Joannes Olejniczak on the Poznan Project database but had never written to obtain the record. So upon discovering the Basia database, I had thought to check if my theory was true: that Mary had indeed remarried. That would have given me a timeframe for when my 2nd great-grandfather, Jozef Plenzler, had died. I hit the genealogical jackpot–I was probably more excited with what I had found than when I had won $200 in Las Vegas. The marriage occurred in 1884 in Głuszyna and both Mary and Joannes were indicated as being widowed. The original record is held in the Piotrowo Registry Office, Poznan State Archives. It is too large of a record to show but it does specifically state that Marie (Mary) is a widow of Jozef Plenzler of Wiorek who was the son of Anna Maria Bajerlein. A copy of the record is here.
Searching further for any Lesieckis, I hit more jackpots. I had Mary’s birth record thanks to an exchange I had with the Sobeckis a few years ago (Mary was born 11 September 1825, the parish record from Wiorek is here if you would like it — LDS film #1191623). And because of this exchange, I had known her parents were Adalbertus Lesiecki and Barbara Nachengast (this surname seems to have some debate, whether it is Nachengast or Norhengast, but I am tending to Nachengast with how it has been indexed with Basia–I have not been able to transcribe the name well through Mary’s birth/baptismal record).
Because of this information, I was able to locate two siblings for Mary: Johann and Cunegunda, as well as have found strong evidence for a third sibling, Martin.
Johann was located through his death record which mentions his parents, Adalbertus and Barbara. He died 8 October 1883 in Wiorek. And here’s another kicker: his wife was a Marie Plenzler. I have not yet identified who this Marie Plenzler is. Going out on a limb, I’m going to throw out a theory that it’s very possible she is a sister to my 2nd g-grandfather, Jozef. Johann’s death was reported by a Marcin or Martin Lesiecki. Because Martin was the person who has reported the deaths of Barbara, and Johann, I am theorizing that he indeed is a brother to Mary. Johann’s death record is located here. Martin is someone that will need to be researched later. (The research never fails to provide more puzzles to solve!)
Cunegunda was a complete surprise. She also married a Plenzler. Cunegunda was married to a Bartholomeus Plenzler, whom I had previously identified as a brother to my 2nd great-grandfather. It seems as Batholomeus was married a total of three times! (He actually warrants another separate post on this.) I was able to identify through the Basia database that Cunegunda and Bartholomeus had at least one child together, Barbara. Barbara’s civil birth record is here. Cunegunda’s death record is here.
Finally, I was able to locate a death record for Barbara Nachengast Lesiecki. Barbara died 8 January 1879. The record is located here.
It seems that, while very slowly, Polish genealogical records are becoming more available for the cost of an internet connection. Add the Basia and Asia websites to your bookmarks if you’ve identified relatives from the Poznan region of Poland. I have located much more than what I’ve indicated here with just the Lesieckis–I was able to find more information on my Plenzler family, so maybe if I find more free time, I’ll be able to post on it. (Well, New Year is coming up and I don’t care to go out for New Year’s Eve…)
I hope you all have had a peaceful and beautiful Christmas and wish you a wonderful New Year!