July 2011

Recently, I found a record for a Plenzler marriage from Poznan sitting on my computer. I forgot how I got it or where it came from, not having written to the Poznan project to obtain it. So I asked a likely source, Judy, what it was. She forwarded to me awhile back and I promptly forgot about it. Can anyone really not get overloaded getting their ancestor’s historical information? It seemed possible to me not too long ago. But Judy informed me that she sent it on to me because of the Plenzler connection. On this marriage register, there are two important records: one for a Niemier (one of Joseph Plenzler’s sisters, Catherine, had married Jacob Niemier) and one for a Martinus Plenzler.

I took a stab at transcribing these marriage records. The language used for each was basically the same. (See records 18 and 20 here.) I’ll place the transcription for #20 (Martinus and Catharine Jaskulanka) below. What this indicates is a record of Martinus Plenzler’s first marriage. (See the post regarding a record located in 1851 for a second marriage here.)

The marriage for Martinus and Catherine Jaskunlanka is transcribed below with a very rough translation included:


Martinus Plenzler, juvenis cum
Martin Plenzler, an unmarried young man with

Catharina Janskunlanka, virgine
Catharina Janskunlanka, an unmarried maiden

Ambo de Pietrowo
Each from the town of Pietrowo

Interrogavi en ecclesia mutu.o
Come to the church to exchange vows

Et elaro consensu ab?? ii recepto per ven?? Vet?
And join together in the commitment of marriage

De presenti juata ratificata
And before those present ratify

Cum consensu parentum
With the consensus of their parents

Age of the groom: 26, age of the bride: 22.

Banns: published 17, 24, and 31 October

Witnesses: Szymanowski, Simon; Szymanowski, Michael, ??? Pankoski (?); Michael Jako~la.

I cannot determine an exact date of marriage from this scanned record. However, since banns (the intent of marriage announcement) were published as late as the 31st of October, it’s reasonable to assume that the marriage took place the first week or two of November, 1841.

Given that this marriage took place in 1841 and Joseph Plenzler (my grandfather) was born in 1855, it is also reasonable to ponder a few possibilities:

  • That Joseph and Martinus were not brothers. The age difference is too great. While it is theoretically possible, it’s unlikely the two are brothers.
  • That Martinus is likely an uncle to Joseph. (Joseph’s father was also named Joseph).

Stumbled upon a contact within ancestry.com who is a granddaughter of Martha. She graciously shared a few photos of Martha Sieja and her husband, Casper Roman. Martha was a daughter of Victoria Przybylski and Frank Sieja. She was my first cousin, once removed.  Martha and Casper were married in 1933 in St. Anthony’s parish.

Here are the photos:

Martha Sieja and Casper Roman, 1932

Martha Sieja and Casper Roman, 1932

They seem to look as if they were a pair of tend setters. In 1932, Martha was 18 years old. To my eye, it appears as if she were quite fashionable. Casper cuts quite an attractive figure in that well-tailored double-breasted suit as well.

Martha Sieja and Casper Roman, wedding photo

Martha Sieja and Casper Roman, wedding photo

Martha passed away in 1961. Her obituary was published in the Toledo Blade on December 31, 1961 and is transcribed below:

Martha Roman

Mrs. Martha D. Roman, 48, of 2432 Rosewood Ave., died yesterday in Mercy Hospital.

A lifelong Toledo resident, she was a member of the 14th Ward Oldtimers Auxiliary.

Surviving are her husband, Casper, daughters, Mrs. Bernadine Kajfasz, Mrs. Patricia Augustyniak, Mrs. Rosemary Leady, Mrs. Diana Mumford, and Kathleen, all of Toledo, and Mrs. Marcia Garcia, Findlay; sisters Mrs. Irene Plenzler and Mrs. Alice Gutowski, both of Toledo; brothers, Roman Sieja, Toledo; Edmund Sieja, Burbank, Calif., and Norman Sieja, Sylvania and 14 grandchildren.

The body is in the Sujkowski Mortuary. Services will be Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. in St. Ann’s Church with burial in Calvary Cemetery.

Casper passed away in 1968. His obituary was published in the Toledo Blade on June 16, 1968 and is transcribed below:

ROMAN–CASPER V., age 65, of 2031 Evansdale. Widower of the late Martha; dearest father of Mrs. Bernadine Kajfasz, Mrs. Patricia Augustyniak, Mrs. Rosemary Leady, Mrs. Marcia Garcia, Mrs. Diane Schmidt, Mrs. Kathleen Relily; brother of Mrs. Bernice Jaskowiak, Mrs. Alice King, Mrs. Stella Mitchell, Dorothy Borkowski, Henry and Daniel Roman, all of Toledo; also survived by 20 grandchildren. Funeral Thursday, 8:30 a.m., Sujkowski & Son, 1629 Nebraska. Requiem High Mass, St. Ann’s Church, 10 a.m. Interment Calvary. Recitation of Rosary Wednesday, 8 p.m.

As always, if you know anything about Martha or Casper, please leave a comment here and I’ll follow up.

I was searching for a way to share the grave photos I had been taking for Calvary cemetery in Toledo  in order to disseminate the genealogical information I have been gathering a bit wider. This does two things in my mind: it brings further awareness of our Polish immigrant ancestry in Ohio and possibly someone searching for their Polish ancestor in Ohio may stumble upon a grave photo and have more information about that person that they may wish to share.

In that light, I found two possibilities for sharing the photos: Find A Grave and the Ohio Gen Web Gravestone Photo Project.

I originally chose Find A Grave and test drove it. Not any problems. The site gets a lot of traffic, but it seems much of that traffic is generated by those submitting graves. It also has a lot of administrative overhead–no cost, but some bureaucracy. Many who post there seem to enjoy the hobby called “graving”–photographing cemeteries and then uploading photos of all of the graves. Those who do this often have no knowledge of the person whose grave they photographed.  I had found a few “digital graves” of family members there, uploaded by others. One did have a connection, the others did not. And I had learned one of those submitters had passed away. I was unable to link to or update her information. While I felt the traffic generated there was high and could lead me to potential new contacts in the effort to research family, I’m not quite convinced that this is the right site to use for my efforts in researching my family and the general history of the Kuschwantz. Find A Grave disappointed me in that persons who submit data there do not necessarily have to provide any detailed information on the burial–all they need is a photo or an obit. While I’m certain there is a lot of value behind Find A Grave, it at least provides an entry point to those seeking basic genealogical information, the data there can be scant, wrong, or held by someone without an interest or who may no longer be active there.

Another site that I found seems more promising for Ohio based efforts. Very little traffic is coming its way in terms of volume but the information provided seems as valuable, if not more valuable, to real genealogical purposes (my opinion only). Unfortunately, it’s scope is limited only to Ohio. This is the Ohio Gen Web Gravestone Photo Project. I made a few submissions for Andrew Przybylski and for Eva and Joe Plenzler, just to see how it worked. I then made an inquiry to the state administrator of the site because it seemed as if Lucas County and Calvary in particular had few records. That led to an email conversation which in turn led to me becoming the administrator for Lucas County cemeteries.

That said, I hope you visit the Ohio Gravestone Photo Project. URL is http://ohiogravestones.org/. You will need a free login to use the site. If you have any Ohio-based grave photos, I hope you’ll consider sharing and documenting them here. Many cemeteries are aging and have been struck by vandals, have been neglected, stones are lost or broken, etc. You’d be sharing genealogical data with future generations.

While I have uploaded a handful of submissions to Find A Grave, I likely will not be making many more contributions there — probably if and when I obtain grave photos that cannot go to the Ohio project–and then may seek out another venue. Because the preservation and documentation of history are relevant to me, I prefer to remain with the Ohio Gravestone Photo Project for Ohio-based graves. Of course, I will continue to publish relevant photos here as well! You retain copyright and ownership of any data submitted to both the Ohio Gravestone Photo Project and Find A Grave website.

I have more photos from Calvary Cemetery to go through and I worked on them a bit over the holiday weekend. I located Frances Przybylski’s grave photo and cropped it and compressed it for upload.

One thing that just did not strike me immediately–it must have been the fact I was taking photos on an extremely hot day and my brains were fried–was that there is an error on her grave stone. It provides her birth as 1885. Now we all know that can’t be so! I did verify the burial location and this photo was taken in Section3 of Calvary. Transcription of her burial record through Calvary is:

Frances Przybylski, 1451 Avondale, Age 62, Cause of death: Cirrhosis of Liver. Date of Interment May 15, 1922. Grave 2602, Range or Lot 17, Section 3. Undertaker: Czolgosz.

So it appears the age was noted appropriately through burial records. So why the error? Did the family not notice this? Or is this the WRONG photo? The burial year is correct and I have poked through the records to try to attempt to see if another Frances Przybylski was buried the same year in the same section, close to each other. (This has happened with my father: another Edward Mierzejewski is buried nearby my father, Edward Mierzejewski, in the same section.) I am going to review the burial records again for 1922 to see if I had photographed the wrong grave or if this indeed an error on the part of the mason. (My bets are on the mason.)

Here is the photo. Should anyone have any insight, please leave a message here. I’ll follow up.

Frances Przybylski grave

Frances Przybylski grave (click to download larger high resolution photo)