December 2011

Just a quick update. I will not be posting anything here for the next several weeks. Much to share, but ’tis the season.

May you each have a blessed Christmas and happy New Year.

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.

The theme today over at GeneaBloggers is Wedding Wednesday. Today’s photo is partially identified and was taken by F. E. Koella Studios on Division Street in Toledo. I have no date; however, the photo does have a few clues. You can click the image below to get a large-sized, high-res copy to zoom in on the identification written on the photo.

Wedding photo of Charles and Margaret Mielcarek

Wedding photo of Charles and Margaret Mielcarek

There are three persons identified on the photo: Josephine Plenzler Przybylski (woman in the middle) and the bridge and groom are Margaret and Charles Mielcarek. I do not have the bride’s maiden name. Also if you look closely at the groom and the first gentleman on the left, they seem to look quite alike–possibly they are brothers?

I have not yet identified a Josephine Plenzler–at least, not one from the families in Toledo. Was there a Josephine Plenzler who belonged to the branches who moved to Indiana or Minnesota?

If you have any information or can help identify any of the people in this photo, leave a comment here or drop me an email.

A quick post — this geek girl has to get some beauty sleep. Work duty calls.

The theme over at GeneaBloggers today is Tombstone Tuesday. Today’s tombstone is that for the Zielinski family. While in Toledo a few weeks ago to get my great-grandfather’s naturalization information, I did manage to drive through Calvary. While it was a rainy, soggy day, I did find a few graves using the windshield method. Luckily these were easy to see. The front of the stone marks the graves for Mary (Mruk) Zielinski, John, and daughter, Amelia. Note that here Amelia’s name is spelled differently. I’ve found her name recorded as Emilia and Amelia.

Gravestone for John, Mary and Amelia Zielinski

Gravestone for John, Mary and Amelia Zielinski

The reverse side of the stone marks the graves of Mary and John’s sons, Gabriel and Bernard and for Gabriel’s wife, Helen.

Gravestone for Gabriel, Bernard, and Helen Zielinski

Gravestone for Gabriel, Bernard, and Helen Zielinski

The grave can be located in Section 34 near the mausoleum, lot 30.

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


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.