Updated 03.21.2012 to clearly state the Creative Commons Licensing and copyrights used on this site.


My father’s family emigrated from the Russian partition of Poland. My mother’s family emigrated from the Prussian (German) partition.

The Mierzejewski family emigrated from the Russian partition of Poland (Warsaw region, Troszyn region) to the US in the early 1900s through 1920, scattering themselves primarily into Masschusetts west into Pennsylvania and then into northwest Ohio. I am still plodding through with the help of Garret Mierzejewski, Bill Marsh, and a few others to determine relationships. My father’s parents were unrelated Mierzejewskis. Yup. You read that right. My grandmother was a Mierzejewska who married a Mierzejewski. While that seems to be unusual, in the larger scheme of things it’s not. The name is not at all uncommon in any of the regions of Poland today and there are a number of Mierzejewska/Mierzejewski marriages. It’s been like untangling several miles of knotted string to understand the relationships of the Mierzejewskis in Ohio.

The Plenzlers and Przybylskis emigrated to the US in the 1880s from Poznan, settling primarily in the Toledo, Ohio region. I do not know of any Dauers that emigrated to the US yet. My maternal great-grandmother is Eva Dauer. I have clues that perhaps some of her mother’s family (Aumiller) may have settled into northwest Ohio; however, I have not yet investigated that in detail.

We all lived, worked, played, worshipped in an area called Kuschwantz in Toledo. My family all came from Poland–mom’s came from Poznan and dad’s came from Tomacze northeast of Warsaw which was in the Russian partition. My mom’s family came here first, then my father’s — but their families each remained in the Kuschwantz region for many, many years. My mother left the area in the early 1990s, several years after my father passed away. When she left, a tie to our history and family was severed.

Toledo had two large Polish communities: Lagrinka (the north side of the city, bounded in general by Lagrange Street and Manhattan Boulevard) and the Kuschwantz (roughly bounded by Nebraska Avenue, Dorr Street, and Junction Avenue). Lagrinka developed a bit ahead of Kuschwantz; however, a large wave of Poles from the Prussian partition of Poland started to migrate into the city in large waves near the end of the 1870s. Because of their Germanic influence (remember, Poland was not recognized as an independent nation until 1918 and was comprised of three partitions prior to World War I–Prussian, Austrian, and Russian), these migrants settled near Lenk’s Hill. Lenk’s Hill was mainly a Germanic neighborhood, and as it became more heavily populated with those who identified themselves as of Polish extraction, it became known as “Kuschwantz,” which means cow’s tail, because it generally followed the path of a railroad line.

The Kuschwantz area was heavily settled with Catholic Poles who quickly established parishes in the region, beginning with St. Anthony’s, then St. Stanislaus, and then Nativity and St. Hyacinth’s.

My parents both lived near St. Stanislaus and St. Anthony’s parish. My father’s family moved into the St. Hyacinth parish region not long after my father was born. I grew up attending St. Hyacinth’s parish and school. In fact, I was one of the first babies baptized in the “new” church in January, 1960. Additionally, I graduated from Notre Dame Academy in Toledo.

Currently, I’m involved in basic data gathering: the whos, the wheres, the whys, and the hows. Part of this effort is driven by the simple fact that I came to slowly realize how large my family was and I never could quite put all the pieces of the puzzle together. Another part of this effort is simply because my mother’s memory is not what it used to be–I’d like to be able to record as much of the family history as possible and verify it through her and possibly obtain some oral history from her. Lastly, the history of Toledo and its industrialization, growth, and culture is very much centered around its Polish population. It’s simply an interesting story to investigate through the eyes of family.

Information that is placed on this blog is generally information that can be gathered through the public domain (from sites such as familysearch.org and ancestry.com), from digitized records of the Catholic Diocese of Toledo and Cleveland, and other public records such as census records, birth and death records, and land ownership records. The LDS has an excellent collection of digitized records for many collections in the state of Ohio. Records that are provided here can be easily downloaded for your personal use. Additionally, the city of Toledo and Lucas County, Ohio have an excellent GIS and historic land ownership database at http://www.co.lucas.oh.us/index.aspx?NID=377.

Much of this data I cannot claim copyrights to. It is simply put here for those who wish to view or obtain the data. The only copyright I can claim would be for original works, such as my original writing or any original photographs or art work that I would publish here. Other works I cannot claim copyright to would be works cited by another author such as Toledo’s Polonia by Rev. Richard Philiposki of the Toledo Polish Genealogical Society.

Anyone with questions, comments, or input can feel free to email me at keyholes@sbcglobal.net, leave a comment here (I will capture your email and IP), or leave me a comment via Twitter (@mcmanusd). Please note that that any time you post here, I will have to approve the message. I have no desire to be in the censorship business, but I do have a severe allergic reaction to spam! I’ve noticed a heavy amount of spam hitting this blog lately as well as a lot of phishing going on so I’ve tightened the security a bit.

If you notice any broken links to documents or other information, please let me know and I’ll fix them. Also, if you know anyone mentioned in this blog or have any information you wish to share, or find any inaccuracies, please let me know!

Witamy! Hopefully, this can lead to a collaborative effort with others researching these families.

A note about the Creative Commons Licensing I use

You may use material here without payment by following the Creative Commons Licensing Agreement. What this means is this: you may use any original text or photos in this blog if you attribute them to me as the original creator and copyright owner. In general, this refers to any photos that I have taken or text I have written. Facts, historical photos, or documents posted here can all be considered within the public domain–one cannot copyright fact. This applies to any of my original photos that may be placed on other sites as well, including the Ohio Gravestone Project. Photos placed there remain my copyright and you must abide by the terms and conditions of the Ohio Gravestone Project located here: http://ohiogravestones.org/terms.php.

The reason I insist on this is two fold: the grave photos are difficult to obtain–they require considerable research and verification and because names can be easily confused. I want to take every precaution possible that the correct gravestone is attributed to each person’s death that I have documented.


5 Responses to “About me, about Kuschwantz, and miscellaneous updates”

  1. amy sackman odim Says:

    Donna – this is ambitious and so cool! My mother’s family (Rygalski/Palowski) is Lagrinka centered. I fondly remember Bushia’s neighborhood and its many corner groceries,Menke’s Bakery and movies at the Ohio Theater. I was married at St Hedwiga – i think you and Mike were there? Best wishes on this journey. I have always identified myself as first generation white bread- a working class Polish girl from Toledo. Happy Travels!

    1. Donna Mierzejewski-McManus Says:

      No, we were married in St. Hyacinth. Thanks for the kind words–it’s been all too long.

  2. Paulette (Wisniewski) Kwiatkowski Says:

    Appreciate this website having grown up in the neighborhood and a member of the Toledo Polish Genealogical Society.

  3. Rev. Thomas Extejt Says:

    Dear Donna:
    The wedding picture in your November ’11 blog is definitely my great-aunt, Sophia Szymanowski Plenzler, and her new husband, Frank Plenzler. I confirmed this with an older cousin who lives in Florida. Uncle Frank was a genius at carpentry, and incredibly strong for a little wiry man. Aunt Sophie loved everybody. I spent many happy hours at their house at 1240 Campbell St.

    1. Donna Mierzejewski-McManus Says:

      Thank you! I’m so happy someone was able to identify. I had gotten the photo through my cousin, John Plenzler. It’s so nice to know a bit about Frank and Sophia.

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