Plenzler


As a follow up to my previous post, I had to share an experience that led me to encourage someone who may be at wits’ end trying to knit together information on a family — you can’t determine relationships or perhaps you have a birthdate and unless a person is truly Methusala, you cannot ascertain a death date.

This happened to me recently. I was researching the Mruk branch of my maternal Plenzler family. I had known that my great-grand-aunt, Margaretha Plenzler Mruk, had a daughter named Mary. I knew Mary had married a gentleman named John Zielinski. However, I could not put my finger on all of Mary’s and John’s children. Like my maiden name, Zielinski  is a fairly common Polish name. There are many Zielinskis in the Toledo region. Not all are related. And given the fact that these individuals were named Mary and John, I was beginning to think I was never going to find their progeny.

I slowly chipped away at it and found their eldest son, Gabriel, through the 1900 census. Gabriel was a six month old child at the time of the census and he passed away in 1977. One by one, I managed to find the rest of their children using the 1910, 1920, and 1930 census data:

I was able to locate an obituary for each of the siblings except for Ralph and Ameley/Emilia. This proved invaluable to locate or discover who Emilia or Ameley was. It also shows clearly to me how we need to question the data that is provided by the census taker on census materials as well as our own assumptions. Clearly, transcriptions can be inaccurate, but I’ve also come across many instances where the census taker’s information was incorrect or inaccurate.

None of this seems remarkable other than I could find no traces of an “Ameley” or an “Emilia” Zielinski after about 1930. My hunches were that she had passed away, moved away, or married outside of the state or that on the 1920 census data, the name was  entered as “Emilia” and on the 1930 census the name was entered as “Ameley.” (Was Hooked on Phonics was popular in the 1920s or 30s?) So I went with searching for “Emilia”  and its diminutive version, “Emily.”

I had scoured the baptismal registries for both St. Stanislaus and St. Anthony’s parishes to no avail–all of her older siblings were baptized in St. Anthony’s parish. St. Stan’s was in the neighborhood and a new parish at the time, so I thought, ok… it’s possible she were baptized there as well. (Although I do plan to go back through those baptismal records and give them the once-over again.)

No marriages cropped up for Emilia, Ameley, or Emily. But that’s not unusual. I did have several female family members who never married.

I let the situation rest a while as I went on to the mind numbing exercise of locating all of the Mierzejewskis I could possibly find in immigration manifests. So this weekend after putting the Mierzejewski exercise aside, I decided to backfill some of the Zielinski family story with obituaries and thought I’d check to see what could arise from that effort. Since Ralph and Martha were the most recently deceased in 2002, it was a piece of cake to find Martha’s obituary which gave me the needed information to locate Amelia. Here is her obituary published in the Toledo Blade on August 30, 2002, transcribed below:

RYWALSKI, Martha R. (Zielinski)

Martha R. Rywalski, age 90, of Sylvania, Ohio, died peacefully after suffering from a massive stroke on Thursday, August 29, 2002, in her home. She was born on December 14, 1911, to John and Mary (Mruk) Zielinski in Toledo, Ohio. Martha had worked as a clerk for the former Valley Fruit House. She was a member of St. Stanislaus Kostka Church where she was baptized and married. She was a member of the St. Francis Guild and enjoyed bunco.

Martha was preceded in death by her loving Husband, John, in 1969; brothers, Gabriel (Helen), Edward (Helen), and Bernard Zielinski; sisters, Isabel (Walter) Urbanowski, Regina (John) Burzynski, Mary (Andrew) Sieja, and Amelia Zielinsk; son, Donald Rywalski; son-in-law, Gerald Hagen, and great-grandson, Scott Wambold.

She will be deeply missed by her loving daughter, Barbara (Rywalski) Hagen, daughter-in-law, Lois (Donald) Rywalski, grandchildren, Dr. Suzanne (Bob) Wambold, Gary (Sally) Hagen, Gail Rywalski, David (Amy) Rywalski; great-grandchildren, Melissa and Abigail Hagen, Kelli and Katie Wambold, and Morgan Rywalski, and by brother, Ralph (Phyllis) Zielinski.

Family and friends may visit at the W.K. Sujkowski & Son Funeral Home, 3838 Airport Hwy., on Friday from 2-9 pm. Funeral Services will be held on Saturday, August 31, 2002, at 10 am followed by Mass of Christian Burial at St. Stanislaus Church at 10:30 am. A wake service will be held on Friday evening at 7 pm in the mortuary.

When I read that, I began to wonder why I hadn’t thought of “Amelia” as a possibility for her name! Now I knew that Amelia had passed away and I was able to sort through the rest of the obituaries. Not all mentioned the siblings who had passed away previously, however, it was obvious the Amelia was not mentioned as a survivor. Since the earliest date of death I had found for any of the siblings was for Regina and Edward in 1958, I was able to safely assume that Amelia had passed away sometime between the time of the 1930 census and 1958. That narrowed it down to about 28 years.

Then using FamilySearch.org, I was able to pinpoint Amelia’s date of death by locating her death certificate. Amelia passed away at the age of 20 on June 11, 1935.  She did not have what we would consider a obituary by today’s standards; however, it was common practice in the 1930s and 1940s for undertakers to include a classified ad in the local newspapers called a death notice. I located Amelia’s death notice published in the Toledo News-Bee on June 12, 1935, transcribed below:

ZIELINSKI, AMELIA–Age 20. Tues. Beloved daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John, sister of Mrs. R. Burzynski, Mrs. I. Urbanowski, Mrs. M. Seija, Mrs. M. Rywalski, Gabriel, Edward, Ralph, and Bernard. Funeral Sat. 8:30 a.m. from the residence, 1737 Buckingham and 9 o’clock at St. Stanislaus Church. Interment family lot, Calvary. Young Ladies Sodality, please attend. Sujkowski & Son.

After posting about the gravestone I’d found for a Maryanna Aumiller, I went through all of the photos I have from Calvary.  Sure enough, I found I’d taken one of Maryanna’s husband, Adelbert “George” Aumiller. I hope eventually to establish some connection with the Aumillers to the Plenzers and hopefully in the future locate any possible Dauer relatives through my great-grandmother, Eva Dauer Plenzler.

Here is the photo for Adelbert “George” Aumiller:

Adelbert "George" Aumiller grave Calvary Cemetery, Toledo, Ohio

Adelbert "George" Aumiller grave Calvary Cemetery, Toledo, Ohio

The grave location in Calvary is: Grave: 921, Range or lot: 6, Section: 3

Today’s theme over at GeneaBloggers is Wednesday’s child.

Ronald Jankowski was the son of Florence Plenzler and Stanley Jankowski. Florence was the daughter of Martin Plenzler and Minnie Machowiak. Interestingly, Stanley was widowed when Florence passed away in 1946. He then married her sister, Edna, in 1950 Edna was widowed a few years prior when her husband, Daniel Sieja passed away.

Ronald was born December 14, 1933 and died February 13, 1934 of pneumonia.

Ronald S. Jankowski, grave, Calvary Cemetery, Toledo, Ohio

Ronald S. Jankowski, Calvary Cemetery, Toledo, Ohio

As promised, here’s a write up the last located sibling for Joseph Plenzler, Kunegunda. I tried to look up the name Kunegunda because it’s a pretty unusual name–at least for me. Never heard of it until I encountered Joseph’s sister. All I could find was this from catholic.org.  So it’s pretty obvious Kunegunda didn’t get the name from being born on July 24, all records I could locate place her birth as March 22, 1872. I then posted a question to Ask Sister Mary Martha. She seems to be knowledgeable about such things, so maybe she’ll be able to provide some insight. (Now back to our regularly scheduled post. I tend to be interested in some of the odder trivia of genealogy such as answering questions like “Why in the world would a parent give their child THAT name?”)

Kunegunda arrived in the US in Baltimore on June 15, 1892. The manifest seems to indicate that she traveled alone, there are no other Plenzlers or other related family names that I can recognized on this manifest. She was 22 and single and her final destination is listed as Indiana. So she was heading to be with her sisters in South Bend.

Kungunda married Stanislaw (Stanley)  Zalas on January 16, 1892 in St. Hedwig’s Parish in South Bend, Indiana per the South Bend Area Genealogical Society. (Contact the Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library.) The 1900 census shows that Kunegunda and Stephen had four children:

  1. Piotr (age 6)
  2. Stanislaw (age 5)
  3. Zofia (age 4)
  4. Jadwiga (age 8 months)

By the 1920 census, the family added five more children:

  1. Hattie (age 19)
  2. George (age 17)
  3. Jacob (age 13)
  4. Verna (age 9)
  5. Klara (age 4 or 5, the census noted the age as 4 12/12 months)

I have little further data on this family. Per Kunegunda’s obituary, Stanislaw died in 1950. Kunegunda died in 1953. Her obituary was published in the South Bend Tribune on November 19, 1953 and  is obtainable through the South Bend Library and I’ve transcribed it below:

Mrs. Kunegunda Zalas, 714 South Brookfield St. Died at 7:30 PM Saturday in St. Joseph Hospital after four weeks illness. She was born in Poland March 22, 1872, and came here 65 years ago from that country. She was married here 62 years ago to Stanley Zalas, who died in 1950. Surviving are four sons; Peter, Stanley Jr., Albert and James; and three daughters, Mrs. Sophia Jaronik, Mrs. Verna Caplin and Mrs. Clara Gapinski, all of South Bend; 24 grandchildren and 24 great grandchildren. Friends may call in the Kaniewski Chapel after 6 PM today and the funderal at 9 am Tuesday in St. Adalbert’s Church, with Rev. Ignatius J. Capczynski, pastor, officiating. Burial will be in St. Joseph Cemetery.

This post continues on with the siblings of Joseph Plenzler.

Elizabeth was born in Poznan in March 1866. A passenger manifest from Philadelphia places her date of immigration as April 27, 1888 at the age of 22. About a month later, she married Joseph Zalas in South Bend, Indiana on May 30, 1888–making me think the marriage was already planned when she left Poland.

By 1900, Elizabeth and Joseph were living nearby in St. Joe’s, Indiana and had six children per the census:

  1. Stanislaus (b. October 1889)
  2. Joseph (b. November 1890)
  3. Tekla (b. August 1893)
  4. Agnes (b. January 1895)
  5. Martin (b. September 1896)
  6. Wiktor (b. November 1899)

What’s interesting about the 1900 census data for the Zalas family is that it shows that a Kazmier Mruk is living with the family as a border. Elizabeth’s sister, Margaretha had married a Michal Mruk. There very likely is a connection, that perhaps this Kazmier is a brother to Michal Mruk and is an area for future research. Also note that one of the daughters of Margaretha Plenzler and Michael Mruk, Tekla, married John Przybylski. I have not yet found whether there is a link from this John Przybylski to my branch of the Przybylski family; however, my instinct tells me there is some link. These families all came from villages surrounding Gluszyna and Wiorek, Poland. Again, it’s another area for research.

By 1910, the census shows three more children born to the family:

  1. Clara (b. 1902)
  2. Lucia (b. 1904)
  3. Hermonin (Harry) (b. 1907)

Joseph was naturalized in 1924. He passed away July 1, 1927. His obituary was published July 2, 1927 in the South Bend Tribune and is transcribed below:

Joseph Zalas, age 60, died in his home, 1052 West Ford Street at 9 o’clock Friday morning, following an illness of four months. He was a resident of South Bend for 40 years. He was born in Poland March 1, 1867, and is survived by his wife, Mrs. Elizabeth Zalas; three daughters, Mrs. Agnes Kluk, Mrs. Lucille Cwidak, and Miss Clarice Zalas, and five sons, Stanley, Joseph, Martin, Victor, and Henry, and two sisters, Mrs. Mary Janiszczak and Mrs. Hattie Plencner. Funeral services will be held Monday morning in St. Casimir’s Roman Catholic Church, the Rev. S. J. Gorka, C. S. C. officiating. Burial will take place in St. Joseph’s cemetery.

There is a name in this obituary that leads to another Plenzler connection: Mrs. Hattie Plencner. Remember that Plencner is a variation on the Plenzler name and it was used interchangeably within this family. This may mean one of Joseph’s siblings married a Plenzler sibling. However, The only sons that I am aware of within this generation are John (who lived in Middle River, Minnesota) and Joseph (who lived in Toledo, Ohio). So we have another clue to another Plenzler who may have immigrated to the US–another area for research!

Elizabeth passed away December 19, 1950. Her obituary was published in the South Bend Tribune the same day and is transcribed below:

Mrs. Elizabeth Zalas, aged 79, of 1502 West Ford street, died at 4:25 a.m. today in her residence after an illness of three days. She was born in Poznan Poland, March 6, 1871, and came here 65 years ago. Surviving are four sons; Stanley, Joseph, Martin and Harry; two daughters, Mrs. Agnes Jackson and Mrs. Lucille Cwidak; 19 grandchildren; sixteen great grandchildren and a sister; Mrs. Constance (Kunegunda) Zalas, all of South Bend. Friends may call in the St. Joseph funeral home after 5 PM Wednesday until funeral services at 9 am Saturday in St. Casimir’s Catholic church. Burial will be St. Joseph cemetery. She was a member of St. Anne’s Society.

I do not have an original of this obituary as it was shared with me via email as a transcribed copy.

Family oral history tells that Elizabeth, Catherine, and Kunegunda  communicated with the family in Toledo via written letters and that there were personal visits between the families; however, I have no direct evidence of this although find it a credible story. South Bend, Indiana and Toledo, Ohio are only about 160 miles apart. By the 1890s and early 1900s, there were several railroad lines in Toledo that would have made this possible.

As usual, if you have insights, comments, corrections, etc., let me know.

As promised earlier, I’m going to focus on the siblings of my great-grandfather, Joseph Plenzler. So far, I’ve found two Plenzler siblings who settled in Toledo after emigration to the US: Joseph and Margaretha.

A brother, John is discussed in an earlier post. Catherine, Elizabeth, and Kunegunda are all documented by Lucky Ladlewski. Each of the sisters had settled in the South Bend/St. Joseph area of Indiana.

Catherine married Jacob Niemier in Głuszyna,  Poland in 1881. (I do not have the marriage record.) Thanks to Judy Stewart, we have a photo of Catherine.

Katarzyna (Catherine) Plenzler Niemier

Katarzyna (Catherine) Plenzler Niemier

Catherine and Jacob arrived in the United States 1887 per the 1900 US census. At the time of the 1900 census (see here and here, the data spanned over two pages), the family was living in South Bend, Indiana. Children were listed as

  • Mary, age 17. Mary was noted as having been born in Poland and was employed as a cigar maker.
  • Wojciech (Albert), age 14. Albert was also noted as having been born in Poland.
  • Lucya, age 11.
  • Piotr (Peter), age 9.
  • Melchoir, age 6.
  • Joseph, age 4.

By the 1920 census, twp more children were added to  the family:

  • Anna, age 16
  • Alec, age 13

And a grandchild was also noted on the 1920 census: Irene, age 1-1/2. Peter is noted as living with the family still in 1920 and the census notes that he was widowed.

The 1910 census also showed a child, Aloizy (Aloysius), age 3, this most likely is the child listed as Alec in the 1920 census.

Catherine passed away January 15, 1944 in South Bend. I have a copy of Catherine’s obituary (unfortunately, I do not know where it was published) and it is transcribed below:

Mrs. Catherine Niemer, aged 75, died at 1:55 p.m. Saturday in her home, 1503 West Poland street, after an illness of six weeks. She was born in Poznan, Poland, March 28, 1868, coming to South Bend 56 years ago. Surviving are three daughters, Mrs. Mary Kazmierczak, Mrs. Lucille Hes, and Mrs. Anna Vargo, all of South Bend; five sons, Albert, Peter, Melchiar, Joseph, and Aloysius, all of South Bend; two sisters, Elizabeth Zalas and Gwendolyn Zalas, both of South Bend; 33 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. Funeral services will be conducted at 9 a.m. Wednesday in St. Casmier’s Roman Catholic church and burial will be in St. Joseph’s Cemetery.

As always, if you have more information, please do share! Send me an email or leave a comment here and I’ll follow up.

Today, one of the themes over at GeneaBloggers is Wedding Wednesday. Today we have a wedding photo for Joseph (Joe Pie) Plenzler and Josephine Grzechowiak. They were married in 1913 in Toledo, Ohio.

Individuals in the photo, from left to right: Bessie Krolkie (friend of the bride), Robert Plenzler, Joseph Plenzler, Josephine Grezchowiak, Joseph Grzechowiak, Mary Plenzler.

Joseph Plenzler and Josephine Grzechowiak wedding, Toledo, Ohio, 1913

Joseph Plenzler and Josephine Grzechowiak wedding, Toledo, Ohio, 1913 (click for larger size high resolution photo)

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