Have been corresponding with a few via email recently. A comment made was “such tragic stories sometimes.” Yes, I’m sure many of our ancestors experienced hardships and tragedies, but I’m not certain that was the theme of their lives. I thought about this the past week or so–I know there were many joys in my ancestor’s lives–marriages, births, celebrations, satisfaction gained from a job well done, hobbies, and achievements. I also know there were times they just let their hair down and laughed themselves silly.

While investigating our ancestor’s lives, it seemed to me that we do so primarily through documents that provide us facts such as birthdates and death dates. Sometimes those documents or pieces of information — for example, death certificates — provide us a glimpse into information that must not be easy to know or makes us sad. I know I’ve seen examples where a mother died in childbirth or in the case the St. Anthony’s train wreck, my heart seemed to break to learn that information. It occurred to me that other than marriage records or baptismal records, many of the records we find about our ancestors often brings sad news.

So, my question: Have you any stories of joy or happiness in your ancestor’s lives? Are there any times in their lives where you can see them smile or laugh?

Here’s a photo of my aunt, Celia with her sister-in-law, Helen, playing like children with a tricycle and baby doll carriage. I don’t have a date, but I do recognize that yard!

Celia Mierzejewski Starzynski and Helen Ceglarska Mierzejewski

Celia Mierzejewski Starzynski and Helen Ceglarska Mierzejewski — being playful

While going through the clippings and information my parents left, I found a newspaper clipping for someone named Anthony Ceglarski a while back. I did not connect the name for a while then realized my uncle Walter’s wife was Helen Ceglarski. (Walter and his wife, Helen, used the surname of Myers.) So, long story short: this would have been my uncle Walter’s father-in-law.

It took a bit, but I traced this clipping and its date. The clipping would likely have been published on 15 May of 1945 in the Toledo Blade. It tells of Anthony’s accident by walking into a train. Here is the clip.

Anthony Ceglarski, train accident

Anthony Ceglarski, train accident

Unfortunately, Anthony did not survive his accident. He passed away on 16 May, and his obituary was published 17 May 1945 in the Toledo Blade. Below is an obituary I was able to pull from Google archives. I’ve transcribed the obituary below because the scan isn’t very good.

Anthony Ceglarski, obituary, Toledo Blade, 17 May 1945

Anthony Ceglarski, obituary, Toledo Blade, 17 May 1945

Anthony Ceglarski

Services will be at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday in the Valenty Sujkowski Funeral Home for Anthony Ceglarski of 605 Waverly Ave. who died yesterday in Mercy Hospital of injuries suffered Thursday when he walked into the side of a train.

Other services will be at 9 a.m. in St. Hyacinth’s Church. Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery.

Lesson learned: few things your parents or grandparents saved are meaningless! Just because it took me a while to connect the dots with this means little. My father would not have saved this clipping. It’s likely he obtained it from his mother. Why would I say this? My father was still overseas with the Army Air Corps at the time Anthony died. He was not discharged until October 1945.

Walter was my uncle, my father’s older brother. Walter was born in 1910; however, I do not have an exact date of birth. He was born in Poland; although his obituary states he was a Toledo native.

Walter arrived in the US with his parents, Walter and Helen, in 1923 at the age of about 13. I do not have much information about Walter’s early life in the US other than he married Helen Ceglarski. When the family first arrived here, they lived at 1763 Buckingham with Jan Mierzejewski (whom I believe to be my great-uncle). Walter Sr. and his family (Helen, Walter Jr., Celia, and Edward) eventually moved to Woodstock and then to Evesham (right behind St. Hyacinth’s parish).

Helen and Walter  had three children: Thomas, Richard, and Eugenia.  After their marriage, they had moved to Waverly Avenue and had change their last name to Myers. Helen’s and Walter’s daughter, Eugenia (Jeannie) lived and raised their family in the house on Waverly, so I grew up with their children and remember the residence on Waverly quite well. We lived within walking or biking distance of each other.

Helen Ceglarski’s parents were Anthony and Maggie. Anthony and Maggie owned the home on Waverly and seemed to have passed the house on through the generations to Helen and then to Jeannie. Per the 1920 census, Anthony and Maggie arrived in the US with their first daughter, Stella, in 1906. Helen was born in the US about 1911.

I have no pictures of Walter Jr.; however, I do have a few photos of his wife, Helen. Both pictures are taken with my dad’s sister, Celia. It seems as if they were great pals.

Helen and Celia #1. Helen is seated on the tricycle and Celia is pushing the baby carriage. (I guess they were rather playful!)

Helen and Celia #2. Helen and Celia are at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. Helen is in the floral print dress, Celia is in the dark suit.

Walter Myers passed away on February 6, 1959. His obituary reads:

Walter Myers

Walter Myers, 49, of 605 Waverly Ave., died of a heart attack yesterday at his home.

A Toledo native, Mr. Myers was a painter. He had been employed at Champion Spark Plug Co. 33 years.

Surviving are his wife, Helen; daughter, Mrs. Eugenia Mruzek; sons, Richard and Thomas; mother, Mrs. Helen Mierzejewski; brother, Edward; sister, Mrs. Celia Starzynski, and three grandchildren, all of Toledo.

The body is in the Sujkowski Mortuary. Services will be Tuesday at 9 a.m. in St. Hyacinth’s Church with burial at Calvary Cemetery.

Helen Myers passed away August 19, 1983. Helen’s obituary reads:

Helen Myers

Mrs. Helen Myers, 72, of Waverly Avenue, died Friday in St. Luke’s Hospital. She worked 20 years as a machine operator at Champion Spark Plug Co., retiring in 1965. She was the widow of Walter Myers. Surviving are a daughter, Mrs. Jean Mruzek, and sons, Richard and Thomas. Services will be at 10 a.m. Monday in St. Hyacinth Church. The Rosary will be recited at 7:30 p.m. Sunday in Sujkowski Mortuary, where the body will be after 7 tonight.