My father’s family has proven itself difficult to research. They originated from a region of Poland that was controlled by Russia and torn by upheavals, wars (World War I and II and the Russian Civil War/Polish-Soviet War), and invasions. This region, surrounding Czerwin, Gerwaty, Goworowo, Tomasze, and Borowce, finally has a number of online records for the region at the Polish Genealogical Society’s metrics website. Of course, my difficult search has been only more frustrating since both of my grandparents had the surname of Mierzejewski and let’s face it–despite the fact that name may appear unusual to anyone without a clue in Polish ancestry–it’s one of those names. There are many of us, and it has come to my conclusion that it’s the Polish equivalent to the surnames of Jones, Smith, and Johnson. (Those of you with deep Polish roots can understand if you’re from a family named Mierzejewski, Przybylski, or Kowalski. There are just too many of us!)

Until I can get to Poland, digital and social connections and the use of whatever knowledge I have that my relatives have shared will have to do.

So, I’ve been scouring the metrics website this weekend. I believe I’ve come up with a direct connection to my father’s family. I knew that my grandfather’s (Wladyslaw or Walter) father was Jan and that he married three times: to Anna Budziszewska, to Anna’s elder sister (name yet to be determined), and Eleonora Guzskowska. Sometime ago, Garret Mierzejewski kindly shared with me Jan’s marriage record to Anna. The marriage occurred in 1864. This led me to confirm that Jan and Anna had a son name Ignacy although I have not confirmed his date of birth.

Ignacy was married to a woman named Marianna Dabkowska. This I had learned by researching his son, John (b. 1894), who had immigrated to the US and resided in Toledo. Many in this branch of my family seem to have either remained in Poland or have traveled to the US and returned to Poland to remain. I’ve heard a few stories about this branch that have told me some just didn’t care to live in the United States and returned home. So far, I have not found any records for Ignacy to have traveled to the US. Along the way, I had discovered that John had a brother named Edward (b. 1903) through the 1930 census, where he is listed a boarder living with John and his wife, Anna, on Hamilton St. in Toledo.

Through the PGS’s metrics website, I was able to locate a birth record for Edward, written in Russian. I have queries out to have it translated. However, for me, this was a pretty wonderful thing. I finally got a record, from Poland, on my own for my father’s family. I never thought that would happen due to the issues of distance, history and language. (I can’t even begin to understand Russian and the history, both of Poland and of my family, are working against me!)

The record is below. Click image to obtain the full resolution, full size image. The record for Edward is #67, top left.

Birth record for Edward Mierzejewski, b. 1903 to Ignacy Mierzejewski and Marianna Dabkowska, from Catholic parish in Czerwin.

Birth record for Edward Mierzejewski, b. 1903 to Ignacy Mierzejewski and Marianna Dabkowska, from Catholic parish in Czerwin.

Let’s talk Mierzejewski. Lots of confusion on this family, remember my grandfather married a Mierzejewska. So, it takes some time and patience untangling names and relationships. Earlier, I had identified a John (Jan) M. Mierzejewski as my grandmother’s brother. See this post updated on July 13, 2010 and this post from August 1, 2010.

However, I’m going to focus on my grandfather’s family here. And these relationships are confusing because my grandmother and grandfather each had siblings who were named alike. The John or Jan Mierzejewski who is today’s subject is descended through my great-grandfather, Antoni Mierzejewski. Antoni had a son named Ignacy. John is the son of Ignacy Mierzejewski and Marianna Goclowska Dabkowska. My grandfather, Wladyslaw (Walter) is the son of Ignacy and another wife, Budziszewska. So Walter and John were half-brothers.

This post will set the stage for a following post on John’s son, William. William, or Bill, was an OSS officer who served in Yugoslavia in WWII. Bill had changed his last name to Marsh after leaving the OSS to serve with the Ohio State Highway Patrol. Much of the information presented here was provided by Bill’s son, William (Bill) S. Marsh (Mierzejewski).

John was born in Tomasze, Poland on November 15, 1894 per his Word War II draft registration card.

Interestingly, John provided his residence for the World War II draft registration on Vance Street. A number of my mother’s relatives had resided on Vance.

Per the 1930 census, John was residing at 1021 Hamilton. This census indicates that John is living with his first wife, Anna (Joanna) (Mizlinska or Myslinska) and his children:

  • Josephine
  • William
  • Adelaide

Also noted on this census is a roomer, Edward. Edward is likely John’s brother.

John served in WWI and because of his service, became a naturalized citizen.

Thanks to Bill Marsh, there are several photos of John:

John Mierzejewski in uniform

John Mierzejewski

John and Anna (Joanna) marriage

John and Anna (Joanna) marriage

John and Anna (Joanna) marriage

John and Anna (Joanna) marriage

John Mierzejewski, far left, uniform

John Mierzejewski, far left, uniform

If you can identify anyone in these photos, please leave a message here and I will follow up.

John passed away on August 17, 1970. His obituary as published in the Toledo Blade the same day and is transcribed below:

John Mierzejewski

John Mierzejewski, 74, of 1435 Nebraska Ave., owner of John’s Carry-out for 20 years, died Monday in Howard’s Convalescent Home, Swanton, O., after a long illness.

Born in Poland, Mr. Mierzejewski lived in Toledo 46 years. He worked at the Mather Spring Co. 30 years, retiring nine years ago, and also ran the carry-out with his wife.

Mr. Mierzejewski was an army veteran of World War I, a member of the Wroblewski Post, American Legion, and of the Toledo Health and Retiree Center.

Surviving are his wife, Jennie, daughters, Mrs. Adelaide McCartney, of Berkey, and Mrs. Josephine Galliers, of Toledo, and nine grandchildren.

Services will be Thursday at 1 p.m. in Sujkowski Mortuary, with burial in Toledo Memorial Park. The body will be in the mortuary after 7 tonight.

I’d heard a few times as a child that my grandmother, Helen, was also a Mierzejewski. My mother told me this a few times, but I had never heard that information directly from my father or his sister. Not having known my grandmother since she died months before I was born, I kept that information in the back of my mind and wasn’t sure how accurate that information was.

However, that information was recently confirmed to me via Garret Mierzejewski, who did extensive research on the Mierzejewski family and name. He provided me with family trees that indicate that Helen’s parents were Stanislaw Mierzejewski and Anna Keijewska. So, it’s very likely that Jan and Konstanty are from Helen’s branch of the family tree–and this is something I’ll have to investigate further.

Even more interesting, Walter Sr.’s (Wladyslaw) father, was also named Jan. Jan was born sometime between 1834 and 1838 in Gorowowo, and had resided in Tomasze, Poland.  Jan had married three times:

Jan’s marriage was to the elder sister of Anna Budziszewska. This marriage produced a son, Ignacy. Jan’s first wife died sometime around 1854.

  • Ignacy was married twice. His first wife was Marianna Dabkowska. His second wife was Alexandra Mierzejewska.

Jan’s second marriage was to Eleonora Guszkowska. This marriage produced a daughter, Konstanja. Eleonora died in 1864.

  • Konstancja married Antoni Mieczkowski.

The third marriage was to Anna Budziszewska. Jan and Anna had married July 31, 1864 in Gorowowo. This marriage produced six children:

Twins: Franciszka and Franciszek, born about January 27, 1868.

Ludwik, born January 31, 1871.

  • Ludwik married Katarzyna Goclowska.

Jozef, born February 14, 1874, died February 16, 1953 in Tomasze.

  • Jozef married Bronislawa Goclowska.

Wladyslaw Antoni (Walter, Sr.), my grandfather. Wladyslaw was born November 27, 1876 in Tomasze.

  • Wladyslaw (Walter, Sr. ) married Helena Mierzejewska.

Marceli Mierzejewski. Born January 16, 1881 in Tomasze, died June 22, 1965 in Tomasze.

  • Marceli married a Mierzejewska–Czeslawa Mierzejewska.

So, there are a few twists. My grandfather married a Mierzejewska and three of his offspring married a Mierzejewska. Just how many branches are to this family? And just how are they all related? It also seems as if Lukwik and Jozef could have married sisters.

I’ll ask Garret for permission to post the trees he sent here.

Another interesting tidbit that I’ve noticed was that when Wladyslaw came here in 1909, the manifest shows him traveling with a Marzel Mierzejewski. The arrived from Borowiec, and the manifest notes “sister ill” and that his wife was Helena Mierzejewski. The manifest states their final destination is Pittsfield, Massachusetts. See records 11 and 12 on the manifest.