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.

While going through my mom’s things, my sister found our grandparents’ and uncle’s obituaries.

John Plenzler (Published in The Blade, 03 August 1936)

John Plenzler died Sunday in his home at 722 Brown Ave. He was 51.

He leaves his wife, Mrs. Anastasia Plenzler, a son, Raymond, two daughters, Florence and Virginia, two sisters, Miss Mary Plenzler and Mrs. Sophia Szymanowski, and six brothers, Martin, Joseph, Robert, Frank, and Leo, all of Toledo, and Charles, Lambertville, Mich.

Services will be at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday in the residence, and at 9 a.m. in St. Stanislaus Church. [Burial] will be in Calvary.

John Plenzler, Obituary

John Plenzler, Obituary

Raymond  D. Plenzler (published in The Blade, 15 April 1960)

Raymond D. Plenzler, 46, of 1765 Buckingham St., died yesterday in Mercy Hospital.

Mr. Plenzler was a lifelong Toledo resident. He was a punch press operator at the Sheridan Manufacturing Co., 13 years.

Surviving are sisters, Mrs. Florence Soborowski and Mrs. Virginia Mierzejewski, both of Toledo.

Services will be Monday at 9 a.m. in St. Stanislaus Church, with burial in Calvary Cemetery. The body is in the Sujkowski Mortuary.

Raymond D. Plenzler Obituary

Raymond D. Plenzler Obituary

Anastasia Plenzler (Published in The Blade 15 March 1946)

Mrs. Anastasia (Nettie) Plenzler died Wednesday in her home, 722 Brown Ave. She was 55. She was a member of the St. Rita Society, St. Stanislaus Church and the Polish Roman Catholic Union, Group 14.

Surviving are her daughters, Florence and Virginia; son, Raymond; sisters, Mrs. Mary Erdman and Mrs. Eva Hejnick; brothers, Frank and John Przybylski, and one grandchild.

Services will be at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow in the Sujkowski & Sons’ Funeral Home and at 9 a.m. in St. Stanislaus Church. Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery.

Anastasia Plenzler, Obituary

Anastasia Plenzler, Obituary

I have to apologize for my absence.New Year Resolutions are always made with the best of intentions, right? Unfortunately, I slacked and let a few other things take precedence. I had been meaning to post this photo given to me by my cousin, Milt. We had met early in December and I hadn’t gotten around to scanning this until now. I was truly surprised and grateful that Milt shared this. This is a photo of my dad. I do not have a date when it was taken. My dad had shared this with Milt–they had spoken about my dad’s war experiences together. Knowing that my father had curled up inside of that ball is a disquieting feeling.

Edward Mierzejewski, ball turret gunner

Edward Mierzejewski, ball turret gunner

A while back, Stanczyk the internet muse and Polish genealogy wizard with a few roots in Toledo, emailed me because he’d located an interesting Mierzejewski tidbit.

Seems there was a John and Stephanie Mierzejewski who had been the godparents for a Tadeus Ladas. See here. The date of the record is 27 July 1919.

I’ve transcribed the record below:

Datum Baptisimi: July 27 1919
Nomen et Residentia: Tadeus Joannes, 1318 Hamilton St.
Dataum Nativiatis: 18a Julii
Nomina: Adolphus Lada, Stanislava Myslinska
Locus Nativitatis: Toledo, Ohio
Patrini: Joannes Mierzejewski, Stephania Mierzejewska
Minister: Joannes A. Urbanski

I cannot yet understand the significance of this record. I am aware of a Stephania Dykowska Mierzejewski–she married Konstanty Mierzejewski. However, I have not yet established any firm connection to either of my grandparents. John Mierzejewski can be one of several with that name; however, because the mother’s name is Myslinska, I would venture to guess it is this John–he had married a Joanna (Anna) Myslinsksa.

Thanks, Mike!

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.

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

BLAST ON CITY DUMP FATAL TO TOLEDOAN

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.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 301 other followers