John Przybylski, son of Andrew Przybylski and Frances Rochowiak, proved to be elusive. Through correspondence with a few distant cousins, some details on his life became uncovered. I had stories about John, but found no evidence of his existence until locating his brother, Joseph’s, obituary published in the Toledo News-Bee on July 9, 1937.

Family stories state that John had been running from gangs in Toledo and had been involved in obtaining liquor from Canada in the 1920s. I could not find any records of border crossings from Canada; however the 1910 census and the 1920 census indicates that he was living in Detroit during that period. Additionally, these census records indicate that he was married to a woman named Hattie. John’s occupation was listed as a molder; Hattie’s as a dressmaker. The 1920 census indicates the name change.

I then located a marraige index from St. Hedwig’s parish in Toledo that states John had married a Hedwig Krzyzaniak on June 20, 1906. Hattie appears to be an Anglecized version of her name.

While the 1920 census data reflects that John was born in Ohio, it’s likely this data is incorrect. His birthdate of May 7, 1878 was noted on his World War I draft registration card places him as the third child to Frances and Andrew, born before the fourth child, Rose, who was born in 1880. Through census data, I’ve noticed that the family emigrated to the US about 1880 0r 1881, and Rose was born in Poznan according to the 1900 census data that shows her with her husband, Casper Koralewski. So it is reasonable to assume that John also was born in Poznan. Family oral history also places John in Miami as a boat captain and states that he changed his surname from Przybylski to Seblaski to elude the gangs. It’s reasonable to assume that by the 1920 census, he was hiding his identity.  At the time of 1917-1918 draft effort, John was already using the last name of Seblaski and has an address in Detroit. His World War I draft registation places him in Detroit and notes wife, Hattie, as his nearest relative. What is interesting to note here is that his birthplace is listed as “Austria?”. This is an angle to research later–we know the family was from Poznan and that Poland during that period was divided between Germany, Austria, and Russia. It is also possible that John hid his true birth place in order to avoid being traced. Also by the 1917-1918 draft effort, John was already using the last name of Seblaski.

By 1927, there is evidence that John was living in Miami. An article in the Miami Daily News on June 12, 1927 mentions a John Seblasky. The article is located here and is transcribed below:

Man Saved from Death by Train By Police Dog

“King” Proves He Has More Than Ordinary Canine Sense in Heroic Feat

“King” may be a dog, but he is no ordinary dog. He has more than common dog sense. He saved a man’s life Friday night.

The man had gone out on a “party,” where a “good time was had by all.” It grew late and slowly and unsteadily he staggered homeward.

A taxicable driver let the man out at Biscayne blvd., between N. E. Sixth and Seventh sts., and he started–a bit wobbly, to be sure, toward the bayfront, apparently intending to “make” one of the boats.

But things sudenly became dark and the man fell across the railroad tracks. He didn’t seem to mind. He really didn’t know his precarious position. So he just slept. In the meantime, a freight train was slowly rumbling nearer and nearer.

“King,” who was being taken out for a walk by his owner, John Seblasky, of the yacht “Hedwig,” moored at Pier 4, broke loose. He apparently sensed something wrong. later, the dog came back and by barking and jumping on Seblasky’s shoulder indicated something was wrong.

Guided by the dog, Seblasky and an F. E. C. railroad watchman found the sleeping man. A few minutes after they dragged the body off the rails the freight train rumbled by.

“King” is a Doverman Pincher German shepherd, commonly known as “police dog.” And he came to the United States in company with a dog which Senator James Couzens of Michigan, its owner, has insured for $8,000.

The 1945 State Population Census of Florida places John in Miami as a boat captain but notes his birthplace as Michigan. Thanks to John Plenzler, a copy of his Captain of Port identification is available here and was issued also in 1945. Note that this identification provides his birthplace at Toledo, Ohio. John Seblaski passed away in 1950. John Plenzler related a story to me that his parents drove to Florida to visit John. When they arrived there, they learned John had passed away just days prior to their arrival.

A Florida state death abstract for John Leo Seblaski states the year but no specific date. No further data is available yet for Hattie and no children have yet been identified.

Below are a few photos of John Przybylski Seblaski, thanks to John Plenzler.

Joseph, Frank, and John Przybylski (left to right)

Joseph, Frank, and John Przybylski (left to right)

John Przybylski Seblaski (date unknown)

John Przybylski Seblaski (date unknown)

Updated family trees for the Plenzlers and Przybylskis can be found on the Related Information page.

Yes, I’ve been away for awhile. Decided to give my laptop a vacation! (Really it was my eyes that needed the vacation.)

Marianna was a complete surprise to find. She is the eldest child of Andrew Przybylski and Frances Rochowiak. I stumbled upon her when perusing the marriage records of St. Anthony’s parish hoping to find records of a John Przybylski–to verify if there was indeed another brother in the family. I did not even know she existed. It is clear reading the marriage record that she is the daughter of Andrew and Frances and that record give a good clue about the timeframe that Andrew and Frances may have emigrated–likely between 1881 and 1893 given the data on the marriage record and the census data for Marianna and Joseph.

Marianna was born about 1875 in Poznan and married Joseph Erdman on February 13, 1893 per St. Anthony’s parish marriage records. The earliest census record I could locate for Marianna and Joseph was the 1910 census that reflected they lived at 1610 Vance Street. This census record indicates that Marianna immigrated in 1881 and that Joseph immigrated in 1892. This census notes that Joseph was naturalized in 1892.  The 1920 census indicates that Mary immigrated in 1885 and was naturalized in 1891. Perhaps the discrepancy is due to illegible handwriting. However, the 1920 census does indicate 1892 as the year of immigration for Joseph and that he was naturalized in 1897.

The 1930 census also reflected the Erdmans as residing at 1610 Vance.

Joseph and Marianna had 12 children, including two sets of twins:

  1. Cora or Konstanja b. 1894 d. ??
  2. Casper b. 1895 d. ??
  3. Louis b. 1897 d. 1965
  4. Leon b. 1899 d.??
  5. Edmund b. 1901 d. 1951
  6. Regina or Virginia b. 1903 d. 1980
  7. Martha b. 1906 d. 1990
  8. Helena b. 1906 d. 1907
  9. Eleanora b. 1909
  10. Angelina b. 1913
  11. Daniel b. 1914 d. 1978
  12. Dorothy b. 1914 d. 2003

11 of the 12 children survived to adulthood. Note that I have no birth verification such as a baptismal record for Cora; however, she is listed in the census records and mentioned in her parents’ obituaries.

Joseph passed away November 23, 1940. His obituary was published in the Toledo Blade on November 25, 1940 and is transcribed below. (The scan is relatively poor quality.)

Joseph Erdman

Joseph Erdman, 71, of 1610 Vance Street, died Saturday in his home following an illness of three months.

Mr. Erdman, born in Poznan, Poland, came to Toledo more than 50 years ago. He is a former employee of the Willy-Overland Co. Surviving are his wife, Mary, daughters, Mrs. Cora Nafes, Mrs. Virginia Dembowski, Mrs. Martha Podiak, Mrs. Angeline Zielinski, Mrs. Dorothy Adamaski, and Miss Eleanor Erdman; sons, Casper, Louis, Leo, Edmund, and Daniel Erdman; sisters, Mrs. Anna Bobczak and Mrs. Rozalia Bobak; 10 grandchildren.

The body is in the residence where services will be held at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday and at 9 a.m. in St. Stanislaus Church. Burial will be at Calvary Cemetery.

Joseph’s burial record through St. Stanislaus and Calvary Cemetery are transcribed below.

St. Stanislaus burial record November 27, 1940:

Date of Death and Burial D. Nov. 23 – B. Nov. 27
Name of Person Interred Joseph Erdman
Place of Birth Poland
Age 71 yrs.
Disease heart
Priest Aloysius Sobczak
Cemetery Calvary

Calvary Cemetery burial record:

No. 40785
Name Joseph Erdman
Residence 1614 Vance
Age 71
Cause of Death Myocarditis
Date of Interment Nov. 27
Grave 1421
Range or Lot 262
Section 39
Undertaker F. J. Czolgosz
Remarks 1537 Removed 5/13/52 to S 1/2 Lot 262 Sec. 39

It appears he was moved after Marianna died so that they were buried together, although I have not located the grave yet in Calvary and photoed the graves.

Marianna passed away April 5, 1955. Her obituary was published in the Toledo Blade on April 6 and is transcribed below.

Mary Erdman

Mrs. Mary Erdman, 75, of 1610 Vance St., died last night in Riverside Hospital.

Mrs. Erdman was born in Poland and lived in Toledo 69 years. She was a member of St. Rita Society and the Polish National Alliance.

Surviving are daughters, Mrs. Cora Nafes, Detroit; Mrs. Virginia Dembowski, Mrs. Martha Podiak, Mrs. Eleanor Jaroszewski, Mrs. Angela Zielinski and Mrs. Dorothy Adamski; sons, Casper, Louis, Leo and Daniel; sister, Mrs. Eva Hejnicki, all of Toledo; 10 grandchildren and a great-grandchild.

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

Marianna’s death record from St. Stanislaus parish and her burial record through Calvary Cemetery are transcribed below.

St. Stanislaus parish burial record dated April 11, 1955:

Number 5 (Numbering non sequential)
Name: Family, Baptismal Erdman, Mary
Address 1610 Vance
Age 76
Parents or Spouse
Sacraments-Minister Fr. Ambrose
Date of Death 4-5-55
Cemetery Date of Burial 4-11-55
Celebrant at Funeral Ambrose Poznanski
Remarks High Blood Pressure

Calvary Cemetery burial April 11, 1955 for Marianna:

No. 55678
Name Mary Erdman
Residence Riverside Hosp.
Age 75
Cause of Death Hemorrhage
Date of Interment April 11
Grave S 1/2
Range or Lot 262
Section 39
Funeral Director W.K. Sujkowski & Son
Remarks 1289

After locating Margaretha Plenzler (sibling to Joseph) and her marriage information to Michael Mruk, a John Przybylski was found. See More Przybylskis and More Intrigue.

John Przybylski married one of the daughters of Margaretha Plenzler and Michael Mruk, Tecla Mruk. I was erroneously working under the assumption that John was possibly a son of Andrew Przybylski and Frances Rochowiak. That assumption was proven wrong when I located the church marriage record from St. Anthony’s Parish in Toledo for John Przybylski and Tekla Mruk. This record indicates that John’s parents were Michael and Rosalia Przybylski.

I located John and Tecla residing at 1461 Vance Street from the 1900, 1920, and 1930 census records. I could not locate a 1910 census record for the family. Per the 1930 census, John was naturalized in 1882, Tecla naturalized in 1890.

John and Tecla had at least eight children:

  • Frank, b. 1896 d. 1909
  • Michael, b. 1897 d. ??
  • Clara, b. 1898 d. ??
  • Aloysius, b. 1903 d. 1972
  • Hattie, b. 1904 d. 1909
  • Zygmunt, b. 1905 d. 1905
  • Edmund, b. 1907 d. 1916
  • Stephen b. 1912 d. 1991
  • Clement b. 1914 d. ??

Tecla passed away September 6, 1932. She was buried from St. Anthony’s Parish in Calvary Cemetery.

Below is a transcription of the parish burial record for Tecla Przybylski:

1932
Date of Death and Burial Sept. 6 – Sept. 10
Name of Person Interred Tecla Przybylska
Place of Birth Poland
Age 58
Disease
Priest F.S. Legowski
Cemetery Calvary

Below is a transcription of the Calvary Cemetery interment record for Tecla Przybylski:

No. 33355
Name Tecla Przybylski
Residence 1461 Vance
Age 58
Cause of Death Stomach Ulcer
Date of Interment Sept. 10
Grave 1498
Range or Lot 32
Section 2
Undertaker W. K. Sujkowski

John Przybylski passed away October 28, 1947 and was buried in Calvary Cemetery through St. Anthony’s Parish. John’s obituary was published in the Toledo Blade October 29, 1947. The obituary is transcribed below:

John Przybylski

John Przybylski, 78, died yesterday at home, 1461 Vance St., after a brief illness.

Mr. Przybylski was born in Poland and had lived in Toledo 55 years. He was employed at the Toledo Machine & Tool Co. until he retired 11 years ago. He was a member of the Union of Poles in America and the Firemen and Oilers Union.

Survivors are sons, Michael, Holland, O. and Aloysius, Stephen, and Clement, all of Toledo; four grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Services will be at 8:30 Friday in the Sujkowski & Son Mortuary and at 9 a.m. in St. Anthony’s Church. Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery.

John’s death record through St. Anthony’s parish is transcribed below:

Date of Death and Burial Oct. 28 – Oct. 31, 1947
Name of Person Interred John Przybylski
Place of Birth Poland
Age 78
Disease
Priest F.S. Legowski
Cemetery Calvary

John’s interment record through Calvary Cemetery is transcribed below:

No. 47576
Name John Przybylski
Residence 1451 Vance
Age 78
Cause of Death Cerebral Hemorrhhage
Date of Interment Oct. 31
Grave 1497
Range or Lot 32
Section 2
Undertaker Sujkowski & Son
Remarks 3657

This weekend, I was excited because I finally received the marriage records from Poznan, Poland for my great-grandparents and great-great grandparent: Eva Dauer and John Plenzler, and Andreas Dauer and Maria Aumiller (Eva’s parents), and for Joseph Plenzler and Mary Leiseick (John’s parents). I also received another Plenzler marriage record, one for Margaretha Plenzler and Michael Mruk (daughter of John Pleznler and Mary Leiseicka, my great-grandparents). These will be transcribed and I’ll get to posting more about Plenzlers in the near future.

I thought the Plenzlers were prolific–every time I seemed to have located one, another two popped up.

The Przybylskis are outdoing the Plenzlers. For sometime, I had reason to suspect that Frances and Andrew had more children than were documented here. John Plenzler had told me a few times that there were two other brothers: John and Joseph. However, I have not found records or any hints of these two until recently. Additionally, another sibling appears while I was looking for John and Joseph: Marianna.

I located Marianna while searching for any marriage records I could through St. Anthony’s Parish. I was actually looking to see if I could locate records for John or Joseph–typically, it seems as if the clan remained together and migrated together and stayed together so it made sense to see if they married in the neighborhood. Lo and behold. I didn’t find any marriage records for John or Joseph, but I did locate a marriage record for Marianna, who married Joseph Ertman.

I have not completely transcribe this record (it’s written in Latin and I’m very, very rusty with what little Latin I know); however, it’s clear to see that Marianna was the daughter of Andreas Przybylski and Francisca Rochowiak. Additionally, the marriage was witnessed and signed by Frank Przybylski.

A bit more research led me to locate the Ertman family on the 1910 census, where they were living at 1610 Vance Street. Many of the Przybylskis resided on Vance.

I did find some trace of John Przybylski. John Plenzler told me that he had changed his name and left the area to live in Miami, Florida to captain a fishing boat. The story goes he was running away from a gang. The names John Przybylski used were John Seblaski and Johnnie Bear. So, I managed to find two census records for John Seblaski: one in 1920 in Detroit, Michigan and another in a 1945 Florida census. The Florida census data does reflect that John Seblaski is a boat captain.

I also reviewed some of Andrew Przybylski’s data just to see if there were more clues about his children. I have little data on Andrew; however, there is a hint. Andrew was listed in the 1892-1893 Polk directory for Toledo. That same directory reflects a Joseph Przybylski, who resides on Blum Street. More research needed!

I also located data for John Przybylski. The 1900 census and the 1920 census both reflect him living at 1461 Vance Street with his wife, Teckla Mruk, and their family.

Now, a lot of this doesn’t quite add up, though. Per Frances’ and Andrew’s marriage record from Chometowo, and the marriage abstract from the Pozan Project website, Andrew and Frances were married in 1873. Marianna was born in 1875. It’s possible one other child was born prior to Marianna. However, John’s estimated birthdate is 1869. If Frances were born on the date as stated in her death certificate, September 8, 1859–she would have been only 10 years old. That’s not really quite possible, she would not have been of childbearing age. However, her marriage record of 1873 states that she is about 26, meaning she would have been born about 1847.

More mystery, more intrigue. Does this imply that perhaps Andrew was widowed and previously married? Does this imply a Polish shot gun wedding? Does this imply that perhaps Frances ran away to marry (that perhaps the age on the marriage record is inaccurate)? We may never know! And more research is needed on John, Joseph, and Marianna!

But for now, goodnight to all and to all a goodnight!

Thanks to John Plenzler, here is a picture of my great-grandmother, Frances Rochowiak Przybylski. Date of photo unknown.

Frances Rochowiak Przybylski

Frances Rochowiak Przybylski

Sophia was the 9th child of Eva Dauer and Joseph Plenzler. I have located Sophia on the 1900 and 1910 census records for the family and have also located her baptismal certificate. It seems Sophia disappears into history!

Sophia was born April 25, 1897 and baptized May 2, 1897 in St. Anthony’s parish. Her baptismal record is transcribed below:

Ego infrastriptus baptizavi: Sophiam Plencner
Natam: 25 Aprilis
ex Joseph Plencler et Eva Dauer
Patrini fuerunt: Joannes Przybylski, Josepha Jawkowiak
F.S. Motulewski

I am researching this further, but I cannot locate a death record or marriage record yet for her.

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