Franciszka Smolarek

As of the writing of this article, I’m 18 years 9 months 8 days old, exactly two months older than Franciszka was when she died. Franciszka Smolarek and I likely are distant cousins, as her family came from a neighboring village from mine. I’m almost certain that my 3rd great-grandparents knew of her, as they had a mutual friend. But let’s start with the beginning of her story. Franciszka Eva Pierzchalska born on the 2nd of January 1873 in Studzienki, Posen, Prussia (modern day Poland). Her mother was Marianna Winiaszewska and the father is unknown (See red box below). Franciszka…

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Priest, Police, Parishioner, Oh My!

Located on Fitzwater Street, St. Stanislaus was the second Polish parish founded in Philadelphia and the oldest surviving parish. As of this year St. Stanislaus turned 131 years old. What stories does this small parish have to tell… Between the years of 1892 and 1899 were turbulent years for the Parish of St. Stanislaus. Just within these seven years, one priest and multiple parishioners were arrested, three fires, money was stolen, both attempted murder (twice) and murder, and the most important fact, the congregation split not once but twice. The first Mass at St. Stanislaus was on 12th of April…

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The Land Registers of 1772

In 1772 after Fredrick the Great formed West Prussia, he had every head of household in the territory enumerated into a land registry which we have index’s and images of. According to these registers there were three Kresmers in all of West Prussia so its very likely that Helena Kresmer and her father Jakob Kresmer were descendent’s of one these men. The three Kresmers listed according to an index were Christ[ian] Kresmer of Zieglershufen [Zieglershuben], Jacob Kresmer of Budzin and Mathes Kresmer of Behnhoff [Bönhof/Boenhöffen]. Sadly we weren’t able to gain access to images of the registers, they are digitized…

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52 Weeks: Foundations of Western Slavic Genealogy

We took an unconventional route to the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge, instead of writing about our ancestors; Slavic Genealogy will be giving tips on Slavic research. January’s theme is Foundations and week ones theme is the same. Many people find research in Eastern Europe impossible but its not always the case. There are so many resources that can be used as a foundation to your research and we’ll cover just the basic tools. General – The first place we recommend you start researching is in the major databases, because they have the most information and will likely proved.…

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Catholic Research in West Prussia

Every Monday were writing about the research were currently doing. Think of this as a genealogy journal. This week we’re in West Prussia, researching the ancestors of Helen Kresmer. Note, places will be referred to as they were named at the time. Many places now have Polish names. Helen was born in 1827 in the village of Zieglershuben and baptized in Pestlin. Both villages being in the rural district of Mariewerder. Her parents were recorded as Jakob Kresmer and Franciszka Neyrtrowska [Nesterowicz]. She had two brothers and four sisters. Life in this region of Poland was quite peaceful. As a…

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Slovak Baptisms Part 3

This is the third and final installment of my three-part series on how to read Slovak Baptisms. The baptism below was created in 1711 in Turčiansky Michal. As we can see this baptism was written in a paragraph style. Compared to the form style, this type of baptism can be harder for genealogists who aren’t used to reading records that are only written. My best tip is to go word by word, write everything down as you go, and if you get stuck on a word look at another baptism and see how the priest wrote the same word. Transcription:…

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