Thursday, November 16, 2017

2017 Veterans, Independence, Remembrance Day

The US celebrated Veterans Day this month.
Credit: J. Fitzgerald
These are not the only people who served...but only the ones I know about or could remember. Did I forget one? Let me know and I'll be more than happy to include if they are my relatives.


Further, Poland celebrated Independence day. 

This is important to me and my family because my grandmother and great grandmother was still in Poland when this happened. However, the fighting didn't stop due to the Russian's trying to overtake Poland's land even though the Treaty of Versailles said Poland was to reappear, but they tried, and failed!, to stop it. This allowed my grandmother and great grandmother enough time to leave Poland before they were enclosed in the Iron Curtain.

Finally, Europe held Remembrance Day ceremonies.

I had and have family which was on both the Western Front and the Eastern Front. My grandmother, as discussed above, was on the Eastern Front. However the Western Front? This was my mother's side who lived and still live in Belgium all along the France and Belgium border. My mother's side of the family had fought on the Belgium side and I have knowledge of this fact after doing research.

My paternal side? Well, they were the baddies in Germany. I was told by a cousin, who still lives in Germany, our family had been in the same house over 300 years, so I know we lived in Germany for at least that long. Did we fight for Germany? I'm not sure but it would make sense to think we had fought for Germany during this time. However, I'm not sure if we had or not.

All within the same day - it was a busy day worldwide.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Blogging challenge: Power without Glory

There's been another Blogging Challenge by Family Tree Frog. This is part of their Family History month which is August here in Australia. I know its October - its late, but I'm working on it! 

They posted this on their blog and the challenge: 

"Power without Glory
Frank Hardy's novel covers a wide range of notorious characters from criminals to Archbishops and politicians, wrestlers to gamblers and everyone else in between.  One of the themes is conscription during WW1 but you can interpret the title as broadly as you like.  Were your ancestors powerful in some way? Legitimately or  not.  Did they have a stoush with the authorities or strong political beliefs? Lets hear their story.  Where will your imagination run to??" 

I have a few ancestors I can say fit this topic of notorious characters including criminals to Archbishops and politicians, wrestlers to gamblers all everything in between

The question is - where do I start because there have been MANY of them. *laugh* 

I guess I'll start where the topic starts: Criminals 

I have had a few grand uncles and at least one cousin (that I've done research on) which have had been arrested and did a bit of time. 

The one which always gets me is my mother's grandfather (my maternal great grandfather) - Apoloniusz Jagodzinski or Leo Barry/Berry or many of the other names he goes by. 

When I started to do my research I asked my mother if she knew the name of her grandfather and she gave me the name Apoloniusz Jagodzinski. Away I went to do my research and found a shipping manifest for the area around where my mother told me about. Then that's where the information ends. 

Years go by and I find out about A files and C files in the US Immigration and have them pulled looking for more information. They sent me his Alien file. What can I say - interesting to say least! See part of the file below. 
Credit from USCIS

I love this section of the statement
Excerpt from page 2 of above document. Credit USCIS.
Anytime I need a laugh I pull this out and take a look. 

What makes this so much more interesting, I started to look for my grandmother and her siblings including his wife and found they had disappeared until my grandmother married my grandfather in the 1930s. Then some of them reappeared around where my grandmother was. This including a person who sometimes lived with them - Leo Barry/Berry

Next I ordered in my grandmother's social security information and there it was again - Leo Barry. 
Credit Social Security Administration
Then when I looked at one of my uncle's information and up came that damned name again - Leo Barry. Then there's a notation regarding a change.
Credit Ancestry and SSA
In case there's a doubt, my great grandmother's obituary, or my grandmother Janet's mother, has the name's in it except for the last name Barry.
Credit: 1964 Oct 3 -Bernice Jagodzinski Obituary - The Times Herald
Go figure! However, I still can't find out anything about this criminal charge for some reason.

Next topic: Archbishops and politicians

We have many different higher priests and nuns on my mother's side of the family. They are in Belgium and the US.

My great grandfather - Jules Gauquie - had put down he was in public office. However, I still can't find anything about it. This is according to his naturalization paperwork.
Credit: Orange Country Registrar
If you look closely enough, you can see where he says he holds office!
Credit Orange County Registrar
The one I'm most impressed with is on my father's side though. He married my great aunt in Poland. They married just before World War 2, in 1919. In fact, my grandmother was probably even at their wedding!
Credit: K. Wyrzykowski family photo
Anyhow, after they married they moved to an area where my great uncle and his father were in office. My great uncle's father was the equal to a Mayor of the town of  Siedlce, Poland. My great uncle was the secretary of the town until his father passed and then HE became the Mayor or government official. In fact, the whole family, that was alive, helped where they could.

During this time, World War 2 happened. As many people know, Poland has been a mess for over 100 years, and during WW2, many horrible things happened as we know. But do you know, the Nazi's made Poland their disposal area. Then on top of that, you have the Soviets take what was left, moved people into their land more or kept people there only to basically starve them.

My great aunt and uncle were people I admire. My great uncle lost his brother during this time to the Gestapo. They came and arrested him for some trumped up reason. He died at Auschwitz and, yes, he was Polish.

What they did for others should put them into sainthood. For Jewish or any other child or children under suspicion they spent their own money to pay for and put them in the orphanage with false paperwork saying they were Catholic. If they could fit anyone into places in their homes or businesses they did again with false documents.

Keep in mind, if they were found by soldiers, all of them would have been murdered. They saved hundreds if not thousands of adults and children. By the end, they didn't have any money or anything else left of value, but people had their lives. My cousin, their grandson, sent me a few of the documents and thank you letters from people they have saved.

All documents are from K. Wyrzykowski and private family papers.

Next topic: wrestlers to gamblers

I grew up with my grandmother telling us about one of my grand uncles and his gambling. Further, I was told he was wanted by the mob for money owed and was on the run. He only stopped because he ended up with cancer and they knew he only had a tiny bit of time to live. 

If the stories I've been told are to be believed, both of my grandfathers, on my maternal and paternal sides, were all gamblers and drinkers. This is a family story and I don't have any proof. 

I don't have any thing else which can fit this topic. 

In closing
All families have their scandals and secrets. Some have more than others. We just have to see if we can find proof of them and if not, its just a story which can be passed down with the note of it being unproven. 

No matter if they were good or bad, they are all our family and we have to admit to them being in the trees it just depends if we shake the tree or not. 
Image result for bad nuts in the tree

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Proposed Restrictions on Access to New York City’s Birth and Death Records

I have been reading in different places how New York wants to change how many years to access information. As it is, in my opinion, New York is one of the hardest states to get anything out of. I have actually told people I get the same result sometimes when I slam my head against the wall - a headache.

Now they want to make it even harder for no reason at all.

If you do any research whatsoever in New York, state or city, you should make your voice heard. How? Well as both Dick Eastman  (EOGN) and D. Joshua Taylor, President of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society have given us the information and different ways to make our voices heard.

This is a copy from Dick Eastman's blog:

The following was written by D. Joshua Taylor, President of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society:
Dear Friends,
As promised, the NYG&B has launched a landing page outlining steps everyone can take in making our voices heard regarding the proposed restrictions on access to New York City’s birth and death records.
The page can be found at: and allows visitors to do the following:
  • Download and sign a sample comment letter that can be mailed directly to the Department of Health.
  • Add their own name to the NYG&B’s comment letter.
  • RSVP to attend the hearing alongside fellow members of the NYG&B community.
  • Share the information (via email) with others.
Thus far we have had a very positive response from the community. Please feel free to share this information with your leadership, members, and others who might be interested. We also stand ready to assist your organization as needed in preparing their own comments.
Genealogists in New York and around the world, like me, need to make sure this does NOT happen. NY is one of the hardest states to get information from. Please use your voice to help others, like me, out. 
I have filled out the form and have done my bit. Will you? 

Monday, October 9, 2017

2017 A-Z Blogging Challenge - The letter B is for Belgium!

Earlier this year, 2017, there was another challenge. I heard about it from jillballau blog and more information can be found out about it on the A-Z Blogging Challenge (which was at page itself. However, as I was testing links I found the A-Z Blogging Challenge link is no longer working *frown*

Many people had done this challenge in April, but I’m a rebel and do things when I have time, so I’ll do mine now. I’ve been working on it over many days, and was hoping to get it all done before posting BUT it’s taking me a lot longer than I expected. I’ll do a few posts now and work on the rest. 
I know I have about ½ of this challenge done in draft format, so not too bad.  J

What can I say – I’m an original. So, here I go…

The letter B is for Belgium!

Yes, Beligum. This is for my maternal grandfather’s side of the family. They lived in this country back to the 1700’s. My great grandfather Jules, my 2x great grandfather, Alois and Alois’ children all immigrated to the USA in the late 1800s to early 1900s.

From Google Earth in 2015 - Family from Belgium plotted using yellow pins
I do know Alois was a colorful character. He was born in Belgium and ended up being drafted into the Belgium military when he was very young. He served, but either while he was serving or just before he left to serve, he spent the night with Jules’ mother, Florentyna. I’ve never heard of a name like that before researching and finding her. Jules was born illegitimate while his father served. About 9 months after Jules was born, Alois arrived back and found out about his child. He married Florentyna and they had 2 more children. This is where I don’t know what happened to Florentyna as I cannot find anything more about her from here.
Alois Gauquie National Militia paper

My great grandfather Jules' birth record and notation regarding parents.Credit Belgium National Archives.
Alois, on the other hand, I pick up coming to the USA and he lived and worked around Orange County, New York. I know this because I have obtained his naturalization papers. However, I’m not sure what happens to him but I suspect he might have changed his name for some reason. I do have a will in another name which states all 3 of the kids (one being Jules and the others are his siblings which match up) in the will. My great grandfather is awarded nothing.

Extract of Alois' Naturalization paperwork from Orange County Registers NY office.

Now there is a bit of non agreement with this tiny part. Aloyse drops out of site technically from this point. However, I did find a Charles Gauquie who lives in Chester, NY, like Aloyse's naturalization states he does. This Charles Gauquie puts in his will he wants son, Jules, to get nothing in his will. Below I will put the handwritten full page and then a close up of the part where this person omits Jules. Make your own decision....

Charles/Aloyse's 1918 will regarding leaving his son Jules nothing. Credit

A close up of the interesting area of the above will with Jules getting nothing. Credit

Jules is another interesting character. He sounds very well thought of in the newspapers with being so active in the community and church. However, the stories passed down where something else altogether. To put it bluntly, he was a bastard. He didn’t treat his wife or kids right at all. Unfortunately, this was passed down to the grand kids and then to the great grand kids. It’s a cycle we are still trying to stop today, but failing unfortunately.

1936 11 Aug -Julius Gauquie coming back home from Belgium Middletown Daily Times

1938 9 Apr - Julius Gauquie Fire Dept - Middletown Times Herald

1938 25 Feb  -Julius Gauquie Church car party -  Middletown Times Herald 
Getting back to Belgium, upon doing some research, I found many cousins who are still living in the areas today which is nothing short of amazing considering the World War 1 took place along most of the towns they all lived in. In fact, some of the cousins have fought in the World War 1 and survived. For more information you can click on the Credit link below for books and other information. 
The principal town around which the fighting in Flanders revolved was Ypres, and the area around the town of Ypres was also known as the Salient (see below). This region was fought over from October 1914 until practically the end of the war in November 1918. Credit

Going back even further, one of the smaller towns along the border, called Wijtschate or Wytschaete, I have found back in the early 1700s that Napoleon used the church to store his horses when he rode through the town (as it says in the image below). As it’s still a very small town, I would say my ancestors probably had talked or had helped him in some way back then.


Hopefully, in the future I can go over and meet them all in Belgium. This, in itself, should be fun because I don’t speak Dutch or Flemishwhich are the languages spoken.