Friday, October 12, 2018

A-Z Blogging Challenge -The letter M is for Malkinia Gora, Poland & Minnesota!

In 2017, there was a 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 http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/) 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 2017, 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.  

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

The letter M is for Malkinia Gora, Poland & Minnesota!

Malkinia Gora, Poland

This is the last place of residence of my grandmother and great grandmother in Poland. I know this because on their ship manifest they've put it down. 


The area described above from Google Earth

1920 Ship Manifest from Ellis Island website. You can clearly see Malkin (which is the area of Poland I was talking about) and New Jeresy. 

Also, I can further say they were in this area because my great grandmother's sister was married in the area just before my grandmother and great grandmother left Poland for good. 

My paternal great aunt's marriage certificate in 1919. 
This was not far from where my grandmother was born and my great grandparents were born, married and lived together before leaving for the US. 

They left Malkinia Gora and walked/train/caught wagon rides to Danzig and left from there. With the way things were during this time, they had very little food, due to World War 1 just ending, and the Russians making their way towards Warsaw in fighting all around them. I can only imagine what it was like to get from where they were up to the port. 

This Google Earth image shows where the fighting was during the time my grandmother and great grandmother were trying to leave Poland before Warsaw fell.

St Paul, Minnesota
This is where my maternal great grandparents married in the late 1890s. 

What makes this so interesting, is no one in the family picked it up until I was able to get first my great grandfather's immigration paperwork. Then when I was given my great grandparents and 2x great grandfather's immigration paperwork it was written in there. 

Taken from Annie Gauquie's naturalization paperwork I got from NY Orange County Registrar. Shows where they got married.
I asked my cousins about it and no one knew. 

Then I went in search of the wedding certificate itself. It took some time but eventually I was able to find it. 

My great grandparent's wedding certificate from Minnesota. Taken from FamilySearch.org Minnesota, County marriages area. 
Just after I did find it, my cousin in New York, posted a picture. It was of my great grandfather's wedding ring someone found in a couch which everyone thought was lost. Only for years later the couch was moved and the ring was found. 

Picture from Cousin Teri of our great grandfather's wedding right from our great grandmother.

What was even more touching was what was said to be inscribed on it.  

For all the doubt I had about my great grandfather, at least at one point it sounds like my great grandmother did love him. 

Friday, October 5, 2018

A-Z Blogging Challenge - The letter L is for Linden, NJ (Wojtkowski/a) or La Guardia!

In 2017, there was a 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 http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/) 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 2017, 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 L is for Linden, NJ (Wojtkowski/a) or La Guardia!

When my grandmother and great grandmother arrived in the US via Ellis Island, my great grandfather lived in New Jersey in various areas. Within a few months of my grandmother and great grandmother arriving, they lived in Linden, New Jersey. 

Linden, NJ to New York, NY Map from Google Earth
She went to school and they moved around this area. In fact, my great grandparents lived in this general area the rest of their lives and are even buried nearby. 

A note from my grandmother's Naturalization file regarding her schooling.
My grandmother moved in New York City, Manhattan, for a few years where she met my grandfather. I think this was during the Prohibition (1920s), when she was a cigarette girl. 

What my grandmother looked like working. Credit
She loved to tell the story of how the cops would do a raid of the bar and she used to go into telephone booth and lay on the floor with the box above her head. Because she was so small, 4 foot 10 when she passed, they used to just walk right on by her. Remember this was in the time of prohibition and they were usually selling alcohol in some shape or form usually. 

Anyhow, after she met my grandfather they moved back to Linden. My father grew up in this area until he was about 10 give or take a few years. 

My grandmother in Linden, NJ in 1930s
in this family picture copyright J. Fitzgerald
This was on Linden's website until late 2018. Its the same building my grandmother was standing in front of in the 1930s.


The way my grandmother is standing with her hand on her waist, you can tell she's pregnant in the picture. According to Linden's website, they give different classes to the public in the building, so I think she probably came here for a check up or for a class. 

My father, who my grandmother was pregnant with in the above picture, lived his early life around Linden. NJ. Below is him in front of a fire hydrant.

My father during Linden, NJ summer late 1930s.
Copyright J. Fitzgerald
My grandmother and great grandfather used to travel back and forth from Newburgh, New York to Linden, New Jersey, after my grandparents and father moved away. 

Where does La Guardia fit into this?
You are probably asking about La Guardia fitting in as I mentioned this above. 

Well, my Great Uncle Stanley had married a woman by the name of Mary. They were living in Linden, New Jersey. Anyhow, remember how I was saying the family traveled from Newburgh, New York to Linden, New Jersey? 

One of these times, Great Uncle Stanley and Mary were coming up to visit my grandmother and ended up in a really bad car accident. Mary was killed. 

This happened in La Guardia not far from where the airport is. 

A map showing Elizabeth (on lower left) to LaGuardia (on upper right)
This may look far from Elizabeth, but many freeways lead you directly to that area, so it doesn't take long - you just have to make sure you get on the right freeway! In fact, to go up to northern NY, you must come this way to get the freeway to go up that way. Its quicker. 

Once again, I stumbled onto this information. I was looking through city directories to find out more about my great uncle's. I found one which listed him with a Mary and I asked my father about it.

US Directory listing my Great Uncle Stanley and Mary in 1957.
This is when I was told about Great Uncle Stanley being married to Mary. My father can't remember her last name. I think I might have figured it out, because of a census which listed Stanley, Mary and her family they were boarding off. However, I cannot say for sure it was them. 

This is how and why La Guardia is mentioned as well. 

Friday, September 28, 2018

A-Z Blogging Challenge - The letter K is for Koblenz, Germany (Schmitz)!

In 2017, there was a 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 http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/) 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 2017, 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 K is for Koblenz, Germany (Schmitz)!

When if first chose Koblenz it was due to my paternal grandfather, Mathias, being born here. While this is correct, and my great grandparents, Johannes and Anna, were married here, they weren't from here. Each of Mathias' parents were actually born in other towns. 

Where IS Koblenz?
Before I get too far ahead I guess I should let you know where Koblenz, Germany is.

From Google Earth
Germany, and my grandfather, was not really talked about when I was growing up. All I really knew was I had a grandfather, and he wasn't a very nice person. Also, he was German. That was about the extent of my knowledge until I went researching. 

First clues
My first clue to Koblenz was in my grandfather's naturalization record. 

Taken from Ellis Island website. Look at entry 16 and you can see Germany. 
The next clue was in the ship manifests I found. This backed up the nationalization record information. It also gave me clues to who my father remembers as his aunt and uncle were who he had pictures of.  My father could remember the people and faces but couldn't remember the last names. The uncle's name he could remember because my father's name was American for the person's first name - Gerhert or Gerald. 

My grandmother's manifest with his father's address shown. Taken from Ellis Island manifest.
Family Picture with Dad and his "uncle" and "aunt" going to Germany


Family Picture with Dad and his "aunt" Gertrude in NJ USA
   
What really made an impact was when I was able to get my grandmother, Genevieve's naturalization record. This had a copy of their wedding certificate. Shortly after, I was able to find a second wedding certificate on FamilySearch, for same people, address but different witnesses and place within a few months of each other. One was held in the NYC marriage office and the other was at St Monica Church in NYC. 

First marriage certificate in January 1934

First marriage certificate in March 1934
Marriage Certificate Jean put in with her naturalization papers.

Along with the place on the wedding certificates being different, but it gave me a place to start looking. However, its a small community and I couldn't get very far. Germany's privacy laws don't help either. 

My research stalled on this line for a few years. Then I started to research my great grandmother's line the Klepperich's. I got this information from the wedding certificates. This led me to a Facebook group on the line of Klepperich's and, in the meantime, I did my DNA as well. 

While the Facebook group was interesting, I wasn't getting any place with it, so that research area stalled. 

However, I did end up hearing from someone who was a DNA cousin and asked me about the Schmitz line. We compared notes, not that I had many at this point, but you have to be willing to share to get and learn things. We ended up friends on Facebook, and found she was in the Klepperich's Facebook group too. Again this link stalled because of lack of information. 

A few more years went by and in the interim I had put basic information on WikiTree. However, I was finding the entries and emails on this were annoying and not very informative. However, I was busy researching my maternal line and decided to get to it when I slowed on my mother's side. 

I've only just, in August 2018, with help of some researchers, fond this information out. One of the administrators for WikiTree contacted me asking me about the information I had on my grandfather's side. She was trying to figure out how we joined into the Klepperich side of things. 

I gave her a run down of what I did, which is above here. She got in contact with some researchers in Germany and they went to Neidgermendig, Germany and to where they keep the records. They hit the jackpot for me. They returned with my great grandparent's marriage certificate, my grandfather's birth certificate AND a family tree which goes back to the 1600 and 1700s! 

My grandfather's birth certificate with translations.


My ancestry.com tree with part of my paternal line.


It is and was jaw dropping stuff! 

In doing this, my one DNA cousin and I were able to track down which of our family's interconnect as well. 

This only goes to show, try something different and ask around. You might get surprised and find out some information! Remember sometimes you have to give a little to get back tenfold! 

Now I can track down where generations have come from...which is all around this area. 

A-Z Blogging Challenge - The letter J is for Journeys our relatives have taken!

In 2017, there was a 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 http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/) 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 2017, 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 J is for Journeys our Relatives have taken!

When you sit down and think about where your relatives came from, think about the travel they had to do to get to the US. Some of the reasons could be:

Before they left the country:
  • Could they leave? Conscription/Draft? Military/Police to stop them?
  • Did they have to report or get anyone’s permission TO leave.
  • WHY did they leave?  Political? Financial?
  • Did they leave alone? With family? Friends?
  • How did they leave?
  • What do you think their feelings and concerns were?

During the journey:
  • What paperwork did they need? Could they get the paperwork?
  • Would they get tossed off?
  • Would the port close before their ship could leave?
  • Would they get refused entry onboard if they thought they were sick?
  • Would they be safe onboard?
  • Would they have enough food for the trip?
  • Would the ship be attacked or lost at sea?

Upon arrival at the new country:
  • Where would they go once they got to the new country?
  • Would there be someone to meet them?
  • Did they have enough money for their ongoing trip? To survive until they got a job?
  • Would they get refused entry upon arrival?

If they were refused entry:
  • Would they be killed once they returned to their home country?
  • Would they be imprisoned?
  • Were they too sick to make it back?

 All of these questions are things you must ask yourself and go looking for as most of the time there are no concrete stories or reasons why they left but you can see what you can find by looking at the newspapers, history of the countries and what information you have on your ancestors. By doing this you can state you have reasons why you think they came to the new country. Unfortunately, you cannot have complete certainty unless they left a journal behind detailing their reasons.

In fact, one of my cousins asked me not too long ago, if I knew why our ancestors left and I told her I exactly what I put here – I can’t say for definite, but some good reasons are… and listed them. I’ll detail a few of the countries my ancestors came from and what I think are the reasons why they left.

Poland

As many of my ancestors came from Poland, you really need to sit back and study the history of this heart of Europe nation. I’m going to start this post after World War 1. Believe me most of what’s already happened to the Poles had happened between 1700-1918 when they had their lands, homes and livelihoods burnt, their language, Catholic religion and education and even in some cases lives taken away from them. Where my grandmother lived they called this Russification.

Article Snip fro JewishGen
Article taken from Trove. The full article is here.

Then came World War 1, which made everything worse and any food the Polish people had were taken by the soldiers – usually the Germans, Russians and  Bolsheviks. Then came the raping, murdering, and burning of homes. This is along with the soldiers taking food for anyone they could.

By the end of the war and the reemergence of Poland in 1918, things weren’t better because the when the Treaty of Versailles was put into place, one of the things they didn’t decide on what where each country ended with Poland. The people who signed this figured the individual fighting will decide the boarders of Poland. So while everyone else was happy about the Treaty, there was still fighting and struggles happening because each of the countries wanted as much land as they could get and this included Poland. To put it bluntly, nothing really changed for people who lived there except they were living back in Poland.


Adam Wojtkowski is on line 16. Taken from Ellis Island website although if looking under different last name.
My great grandfather had left Poland in 1913 or 1914 for the US to save up enough money to send for my great grandmother and grandmother. He needed to have everything stable before they could come over. My great grandmother and grandmother were staying with family in Malkinia, near Warsaw. However, I believe they heard about the soldiers making a march towards Warsaw and knew if they were to get out they had to get ASAP. So they decided to head towards Gdansk or Danzig where it was a free area due to the Treaty, but they knew it was going to be tricky.


Line 6 & 7 showing where my grandmother and great grandmother lived and where they were going. 
I found their Manifest of when they left for the US, so I could backtrack this towards the town. I now had a date when I could see where the fighting was in this time and what they had to endure to get there.
I believe there would have been fighting all around and they probably traveled at night where they wouldn’t be easily spotted. It would have taken them probably over a week to get there, and I’m thinking they either had friends or family to stay with along the way, along with riding along in the horse and buggy and if they had enough sometimes on the train. My great grandfather paid for the passage as it says on the documents as you can see from the above manifest in the 3rd filled out column. 

My grandmother always told us over and over again they were the last boat to leave port before it closed. However, according to the documents I found they were probably the first boat to leave after the ports reopened.
Taken from Daily Examiner on 27 July 1920. Page 5.
 And then 2 days later...
Taken from The Sydney Morning Herald on 29 July 1920. Page 8.
The ship manifest for my grandmother and great grandmother say one date but if they were delayed at all, they wouldn't have been able to leave before the 19 July. 

According to the paperwork they had a room, which my great grandfather probably did this for safety of both of them due to them being females. The steerage is really rough from what I’ve been told, so this would have been a protection for them.

Then when they got to Ellis Island, they wouldn’t have just pulled the boat up right next to the pier and got off either. Usually they were transferred to a barge and then the barge to the pier. Then unless they were US citizens usually they had to go into the building carrying their belongings. They were looked over by doctors while they were walking and if someone was questionable then they were usually pulled aside and sent to the hospital to be checked. Read more about the journey here.

Then my great grandmother would have had been tested for her language skills. This can be found on the ship manifest as the numbers. 

On line 6 it shows numbers in column 8 about the tests for language skills for my great grandmother. The date next to it is the date someone checked her file.
My grandmother's health sheet in her naturalization file
After all of that, they would have been led to the side and asked to sit down and wait. Why? Because they were female and they needed to be ‘released’ to a male. This way they can be taken care of. It might have been a few minutes or it could have been hours. There is no way of knowing, but they would have had to wait for Adam, my great grandfather, to collect them before being allowed into the USA.
Then they would have had to make it to where their new home was and there they could relax and have a sleep. However, over the next months, they would have had to get used to money, the new and strange community, new language, new money, schooling and it the list went on and on.

Belgium

Belgium is a very small country really. They had multiple take overs just like Poland. Then when they were unhappy they held revolts. Many people don’t realize the amount of times France pushed into West Belgium over the years.

Belgium was captured by Spain until 1714. Then Austria had its turn at the area.

I have been able to find, with a help of a cousin, an ancestors record from 1727! It’s in an area where France and Belgium meet basically. It’s always a huge place for many wars due to the advantage of being able to see out over the valley. Its name is Wytschaete or Wijtschate

From Wikipedia

Then France in 1746 captured it until 1749 when it was handed back to Austria. Then it was stable until 1795 when France was headed by Napoleon and he took over Belgium and Southern Netherlands. In 1798 a peasant’s war broke out in East Flanders and Ardennes. Then in 1815 Holland decided to rule the area for a bit. There were a few more take overs and mergers before 1830 when the Belgium people revolt and gain independence.

Then in 1865 there was another there was another revolution. This one occurred for many reasons mainly it was because people came to not like King Leopold. However after the revolution, there were problems. There were Dutch and French parts of the country and they could not agree on which language should be the official language. They fought over this.

There were conservative and progressive parts of the country. Again another area for people to fight over. Catholic and liberal parts of the country. As religion was a huge part of people back then, it would have caused many fights as well.

However, they still had a king ruling the country. King Leopold II. He was nicknamed the butcher of the Congo because he found the area and then exploited it for its rubber. While his country and the area he founded started to crumble, he ended being forced to relinquish his crown.

During 1847-1857 they had many different things hit the country – Economic destabilization with exporters having increasing competition from the British. Then there were the radical publications which were founded and this fueled a rebellion to go to the main government area to overthrow the monarchy to establish a republic only to be stopped/captured by soldiers. Then they had the epidemics of cholera which gave everyone a difficult time to survive.

Then in 1847 until 1880 the liberals ran Belgium and things settled down. People were starting to have a positive attitude, arts flourished as in music, theater, visual arts types of things. The economic side of things started to expand at a fast rate and had a good trade understanding with the Netherlands.

Take from FamilySearch.org


During this time is when my great grandfather Jules is born (1871). His father was away serving in the military due to the draft.

Taken from Familysearch.org
By the end of 1871, my great grandparents were married.

Taken from Family Search
In 1878, my 2x great grandmother Florentina Van Rompaye Gauquie, had died. As you can see if you understand the language, my 2x great grandfather is actually an entertainer!

Found here

I believe this spurred my 2x great grandfather to bring himself and his children to the US in about 1884 according to his statement in his Intention for US Citizenship he filed.

Came from Orange County NY Registrars office

In 1909, King Leopold II died and people still did not like him. He loved his Africa, where he was getting/selling the rubber from but they were not as good as he thought they were and things started to fail for him. The Belgian people booed him at his own funeral.

During this time, my great father met my great grandmother and in 1900 bought a property which has been known as the king’s highway, meets up to it. If you look into the history of the area, then you can see many people who fought against and for America’s independence are all around the area.

Got from here
I believe the whole reason why they came, was because they were afraid of the trade going too fast and being given very little for their food as many were farmers. If you add to this, the many cousins already in the US – in New York and Minnesota – I think they went to see if they can get whatever they could.

I have ancestors from Denmark and Germany as well, so it’s a timely thing to look up history and understand it.

As you can see, putting history of a country with what’s going on in your family is a huge thing. By doing this it brings about understanding of the times and your ancestors mind set as well!