Genealogy speed reading and note taking tough skills to master


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I have felt both exhilarated and defeated by the online Greek Catholic church records for Bialy Kamien and its surrounding villages I can access at my Local Family History Center. For now, I am just concentrating on 1901-1910 and  it is a hard slog in an unexpected way.

Good handwriting? check

Quality of information? check

Ability to  find new relatives? check

But there are so many people with my surnames that it is taking me a couple of hours to just make it through a year and a half’s worth of records at a stretch. I wonder how many evenings it will take to complete just this section before I begin to work on the 19th century. I also am getting concerned comments from the person I live with who may be questioning my sanity after glancing at my color coded spreadsheet.

So far I can divide all these people in 4 groups:

1. Direct ancestors.

2. Those related directly to them, such as siblings.

3. Those who are directly related to group Number 2.

4. People with my surnames who must be related to me somehow, but who for now are mystery relatives.

Considering that years ago I thought I had plenty of people pegged from the Roman Catholic microfilms, it has been an eye-opening experience. As aforementioned PILW says, “So many Bialy Kamieners!”

More on the Poczapy Mystery


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At the end of the post is the second part of the list of names of emigrants from Poczapy I have found on the Hamburg passenger lists. For more information please visit

I have been playing with the Greek Catholic duplicate records that can be viewed online at any Family History Center, and have discovered a few more people to add to my tree.  I was happy to discover that there are entries for Roman Catholic records alongside those of the Greek Catholic church at Bialy Kamien!  If an individual is Roman Catholic that is noted on the register, and I have found events here that I also had found previously in the Roman Catholic records.

I would recommend having a go at these records that are digital versions of the microfilmed records. I find them a bit easier on the eyes. The records from the archives in Lviv have restrictions so that they cannot be emailed or saved; however, with a simple camera/phone  you can get an acceptable image of the screen. I am still relying on the old fashioned method of note taking for the most part. Dealing with  the early 20th century has been a nice break from the older long form records

Departed 30 Jan 1907: Teodor Kapitaniec, Marcin Klak, Daniel Kwas

Departed 8 Jun 1912: Wasyl Kostyk

Departed 17 Sep 1910 Antoni Krogulski

Departed 15 May 1913: Marya Kuzma

Departed 9 Oct 1910: Danylo Kwas

Departed 30 Apr 1904: Prokop Kwas, Onufry Szabatura

Departed 16 May 1907: Ewka Kwas

Departed 11 Oct 1905: Terenko Kwas

Departed 25 Nov 1909: Zofia Kwasnica

Departed 3 Jul 1913: Anna Lachman, Aftanazy Nogacz, Danylo Pyndyk, Fedko Szurko

Departed 30 Mar 1911: Petro Lachowicz, Mieczyslaw Obremski

Departed 27 Nov 1912: Maria Mericz

Departed 30 Mar 1907: Franciszek Mizialek, Pawlo Szabatura, Wladysl. Szabatura

Departed 1 Sep 1910: Bazyli Myrosz, Daniel Pyndyk

Departed 29 Mar 1907: Kata. Niedzwiecka

Departed 7 Aug 1913: Tekla Oriszczin, Wladimir Oriszczin

Departed 4 Sep 1913: Onufryj Pawlyszyn

Departed 9 Oct 1913: Kaska Poczapska, Wasyl Pydyk

Departed 23 Jan 1913: Piotr Poczapski, Anna Pyndyk, Pawel Smolinski

Departed 16 Feb 1907: Teodor Poczapski

Departed 16 Dec 1904: Jan Puszkow

Departed 25 May 1913: Kosc Pyndik

Departed 20 Dec 1908: Konstanty Pyndyk

Departed 8 Jun 1907: Bazyli Pyndyk

Departed 30 Sep 1909: Jewka Pyndyk

Departed 5 Feb 1910: Mikolaj Smolinski

Departed 2 Mar 1911: Mikolaj Smolinski, Anna Smolinski

Departed 6 Feb 1909: Jan Sydor

Departed 8 Jun 1913: Wladzimierz Szabatura

Departed 12 Feb 1910: Johann Szabatura

Departed 25 Apr 1909: Anna Szewczuk

Departed 29 Nov 1906: Mikolaj Szura

Departed 21 Mar 1903: Kazim Teminski, Pazia Teminski

Departed 1 Jul 1909: Kasia Wozniakywicz

Departed 5 Jun 1913: Taube Wurzel

Departed 28 Nov 1907: Jan Zacharczuk

Departed 30 Apr 1910: Safat Zawalij

Blue Shield Statement on Ukraine

Here is the link for the official statement:

For those of you unaware of this group, “The Blue Shield is the protective emblem of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, which is, with its two Protocols, the basic international treaty formulating rules to protect cultural heritage during armed conflicts. The Blue Shield network consists of international non-governmental organisations dealing with museums, archives, libraries, and monuments and sites.”

This important work is done throughout the world and now, unfortunately, is needed to deal with the current crisis in Ukraine, ancestral home to many who read this blog.


The Poczapy Mystery


What is it like to have a really rare surname? If you are a genealogist, you might think that is a good thing because it narrows the field for you. However, as I have found out with the surname Boniszyn, there can be such a thing as too rare. When you enter that name into Ancestry you currently come back with zero results. If you have spent any time with that database it might be hard to believe that happens, especially if you have gone through page after page of results while looking for that special someone. In the case of Boniszyn, it is more complicated in that the earliest town I can connect it to is Rozwaz, although a town by the name of Boniszyn is close by. Was this family originally from Boniszn itself? My Boniszyns moved to the “big town” of Bialy Kamien, but apparently part of the family later settled in nearby Poczapy.

Prompted by a recent commenter I began to try again to find out about the Boniszyns through Ancestry. When I came up with zero, I decided to employ another tactic: searching for information about the locality, since I knew that this surname was found in Poczapy. Although I have not yet found any Boniszyns I did come across 102 instances of others from Poczapy who emigrated. The vast majority of the records are from the Hamburg passenger lists. Here are the names from A-J that I have found so far. For more information about any of them please visit the Ancestry website. In the meantime I plan on taking my search back to the LDS microfilm readers as soon as possible to see if I can learn more about the Boniszyn family in the late 1800s. I want to solve the Poczapy mystery of this extremely rare surname!

From Boston Passenger lists and Crewman
these 3 traveled together: Irvan Hawrys, Josef Roj, Wladzimierz Tzabatura
arr. 19 Jun 1913 – Boston, Massachusetts

From New York Passenger lists All with the destination of Amsterdam NY

Anastazya Hulik
Huat Hulyh
Roman Kûzma
Basily Pryndejk

From the Hamburg Passenger lists
Departed 11 Jan 1908:Kata. Ambros, Anna Ambros, Mihal Ambros, Adam Ambros traveled together

Departed  30 Sep 1909: Prokop Hulyk,  Michal Kwas, Wladek Szabatura, Helena Baran, Onufry Hulyk traveled together

Departed 25 Feb 1903: Prokop Barau traveled with Josef Smolawski of Usznia,  [illegible] Golab of Usznia, Iwan Hulyk of Poczapy and Bronislaw Bielsk of Bialy Kamien

Departed 16 Feb 1907: Stanislaw Bok  and Miecislaw Obremski traveled together

Departed 17 Aug 1911: Iwan Borenko
Departed 25 Apr 1909: Warwara Burudynska  and Anna Kroasnyca
Departed 9 Jun 1909: Emilian Cwyk
Departed 1 Jul 1909: Justyna Dobak

Departed 3 Jul 1913: Antonina Duch, Jan Duch

Departed 3 Jul 1913: Antonina Duch, Jan Duch

Departed Mai 1908: Pawko Duch  Natalia Duch,  Eliasz Duch: destination Brazil
Departed 7 Jun 1914: Hrynko Duch

Departed 25 Jul 1907: Parania Duda traveled with Pawel Duda of Zloczow
Departed 1 Feb 1913: Teofil Gawrys
Departed 30 Apr 1910: Hania (could be Xenia) Gniewek,  Franciszek Ziemlanski, Jozefa Ziemlanski
Departed 5 March 1898: Berl Goldberg
Departed 25 May 1913: Ivan Gos
Departed 8 Jun 1913: Iwan Hawrys
Departed 21 Sep 1909: Pawlo Hawryszkow
Departed 6 May 1909: Wasyl Hawryszkow
Departed 5 Jun 1913: Piotr Hreczanny
Departed 16 Aug 1906: Aftanasy Hulik
Departed 16 May 1907: Anastazya Hulik
Departed 30 Sep 1909: Prokop Hulyk

Departed 30 Mar 1907: Antoni Hulyk
Departed 3 Mar 1907: Hnat Hulyk
Departed 23 Jan 1913: Onufry Hulyk
Departed 1 Jul 1909: Tekla Hulyk
Departed 30 Jan 1907: Franciszek Jamrosz
Departed 15 Jul 1905: Josef Jurasz


Boniszyn surname


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In response to LV who is researching the Boniszyn family I am enclosing information of the Boniszyn family of Rozwaz and Poczapy. I believe LV may well be descended from Adalbert Boniszyn as he is the only son in the family of seven children. I hope that by searching the microfilms for Bialy Kamien LV will be able to make the connection he needs!

Theodor Boniszyn was born in 1812 in Rozwaz. He marries Agnes Schmutz and together they had one son and six daughters. The son Adalbert (also known as Wojciech) was born in Rozwaz April 4, 1839. He married Victoria Niedzielska and had at least two children, Carolus and Catharina (born 1897 in Poczapy).

Lv, if you are a descendant of Carolus, we are related!

Czajkowskis, Kuczynskis and Gorals


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I am still trying to go through the Roman Catholic microfilms for Olesko (LDS numbers 2328926 and 2328927). It is daunting, to say the least, because  I am trying  to focus on the 1700s and early 1800s. Yesterday I spent an hour and a half trying to train my eyes to the Latin paragraph form of register recording, and did not come up with a single name to add. Once I get to the 1780s I begin to celebrate the printed registers in a way I never had before! Even though it is the same struggle with handwriting, just having an orderly format is such a relief!

So far I seem to be finding that my Kuczynski surname is mainly found in Olesko, while  the Gorals are staunchly in the Rozwaz village.The Czajkowskis are found in Olesko and in several of the surrounding villages.

A word of warning to those who may be searching through 2328927. Item 1 reminded me of the Dead Sea scrolls exhibit I saw recently. Even with a top of the line reader, there are lots of torn edges with missing information. Here are my findings so far. I am listing every one of my surnames as an event with that surname, so you will find  father and child, for instance, separately, as two events even though there was only one birth.

Goral Agnes was married to Stephanus Witkowski, age 20


1786 Jan 19 Rozwaz RC


mar Stephanus Witkowski age 20, Michal Dutkiewicz, sutor, wit.
Goral Josephus was born to Matthias and Marianna nee Bykowska?


1794 Jan 4 Rozwaz RC



Matthias Goral and Marianna Bykowska?
Goral Magdalena was born to Mathias and Marianna nee Golab


1803 Mar 19 Rozwaz RC



Mathias Goral and Marianna Golab
Goral Matthias became the father of Josephus


1794 Jan 4 Rozwaz RC


Goral Matthias became the father of Magdalena


1803 Mar 19 Rozwaz RC



Kuczynska Agnes was born to Joannes and Catharina nee Urbanska


1803 Feb 19 Olesko RC



Joannes and Catharina nee Urbanska
Kuczynska Rudnicka Catharina gave birth to Marianna


1805 July 21 Olesko, HN 304 RC



Kuczynski Antonius became the father of Thomas


1792 Dec 29 Olesko, HN 277 RC



Kuczynski Joannes died


1837 oct 15 Olesko, HN 150 RC



hn 150
Kuczynski Joannes was married to Apolonia Lonska ?, age 19


1801 Nov Olesko RC



mar Apolonia Lonska? Age 19
Kuczynski Nicolaus died


1822 mar 8 Olesko RC



Kuczynski Thomas was born to Antonius and Catharina nee Lytwn


1792 Dec 29 Olesko, HN 277 RC



? Agatha was born to Petrus — and Marianna nee Czajkowska


1808 Feb 7 Olesko RC



parents: Petrus — and Marianna Czajkowski
Czajkowska Julianna died


1834 Mar 15 Ozydow, HN41 RC



dau of Joannes and Marya, hn 41
Czajkowska Marianna was married to Mattheus Gugalski, age 40


1800? Oct 9 Olesko RC



mar Matheus Gugalski age 40
Czajkowska Marianna was married to Andreas Kawa-ck of Usznia, age 30


1814 oct 16 Olesko RC



mar Andreas Kawa-ck de Usznia age 30
Czajkowska Marianna was born to Joannes and Marianna nee Bankowska


1788 Aug 3 Rozwaz, HN 64 RC



parents: Joannes and Marianna Bankowska
Czajkowska — Marianna gave birth to Agatha — 1808 Feb 7 Olesko RC



Czajkowska Honkowska Marianna gave birth to Thecla 1786 Jan 26 Juskowice RC



Czajkowska Nizenska Anna gave birth to Marianna 1802 Nov 9 Olesko RC



Czajkowska Nizenska Anna gave birth to Thomas 1802 Nov 9 Olesko RC



Czajkowski Francis was born to Jacobus and Barbara nee —


1804 Jul 17 Olesko RC



parents: Jacobus and Barbara —
Czajkowski Gregorius was married to


Olesko RC



Czajkowski Josephus was listed as father of Paul


1836 may 20 Rozwaz RC


Czajkowski, Paulus, son of Josef and Anna, mar Anna
Czajkowski Josephus died


1827 oct 1 Olesko RC



Czajkowski Josephus became the father of Francis 1804 Jul 17 Olesko RC



Czajkowski Paulus was married to Anna nee — 1836 may 20 Rozwaz, HN 43 RC


Czajkowski, Paulus, son of Josef and Anna, mar Anna

A little progress with LDS microfilms


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In my quest for the Austrian soldier who married my great great great grandmother, Catharina Kuczynska, I discovered that there were some Roman Catholic records for Rozwaz filmed with the nearby town of Olesko. I received the first of these recently, and after a couple of hours of searching through the Rozwaz sections, I became discouraged at the lack of familiar surnames. Out of desperation I began to look at the actual town of Olesko records. After all, that was probably where Josef was posted originally, and I reasoned that perhaps not all listings were recorded in the small village.

Lo and behold! I discovered a listing for the death of a Josef Schmutz in March, 1830. He was living in Olesko at the time of death. So now I know his death date and approximated year of birth, but this was one of those sketchy records that says nothing at all about his family or birthplace. Of course I now feel the need to go over this microfilm with a fine tooth comb!

A lesson learned — although going over each item on a microfilm may seem like a waste of time, you might be surprised to find something  in a different place from  where you originally thought it would be. So go with your hunches and consider spending more time with the microfilm reader’s forward, rewind, zoom and focus features!

When one thing leads to another..


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Last week I got inspired by a patron who had found some Mexican records from around the year 1800 and started to review an old loose end on my own family tree.

Although most of my ancestors are Polish or Ukrainian, there is one Austrian soldier who was stationed in Galicia and married one of my great great grandmothers. Isn’t it always the odd one who captures our attention? Anyway I began looking through some old information and realized that there were still some films left to order that might give an indication of my ancestor Joseph’s history.

After filling out the LDS form, I rechecked some information about the possible geographic location of his surname in Austria.  I came upon the region containing the town of Gmünd in Lower Austria. As I Googled the town, I came across the most amazing story! According to a web page posted by the Austrian Philatelic Society, Gmünd was the site of a World War I refugee camp. “In September of 1914, Gmünd was designated as the site of a refugee camp for Ruthenian (Ukrainian) evacuees from the eastern Austrian crownlands.” This camp at one point contained over 30,000 people, some of whom came by rail, while others traveled many miles on foot. Although most of the refugees were Ukrainians, there were also Slovenians, Italians, and Croats.

The vastness of this camp amazes me. There were houses, a fire station, bakeries, religious facilities, schools and much more. There were choirs and operatic performances. Occasionally there were ethnic conflicts, but overall life at the camp seems to have been not at all harsh.

Please visit this site for the wealth of information there and also for the images, which are many and wondrous. I cannot help but share just one via this post, which is a group of women of a singing group dressed in folk costumes. When I think of my Joseph leaving Austria for Galicia and  a century later of all those refugees leaving Galicia for Austria, I have renewed respect for the human survival instinct and sadness for all those who could not survive. Thank you to the authors of this article, Ingert Kuzych, Roman Dubyniak and Peter Cybaniak!

I do not know yet if Joseph really did come from here, but I feel a closeness to it already. Now to see if the microfilms will contain any more clues!

A ladies singing group


Researching Galician ancestors using newspapers

Sorry it has been so long, but  during this cold season I seem to have become a prime target. Hopefully the viruses have all departed! Tonight I would like to discuss using historic newspapers to track down ancestors.

Everybody knows that Chicago was a popular destination for Poles, but many people from Galicia also went to New Jersey and New York to work in the factories there. Many people from Bialy Kamien immigrated to the Newark NJ area and to Amsterdam, NY, while it seems people from Przeciszow and Biecz went to New York City and New Jersey’s Hudson County  as well as Buffalo NY and its surrounding towns. These people went to work in jewelry factories, carpet mills and steel mills.

If you are searching for ancestors in New York State, there is an online resource not to be missed! It is called One man has taken it upon himself to digitize as many microfilmed newspapers as he can find and place them online for free. More items are being added all the time, and the site is such a treasure trove for genealogists.

While searching on the Fulton History site I have found obituaries for many relatives, stories about their military service, vacation trips, visitors, 50th anniversary parties, political doings and much more! These are just the kinds of stories that make these folks I never knew so much more real to me. The dates you encounter in the newspapers can also help you track down those important  vital records.

When you go to Fulton History, click on the Enter/Press Here prompt and you will come upon an admittedly strange looking page. Ignore practically everything you see and head for that search box at the upper left hand corner. There are some searching tools you can use, but it is pretty easy to just type in keywords and check your results.

I was surprised to come upon this little item, because I did not know that there would be any downstate news:

New York Times, February 28,1915.

Sterling Drake has sold for Elizabeth

A. Lefevre of New Paltz to

Thaddeus and Carrie Kosowski the

‘old homestead’ on John Street, Port

Richmond, on a plot 50 by 100. This

property has been in the family for

three generations, or ever since 1869

until this sale.

And look at the detail in this obituary:


Funeral of Ludwik Czosnykowski

The funeral of Ludwik Czosnykowskl

was held Saturday morning

at 8:30 at the Iwanski Brothers

funeral home where the Rt.

Rev. Msgr. Stanislaus M. Gospodarek

held a prayer service and

at 9 at St. Stanislaus Church

where Msgr. Gospodarek was the

celebrant of requiem mass with

Anthony Grzegorzewski at the organ.

Interment was in St. Stanislaus’

Cemetery where Msgr. Gospodarek

officiated at the committal

service. The bearers were John

Gieza, a grandson, Joseph and

John Olander and Walter Bubnowski,

nephews, Edward Bubnowski,

grand-nephew,, and Cyprian


Attending the funeral from out

of-town were Stanlslaw Bubhowskl,

Mrs. Edward BubnowskL Mr.

and Mrs. Walter BubnowskL Joseph

Czosnykowskl and Mr. arid

Mrs. Theodore Bubnowski, Union,

N.J.; Mrs. Marion Paskiewicz,

Newark, N.J.; Mr. and Mrs. Henry

Smero, Mr. and Mrs. John

Prusak and daughter, Irvlngton,

N.J., and Mrs. Mary Czupryk,


Friday evening, Msgr. Gospodarek

visited the funeral home.

Ludwig Czosnykowski

 Ludwig Czosnykowski

I encourage you to try Fulton History if your wanderings lead  to New York State. And if you have other favorite newspaper sites you would like to share, please let me know.