After my first day of research in an archive, I headed out to see where my ancestors once lived. The first stop was the birth place of my paternal grandmother, Marian Mularzewicz (later Mary Miller).
Marian was born in May 1910 and arrived with her mother Sorka and several siblings to Ellis Island in 1920. Her father Zyskind and all the older siblings were already in America. Zyskind had travelled back and forth a few times, having first visited the US in 1904. The second of his arrivals that I found was in March 1910, so unless he quickly turned around and went back to Poland, he was in America when she was born.
This is all assuming that her birth date is accurate. I have found that none of my Polish ancestors (nor anyone else’s) actually knew their birth dates. They didn’t celebrate every year like we do today, so it wasn’t as important to know. While in the Łomza archive, I looked for records for the children in this family and did not find any except for the first born son (which I’d already had). So the dates that they used in America are the closest we’ll ever know to when they were actually born.
Zyskind probably did meet his youngest daughter before her arrival in America, as a third ship list for him was found in 1913. His birth I found in the records as well as his wife’s.
The Napoleonic records do not give street addresses or even house numbers usually, so I was just in Rutki to visit the town in general. There was nothing left of the Jewish cemetery, but it was established in the 1920s or 1930s, so my ancestors weren’t buried there; some cousins may have been.
I did find online information about the former synagogue, including the street address. I had some trouble finding it because there were two buildings there, neither with addresses. I gathered my courage (and as much Polish language skill as I could muster) and went inside the general store to ask for help. We eventually found that one of those buildings was the correct one, but it was set so far back from the street that they had changed the access to the other side. It is now a few different shops in one building. At one end, the owner invited me in and knew it had been the synagogue. His shop was on the side that was the bima. He pointed out that all of the surrounding houses were once occupied by Jews.
He then told me where to find a memorial to the Jews of Rutki who were killed by the Nazis, which I visited.
The URL of this post is http://idogenealogy.com/blog/2012/09/22/rutki/.
All photos and content Copyright 2012 by Banai Lynn Feldstein.