Category Archives: Locations

Wizna, Poland

After the interesting time I had in Rutki, and backtracking some of my journey to find that memorial, I went back to Rutki and followed that sign to Wizna.

I knew the road would take me through a few even smaller villages. One of them was Grądy Woniecko, the birth place of the earliest Mularzewicz ancestor who’s birth record I have. I only stopped long enough to take a picture of the sign. It seemed like the only thing in town was a prison, which Polish Wikipedia confirms opened in 1999.

The earliest Mularzewicz record I have so far is the for a marriage for Moszko in 1838 in Wizna. However, Wizna is primarily known to me as where my Kurlender family comes from. My great-grandmother Sorka was born there in 1865. When I first got her Polish birth record, I was not sure it was hers because I lacked more information about her. But I was just being hesitant. After retrieving all of the indexed Kurlender records, I was able to put them all together into one large family tree.

As I did with Rutki, I tried to find where the synagogue used to be, but while I found some pictures online, I could find no address or other details. So I just went to the center of town. There was a sign pointing for information, but when I followed it, I got to a one way street out of the center of town and could never find where it wanted me to go.

And to be a good genealogist, the names inscribed on the monument in the Wizna park:

  • Dobronski Jozef
  • Glinski Jan
  • Grzeszczyk Marceli
  • Konopko Franciszek
  • Krasnowski Jozef
  • Lipinski Jozef
  • Markfart Boleslaw
  • Olszewski Teofil
  • Ostrowski Stefan
  • Pruszko Jozef
  • Piotrowski Andrzej
  • Ptaszynski Edmund
  • Radziwon Antoni
  • Renkiewicz Apolinary
  • Szulc Antoni
  • Trepanowski Jozef

The URL of this post is http://idogenealogy.com/blog/2012/09/23/wizna/.
All photos and content Copyright 2012 by Banai Lynn Feldstein.

Rutki, Poland

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.

Zambrow Jewish Cemetery, Poland

There was no Jewish cemetery in Rutki when my ancestors were there. They did have one in later years, but earlier, they used the cemetery in Zambrów. I didn’t visit anything else in the city.

This was a depressing stop. Though I’ve posted photos from the Łomza Jewish cemeteries already, this is the first one I visited (besides Warsaw, where I didn’t go inside). Once I found the entrance right on the main road, I was both expecting and also not expecting what I saw.

At first, all I saw was a field. Was there really no trace of the cemetery besides the sign? I couldn’t remember if I’d read anything about this cemetery. Was it being restored or was there nothing left? I walked in and soon saw traces of a cemetery. The farther up the hill, the more I saw. And it was depressing. I don’t find cemeteries depressing in general, but the condition of this one was abysmal.

The one bright point was that it was obviously being cared for, what was left of it. The grass and weeds were recently enough cut so it was not an overgrown mess.

I’m sure I had a few ancestors buried in this cemetery.

A new memorial was placed in this cemetery less than three weeks after I visited, with further plans to continue cleaning, restoring, and building a new fence around it.

That web site doesn’t say that the cemetery was destroyed in the war, only that it was “gradually falling into ruins” after the war. But there had to be more stones than what I saw. What happened to them? Or were there really that few burials? Maybe the cemetery went even deeper into the forested area.

The URL of this post is http://idogenealogy.com/blog/2012/09/07/zambrow-jewish-cemetery/.
All photos and content Copyright 2012 by Banai Lynn Feldstein.

Lomza, Poland

My first research destination in Poland was Łomza. My paternal grandmother was born in a small village nearby and I had already found records for both of her parents’ families before my trip. While researching at the archive and visiting those small towns, I stayed in the city for a few days.

Łomza is a small city that closes even earlier than Salt Lake City. One evening, inquiring about where I can go for food, I was told that only McDonald’s was open; I think it was around 4pm. I did discover online that there were two 24 hour gas stations near to McD’s. I never did try to find them, but I recall driving past them on my way out of town.

My visit to the city was over two days. The first day, it was raining and I just walked from my hotel to some nearby locations. The second was when I was returning from visiting the small villages and I drove a bit farther away.

For more information:

The URL for this post is http://idogenealogy.com/blog/2012/08/30/lomza/.
All photos and content Copyright 2012 by Banai Lynn Feldstein.

Warsaw, Poland

I was in Warsaw four separate times on this trip, arriving by plane and spending the night, returning from Lomza and continuing on, then passing through by train and plane without leaving the station/airport.

Because I was pressed for time on this trip and had no major research plans, I did not take the time to explore the city more. I had only a few hours on two separate days. I made the Jewish historical sites my priority, visiting only a small number of them.

Want to know more about what some of these are? Here are some Wikipedia links that will shed some light and fill in more details:

The URL of this page is http://idogenealogy.com/blog/2012/08/27/warsaw/.
All photos and content Copyright 2012 by Banai Lynn Feldstein.