Tag Archives: Mularzewicz

Revelations from Rutki, Part 2

I am fairly certain that everyone named Mularzewicz is related. The name only exists in a certain part of Poland, and the earliest generation I’ve found are all born just after 1800 and their father’s name is Moszko. I’ve been in this situation before, and each time, when I’m able to find more evidence, I’ve proved my suspicions correct. But for this, I still want more proof.

My earliest Mularzewicz record was from 1839 in the town of Wizna. This was unexpected, as my branch of Mularzewiczes were from Rutki. The marriage was that of Moszko Szlomowicz Mularzewicz to Peszka Marchowicz. For those who aren’t familiar with Polish patronymics, the second name of the groom indicates his father’s name, Szlomo. Before this record, Szlomo was the furthest back I could go in the Mularzewicz line. The bonus information came in the parents’ names, which listed Szlomo and Malka, Moszkowicz Mularzewicz, indicating that Szlomo’s father was named Moszko. Szlomo’s wife was also new information. With this, I finally had more to match besides just Szlomo. I just needed some records of those alleged brothers.

I went to Poland hoping to find a couple of those. I found one.

Kalman Mularzewicz was one of the people I was hoping to find. His death was indexed by JRI-Poland but it was only in the Polish State Archive. Even though he died at the age of 80, his parents were wonderfully listed on his death certificate. Finding Szlomo and Malka listed, I finally had enough proof that this Kalman belonged to my family. His wife, Odes, was also listed, further reinforcing his family. I had previously collected information about his family from JRI. I have to go through them again, but now I can confidently add them into my database. And as I recall, he had a good sized family.

I thought that I was also trying to retrieve more evidence for another brother in that generation, but alas, I cannot find such a record now. Any others may have to eventually be assumed, unless I can find something in the older Catholic records. The Jewish records in those are usually few and far between, but it may be the only way I can definitively prove any more.

I had some more trouble with another member of the family, Chaim. I previously had the information about his family based on his birth record, the 1897 district census, and the marriage record for his oldest son, all of which fit easily into my known family. In Poland, I was able to find Chaim’s marriage record, but I have some trouble with it. Many of the names don’t match the records I already had. His mother was listed as Pesa daughter of Abram, but I had that her father was Zyskind, which is a family name and seen a few times. His wife’s name was also an issue. Listed as Pesa Rozen on the marriage, I previously had Leya Royza Rozenowicz. While I can easily assimilate Rozen and Rozenowicz, Leya Royza and Pesa are trickier. Her father, Wigdor, is listed the same on all records, so it doesn’t look like two different wives, as that name didn’t seem very common in this part of Poland. I will have to re-examine everything to see if there might be more clues that I hadn’t found. Maybe I’ll try searching under her maiden name.

I have quite a bit more work to do in the Mularzewicz family now, sorting through all of those records from Kalman’s branch of the family, and climbing over to the Sokol family (from Part 1). If I recall correctly, Kalman had some descendents who immigrated to America and I communicated with one many years ago. I looked him up recently and unfortunately will have to find his descendents to get back in touch again. Fortunately, he is connected via a female line and wasn’t a Miller in America.

The URL of this post is http://idogenealogy.com/blog/2013/05/02/revelations-from-rutki-part-2/.

Revelations from Rutki, Part 1

In the process of organizing and reorganizing all of my genealogy documents, I’m finally getting to the records I brought back from Europe.

I’ve started with my Mularzewicz family. I have been going through the records I already had, incorporating their data into my database, looking up more records that are online or indexed and easily findable on microfilm, in addition to carefully adding the new records from Poland.

The Mularzewicz family originated near Rutki. I can no longer say they came from Rutki, since I’ve found a couple of earlier records. Rutki kept separate records for a short while, but many are in the books from Zambrow and Łomza; all of these records are held in the archive in Łomza.

I tried to do as much research as I could before I went on my trip so I was prepared with as much as I could know. Pages of Testimony (PoT) from Yad Vashem had filled in some more of this family and the indexes on JRI-Poland pointed me to a few more records. Additionally, I searched through records that were not indexed and found a few more documents about my family.

From the nine known children of Lejba and Necha Mularzewicz, I was able to find the marriage records for three of them on this trip: Chaja, Chana Sora, and Juszk Szlomo. I learned a lot about the family just from these three records.

I descend from their son Zyskind, who came to America and brought all of his children. Several of his brothers also made the journey and brought their families: Pesach, Abram, Jankel, and Juszk. Shejna died as a child and Ester died in childbirth. That left the two sisters, Chana Sora and Chaja, who I learned about from those Pages of Testimony.

Chaja married Moszka Leiba Jedwabinski. Their son Josef was the person who filled out the PoTs for these families. Besides learning a bit more about Moszka, I finally learned the maiden name of Necha: Sokol.

I’ve had the name Ginsburg in my database for years, but the only source for that name was Zyskind’s death certificate.

Chana Sora married Izrael Zeborowsky. On his PoT, he was listed as Zabrowsky; he lost a vowel in translation. This marriage certificate not only confirmed the name Sokol, but Izrael’s mother’s maiden name was also Sokol. There is a nearby village of Sokoly, so they may not necessarily be related; but they could be.

And finally, the marriage of Juszk to Chaja Sora Koziol. She was a tricky one. I had her maiden name listed as Beckman, finding her brother with the family in a US census. He was actually misspelled and was Beckerman.

What gets more interesting is that Beckerman is the only person in my family who came with a story of a name change at Ellis Island. The person who told me the story thought the name was changed from Mularzewicz, but it was actually the family of the wife of a Mularzewicz. His story was that when asked his name, he thought he was being asked his profession and said Beckerman — he was a baker. I have found more information about the Beckermans, and they were all bakers. I wonder if this story has a modicum of truth to it. I don’t believe they were misunderstood at Ellis Island, but did the name change happen because of a misunderstanding? Or did they change it to match their business?

From a collection of ship lists for unidentified as well as badly misspelled Mularzewiczes, I easily found Chaja and her eldest children arriving, listing both her husband and her father, further confirming the name change from Koziol to Beckerman.

Continuing on my research, I discovered that one of the brothers arrived in America as a single man. He was a tricky one to find. In fact, before very recently, I had no evidence of him in America. Once I finally found the 1940 Census, I was able to find his family in earlier records, including his New York City marriage. If I hadn’t known the correct mother’s maiden name, I would have discounted it as incorrect.

Jake Miller Marriage, Lejba and Necha listed as Louie and Annie

The URL of this article is http://idogenealogy.com/blog/2013/03/15/revelations-from-rutki-part-1/.

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.

Europe 2012 – Day 4 – Small Towns

Today was the reason I really needed a rental car. I visited my ancestral towns.

From Lomza, I headed south through Zambrow where I found what is left of the Jewish cemetery. Some of my Rutki ancestors were likely buried there, from what I’ve read.

Zambrow Jewish Cemetery

I drove on to Rutki, where my Mularzewicz family is from. Going farther back in the family line, some were born at other nearby small towns too.

In Rutki, I looked for the building that used to be the synagogue. My difficulty was because the address was on one street but the building was set so far back that they’d changed the access to the other street. I spoke to a couple men for a few minutes. My cousin had been there a week earlier and they had the family names written down.

Former Synagogue of Rutki

With my limited Polish, it wasn’t a long conversation. After messing with my cell phone for a minute, one man waved me back in and spoke some English after all. He told me where to find a memorial. I’d previously found GPS coordinates online that were far from correct. Whenever I think of the expression “off the beaten path”, I will now think of this location.

Memorial to Jews Killed by Nazis

Onward to Wizna, driving the minor roads, I went through Grady Woniecko, the earliest known birthplace of a relative in that family.

In Wizna, where my Kurlenders were from, I had other minor setbacks. I was not able to find online the location of the former synagogue and the GPS coordinates I had for the cemetery were far off too. I didn’t feel up to asking the locals. At least in Rutki, I had some information to build on.

Another minor road took me farther north to Jedwabne, and another memorial at a Jewish massacre site, right across from the Jewish cemetery.

Memorial to Jews of Jedwabne

Back in Lomza, I visited the Jewish cemeteries, first the older and smaller one, then I found the secret back way into the newer one. But the weeds were tall and thick and I didn’t feel comfortable walking such a distance through them by the end of the day, so I took some general and far away pictures.

Back at my hotel, I fell asleep quickly. I guess the lack of sleep finally caught up to me a bit. Now, if the WordPress app would cooperate more, these blog posts would be even easier. I’m sorry to write that if future posts give me as much trouble as this one, they may be without photos until I return home. I hope it doesn’t come to that.

1940 US Census – Second Success

While the NARA site is still dragging along (and word on Twitter is they just took it down to make some changes to try to improve performance), I’ve been watching Ancestry and FamilySearch. FS is uploading states that are of no use to me in 1940. Even if I have a few stray entries in my database who might be there, I would need the index to find them.

Ancestry, on the other hand, is keeping me happy today. One of their earliest states to be uploaded was Maine. I have people from Maine. Unfortunately, by 1940, most of them had left for California. But I did find Bernard Wolfe in 1942 still in Maine. I looked up the ED but didn’t find him. Using their 1930-1950 records, I found that he was in Boston from 1930-1939. His trail ran out in the Boston directory for 1940. Was he back in Maine? I searched about six EDs around the one and still didn’t find him.

Onward… they were adding New York. I saw Bronx county and checked my database. Noticing some people in the Bronx around the right time, I switched over to the NYPL 1940 phone directories and found one address among the surnames. I had one other 1941 document for Rose Tabashnick with an address, so I took those over to Steve Morse’s ED Finder, then headed back to Ancestry. But the EDs weren’t listed. And so I waited and refreshed as they added more. Eventually one showed up, and I found the listing that matched the phone book, but he didn’t match my person.

Finally the other ED showed up. I started scanning the pages for Tabashnick. I found Miller. Pesach Miller, with wife Rebecca, daughter Rose, daughter Larry (daughter?), son Eddie, daughter Bella Blumenfeld, and her husband Joe. Also notable is that this is a rare family where no one is marked as having given the census information. So who was the informant?

Pesach Miller Family
Family, Page 2

Of interest is that in 1941, Rose was married. This certainly narrows down her date of marriage, which I don’t have. Also, this saves me from searching for several of Pesach’s kids, as they are still living with him, including one married daughter.

Other things I noticed included that everyone had only an eighth grade education, save for Eddie, and an interesting mix of aliens, naturalized citizens, and those with papers. This entire family was born in Poland.

It also further reinforces that the birth order I had for the kids was wrong. Though I had an order, I didn’t even have estimated dates for many. By the way, Pesach is the brother of my great-grandfather, so we’re getting a bit distant.

I will likely keep looking for people this way, but I don’t have that many 1940 addresses. I’ll see who I can find in the NYC phone directories, and look for them bit by bit as I can get the images, but beyond that, I think I’d be more productive indexing. I just saw on Twitter that indexing should get going around 10pm tonight. I hope Ancestry keeps working on New York until then.

Did you find anyone yet? Or are you waiting to index?

The URL of this article is http://idogenealogy.com/blog/2012/04/02/1940-us-census-second-success/.

Another Reason Why You Need To Organize Your Genealogy Files

I started by cleaning up my sources; I left off in the middle of the job. My cousin asked for access to the new web site, quickly asking, “where are the photos?” Uh oh, the new web site didn’t have photos on it yet. So I switched to organizing those.

I decided to retry an organization method similar to what Philip Trauring proposed on his blog, Blood and Frogs. The first time I tried that, my first folder name was too long for Windows, so I gave up quickly.

I tried again anyway, with less information in the folder names. Also, I didn’t necessarily use the furthest back ancestor to start since I knew I wouldn’t have pictures. The trouble came when I got closer to my own family and people were in two different folder structures. I still haven’t really straightened those out yet. Also, as I got to more recent generations, my file names became too long (in addition to all the folder names) and I had to adjust them. So I’m still not thrilled, but for now, I’m leaving it until I come up with something better.

Once I started setting up those folders, I started organizing. I had scanned pictures from relatives going back to 1999 and still hadn’t completely organized them. I did a lot of cropping and renaming files. I figured out who was in all the group pictures and set up text files to match each group photo with all the names. I created a “source” folder, to keep photos scanned from each source together. Then I duplicated the photos. Each person (or each couple) has a folder and every time I saw them in a photo, I put a copy there. Some of my photos have 20 copies on my hard drive now.

The more I did, the more trouble I had with file names that were too long. I had to adjust them, but I didn’t completely wreck my naming scheme, so like I said, I’m leaving it until a better idea comes along.

A cool thing happened while I was doing this. I found duplicates.

I had actually seen this phenomenon before. I was scanning cousin Barbara Sands’s photos which her daughter Debra Rudolph (now Berman) inherited. Barbara was interested in genealogy, though she didn’t get much into the research part of it. However, she had the forethought to label the group photos.

So, in 1999, I scanned this photo from Debra.

Miller Family Photo, Scanned from Debra Rudolph

[left to right, back row] Lila Raifman, Florence Karansky, ??, Marilyn Brick, Louis Miller
[front row] Frank Rosenzweig, Myra, Nettie Brick, Sorka and Zyskind Mularzewicz/Miller, Ruth Brick, Nettie Karansky

Nice big tear in the corner, right? But the important part is that Barbara labeled it — not perfectly, but enough for me to figure out what she meant, leaving only two mystery people. (One person was unlabeled and another could possibly be Frank’s daughter, sitting on his lap, but I don’t know more about that family.) In 2003, visiting Stephen and Sharon Koons, I scanned this one.

Miller Family, Passover 1936ish, Scanned from Stephen Koons

Looks familiar, right? Luckily, I had several photos of Morris Rosenzweig (top left), so he was easily recognizable though missing from Debra’s picture. Also, between the two, not only did I have a picture with a lot of kids identified (they’re the hardest for me to figure out), but I got more information from Stephen’s copy, namely the event and date (Passover, 1936-ish).

I discovered that duplicate years ago, but in this new organization project, I found another one that I hadn’t noticed. In 2006, Bonnie Chait shared a few photos with me, including this photo of the Wolfe family before the youngest two were born.

Wolfe Family, Scanned from Bonnie Chait

[left to right] Sidney, Rose, Nathan, Julius, Moses, Bernard Wolfe

In 2010, visiting Ron Wolfe, I scanned something familiar.

Wolfe Family, 1914, Scanned from Ron Wolfe

Bonnie had given me the names of the kids, but Ron’s had a date. I could have guessed a date by which kids were in the picture, but two of the kids look about the same age, so Bonnie made their identifications easier. But only when I was trying to figure out those two kids from Ron’s scan did I look in their photo folders to see that I already had a better version of the photo. I stopped and emailed the better version to Ron.

The best part is, now that I’ve got the photos organized (I’m finished with scanned-from-relatives photos and almost finished with everything), the next time I visit a relative and scan old photos, I can see what I’ve already got. If I have something better, or labeled, or not labeled, we can compare with what they have while I’m there.

So how is your photo organization going?

Childhood Memory Monday – My Grandparents, Part 1

Week 2 of Sharing Memories is about grandparents. This again is one of those times where I desperately wish I had more memories from my childhood. I had three grandparents alive while growing up, but now I only remember slight bits and pieces. Maybe writing it out will help bring back more, so here goes. I’ve written almost everything I can remember, so I’ve broken this up into two entries.

Dad’s Parents

Mary and Lou Goldfarb

My paternal grandparents were Grandma and Grandpa Lou, partly because my “real” grandfather died before I was born and Lou Goldfarb was her last husband. Grandma, Mary Miller, was married four times, or so I was told. I have still only found names for three of them. Grandma and Grandpa Lou lived in Miami Beach. She and Sidney Feldstein had moved there before he died. He was a smoker who developed emphysema and was told to move out of NYC. My father was stationed at Homestead Air Force Base, so everyone ended up in the same place. I don’t know if that was planned.

I really don’t remember much about Lou, except that he was there. I can still picture Grandma in my mind and hear how she speaks. I remember her condo in Miami Beach that we used to visit. I think I recall a Passover Seder there at least once. Weekend morning visits always had Entenmann’s donuts. If there wasn’t a box when we arrived, or we didn’t bring one, Dad would go get one. (I miss those; they don’t sell Entenmann’s in Utah. Someone ship me a box of donuts please.)

I remember the layout of Grandma’s condo, with a closet in the dining room where she kept some games. I inherited the Chinese Checkers after she died. I remember her kitchen and how my Dad re-did the ceiling just like he did our house with the drop-down opaque ceiling grid, except that our house had the yellow and orange motif while Grandma had the yellow and green.

Grandma’s Maiden Name

I remember sitting down with Grandma and asking her about her family tree, carefully writing what she told me. I was about 12 years old, so I didn’t know the right questions to ask. Still, I learned a lot which gave me a good start 14 years later when I got serious about researching. I remember her telling me that her name at birth was not Miller, and that she had no idea how to spell it. Slowly sounding it out for me, I wrote “Mullerzevich”. I mispronounced it for a few years, but when I found the name Mularzewicz, I knew I had it. Looking back, now that I know how to say the name, my phonetic spelling wasn’t too bad.

My Only Funeral

Grandma and Grandpa Lou died within about a week or two of each other, Mary first, then Lou. His kids came to her funeral in Miami and my parents went to his in New York (he is buried with his first wife). Years later, they told me how much they appreciated my parents attending in New York.

I remember going to Grandma’s funeral, which started at a funeral home in Miami Beach and ended up at Mount Sinai Cemetery in Miami. I don’t remember the service, but I do remember being handed the shovel. It is part of the Jewish tradition for each person to shovel some of the dirt over the casket once it’s placed into the ground. My Mom then took me for a short walk to visit my grandfather. They hadn’t thought ahead to buy cemetery plots together, so Mary was buried next to her brother, Alex, and “across the street” from her first husband, Sidney Feldstein.

To this day, it’s the only funeral I’ve ever been to.

Grandma’s Gifts

Grandma once gave me a watch (which sadly I lost long ago) and told me there was a story behind it. She had lost the watch in an ice cream parlor when my Dad was ten, but he went there so often, that the person who found it asked if it was hers. The fact that she lost it once makes me even sadder to know that I lost it and never got it back. How did I lose so much jewelry as a child? Grandma gave me some other jewelry over the years, collected from various trips, usually pins. I still have those at least. She also gave me a doll from somewhere in South America, which I no longer have.

Grandma’s Dishes

Another thing I inherited from Grandma after she died was her dishes. They had been stored in the ceiling that my Dad installed, probably put there by him, so he knew they were there. Not only did I get the Mikasa set, but also some other glasses and plates. They were not my style at all, but I quickly grew to love them. I eventually bought another dish set so I wouldn’t use them so much and risk them (I smashed one bowl to bits). For all I know, they were her wedding set. I haven’t tried to find out how old the design is but I want to. There are some of them with a different font on the back, so it appears that some were replaced over the years — I’m not the only one who has broken some of the dishes.

Anyone have any ideas how I can find out more about these? Easily?