Tuesday, December 30, 2014

On to Plan B

Or is it Plan C?  I’ve exhausted my latest strategy for finding more Dachtera ancestors in Poland.  I’m still re-reading films that I read many years ago, but I seem to have gotten whatever there is to get from them. Now I’ll order films from other nearby parishes.  The BaSIA project in Poland tells where families with a given surname are located in the country. Naturally, my focus has been on the areas where my name is the most dense, but if I have no luck, I guess I’ll need to look to other towns.

One idea was to try to identify the age range in order to narrow down the range of years to look for births and marriages.  But that’s pretty loose.  A man probably married between the ages of 20 and 30.  He could have fathered children for 30 years or more.  The range is very broad.  I’ll have to look very carefully at all of the records so as not to miss a clue somewhere.

It will take a couple of weeks for microfilms to arrive so, while waiting, I’ll shift gears and go back to the Rose family – they’ve not had any attention for a while.  Maybe the time away from them will give me a fresh perspective there. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

This Child’s Christmas

When I was little, we didn’t really have many Christmas traditions. We were in a Chicago suburb.  All the rest of the family was in St. Paul, MN. - we moved away in 1946.  There was no Grandma’s house to go to, no cousins to play with.  From age four to ten Christmas was just Mom, Dad and me.

I don’t remember Christmas dinners but I’m sure that Mom served something that was a tradition for her. As a kid, I wasn’t a foodie.

We’d go to Midnight Mass and then to bed; and I’d try to get to sleep quickly so that Christmas morning would arrive  

Before I entered first grade, Mom explained the truth about Santa because she was concerned that other kids would spoil it for me if I still believed.  I was sworn to secrecy so as not to ruin Christmas for a true believer.  Even so, no gifts appeared under the tree before Christmas except those that were received from far away relatives. Knowing about Santa didn’t diminish my anticipation.  There was always something special under the tree on that fantastic morning.

From about second grade on, I asked every year for a Chemistry Set. But Mom was afraid I’d burn down the house so it never arrived.

One year was the electric train – a great Lionel train set. I loved it and Dad let me think it was mine.  It DID have my name on the gift tag.

There were building blocks and an erector set.

There was a record player with an album with the story of Johnny Appleseed narrated and sung by Dennis Day.  I sobbed at the end when Johnny went to his heavenly reward.

There were Nancy Ann Storybook dolls. One year there was a beautiful Alice in Wonderland doll complete with a gorgeous coat with a Persian Lamb collar made by Mom who was an accomplished seamstress.

There was a 26 inch blue and cream Schwinn bike for a 7 year old girl.  I’d grow into it.  It had a headlight and a battery powered horn.  But no training wheels.  Dad taught me to ride.

Dad was a machinist at an International Harvester tractor factory. My folks counted every penny.  They spent a lot of those precious pennies on me at Christmas. 

I was a very lucky little girl.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Tedious but Necessary

My biggest weakness when it comes to genealogy is that I tend to be a “big picture” person.  That’s my rationale for my impatience with the grunt work of dealing with the details.  I want answers NOW.

But the details are crucial and need to be recorded properly – or as well as I can. That last stipulation is because I find some of the handwritten records to be undecipherable.  So I record what I can. 

It helps when there are multiple sources. Here’s a section of the 1832 record of the marriage of Marcin Dachtera and Marianna?????????.  I couldn’t find another example of the first letter of Marianna’s last name so I had no clue at all.

But going to the PoznanProject allowed me to find that marriage record had been transcribed in Poland.  Here’s the search result.

 Exact matches
Catholic parish Parkowo, entry 1 / 1832
·                                 Martinus Dachtera (26 years old)  100%
·                                 Marianna FrÄ…ckowiakowna (26 years old) 

I could never have figured out Marianna's last name from the church record.  While I know that transcribers sometimes make mistakes, I'm sure that this is at least very close to correct.

My new plan is to allot a certain amount of time each day to reviewing the details; then go on to something else. I’m hopeful that will contain my impatience and help me make steady progress.  Gotta have a plan.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Tangled Trees

It’s been a while since my last post because I’m not inspired to blog when frustrated.  My double focus lately is trying to make sense of two families.  I alternate from one to the other when I get stuck or overwhelmed. 

 The Polish Genealogy group on Facebook has helped me better understand my dilemma with the Dachtera family.  Church sacramental records from the late 1600s through the 19th century confused me with several variations of the name.

There was what I was looking for:  Dachtera.  But there were a number of others

The Polish language is very complex.  I didn’t know whether these were likely to be different families or just variant spellings.

The responses to my Facebook query answered some questions but raised a few more. 

I now expect that these are all the same family.

The church records were handwritten in old fashioned European script in either Latin or in Polish.  Penmanship varies widely – some are extremely sloppy while others are picture perfect. The small sample below is more readable than most,

 And the names recorded were apparently at the discretion of the priest who wrote them. He wrote what he heard, or what he thought he heard or what he thought it should be.  (This happened in the US into the 1930’s when the priest at St. Adalbert’s in St. Paul decided that my Schipp relatives should be spelled Szyp.)

So now I have to figure whether out whether “Marcin” is correct, or should be “Martin”.  If Marcin’s wife is shown as Maria in one record and as Marianna in another, are they the same woman? Both were extremely common – a couple may have named one daughter Maria, and another Marianna.

 Trying to follow the Rose family from Maine to New York state to Wisconsin has proven a real challenge.  In New York they lived in counties that were absorbed into other counties.  Without the ability to travel to the courthouses to review the records, I’m dependent on online records and the materials at my library. They have a huge collection of material from New York that I’m sifting through. 

Fortunately, Chicago’s Newberry Library has a wonderful online resource in their Atlas of HistoricalCounty Boundaries.  Its interactive map shows  boundaries for any given year in any given county in the US.

Of course, it is always possible that I’m trying to connect two different Rose families.  Its slow, but I am making some progress.