Monday, April 11, 2016

A to Z Challenge – I is for Ignatz Ganas

Ignatz Ganas was my maternal grandfather.  He was born in 1870 at Chorzalki – a tiny village near Iwno, Poland. He died in 1940 – before I was born – in St. Paul, Minnesota.

His life before he came to the US is a bit of a mystery because it is mostly hearsay. I have copies of the church documents for his baptism and his marriage. I have a copy of the passenger list showing his arrival in the US. I have stories my mother told me.

Apparently his mother’s family owned a tavern and he told stories about working behind the bar as a child.  His father, Joseph, died when Ignatz was 3 years old. His mother, Marianna Jaskowiak Ganas, remarried when Ignatz was 6 years old.

The rest of my “knowledge” of him is family lore – none of which I have been able to verify.

He was sent to live with his mother’s twin brother in Berlin. His uncle was a tailor who taught Ignatz the trade.

Ignatz left Prussia/Germany just before his 16th birthday in order to avoid conscription into the army.

I do know that he was back in Germany in 1893 because he sailed from Hamburg and arrived in the US in Baltimore that year. He was 23 then.

I would love to know where he traveled and how he lived for those 7 years. My guess is that he made a living tailoring. But where???

This is one mystery that most likely will never be solved. Back to my wish for a time machine.


  1. Don't you wish our ancestors left better documentation of their lives? This is one of the reasons I blog. But I really ought to write up a brief family history, at least as far as I know it, for my kids, so they (and their offspring) won't be in the same situation you find yourself, wondering what happened.

    All the best with your continuing adventures in genealogy, Mary! :)

  2. Let me know when you get that time machine. I want to borrow it.
    Visiting from AtoZ
    Jollett Etc.

  3. I have an Ignatz in my family too...........and nothing about him except the name. I have not made a start on the the German (Polish/Romanian) family yet!