Posts Tagged brick walls

#52Ancestors: Week 18 – Deconstructing Brick Walls with a “Studzinski” masonry tool

This is week 18 of the 2015 #52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge where a group of u52ancestors-2015 Images blog about a different ancestor for each week of the year.  To learn more about the 52 Ancestor Challenge visit Amy Johnson’s site at Amy’s website.

The Budny family tree includes the second most popular Polish surname, Kowalski.  Doing genealogy search on a name that is equivalent to the English word, Smith; is loathe at best. Armed with a few documents, I set about chipping away the mortar in the  Kowalski brick wall.

One of the documents listed #52Ancestors – No. 1 – Frank Kowalski – Starting Over, Coming Home, listed his mother’s name, Mary Pouloska or Pauloska.  From Frank’s border crossing card into Detroit from Windsor, Ontario, Canada, I learned he intended to go to his aunt’s residence.  Her married name is Stanislawa Studzinski.  Stanislawa is Mary Pauloska’s sister.  I am using the Studzinski line as a tool to learn more about the Pouloska’s so I can connect the dots to the Kowalski’s.

The reason the Kowalski line is a brick wall, is that the family went back to Poland.  Wladylsaw Kowalski may have arrived about 1910 and left around 1920.  He didn’t like this new world. It has been difficult to find them on the 1910 or 1920 census. I don’t know if Wladyslaw and Mary married in New Jersey or in Poland.

Using the 1940 census and working backwards, I was able to gleaned additional information.  Such as, Stanislawa’s husband’s name, Antoni Studzinski and their children’s names.  Antoni came from the same Polish town of Glinik, as the Kowalski’s.

Antoni (Tony) came over in 1907 with a friend or possible relative, Antoni Sobiecki. Both are going to Jersey City, NJ.  Sobiecki is going to his cousin with a last name that looks like, Stanislaw Pickowsky.  Tony is meeting up with his brother-in-law, Joseph Polkowski.  These two families live next door to each other, respectively at 602 Henderson St and 597 Henderson St.  It took me over a year to decipher the street as the image isn’t clear.  I used various city directories to determine the street name. However, the directories where inclusive on finding a Pouloska name or other variant spelling.

Illegible handwriting on a manifest record.

Illegible handwriting on a manifest record

The last names appear to be the same on the manifest.  Were they a match to Pauloska, Pouloska or Poulowska? It has been difficult for me to find verifiable records using the Pauloska, Kowalski, Studzinski and Sobiecki names. I focused my using the Studzinski name.

Records that would be useful are either New Jersey or New York marriage record for Antoni Studzinski and Stanislawa Pouloska. I can’t confirm possible records of Tony in the 1910 or 1920 census. The 1930 census has Tony and Stella (Stanislawa) in Detroit, Michigan.  Their two daughters are, Sabrina, born in New Jersey, (1916) and Helen, born in Detroit, in 1921.

Antoni Studzinski died in 1939. Stella is enumerated on the 1940 census, with Betty, (a/k/a Sabrina), Helen, and Frank Kowalski, nephew. At age 33, Elizabeth Studzinski, marries John H. Marchewska.  Her 1950 marriage record lists her mother’s name as, Stella Powlowski.  I had to wait until Michigan released marriage records up to 1952 earlier this year to get that information.  Those Studzinski ladies took their time settling down.  Still have not found a marriage record for Helen.

I recently discovered a 1941 Detroit marriage record for Stella Studzinski to Stephen Andrews.  The index record lists her father as Joseph Pawloski, her mother as Valeria Witkowski.  Antoni Studzinski mother was Antonia Wizckowska, according to his death certificate. That may be dot that explains why Joseph Pouloska is Antoni’s brother-in-law. As Witkowski may be a phonetic pronunciation of Wizckowska.

Stephen Andrews remarries in 1949.  I don’t know if Stella has passed away or if they divorced.  Hopefully I will locate records on Helen to see how she spelled Pouloska, Powloski, Pauloska.  Then it is on to to see if I can find the family in Poland.

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#52Ancestors: Week 12 – Arthur A. Anderson – Cold Case

This is week 12 of the 2015 #52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge where a group of u52ancestors-2015 Images blog about a different ancestor for each week of the year.  To learn more about the 52 Ancestor Challenge visit Amy Johnson’s site at Amy’s website.

I have been busy spying on my ancestors. The Michigan Archives has released marriage, divorce, and death records up to 1952. Week 11 of 52 Ancestors I wrote about the three divorces of my Great Uncle Eddy (Budny). Curious as a cat, I pried in to the lives of two generations of my aunts and uncles.

I remember the story of my grandmother sisters trying to find two sisters given up for adoption. To bring them back to the fold. My great grandmother Minnie White lost her husband, Ernest Anderson in 1925. She remarried to a William O’Neil in 1926. There were five children still at home when Ernest died. The oldest daughter, Vietta, was married already. The six and youngest Betty Jane, was born just after her father’s death.

William and Minnie’s marriage did not last long. I have a feeling the relationship was not harmonious. As a laborer at Consumers Power, William may not have had the income to support the family. Some of the older girls get married. My grandmother, Edith, who was 13 in 1930, was sent to live with one of Minnie’s sisters in Detroit. As of the 1930 Census, Lucille, Betty Jane, and William and Minnie’s daughter, Rosetta O’Neil reside at 609 North Jefferson Street in Bay City, Michigan.

The family story goes on to say that Arthur left for California and the family never heard from him again. So what did happen to Arthur? A person of the same name does end up in California. The 1931 city directory for Bay City, MI; shows an Arthur Anderson at 509 Ketchum St. Arthur is not listed at that address on the 1930 Census. A few blocks away at 1615 N. Sheridan Street lists Ruth Pettit as a clerk at Woolworth’s.

Michigan marriage records for Bay County provide the next clue in Arthur’s life. The license application states Arthur A. Anderson, 22, single, never been married before, and is a bus driver. His parents are Ernest and Minnie White. Ruth Pettit, 18, born in New Jersey, the daughter of Martin Pettit and Elizabeth Madden, is the bride to be. This license is dated the 10th of January 1931. The marriage takes place on the 19th of January (1931). Incorrectly typed on the certificate is the year 1932.

Not sure if the young couple got caught up in desire and romance when they met as Ruth may have been pregnant at the time of their marriage or given birth just before their wedding date. A short three years later, a divorce decree ends the marriage. Dated October 4, 1933; the absolute decree, lists two children, three year old Ernest Anderson and 1 year old Bonnie Lee Anderson.

The petition was filed by Ruth on January 15, 1933 for non-support. The marriage date is listed at January 19, 1930. A year off the marriage license. Could be an error? Could be someone provided an earlier date to show all the children were born within the marriage. Sometimes the first baby comes before the wedding date.

There is no further listing of Arthur Anderson in the Bay City Directories that I have found. He could be residing elsewhere. A California death record for a similar name, listing the mother’s birth name of “White” could be a clue.

Other than that, the story grows cold for Arthur.  And, heats up for Ruth Pettit.

Arthur Arlington Anderson Death record
Event Date:        05 Jun 1986
Event Place:       Los Angeles, California, United States
Birth Date:         14 Feb 1909
Birthplace:         Michigan
Gender:              Male
Father’s Name:
Mother’s Name:              White

Source Citation: “California Death Index, 1940-1997,” index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 29 March 2015), Arthur Arlington Anderson, 05 Jun 1986; Department of Public Health Services, Sacramento.

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#52 Ancestors – No. 13 – Phyllis Budny, Inmate at Good Shephard

This post is number 13 in the series of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge where a group of us blog about a different ancestor for each week of the year.  The learn more about the 52 Ancestor Challenge visit Amy’s website.

There are a lot of half truths, cover-ups and lies in my Budny family.  It stems from hiding the shame of probably being abandoned by the patriarch, Adam Budny in 1917, and Stanley Budny’s criminal ways and shocking death in 1927 . Phyllis Budny is my grandfather’s sister.  Born in Pittsburgh, PA in 1906, to Adam and Mary (Borucki) Budny.   At 15, she married Lawerence Herman on June 12, 1922, in Detroit, MI.  She and Lawrence only had one child before divorcing by 1930. She remarried later to Maurice Haggerty.

Phyllis_Budny Photo

The story goes that Phyllis went a little crazy and maybe that runs in the family as to why there was not a lot of information passed down. In truth, Phyllis was quite emotional as she mostly likely would be as her son was listed as missing in action during World War II. Her son, Chester, will turn 90 in a few weeks, by the way.

Phyllis is the only Budny family member I can find in the 1920 Census. Under the name, Phyllis Budna, she is listed as an “Inmate” at the House of the Good Shephard in Detroit. The Good Shephard was a catholic asylum who’s purpose was to “restore fallen women to the path of virtue and to protect young girls who are liable to temptation from unfavorable surroundings”.  Phyllis’s only crime was being poor.

The English language can be complex.  The term “inmate” at this time refers to residing at a institution, not strictly being a person in prison or jail.  Though I have a feeling that is what it felt like.  Phyllis did not like the conditions and ran away as soon as she could and got married.

The family was very poor after her father, Adam, disappeared.  Her mother was either doing sewing or laundry work in the 1920’s to survive.  Which is not enough to support seven children.  Most of the children were farmed out or placed in institutions.  Her sister, Frances, about 15, is hiding from authorities so she doesn’t get placed in a home. Frances gets married in 1920, a few months after the census is taken.

Their brother, Stanley, was a petty thief bringing in money to try to get the family back together. He also used a couple of aliases along the way and once served time at Jackson State Prison in Michigan.  I think the family was very wary of interacting with government authorities back in the day.

So Phyllis is in the clear.  Stanley did his “time.”

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They Went to Florida

As a genealogist you also study the anthropological aspects of your family tree.  Some of the history behind the migration pattern of the moving to new states or territories is relevant and interesting.  Others not so much.  It is intriguing to know why someone moved to a new location. Why did they move, what was their motivation, did they flourish, move on, or did they have regrets.  Some assumptions can be made.  Better jobs, living conditions, owning their own land, business adventures, wars, religious reasons are usually the main ones.

When you hit a brick wall in your genealogy research, it is a good idea to take a look as to why your ancestor relocated to new cities, states or countries.  This can help discover kinship or identify relatives not known.  There may be clues in court, church, land grants, or  military records and newspaper archives in the new locations that may assist you in your search.  Don’t discard family stories that so and so lived in such and such place.  There may be clues hidden waiting to be discovered.

I moved three times in my life.  Michigan to Utah and back, Michigan to Seattle and this past March to Florida.  Basically because I wanted to try something new and different.   That may be the answer as to why my maternal grandparents move to Florida in the mid 1940’s.  Right now I am fixated as to when and why they move to Florida and then back to Michigan.

Why?  I because I ended up in the same city my Mother remembered very fondly growing up.  However, didn’t recall her mentioning Bradenton, FL until after I moved here.  My sister and Dad reminded me of the coincidence when I gave them my new location.  And my interest in piqued, why?  Because the records I have of them during the brief period they lived here, doesn’t put them in Bradenton.  They were located in the Tampa area and listed in the Hillsborough County 1945 Census. My great grandmother Mabel Baumgartel and my grandmother’s half sibling John moved down first, so I think they did.  I have a photo I discussed with my grandmother Olive, long ago, that showed the house in Mango, FL.

Mabel’s husband Borden Baumgartel, Sr died in Dearborn, MI in January 1944.  The 1945 Florida census was conducted in May 1945.  So my grandparents move between those dates.  The Baumgartel’s were originally from Kentucky.  So Florida was a new venture for this family.  I thought the story from my mother was that grandpa was looking to move to the country so the older boys would stay of out trouble living in the big city of Dearborn.  Dearborn was still rural them. My grandparents and mother also lived in Pinckney, MI.  I have yet to determine which occurred first, did they live in Pinckney before Florida or after they moved back from Florida?  The family moved back to Michigan around 1948 or 1949.

In my earlier research, I found that a relative of my grandmother’s sister-in-law moved to Florida and thought that could be the connection.  However, the dates don’t match as my uncle didn’t marry into that family until 1949.  Recently I was checking on an Ancestry leaf hint which lead me to a new direction.  The hint was for a brother of Mabel’s first husband, Ollie Roll.  This brother David Roll lived and died in Bradenton, FL.   He died in December 1944.  This could be why Mabel moved down here.  To find some type of kinship with family.  If, she moved down before he died.

I may not ever find the reason why the family moved in Florida.  But I did discover new clues.  Is this David Roll my great grand uncle?  I search the Bradenton Library newspaper archive for an obituary.  The obit listed two sisters as survivors.  One is named Annabell Shrewsbury and David and Ollie have a sister named Annabell.  The other is Mrs with an unfamiliar last name.  I might have to pay for a death certificate to see if David Roll’s parents are a match.

It’s a small world after all….(I do live in Disney country)

Annabell Shrewsbury resided in Maricopa, AZ.  One of Mabel’s brother moved to the Phoenix area in Maricopa County, AZ.  Lets play six degrees of separation.  What coincidences can you find in your family history.

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