Posts Tagged trace your genealogy

#52Ancestors: Week 15 – Grzesiak surname – “How do you spell that?”

This is week 15 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.


This week theme inspiration is “How do you spell your last name”? I have to make corrections all the time to my last name, Budny. I have written about the “Borucki” last name too. Sure, you can get the spelling down. But, can we latter descendants actually pronounce the name correctly?

Intertwined on the family tree is the lineage and descendants of my mother’s first husband, Robert Gaber. Robert’s grandmother is Rozalia Grzesiak. “Grzesiak” is the spelling I am currently using in my Family Tree Maker database. That may change depending on future research and consensus. Rose, as she is most known by in various records, was of Polish ancestry. Grzesiak or Griacjka may be of Lithuanian ethnicity. Rose’s birth location has been recorded as Lithuania, Poland Austria, or Galicia.

I have listed the various spelling variations gleaned from Ancestry or FamilySearch. It appears that Rose could not write her name. An “X” mark is used as her signature on both Helen and Blanche’s birth records.

How do you spell “Grzesiak”?

Rozalia Gressiak – 1891 – Rose’s marriage record to Casper Gaber
Rose Gresshack – 1906 – Helen Gaber’s original and corrected birth record
Rosalia Greszek – 1915 Katie Gaber’s marriage license to Alexander Ravinski. This marriage doesn’t appear to have been solemnized.
Rose Gresiak 1925 – son Joseph’s marriage record to Anna Syrze
Rose Greshock – 1926 – daughter Caroline Gober (Gaber) marriage record to Frank J Neja (Naja)
Creesiak – 1929 – Blanche Gaber’s marriage record to Ferdinand Kozakiewicz in Detroit, MI
Grzesiak – 1941 Delayed birth record for Blanche Gaber, born in 1908. Rose was the informant.
Rozalia Griacjka Gaber – Find a Grave Memorial# 133016852


“Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885-1950,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 12 April 2015), Kaspar Gaber and Rozalia Gressiak, 01 Jun 1891; citing Marriage, Pennsylvania, county courthouses, Pennsylvania; FHL microfilm 2,131,180. Pennsylvania, Birth Records, 1906-1908 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015. – Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Birth certificates, 1906–1908. Series 11.89 (50 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

“Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885-1950,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 12 April 2015), Rosalia Greszek in entry for Alexander Ravinski and Katie Skrowron, 06 Jul 1915; citing Marriage, Pennsylvania, county courthouses, Pennsylvania; FHL microfilm 2,131,385.

“Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885-1950,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 12 April 2015), Rose Gresiak in entry for Joseph Gober and Anna Syrze, 11 Nov 1925; citing Marriage, Pennsylvania, county courthouses, Pennsylvania; FHL microfilm 2,131,506.

“Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885-1950,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 12 April 2015), Rose Greshock in entry for Frank J Neja and Caroline C Gober, 14 Jun 1926; citing Marriage, Pennsylvania, county courthouses, Pennsylvania; FHL microfilm 2,131,506.

Blanche Gaber’s marriage record. Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867–1952. Michigan Department of Community Health, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics. Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867-1952 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015., Find A Grave Memorial# 133016852, created by: roger56chevy, Record added: Jul 19, 2014.

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#52Ancestors: Week 11 – Uncle Eddy – A Bigamist or a Serial Marrier

This is week 11 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 State of Michigan recently released Marriage, Divorce, and Death Records from 1926 to 1952. I have several great aunts and uncles that needed tending to find spouses maiden names. I spent the past two nights plugging in various family names and hit the jackpot on a few.


The marriage index can be accessed at and (free). You’ll have to do a little digging at to find the death records from 1926-1952. Use “Advanced Search” and check the box for Death Records, 1921-1952 OCLC LOADING.

Uncle Eddy a Bigamist or Polygamist?

I started my search in the marriage records index on Ancestry with the Budny surname. When Uncle Edward Budny’s name came up twice and the marriages were only a year apart, I thought he was a bigamist. Then I recognized the third wife’s name and it was “Oh My!” Is Uncle Eddy a “serial marrier?” screenshot of Edward Budny's marriage index screenshot of Edward Budny’s marriage index


Now the first step in an analysis would be to check if these three Edwards were the same person. Then check to see if the person is your relative. I knew right off the bat that this was my Edward. The Budny surname is not common in Detroit. There are a few Budny families in the area. Strangely, none of the families were related to each other.


Uncle Eddy was not mentioned a lot in my house. We hardly ever saw him. I knew growing up that there was some type of back story to Eddy and no one talked about it. I knew he wasn’t married (anymore) and he had a daughter. My only strong memory of him is at my 16 birthday party that fell on the same day as Father’s day. It was a great fun day with Eddy, my grandfather, and my aunt’s father-in-law. Who are all Polish and telling tall tales for sure.


Ancestry’s pop-up view of the record showed the parents’ names. All three records for Edward Budny listed the same parents, Adam Budny and Mary Borucky (Borucki). Those two are the progenitors of my Budny line.


So…was Eddy a bigamist? No, he wasn’t. The Michigan Divorce Index through 1952 are listed at Ancestry. What a relief to see two divorce listings for Uncle Eddy. Even though I could see the marriage and divorce dates online, I had to write them down on paper just to double check that the marriages didn’t overlap. screenshot of Edward Budny's divorces listings screenshot of Edward Budny’s divorces listings


Edward married Lillian Connor first in August 1939. Their divorce is granted on 16 September 1940. The marriage must have a rocky start from the beginning. Six weeks after the divorce, Eddy marries Victoria Podgorski on 26 October 1940. Vitoria and Eddy’s divorce is final on 21 January 1942. The first marriage lasted 14 months, the second; 15 months.


Third Time is Not a Charm


Another walk down the aisle less than three months after his second divorce. Lois Castle becomes Eddy’s third wife on 11 April 1942. Maybe this marriage has a fighting chance. Eddy enlists in the Army in March 1943 and musters out November 1944. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, so they say. The couple are still together in 1958 according to a city directory. A non-amicable divorce does occur sometime later. I think someone mentioned he had lady friends after his divorce. You know how family gossips.


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Triple In-Laws – Herman’s and Langner’s – Keep It In The Family

So the story is, two brothers and a sister from the Herman family, married two sisters and a brother from the Langner family. What?  Who married who?

Hey, it is not my line.  I was squirreling up collateral line of my Great Aunt first husbands tree.  Why, because I get distracted on my line when I cannot find any records.

Now I am not the first person to discover this ultra close knit family.  I was content just to stop at my aunt’s in-laws.  However, the surnames kept popping up and I had to write out a mind map to see if they were part of the same family group.

There are a few branches in my tree where I have double in-laws, where siblings of one family marry siblings of another family.  So, I was a little taken back to see a three-some.

Triple In-Laws

Triple In-Laws

The Herman and Langner families were immigrants from Prussia. The Langner family arrived in 1870, the Herman’s in 1887.  They settled near Avon and Holdingford in Sterns Co, Minnesota. Very small farming communities near St. Cloud, MN.  They are still sparsely populated today.

The towns claim to fame is that they are most like the fictional town of “Lake Wobegon” created by Garrison Keillor.  The local All Saints  Catholic church serves both towns.   A church that most likely brought the two families together.

Maybe the world was just a little too small to find a subtle mate at the turn of the century for these families.  One pair, Peter and Victoria Herman left Minnesota for work at the auto factories in Detroit.  No one else followed them that I can see. Even after Peter died in 1917, Victoria remained in Detroit until her death in 1970.

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#52Ancestors – No. 51 – Victoria Langner – Outlived most of her children

This post is number 51 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.  To learn more about the 52 Ancestor Challenge visit Amy Johnson’s site at Amy’s website.

Victoria Langner is the the mother-in-law of my great-aunt Phyllis Budny, subject of #13.  When I started getting the material for the blog post yesterday, my curiosity peeked into the family lines.  Yes, I have been researching for about 16 hours on just these two collateral lines. I had to mind map the sibling marriages between her and her husband’s family. I will write about the two families in a follow-up post.

Victoria Langner was born near Avon, in Sterns County, Minnesota. She and her parents, Joseph Langner and Christina Gallus immigrated from Silesia, Prussia (now Poland).  Victoria is one of nine children out of 12 who survived infancy.

She married Peter Herman (Hermanza) in 1899.  Eight of their 10 children were born near Holding, MN.  Two were born after the family moved to Detroit after 1910. Peter is not listed with Victoria on the 1910 Minnesota Census.  He may have went first to Detroit to secure a job and new home for the family.

Victoria Langner Herman and Mary Budny in 1947, Dearborn, MI.

Victoria Langner Herman and Mary Budny in 1947, Dearborn, MI.

Peter died of pneumonia during the 1917 Influenza Epidemic. There is a family story that Victoria had a man around to help with the finances in exchange for “benefits” after Peter died. When her boys were old enough and could support the family they chased him off.

However, I found a 1921 marriage record for Victoria and one, John Urbaniec.  The marriage did not last long.  Victoria cited, extreme cruelty, non-support, and desertion as cause in her divorce petition.  A decree was granted to her on October 26, 1925.

Victoria died at the age of 90 in 1970.  She is laid to rest at Holy Cross Cemetery in Detroit.  Eight Seven of her children died before 1940.  Her sons, Julius, died in 1966, Anthony in 1968. (Updated 12/23/2014.)  Her son, Francis, passed away in 1986.


Michigan, Marriages, 1868-1925,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 31 Mar 2014), John K. Urbaniec and Victoria Langner Herman, 25 Jan 1921; citing Detroit, Wayne, Michigan, v 7 rn 208057. Michigan, Divorce Records, 1897-1952 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2014.

Original data: Michigan. Divorce records. Michigan Department of Community Health, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics, Lansing, Michigan.

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#52Ancestors – No. 48 – Wladyslawa Borucki

This post is number 48 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.  To learn more about the 52 Ancestor Challenge visit Amy Johnson’s site at Amy’s website.

A life story told by the records left behind

Wladyslawa Borucki is the daughter of Ignacy Francis Borucki and Aleksandra Lipinska.  To me, she is my first cousin, two times removed. What I know of her is gleaned from the records of her life.  Personal details of her life are based on conjecture as there are no family stories of her passed down on my side of the tree.

If Wladyslawa had a nickname to Americanized her Slavic name, it was not written in any formal record.  Census records, her marriage and divorce record,  list Wladyslawa as her first name.  The name is a feminine form of Wladyslaw.  A Polish name with no real English equivalent. Though some use Edward or Walter as an equivalent for a man.  Lottie or Lorraine may  have been used for females.

The records tell us she lived to be 33 years old.  Most likely born in the house at 3030 North Phelan Street in Pittsburgh, PA where her parents are enumerated on the 1900 census.  Wladyslawa, born on 23 April 1900, was just a few weeks old. She was the third child of eight born to her parents. One year old brother John gets a new playmate.  I discover later that John is mentally disabled.

Her uncle, Adam Budny, my great grandfather, lives with them.  He has just arrived himself from Poland in March 1900. There are two other boarders, possibly relatives of unknwon relationship based on their last names.  Her home is a boarding house as there are four other families living at that address.

Based on her siblings birthplaces, her family moves back in forth from Chicago, IL to Pittsburgh before settling in Hamtramck, MI.   Currently no 1910 Census record has been located for the family.  Her father used either Ignacy or Frank as his first name and would use Borke or Borkey as his last name throughout his life.  The spelling of Borucki in records is so convoluted, I amazed that I can find a record at all.  Handwriting and transcriptions are also difficult to interpret.

The next record of Wladyslawa is her 1917 marriage record to Waclaw Burzynski.  The record indicates that she is 18 years old (actually she is 17) on her wedding day, December 3, 1917.  Her last name is transcribed as Barucka.  She is employed as a saleslady. She states her father’s name is Frank and her mother is named Alexandria.  Her new husband, Waclaw, is 23 and a cabinet maker. He was born in Russia to Joseph and Josephine Burzynski.  They were married in Detroit, MI, by Justice J. W. Hatrex.  The witnesses were not family members.

1917 Detroit Marriage Record

1917 Detroit Marriage Record

1920 finds Waclaw and Wladyslawa Burzynski renting a place at 862 Holbrook Ave in Hamtramck. Her parents and siblings live about a mile away on Evaline Street. No children are listed on the 1920 Census.  The last name is also spelled with a “G” in the beginning.  Another variant spelling of the name.

Ten years later the 1930 census lists the couple living with Wladyslawa’s brother, Edward Borucki and his young family.  The house is probably a duplex or multiplex based viewing Google Maps of the addresses.  Edward is at 11467 Moran Ave.  Next door at 11465 Moran is the widowed Aleksandra Borucki and her surviving children.  Ignacy passed away in 1929.

The 1930 census reveals that Waclaw and Wladyslawa have no living children. Birth records for Michigan are still private for this time period.  There may be clues if she did give birth and the child or children did not survive.

Searching divorce records for Wladyslawa’s brother, Stanley Borucki, I found a record by typing in her  married name just in case.  Why, because you never know what you may find.  Plus I was trying to find her in the 1940 census with no luck. Stanley Boruki was listed as divorced on the 1930 census, that’s why I was looking at SeekingMichigan to see if I could find his divorce record.

Wladyslawa filed for divorce on June 12, 1931.  The cause was extreme cruelty and non-support. The divorce was not contested and was granted on September 1, 1931.  No children were listed on the record. No alimony was provided to Wladyslawa.

Borucki & Burzynski

Borucki & Burzynski

Regrettably the last record I have found for Wladyslawa is a record of her death certificate.  She passed away on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1933.  Her last name is the genitive ending of Burzynska on the record instead of Burzynski. The cause of death is not known and should be listed on the digital or original copy. Plus a clue to where she was buried.

I wondered what life you had Wladyslawa during your short time that records cannot convey.

Year: 1900; Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 13, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1359; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 0161; FHL microfilm: 1241359. United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1900. T623, 1854 rolls.

“Michigan, Marriages, 1868-1925,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 01 Dec 2014), Waclaw Burzynski and Wadyslawa Barucka, 03 Dec 1917; citing Detroit, Wayne, Michigan, v 1 p 458 rn 156555, Department of Vital Records, Lansing; FHL microfilm 2342725.

Year: 1920; Census Place: Hamtramck, Wayne, Michigan; Roll: T625_820; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 753; Image: 877.

Year: 1930; Census Place: Hamtramck, Wayne, Michigan; Roll: 1073; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 0975; Image: 745.0; FHL microfilm: 2340808.

Death record listing from

Wladyslawa Burzynska
Michigan, Death Certificates
Name:     Wladyslawa Burzynska
Event Type:     Death
Event Date:     24 Dec 1933
Event Place:     Hamtramck, Wayne, Michigan, United States
Gender:     Female
Age:     33
Marital Status:     Married
Birth Date:     23 Apr 1900
Birthplace:     Pittsburgh Pennsylvania
Birth Year (Estimated):     1900
Father’s Name:     Ignac F Borucki
Mother’s Name:     Alexandra Lepinska
GS Film number: 001973157 , Digital Folder Number: 005363523 , Image Number: 00088

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