Joseph Edward Switkowski

My maternal great grandfather.  In an earlier blog I posted his Funeral Book.  He is probably my favorite Ancestor to research.  I grew up in the room where he died.

Joseph was born in Buffalo, NY to Austrian/Polish immigrants.  In 1910 the family of 10 was at 103 Clark St..  They also had 2 boarders.  He is the oldest son and second child of Wadyslaw and Ludwika Switkowski.

On June 5, 1917 he filled out his draft card for the World War.  He asked for an exemption but said he would go if necessary.  At the time he lived at 72 Clark St. about 5 blocks away from the future family home.

As this picture shows it was necessary for him to go to war.

Joseph E Switkowski

My great grandfather was an engineer in the 302 Company A, part of the 77th Division.  There is a book written about the 302 engineers that talks about the history of the unit that formed May 14, 1917.  It offers a great look at the hardships and duties that they went through in France.  The PDF can be found here.

He received a “slight gunshot wound” on November 1, 1918.  Then 10 days later the war ended.

In 1920 Joseph was a single head of household at what may be 50 Lombard.  Also, at that home were his parents and siblings listed as a separate family.  There were two other families listed at that address.  The four members of the Preneta family and four person Prusik family.

Here I find my tree has branches crossing.

The Preneta family was Joseph’s sister Bronislawa (Bertha).  In 1920, she and husband Andrew has two children.  Later in 1920 that had a daughter Helen.  She married Eugene Janusz.  Eugene’s Brother Richard ended up marrying Joseph’s oldest daughter Joanna.  The children of siblings married siblings.

In 1935 he lived at 27 Concord around the corner from 18 Newton. They were still there in 1940.

On September 14, 1943 Joe and Joanna put $100 deposit on 18 Newton St.  One year one month and one day latter he died at his new home.

Joseph and Joann Switkowski

My great grandparents Joanna and Joseph Switkowski.

Joseph Switkowski

His grave marker at St. Stanislaus Cemetery in Cheektowaga, NY.

 

Joseph Switkowski shadow box

 

Source:

1940 United States Federal Census Publication: Name: Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.;

New York, State Census, 1915 Publication: Name: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.; Location: Provo, UT, USA; Date: 2012;

1910 United States Federal Census Publication: Name: Ancestry.com Operations Inc; Location: Provo, UT, USA; Date: 2006;

U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 (Beta) Publication: Name: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.; Location: Provo, UT, USA; Date: 2011; R

U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 Publication: Name: Ancestry.com Operations Inc; Location: Provo, UT, USA; Date: 2005;

1920 United States Federal Census Publication: Name: Ancestry.com Operations Inc; Location: Provo, UT, USA; Date: 2010; Repository: [[#R1]]

Buffalo Evening News 12 October 1917

1910; Census Place: Buffalo Ward 8, Erie, New York; Roll: T624_942; Page: 22B; Enumeration District: 0073; FHL microfilm: 1374955

* Source: Year: 1920; Census Place: Buffalo Ward 10, Erie, New York; Roll: T625_1102; Page: 29B; Enumeration District: 81; Image: 392* Source: Year: 1940; Census Place: Buffalo, Erie, New York; Roll: T627_2826; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 64-108* Source: Ancestry.com. New York, Abstracts of World War I Military Service, 1917-1919 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013. Original data: New York (State). Adjutant General’s Office. Abstracts of World War I Military Service, 1917–1919. Series B0808. New York State Archives, Albany, New York.* Source: New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 05; Assembly District: 06; City: Buffalo Ward 10; County: Erie; Page: 63 Source Information Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1915 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.* Source: New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1925; Election District: 04; Assembly District: 05; City: Buffalo Ward 10; County: Erie; Page: 51* Source: Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.* Source: [http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=150970793 Find-A-Grave Virtual Cemetery memorial #150970793] in Name and Location of the Cemetery

Where did the dog go?

 

The other day while cleaning out yet more of my mother’s things I found a dog license from 1921.  This is an odd find.  My mother and grandmother hated animals.  In fact most of the family avoids pets.  I am one of three people that had or has pets that I know of.  My great uncle Leonard and my 1st cousin 1r Melanie are the only ones. Although as a kid all of Mel’s family had her pets.

img_20180718_135717

Add to this that I know my mother and grandmother did not like animals I find this confusing.  But I may have figured it out but it is only a wild guess based on the personalities involved.

My grandmother was born in 1921.  It seems possible that the dog may have been my great grandparents and newly licensed in 1921.  Then my grandmother is born.  At some point she and the dog did not get a long and the dog was removed from the home.  Someone, I expect my great grandfather like the dog and saved the license as a rememberance.  My great grandmother did let me have a dog as a child that her youngest daughter, my great aunt, got for me.

My great grandmother would bathe and help take care of the dog but my mom stayed away from him.

All of this is a guess as I have not found any supporting evidence of the dog existing other than the license.

I have discovered that there is a missing component to the license.  This was found on eBay.  Now I need to search to see if this is in any of her files or if it can be found at the local archives.

s-l1600

But I have found a similar tag online for sale.

Source:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/1921-State-of-New-York-Dog-License-NY-/202367271167

https://www.etsy.com/listing/626896553/new-york-state-dog-tags-licenses-early?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=vintage&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=dog%20tags%20for%20dogs&ref=sr_gallery-1-30

Funeral Book

My great grandfather Joseph Edward Switkowski died October 15, 1944.  He died in the second bedroom at 18 Newton Street in Buffalo, New York.  This room would in 1971 become my bedroom.

I think this connection to my great grandfather is what makes him my most researched ancestor.  This past spring a 1st Cousin once removed found a picture of him from WWI that she gave to me.  That picture is on the wall behind me now.  On another wall I have a shadow box with his dog tags.

The funeral took place at Corpus Christi Church on October 19.  Burial is at Saint Stanislaus Cemetery in Cheektowaga, New York also on the 19th.  Arrangements were directed by the Cwikalowski Funeral Home.  The funeral home was at 185 Crocker St., but is now a two family home.  He was escorted by riflemen and bugler from American Legion Post 799.

After my great grandmother died in 1980 some paperwork went to my great aunt Joanna.  She gave me the paperwork because of my genealogy interests.  I found my great grandfather’s funeral book.  It lists several pages of Polish name from the neighborhood.  I recognize many of the surnames but have not found how many are related or how.  If you have Polish family from Buffalo take a look at the names and you may find a connections.

 

A Family Cross

My great grandmother Joanna Switkowski had a cross on her bedroom wall.  It became my mother’s hen she died in 1980.  When my mother died last November it became mine.

IMG_20180714_113147

It is an interesting cross that I had not seen anyone else own.  I did a search and found similar that are called sick call set crucifix.

IMG_20180714_113157

It opens up and has a space with holy water and candles.  As best as I can tell those are the original.  There are no maker’s marks or stamps on the cross to tell where or when it was made.

IMG_20180714_113252

It looks like it had a special use but I have no idea what it was.  The family has been Catholic since at least the mid 1880s.  The history of the cross eludes me.  No one in the family ever talked much about the past.  My great grandmother never told stories about her parents or siblings.

Apparently, at one time every Catholic family had one of these.  They were used by visiting priests to administer the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick to someone who is seriously ill and homebound.  The sacrament was originally only given to those who were dying, now it can be given to anyone who is facing a serious illness or surgery, as well as the elderly.  This is all new to me, I learned about it while researching the cross.

Apparently, these crucifix were usually given as wedding gifts to hung above the couple’s bed.  They would be taken down when needed in the family home while waiting for the priest arrived with the Host to perform the rites.

I have now learned a priest in California has a museum of different styles of sets.  The location of the museum is here.

Source:

https://www.sickcall.net/

Sick Call Crucifix

https://www.catholicfaithstore.com/daily-bread/use-sick-call-crucifix/

 

 

 

 

Complex trees

I know it has been discussed many times but badly done trees in online sites need to be fixed.

I recently joined MyHeritage after dropping Ancestry.  MyHeritage has a tool that looks for obvious errors and issues for personal trees.  I started using it and found some silly errors that I started correcting.  Most of these errors are from when I first joined Ancestry and just followed the leaves.  I cringe when I see my own mistakes, what gets me is when I hear someone makes a claim about their skills and I find the same mistakes in their tree.  I make no claims of being anything other than an amateur genealogist.

This post was prompted by a tree match on MyHeritage that came in my email.  The person in question has 7 brothers named Jacob.  There is no way I can connect to this tree and hope for proper matches.

 

Parents:
Jacob Countryman, Anna Kuss
Siblings:
Margaret Eaman (born Countryman), Margaret Eaman (born Countryman), Margaret (Canada) Countryman, Margaret Eaman (born Countryman), Margaret Eaman (born Countryman), Margaret Eaman (born Countryman), Jacob Countryman, Conrad Countryman, Conrad Countryman, Conrad Countryman, Conrad Countryman, Conrad Countryman, Jacob Countryman, Jacob Countryman, Jacob Countryman, Jacob Countryman, Jacob Countryman, Jacob Countryman, Jacob Countryman, Catherine Countryman, Christian Stoneburger (born Countryman), Catherine Countryman, Catherine Countryman, Catherine Countryman, Christian Stoneburger (born Countryman), John Countryman, Catherine Countryman, Catherine Countryman, Christian Countryman, John Countryman, Christine Countryman, John Countryman, John Countryman, John Countryman, Dorothea Countryman, Dorothea Countryman, Dorothea Countryman, Dorothea Countryman, Dorothea Countryman, Dorothea Countryman, Hannah Countryman, Hannah Countryman, Hannah Countryman, Anna Hannah Brownell (born Countryman), Anna (Hannah) Countryman, Nancy Jane Countryman, Nancy Jane Countryman, Jacob Countryman, Jacob Countryman, Jacob Countryman, Jacob Countryman, Margaret Countryman, Margaret Countryman, Margaret Countryman, Margaret Countryman, Margaret Countryman, Margaret Countryman, Margaret Countryman, William Countryman, William Countryman, William Countryman, Nancy Jane Countryman, Nancy Jane Countryman, Nancy Jane Prunner (born Countryman), Nancy Jane Countryman, John Countryman, John Countryman, Mary Countryman, John Countryman, Mary Countryman, Sarah Countryman, John Countryman, Mary Jubb (born Countryman), John Countryman, Mary Jubb (born Countryman), Mary Jubb (born Countryman), John Countryman, Charles Countryman, John Countryman, Sarah Countryman, Sarah Countryman, Sarah Countryman, John Countryman
Wife:
Hester Easton
Wife:
Barbara (Barbary) Reid
Wife:
Barbara (Barbary) Reid
Wife:
Hester Easton
Children:
Mary Jane Secor\sekor (born Countryman), Bernard (Barney) Countryman, Jacob Countryman, William Countryman, John Countryman, Hannah Harriet Countryman, Elizabeth A. Countryman, Joseph Countryman, James Countryman, George Countryman, Julia A. Countryman

Stanislaus Alajko

My maternal great great grandfather Stanislaus Alajko was born around 1854 in Russian controlled part of Poland.  He died December 20, 1923 in Buffalo, New York.

He is a brick wall in Poland.  Here is what I have found.

He immigrated to the US with his wife Wiktorya, and several of their children.  They arrived in the US in July of 1905 based on the 1910 US census.  I cannot find an actual record of when or how he arrived with the family.  I did find a record for him alone from April 2, 1894.  He arrived at Ellis Island on the ship Roland headed to Buffalo, NY.  He is listed as a German out of Bremen.  There is a second record that shows his as Russian.  All the other information appears the same.

I have no idea what happened between 1894 and 1905 when he came back with the rest of the family.

Then is 1905 he came back and moved to Rother Ave in the Polish area of Buffalo. By 1910 he was a laborer for the railroad. His oldest Jozef was married with his own home.  Paulina, 20 was still at home.

In 1920 it is Stanislaus and Wiktoria in the sixties with a 9 year old daughter Charlotte “Lottie” living on Titus Street still in the Polonia part of Buffalo.  I have suspicions that Lottie may actually be a grandchild instead of a child.

He died three years later.  His wife Wiktoria died in 1956.

New York, Death Index, 1880-1956

Name: Stanislawa Alajko
Death Date: 20 Dec 1923
Death Place: Buffalo, New York, USA
Certificate Number: 70574[17]

Sources

  1.  Page: New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1925; Election District: 04; Assembly District: 05; City: Buffalo Ward 10; County: Erie; Page: 79
  2.  Page: Year: 1920; Census Place: Buffalo Ward 16, Erie, New York; Roll: T625_1105; Page: 16B; Enumeration District: 128; Image: . Data: Text: Birth date: abt 1861Birth place: PolandResidence date: 1920Residence place: Buffalo Ward 16, Erie, New YorkArrival date: 1893Arrival place:
  3.  Page: Year: 1910; Census Place: Buffalo Ward 8, Erie, New York; Roll: T624_943; Page: 17A; Enumeration District: 77; Image: 111. Data: Text: Birth date: abt 1858Birth place: Russia;PolandResidence date: 1910Residence place: Buffalo Ward 8, Erie, New YorkArrival date: 1905Arrival place:
  4.  Page: New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1925; Election District: 04; Assembly District: 05; City: Buffalo Ward 10; County: Erie; Page: 79
  5.  Page: Year: 1920; Census Place: Buffalo Ward 16, Erie, New York; Roll: T625_1105; Page: 16B; Enumeration District: 128; Image: . Data: Text: Birth date: abt 1861Birth place: PolandResidence date: 1920Residence place: Buffalo Ward 16, Erie, New YorkArrival date: 1893Arrival place:
  6.  Page: Year: 1910; Census Place: Buffalo Ward 8, Erie, New York; Roll: T624_943; Page: 17A; Enumeration District: 77; Image: 111. Data: Text: Birth date: abt 1858Birth place: Russia;PolandResidence date: 1910Residence place: Buffalo Ward 8, Erie, New YorkArrival date: 1905Arrival place:
  7.  Year: 1910; Census Place: Buffalo Ward 8, Erie, New York; Roll: T624_943; Page: 17A; Enumeration District: 0077; FHL microfilm: 1374956
  8.  Year: 1920; Census Place: Buffalo Ward 16, Erie, New York; Roll: T625_1105; Page: 16B; Enumeration District: 128; Image: 840
  9.  New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1925; Election District: 04; Assembly District: 05; City: Buffalo Ward 10; County: Erie; Page: 79
  10.  Page: Year: 1910; Census Place: Buffalo Ward 8, Erie, New York; Roll: T624_943; Page: 17A; Enumeration District: 77; Image: 111. Data: Text: Birth date: abt 1858Birth place: Russia;PolandResidence date: 1910Residence place: Buffalo Ward 8, Erie, New YorkArrival date: 1905Arrival place:
  11.  Page: Year: 1920; Census Place: Buffalo Ward 16, Erie, New York; Roll: T625_1105; Page: 16B; Enumeration District: 128; Image: . Data: Text: Birth date: abt 1861Birth place: PolandResidence date: 1920Residence place: Buffalo Ward 16, Erie, New YorkArrival date: 1893Arrival place:
  12.  Page: New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1925; Election District: 04; Assembly District: 05; City: Buffalo Ward 10; County: Erie; Page: 79
  13.  Page: Year: 1920; Census Place: Buffalo Ward 16, Erie, New York; Roll: T625_1105; Page: 16B; Enumeration District: 128; Image: . Data: Text: Birth date: abt 1861Birth place: PolandResidence date: 1920Residence place: Buffalo Ward 16, Erie, New YorkArrival date: 1893Arrival place:
  14.  Page: Year: 1910; Census Place: Buffalo Ward 8, Erie, New York; Roll: T624_943; Page: 17A; Enumeration District: 77; Image: 111. Data: Text: Birth date: abt 1858Birth place: Russia;PolandResidence date: 1910Residence place: Buffalo Ward 8, Erie, New YorkArrival date: 1905Arrival place:
  15.  Year: 1894; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 624; Line: 25; Page Number: N
  16.  Record Url: http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&db=USDirectories&h=1218334149Source Information: Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA:Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011
  17.  New York Department of Health; Albany, NY; NY State Death Index; Certificate Number: 70574

 

A response to a Twitter post

The other day on Twitter a genealogist said shame on someone that didn’t know their grandmother’s maiden name.  I say shame on the family that allowed it to happen.

Until ten years ago I had no idea what my half siblings’ first names were.  I knew they existed and had an idea what they were but not positive.  Then a niece I never knew existed contacted me on Facebook.  My father was out of the house before I was four.  The last time I saw him I was seven years old.  I had no idea I had siblings.  One day I was snooping in the house and found their pictures.  I asked and my mother told me my father was married before and had two other children.  That was when I was 12.  I was 38 when I finally had information.

As genealogists we are supposed to ask family questions to learn stories from their past.  It seems sometimes it is easier to get stories from other’s family than our own.  Sometimes family does not want to share with family.