John G. Haefner

John George Haefner is the father-in-law of my great-granduncle, or great great uncle as some would call him.

I couldn’t find any good records of his childhood or his parents so we will jump to 1900 when he is 33 and married. He was born in Germany. John also went by his middle name George. He married Kunigunda Nenner in 1892. In 1900 they were living at 217 Herman Street with children: John 6, George 5, Margaret 3, Frank 2, Joseph 4/12. The home on Herman street looks as if it has not been taken care of since they lived there.

Five years later the family was 7 children; John 12, George 10, Margaret 8, Frank 6, Joseph 4, Kathrine 2, William 1.

In 1910 John was a Miller for a Malter. The family moved to 230 Leopere St. The had 8 children John 17, George 15, Margarette 14, Frank 12, Joseph 9, Katharine 8, William 6, and newest addition Henry 2. The home is now an empty field.

No major changes to the family in the 1915 New York State Census. By 1920 son John was no longer in the home, he had married and moved out. In 1925 John and Kunigunda only had William
20 and Henry 17 still living with them. Three years later John would be the one to leave for good.


  • New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1925; Election District: 05; Assembly District: 05; City: Buffalo Ward 15; County: Erie; Page: 9
  • New York, U.S., State Census, 1892 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012.
  • New York, U.S., Erie County Census 1855, 1865, 1875 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011. This collection was indexed by Ancestry World Archives Project contributors.
  • Year: 1910; Census Place: Buffalo Ward 11, Erie, New York; Roll: T624_944; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 0105; FHL microfilm: 1374957
  • Year: 1920; Census Place: Buffalo Ward 15, Erie, New York; Roll: T625_1103; Page: 14A; Enumeration District: 117
  • Year: 1900; Census Place: Buffalo Ward 14, Erie, New York; Page: 14; Enumeration District: 0103; FHL microfilm: 1241028
  • New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1905; Election District: E.D. 01; City: Buffalo Ward 14; County: Erie; Page: 29
  • New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 04; Assembly District: 06; City: Buffalo Ward 15; County: Erie; Page: 21
  • City of Buffalo; Buffalo, NY; Index to Deaths in Buffalo, New York
  • U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012.

Where Was I: Darien Lake

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What I call the worst job I had. You see on the internet the saying people don’t quit bad jobs, they quit bad bosses. This job was that for me.

I can’t remember the exact start date but it was around late February of 1993. I got this job through the employment office from Bryant And Stratton after I graduated. Since I worked there it has be sold many times, twice to Six Flags.

Darien Lake is a theme park in the Town of Darien in Genesee County about 45 minutes away. It usually opens part time in April for a high school senior overnight. It usually closes in late September.

I was hired to be the second games technician. The park had multiple areas of games set up. Some had prizes some were just for fun. There was an old time saloon shootout where you just shot some moving targets. Then there was you were a moving target and were shot at, some people call them batting cages. There were remote control cars and boats to drive around a small pond. Others were more like carnival games where you shot at, squirted or otherwise hit a target and won a prize. There was also a game room with video games, skeeball and a claw game. We didn’t touch the video games but I did learn how to set up the claw so most people lost.

In the interview I was told the job was 48 hours a week with a lot of overtime. About a month in I found out we were all considered exempt employees and wound not get paid for over 48 hours but once the park opened we would be expected to work 60+ hours. This included the people running the games. They were usually under 18 and had been doing this job for a few years.

There was a boss, another tech and about 2 dozen people running the games. The months prior to opening were used for set up and dewinterize everything. That year there was a new feature built. It was a giant pool with 4 boats with cannons you could rent and shoot tennis balls at each other. The pool was lined with cannons you could rent to shoot at the boats. It was not very popular after opening.

It was relatively easy work but the other tech was rather dumb and disorganized. The boss never said anything to me it all came through the other tech. There were multiple silly issues that should have been easily taken care of but were put off or done in an odd way.

Another thing we worked on was the mini golf on a hill. There was nothing to repair but we did need to blow leaves and dirt off the course every couple of days. This would be scheduled for after opening.

The game where you squirt water at a target to move a clown head was always having problems because the carnies would adjust the speed of the clowns so they could choose who won. Then they would over do it and you could tell one was set wrong. This was not an honest operation at the time. The usual people there were ok but the one had a twin sister at a game at the far end of the building that would outright lie if there were any issues and only told the other tech when something broke.

About 3 weeks after opening I got fed up. This was the middle of May. We had radios to call the boss or each other but neither of them would answer. So, on the day I decided I was done at the end of my shift I dumped the radio and the keys in the office. We were supposed to take the keys home each night. I had spent an hour calling the 2 of them but neither would answer. After dumping everything I walk towards the exit. As I got there the other tech found me and asked me to come to the office.

I went to the office and told him I was done and we had nothing to talk about. He completely ignored what I said. He instead starts telling me of some issues around the park. One was that 4 of the remote control cars took a month to get fixed. I reminded him that I told him what we need to do but he ignored me and waited 3 weeks to do as I suggested. He mentioned the day I spent in one of the boats. I reminded he that was under orders of the boss because no one wanted to ride the boats so no one would shoot at the boats. There were several people everyday that were stuck in the boats. This went on for about 30 minutes.

He finally tells me I don’t have a job and asks for the keys. I point to them on the desk and tell him that’s where I dumped them before I left. He gets mad because those are supposed to stay with us. It was then I told him again that if I had planned to come back I would have but I was done with the place. It was crazy that after I quit he spent all that time trying to fire me only to get torn apart.

In the months I was there I spoke to the boss about 3 times. The other tech barely spoke to me either. Then they didn’t seem to understand that I quit.


Jan Begier

Jan Begier was born about 1897 in the United States to parents John and Cecilia Begier. I expect the parents names were Americanized at some point. Jan was later listed at John.

In 1915 John and Cecilia had 3 children; Frank 21, John (Jan) 18, and Littia 16. Three years later Jan married Wladyslawa Machinska on April 17, 1918 in Buffalo, NY. By 1925 they had 3 children Frank,
Regina, and Raymont.

One year later Jan died in Buffalo leaving behind a wife and 3 young children.

I have not found much on Jan or how or why my family went to his funeral.


  • City of Buffalo; Buffalo, NY; Index to Deaths in Buffalo, New York
  • New York Department of Health; Albany, NY; NY State Death Index
  • New York State Department of Health; Albany, NY, USA; New York State Marriage Index
  • New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1925; Election District: 01; Assembly District: 04; City: Buffalo Ward 05; County: Erie; Page: 60
  • New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 01; Assembly District: 06; City: Buffalo Ward 09; County: Erie; Page: 36

Leonard J. Switkowski

Leonard J. Switkowski born 1926 grandson of Wladyslaw and Ludwika Switkowski should not be confused with Leonard J. Switkowski born 1926 grandson of Wladyslaw and Ludwika Switkowski. Oh the records I have had to reread a hundred times to be sure of anything and there are many I am not sure about.

This particular Leonard Switkowski was born in Buffalo, New York on November 5, 1926 to Parents Joseph and Joanna Switkowski. In 1930 he was living with his parents at 70 Miller Street in Buffalo’s East Side. He was 3 years old with sisters Anna 9 and Francis 6.

In 1940 the family was now living at 27 Concord St.. Youngest sister Joann was 3 months old. By 1944 the family of 6 moved to 18 Newton St..

On November 6, 1944 the day after turning 18 he register for the military. I have been told that he was in the Navy and then the Army. Because of the many records I am still researching I don’t have exact dates on when he served or where. Prior to joining the military he worked at Laube Cafeteria in downtown Buffalo. My grandmother, his sister Anna, and my mother also worked there. In 1968 it closed and is now the Family Court Building.

Leonard married Victoria (Theresa) Wackowski on May 16 1953 in Buffalo, New York. They were living at 230 Guilford until at least 1956.

They had 2 children Michaeline Ann born 1955 and Leonard Jr born 1958, deceased 2013. In 1973 his wife died, Michaeline was 18 and Leonard Jr. was 15.

Since I was young and the family does not like to talk about things I do not know much about what happened at this time. I do know They had a dog in 1973 because I was living with his mother at the time and were were watching her for a while. The dog’s name was BeeGee.

I believe in 1973 the family was at 108 Iroquois Ave, Cheektowaga, New York. This was about 3 blocks from sister Anna and 4 blocks from Sister Francis.

He died October 31, 2008. I need to make another visit to St. Stanislaus Cemetery to get a picture of the grave.


  • Year: 1930; Census Place: Buffalo, Erie, New York; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 0135; FHL microfilm: 2341161
  • Year: 1940; Census Place: Buffalo, Erie, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02826; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 64-108
  • New York State Department of Health; Albany, NY, USA; New York State Birth Index
  • New York State Department of Health; Albany, NY, USA; New York State Marriage Index
  • Buffalo, New York, City Directory, 1956
  • U.S., Public Records Index, 1950-1993, Volume 1 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.
  • U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.
  • U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.