Archive for the ‘Shellie’s Tour to Ancestral Places’ Category

10. Shellie’s Family History and Tour to Ancestral Places. Was my Great-Grandfather a gambler?

Monday, July 6th, 2009

When the death record microfilm arrived at my local LDS family history center, I searched for my grandfather’s oldest sister Anne, whom Dutchie said died of Diptheria when she was around 5 years old. There were no other Kulawiak families in this parish, so it didn’t take long to find a Kulawiak death in the index. The full record was in Latin, but something didn’t look right. As I slowly deciphered the information, I realized that this 1909 entry was not for a child, but for a 76 year old man…..my great-great grandfather Andreas Kulawiak! But my family was from Odrowąż, why wasn’t he there?

Andreas Kulawiak Death 1909 (click to enlarge)

Andreas Kulawiak Death 1909 (click to enlarge)

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9. Shellie’s Family History and Tour to Ancestral Places. Lusławice, my grandfather’s birthplace.

Saturday, July 4th, 2009

From ship manifests, I knew that my family was from Odrowąż but they were living in Lusławice when they left for America. Like Odrowąż, there was more than one village in Poland with this name; so again, I had no idea where to start looking. In May of 2009, my uncle Teddy gave me the most important piece of family history that I’ve encountered since I began my research. When I told him that I was going to Poland to find our family home, he began to search for old documents belonging to my grandfather. What uncle Teddy found took my breath away. My grandfather’s Marriage certificate, naturalization certificate and a baptismal record showing his grandparents names Andre Kulawiak and Rosaline Pagac and his birthplace, Lusławice in Brzesko county, Zakliczyn!

My grandfather's baptism

My grandfather’s baptism (click to enlarge)

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8. Shellie’s Family History and Tour to Ancestral Places. My Grandpa.

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

Ted (Kulawiak) Kolavic

Ted (Kulawiak) Kolavic

For all of my life, I never knew what my grandfather looked like as a young boy, or even as a young man. Dutchie had some wonderful photos and later my father and uncle found some photos for me. I think it is hard for some people to imagine their grandparents as youngsters. It was especially so for me, since I had never seen any photos. Through these photos, I found that my grandfather was quite athletic and handsome too. As a young man, he excelled at all kinds of sports, loved to swim, and was even a volunteer fireman.

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7. Shellie’s Family History and Tour to Ancestral Places. Finding my Great-Grandpa’s House.

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Happy Birthday Sissy! Sis is the daughter of my grandfather’s oldest sister Stella. Since there was over 15 years difference in age between Stella, the oldest, and Dutchie, the baby of the family, Dutchie and Sis seemed more like sisters than aunt and niece.

Stella and Sis were who our family turned to for memoires and family reunions. I was young and not interested in family reunions back then. Oh how I wish I could turn back time! I think that one common emotion that is encountered during family history research is regret. To think that I had such a fascinating family and I didn’t even realize it until they are now long gone. This work has made me realize how important it is to appreciate your family while you have them with you.

Last fall, around October of 2008, I found our family in the 1930 census and I identified the address: 416 Highland Avenue, Aliquippa, PA. The family moved from Export to Aliquippa in 1920 shortly after my g-grandfather Stanislaw had a close-call in a mining accident. Aniela said that her sons would never work underground and she searched for a better place to live. Someone told her that in Aliquippa, men worked above ground in steel mills, so she asked someone to take her there to visit. When she came home, she announced that she rented a house in Aliquippa and they were moving immediately. That didn’t go over very well with my g-grandfather, who refused to go, but in the end as the rest of the family drove off, he gave up and joined them. From then on, my coal mining g-grandfather was a steelworker. I was back in my home town to visit my parents and took my mom down to Aliquippa to find the house. I found the house and jumped out to take photos. I was so excited to find it.

Green House at 416 Highland Ave

Green House at 416 Highland Ave

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6. Shellie’s Family History and Tour to Ancestral Places. The Portrait of My Great-Great-Grandmother.

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

I received the most wonderful gift today and I must thank my father and my cousins for working so hard to give it to me. There is a very special portrait that I wanted to take on my Forefather Traces Tour with Zenon.  When I visited Dutchie a few months ago, I scanned a photo that she had of her grandmother, Jozefa Gal Kadłub, probably taken at her farm in Odrowąż.  She told me that this was a photo of a photo….a snapshot she took of a portrait in a round frame with convex glass.  Since the snapshot was a little fuzzy, I wanted to find the portrait and get a better image of it.  My father and my cousin took some digital images for me and to my suprise, the portrait was colorized!  When I took a closer look, I realized that this was not the portrait that Dutchie had.  Dutchie must have taken a snapshot of the original photograph.  I don’t yet know who has that original, but how wonderful that there are two versions of her portrait!

Josephina Gal Kadlub

Josephina Gal Kadlub

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5. Shellie’s Family History and Tour to Ancestral Places. Aniela Kadłub Kulawiak and the red haired Kadłubs.

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

My great-grandmother Aniela “Nellie” was born March 26, 1800 in Odrowąż to Adalbert Kadłub and Josephine Gal. From family stories and Ellis Island records, I found 3 siblings: a brother Jan Kanty Kadłub who settled in Export PA and was later known as John Kanty Kadlup. A sister Agnieszka (Agnes) Kadłub, who came to the US around 1906 with her brother Jakob and married Jan Wallos, later known as John Wallace in Export, PA. Jackob must have gone back to Poland, for I was unable to find any information about him. Agnieszka had several children in Export, but she she died around 1918. I tried to find a death certificate for her, but since I did not know her exact date of death, I had to request a records search. The PA vital statistics office could not find a death record for her. That was frustrating, because if the death date is unknown the state of PA charges $34 for a search of their records and you don’t get a refund if they can’t find a record. Also, you can not provide spelling variations unless you fill out another request and pay another $34 dollars.

Aniela’s father Adalbert Kadłub died rather young and Aniela married Stanislaw Kulawiak when she was around 15 years old. Dutchie had an old photo of Jozefa Gal Kadłub, taken in Poland. I think Aniela looked a lot like her mother. Here is a photo of Jozefa (date unknown) and 2 of Aniela taken around 1923 and in the 1940’s.

Josepha Kadlub and 2 views of Aniela Kadlub Kulawiak

Josepha Kadlub and 2 views of Aniela Kadlub Kulawiak

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4. Shellie’s Family History and Tour to Ancestral Places. My Great-Grandfather – Stanislaw Kulawiak

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

Dutchie had a portrait of her father, done when he was a young soldier serving in the Austro-Hungarian Army. He was probably conscripted at age 18, around 1888. I know no other details and the Austrian war archives had no record for him. Later I plan to check the Warsaw archives. The portrait was in the family as long as anyone could remember. There were all kinds of stories about Stanislaw’s military career that stretched from being a diplomatic courier all the way to being a general in the Kaiser’s Army. By now, no one really knows what he did in the Army. So when Dutchie told me about this portrait, I couldn’t wait to see it. The original was misplaced, but my cousin had a copy and sent an image by email. I think the portrait was probably done around 1890, maybe later if it took several years to reach his rank.

Stanislaw Kulawiak Military Portrait

Stanislaw Kulawiak Military Portrait

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3. Shellie’s Family History and Tour to Ancestral Places. My Great Aunt Dutchie.

Saturday, June 13th, 2009

My family history research would not be possible without my grandfather’s sister Dutchie Guy. When I resumed my research in the fall of 2008, she was the last surviving sibling and thus, was the most important source of first hand family information. Born Frances Ann Kolavic in 1921 in West Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, she was the youngest daughter of my great-grandparents Stanislaw and Aniela (Kadłub) Kulawiak.

No one ever called Dutchie by her given name, Frances.  She told me that when she was a little girl, she had to memorize a poem about a Dutchman and she went around the house reciting the poem over and over again. Her brother Frank started calling her a little Dutchman and the nickname eventually became Dutchie.  From then on, no one ever used her given name.

 Dutchie 1920s 1950s

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2. Shellie’s Family History and Tour to Ancestral Places.

Friday, June 12th, 2009

Based on Dutchie’s and Sissy’s memories and stories handed down over the years, we knew that my great-grandparents, Stanislaw Kulawiak and Aniela Kadlub were born in Poland – somewhere near Krakow.  Dutchie said her father served in the Austro-Hungarian Army and married Aniela when she was 15 years old.  They had 5 children in Poland and 3 in the US.  My grandfather, and Sissy’s (Sis) mother were born in Poland and Dutchie, the baby was born in the US.

Dutchie told me that her father Stanislaw Kulawiak went to Export PA around 1910 to work in the coal mines and Aniela and 4 children followed a few years later.  On a 1910 ship manifest for Stanislaw, we found a notation that he traveled to the US twice before – in 1898 and 1907. We also found out that although Odrowaz was listed as their birthplace, my g-grandparents residence was – Luslawice – and not Odrowaz.  This was suprising news and we still don’t know what led them to this location.

On Valentines Day 2009, I traveled to Dutchie’s retirement home in Florida to show her all of the information we found and to pour over her photo albums.  There, for the first time, I saw my great-grandparents Stanislaw Kulawiak and Aniela Kadlub, and Aniela’s mother Josefa Kadlub.  It was also the first time I saw what my grandfather and his siblings looked like as children.

Kulawiak Family

Kulawiak Family

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1. Shellie’s Family History and Tour to Ancestral Places.

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

Like many people, I was not interested in my roots when I was a teenager.  I always knew my family was from Poland and that my grandfather came to the US when he was three years old, but I never probed for more information.  He had many brothers and sisters, but I never really got to know them well and of course, I was not interested in hearing about our roots while they were all still alive.

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