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Looking for Albert Sondej born about 1860 in Mazury, Poland sons Jakob and Jan came to America


NancyS
29 Jul 2016 #1
Hi, I am new to this forum and new to Polish genealogy research. I'm looking for information about my grandparents families. My grandfather was Jakob Albert Sondej, born 10 Jul 1888 in Slocina, Poland. He said his father was Albert Sondej born in Mazury about 1860. My grandmother was Victoria Kusmierz. Victoria and Jacob were married in Poland. Victoria said that her parents names were Michael Albert Kusmierz and Sofia Mroz. When Jacob and his brother Jan left for America their last place of residence was Slocina. Are there records online for this part of Poland? Can anyone direct me to source materials? I really appreciate any help you can give me. Thank you!

Nancy Sondy
Chemikiem
29 Jul 2016 #2
I had a look on familysearch.org and did find reference to your grandfather, but the birth date given was 15 July 1887, although it did say the birth year was estimated. It is the correct person as I looked at cross references confirming Victoria as his wife, and Albert as his father.

familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:N348-HR6
familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:Q2MD-58SN
familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:Q2M4-X6YL

Slocina

Słocina

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%C5%82ocina,_Lubusz_Voivodeship

Good luck with your search, hopefully someone else can provide more help.
OP NancyS
29 Jul 2016 #3
Thank you so much for helping! I've scoured Familysearch and Ancestry for clues about them for years. I did note that my father's sister was the family spokesperson when someone died and gave incorrect information on almost every record she reported on. My grandfather, Jacob Sondej, gives his birth date as 1887 or 1888; however, that would mean he was only 16 when his first child was born. According to the manifest of the Gera, he arrived here on 9 Mar 1905 and was "25 years old." He gave a birth year of 1884 on his WWI draft registration card. These crazy dates are making it hard to find out who his parents were. My grandparents died years before I as born, so I have had to rely on a few old family records and a couple of elderly aunts for information. I do appreciate the assistance with this!

Nancy Sondy
Chemikiem
29 Jul 2016 #4
manifest of the Gera, he arrived here on 9 Mar 1905 and was "25 years old."

This link says he was 24 yrs old and arrived on the 12th March 1905. There certainly are discrepancies!

familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JF3M-R59

Słocina

There is also an historical area of Rzeszów called Słocina which I found under Polish Wiki:-

pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%C5%82ocina_(Rzesz%C3%B3w)

I think this one is far more likely to be the Słocina in question because Albert was born in Mazury, and these 2 places are very close to each other.

Mazury is the name given to a large area of Poland which includes it's well known lakes, but I found there is actually a village called Mazury too, and it's this village which is close to Słocina, about 25 kms away, so this appears to be more likely than the other Słocina which lies on the other side of Poland.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mazury,_Podkarpackie_Voivodeship

Of course this is guesswork on my part, but people then generally didn't travel to the extent they do these days, unless of course they emigrated!

As regards Polish genealogy resources, there is no one central database unfortunately.
I did come across a good site called Geneteka and have looked at this briefly, entering the surname Sondej. It hasn't brought up anything specific that I can see, but you could always try entering the other names you have in it.

geneszukacz.genealodzy.pl/lang-eng

The page I have linked to is in English, but unfortunately, once you hit enter and the results are displayed, they come up in Polish. Trying to put a new page back into English doesn't work and takes you to a new page ( unless I've done something wrong which with my computer skills is quite likely! )

I don't know if you understand and can read Polish, but if you don't, once the results are shown you will see a page with the Polish provinces on the far left e.g Warmińsko-Masurskie ( listed under 'site' in English )

To the right of 'site' are listed father's details first, then mother's.
Terms you will see:-
Urodzenia - Births
Zgony - Deaths
Małżeństwa - Marriages
Chrzty - Christenings

Imię - First name
Imię Matka - Mother's first name
Imię Ojca - Father's first name
Nazwisko - Surname
Parafia - Parish
Wyszukaj - Search

Of course this is all irrelevant if you can read Polish, but thought it might save you some time translating.

I haven't read all of this thread, but remembered it was on the forum, so you might find lots of help and other Polish sources in it:-

https://polishforums.com/genealogy/poland-resources-3318/

Forgot to mention, on the Geneteka results page for your chosen name, you can click on Skan on the far right for each result, which if available brings up the written document ( not all are available ). Of course it will be in Polish, but some nice kind soul on this forum might be able to translate it for you if you do find one which applies to a family member.
OP NancyS
30 Jul 2016 #5
I'm going to go check out the site you've shared as soon as I finish here - thank you!! I was also wondering why my grandfather Jakob was born in Slocina when his family is from Mazury and they appear very far apart. Your find of the historical Slocina clears that up pretty well! I don't speak Polish (other than Na zdrowie!) as my father was Polish and my mother was Italian, so we spoke English at home. Thank you again for all your help!

Nancy
Chemikiem
30 Jul 2016 #6
I was also wondering why my grandfather Jakob was born in Slocina when his family is from Mazury and they appear very far apart.

This is just my best guess which seems the most likely. The other Słocina is on the other side of Poland and is only a very small village, it doesn't make much sense to move from one side of Poland to the other, unless it was to find work, which in a small village is not very likely. But you never know, maybe he knew people there, so keep your options open.

He gave a birth year of 1884 on his WWI draft registration card

Strange. If that wasn't his year of birth, I can't see any logical reason why he would put that it is, unless it's a paperwork mistake, and already there are a lot of discrepancies in information from paperwork.

These crazy dates are making it hard to find out who his parents were.

So all you have to go on is Jakob's saying that his father was Albert from Mazury? No mention of who his mother was?

My grandparents died years before I as born, so I have had to rely on a few old family records and a couple of elderly aunts for information.

Bear in mind that information by word of mouth isn't always correct too, I've had incorrect information given to me during the course of researching my family tree, but at the time that was all I had to go on since everyone else in the family had long since passed away.
OP NancyS
30 Jul 2016 #7
My father was not close to his family - we saw my aunts once per year when I was a kid. My aunt told me that Jacob's father was Albert and she didn't know his mother's name. Jacob's death certificate reports his father as Albert from Mazury - I'm not sure who gave that information at the time. As far as Jacob's birthdate, I am stumped. On the 1920 census he gives a birth year of 1884. The 1930 census has a birth year of "about 1886." The Illinois Deaths and Stillbirths Index gives a birthdate of 15 Jul 1887. His WWI draft reg gives a birthdate of 10 Jul 1884. His WWII draft reg gives a birthdate of 10 Jul 1888. Last of all, the manifest from the GERA arriving (thank you for correcting my date on this) 12 Mar 1905 shows his age as "24" which would give him a birth year of 1881.

My father's family was very guarded about sharing information, so I would not be surprised to find that most of the information in official records is incorrect. I love a good mystery, but these people were experts at confusion. Thanks so much for all your input!

Nancy
Chemikiem
30 Jul 2016 #8
I would not be surprised to find that most of the information in official records is incorrect

It's certainly looking that way which is a shame because it's going to make your job harder if you decide to try and obtain copies of birth certificates.

I am certainly no expert because I haven't had to try and do any Poland based family research, but to my knowledge, civil transcripts of birth, marriage and death certificates are held with the Poland State Archives in regional branches across the country. Church records are kept in individual local parish archives.

I know it's possible to write and obtain information but this would need to be in Polish, plus you would need to be sure of location.

I think there is a branch of the state archives in Rzeszów, which is the nearest city to Mazury, and Słocina is a part of Rzeszów, provided we have the correct Słocina. As regards church records, this might be harder because you won't know which parish the records would be found under.

Something else which is important to mention because this is a Genealogy enquiry, is that Poland as such did not officially exist from 1795 to 1918 due to the third and final partition ( Polish territory was annexed and ruled by Austria, Russia and Prussia during this time ).

This may well make a difference when applying for copies of documents, because Poland probably won't be listed as place of birth. For Rzeszów and surrounding areas, this was under Austrian rule and you may well see Galicia instead.

I also found a Genealogy tree on familysearch about your family, which I presume you have set up? One thing I discovered from looking at it as the name Albert had been bothering me, not sounding particularly Polish, is that Jakob is referred to as Jakob Albert ( Wojciech ) Sondej. Albert is one of 3 equivalent names for Wojciech, so if you do apply for a copy of his birth certificate ( or Albert from Mazury ), Wojciech will most likely be the listed name.

Many names, especially surnames were changed as they were often difficult to pronounce, let alone spell!
It's very possible that Albert from Mazury had siblings, so you may have relatives in Poland. Interestingly, Facebook came up with 6 Sondej names in Mazury, Rzeszów.

It's a pity no-one else here has looked at your thread as others here will probably have a much better idea how you should continue with your research. There is a poster here called TheOther who has helped out on Genealogy threads before, I'm hoping he will look at this.
TheOther 6 | 3768
30 Jul 2016 #9
For Rzeszów and surrounding areas, this was under Austrian rule and you may well see Galicia instead.

This is actually a big advantage as there might still be civil registration records available for the time period starting in 1867. The Russian Empire/USSR only introduced civil registration after the 1918 revolution. Many birth, marriage and death records (independent of religious affiliation) have survived the war and are now available at the relevant state archives in Poland and Austria. Sometimes even online and for free - just google a bit.
Chemikiem
30 Jul 2016 #10
Sometimes even online and for free - just google a bit.

I've googled loads of stuff and have hit a brick wall, can't find anything to help the OP. I was hoping you would see and read this thread through and come up with something I might have missed!


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