For over 150 years, Milwaukee has been home to a large community of people of Polish descent. The Milwaukee Polonia Project hopes to show the interweaving, intertwining family trees that resulted in this community. It is hoped that, eventually, all the families can be connected to one another. The Milwaukee Polonia Project is also a means to explore our common history and celebrate our shared heritage.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Featured Profile #12 - Hattie Baranowski

 Hattie Baranowski (1886-1963)

Hattie became the first woman deputy sheriff in Milwaukee County when she was appointed on August 6, 1922. During her subsequent 32-year career as a deputy, she served under 14 different sheriffs and held such posts as bailiff in the juvenile court and courtroom deputy handling women prisons in the district court. The charges under care ranged from those who were merely drunk and disorderly to convicted murderers. According to the Milwaukee Journal, the qualifications for her job were "emotional stamina, resilience of spirit, human understanding, and a limitless compassion." "Miss Hattie" (as she was affectionately known) handled it all with a motherly, comfortable way and a generous spirit. She was especially loved of all the women deputies, often going beyond her job description. Her acts of kindness ranged from giving coats to women prisoners released in December, to taking them to church on Sunday, to finding them jobs. Even at the end of her long career when she had been exposed to all kinds of criminals, she was able to see "a lot of good in everybody." However, she was not a "bleeding heart."  She refused to let the prisoners blame others for their actions. She stated that, "All too many of the women prisoners were girls that came to Milwaukee friendless. When they arrived in jail, they said they hated Milwaukee -- and I always told them it wasn't Milwaukee, but themselves and the friends they had made that deserved the blame." She retired May 5, 1954 after a leg injury resulting from a fall left her unable to continue.

Prior to her appointment as deputy sheriff, she had served as a matron in the old county jail at N. Broadway and E. Wells Streets starting in 1914.

In 1949, she fought off a challenge by the county service commission to force her retirement under the alleged grounds that she was physically unfit.
An early picture of Hattie Baranowski along with the first all-female jury in the county can be found can be found here.

Relation to Nearest Featured Profile (Arthur Czerwinski):  sister-in-law of brother
Path From Nearest Featured Profile:  Arthur Czerwinski > brother, Roman Czerwinski > wife, Irene (Baranowski) Czerwinski > sister, Hattie Baranowski

Sources (page references on newspapers are to the page on Google News):

"Good in All," Says Retiring Jail MatronMilwaukee Journal, April 29, 1954, p. 1.
Miss Hattie Baranowski, Milwaukee Journal, January 31, 1963, p. 4
Mrs. Musso Hates to Leave Kind Peopleat Jail, Milwaukee Journal, May 30, 1915, p. 3.
Oust Woman Deputy Here, Milwaukee Journal, July 10, 1947, p. 25.
Sheriff Defends Woman Deputy, 63, Milwaukee Journal, July 1, 1947, p. 3.

Women Deputy Sheriffs Relate CareerExperiences, Befriend Women Prisoners, Milwaukee Journal, April 7, 1957, p. 10.

People of Note:

Dr. Stanley Baranowski  (brother of Hattie)
Listed in Who's Who in Polish America, he was an early physician in the Polish-American community. A graduate of the Marquette School of Medicine, he was a general practitioner for over thirty years. He was a medical consultant at St. Luke's Hospital, an organizer of the Milwaukee Chapter of the Polish Medical and Dental Association and a house physician at St. Joseph's Orphanage.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Featured Profile #11 - Arthur Czerwinski

Arthur Czerwinski  (1885 - 1939)

Arthur Czerwinski, was a first generation natural-born citizen of United States.  He was the oldest son of Roman Czerwinski and Antonia (Kundler) Czerwinski.  Because his father was a wealthy merchant and politician in Milwaukee, Arthur was given many more opportunities than most Polish-American's in Milwaukee at that time.  For one thing, he went to college, and not a local one either.  He graduated from St. Mary's College in Lebanon, Kentucky.  Second, he was free to pursue an occupation, singing, which was much too speculative and frivolous for most of the Milwaukee Poles whose existence depended on that weekly paycheck.  Fortunately, Arthur had talent, and his choice of occupation was not a rich son's folly.  In fact, early in his career, he had the opportunity to sing with the Metropolitan Grand Opera Company in New York. However, he decided that he'd rather stay in Milwaukee. A decision so shocking (to New Yorkers) that it made the front page of the New York Times.  He did, eventually, became a baritone in the San Carlos Opera Co.  However, he gave back to his community by singing at various Polish functions and gatherings in Milwaukee.

Of course, like many artists, Arthur Czerwinski did have another job to supplement his income. His day job, at least the for last 24 years of his life, was as a Clerk for the Civil Court in Milwaukee.

Relation to Nearest Featured Profile (Roman Czerwisni):  son
Path From Nearest Featured Profile:  Roman Czerwinski > son, Arthur G. Czerwinski

Sources (page references on newspapers are to the page on Google News):

"Singing Clerk's Funeral is Set," Milwaukee Journal, April 3, 1939, p. 11

The Pinkowski Files, quoting Who's Who in Polish America.

"Won't Sing in Grand Opera," New York Times, November 12, 1910, p. 1

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Featured Profile #10 - Roman Czerwinski

Roman Czerwinski (1861-1906)

Milwaukee City Comptroller from 1890-1894. He was the first of a long line of Milwaukee City Comptrollers of Polish descent. So consistent was this trend that the position became known as the "Polish mayor".

Roman Czerwinski was not only an early Pole in Milwaukee, he was also one of the earliest Polish political leaders there.  He was born in BÅ‚ugowo, Poland in 1861. He and the rest of his family came to Milwaukee in 1868, when he was only seven years old. His successful career as a clothing merchant started in 1886 when he established clothing company at the age of 25.  Around that time, he also became a Captain in the Kosciuszko Guards. (He resigned that post shortly before taking office as Milwaukee City Comptroller.)  He later became a cashier in the registry department of the post office after being strongly considered for the job of Postmaster.

Unfortunately, his rising star went dark in 1906 when he died of a sudden heart attack at the early age of 45.  The tragic attack took him while he was on his way to the Waukesha Beach with his family:  wife, Antonia (nee Kundler), and children, Arthur, Wanda, Roman, Eleanor and Julian.  His wife, Antonia, was to survive Roman by 54 years, and would outlast all but two of her children.  She did not pass away until 1960 at the age of 96.  It is strange to think that Roman died during the horse and buggy era and his wife survived into the space age.

As an interesting note, Roman Czerwinski did not become a naturalized American citizen until after first being elected to the position of Milwaukee City Comptroller.

Relation to Nearest Featured Profile (Louis Fons):  no close relationship
Path From Nearest Featured Profile:  Louis A. Fons > father, Frank Fons > half-brother, John Fons > son, Ervin Fons > wife, Wanda (Michalski) Fons > father, Bennedick Michalski > mother, Anastaszja (Brzezinska) Michalska > father, Jan Brzezinski > sister, Anna (Brzezinska) Wnuk > daughter, Rosalia (Wnuk) Michalek > daughter, Anna (Michalek) Czerwinski, > husband, Arthur Czerwinski > father, Roman Czerwinski

Sources (page references on newspapers are to the page on Google News):

"Czerwinski Now a Citizen,"  Milwaukee Journal, April 11, 1890

"Fine Military Companies," Milwaukee Journal, July 5, 1890

"He Died Suddenly in an Electric Car," Milwaukee Journal, June 19, 1906

"Mrs. Czerwinski," Milwaukee Journal, July 15, 1960

Pienkos, Donald, Politics, Religion and Change in Polish Milwaukee, 1900-1930,  published in the ''Wisconsin Magazine of History'' vol. 61, no. 3, Spring, 1978, pp. 178-209, at pg. 184 (at page 8 of the pdf file)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Status Update - We're Moving the Tree!

That's right!  We're now in the process of moving the tree to a new location on the web.  This new location will allow access to information of deceased individuals on the tree without cost or even having to join or register.  Thus, it will become much more useful information.  Unfortunately, when the data was uploaded, not all it made the transfer.  Thus, we are now in the process of checking the information for each of the approximately 8,500 people on the tree.  As you can imagine, this is going to take some time.  Hopefully, all will be checked and ready within a couple weeks.  In the meantime, the tree that we had been maintaining on is no longer going to be updated with all the new information.

Names Added Since Last Update:

Baal, Barykowska, Barczak, Bezdon, Bieganowski, Bindek, Biniok, Biskupska, Boguszewski, Bruneski, Bukoski

Cik, Chudzik


Gazdawiak, Gondek, Gospodarek, Groholska, Grzelak, Gumoski


Kadau, Kascynska, Kitkowski, Koronkowski, Kralik, Kuks,

Lesak, Literski, Litzow

Marcizak, Marifke, Miech, Motowski, Mrugalski, Mueke, Muschinski, Musolf

Nakielski, Nefts

Okonowski, Oleiniczak

Papelbon, Piskup, Pruski, Prusowa, Pruss, Pryba, Przyworski

Raczkowiak, Ruka

Sarnowski, Scheffs, Smerlinski, Stachowski, Stempniewski, Switalski, Szalewski, Szwaby, Szydel, Szyperek

Tabaczyna, Talatzka, Toda, Todzinski, Torner, Turkiewicz


Wargin, Wicherski, Wotta, Wricza

Zbichorski, Zell, Zjala, Zoltowski, Zorowska, Zwolinski


changed Danielska to Danielski
corrected Dzuirdziewski to Dziurdziewski
corrected Wielpski to Wielepski

Number of Profiles Added Last Update:   488

New Intra-Connections (Lucht to Fons)
  1. ....Joseph Andraszczyk > sister, Antionette (Andraszczyk) Dziurdziewski > husband, Frank [Dziurdziewski] Jeske > brother, Michael Dziurdziewski > wife, Emily (Rakowski) Dziurdziewski > mother, Mary (Wiza) [Rakowski] Gawronkiewicz > brother, Anthony John Wiza > wife, Mary Magdalene (Fons) Wiza > brother, Louis A. Fons

  2. ..... Mary (Sikora) Michalek > son, Leonard Michalek > wife, Irene (Bilicki) Michalek > father, Joseph Bilicki > brother, Martin Bilicki > first wife, Hattie (Dziurdziewski) Bilicki > brother, Michael Dziurdziewski ....

  3. .... John Jagodzinski (1) > father, Stanislaus Jagodzinski > brother, Joseph Jagodzinski > son, Thomas Jagodzinski > wife, Nepomycena (Chudzik) [Jagodzinski] Ryczek > second husband, Valentine Ryczek > first wife, Anna (Andraszczyk) Ryczek > brother, Frank Andraszczyk ....

  4. ....Joseph Jagodzinski > son, John Jagodzinski (4) > son, Harry Jagodzinski > wife, Dorothy (Schulist) Jagodzinski > brother, George Schulist > wife, Ceil (Jagodzinski) Schulist > father, Anton Jagodzisnki > mother, Nepomycena (Chudzik) [Jagodzinski] Ryczek....

  5. ....Martha (Grosz) Kobza > son, Edwin Kobza > wife, Eleanor (Rutkowski) Kobza > father, Louis [Ludwig] Rutkowski > sister, Lottie (Rutkowski) Fons > husband, John Fons (3) > father, Stephnn Fons (1)....

Last month, I introduced the "Tree Completeness Number."  This month, I am changing that in two respects.  First, I am renaming it to "Project Completeness Number."  To complete the tree, we would have to account for EVERYONE, which seems a mite ambitious, even to me.  However, to complete the Project, we just have to connect every family, which might just be doable.  Second, I've decided to add "1" to the number of new names added to the tree.  In this way, even when no new names are added, we'll still get a somewhat meaningful number for the PCN.

So, the recalculated numbers are:

March, 2012:  16
February, 2012:  12.8
January, 2012:  19

New Changed Names Discovered:

Gawronkiewicz to Gavron
Gryskiewicz to Grady and Gryski
Jarecki to Ashley
Kitkowski to Ketter
Kolacinski to Kolata
Kowalski to Colby
Oleniczak to Olenzak
Podlaszewski to Podd
Stanioch to Stanton
Szulakiewicz to Shully

New Families Discovered to have associations with Places of Origin:

Latus and Starszak discovered to have association to Blugowo, Poland.