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, April 28, 2013

Person of Note - Dr. Frank J. Schultz and A New Feature

One of the sons-in-law of Joseph Martynski (Featured Profile #25) was Dr. Frank J. Schultz.  Even before he appeared in the Kuryer Polski article about Joseph Martynski, Dr. Schultz had had is own article in Memoirs of Milwaukee County, edited by Jerome Anthony Watrous at page 419.

 He went on to have a long and successful career.  However, other than serving as the Milwaukee County Coroner, he never obtained the public office to which he obviously aspired.  The following is his obituary which appeared in the Milwaukee Journal on October 8, 1956:

Frank Schultz was not the only person in this family group to run for public office.  His nephew through his wife, Louis S. Polewczynski, served as State Assemblyman (Republican) from the 8th District in the 1927 session.  However, he was defeated by Mary (Olszewski) Kryszak in the next election and (as far as I can tell) never again held public office.

A New Feature:  Family Lines

We have added a "Family Lines" feature to the Milwaukee Polonia Project Tree.  The good folks at Tribal Pages have given us the ability to show, by use of colored squares, the ancestors and descendants of individuals that we designate.  For example, the ancestors and descendants of Joseph Martynski (Featured Profile #25) are currently designated by an aqua square like this:

This feature will enable individuals who are looking at the Project Tree to know immediately if they run across the ancestor or descendant of an individual that we pick for a Family Line.  It will be easy to determine which family line is involved because each page on the tree should carry an index such as this:

Joseph Martynski is the only family line that we have designated so far.  However, it appears that we will be able to designate up to 16 family lines.  Exactly whose family we will show with a family line is still somewhat up in the air.  Our current plan is to show the family line of the current Feature Profile and to also show the family lines of some of the Polish Pioneers as designated by the Kuryer Polski.  (See Featured Profile #25 for an explanation of the Polish Pioneers.)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Featured Profile #25 - Joseph Martynski - Polish Pioneer

This week, we are pleased to present the first in what we hope will be a long series of Featured Profiles on "Polish Pioneers."  The actual title of "Polish Pioneer" was bestowed by the Kuryer Polski (one of Milwaukee's Polish-language newspapers) when it ran a regular feature on these individuals between March and December, 1917.  (The full list of those individuals given this designation by the Kuryer Polski can be found at the Milwaukee County On-line Genealogy and Family History site.) The Kuryer Polski series gave the history of 42 of the Milwaukee Polish Pioneers, approximately seven of which are already part of the Milwaukee Polonia Project Tree.  Hopefully, all of them will eventually be connected.

Please note that the following translation was done with the aid of Google Translate. A copy of the actual article in Polish follows the translation.  If any one who speaks Polish notices an error in (or any improvements to) my translation, please let me know.

Without further ado, we start our series of the Polish Pioneers with

Joseph Martynski (1840 - 1921)

Mr. Joseph Martynski was born on December 2nd, 1840 in the Grand Duchy of Poznan. He attended elementary school there for three years, after which he began the saddler trade, learning the profession. In three years, he had learned the craft and worked as a saddler.  On May 25, 1865, he married Miss Bronisława Sytkowską. The wedding took place in Kościelnyn Popowo. Six years later he came to America with his wife and daughters (now Mrs. Pelagia Zakrzewska of Grove Street and Mrs. Veronica Wenderską [later known as Veronica Wenders] of First Avenue). He came directly to Milwaukee and began to continue to work in his profession as a saddler. His wife, after three years in Milwaukee, died and was buried in the cemetery of Holy Trinity.

Within eight months after the death of his wife, Mr. Jozef Martyński married Miss Bronislawa Chodzińską. The wedding took place in the church of St. Stanislaus at Grove and Mitchell Streets, and was performed by Fr. Rodowicz.

After fifteen years of work in Milwaukee as a saddler, Mr. Jozef Martyński founded his own saddlery at 491 Mitchell Street and ran it for twenty-five years. He resigned from the management about five years ago and gave it to his son Anthony, who for many years had worked with him. At first, the store of Mr. Martyński had only harnesses for horses, etc., but due to a reduction in the number of horses on the streets of the city, the stock now includes suitcases and other leather accessories for which there is greater demand.

From the second marriage seven children are alive. Daughter, Apolonia Polawczyńska [Anna Polewczynski] has the grocery at Ninth and Harrison Avenues.   Stanislawa Gęsicka [Stella Gesicki] lives at 994 Ninth Avenue. Maryanna married Mr. August Fons, a well-known real estate agent in West Allis. Daughter Helena* is married to Dr. Fr. J. Schultz and currently lives in West Allis.  Son Valentine is a city firefighter and lives at 882 First Avenue. Son Anthony is currently the manager of his father's business and lives with his wife and two children at 812 American Avenue. Mr. Martyński is in good health and he and the spouse live at 499 Mitchell Street.

[*This appears to be an error.  It was Cecelia Martynski that married Dr. Frank Schultz.  Her sister, Helen Martynski, married Bernard Schultz, the brother of Frank.]

Now, here is the original article which appeared in the Kuryer Polski on September 2, 1917:

Kuryer Polski, 9/2/1917

Relation to Nearest Featured Profile: (Joseph Domachowski, Featured Profile #5):  Grandfather of son-in-law

Path From Nearest Featured Profile:  Joseph Domachowski > daughter, Winifred (Domachowski) Polewczynski > husband, Henry Polewczynski > mother, Apolonia (Martynski) Polewczynski > father, Joseph Martynski 

Monday, April 15, 2013

SS. Cyril and Methodius Church

The following article is written by John Smallshaw and is part of his book, The Polish Churches of Milwaukee.  Both the article and picture are used with his gracious permission. More information about the book can be found at The Polish Churches of Milwaukee.

SS. Cyril and Methodius Parish ( Parafja Ś.Ś. Cyryla I Metodego)
2427 S. 15th St.
Milwaukee, WI 53215
Architect: Bernard Kolpacki

Saints Cyril and Methodius were two Greek brothers born in Thessaloniki in the 9th century, who became missionaries of Christianity in Khazaria and Great Moravia. They are credited with devising and spreading the Glagolitic alphabet, which was used for Slavonic manuscripts before the development of the Cyrillic alphabet.

This parish was located in the very heart of Milwaukee’s Polish community at the intersection of south 15th Street and Windlake Avenue. Funds to construct the new parish came primarily from St. Adalbert. Founded in 1893 by Rev. John Szukalski, [See: A Tale of Two Priests] the priest would serve as its pastor until 1915. Father Szukalski had been born in 1863 in the Prussian occupied section of Poland and came to America at the age of five. His family settled in Northeim, Wisconsin and in 1879 he entered the seminary in St. Francis where he was ordained as a priest in 1888.

SS. Cyril is one of two Polish inspired Victoria Gothic Revival Cathedrals in Milwaukee and built of cream city brick. It is trimmed with orange terra cotta and copper sheets and the central steeple had distinctive corner turrets which strongly resemble Polish churches built around the same period. In the beginning, the nuns would be seated in a small balcony at the southeastern portion of the church during Mass.

The first baptism in the church was that of John Bednarek on December 24, 1893 and the marriage ceremony performed between Albert Drzewiecki and Catherine Kuligowski on January 22, 1894. A school was opened that same year and eventually reached an enrollment of almost 700 students. The three story school was located on the northeast corner of the grounds and was administered by the Notre Dame Sisters. At its peak there were twenty four classrooms with fifty students in each class. Twenty four sisters were based at the parish and four priests ministered to the congregation. Father Szukalski was one of the strongest opponents of a plan to offer Polish language instruction in Milwaukee Public Schools in 1896. The priest believed that Polish parents had an responsibility to construct their own schools rather than placing the burden for the education of their children upon all of the city’s taxpayers.

Donations from the parishioners at SS Cyril and Methodius were instrumental to the formation of St. Alexander and St. Helen parishes. Father Szukalski passed away in April 1915 and was replaced by Father Bronislaus Celichowski [See: A Tale of Two Priests], who had been the pastor of St. Casimir. Father Celichowski had been born in Iwno, Poland in 1872 and come to America with his parents in 1886. He attended Marquette University, and studied for the priesthood at St. Francis Seminary. Ordained in 1898, he was elected chaplain of the Polish Roman Catholic Union that same year. Another politically active priest, he journeyed with a group of Polish-Americans to the White House to lobby then President Wilson in support of an independent Polish state. In 1920, the Polish National Committee sent Father Celichowski to assist Ignace Paderewski, who was the new Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland. And in 1931, Father Celichowski represented the Polish Roman Catholic Union at the unveiling of a monument honoring President Wilson in Poznan. (The monument would be later be destroyed by the Nazis during the Second World War). Cardinal Hlond, the Primate of Poland, called Father Celichowski “one of the most deserving Polish priests in the United States” and Polish President Paderewski paid honor to him time and time again for his efforts on Poland’s behalf.

Up until the 1950s, the pews at SS Cyril and Methodius were rented out to families as a means to raise funds but this practice was replaced by the use of collection envelopes. Due to declining attendance, SS. Cyril and Methodius was consolidated with St Gabriel’s on 10th and Lapham, which had a Slovenian base. Unfortunately, as the neighborhood began to change, attendance began to decline in the church. Fortunately, the Maximillian Kolbe parish, which administers to the Polish speaking residents of Milwaukee is now based at SS Cyril and Methodius. Some 300 – 450 Polish speaking worshipers attend mass every Sunday with Fr. Andrezj Galant as pastor. Father Galant had been ordained in Poland in 1981 and moved to the United States in 1996.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Status Update - April, 2013

First, before I get into all the boring numbers, I would like to point out a web article that many of you may find interesting.  On the March 25th edition of On Point, Tom Ashbrook discusses the "Secret of Happy Families" with Bruce Fieler.  It is probably no surprise to many of you to learn that one of the important secrets of happy families is that they discuss their family histories.  You can learn more (and listen to the full podcast) here.

Now for the regular stuff:

Family Names Added Since Last Update:

Profiles Added Since Last Update:  342

New Intra-Connections  (Lucht to Fons):

 123)  .... Anna (Szukalski) Stachowiak > sister, Catherine (Szukalski) Kaminski > husband, Stephen Kaminski > brother, Peter Kaminski > wife, Mary (Rakowski) Kaminski > brother, Frank Rakowski > wife, Josepha (Komassa) Rakowski .... 

124)  ....Albert Stachowiak > son, John Stachowiak > wife, Frances (Krawczyk) Stachowiak > sister, Anna (Krawczyk) Wozny > son, Ervin Wozny > wife, Florence (Kolterman) Wozny > father, John Kolterman ....

125)  .... Ralph Rosewicz > mother, Helen (Jereczek) Rozewicz > sister, Lucya (Jereczek) Grabarkiewicz > husband, Ladislaus Grabarkiewicz > sister, Stanislawa (Grabarkiewicz) Markowski > husband, Frank Markowski > sister, Elizabeth (Markowski) Kitzki ....

126)  .... Ralph Rosewicz > father, Robert (Boleslaus) Rozewicz > brother, John Rosewicz > wife, Polly (Jereczek) Rozewicz > sister, Lucya (Jereczek) Grabarkiewicz ....

127)  ....Frank Serocki > wife, Salomea (Paczkowski) Serocki > brother, Joseph Paczkowski > wife, Mary (Woytal) Paczkowski > brother, Theofil J. Woythal > wife, Pearl (Maternowski) Woythal > mother, Frances (Markowski) Maternowski .... 

128)  ....Eleanore (Ratajski) Jagodzinski > brother, John Ratajski > Statia (Matuszewski) Ratajski > sister, Mary Anna (Matuszewski) Kwiatkowski > husband, [Andrew] Charles Kwiatkowski....

129)  ....Anna (Szukalski) Stachowiak > twin sister, Katherine (Szukalski) Kaminski > daughter, Florence (Kaminski) Woythal > husband, Peter Woythal > father, Alexander Wojtal > brother > Baltazar Wojtal > son, Theofil J. Woythal....

130)  ....Frank Domachowski > daughter, Agnes (Domachowsk) Sikorski > husband, Ervin Sikorski> father, Sylvester Sikorski > sister, Hattie (Sikorski) Wozny > husband, Stanley Wozny > brother, Ladislaus Wozny > wife, Anna (Krawczyk) Wozny.... 

131) ....Theodor Ulezelski > brother, Theofil W. Ulezelski > son, Peter Ulezelski > wife, Gertrude Wojtal > brother, Peter Woythal ....

PCN:  3.33
(For an explanation of the PCN - "Project Completeness Number") see Status Update - February, 2012 and Status Update - March, 2012)
Historical Numbers:
April, 2012: 3.33
March, 2013:  8.2
February, 2013: 2.1
January, 2013:  8.0
December, 2012: 3.29
November, 2012: 6.0
October, 2012:  12.25
September, 2012:  6.4
August, 2012: 3.89
July, 2012:  4.57
June, 2012:  7.75
May, 2012:  9.33
April, 2012:  16.67
March, 2012:  16
February, 2012:  12.8
January, 2012:  19

Newly-Discovered Changed Names:
Paczkowski to Parker

New Alternate Spellings:

Budzbanowski Wadwaroska
Grabarkiewicz Grabarkinski
Leszylyn Leslin
Piotrowski Piotruski
Pisack Pauszek
Plachin Plachen Plachia
Ratajski Ratagski Rotagski
Schubert Szubert
Strieg Streich Streicht
Wikarski Wikorski
Woythal Wojthal Wojtal