Back in July, I wrote about a recent DNA match whose great-grandmother, Catherine (née Ptaszkiewicz) Grzebińska of Buffalo, New York, seemed likely to be the double first cousin of my great-great-grandmother, Marianna (née Łącka) Klaus. Marianna had a known double first cousin named Katarzyna Ptaszkiewicz whose birth record I had obtained from the parish records of their home village in Kołaczyce in what is now the Podkarpackie province of Poland. The DNA evidence was consistent with the relationship I hypothesized, and the birthdate of “my” Katarzyna Ptaszkiewicz was fairly close to the estimated birth date of Catherine (née Ptaszkiewicz) Grzebińska. However, my newfound cousin did not have a marriage or death record for his Great-Grandmother Grzebińska, so we had no documents indicating her parents’ names or her place of birth. The year of immigration reported on the 1900, 1920, and 1930 censuses was the same for both John and Catherine Grzebiński, suggesting that they might have married in Poland and emigrated together. With this in mind, I requested a search of the records of Kołaczyce from the ever-reliable Lucjan Cichocki, whom I frequently work with when I need records from that part of Poland. He was unable to find a marriage record for Katarzyna Ptaszkiewicz, suggesting that the marriage might have taken place in Buffalo.
This past weekend, I was in Buffalo giving a talk for the Polish Genealogical Society of New York State, and I planned an extra day into my trip for some research at the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library. The Library has a fine collection of Buffalo church records on microfilm, and it was there that I hoped to find the marriage record for John and Catherine Grzebiński. Sure enough, there it was, in the collection of marriage records from St. Stanislaus Parish (Figure 1):
Figure 1: Record of marriage of Jan Grzebiński and Katarzyna Ptaszkiewicz on 24 July 1884 at St. Stanislaus Church in Buffalo, New York.1
The record states that Katarzyna Ptaszkiewicz was the daughter of “Franc. P.” (i.e. Franciszek Ptaszkiewicz) and Anna Łącka, and that she was born in Kołaczyce, exactly as the earlier evidence predicted. What a nice, tidy way to wrap up a little genetic genealogy puzzle!
As I thought about this, I wondered if my great-great-grandmother Mary Klaus was close with the family of her cousin. Surely she would have known that her first cousin (double first cousin, no less!) was also living in Buffalo. But did the families socialize together much? Amazingly, I found the answer to my question in those very same records from St. Stanislaus Church. While searching baptismal records for children of Katarzyna and Jan Grzebiński, I stumbled across a baptismal record I’d somehow missed before. Apparently, my great-great-grandparents Andrzej and Marianna Klaus had a child that must have died young, a child unknown to subsequent generations of the family, until now. In 1895, there was a baptismal record for a Bolesław Klaus, son of Andrzej Klaus and Marianna Łącka (Figure 2)!2
Figure 2: Baptismal record for Bolesław Klaus, born 24 October 1895 in Buffalo, New York.
The godfather’s name, underlined in red, is a bit hard to make out in that version of the record, but this expanded version (Figure 2a) reveals that he was none other than Jan Grzebiński.
Figure 2a: Close-up of baptismal record for Bolesław Klaus, showing godfather’s name as “Grzebiński Jan.”
The fact that Marianna Klaus asked her cousin’s husband to be godfather to her child suggests that the two families were on good terms.
This record was also an interesting find for me because it helps me to date the arrival of my Klaus ancestors in Buffalo. Prior to this, I knew only that they were in Buffalo by September 1897 when my great-grandmother Genevieve (Genowefa in Polish) was born there.3 Before that time, the family was living in St. Louis, Missouri, where their daughters Anna and Pauline were born in 18924 and 1894,5 respectively. So until now, I knew only that they arrived in Buffalo some time after January 1894 and before September 1897. This baptismal record for Bolesław demonstrates that they were already in Buffalo by October 1895. All in all, it was a very successful research trip to Buffalo. It’s such a thrill when all the puzzle pieces fall into place!
Seeing as how I’m stoked about the wonderful discoveries that can be made via genetic genealogy, I’d love to win a copy of Blaine Bettinger’s new book, The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy. Geneabloggers is giving away a free copy, and if you check out this link, you can enter the giveaway, too. Good luck, and happy researching!
1Roman Catholic Church, St. Stanislaus Parish (Buffalo, New York), Marriages, 1874-1917, 1884, #42, record for Jan Grzebiński and Katarzyna Ptaszkiewicz.
2Roman Catholic Church, St. Stanislaus Parish (Buffalo, Erie, New York, USA), Baptisms, 1874-1903, 1895, #757, record for Bolesław Klaus.
3Roman Catholic Church, St. Stanislaus Parish (Buffalo, Erie, New York, USA), Baptisms, 1874-1903, 1897, #620, baptismal record for Genowefa Klaus.
4Roman Catholic Church, St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish (St. Louis, Missouri, USA), “Church records, 1880-1993,” Baptisms, 1880-1923, 1892, #127, record for Anna Klaus.; 1872178.
5Roman Catholic Church, St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish (St. Louis, Missouri, USA), “Church records, 1880-1993,” Baptisms, 1880-1923, 1894, #2, record for Apolonia Klaus.; 1872178
© Julie Roberts Szczepankiewicz 2016