Genealogical Lost and Found

When researching, I sometimes stumble across records that are out of place or badly indexed. I’m usually struck with a feeling of empathy for some poor researcher out there, looking for a particular historical record and being unable to find it, due to this error.

Lost to Posterity

I’ve been researching my husband’s Lewandowski ancestors lately, and was searching in Ancestry’s database, “New York, U.S., Death Index, 1852-1956,” for a death record for yesterday. Anyone researching this popular Polish surname in U.S. records is probably familiar with the plethora of phonetic variants that were adopted by immigrant Lewandowskis. I’ve found that wildcard searching is an effective strategy for locating all possible variants, such as Levanduski, Levindoski, Lavandeski, Levinduskee, etc. All of these variants follow the pattern, L?v?nd?sk*, where ? replaces one character, and * replaces one or more characters. You can even go one step further, and search for L*nd*sk*, in consideration of the fact that some versions of the surname might have retained the original w instead of the English phonetic equivalent, v. This will return results which include the original spelling, Lewandowski, as well as variants such as Lanvondoski, Lawndowski, Lewandorsky, etc. Due to the popularity of this surname, it should go without saying that you’ll want to confine your search to a particular place and time period, to avoid an overwhelming number of search results.

But what about that first letter, L? Frequently, in old documents, the cursive upper case L was mistaken for an S. If the indexer could not read the handwriting on the original document, then Lewandowski and related phonetic variants could be indexed under Sewandowski. In fact, a search in Ancestry’s Passenger Lists database for the exact surname Sewandowski, produces 86 results. And while this number may not seem huge, it might be significant if your ancestor is among those 86 passengers.

Could Sewandowski be an authentic surname? Not likely. A search of nearly 44 million records in Geneszukacz—the search portal for all the databases of the Polskie Towarzystwo Genealogiczne (Polish Genealogical Society)—produces exactly one result for Sewandowski, which includes Lewandowski as an alternate transcription of the surname, provided by the indexer. If the “Sewandowski” surname does not exist in Polish records, chances are good that all of those 86 passengers should have been indexed as Lewandowski.

This brings me back to my search for a Lewandowski death record. Bearing in mind this L-to-S transcription issue, I repeated my search in the New York Death Index, this time for *nd?sk*. Behold, search results included this one for Fanny Sewandoska, shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: “Fanny Sewandoska” in the New York, U.S., Death Index, 1852-1956 database.

The entry appears with other S entries, so it’s evident that the mistake was made when the original, handwritten index was created from the death certificates. Since Ancestry permits the addition of alternate information to database entries, I added “Levandoska” as an alternate surname for Fanny. I’m not even going to hazard a guess as to the original Polish given name for “Fanny.” However, the fact that her surname was recorded in its feminine form, Levandoska, rather than Levandoski, suggests that she was probably an immigrant from Poland, since feminine surname endings were typically abandoned within a generation or two after immigration.

Found Treasures

Conversely, we sometimes encounter “bonus records,” tucked into record books for one reason or another, that become found treasures. Back in 2014, while perusing microfilmed records from Transfiguration parish in Buffalo, New York, I stumbled across this baptismal certificate, shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Certificate of Baptism for Stella Kapela, baptized at St. Stephen’s parish in Middleport, New York, tucked into the marriage register from Transfiguration parish in Buffalo. Image from FamilySearch.

The certificate was included as proof of baptism for a bride, Stella Kapela, who was married at Transfiguration church in 1911. The date on the certificate, 1943, was curious, since it was so much later than the records in the place where this certificate was tucked into the book. Perhaps Stella remarried in the parish in 1943? Her name, and her parents’ names, Jacob Kapela and Frances Kraczyk, meant nothing to me, but I did a double-take when I noticed that her godparents were Edward Levenduski and Veronica Lepkoski. Edward was my husband’s great-great-grandfather, and Veronica was the sister of Edward’s wife, Mary (Woźniak) Levanduski. St. Stephen’s church in Middleport is the parish in which my mother-in-law’s paternal grandparents married, and it’s a good 40 miles from Transfiguration. Seriously, what were the chances that I’d be reading through the baptisms in one parish, for an unrelated family, and find names I recognized from a parish 40 miles away?!

Although my first thought was that Stella must be a relative, a little digging suggested that she is not. Rather, I think it’s likely that her family was connected to my husband’s family simply because they were all Poles from the Prussian partition, and specifically from the Posen province. Maybe if I dig back a few more generations, something more concrete will emerge, but for now, I think it’s time to lay this aside and move onto other things.

That’s enough rabbit holes for one night!

©Julie Roberts Szczepankiewicz 2022

If At First You Don’t Succeed…

Let’s take a quick detour from Drajem research today to talk about Lewandowskis.

Stanisław “Edward” Lewandowski/Levanduski and Marianna/Mary Woźniak/Wisnock were some of my husband’s great-great-grandparents. I wrote a little about them previously, and I recently obtained their marriage record, for which a transcription and translation were kindly provided by Marcel Elias. The record is shown in Figures 1a and 1b.1

Figure 1a: First page of the marriage record from the civil registry office in Rogowo for Stanislaus Lewandowski and Marianna Woźniak, 9 September 1882. Click to view larger image.
Figure 1b: Second page of the marriage record from the civil registry office in Rogowo for Stanislaus Lewandowski and Marianna Woźniak, 9 September 1882. Click to view larger image.

Marcel’s transcription is as follows:

“Nr. 38

Rogowo am neunten September tausend acht hundert achzig und zwei

Vor dem unterzeichneten Standesbeamten erschienen heute zum Zweck der Eheschließung:

1. der Knecht Stanislaus Lewandowski, der persönlichkeit nach bekannt, katholischer Religion, geboren den neun und zwanzigsten October des Jahres tausend acht hundert neun und fünfzig zu Szetejewo/Szelejewo, wohnhaft zu Wola rzewajewska (???), Sohn des in Szelejewo verstorbenen Knecht Michael Lewandowski und dessen Ehefrau Elisabeth, welche in Putfelde (???) verstorben wohnhaft zu ……

2. die unverehelichte Knechtstochter Marianna Wozniak der Persönlichkeit nach bekannt, katholischer Religion, geboren den sechs und zwanzigsten Juni des Jahres tausend acht hundert drei und sechszig zu Brudzyn, wohnhaft zu Wola rzewaj. Tochter der Knecht Jacob und Marianna geborene Sobczak, Wozniak’schen Eheleute wohnhaft zu Wola rzewujewska.

Als Zeugen waren zugezogen und erschienen:

3. d Gastwirth Joseph Statkiewicz, der Persönlichkeit nach bekannt, zwei und dreißig Jahre alt, wohnhaft zu Rogowo

4. der Knecht Michael Rajkowski, der Persönlichkeit nach durch den Stadtdiener Franz Lukowski von hier anerkannt, fünf und vierzig Jahre alt, wohnhaft zu Johannisgrün

In Gegenwart der Zeugen richtete der Standesbeamte an die Verlobvten einzeln und nach einander die Frage:

ob sie erklären, daß sie die Ehe mit einander eingehen wollen. Die Verlobten beaantworteten diese Frage bejahend und erfolgte hierauf der Ausspruch des Standesbeamten, daß er sie nunmehr kraft des Gesetzes für rechtmäßig verbundene Eheleute erkläre.

Vorgelesen, genehmigt und Schreibensunkunde von Stanislaus Lewandowski und Michael Rajkowski mit ihrem handzeichen versehen, von den anderen Erschienenen unterschrieben

Der Standesbeamte.

König”

Marcel also provided the following translation:

“No. 38

Rogowo on the ninth September thousand eight hundred eighty and two

Today appeared in front of the undersigned registrar for the purpose of marriage:

1. the servant Stanislaus Lewandowski, of known identity, Catholic religion, born the twenty-ninth day of October of the year one thousand eight hundred and fifty nine in Szelejewo, living in Wola rzewajewska (???), son of the servant who died in Szelejewo, Michael Lewandowski, and his wife Elisabeth, who died in Putfelde (???)

2. the unmarried servant’s daughter Marianna Wozniak, whose identity is known, of Catholic religion, born on the twentieth day of June in the year one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three in Brudzyń, residing in Wola rzewaj. Daughter of the farmhand Jacob and Marianna née Sobczak, Wozniak’ married couple living in Wola rzewujewska.

The following witnesses appeared:

3. Inn-keeper Joseph Statkiewicz, whose personality is known, thirty-two years old, living in Rogowo 4. the servant Michael Rajkowski, whose personality was recognized by the town clerk Franz Lukowski from here, forty-five years old, living in Johannisgrün.

In the presence of the witnesses, the registrar put the question to the engaged couple one by one: whether they declare that they want to marry each other. The engaged couple answered this question in the affirmative and the registrar then declared them legally married couples by virtue of the law.

Read aloud, approved and provided with signature signs by Stanislaus Lewandowski and Michael Rajkowski, signed by the others who appeared. [signed] XXX [Stanislaus Lewandowski’s mark], Maryjanna Lewandowska, J. Statkiewicz, XXX [Michael Rajkowski’s mark].

The registrar

König”

This record is packed with wonderful genealogical information, including Stanisław’s date of birth (29 October 1859) and place of birth (Szelejewo), the names of his parents (Michael and Elisabeth) and their places of death (Szelejewo and “Putfelde”). Similarly, the record informs us that Marianna was born 20 June 1863 in Brudzyń to Jacob Woźniak and Marianna Sobczak, who were still living at the time of the marriage in “Wola rzewajewska,” or “rzewujewska.” Marcel’s notes made it clear that the handwriting was a bit difficult to make out on some of these place names, but he was confident that I could figure it out.

Figuring it out was, indeed, straightforward in most cases. There are a number of good gazetteers for this area which are useful in identifying locations and determining administrative assignments, including the county in which the village was located, the local parish and registry office, etc., and I’ve discussed some of them previously. A quick check in Kartenmeister, for example, identified Szelejewo as a village in Znin County, Posen province, belonging to the Catholic parish in Gonsawa (German)/Gąsawa (Polish). The civil registry office was also located in Gąsawa; however, civil vital registration did not begin in Prussia until 1874, so the only record of Stanisław’s birth would be the church record. Kartenmeister made short work of identifying Brudzyń and Johannisgrün as well, revealing the former as a village belonging to the Catholic parish in Janowiec Wielkopolski, and the latter as the village known as Łaziska in Polish, located just to the northeast of Rogowo. There were no matches in Kartenmeister for “Putfelde,” but reading that first letter as a “G” turned it into “Gutfelde,” which suggests the present-day village of Złotniki, about 6 km from Rogowo.

However, “Wola Rzewajewska” had me stumped. There were no good matches in Kartenmeister for a village with this name. If at first you don’t succeed…try another gazetteer. I checked the Meyers Gazetteer; still no luck. I tried reversing the names, as I’ve noticed that sometimes the word order is inverted in place names mentioned in old documents relative to modern conventions, so “Wola Rzewajewska” might be called “Rzewajewska Wola” today. Nope.

By this point, it seemed clear that the place name was misspelled, so I decided to check the JewishGen Gazetteer, and even played around with some of the different phonetic search algorithms offered at that site. Nada. Well, perhaps the actual village name was sufficiently different, phonetically, that the search engines were missing it? The search algorithms should pick up an equivalent phonetic version, such as Żewajewska, since “ż” is phonetically equivalent in Polish to “rz.” But would they pick up something like Przewajewska? Still no luck.

At that point, I decided to put myself in the shoes of the registrar, and think about this in context. “Wola” is such a popular place name that an advanced search of Mapa.Szukacz brings up 31 places that are within the present-day Kujawsko-Pomorskie province alone. The Słownik Geograficzny Królestwa Polskiego i innych krajów słowiańskich, which is a mammoth gazetteer of places located within the former Kingdom of Poland and other Slavic countries, devotes 46 pages to descriptions of all the various places called Wola. It’s the kind of place name that strikes fear into the hearts of even seasoned researchers, right up there with Nowa Wieś (which means “New Village”). However, the registrar did not go to great lengths to specify a county or parish, much less a different partition of Poland, so the place in question must be sufficiently close to Rogowo that further clarification seemed unnecessary. I mapped out the places mentioned in this document (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Map of Rogowo and surrounding villages mentioned in the marriage record of Stanisław Lewandowski and Marianna Woźniak. Google Maps. Click image for interactive map.

That’s when it hit me. If you look carefully at that map, almost due north of Rogowo is the village of Czewujewo. And if you zoom in on the map, you see a village called Wola that’s just to the northwest (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Closeup of map from Figure 2, showing Złotniki in the lower right corner for reference, with village of Czewujewo to the north and Wola, marked with a star, to the northwest.

Looking at the marriage record more closely, it’s clear that the place name was intended to be “Wola Czewujewska.” In order to clearly identify the Wola in question, the registrar tacked on the name of a nearby town in adjectival form, to indicate, “the Wola that’s near Czewujewo.”

Having been thus identified, I was able to locate a description of the village in the Słownik Geograficzny which actually included the adjective “Czewujewska” as part of the name, as well as the Meyers Gazetteer, which only referred to it as “Wola.” Both gazetteers agreed that the village belonged to the Catholic parish in Izdebno (Ottensund, in German), and to the registry office in Rogowo, of course, since that was where the marriage record was found in the first place.

In hindsight, I probably would have found the right village had I explored the map first, rather than jumping right to the gazetteers, but I guess I’m a creature of habit, and I’m very fond of gazetteers. In any case, as with most problems in genealogy, persistence won the day. Onward and upward!

© Julie Roberts Szczepankiewicz 2022

Sources:

1“Urząd Stanu Cywilnego Rogowo-Wieś, 1874-1913,” (Rogowo, Żnin, Kujawsko-Pomorskie, Poland), Akta małżeństw, 1882, no. 38, Stanislaus Lewandowski and Marianna Wozniak, 9 September 1882; digital image, Genealogiawarchiwach (https://www.genealogiawarchiwach.pl/ : 02 February 2022), images 39 and 40 of 68, citing Archiwum Państwowe w Bydgoszczy Oddział w Inowrocławiu, Sygnatura 7/540/0/2.2/26.

Productive Insomnia

We genealogists often have a sense that our ancestors want to be found.  It sounds a little crazy or superstitious, but I think there might be something to it.  Judy Russell wrote about this serendipity in genealogy recently, and her post got me thinking of instances when I’ve had similar experiences.  My favorite example occurred when I awakened suddenly one night with one thought:  “Take another look at that passenger manifest for the Lewandowski family.”

The Lewandowskis (or Levanduskis, or Levindoskis….) of Orleans County

Katherine Lewandowski (or Levanduski, as the family came to spell it in the U.S.) was my husband Bruce’s great-grandmother.  She emigrated from Poland with her parents when she was about three years old, and the family settled in the village of Shelby in Orleans County, New York.  Now the funny thing was, I wasn’t actively researching this family when I woke up with this sudden insight.  I could almost understand it, if I’d been researching them before I went to bed, and my subconsious brain came up with this great idea while I slept.  But in this case, my subconscious brain must have been working overtime, because I hadn’t given any thought to the Levanduskis in about a year.  But this thought just wouldn’t fade away.  After tossing and turning for another half hour, I finally gave up and went downstairs to rev up my laptop and pull up the image of the passenger manifest.

I should backtrack for a moment here to explain that finding this particular manifest was something of an accomplishment for me.  I discovered Katherine’s parents’ names from the record of her marriage to Joseph Bartoszewicz in 1907 (Figure 1):

Figure 1:  Marriage record for Joseph F. Bartoszewicz and Katherine Levinduski, 1907.Katherine Levanduski and Joseph Bartoszewicz 1907

The marriage record stated that Katherine’s parents were Edward Levinduski and Mary Wozniak, and this information facilitated the identification of the family in census records for Orleans County.  Mary was only seen in one census record, that for New York State in 1892 (Figure 2), as she passed away in 1896 (1).

Figure 2:  Extract from the 1892 New York State Census for Shelby, Orleans County, New York, showing the family of Edward Levanduski.

Edward Lewandowski fam 1892 NY State Census crop

The family’s names are a bit mangled here — Edward is recorded as “Adcker,” his son Peter has become Patrick, and the surname looks more like “Lewenoboski,” than “Lewandowski.”  But the ages, birthplaces, and location match up very well with family recollections and other documentation.

By 1900, we see Edward “Lavindusky” married to his second wife, Anna (Figure 3).  His son, Joe, and daughter Anna from his first marriage are still living at home, but the other children (Katherine, John and Peter) are apparently living independently. He also has three children with his second wife: Tony  and “Wallace,” (probably known to his parents by the Polish name Władysław, he becomes Walter in later records), shown on this page, and Martha, who appears at the top of the next page.

Figure 3:  Extract from the 1900 U.S. Federal Census for Shelby, Orleans County, showing the family of Edward Levanduski.

1900 census for Edward Lavenduski family

This census tells us (among other things) that Edward was born in “Poland (Ger)” — in other words, he was an ethnic Pole from the Prussian Partition who immigrated in 1886 and was already naturalized by 1900.

Finding their *&%# Passenger Manifest

My next step was to look for his passenger manifest.  Frustratingly, I wasn’t finding it, no matter how I tweaked the search parameters.  I assumed I was looking for a family group, although I realized that it was also possible that Edward came first and sent for his wife and children later on.  But I thought I had enough information to go on that this should have been straightforward:  immigration year about 1886, father Edward Lewandowski, born about 1858; mother Mary (probably Marianna, in Polish), born about 1856; children Katherine (in Polish, Katarzyna), born about 1883, and John (Jan in Polish, Johann in German), born about 1885, all coming from Prussia.  But I just couldn’t find them.

Sometimes, when faced with this problem, it helps to obtain a copy of the individual’s naturalization records.  For naturalizations that took place after 1906, the Petition for Naturalization will often tell the name of the ship, the port of entry, and the specific date of arrival of an immigrant, as seen in this petition for Katherine Levanduski’s husband, Joseph Bartoszewicz (Figure 4).

Figure 4:  Extract of Petition for Naturalization for Joseph Bartoszewicz, showing arrival at the port of Philadelphia, PA on the 12th day of October, 1890, on the vessel Pennsylvania.

Joseph Bartoszewicz Petition for Naturalization crop.png

However, prior to 1906, naturalization records were less standardized, and these tend to state only the country from which the immigrant renounced citizenship, rather than providing any specifics about how or when he arrived in the U.S.  The fact that Edward Levanduski was already a naturalized citizen by 1900 meant that his naturalization records might be nice to have, for the sake of completeness, but they weren’t likely to give me any significant hints.

A Critical Clue

My breakthrough came one day when a distant cousin of my husband’s found me through a Rootsweb message board, and sent me the following message:  “I came across an old web site where you were researching Edward. An uncle recently gave me some of our history and we are maybe looking for the same Great-grandfather. If this email is still active get back to me.”  (This is Reason #503 why it pays to post online about the ancestors and geographic areas you’re researching.)  When I contacted him, he wrote that his Uncle Walter Lewandowski told him that Edward Levanduski’s name was originally Stanisław!  You could have knocked me over with a feather.  Stanisław?!  It’s not uncommon for Polish immigrants with traditional Slavic names like Stanisław to choose to Anglicize them in their attempts to assimilate into American culture.  But most men named Stanisław choose a name that’s got some phonetic similarity, like Stanley, rather than something completely different, like Edward.

Armed with this information, it was easy.  I found their Hamburg Emigration manifest, shown below (Figure 5).   The departure date was 10 April 1886, the father was Stanislaus Lewandowsky, age 27, from “Wolla,” Prussia, with his wife, Maria, age 23, and children Kateryna, 3, and Jan, 1.  Bingo!  A perfect match!  I was so excited to try to figure out where “Wolla” might be that I paid no attention to the names below theirs on the manifest.

Figure 5:  Extract from Hamburg Emigration manifest for Stanislaus Lewandowsky and family.

Lewandowski family passenger manifest

Or at least, not consciously.

“I see dead people….”

But my subconscious brain had my back, or maybe the spirit of Weronika Wozniak was talking to me in my sleep, just like in the movie, The Sixth Sense. But whatever it was, something woke me up on the night of November 17, 2o13, and I just had to check that manifest again.  And when I did, I noticed the two passengers mentioned after my Lewandowski family:  Weronika Wozniak and Michał Lewandowski.  If you remember from that marriage record in Figure 1, Stanisław “Edward” Lewandowski’s wife, Maria, had the maiden name of Woźniak.

By this point I was wide awake, so I spent the next few hours running through records online to see where this discovery might lead me.  I had to wade through a bit of a mess with the various surname and given name changes that were typical in the Polish community in Orleans County, but by 5:30 am, when Bruce came downstairs, shaking his head, I had new information on his family to report.  My preliminary evidence, which I shored up later with additional documentation, indicated that Weronika Woźniak settled near Edward and Mary Levanduski in Shelby, New York, became Veronica “Lena” Wisnock, and married Stanisław “Edward” Lepkoske/Lepkowski.  My guess — and I still don’t know the answer to this definitively — is that Veronica will end up being a younger sibling to Maria Woźniak Levanduska.  I’m sure the answers lie in the vital records in Poland, as the U.S. records seem to be inconclusive on this question, but suggesting a common father, at least. Interestingly, this Stanisław also adopted Edward as his name in the U.S.  Two Stanisław-to-Edward transitions in the same tiny town makes me wonder if someone (parish priest, maybe?) was really pushing the idea that men named Stanisław should prefer Edward over the more-common Stanley when choosing a name to go by.

A Lightbulb Moment

Edward and Lena Lepkoske had eight children, including a son, Joseph, who married Margaret Wisnock (probably a distant cousin on his mother’s side).  Suddenly, the 1920 Census for my husband’s grandfather’s family made so much more sense (Figure 6).  In 1920, Bruce’s grandfather, Henry, was a baby living at what his family considers to be the Bartoszewicz family home at 929 Smith Street in Buffalo.  But in 1920, the Bartoszewicz family weren’t the only ones living there — it was also the home of Anthony and Frances Lewandowski and Joseph and Margaret Lipkowski.

Figure 6:  Extract of 1920 U.S. Federal Census for the families of Anthony Lewandowski, Joseph Lipkowski and Joseph Bartoszewicz.  1920 United States Federal Census10 crop

When I first located this census record, Anthony Lewandowski’s presence there seemed natural.  He was the oldest son of Edward Levanduski and his second wife, Anna Budzynska, and so half-brother to Katherine Levanduska Bartoszewicz.  The house at 929 Smith Street was a multi-family home, so at that time, I didn’t think about the presence of the Lipkowskis too much, figuring they were just friends of the family, distant cousins, or maybe just unrelated boarders.  But if I’m correct with my hypothesis that Marianna and Weronika Wozniak were sisters, then this would make Joseph Lepkoske first cousin to Katherine Levanduska Bartoszewicz.

It’s interesting to note that the census taker in Buffalo automatically wrote these names with their correct Polish spellings (Lewandowski, Lipkowski) rather than with the phonetic versions (Levanduski, Lepkoske) the family used in rural Orleans County.  Census records for Orleans County also show some Lewandowski families who persisted with the correct, original spelling, and of course, there are many Lewandowski families in Buffalo, as well, so it remains to be determined exactly which families are related, and how.  There seemed to be a lot of back-and-forth movement between Buffalo and Orleans County for members of these families, and tracking the movement of the family members geographically, given the diverse spellings of the surname, can be challenging.  “Lewandowski” is among the most popular Polish surnames, so caution must be taken in researching, because there are probably quite a few Lewandowskis who were living in Buffalo in the early 1900s who were unrelated to these Lewandowski/Levanduskis.

All in the Family

One final point of interest here:  This census shows Anthony’s wife, Frances, under her married name of Levanduski.  But it’s interesting to note that her maiden name was Lepkoske — and she was none other than the daughter of Edward and Lena Lepkoske and sister of Joseph Lepkoske!  To sum up, Joseph and Frances Lepkoske were full siblings.  Joseph married Margaret Wisnock/Wozniak, who is probably his distant cousin.  Frances married Anthony Levanduski, who is the half-brother to Katherine Levanduska, whose mother was a Wisnock/Wozniak.  And Joseph and Frances Lepkoske are probably first cousins to Katherine Levanduska Bartoszewicz, assuming that Weronika Wozniak and Mary Wozniak are sisters.  Whew!

For now, this research is on the back burner for me, due to time constraints. But my work is certainly cut out for me when I’m ready to return, as there are a lot of unanswered questions.  Here are the final take-home messages with which I’d like to conclude:

1.  Be sure to utilize ALL the information available from a given source.

Don’t do what I did and focus on one piece of information (the Lewandowskis’ place of origin, “Wolla,” — which, by the way, I was eventually able to locate) to such an extent that you ignore other valuable clues contained in the source.

2.  Pay attention to your ancestors’ FANS (Friends, Associates and Neighbors).

The FAN principle was elucidated by Elizabeth Shown Mills as a strategy for learning more about our ancestors through careful analysis of indirect evidence.  In hindsight, I might have suspected a connection between the Lepkoske and Levanduski families even without that passenger manifest, because census records often show their families living in close proximity or listed sequentially.  This approach can be especially helpful when researching ancestors with common surnames.

3.  Follow your hunches.

Whether you believe it to be serendipity, wild coincidence, luck, the promptings of your subconscious mind, or nudges from Great-Grandma up in heaven, every genealogist seems to have these stories.  Go with it, and see what turns up.

Sources:

  1.  Shelby, Orleans, New York, “Death Records”, 1896, April 10, record for Mary Levenduski.

 

© Julie Roberts Szczepankiewicz 2016