Tuesday, October 22, 2019

A Tentative Conclusion

The saying that our tree is never done may apply in more ways than one. Those who gloat, "My tree's finished" may not realize there is always—always—more to push back in those generations. But what I'm also seeing is that the research conclusions we come to may not be done deals, either.

Take my struggle to pin my paternal grandfather into the trees of my six—no, now seven—DNA matches which obviously link to his side of the family. But where? I have no information from this tight-lipped ancestor about his origins. All I knew—and that, thanks only to relatives who still remember these vague stories from their childhood—was that this grandfather was somehow connected to a woman the family called Aunt Rose. And that Aunt Rose once had a mother, a widow whose name was Anna Krauss.

The only other blessed clue I could unearth from New York City documents was a one-time mistake by a 1920 census enumerator, who entered for Rose's place of birth the term "Schwartzwald." After the gift of those DNA matches, I finally realized where this Schwarzwald really was: a village in Poland now called Czarnylas.

With that comes a very long line of ifs. If Aunt Rose was really my father's aunt and not just a family friend, and if her place of birth really was Schwarzwald, and if the entry on my grandfather's death certificate was correct in stating his mother's maiden name was Zegar, and if he was continuing his mission to keep his roots hidden by claiming that maiden name was Zegar and not Zegarska, and if all those DNA matches to both myself and my brother (who is actually my half-brother on my father's side) are not, somehow, false positives or related to us in another way we've yet to discover—if all this, then perhaps I can assume my grandfather's mother was really that Anastasia Zegarska from Czarnylas, Poland.


Let's take a look at how all this information stacks up. If we assume that Anna Zegar of New York City was really Anastasia Zegarska of Czarnylas who married Tomasz Puchała, her son would be Theodor and her daughter Rosalia.

Anastasia, in turn, would be daughter of Jan Zegarski and Marianna Woitaś, who among other children, had an older daughter named Pauline. This is the woman who married Andrew Czechowski and had the two daughters—Walerya and Weronika—who married Michalski men and moved to Milwaukee.

From Walerya's line come two DNA matches: a third cousin once removed who was descended from her son Francis Michalski, and a third cousin twice removed who was descended from her daughter Mary Martha Michalski Maciolek.

From Weronika's line come three DNA matches. One is from her daughter Anna and her husband Anton Ullenberg, producing a third cousin once removed. The second is from Weronika's son John, and is also a third cousins once removed. The final match from this line descends as a third cousin twice removed from Weronika's daughter Marianna, who married Anton Yeash.

There are two other DNA matches connected to this line. And difficulty reconciling records. These two matches happen to connect to a Marianna Zegarska who married someone named Johann or Jan Krzewinski. There are two problems with this information. First, as small as the village of Czarnylas was, it apparently contained two women named Marianna Zegarska; the transcribed records at the Pomeranian Genealogical Association website do not indicate names of a bride's parents, so I can't determine which Marianna is my relationship. Then, if we look further at the children baptised in this town with the father's surname of Krzewinski, none of them show Marianna Zegarska as their mother.

Of course, this couple could have left for America, shortly after their 1879 wedding—and I can find a John and Mary Krzewinski in, of all places, Milwaukee...but the dates of birth don't align nicely with either Marianna's date of baptism, or the Polish marriage record.

Bottom line: while DNA tests tell us that someone on my paternal side connects with a Krzewinski for two of those matches, I can't yet be sure what the exact connection is.


  1. Replies
    1. Don't worry...it's nothing a quick sketch on the back of a napkin wouldn't clear up...

      ...I have the napkin, if you'd like to take a look ;)


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