Monday, November 30, 2020

Ahead in December:
A Research Capstone


It certainly has been helpful, taking the last month of a year and outlining research goals for the upcoming year. December: that's when I take stock of my research progress for the past year and decide where the "pain points" are which need attention in the next year's work. From that, I formulate the upcoming year's "Twelve Most Wanted."

Now that I've wrapped up as much as could be found on November's challenge, locating the parents for my paternal grandfather—and then being able to press onward for another generation—I've familiarized myself with one Polish genealogy website, including tactics for dealing with terms not translated on site into English.

That, as it turns out, may be a good thing, as my task for December—in addition to taking a look backwards to review what I've learned from this year's research experiences and formulating my plan for next year's Twelve Most Wanted—is to find any more details on yet another Polish ancestral family.

This week, we'll be looking at the Gramlewicz family from the small town of Żerków in the former Prussian province of Posen. Just being able to pinpoint the origin of this immigrant family may have been challenging, because the borders and political affiliations kept changing over the years. Just this fact itself may reveal a potential motivation for the family's decision to leave home for New York, but it certainly does not help me see what made one branch of the family decide to return to Poland, which they did after the first World War. It is only because of this very change in that family's history that I still have a cousin in Poland—one who has been as keen to learn her family's history as I have been.

With increased confidence over handling data from websites in languages other than my native English, this month I want to revisit my Gramlewicz research—and a totally different set of Polish websites for a different region—and see whether I can glean a fuller picture of the entire family constellation, perhaps enough to push back another generation. Though those Polish websites don't necessarily provide, in one document, clear affirmations of relationships among collateral lines, by gleaning all the baptismal and marriage details for that surname in that specific village, I may be able to propose a possible family tree, one generation beyond where I am currently stuck. 

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