Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Two Nephews


Sometimes, genealogy research starts taking on the aura of math. Take the transitive property of equality. You know that: if A = B and B = C, then A = C. If I tamper with that equation just a little bit—to say, for instance, if A is related to B and B is related to C, then would it be possible to say A is related to C?

In some cases, yes. Let's try that with our controversial Polish-American priest, Father Ignacy Benevenuto Gramlewicz, and his two known surviving nephews, Edward and Stanislaus. Wouldn't the relationship similarity between Father Gramlewicz and his two nephews lead us closer to information on how they connected to the Gramlewicz family back home in Zerkow, Poland?

Here's what we were provided in that same memorial article published in The Wilkes-Barre Record shortly after Father Gramlewicz's passing in 1910.

The one nephew mentioned, Edward Gramlewicz, was himself a priest back in Poland. But the second nephew, Stanislaus, may provide us with additional research assistance, simply because his was a different surname. That, of course, means rather than running the risk that we find the wrong Gramlewicz man with a coincidentally similar given name, we must jump through two steps before assuring ourselves we have found the right nephew. Stanislaus Weinert, if a true nephew, would need, among other confirmations, to have a mother with a maiden name of Gramlewicz.

There is one more technicality in our genealogical equation which needs to be satisfied. We've already learned that Father Benevenuto Gramlewicz was son of a man by the name of Blasius. Thus, the father of nephew Edward would, by necessity, need to be a son of Blasius, as well. And the mother of Stanislaus would need to be a daughter of Blasius, as well.

Now, to see what documentation can be found online—since this is not the season for jumping a red-eye to Poland, ourselves—we'll turn to the Polish website BaSIA. However, we've already noted that the transcriptions uploaded to that website have a record gap between 1829 and 1873—prime years for Blasius and his wife to be baptising their children.

However, remember inferences. After trawling through all the search results at BaSIA for the surname Gramlewicz, limited to the ten-kilometer region surrounding Żerków, we come up with a starting point: the death record for Blasius, himself.

This transcription of the 1877 event provides us with some useful information. First, the record confirms the maiden name of Blasius' wife, Marianna: Pawełkiewicz. Knowing the down side both of relying on transcriptions and trusting newspaper editorial staff, it is good to see that that surname agrees with Father Gramlewicz's death certificate in Pennsylvania.

Then, the transcribed 1877 death certificate for the elder Gramlewicz provides us with his age—indicating a birth year around 1812, again out of reach of the date range for the BaSIA transcriptions from Żerków—and a listing of his own parents. So far, I've been able to catalog the relationships within two sets of Gramlewicz extended family—one set belonging to my great-grandmother's line descending from Andrzej Gramlewicz, and the other, from this same Michał, father of Blasius.

That, however, only provides us with a connection to Father Gramlewicz's parents. What about those nephews? 

Going back to the BaSIA website and searching for any records specific to Blasius Gramlewicz in Żerków, my best hope would be to find a death record—or perhaps even a marriage record—for any child of Blasius, as the search function locates names included in any portion of the record.

Fortunately, there were some hits to that search. For one, there was a son named Peter, who died in 1904 at the age of fifty two. Bonus fact: his wife's name was given as Antonina Nawrocka. But we also get an extra boost on the record search, as the BaSIA website defaults to "similarity" at sixty percent, thus yielding us a marriage record in 1878 for one Peter "Grannlewicz" and the very same Antonina as his bride.

Now, let's go back through the website once again and search for any birth records for children of Peter and Antonina. Since the record gap stretched only through 1873, this put us safely beyond that research hazard. 

Sure enough, there was a record for a son named "Eduard" born to this couple in 1878, who could very likely be the same one listed years later in Father Benevenuto Gramlewicz's memorial as a nephew—although, to be sure, we'll need to complete a few more research steps.

For now, though, let's check for that other possible nephew of Father Gramlewicz, the one named Stanislaus Weinert. Returning to the search terms we had used to find Edward, we again look for death records of any child of Blasius and Marianna. There, we find a daughter named Julianna, who died in 1896.

Her entry first listed her married name, Julianna Weinert, followed by the letters, "z d." which means, "z domo"—or what we'd perhaps list as "née." In other words, Julianna Weinert was born a Gramlewicz, daughter of Blasius and Marianna, the very couple we're seeking. In addition, we discover her husband's given name was Onufry.

Now, we're off again to seek any birth records for our newly-discovered couple, Julianna and Onufry, to see whether they had a son named Stanislaus. This turns out to be a less cooperative search term, as the surname Weinert encountered a few spelling permutations—even Winert and Wejnert. Though other children of Julianna and Onufry could be located—and several instances where a Stanislaus Weinert acted as witness to others' certificates in Żerków—there was no sign of a birth, marriage or death record for this Stanislaus.

This is a research task to follow up on further. Still, we see signs of how to connect this Stanislaus to the extended Gramlewicz family constellation, thanks to the mention in the newspaper article for his uncle, the priest in Pennsylvania.

There are two others who can help us pinpoint this Gramlewicz family from Żerków, though. The Wilkes-Barre Record also mentioned two nieces. We'll see if we can discover just how they are connected to the Gramlewicz family, tomorrow.

Top image above, from the memorial article, "Death of a Priest" published on page thirteen of the June 6, 1910, Wilkes-Barre Record, courtesy of; all other images from search results at BaSIA, the Database of Archival Indexing System.


  1. Well done, sleuther! I may have missed it somewhere - what are the green superscript lines on the images?

    1. Great question, Randy--and no, you hadn't missed it.

      Search results from the transcribed records at BaSIA mark the surname sought with that green superscript bar you spotted, making it easy to scroll through the results to pinpoint the specific surname. Search results provide any mention of the requested surname (or full name, if requested), so in my quest for Weinert, for instance, search results could include mentions as witness to documents as well as subject of documents, or relatives of subject (for instance, the mother of the bride).

      Some of the lists are fairly long--for instance, the summary lists of all birth records compiled for a given year--so the green bars are a helpful visual. The two images I shared are excerpts from a fairly long list of all results served up for my search terms. Of course, I could have narrowed the parameters, but given the necessity of a fairly broad range, date-wise and spelling-wise, I chose not to be so specific in my search terms. I needed to be nosy and explore.


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