Friday, October 29, 2021

A Month's Goal in One Day


When I planned my research strategy for 2021 at the end of last year, I selected twelve ancestors whom I knew very little about, and determined to pursue signs of their existence, one ancestor per month. With the arrival of October, it became clear that there was one limitation to my plans to turn my attention to my paternal roots in Poland: access to records from the early 1800s.

So much for my hopes to determine the parents of my second great-grandfather, Franz Jankowski. All I was able to glean were the years of his birth (by extrapolation) and death. Granted, I did find the name of yet another daughter for Franz and his wife Franziska—and, to make up for other limitations, I did hoard names for that daughter's children, even though it appears none of them chose to make the trek to America like their cousins.

As for Franz's wife, though, I had the opposite situation. While I found Franz's dates—1829 to 1911—I have located nothing for Franziska. Yet, even though I couldn't find the names of Franz's parents, his wife's parents were possibly within reach—if, that is, someone in the same village of Żerków by the name of Bartholomew Olejniczak was her brother. His was a family which remained in Poland up through his death in 1899, and his parents' names can be gleaned from the town's civil and church records. But were Bartholomew and Franziska connected to the same family line? Besides naming one of his daughters that very same name—Franziska—I can't really tell.

Thus I'm left with a stub of a branch in my family tree. Despite searching for Franziska Olejniczak alongside my October goal of discovering more about her husband Franz Jankowski, I've come up with very little more than I knew before. Only as a matter of faith can I believe that future months may bring more digitized records to help with this search.

In the meantime, next week we'll jump ahead and explore what can be achieved while tackling December's research goal.

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