Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Remembering Auld Acquaintance


While we are well into the new year—at least, past most of the celebration—I can't leave the season without remembering one sentiment oft repeated in song by people who probably don't even recognize the phrase's meaning. As I've been working my way through DNA matches lately, one connection got me to thinking about those old acquaintances—in particular, older family members I'll no longer see, who were the connecting link to other members of the extended family.

Some people jokingly call these folks "outlaws" as a abbreviated way to say relative-of-a-relative. The South apparently uses the shorthand, "kin." I'd like to borrow from this new year sentiment for my next-to-last Twelve Most Wanted target for 2022, in naming one entire family line as my focus to research next November.

The family in question is the Gramlewicz line from Żerków, Poland. True, Gramlewicz is the maiden name of my second great grandmother, wife of Mateusz Laskowski of the line I discussed yesterday. I worked on that line as one of my goals in a previous year, with disappointing results, and would like to revisit the effort again this year.

What I learned from the last time was that there actually were two different Gramlewicz lines in that tiny town for the limited time period in which I could find online records. Maybe those two lines connect further back in time. Maybe they don't. But I did see that the other line has a descendant who, as a fresh immigrant in New York City, stayed with my great-grandfather, Anton Laskowski, upon her arrival in the new country—and called him "uncle" in the first American census after her arrival.

Turns out she wasn't quite the niece that label led me to believe. Perhaps she was using the label much like our parents taught us to call their close friends—not really a relative at all, but at least a respectful way to address one's elders.

I'd like to see if I can find more on this family—and not just for this one "auld" acquaintance; there's another. That "niece" had a younger brother whose granddaughter reached out to me via email years ago. We spent some time evaluating our respective family trees, but didn't quite find the correct connection. In remembering this other "auld" acquaintance, I'd like to tackle this Gramlewicz mystery once again in the coming year. 

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