Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Just Passing Through?


Today is one of those days when looking—and then looking again—produced nothing of note. Now that I've found a possible birth entry for Uncle John's mother-in-law Aniela Zielinski near the Polish hometown she revealed in the 1940 census, I can't find anything further on her parents. It is almost as if they had stopped in Radzanowo to have their baby, then picked up as if they were just passing through.

You know I'd be game to search further for this Aniela's possible siblings—if, indeed, her parents were Josef Zielinski and Anna Kwiatkowska, as the transcription at Geneteka seemed to indicate. After all, finding such a cache of information only required that I repeat the search steps using the two surnames of her parents to find any likely siblings. From that point, I could fast forward a couple decades to explore census records in Jersey City where Aniela had settled after immigrating to the United States.

Search results: nothing.

Just in case this Aniela Zielinska was not our baby, I double checked this mysterious absence of any siblings by looking in the readout for deaths, both hers or possible siblings. Nothing.

Um...how about marriages for any couples named Zielinski and Kwiatkowska? Nothing related to her supposed parents, Josef and Anna.

On and on it went, conjuring up any possible searches which might reveal anything about the extended family. Any clues. Anything.

At the close of the session, besides becoming frustrated, I gained nothing...except a list of where I already had looked and what I had tried to find. That, I suppose, is valuable, if only to prevent me from repeating those searches again in the future. Or maybe trying again might work to my benefit on another day.

At least for today, I can say I may have broken out of the research rut where I had been stuck. I do have a possible family grouping for Aniela. Why the family disappeared, I can't say. I can guess that maybe the family moved somewhere else in Poland, or possibly all moved to America, or maybe all died except orphaned Aniela. There are so many possibilities, it is hard to say at this point.

However, there is one more research question I need to attempt: the question of where Aniela's husband was born. Aniela married a man whose given name has been listed alternately as Felix or Anton. The fact that his surname was unusual—Aktabowski—was counterbalanced by the difficulty of rendering that name in writing. Sometimes, the "w" was there, sometimes not. The first syllable was sometimes spelled "Ak" and sometimes "Ach." Lots of variables to play with mean that finding his roots will present another challenge—one I hope to work on in our last remaining week of this month's research project.

Before we grapple with that puzzle, though, there was one other detail about Aniela herself that I need to confirm: the possibility of a second marriage. We'll take a look at what I've found—and what's still missing—tomorrow, before heading into the Thanksgiving holiday. 

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