Discovering our Ancestors' Travels and Travails

As I learn more about our ancestors, I am amazed and inspired by their resilience. I knew that my great-grandmother, Weronika Lewandowska Maciejewska, went on to raise their six children–Antoni, Konstanty, Wiktorya, Marya, Anna, and Ludwik–in Buffalo, New York, after the death of her husband Jan Maciejewski in 1896. My father, born in 1928, remembered her before her death in 1943 at age 95. He told me that his grandmother was a very kind woman. I previously chronicled some of the events in her life. But there was much I did not know about her.

Jan and Weronika were married in Nieżywięć, West Prussia, in 1869 and immigrated to the United States with their infant son in 1883. I had wondered what had happened in the fourteen intervening years, and what may have motivated them to emigrate when they did.

I found at least part of the answer in the 1882 church records of Kościół pw. św. Jakuba, Parish Church of Saint James the Apostle in Bobrau (Bobrowo). It was in the Kries (district) of Strasburg (Polish Brodnica), in the Regierungsbezirk (administrative region) Marienwerder of Westpreußen (West Prussia). Today it is Bobrowo, Brodnica, Kujawsko-Pomorskie in Poland.

Deutsch-Eylau_27 Maciejewski

Excerpt, “Deutsch Eylau – 27,” old German Map (Kartenmeister.com)

I found the Maciejewski family in the records of three of the Roman Catholic churches in the area. [1]

  • Kościół Świętego Jana Chrzciciela (St. John the Baptist) in Niezywienc, where they were married  in 1869 and their first son was baptized in 1870,
  • Kościół Świętego Mikołaja Biskupa (St. Nicholas, Bishop) in Groß Kruschin, where they lived for a time, and where another son was baptized in 1872, and
  • Kościół Świętego Jakuba Apostoła Starszego, (Saint James the Apostle the Elder) in Bobrau, the parish church for the small village of Zgniłobłoty, where they lived from 1875 to Antoni Maciejewski’s birth in 1883.

Here are Jan and Weronika‘s children who were born and died in the old country, and whose records I was able to find:

  • Władysław (Ladislaus) (1870-1870)
  • Franciszek (Franz) (1872-1882)
  • Franciszka (Francisca) (1875-1875)
  • Jan (Johann) (1876-1878)
  • Marian (1878-1882)
  • Tomasz (Thomas) Julian (1880-1882)
1870 Ladislaus birth marked

Ladislaus Maciejewski birth/baptism record, Kościół pw. św. Jana Chrzciciela, Nieżywięć (Niezywienc)

  • Their first son, Władysław, was born 8 Oct 1870 in Dombrowken (Dąbrówka) and was baptized at Kościół Świętego Jana Chrzciciela (St. John the Baptist) in Niezywienc (Nieżywięć). Sadly, he died 14 Nov 1870, when he was only a month old. His name was recorded as Ladislaus in the church records.
1872 Franz Maciejewski birth marked

Franz Maciejewski birth/baptism record, Kościół pw. św. Mikołaja Biskupa, Kruszyny (Groß Kruschin)

  • Franciszek (Franz) was born 4 Jul 1872 and baptized at Kościół Świętego Mikołaja Biskupa (St. Nicholas) in Groß Kruschin (Kruszyny). His place of birth was listed as “Forstamt,” which is German for Forestry Office.
1875 Franciszka Maciejewski birth marked

Francisca Maciejewska birth/baptism record, Kościół pw. św. Jakuba, Bobrowo (Bobrau)

  • Franciszka (Francisca) was born 3 Apr 1875 in Zgnilloblott (Königsmoor/Zgniłobłoty) and baptized at Kościół pw. św. Jakuba (Saint James the Apostle) in Bobrau (Bobrowo). She died 30 Apr 1875, twenty seven days later.
1876 Jan Maciejewski birth marked

Johann Maciejewski birth/baptism record, Kościół pw. św. Jakuba, Bobrowo (Bobrau)

  • Jan (Johann) was born 16 Feb 1876 in Zgnilloblott (Königsmoor/Zgniłobłoty) and baptized at Kościół pw. św. Jakuba (Saint James the Apostle) in Bobrau (Bobrowo). He lived only two years, and died 7 Feb 1878.
1878 Marian Maciejewski birth marked

Marian Maciejewski birth/baptism record, Kościół pw. św. Jakuba, Bobrowo (Bobrau)

  • Marian was born in Zgnilloblott (Königsmoor/Zgniłobłoty) and baptized 18 Aug 1878 at Kościół pw. św. Jakuba (Saint James the Apostle) in Bobrau (Bobrowo).
1880 Julian Maciejewski birth

Julian Maciejewski birth/baptism record, Kościół pw. św. Jakuba, Bobrowo (Bobrau)

  • Julian was born 14 Dec 1880 in Zgnilloblott (Königsmoor/Zgniłobłoty) and baptized 26 Dec 1880 at Kościół pw. św. Jakuba (Saint James the Apostle) in Bobrau (Bobrowo). In his baptism record the baby is listed as Julian and and his civil birth record lists him as Thomas. His grandfather was named Tomasz Maciejewski.
1880 Thomas Maciejewski 69_1246_0_2_1_1019

Thomas Maciejewski civil birth record, Torun Archives

Of the six babies born, only three boys were alive in Zgniłobłoty in early 1882: Franciszek was nine, Marian was three, and Tomasz Julian was one year old.

1882 Maciejewski deaths marked

Death Records, Kościół Św Jakuba Apostoła, Bobrau, Strasburg, West Prussia

The May of 1882 was very hard for Jan and Weronika, as they lost all three of their children.

1882 Maciejewski deaths

Maciejewski Children Death Records, Kościół Św Jakuba, Bobrowo, (Bobrau)

Franz died May 16th, Thomas Julian on May 19th, and Marian on May 29th of 1882. Since the same cause was listed for all three deaths, I thought it must have been an infection. I asked several people for help deciphering it, and a researcher online identified “Bräune.” In English, it was known as quinsy, a peritonsillar abscess, a known complication of tonsillitis.

1882 cause of death

1882 Cause of Death for Maciejewski Children

I did not see it, but she referred me to  the German Glossary of Causes of Death and other Archaic Medical Terms, from Rudy’s List of Archaic Medical Terms at http://antiquusmorbus.com.

braune

Bräune Example

It listed an example from a church record from Mecklenburg, Germany, and I could see the similarity.

The children’s  deaths were recorded with the German authorities, and were listed in the Torin Archives.

Still Jan and Weronika persevered. She became pregnant again, and nine months later, in February of 1883, they had my grandfather Antoni. Later that same year they immigrated to America, where they added five more children to their family, who all grew to adulthood.

1900 Veronica Maciejewski census

1900 Census, Veronica Maciejewski, Buffalo, New York

Although in the 1900 census, Weronika reported that she had given birth to fourteen children, I was only able to find records for twelve. So, at a minimum, Weronika had a baby approximately every 2.2 years–from her first, Władysław, in 1870, to her last, Ludwik, in 1894.

Maciejewski children

Here is a summary of the known Maciejewski children.Jan Weronika kids[1]  Kościół Świętego Andrzeja Apostoła  (St. Andrew the Apostle) in Groß Brudzaw (Brudzawy), although dating from the 14th century, was identified as a branch of Groß Kruschin.

Sources

Władysław birth, LDS Family History Library, “Nieżywiȩć (Brodnica),” database, Kościół rzymsko-katolicki. Parafja, Family Search (familysearch.com: accessed June 2018), Ladislaus Maciejewski; citing Germany, Preußen, Westpreußen, Niezywienc – Church records. https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSZR-ZKWQ?i=295&cat=237019

Władysław death, LDS Family History Library, “Nieżywiȩć (Brodnica),” database, Kościół rzymsko-katolicki. Parafja, Family Search (familysearch.com: accessed June 2018), Ladislaus Maciejewski; citing Germany, Preußen, Westpreußen, Niezywienc – Church records. https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSV7-YSFW-N?i=180&cat=237019

Franciszek birth, LDS Family History Library, “Kruszyny (Brodnica),” database, Kościół rzymsko-katolicki. Parafja, Family Search (familysearch.com: accessed June 2018), Franz Maciejewski; citing Germany, Preußen, Westpreußen, Groß Kruschin (Kr. Strasburg) – Church records. https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSZ5-K9M6-2?i=164&cat=15201

Franciszka birth, LDS Family History Library, “Bobrowo (Brodnica),” database, Kościół rzymsko-katolicki. Parafja, Family Search (familysearch.com: accessed February 2018), Franciszka Maciejewski; citing Germany, Preußen, Westpreußen, Bobrau – Church records. https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSZ5-5N9F?i=261&cat=217507

Franciszka death, LDS Family History Library, “Bobrowo (Brodnica),” database, Kościół rzymsko-katolicki. Parafja, Family Search (familysearch.com: accessed February 2018), Franciszka Maciejewski; citing Germany, Preußen, Westpreußen, Bobrau – Church records. https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSZ5-BCM2?i=136&cat=217507

Johann birth, LDS Family History Library, “Bobrowo (Brodnica),” database, Kościół rzymsko-katolicki. Parafja, Family Search (familysearch.com: accessed February 2018), Johann Maciejewski; citing Germany, Preußen, Westpreußen, Bobrau – Church records.
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSZ5-5N9H?i=269&cat=217507

Johann death, LDS Family History Library, “Bobrowo (Brodnica),” database, Kościół rzymsko-katolicki. Parafja, Family Search (familysearch.com: accessed February 2018), Johann Maciejewski; citing Germany, Preußen, Westpreußen, Bobrau – Church records.
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSZ5-5N9H?i=269&cat=217507

“Archiwum Państwowe w Toruniu,” database, Genealogia w Archiwach (www.genealogiawarchiwach.pl: accessed January 2018), Johann Maciejewski; citing Urząd Stanu Cywilnego.

Marian birth, LDS Family History Library, “Bobrowo (Brodnica),” database, Kościół rzymsko-katolicki. Parafja, Family Search (familysearch.com: accessed February 2018), Marian Maciejewski; citing Germany, Preußen, Westpreußen, Bobrau – Church records.
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSXN-P9V3-5?i=335&cat=217507

“Archiwum Państwowe w Toruniu,” database, Genealogia w Archiwach (www.genealogiawarchiwach.pl: accessed January 2018), Thomas Maciejewski; citing Urząd Stanu Cywilnego.

Julian birth, LDS Family History Library, “Bobrowo (Brodnica),” database, Kościół rzymsko-katolicki. Parafja, Family Search (familysearch.com: accessed February 2018), Julian Maciejewski; citing Germany, Preußen, Westpreußen, Bobrau – Church records.
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSXN-P9V3-5?i=335&cat=217507

“Archiwum Państwowe w Toruniu,” database, Genealogia w Archiwach (www.genealogiawarchiwach.pl: accessed January 2018), Franz, Julius, and Marian Maciejewski deaths; citing Urząd Stanu Cywilnego.

1900 Federal Census, United States, population schedule, Buffalo (city), New York, enumeration district (ED) 70, Veronica Maciejewski; digital images, HeritageQuest Online (heritagequestonline.com : accessed December 2014).

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