Sunday, September 7, 2008

Kenneth Olen writes...........

Some Polish Marriages in Calumet

The records of the Calumet, Michigan marriages of my grandfather and his brothers and sister were posted on The Polish Pioneers of Calumet, Michigan website on 14th February 2008. These marriages illustrate that some of the descendants of the Olejniczak, Krawczyk, Tomczak, and Wojtkowiak families became intertwine. Because I had additional genealogical information on the various families, it was relatively easy for me to identify and establish these relationships, even though several names were spelled phonetically or misspelled.

A review of these marriage records suggests how tight the Polish community might have been in Calumet. In my case two of the Olejniczak brothers, Leon and my grandfather Frank, married sisters, Catherine and Victoria Krawczyk. Their brother John married Stanislawa Tomczak, who was a cousin to the Krawczyk sisters. A study of the marriage certificates, including attention to the names of the parents of the bride and groom and the names of the witnesses, provided strong suggestions as to possible family ties.

The names of the parents on the marriage certificates for the Olejniczak brothers and sister, i.e., Leon (m. 21st August 1896), John (m. 30th September 1899), Frank (m. 11th May 1904) and, Agnes (m. 25th October 1899), were Stephen Olejniczak and Mary Kubiak (Kubick in the case of Frank’s record). The Krawczyk family name did not fare as well on these records. Catherine’s marriage certificate indicated that her family name was Krafchyk, and Krofczyk was reported on Victoria’s marriage certificate. Both certificates suggest that their father’s name was Wm., where in fact it was Walenty.

The mother of the Krawczyk sisters was Magdalena Wojtkowiak. Magdalena’s sisters, Josephine and Mary, were married to Michael Frankowski and John Tomczak, respectively. Michael Krawczyk, Victoria's brother was witness to her marriage toFrank Olejniczak. As mentioned above the daughter of John Tomczak and Mary Wojtkowiak, Stanislawa, married the other Olejniczak brother John. Witnesses to the marriage of John Olejniczak and Stanislawa Tomczak were Melchior Rybicki and Agnes (not Rjnerku) Olejniczak, my grandfather’s sister. About a month later Melchior and Agnes married in same church in Red Jacket.

Leon Olejniczak's wife Catherine Krawczyk died 1st May 1911 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Leon returned to Calumet, probably with his family, and married 4th June 1912 a widow, Agnes Furyon Tomczak, who married first 20th February 1900 to another John Tomczak, son of Joseph Tomczak and Antonia Silorska. Following the miner’s strike in 1913 Leon moved his family to Detroit. Prior to 1910 Leon, Frank and John Olejniczak, Walenty Krawczyk and Michael Frankowski and their families moved to Milwaukee, and Melchior Rybicki and Agnes Olejniczak moved their family to East Chicago, Indiana.

The three Wojtkowiak sisters that immigrated to Calumet all married in Chojnica, Oborniki Co., Poznan, Poland (Posen, Prussia): Magdalena married Walenty Krawczyk 28th Jul 1872, Josephine, married Michael Frankowski 14th Nov 1875, and Mary married John Tomczak 23rd Nov 1879. A fourth sister, Catherine, stayed in Poland and married Walenty Goraczniak 17th Feb 1885 in Chojnica. The Tomczak’s were the first to immigrate to Calumet in 1885. The Frankowski’s followed in 1889, and the Krawczyk’s arrived in 1891.

The village of Chojnica no longer exists as it was absorbed into the Biedrusko Military District. It was in Oborniki County in Poznan Province, just north of the City of Poznan, west of the river Warta. During the German occupation Chojnica was also known as Schweinschade.

The Olejniczak’s were all born in Chladowo, Gniezno Co., Poznan, Poland. At the time of their immigration Chladowo was in Posen, Prussia and also known as Klondau. My grandfather immigrated to Calumet via Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1902. The details of Leon, John and Agnes’ immigration have yet to be discovered.
Kenneth Olen (