Gruesome Deaths

Causes of death were not always recorded in the parish death/burial records. In some volumes, natural causes like tuberculosis, diphtheria and other common diseases of the time were not included. While some of these deaths may qualify as gruesome if painful and protracted, this essay will focus on unnatural causes of death. The most common of these include drownings, falls, or being killed by trains.


Marrying Your Cousin?

I ran across something interesting in some marriage records I was working with recently. There were some pages inserted among the usual forms. What were they? While written in Latin, I deduced that these were dispensations from consanguinity allowing the marriage to take place. Consanguinity? It's a fancy term for marrying someone who is blood related (perhaps a cousin).

Where Did They Come From?

Baptisms were usually performed close to the location of birth and shortly after birth. This practice was observed to lower the possibility of the infant dying before they received the rite. Marriages usually took place close to the residence of the bride or groom. But because these adults may have moved, we can't be sure they were born in the same parish as their marriage.

Sub Condition Baptisms

What is a sub condition baptism? The Catholic church only recognizes one baptism. A sub condition baptism is a "just in case" baptism in instances when it's not clear if the person has already been baptized. Under what circumstances might it apply? A sick newborn may be baptized at home without a priest. While such a baptism is considered valid, there may be a church baptism later on to make it "official". An orphaned child may also be baptized sub condition if no one is sure if the child has already been baptized. It might apply to a convert from a different Christian religion.

Refined Marriage Index

Recently, subscribers have been able to access what is being called a refined database of marriages. The original marriage index was prepared to show only the names of the brides and grooms. Now, some of the parishes have parent names included as well. If that wasn't enough, the index may include the place the person was from-- a valuable resource for those trying to make the connection between the US and Poland. If images are available online, the LDS image number may also be given to speed up your lookup.

Arbitrator Obfuscation

Most recently, I have been working on indexing passenger lists from various US ports through Family Search. In a previous article, I gave a couple of examples where names get lost in the indexing process and how there is no mechanism for correcting known or suspected errors. This problem becomes worse when a well intentioned arbitrator is not familiar with the language and handwriting. I call this "abribtrator obfuscation".

Some Links for Researchers

There are many websites that deal with Polish genealogy, but I include here a few that I use:

Mapster: Old Maps of Poland Detailed maps (mostly from the 1930s) of Poland including regions no longer in Poland
The Milwaukee Polonia Project
Zarzycki Manor Funeral Chapel Database of obituaries of clients of this funeral home.

East St. Louis, St. Clair County, IL

St. Adalbert Church in East St. Louis, IL did not appear in any inventory of Polish parishes that I have found. Some Poles from St. Louis, MO, settled in East St. Louis and it seemed reasonable that they would go to a Polish church.

Dubois, Washington County, IL

Dubois is a rural farming communityin Washington County, IL (map). The parish church is St. Charles Borromeo and part of the cluster of Polish parishes in the Diocese of Belleville.

Scheller, Jefferson County, IL

Scheller is a rural community in Jefferson County, IL (map) with many Polish families. Its church is St. Barbara, founded in 1898. The parish is a part of the cluster of Polish parishes in the Diocese of Belleville.


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