Harrah, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma

According to a St. Teresa Church parish history, the parish was founded by ten Polish families who were dissatisfied with the land in Marche, Arkansas where they had originally settled. They participated in the land rush of 1891 to secure new homesteads. While numerous sources repeat the same information, none list the family names or can confirm they were all from Marche, AR. In comparing the 1880 US Census records for Marche against headstone inscriptions in the St. Teresa Cemetery in Harrah, OK, it appears that the Blochowiak, Chicoraske, Jorski, and Malaske families were from Marche.

Marche, Pulaski County, Arkansas

Surprisingly, there was a Polish community in Pulaski County, Arkansas. It's founder was Timothy Choiński who came to the US in 1873. Initially settling in Milwaukee, he thought that Poles might want to get back to their farming roots away from the urban scene. Furthermore, he wanted a site where the winters would not be so harsh. He started his settlement, Marche (French for marketplace), in 1877 in section 26 of what was to become Worthen Township. It was Pyeatt Township at the time. Like some other Polish farming settlements, there were complaints about the land not being cleared or being of poor quality for farming.

Hey, that's not right! -- Correcting Database Errors

Regardless of one's best efforts, errors in indexing are inevitable. As mentioned in another article, reading bad handwriting is probably the biggest source of errors. Then there are also data entry errors (typos) of the indexer and errors in fact created at the time the record was originally written. Many indexes in genealogy-land are regarded as transcripts-- faithful and accurate copies of the original records.

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.


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