The Trouble with W's

by James J. Czuchra

Reading Polish names presents many challenges but two I want to address here are the troubles I have with the letter 'w' . The first trouble seems to be in surnames from the last half of the 1800's. Many surnames were written without the usual 'w' before the -ski and -ska endings and probably because it was not pronounced.

Community Indexing Projects

Both and have community indexing projects where volunteers all over the globe can contribute to the indexing effort. This distributed "share the work" concept leads to indexing millions of records in a short period of time. For example, the indexing of Illinois (midwest region) naturalization cards took less than a year. Another example is the 1940 US Census which took about six months.

Milestone Reached

The baptisms, marriages, and deaths from all of the Polish parishes (through 1915) in the Archdiocese of Chicago have been indexed! And the complete index is only available on THIS website.

It's also worth noting that the records of Polish parishes in St. Louis, MO, Toledo, OH, and Milwaukee, WI (to the extent that these records are available) have also been indexed on THIS website as well.

St. Mary of Czestochowa Church, Cicero, IL

Volume 1 of baptisms suffers from bad design, and multiple entries per page. Missing portions of names were often inferred or corrected based on the volume index at the start of the volume. The page numbers in many cases are worn off so locating them by image sequence is a good strategy. The paper was probably brittle and the pages got out of order-- another reason to locate them by image sequence. So, some pages require two images to get the complete record. Page 11 is made of the left side of image 33 and the right side of 48.

St. Michael Church, Chicago

This Polish parish identifies itself as St. Michael the Archangel but the LDS has it listed as just St. Michael. The LDS has St. Michael the Archangel listed, but they're not Polish. Records for the Polish parish are on 2 rolls of microfilm and had been cataloged together.

Polish Roman Catholic Churches in the Diocese of Belleville, IL

The map provided plots the locations of Polish Roman Catholic Churches in the Belleville Diocese of Illinois.

Polish Roman Catholic Churches in the Archdiocese of Chicago

The map provided plots the locations of Polish Roman Catholic Churches in the Archdiocese of Chicago. These are the churches identified in Joseph John Parot's book, Polish Catholics in Chicago: 1890-1920.

St. Joseph Church, Chicago

There are other Slavic peoples in this parish (use of v accent mark) at its beginning but then not so many as perhaps they established their own ethnic parishes or moved away. The writing in volume 1 gets very bad about half way through the volume. In volume 2, after page 105 the pages are not numbered but the index continues the page sequence as though they were. The enumeration number is probably more useful once you know to look at the back of the volume for pages beyond 105. These pages are smaller in size and contain only 6 baptisms per page.

Polish Roman Catholic Churches in the Diocese of Toledo, OH

The map provided plots the locations of Polish Roman Catholic Churches in the Diocese of Toledo in Ohio.

St. John of God Church, Chicago

St. John of God Church closed in the early 1990's. Unlike other buildings that remain where they stand, the front of St. John of God was moved and reused. The stained glass windows went to Loyola University. The facade of the building was dismantled and reconstructed for the new St. Raphael the Archangel Church in Old Mill Creek. The new building uses the reconstructed interior of the closed St. Peter Canisius Church in Chicago.


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