St. Josaphat Church, Chicago

View of St. Josaphat Church, Chicago, IL
Photo taken xxxx. Photo and text by James J. Czuchra.

It was clear that there was something different about many of the surnames at St. Josaphat Church in Chicago. Instead of the usual Polish and German sounding names, a lot of them ended in 'k' -- names like Bieszk, Białk, Miotk, Naczk, Pionk, Pranczk, Skoczk, and Uzdrówk.

Many of these names came from the area near Gdansk in northern Poland. This is a region called Kashubia and the people, Kashubians. Indeed parish histories are quick to note that they are responsible for organizing this parish.

Volume 1 of baptisms has two sections, each with their own page numbers. This index references the first section as 1-1 and the second section as 1-2.

Volume 3 of baptisms has some bad handwriting from a particular priest who made entries. Otherwise the handwriting for baptisms was generally very good in this and other volumes as well.

Volume 1 of marriages almost always lists the place as Chicago. Sometimes the mother's maiden name is left out. If you see a Polish sounding place name, it was not part of the marriage record but based on selective research elsewhere. The place may be where the person was baptized or the place where the parents were married. This information was added as a finding aid. The same type of research can be applied to finding where other couples came from-- not everyone was researched!

Volume 2 of marriages often doesn't list the place at all to start with but it's added as time went on. One begins to see many immigrants from the powiats of Żywiec and Mielec in Galicia as well as the powiat of Janów in the gubernia of Lublin. In volume 3 of marriages, the writing gets bad and inclusion of place names is not as rigorous as in volume 2.