by Robert W. Postula
Checking Other Microfilmed Records
I checked the Family History Center Library Catalog and found church records had been filmed for Przewrotne, the location where my maternal grandfather was born. The listing showed two rolls of film, #0766043 and #0766044. On April 20, 1993, I ordered both rolls of film. They arrived shortly and I began searching. All I knew was that my grandfather's name was Marcin Gawel, born in Przewrotne November 11, 1890, and his father's name was Pawel. From my shelved genealogy kit I carefully removed a family group sheet and made additional copies. Each time that I found a Gawel, I initiated a group sheet to record that individual's birth, marriages, children's births, and related deaths. I quickly learned about collateral family ties, and had begun making out yet more family group sheets. I quickly began filling my three ring binder, which I divided into two sections; a Gawel Section, and a Gawel Collateral Section. Soon I was cross-referencing, but never found Marcin Gawel born in 1890 or my great-grandfather, Pawel. There must be some secret here! What was wrong was that the film did not cover the right period! It was quite obvious why it wasn't, since Marcin was born in 1890, and the films only went as far as 1867. I found a Pawel Gawel -- "But, was this the right one"?
My investigation that had a full head of steam now came to a halt. The microfilm did not cover the period that I required.
We celebrated grandpa's birthday on November 5, and the memorial card from his funeral said that he was born on November 11. Quick calculation meant that he was born in 1890. Well -- the reason I couldn't find him was the film does not include this period. I found that Poland, too, has privacy laws and since 100 years had not passed, the records are confidential. What will I do now? I had not yet become sophisticated enough to know about writing letters to the parish church in Przewrotne, and even if I did, I didn't know the address!
Writing for Records
I remembered that my mother, Sophie Gawel, was born in Hartford, Connecticut, and she remembered riding on a train as a little girl with her mother, brother and sister to her new home in Detroit, Michigan. Grandfather Martin's employment operating a screw machine in a factory in Hartford had concluded, and he departed for Detroit to seek new employment. Detroit was also the place of friends. The Dziubek, Kaczor, Przybylo, and Zmuda families were also from Przewrotne.(3) When he found new employment he sent for his family. I also remembered mom talking about living on the second floor of a home on Flower Street. Then one day, on one of my library excursions to section 929.1, I wandered into reference section R282.03O, and again began browsing. I found a wonderful reference(4) that listed all Roman Catholic parishes in the United States, with a separate volume for dioceses throughout the world. Volume I for the United States listed the parish churches by diocesan location, with ethnic affiliation, date of founding, addresses, etc. "SS Cyril & Methodius, Polish, founded in 1902". "There it is!" I wrote a letter to Hartford, Connecticut; the response I received documented the marriage of my great grandparents, Pawel Gawel and Helena Kaczor.
Since the records I needed were not yet microfilmed, I began writing to Poland -- first to Przewrotne. After many months with no answer, I checked the FHL Catalog for any additional microfilming, and there was none.
Then I found this wonderful information regarding the Director of Archives -- Diocese of Przemyśl. I had written to him for information regarding my grandmother Marianna Szostecka.(This will be a future story.) What a wonderful response I received and in only two months! I now wrote another letter, this time asking for information on my Gawel line.
"Dear Sir:The names of each of the nine children and their years of birth are detailed. Then a very detailed listing of all pertinent information was provided. Each detailed description is supported with photocopies of the events.
After searching the birth records for the parish of Przewrotne I have determined that your grandfather Marcin Gawel was the son of Pawel Gawel and Helena from the house of Kaczor. Marcin was the eighth of nine children.
The father of Marcin - Pawel Gawel (your great grandfather) married twice. In the year 1865, when he was 24 years old, he married Agnieszka Krainarz, age 24, the daughter of Tomasz Kramarz. They apparently had one child (Jakub) born 22 July 1870. In that same year 20 October 1870 the wife Agnieszka died at the age of 30 years.
Three months later, 24 Januaiy 1871, Pawel married a second time - to Helena Kaczor, age 22, the daughter of Marcin Kaczor.
From this second marriage nine children were born."
Some of the most important data provided allows linking to the microfilm of the Przewrotne records is that Pawel Gawel (my 1st great grandfather) was born at house #224, 17 January 1841 in Przcwrotne. His father, (my 2nd great grandfather) was Andrzej Gawel, and his mother was Jadwiga Regula (my 2nd great grandmother) the daughter of Stanislaw Reguta (my 3rd great grandfather). Pawel Gawel’s first wife, Agnieszka Kramarz, was born at house #90, the daughter of Tomasz Kramarz and Zofia Suszek who were from house #91. Agnieszka died at house #93.
To continue, Helena Kaczor (my 1st great grandmother) was born 25 November 1848 at house #94 in Przewrotne. The father was Marcin Kaczor (my 2nd great grandfather) born at house #63, married from house #93 for his first marriage and house #94 for his second marriage. The mother was my 2nd great grandmother Marianna Probola the daughter of Antoni Probola (my 3rd great grandfather).
LINKING TO THE MICROFILM
Once the information from the Przemyśl Diocesan Archives was exhausted, the FHL microfilmed Przewrotne parish records film #0766044 was searched for links. The following information was found.
Marcin Kaczor (my 2nd great grandfather), was the son of my 3rd great grandparents - Franciszek Kaczor, a cmethonis (farmer), and Agata Dziubek, who was deceased at the time of Marcin Kaczor’s marriage. This marriage produced nine children. Franciszek was 26 years old while Agata was 16. Agata was the daughter of my 4th great grandparents, Wojciech Dziubek and Katarzyna Orzech. Wojciech was 22 years old when he married while Katarzyna was 18. Their marriage brought forth eight children. Another daughter, Jadwiga Dziubek, was born at house #43 and is my 3rd great grand aunt. Her husband was Stanislaw Ostanski.(5) My 3rd great grandparents were Franciszka Gutt and Stanislaw Regula; he died at the age of 90 at house #223. This marriage brought forth five children.
Wojciech Kaczor, my 4th great grandfather, was the father of Franciszek Kaczor, my 3rd great grandfather. Katarzyna Orzech, my 4th great grandmother, was married to Wojciech Dziubek. Their marriage brought forth eight children. Jan Gutt, my 4th great grandfather, was the father of Franciszka Gutt. Marcin Pacyna, married to Franciszka Pokriwka, were my 4th great grandparents. Their marriage brought forth three children. Krzystof Pokriwka, the father of Franciszka, was my 5th great grandfather.
An ancestral chart for Marcin Gawel appears here.
Robert Postula was the Assistant Editor of the Polish Eaglet.
(3)Refer to "Przewrotne Parish Surnames 1784-1867", Polish Eaglet (lSSN 0732-1007), Volume 19 Number 2, pages 78-81, May 1999.
(4)"The Official Cathohc Directory", published annually by P. J. Kennedy & Sons, New Providence, NJ, Parts I & Part II, ISBN 08721936X(pt. I), DYNIX#797161.
(5)Relationships cited were calculated by Personal Ancestral File software, Release 2.2, distributed by the Mormon Church.
This article appeared in the Polish Genealogical Society of Michigan's Journal, The Polish Eaglet, September 1999, pps. 108-114. It is reprinted here with permission from the family of Robert Postula and the PGSM. All surnames are in bold text as is customary in The Polish Eaglet articles.
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