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March 20, 2013

Poland Genealogy - My First Venture

Recently a marriage record I ordered from the online Manitoba Vital Records website arrived.  I don't have ancestors in Manitoba but my two nieces do. Helping them find their Polish ancestry was something I wanted to do but it is proving very challenging.

The groom's name is misindexed as Wasyl Ludyjko in the online index but it is actually Wasyl Sudyjko. Mixing up upper case "S" and "L" is a common transcription error in records.

Immigration Records

I had previously found Wasyl in records arriving in St. John, New Brunswick Canada on board the ship Mount Temple in 1905.  He has been misindexed as "Wasyl Sudefks" The ship sailed from London England and the passenger list recorded him as Wasyl Sudeyko, age 23, born Galicia and heading to Winnipeg (Manitoba)

Census Records

The next record that *may* be for Wasyl is the 1906 census for Manitoba where he is listed as "W. Suduk" age 25, single.

The 1911 census for Selkirk Manitoba confirmed Wasyl was married now:

Suedeyko Wasyl   M Head M Apr 1881 age 29 immigrated 1904, Naturalized, Greek Catholic, born Galicia
Suedeyko Jessie   F Wife M Jul 1886 age 24 immigrated 1906, born Galicia
Suedeyko Annie   F Daughter S Jun 1910 age 11 mos born Manitoba

I had one other clue about Wasyl. I knew that eventually the surname became Sedak and the family lived in Selkirk. Sure enough he was found in the 1916 census for Selkirk Manitoba. This was another example of a badly indexed record - the entire family was listed with the surname Wasil instead of Sedik!

Sedik Wasil     33
Jessie Wasil     31
Annie Wasil     6
Mike Wasil     4
John Wasil     2
Mary Wasil     0

Death Record 1922

The last record I was able to find was a death record for Wasyl in 1922. He was recorded as "William Sedit" born 5 Oct. 1882 [sic] Here his wife's name was given as "Josepha Scukie" We know this is the correct man from other confirmed details given by his daughter to her granddaughters (my nieces). His mother is name as "Mary" and there is no name recorded for his father.

Marriage January 21, 1909

So back to the marriage record I received recently. This record shows the parents of both bride and groom, plus ages and birth places. The challenging part is finding out where these towns are today and what their names are (if they have changed) I had sucess finding Wasyl's birth place which is recorded as "Bilcze Zolate Galicia" According to JewishGen it is now called Bil'che-Zolote, Ukraine and is in the Province of Ternopil Oblast, some 460 km SW of Kiev.

His parents are named as Michael Sydyjko and Dorka Lueyk or Cueyk. Perhaps one of my readers will have a better idea than I of Dorka's surname.

The bride is listed as Josepha Skurycka, 22 born Lycztiwi (?), Galicia. Her parents are Wajtko Skurycki and Kateryna Kaczrat. Again, help from my readers would be appreciated in the reading of their names and Josepha's birth location. It could be Lycytiwi or I may have misread the last bit "tiwi" but I do not find either listed on JewishGen.

Cemetery Records

I also found both William and Jessie buried in East Selkirk St Stanizlus Roman Catholic Cemetery, St Clements, Manitoba

Obituary Records 

I was lucky enough to find Jessie (Josepha's) obituary in the Winnipeg Free Press in 1963 but no clues as to her origins were found:

Obit Jessie Sedik, March 16, 1963. Winnipeg Free Press

Came to Canada from Austria in 1907 and lived Selkirk Manitoba until 1942, then moved to Toronto
Predeceased by husband Wasyl in 1922
4 daughters survive - Mrs Harry Zalenksy (Annie) of Prince Albert
Mrs Mary Wynyyk of Selkirk
Mrs. Kay Zaleski of Toronto
Mrs J. Robinson (Lena) of Toronto
2 sons - John and Michael of Selkirk
8 grandchildren, 6 great-grandchildren


One question I have is what would the Polish name be for "Michael" and what would the English name be for "Wajtko"? If anyone knows please enlighten me!

And so a marriage record has great information but leaves me still struggling. And I have not yet found Josepha (Josefa, Jessie) on a ship arriving in either Canada or USA. It's always fun and exciting to be exploring a new area of genealogy research but I confess to finding this very challenging indeed. 


NickMGombash said...

I'm more Polish than anything, but I haven't had much success in researching them. Most of my ancestor's towns aren't available on microfilm. :/

I can tell you one thing: Josepha's mother's maiden name is Kaczur. This was the surname of my best friend's mother, growing up. Her parents had come to America from Poland in the 1980's. They said Kaczur means 'duck'!

Matthew Ballard said...

Michal (Michał) is the accepted "Polish" form of Michael but variations can be found throughout different areas of Poland. For example, Mikhail would be more common in areas closer to Russia, Michał or Maik would be more common in German areas.

As for Wajtko, I'd have to venture a guess and say that it's a misspelling of "Wojtek" which is a shortened form of Wojciech, the Polish equivalent of George (or Albert, as I have seen on occasion).

Good luck with your continued research! Civil records can become brutally painful to search through due to the spelling differences and the confusion with indexing.

Mariann Regan said...

Name spellings seem to be the key to the challenge. I hope that after you accumulate your own record of difficulties, as you catalog here, you'll begin to see a pattern--in the variants, the handwriting, the reversal of names, all of it.

That's the only advice I can muster. Except to congratulate you on taking up this challenge.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lorine,
1) "-ski" is the masculine form in Polish; "-ska" is the feminine form -- notice Josepha & her father's last names.
I also read the grandmother's name as "Kaczur”, similar to the ending “r” in bachelor, spinster, etc…
2) Focusing on their religious background as Greek Catholics in Galicia (Austrian portion), I found some
interesting websites to help you
C) This conversation string from the Rootsweb list – Polish Roots

I think that it isn’t just plain Polish genealogy that you are undertaking, but an exotic subvariant!!
Very Good Luck in your searching!! KMC

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Anonymous - thank you so much for taking the time to send me links! I am going to search them right now.


Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Nick and Mathew - I sure appreciate your taking the time to send me your input. Great information!

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Mariann - you know me so well. I'm definitely accepting the challenge :-)

Anonymous said...

As someone who is both Polish and Lemko, the first name Wasyl and Greek Catholicism indicate that you are probably searching for Lemko, Carpatho-Rusyn or Ukrainian records. These could be in Poland, Ukraine or Slovakia. Good luck.