14 July 2012

The Quest

My aunt and godmother, Mary Kolodzinski Porebski, had always been interested in finding information about her ancestors.  She had spent hours in the Cook County Courthouse (Illinois) looking for records.   Frustrated since neither my father, her older brother, Edward, nor their older sister, Anna Kolodzinski Drozek, would tell her anything about their parents lives in Europe.  
Her research always intrigued me.  I had researched the history of a building and found it fascinating and informative.  This made me decide to research the history of my family sine it would no doubt be fascinating and informative, too.  The quest began!

Both my paternal grandparents were born in Europe and immigrated to the USA in the early 1900's.  My grandmother, Marianna Smulska Kolodzinski, died of pneumonia in 1936 at the age of 53.  My grandfather, Michael Kolodzinski, died from a cerebral hemorrhage in 1940at  the age of 61.  Both had been laid to rest at St Adalberts Catholic Cemetery before my parents married.
I was never to meet them but remember many of the stories my dad would tell me.  They were fascinating tales to a young child and I will tell you some of them in future posts.

My maternal grandparents were slightly easier,or at least my grandmother side was easier.  Her maiden name was Mary Inda.  She was born in Chicago, IL, in the mid 1890's.  Mary married my grandfather, Stanley Szostek, in Chicago.  He had been born in Poland, immigrating in the early 1900's and finally settling in Chicago.
Her parents and grandparents immigrated from Poland in the early 1890's.  She was not told much about her family's life in Poland but records found in Illinois filled in much of the tree branch prior to immigration.  
It was my mother's older sister, Phyllis Szostek Wegrzyn, who helped fill in many gaps in my materal branch.  

If you are starting to trace your family's history start with what you know.   Then remember to ask your oldest living relatives what they can tell you about your family.  They won't always be around to relay their knowledge, write it down while they are still there to tell you the family stories.....

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