Friday, May 19, 2017

Missing Pieces

Searching for missing pieces of information is the definition of a family history project. I’m looking at another family jigsaw puzzle with many missing pieces.

In the past few months, via DNA matches, I’ve learned of two distant cousins in my Schipp line and I’m now down that particular “rabbit hole”.  The video project is on the back burner for now.

Both of these new cousins are descended from great aunts on my mother’s side – my great grandfather, Michael Schipp (Sip) is our MRCA (most recent common ancestor).  Even though I’d said that I’d put it aside for a while, I’m back looking for Sip families in Poland

Using BaSIA, I’ve found a treasure trove of Catholic church sacramental records at the State Archive inPoznan. Now the job is to get them matched up as best I can.  MS Excel is a great tool for this.  I’m building this spreadsheet

Once I get the information entered I’ll be able to sort it every which way to try to extract facts, matching parents with children and grandchildren, seeing local migration patterns, and more, I hope.  There are several families clustered with an area of about 3 square miles, but it seems that a few of them moved from one place to another.

The challenge here is reading the records. BaSIA gives most of the vital facts, but there should be more information in the record itself. Unlike later church records which were written in Latin, these older records are written in Polish.

I’ll be busy for a while.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Sip to Schipp: Evolution of a Surname

In June, 2015 I published apost with a theory about how my great grandfather, Michael Sip became Michael Schipp. Quoted from that post:

How did Sip become Schipp?  Here’s my theory.

In the 19th century, the Province of Poznan was in the Prussian partition of Poland. There was a concerted effort to erase Polish culture and impose German language and culture. Civil authority was German and all civil records were in German. Schools taught only the German language and classes were in German.

In Polish the name Sip would be pronounced: ship or szip. 

My current thinking is that the German civil authorities wrote the name as it was pronounced.  The family were farmers in the boondocks of a relatively small city. I have no idea whether they were at all literate at the time.  Did they not understand that the spelling had changed?  Did they simply submit to the authorities rather than make a fuss?  I’ll never know.”

I have finally found evidence in civil records in the State Archive in Poznan. Until recently I’d been focused on church records because, in Poland and then in Prussian Poland, there were no civil records before 1874.

Here is the birth record of Michael’s son Theodor from 1882.  The yellow highlight shows the father as Michael Sip.  The note on the left highlighted in blue says: # Instead of "Sip" it has to read "Schip" in the sixth and tenth line.
The registrar

Michael’s son Ludwig was born two years later in 1884.  His birth record shows the surname as Szyp. Theodor’s and Ludwig’s births were registered at the same registry office.

(Note to my cousins:  This is the first and only record I’ve found for Ludwig.  He did not come to the US with his mother and siblings. As of this writing, I have not found a death record for him, but still, my current thinking is that he died as a child.)

In between the two births above, in 1883, Michael’s half-sister, Magdalena, was born to his father and stepmother. Please note that this record shows Sip as the surname.

Other records for this family as late as 1886 show the name as Sip.

My only reasonable conclusion is that the spelling was dependent on the person who happened to be working in the registry office that day.

Unless someone has a better solution for this name quandary, I’m putting this question to rest for now.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Projectus Interruptus

My project for a video of my Ganas family history in Poland didn’t get off the ground because I realized that I needed more information. I ordered a couple of FHL (Famiy History Library)  microfilms and put it on hold. Now that I have as much information as I can reasonably get for now, it’s a matter of getting materials organized and creating the video.

But wait…

A message arrived from one of my DNA matches on 23andme. Turns out that she’s a 2nd cousin 1x removed on my Schipp line!  YAY!!  My attention immediately shifted to that line.  Dug out copies of records that haven’t yet been scanned and verified that they’re all duly recorded in my family tree.
But wait…

There are a couple of things that don’t match up. So back to online records on FamilySearch, Ancestry, and the Polish site BaSIA.  My great grandparents, Michael and Elizabeth Schipp had children that don’t appear on immigration passenger lists, but for whom I find no death record. Then there’s the daughter who is on a passenger list with her mother but for whom I find no birth record.  A new mystery to be solved. A new BSO (Bright Shiny Object) to chase.

But wait….

I’m convincing myself to let this mystery rest for a while and get back to the video mentioned above.  BaSIA is a volunteer project indexing vital records in Poland.  I have no idea what percentage of records have yet to be indexed.  The volunteers may simply not have gotten to these “missing” records yet.


I will get back to this mystery.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Microfilm Monday

In my 10 March, 2017 post I described finding a connection in my Ganas line to a family that settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It gets even better.  Further research on BaSIA led me to records of other Ganas individuals in the same line – descended from my 3X great grandfather, Johann Ganas.  Looking at records on and showed me additional US immigrants in Buffalo, New York, and Detroit, Michigan.

BaSIA gave me links to digitized records at the State Archive in Poznan, Poland where I was able to determine where some of Johann’s children were married; and where some of  his grandchildren were born and married.  But state archives began in 1874, and very few Catholic church records are online.  So, that sent me back to FamilySearch to look for microfilms from the specific towns for years before 1874.

The films are finally here!  I’m anxious to see what new information I can dig up.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Z is for Zeitgeist - 2017 A to Z Challenge


Just because I like the word.  

It is  time to start planning my list for the 2018 A to Z Challenge.

I  now return you to your regularly scheduled program.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Thursday, April 27, 2017

X is for X Marks the Spot - 2017 A to Z Challenge

Same title as last year’s X post, but I want to point out that there are new enhancements to Google Earth.

Here’s James Tanner’s recentpost about it.

And here’s a link to my Xpost from last year.