Monday, December 7, 2009

My Great-Grandfather.

The photo on the left is of the headstone for the graves of my grandmother's parents - Ludwik & Veronica Szymanski. They are buried in St. Stanislaus cemetery in Buffalo NY.

I have no idea when this particular headstone was placed there; I am reasonably certain that it was not put there in 1961 when my great-grandmother died. I don't believe there would have been money available at that time (I could be wrong, of course).
The words Ojciec and Matka are the Polish words for Father and Mother, so I'm assuming the headstone was placed there by one or more of their children and not their grandchildren.

The stone is impressive. I'm sure it cost a great deal of money. Unfortunately, there is an error in the date of Ludwik's birth. The year is given as 1873, but that's not correct. It's understandable why that date was put on the stone. After all, it's the date given as his birth year on his death certificate. This would not be the first time a death certificate had a mistake on it. It's more common than one might think.

My genealogical resource shows that the actual year of his birth is either 1866 or 1867.

In the 1910 Federal census, his age is given as 44. The 1915 New York State census lists his age as 48 and in 1920 he said he was 53 years old. You do the math.
I have a copy of his application for U.S. citizenship from August, 1894 where he gives his date of birth as August 21, 1866.

To further complicate the matter, when he arrived in New York aboard the SS Eider on March, 15, 1887, he gave his age as 23.

His death certificate gives his parents names as Michael Szymanski and Apollonia Grat......the marriage record for the couple gives their marriage date as 1860 (when Michael was 24 and Apollonia was 23). It's seems reasonable to me that it would be more likely that Ludwik was born when his mother was 29.

There are marriage, baptism and death records, for the Catholic parish in Poland where the family lived, available on microfilm from the LDS. One day, I'll order the microfilm and see for myself when he was baptized. I'm sure it'll be closer to 1867 than the 1873 date engraved on his tombstone.

One more thing. Veronika's death certificate gives her date of birth as January 27, 1877. The same census records that show Ludwik was born in 1867 and not 1873 show Veronika was born in 1880 and not 1877.

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