Thursday, June 9, 2011

suicide, abandoned children, & name changes, Oh My!

So while I was doing research on my dad's father's side of the family, the Panfil's, I figured I would also include looking into my dad's father's mother's side of the family, the Opalinski's.  Pauline Opalinski was born in Poland in 1902 and married my great grandfather Victor Panfil, my father used to call her Nana so from here on out that's what I will refer to her as to keep it simple.  Now I had always hear that Nana's parents were maybe a little crazy, and her family had some issues, but never knew what they were.

Now since my grandfather died when I was 10 I only have my 88 year old grandmother to ask questions to and she doesn't always know the answers because, lets face it, it's not totally her family.  Between her and my dad neither really knew what Nana's parents names were but the information I had was that she had 2 younger siblings, Lillian & Raymond.  At the time I did not yet have an membership so I relied on my website for all the information I was looking for.  I eventually found a census record for Nana and her family & came to discover her parents names were Stanley & Katherine (Catherine).  Upon further investigation I found the death certificates of both Nana's parents & was handed a bombshell.  I had heard from my grandmother that Nana's parents had died when she was young, but I had no idea what I had just stumbled on.  Turns out Nana's parents committed suicide within 7 months of each other.  In May of 1920 when her mother died Nana was just 18 years old and had been left behind with Raymond, 14, and Lillian, just 9 years old.

Now the 1920 census was compiled before Nana's mother Catherine committed suicide so she was still listed with the all the kids.  What my question was then was; what happened to the children?  What I do know is that Nana married my great grandfather Victor in 1921 and my grandfather was born in 1922.  I have Nana & Victor in 1930 living with their 2 children & no one else.  So my question then was, what happened to Raymond & Lillian.  I knew from Nana's father, Stanley's, death certificate that he had a brother named Anton so I looked for him.  I found him as well as his wife and 3 daughters, but no sign of Nana's siblings.  I then found another brother names Waclaw (Walter) and again found no signs of Nana's siblings.  I finally started using ancestry and made contact with a woman, Ann, who is a descendant of one of Anton (Anthony)'s daughters and we have been communicating back & forth and have still yet to come up with any solution to our, now mutual, dilemma.

Now it starts to get weird.  Grandma one day remember that Raymond's real name had been Roman & he actually  had changed his name from Roman Opalinski to Raymond Ormond, but no one seems to know why.  I have not determined whether Raymond and Lillian were adopted and am not sure how to go about figuring that out.  Ann has the world subscription to ancestry so she did some more digging and found records for a Raymond Ormond that traveled to Canada in 1933 to work and live there.  She also managed to get the social security applications for both Lillian and Raymond and found something pretty interesting.  Lillian's checked out to be everything we thought it would be, had her last name listed at Opalinski & had the correct names of both her parents as well as stating that she was married to a Patrick Ryan.  Now Raymond's was a totally different story.

His actually lists his name change as we thought, but instead of listing his parents as Stanley Opalinski & Catherin Fedek, he has his father's last name as Ormond.  Now why he did this I suppose we will never know, but what posses a man to change his name & when filling out his social security application lie & falsify his own father's last name

If only I could figure out a way to answer all of these questions & figure out what was going on with the Opalinski family.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

premarital sex in the 1860's??

It has been a long time since I have updated this & since then I have not had a ton of time to work on my genealogy.  I did however get a chance to go back and go through my microfilms that I talked about in my last post.  To my surprise, Andrew has more than just the two older siblings I found previously.  With some more digging I found he has one or two younger siblings as well.  The reason for my confusion as to whether it's one or two is simply due to the fact that the baptismal records list both children (one born in 1869, the other in 1871) as boys, both with the name Joannes.  Now I'm assuming people do not name their children the same thing, that's just strange, so this assumption leads me to believe that the first Joannes (born in 1869) was no longer living when the second was born. So I suppose either way there are two younger siblings, but non the less I am still confused.  I also did some digging for a marriage record for my great grandfather's parents Valentine & Victoria.  When I found it, it too came with a surprise.  They were married in September of 1862, and my great-great grandfather's oldest sibling was born in February of 1863.  Now if you can do your math like I did, you'll realize that my great-great-great grandmother was 4 months pregnant when she got married, that seemed like a shocker to me to say the least.

Unfortunately the marriage records for Valentine & Victoria gives no indication of either of their parents' names so that is another search I am going to have to make.  It does however give me the ages of both, kinda.  It clearly says that Valentine is 24 years old, but when you look at the column for Victoria's age all that's there is a scribbled out number.  What I can make out is the number 2 at the beginning so I would assume she was in her 20's as long as she did not lie about her age.  I also would probably make the assumption that she is not older than Valentine, then again I could be wrong.  My next step now is to reorder microfilms from the library and look for the baptismal records for both Valentine & Victoria in hopes of finding their parents & tracing things back even further than that.  What I also would like to find is the answer to my problem of the two Joannes' and see if I can find a death records for the first boy names Joannes.

Now the funny thing about all these finds I made in terms of my great-great grandfather Andrew's parents & siblings, is that originally I ordered all these microfilms so that I could find baptismal/birth records for my great-great grandparents Andrew & Elizabeth as well as the 3 children they had in Poland before immigrating to America in 1900, as well as their marriage record.  Ironically I found non of those in my search, which confuses me.  Every record I have of the Panfil's states that they were from Gniewkowo, which is the parish & area that I ordered all the microfilms from.  What is a mystery to me, is that if they said that's where they were from & it's clearly where Andrew as born, where did they get married & have their first 3 children & why have I been unable to find an record of them so far?