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ksmets
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Post Posted: Wed Sep 14, 2016 12:31 pm      Post subject: Meyteck Gondek and/or Mjeczystaw Gadek
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Hello all,

I am looking at two birth records in "Births registered in the city of Adams for the year 1910,” Massachusetts Vital Records, 1840-1911, New England Historic Genealogical Society (Boston, Mass.). Both records were handwritten on the same page in the register, 3 lines apart.

The first one is for Mjeczystaw Gadek, born 6 September 1910, son of Michael and Mary Puta. Both were born in Austria. Michael is listed as a baker.

The second one is for Meyteck Gondek, born 7 September 1910, son of Michael Gondek and Mary Puto. Both were born in Austria. Michael is listed as millhand.

I am very suspicious about these two records. At first glance it seems that we are looking at two different families. But are we really? Could they be duplicates? Were the boys twins? I gather that Mjeczystaw refers to the Polish name Mieczysław, wich according to Wikipedia has Mietek, Miecio, Mieszko as nicknames.

Any thoughts?

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dnowicki
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Joined: 28 Dec 2011
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Post Posted: Wed Sep 14, 2016 3:42 pm      Post subject: Re: Meyteck Gondek and/or Mjeczystaw Gadek
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ksmets wrote:
Hello all,

I am looking at two birth records in "Births registered in the city of Adams for the year 1910,” Massachusetts Vital Records, 1840-1911, New England Historic Genealogical Society (Boston, Mass.). Both records were handwritten on the same page in the register, 3 lines apart.

The first one is for Mjeczystaw Gadek, born 6 September 1910, son of Michael and Mary Puta. Both were born in Austria. Michael is listed as a baker.

The second one is for Meyteck Gondek, born 7 September 1910, son of Michael Gondek and Mary Puto. Both were born in Austria. Michael is listed as millhand.

I am very suspicious about these two records. At first glance it seems that we are looking at two different families. But are we really? Could they be duplicates? Were the boys twins? I gather that Mjeczystaw refers to the Polish name Mieczysław, wich according to Wikipedia has Mietek, Miecio, Mieszko as nicknames.

Any thoughts?


Hi Kristine,

In my opinion the two birth records are duplicates of the same individual. The child was probably born at home with a midwife rather than a physician assisting at the birth. The midwife was probably Polish and it was most likely her responsibility to register the birth which she may very well have done twice with different names and dates of birth. There was probably a language barrier which would account for variations in spelling and in occupations. The attached 1910 Federal Census presents another spelling variation and another name for the child. The census enumerator was not Polish and again there was probably a language barrier. The family were borders in the home of another and it is not known who provided the info to the enumerator. Attached is Michael and Mary's civil marriage registration which lists a Polish priest as the officiant at the wedding. The only Polish parish in town at the time was St. Stanislaus so that is probably where the marriage took place. The parish is now merged but the good news is that there is plenty of contact info for the parish office---including an email address. I would suggest contacting the parish office for a copy of the marriage record (preferably a copy of the actual entry in the register rather than a certificate). Their child was probably baptized in the same church so a request for the baptismal record should go a long way in resolving your question.

Wishing you success,

Dave



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ksmets
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Post Posted: Wed Sep 14, 2016 5:14 pm      Post subject: Meyteck Gondek and/or Mjeczystaw Gadek
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Hi Dave,

thank you so much. I tend to agree with you. I should have added that I had already looked at the Census and marriage records, as well as the website for St. Stanislaus Church. I went ahead and requested original birth records from the Massachusetts Archives and baptismal record(s) from St. Stanislaus. The son "Teddy" who listed on the census record must be an earlier child however, as he was already 6 months old by May 30, 1910 (when the enumerator visited the house).

Do you know by any chance whether Michael is the English version of a name like Mjeczystaw? And would Teodor be the Polish equivalent of Theodore?

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Elzbieta Porteneuve
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Post Posted: Wed Sep 14, 2016 5:46 pm      Post subject: Re: Meyteck Gondek and/or Mjeczystaw Gadek
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ksmets wrote:
Hello all,

I am looking at two birth records in "Births registered in the city of Adams for the year 1910,” Massachusetts Vital Records, 1840-1911, New England Historic Genealogical Society (Boston, Mass.). Both records were handwritten on the same page in the register, 3 lines apart.

The first one is for Mjeczystaw Gadek, born 6 September 1910, son of Michael and Mary Puta. Both were born in Austria. Michael is listed as a baker.

The second one is for Meyteck Gondek, born 7 September 1910, son of Michael Gondek and Mary Puto. Both were born in Austria. Michael is listed as millhand.

I am very suspicious about these two records. At first glance it seems that we are looking at two different families. But are we really? Could they be duplicates? Were the boys twins? I gather that Mjeczystaw refers to the Polish name Mieczysław, wich according to Wikipedia has Mietek, Miecio, Mieszko as nicknames.

Any thoughts?


Hi Kristine,

Let me add few words to Dave's explanation.

I am quite sure the name Gadek was written with Polish diacritic, Gądek, see numbers in today’s distributions. When you do not have Polish diacritic “ą”, you write “on” instead, the closest spelling – that case is very frequent in Polish records written with Cyrillic alphabet, with identical situation: no Cyrillic equivalent to “ą”, you write Cyrillic equivalent to “on”.

4501 persons with the name Gądek
http://www.moikrewni.pl/mapa/kompletny/g%25C4%2585dek.html
181 persons with the name Gadek
http://www.moikrewni.pl/mapa/kompletny/gadek.html

The given name "Mjeczystaw" have two mistakes (probably deciphering of handwritten names) – letter “j”, long “i” (spelled in Polish way, not English), and one typo – letter “t”, which should be Polish “l with stroke”, ł. The correct name is exactly as you wrote, Mieczysław.

Meyteck should be Mietek, and is exactly one of variants of Mieczysław (Slavic languages have many variants for all canonical given names).

My guess is that a Polish midwife recorded the birth of Mieczysław Gądek, on 6 September 1910, but that handwritten Polish record was hard to decipher for non-native Polish speaker, and became “Mjeczystaw Gadek”.

Usually a birth record have two dates: date of record, and date of birth. I guess 7 September 1910 is the date of record, with the given name adapted for non-native Polish ears, but even that was not easy: the correct Mietek was replaced by Meytek.

Only a native Polish speaker knows with certitude that Mieczysław and Mietek is the same name, so that two records were left as written, by two persons, a little mystery for posterior generations.

Best,
Elzbieta

ADDED:
"Do you know by any chance whether Michael is the English version of a name like Mjeczystaw? And would Teodor be the Polish equivalent of Theodore?"
1. No, Michael is the English version of Michał. Mieczysław is an old slavic name, with etymology "miecz"=sword, like in "Ogniem i mieczem", https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/With_Fire_and_Sword, and "sława"=glory, fame
2. Yes, Teodor is Polish equivalent of Theodore

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dnowicki
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Post Posted: Wed Sep 14, 2016 6:47 pm      Post subject:
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Hi Elzbieta & Kristine,

Everything that Elzbieta wrote is accurate but there are additional problems with Polish given names and late 19th Century and early 20th Century immigrants. Many immigrants---especially from the Russian and Austrian Partitions were illiterate in both Polish and in English so sometimes they were not able to verify that information they provided was accurately recorded. The other major problem was that when they needed to deal with the government they either had to bring along a translator or, in the case of census enumerators, the data was entered as the English speaking enumerator heard the responses. If the person giving the data had unclear diction the problems were just compounded. Sometimes the person supplying the information was a child. (Children tended to learn English faster than their parents and men learned to speak English sooner than their wives did---a phenomenon still true of immigrants from rural areas of other countries. Since I was a child I have had many Mexican friends and learned Spanish and can verify what I've just written from personal experience.) My paternal grandmother lived in the USA for 45 years and never really learned to speak English. She didn't need to since everyone she dealt with in the neighborhood where she lived spoke Polish. Another phenomenon with given names of immigrants is that they "Americanized" their given names. Sometimes that was easy---like Michal/Michael, Katarzyna/Catherine, etc. Other times they used an English name which only vaguely sounded like their Polish ---Stanislaw became Stanley, Bronislaw became Barney, Kazimierz became Casey, etc. And then there is my own personal favorite---Wojciech magically became George. (I've never been able to figure out the connection.) In short, those immigrants lived in two worlds and used one given name in their Polish world and another in their American world. The Polish world consisted of family, friends, fellow Poles and the parish to which they belonged. The American world was everything else. My maternal grandmother is a good example...she was Bronislawa in her Polish world and Bernice everywhere else. The same thing still happens in the Hispanic community---a good friend is Calixto in his Mexican world and Cal in his American world and Celerina somehow becomes Sally.

Since records from a Polish parish tend to be much more reflective of the individual's actual name I usually recommend obtaining copies of the actual parish record entries. Other versions of names need to be taken with a grain of salt---or sometimes an entire spoonful of salt.

Dave
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ksmets
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Post Posted: Wed Sep 14, 2016 7:58 pm      Post subject:
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Dear Elzbieta and Dave,

thank you so much for your explanations! Very helpful. I was not familiar with Polish diacritic “ą” but now it makes total sense that the Gadek name was also often spelled as "Gondek."

Kristine

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