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George Grams



Joined: 07 May 2019
Replies: 13
Location: Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada

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Post Posted: Tue May 07, 2019 2:14 pm      Post subject: SEEKING RELATIVES OF MY FATHER, EDMUND GRAMS
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I am trying to trace relatives in Poland, where my father, Edmund Grams, was born on 4 January 1924 in the Gdansk/Gdynia area. He made his way to the UK during the war and settled in Aberdeen, Scotland, where he was a deep sea fisherman. He managed to reunite with his family in Poland in the early 1960's when he visisted with my mother (Betty Grams, nee Stanton) and my brother, Edmond Maximillian. Father returned on his own a few years later.

We were regularly in contact with them until my father's death in 1976 after which we lost touch. I inherited some photographs of Polish relatives when my mother died a few years back but no information such as addresses that would help me contact them.

I don't have a lot of information on my father. I do not know the names of his parents but seem to recollect that he had two sisters, Anna and Wanda who I think were older.

I was born in 1949 and educated in Aberdeen where I graduated as an architect. I moved to Canada from Scotland in 2003 where I now live on Salt Spring Island.

I'm hoping polishorigins.com might tease out some leads that can help me make contact with any off my father's relatives, or others who might have some idea as to how I might be able to find them.

If possible, I would also like to be able to obtain a copy of my father's birth certificate so I can discover who his parents were.
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looking for clues



Joined: 04 Apr 2015
Replies: 103

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Post Posted: Tue May 07, 2019 11:20 pm      Post subject:
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Hello George,

A starting point could be your parent's marriage record. Marriage records often contain information about where the bride and groom were born (may give a specific town) and can also contain their parents names. Most locations have a government record and if there was a religious ceremony there would also be a church record. Sometimes the civil record can lead you to where the marriage took place. Catholic records for example, can contain info as to where they were baptized. Do you know where your parents were married?

Also, do you know if Grams was the original spelling of you dad's last name?

Good luck.

Diane
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George Grams



Joined: 07 May 2019
Replies: 13
Location: Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada

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Post Posted: Wed May 08, 2019 10:42 am      Post subject:
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Diane, thank you for your thoughtful reply. I've ordered a copy of my parent's marriage certificate. Hopefully that will provide some clues. I have also ordered a copy of my father's naturalization certificate. It might contain more pertinent information than the marriage certificate.

I believe the surname spelling is correct but have so little information on the family that I wouldn't likely know if it had been changed. The certificates should be here in a couple weeks and with any additional information they illuminate I'll likely have to commission someone in Poland to undertake a records search there. I understand it's unlikely that their records are digitized and as easily ordered as those from the UK.
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Joined: 04 Apr 2015
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Post Posted: Wed May 08, 2019 11:06 am      Post subject:
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George,

Naturalization records are another great source.

About five or six years ago, I discovered that many records civil and church records from Poland are now digitized and can be found online. Some of these records are also indexed by volunteers. That helped me make great progress and make family history discoveries that I thought I would never find!

Once you get the marriage and naturalization records, post what you learn here. Maybe somebody can guide you to those records. There are also threads on the forum to help with translations.

Good luck.

Diane
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George Grams



Joined: 07 May 2019
Replies: 13
Location: Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada

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Post Posted: Mon May 27, 2019 8:25 pm      Post subject: THANKS FOR THE SUGGESTIONS
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Diane, I received my parents marriage certificate from the UK today which provides the information I needed as to the names of my father’s mother and father, including his mother's maiden name. I await his naturalization certificate from the UK authorities and hope that with those documents and information I can track down his birth certificate. I’ll now try to find someone in Poland who might help with that task. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction.
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Post Posted: Mon May 27, 2019 8:42 pm      Post subject:
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George, you got that pretty quickly:) It doesn't hurt to post names, potential locations and time periods here once you have them. You never know if somebody else is researching a particular name or location and/or have hints to lead you to the Polish records.
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George Grams



Joined: 07 May 2019
Replies: 13
Location: Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada

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Post Posted: Mon May 27, 2019 8:57 pm      Post subject: Progress
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The Scottish records office is terrific. Great online resource, easily searchable and quick service for paper copies.

My father’s father was Jan Ludwik Grams. His mother was Magdalena Griesiak. I hope the spelling is correct. That’s how they’re spelled on the marriage certificate. Jan is noted as being a farmer (which I knew). That would suggest a rural location somewhere in the Gdansk/Gdynia area.
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Sophia



Joined: 05 Oct 2014
Replies: 365

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Post Posted: Wed May 29, 2019 7:49 am      Post subject:
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Hi George and Diane,
I took a look on Geneteka for these surnames, specifically in Wojewodztwo Pomorskie (equivalent to a province, in which Gdansk is located). Here is an example of what you can see for the name Grams (also showing up as Gramse):
https://geneteka.genealodzy.pl/index.php?op=gt&lang=pol&bdm=B&w=11pm&rid=B&search_lastname=Grams&search_name=&search_lastname2=&search_name2=&from_date=&to_date=&rpp1=&ordertable=
From this, you see people with the Grams name living in the town of Wielkie Walichnowy, which is about 70km from Gdansk, and the town of Koscierzyna, about 60km from Gdansk. While I do not find any Griesiak in either of these places, I do see Grzesiek and Grzesiak in Wojewodztwo Pomorskie so you might want to consider those spellings. Also, bear in mind that what Geneteka shows is just what someone has entered, to date. Not finding a person may mean that they are not there or that they have not been indexed yet. Play around with searching there, and see what you can find. Enter a surname into the "osoba" box and click on "wyzukaj" ("search").
You have asked two questions, one about finding records of your father and his family, but your other question was about finding living relatives. For the latter, I think you need to consider the history of this particular area and the tremendous relocations that happened post-WWII. Your living relatives may be nowhere near this area, today. Just a thought to keep in mind.
Best of luck in your search!
Sophia
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George Grams



Joined: 07 May 2019
Replies: 13
Location: Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada

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Post Posted: Wed May 29, 2019 12:52 pm      Post subject:
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Sophia, thank you so much for undertaking that search. As you suggest, I’ll explore the site and try different names and see what emerges. I’ll post any leads that might look promising.
Thank you again.
George
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Post Posted: Wed May 29, 2019 9:44 pm      Post subject:
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George,

Picking up on the leads on Geneteka Sophia gave you, I note with interest the birth and death in 1849 of Maximilian Vincent Gramse in Wielkie Walichnowy since it appears that your brother, Edmond Maximillian had Maximillian in his name too. My own family research has been in the Russian partition and I personally haven't run across Maximillian as being that common.

Also, can you ask your brother, what he remembers about that early 1960's trip to Poland? Depending on his age at the time, he may remember bits and pieces that may initially seem irrelevant but could be clues. Some questions I'd ask:
What stand out from that trip for him?
Does he remember meeting aunts, uncles, cousins?
Were the cousins older or younger?
Does he remember any names, first or last?
Were your grandparents alive when he visited?
Were all the relatives in one town?
Did they all live there or come to visit you and your family?
Did he get the impression that this was where your father grew up?
Was it a village or a city?
What language/languages were spoken?
Did they visit any churches? If so, what religion - Catholic, Lutheran or ?

Diane
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George Grams



Joined: 07 May 2019
Replies: 13
Location: Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada

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Post Posted: Wed May 29, 2019 10:08 pm      Post subject:
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Hi, Diane

Yes, I saw that too. It could be a relation. My father was born in 1924, or so it says on his marriage certificate so Maximillian Vincent could be a relation, perhaps even his grandfather.

My brother died in 2014. I recollect that the family met a host of relations including my father's two sisters, Anna and Wanda, I believe they were named. I have some photographs here from that period and earlier with writing on the back that sometimes is difficult to read. Names are included and tomorrow I'll scan the backs of those photographs and upload them. There are quite a few.
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Post Posted: Wed May 29, 2019 10:37 pm      Post subject:
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The way I read it, it looks like that Maximilian Vincent was both born and died in 1849 since the name appeared on both registers. Maximilian could be a family name or another child could have also been named that after the first child died.

I am sorry to hear that you lost your brother in 2014. I didn't realize that he was deceased when I posed the questions for him.

Do you read and speak Polish? If you need help with translations there is a Polish records translations thread https://forum.polishorigins.com/viewtopic.php?t=1814 It is my understanding that for detailed translations it may be better to post there because some of those that help with translations look there. I realize reading the handwriting can be a different issue:)

Diane
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Sophia



Joined: 05 Oct 2014
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Post Posted: Thu May 30, 2019 8:04 am      Post subject:
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Hi George and Diane,
I would like to add just a little bit more here.
At the time of your father's birth, George, Gdansk was the Free City of Danzig. That period between the two world wars saw this city being basically autonomous. The villages outside of it, depending, could have been part of it or part of West Prussia (Westpreussen). Since you have that clue about Jan being a farmer, I agree with your idea that they likely resided in a rural area outside of the city. So, you will see that all of these towns have two names, a current Polish name and a former Prussian name. For example, Wielkie Walichnowy was called Gross Falkenau. Koscierzyna was Berent. If you go to the Family Search website, you can find church records for both of these places, and they are conveniently indexed under both names. Expect the records to be written in German. In order to view these microfilm images online, one would have to be at a Family History Center. It would really help to know which place to focus on. It may not be either of these two villages, they just happened to pop up in that quick Geneteka search.
I am very happy to know that you've got photos with writing on the back. I look forward to seeing them posted here, or as Diane suggested, posted on the Polish translations thread. Let's see what we can learn!
Until then,
Sophia
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George Grams



Joined: 07 May 2019
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Location: Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada

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Post Posted: Thu May 30, 2019 9:23 am      Post subject:
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Here are the photographs I have, some with dates. I’ve scanned the photographs in sheets then flipped them to show the text on the rear. I’ve flipped the shots so the image and text are in the same relative position on each of the two sheets. I’ve had to enhance some of the really faded text to make it darker so hope it’s legible. Thank you for taking a look at these and providing your comments.

George



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George Grams



Joined: 07 May 2019
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Location: Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada

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Post Posted: Thu May 30, 2019 9:34 am      Post subject:
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One more.


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