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KaminskiJL



Joined: 29 Jul 2022
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Post Posted: Tue Aug 23, 2022 8:16 pm      Post subject: Unknown Photo
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I have this photo taken by Antoni Jablonski. I believe the photo was taken in Suwalki. The date of the photo is unknown, but I suspect that it was taken in the late 1800s. I have been told that the photo is of my grandfather (Dominik Mroga) as a child with his parents (Peter Mroga, wife's name is unknown.
I was wondering if this photographer kept records of his photos which could be accessed to try to identify the subjects. Also, there appears to be some handwriting on the reverse of the photo. Is it possible to read/translate the writing?



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Sophia
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Post Posted: Wed Aug 24, 2022 4:25 am      Post subject: Re: Unknown Photo
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KaminskiJL wrote:
I have this photo taken by Antoni Jablonski. I believe the photo was taken in Suwalki. The date of the photo is unknown, but I suspect that it was taken in the late 1800s. I have been told that the photo is of my grandfather (Dominik Mroga) as a child with his parents (Peter Mroga, wife's name is unknown.
I was wondering if this photographer kept records of his photos which could be accessed to try to identify the subjects. Also, there appears to be some handwriting on the reverse of the photo. Is it possible to read/translate the writing?


Hi Joe,
Studio photographers would have kept daybooks. The photo would have a number on the back, which would indicate to the photographer what negative had been used for that photo. It would not have been necessary for the photographer to record the name of everyone in the photo, perhaps only one name in order to link to a customer, but this must have depended on the practice of the individual photographer. The number on the photo would allow a customer to ask for reprints. Whether such a book would have made it into an archive, I do not know.
I see some of Antoni Jabłoński's other work here:
https://mk.muzeum.suwalki.pl/suwalczanie/
The image on the back of your photo demonstrates the photographer's pride in a gold medal won in 1910, at an exhibition in Napoli (Naples, Italy). That would seem to indicate your photo is not as old as you are thinking.
Are you able to post another image of the writing? Perhaps with different lighting? It is too difficult to catch more than a few letters of each word.
Best regards,
Sophia
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KaminskiJL



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Post Posted: Wed Aug 24, 2022 7:47 am      Post subject:
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sorry, I thought that this picture was also attached to my original.


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KaminskiJL



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Post Posted: Wed Aug 24, 2022 7:54 am      Post subject:
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Here is the same picture with the colors reversed. It is a little more readable.


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Sophia
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Post Posted: Thu Aug 25, 2022 6:38 am      Post subject:
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Hi Joe,
Thanks for uploading the additional images of the back of the photo. I have been studying all three of them. Despite my best efforts, I cannot tell you what it says. I can, however, share some thoughts with you.
To begin with, we do not know who wrote on the back of the photo, or when. It could have been written very soon after the photo was made, perhaps even by one of the people in the picture, for the purpose of sending to someone. Often, in such cases, the words “na pamiątkę” are written (“as a memento”) but I do not see this here. The writing could have been done by a recipient close in time to when the photo was made, or even by whoever held it 50 years later and thought, “I had better label this because no one else will know who these people are.” That leaves me uncertain as to whether what I am seeing was written by someone whose primary language was Polish or English (or other?).
Take, for example, the second line of writing, which begins with the numbers 223, followed by something that could be Grott, or Pratt. You might think that this could be a house address. When we are writing a street address, we put the house number followed by the name of the street. However, in Polish, one writes the name of the street followed by the house number. Also, in Polish, a double “t” would be unusual. So, does this fit any address of U.S. relatives of yours? If not, then the Grott/Pratt could be a surname (German, maybe?) and the number may mean something else altogether.
Looking at the line above that, it begins with what looks like the English word “of” or a lower case “g” followed by a small "x" and I cannot make sense of that. This is followed by what may be Roman numerals, XIX, or possibly X (crossed out) followed by IX. It reminds me a bit of the way one writes a date in Polish, in the format of day.month.year where the month is written in Roman numerals, e.g. today would be 25.VIII.2022 r. However, since there are no Latin numbers preceding or following this, it is not likely to be a date. Following that is something that looks like “Łady B(hard to read the rest)” and there is a town in Poland called Łady-Borowe which is some distance from Suwalki but still at least in that northeastern part of Poland. Does this make sense with what you know of where your family lived? The final word on that line looks like “Hageller” but again this does not seem particularly Polish.
On the line beneath that, where there is something that looks like “zfl” (means nothing to me), I can almost convince myself that I see a small “plus sign” to the left of it. This brings me to mention something I see on the obverse of the photo. Beneath the man, there is an X. Beneath the woman, there is + in much the same way that I might have used single and double asterisks * and **. What I expect to see is that the reverse of the photo would use these symbols, something like:
X Peter Mroga
+ (woman’s name) Mroga
That brings us back to the XIX in that top line. Is it possible that the terminal X is part of this type of key?
I will return to the topic of when the photo was taken. If you thought the child was Dominick Mroga in the late 1800s, but the photo was not taken until after 1910 (because of the notation on the reverse of receiving a gold medal in that year), do you have any other candidates in mind for who these people could be? And do their names or where they lived match anything at all that I have deciphered?
Best of luck in solving it,
Sophia
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KaminskiJL



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Post Posted: Thu Aug 25, 2022 8:35 am      Post subject:
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Sophia, Thank you for your efforts and you insight. I actually know very little about my grandparents. According to his naturalization application Dominik Mroga was born on or about 4 June 1879 in Suwalki. He died in 1927 long before my birth. My grandmother, Ewa Esa, also passed in 1958 when I was just a toddler. My father, Leonard Kaminski, was the youngest child and passed in 1980 at the age of 50 before I became interested in genealogy. I see what you mean about the picture being more recent than I originally believed. I guess that I will try to see if anyone can locate a birth record for Dominik and hopefully find more information about his parents there.
Again, thank you for your help.
Regards,
Joe Kaminski
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Sophia
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Post Posted: Fri Aug 26, 2022 6:49 am      Post subject:
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KaminskiJL wrote:
Sophia, Thank you for your efforts and you insight. I actually know very little about my grandparents. According to his naturalization application Dominik Mroga was born on or about 4 June 1879 in Suwalki. He died in 1927 long before my birth. My grandmother, Ewa Esa, also passed in 1958 when I was just a toddler. My father, Leonard Kaminski, was the youngest child and passed in 1980 at the age of 50 before I became interested in genealogy. I see what you mean about the picture being more recent than I originally believed. I guess that I will try to see if anyone can locate a birth record for Dominik and hopefully find more information about his parents there.
Again, thank you for your help.
Regards,
Joe Kaminski


Hi Joe,

Here is what I found indexed on Geneteka, for Mroga birth/baptism records in the parish of Wigry:
https://geneteka.genealodzy.pl/index.php?op=gt&lang=pol&bdm=B&w=10pl&rid=B&search_lastname=Mroga&search_name=&search_lastname2=&search_name2=&from_date=&to_date=&rpp1=&ordertable=

As you see, there is a Dominik Mroga, born in 1877, Akt 130, which is reasonably close to what you expected. Unfortunately, I cannot find the church book for that specific year. However, you see there is also Emilia born in 1879, Akt 181, who is a potential sister. Here is a link to the record of her birth/baptism:
https://www.szukajwarchiwach.gov.pl/skan/-/skan/c4bb551c48b733c971918bd4a167e6c88ab4ec9846c48ba1ef0dda32a8a0dbaf
Although I cannot read Russian, I can see that the name of the child and the names of the parents are written in Polish. Emilia’s father is Piotr (=Peter) Mroga so that is encouraging. Emilia’s mother is Franciszka Nazarowska.

Here is another sibling, Jozef, born in 1882, Akt 120:
https://www.szukajwarchiwach.gov.pl/skan/-/skan/aeab5de8da3579b2493b6353fbde38129561999332277522e4e32a44eb03958a

This is not an exhaustive search of the records, just enough to show you what may be your family. Do you think this might be them?

Wigry is just east of Suwalki:
https://www.google.ca/maps/dir/Wigry,+Poland/Suwa%C5%82ki,+Poland/@54.0899262,22.9885151,13z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m13!4m12!1m5!1m1!1s0x46e0fc11fae5e157:0xc686049daa8803b5!2m2!1d23.0858841!2d54.06824!1m5!1m1!1s0x46e10239cf478e5b:0x922ff8bdc4a99ea0!2m2!1d22.9307881!2d54.1115218?hl=en

Since someone has been able to index the record for Dominik Mroga, an image of it must be available somewhere. I am not sure how to go about finding it.

Best,
Sophia
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dnowicki
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Post Posted: Fri Aug 26, 2022 9:56 am      Post subject:
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Sophia wrote:
KaminskiJL wrote:
Sophia, Thank you for your efforts and you insight. I actually know very little about my grandparents. According to his naturalization application Dominik Mroga was born on or about 4 June 1879 in Suwalki. He died in 1927 long before my birth. My grandmother, Ewa Esa, also passed in 1958 when I was just a toddler. My father, Leonard Kaminski, was the youngest child and passed in 1980 at the age of 50 before I became interested in genealogy. I see what you mean about the picture being more recent than I originally believed. I guess that I will try to see if anyone can locate a birth record for Dominik and hopefully find more information about his parents there.
Again, thank you for your help.
Regards,
Joe Kaminski


Hi Joe,

Here is what I found indexed on Geneteka, for Mroga birth/baptism records in the parish of Wigry:
https://geneteka.genealodzy.pl/index.php?op=gt&lang=pol&bdm=B&w=10pl&rid=B&search_lastname=Mroga&search_name=&search_lastname2=&search_name2=&from_date=&to_date=&rpp1=&ordertable=

As you see, there is a Dominik Mroga, born in 1877, Akt 130, which is reasonably close to what you expected. Unfortunately, I cannot find the church book for that specific year. However, you see there is also Emilia born in 1879, Akt 181, who is a potential sister. Here is a link to the record of her birth/baptism:
https://www.szukajwarchiwach.gov.pl/skan/-/skan/c4bb551c48b733c971918bd4a167e6c88ab4ec9846c48ba1ef0dda32a8a0dbaf
Although I cannot read Russian, I can see that the name of the child and the names of the parents are written in Polish. Emilia’s father is Piotr (=Peter) Mroga so that is encouraging. Emilia’s mother is Franciszka Nazarowska.

Here is another sibling, Jozef, born in 1882, Akt 120:
https://www.szukajwarchiwach.gov.pl/skan/-/skan/aeab5de8da3579b2493b6353fbde38129561999332277522e4e32a44eb03958a

This is not an exhaustive search of the records, just enough to show you what may be your family. Do you think this might be them?

Wigry is just east of Suwalki:
https://www.google.ca/maps/dir/Wigry,+Poland/Suwa%C5%82ki,+Poland/@54.0899262,22.9885151,13z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m13!4m12!1m5!1m1!1s0x46e0fc11fae5e157:0xc686049daa8803b5!2m2!1d23.0858841!2d54.06824!1m5!1m1!1s0x46e10239cf478e5b:0x922ff8bdc4a99ea0!2m2!1d22.9307881!2d54.1115218?hl=en

Since someone has been able to index the record for Dominik Mroga, an image of it must be available somewhere. I am not sure how to go about finding it.

Best,
Sophia


Hi Sophia & Joe,

The birth record for Dominik is housed in the Polish National Archive in Sułwaki (Archiwum Państwowe w Suwałkach). It appears that records for 1877 are not available online so contacting the archive would be the order of the day. The icons at the end of the entry on Geneteka provide useful info. In Dominik’s case if you hover over the first icon you learn the place where the record is found. The second icon provides the name of the indexer.

Sułwaki was and is both a town and a powiat. In the 1907 map of the powiat of Sułwaki Wigry is shown as a village with a parish church on the eastern shore of the lake of the same name.

All the best,

Dave



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KaminskiJL



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Post Posted: Fri Aug 26, 2022 9:41 pm      Post subject:
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Hello Sophia and Dave,

Wow! a lot of Mrogas. I wonder if they are all related. The oldest thing that I have that indicates Dominik's age is the passenger list for the ship that he immigrated on. He immigrated aboard the S.S. Roland from Bremen arriving in Baltimore on 28 March 1896. This record states that his age was 17, which would have made his birth year 1879. However, I have learned that age was something to be taken with a grain of salt. As I progress through the U.S. census data for him I see his age change by as much as 5 years, so a 2 year difference in birth year seems acceptable. How can his birth record be requested from the archives in Suwalki?

I was surprised that his father's birth was not listed on your Geneteka query. Does this mean that Piotyr Mroga was not born in Wigry?
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KaminskiJL



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Post Posted: Fri Aug 26, 2022 9:46 pm      Post subject:
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Sophia, Getting back to the picture now based on what you have told me I think that you are correct and the picture is not of Dominik Mroga at all. Being that the date of the photograph is at least 1910, it is more likely that the photo was sent to Dominik from family in Poland and probably shows a nephew with his parents. Either of these parents could be Dominik's sibling with a spouse.
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Post Posted: Sun Aug 28, 2022 10:24 am      Post subject:
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KaminskiJL wrote:
Hello Sophia and Dave,

Wow! a lot of Mrogas. I wonder if they are all related. The oldest thing that I have that indicates Dominik's age is the passenger list for the ship that he immigrated on. He immigrated aboard the S.S. Roland from Bremen arriving in Baltimore on 28 March 1896. This record states that his age was 17, which would have made his birth year 1879. However, I have learned that age was something to be taken with a grain of salt. As I progress through the U.S. census data for him I see his age change by as much as 5 years, so a 2 year difference in birth year seems acceptable. How can his birth record be requested from the archives in Suwalki?

I was surprised that his father's birth was not listed on your Geneteka query. Does this mean that Piotyr Mroga was not born in Wigry?


Hi Joe,

Here is a link to contact the archive: https://www.suwalki.ap.gov.pl/p,61,kontakt
The easiest way to contact the archive is via email.

The boxes are simple. The first is for your given and surname; 2nd: your email address; 3rd: your phone number; 4th: your postal address; 5th: your request; the green button is for send.

I suppose you can try making your request in English, although in Polish would be better. Keep the request short using the data from the Geneteka index: Name of parish (Wigry), 1877 Akt: ur. (birth) 130—Dominik Mroga.

With any luck you should hear back. The archive may have a fee for their service, which is to be sent directly to the archive’s bank account.

Piotr and his wife likely were born and married in Wigry parish. The fact their births (and marriage) are not in the Geneteka index could simply be because the records for the year of those events have not been indexed yet. The attached screenshots under Katalog Zasobów Metrykalnych show in green the years which have been indexed. The white gaps are for years not yet indexed.

I know that it is exciting to start to find records from Europe but it is best not to jump the gun. Move on to parents after you have received a copy of the birth record.

Another good way to confirm his paternity would be via his ecclesiastical marriage record on this side of the pond since those records usually give the names of the parents of the bride and the groom.

Wishing you success,

Dave



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Sophia
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Post Posted: Mon Aug 29, 2022 8:05 am      Post subject:
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Hi Dave and Joe,
Thanks, Dave, for mentioning the icons at the end of the lines on Geneteka. I often look right past them, but that is very useful information contained there.
Joe, in addition to the instructions Dave provided regarding how to send a query to the Suwalki archive, I believe you are also being asked to prove you are not a robot - - there appears to be a simple math question you will have to answer, in order to show you are a human, before it will let you send your request.
Best of luck!
Sophia
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KaminskiJL



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Post Posted: Mon Aug 29, 2022 6:43 pm      Post subject:
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Dave and Sophia, Thank you both for all of your help! I have submitted my request to the Suwalki archive and am waiting for their reply.

Regards,
Joe Kaminski
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