Finding Death Notices with DNA Matches
When I match multiple DNA relatives in a cluster, it catches my attention. Although SZ, TL, GL, and I only shared 10 centiMorgans of DNA, like SZ, I grew up in Buffalo, Erie, New York. My father’s families immigrated to Buffalo from Prussia in the 1880s, and my mother’s families in 1913 from the Russian partition of Poland near Sandomierz. Even if we could not find a common ancestor, perhaps we could find a common place where our ancestors were from.
We looked at her father’s parents–Franciszek Ziółkowski and Władysława Rakoczyńska–and her mother’s parents–Jan Kieta and Stanisława Panczakiewicz— to see what we could find in newspaper obituaries and other sources.
Many of the old Buffalo newspapers are online. Death notices often show how family members are related and can be the basis for further research.
Ziółkowski – Rakoczynski
Online family trees were confusing for this family, because there were multiple men named Franciszek/Frank Ziółkowski in Buffalo, and two of them married women named Władysława/Lottie/Charlotte! So it was not clear who was the right Frank, and if Charlotte was Urbaniak or Rakoczyńska. SZ knew her grandmother was Rakoczyńska and recognized her grandmother’s brothers and sisters in her great-grandmother’s obituary.
Franciszek Ziółkowski and Władysława Rakoczyńska were married 8 November 1915 in the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Buffalo, Erie, New York, United States. The witnesses were Jan Kuczerski and Aniela Kolasinska.
Franciszek Ziółkowski, the son of Józef Ziółkowski and Antonina Andrzejewska, was born 4 October 1892 in Zgłowiączka, Warsaw Gubernia, Congress Poland, Russia. Today Wikipedia says “Zgłowiączka is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Lubraniec, within Włocławek County, Kujawsko-Pomorskie, in north-central Poland. It is approximately 5 kilometres (3 mi) south-west of Lubraniec, 24 km (15 mi) south-west of Włocławek, and 60 km (37 mi) south of Toruń.”
Franciszek‘s sister Marianna Ziółkowska married Jan Wierzbicki, son of Marianna Wierzbicka, in Zgłowiączka in 1903.
Franciszek Ziółkowski immigrated on 23 Jun 1910 to New York, New York, United States on the ship Blücher from Hamburg, with a final destination of Buffalo, New York.
Franciszek and Władysława Ziółkowski lived at 56 Saint Florian Street in Buffalo, Erie, New York in 1930 and 1940.
Władysława Rakoczyńska was the daughter of Piotr Rakoczyński and Marianna Wilczyńska.
Piotr Rakociński, the son of Wawrzyniec Rakociński and Urszula Szajnecka, married Marianna Wilczyńska, the daughter of Wojciech Wilczyński and Anna Kuczerska, in 1895, in Włocławek, from the village of Zazamcze, Warsaw Gubernia, Congress Poland, Russia. Zazamcze is now a neighborhood in Włocławek, Kujawsko-Pomorskie, Poland.
Immigration records from 1910 show that Piotr Rakociński left behind his wife Marya in Włocławek to join his brother-in-law Jan in Buffalo. Piotr had been in Buffalo before, from 1903-1908.
Marya Rakocińska arrived with the children–Władysława, Leokadya, Walerya, Roman, Edmund, and Zdzisław–in New York on the ship Ludzow on 25 June 1913. Władysław was born in Buffalo in 1914.
When Marjanna Rakoczyńska died 24 July 1954, death notices were published in the Polish newspaper Dziennik dla Wszystkich [Everybody’s Daily], as well as the Buffalo Evening News.
While Polish names were listed in the Dziennik dla Wszystkich obituary, the names in the Buffalo Evening News were in English.
RAKOCZYNSKI-Mary Rakoczynski (nee Wilczynski) of 166 Marion Ave., in Buffalo, N. Y., July 24, 1954. beloved wife of Peter Rakoczynski; dear mother of Mrs. Frank Ziolkowski, Mrs. Walter Bator, Mrs. Ignatius Stopinski, Roman, Edmund, Sidney and Walter; sister of the late Casimer: sister-in-law of Stella Wilczynski. Survived by 13 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. Funeral services Wednesday morning at 9:30 o’clock from the Kolano Funeral Home. 396 Amherst St., and at 10 o’clock at Assumption Church. Friends Invited.Buffalo Evening News, Buffalo, New York, 27 July 1954, Vital Statistics 23
Marianna‘s brother Kazimierz Wilczynski died 21 January 1954.
WILCZYNSKI— Casimir, of 654 Amherst St., in Buffalo. N. Y., Jan. 21. 1954, beloved husband of Stella (nee Jankowski), father of Henry and Chester; grandfather of Patricia; father in-law of Regina; brother of Mrs. Maryanna Rakoczynska of Buffalo and Mrs. Antoinette Szachowska of Poland; brother-in-law of Peter Rakoczynski. Funeral Monday morning at 10:30 o’clock from S T Dombrowski Funeral Home. 447 Amherst St. Services at Assumption Church at 11 o’clock. Burial in St. Stanislaus Cemetery. Friends invited to attend. Deceased was a member of Polish Cadets Club and Father’s Club.Buffalo Evening News, Buffalo, New York, 22 January 1954, Vital Statistics 25
Władysława‘s father Piotr Rakoczynski died on 4 April 1959 in Buffalo, Erie, New York. He was buried on 7 Apr 1959 at St. Stanislaus RC Cemetery in Cheektowaga, Erie, New York, United States.
RAKOCZYNSKI- Peter of 166 Marion Ave in Buffalo N.Y. April 4, 1959, husband of the late Mary Rakoczynski (nee Wilczynski): dear father of Charlotte, Lottie, Viola, Roman, Edmund, Walter and the late Sidney; father-in law of Frank Ziolkowski, Walter Bator, Ignatius Stopinski, Sophie, Helen, Theresa and Frances, survived by 13 grand children and 12 great-grandchildren. Funeral Tuesday morning at 8:00 o’clock from the Kolano Funeral Home, 398 Amherst St. and 9 o’clock at Assumption Church. Burial in St. Stanislaus Cemetery. Friends Invited.Buffalo Evening News, Buffalo, New York, 6 April 1959, 28 Vital Statistics
Piotr Rakoczynski was born in 1866 in Rakutowo, Kowal, Warsaw Gubernia, Congress Poland, Russia. His parents Wawrzyniec Rakoczynski and Urszula Szajnecka were married in 1865 in Kowal, Warsaw Gubernia, Congress Poland, Russia.
Wawrzyniec Rakoczynski, son of Mikołaj Rakoczynski and Marianna Gętkiewicz, and Urszula Szajnecka, daughter of Jan Szajnecki and Małgorzata Krysztofia, were both born in 1844 in Rakutowo, Kowal, Warsaw Gubernia, Congress Poland, Russia.
Today Wikipedia says that “Rakutowo is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Kowal, within Włocławek County, Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship, in north-central Poland. It lies approximately 5 kilometres south-east of Kowal, 18 km south-east of Włocławek, and 70 km south-east of Toruń.”
Kieta – Panczakiewicz
Jan Kieta and Stanisława Panczakiewicz were married 15 January 1907 at the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Buffalo, Erie, New York.
Jan was the son of Wojciech Kieta and Anna Fudala. Stanisława was the daughter of Ferdynand Panczakiewicz and Katarzyna Guziak.
Jan Kieta was born about 1877 and died on 22 Feb 1942. He was buried on 25 Feb 1942 at Saint Stanislaus Roman Catholic Cemetery in Cheektowaga, Erie, New York. He was survived by his wife Stanisława, his son Stanisław, his daughters Anna, Helena, and Józefa, his son-in-law Stanisław Gawel, his daughter-in-law Władysława, and two granddaughters.
Jan‘s brother Joseph Kieta died 7 August 1962.
KIETA—Joseph Aug. 7, 1962. of 528 Amherst St.. beloved husband of Rose (nee Badkiewicz) Bittner; father of Joseph Jr. of Orchard Park. Walter, Anthony of Buffalo, Leopold, William Kieta and Mrs. Eleanor Hunter of San Diego. Calif.; father-in-law of Geraldine, Alice, Gladys, Ethel and Patricia Kieta and Dr. Louis Hunter of San Diego, Calif.; also survived by seven grandchildren; brother of Victoria Kiebzak and the late John Kieta: brother-in-law of John Kiebzak and Stella Kieta Funeral from the Jachimiak Funeral Home. 392 Amherst St. Saturday morning at 9:30 A M and from the All Saints Church at 10 o’clock Burial in Holy Mother of Rosary Cemetery. Friends are invited.Buffalo Evening News, Buffalo, New York, 10 August 1962, 30 Vital Statistics
John and Joseph Kieta‘s sister Victoria Kiebzak died 12 December 1963.
KIEBZAK-Victoria (nee Kieta) of 38 Bush St., Buffalo, N.Y., Dec. 12, 1963. beloved wife of the late John Kiebzak; dear mother of Walter (Genevieve), Stephen (Stephanie), Mrs. Steve (Estelle) Sarafin, Mrs. Frank (Lottie) Serafin. Edward (Lillian), John (Linda), Mrs. Thaddeus (Beatrice) Webster, Frank (Patricia); also survived by 27 grandchildren. Funeral Monday morning at 930 o’clock from the Kolano Funeral Home, 396 Amherst St. and 10 o’clock at Assumption Church. Friends invited.Buffalo Courier Express, Buffalo, New York, 13 December 1963, page 25.
Stanisława Panczakiewicz Kieta was in her nineties when she died 25 April 1980.
KIETA — Stanislawa (nee Panczakiewicz). April 25, 1980. wife of the late John; mother of Anna, Stanley (Lottie), late Helen (Stanley) Gawel, Josephine (William) Ziolkowski, also survived by nine grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. Funeral Monday at 9:15 from ORLOWSKI AMHERST FUNERAL HOME. 447 Amherst St (between Elmwood and Grant) and at 9:30 from Assumption Church. Friends are invited. Family will be present 2-5 and 7-9 p. m. Deceased was a member of P. N. A . Rosary Society of Assumption Church, whose members will assemble Sunday at 7 p. m.Buffalo Courier Express, Buffalo, New York, 27 April 1980, page C 13
Stanisława‘s brother Józef Panczakiewicz died 28 January 1968.
PANCZAKIEWICZ-Joseph, Jan. 28, 1968, beloved husband of the late Victoria (nee Kiebzak); dear father of Stanley (Millie) Panz, Edwin (Elizabeth) Panczakiewicz. Sister Mary Eulalia CSSF, and Rev. Maximilllan Panczakiewicz (pastor of Our Lady of Sacred Heart Church, Colden, N.Y.); brother of Stanislawa Kieta; also survived by five grandchildren. Friends may call from 5-5 and 7-10 p.m. at the Starosciak Funeral Home, 610 Hertel Ave., where the funeral will be held Thursday at 10:30 a.m. and in St. Florian’s Church at 11. Mr. Panczakiewicz was a member of St. Florian’s Society No. 1027, P.R.C.U.Buffalo Courier Express, Buffalo, New York, 30 January 1968, page 22, column 3.
Hamburg passenger records showed that Ferdinand and Katrina Panczakiewicz of Neumarkt, Galizien (German for Nowy Targ, Galicia) left Hamburg, Germany on 5 Mar 1886 on the Dampfschiff Lincoln en route to New York via England.
A son, Franciszek Panczakiewicz, was born 9 September 1886 in Buffalo, Erie, New York, and baptized 26 September 1886 at Saint Stanislaus Bishop and Martyr Church in Buffalo. His parents were Ferdynand Panczakiewicz and Katarzyna Buziak [sic] from Nowy Targ, Galicia.
Although Ferdynand and Panczakiewicz are not common Polish names, we do not know if this is the same or a related family.
Newspaper obituaries are a valuable way to identify cousins and fill out the family tree. As new names are added to the tree, it becomes easier to see how some DNA matches may be related. Family names include Andrzejewska, Bator, Fudala, Gawel, Gętkiewicz, Guziak, Hunter, Kiebzak, Kieta, Krysztofia, Kuczerska, Panczakiewicz, Panz, Rakociński, Rakoczyński, Serafin, Stopinski, Szachowski, Szajnecki, Webster, Wierzbicki, Wilczynski, Wilczyński, Ziolkowski, Ziółkowski, and other spelling variations.
SZ, TL, GL, and I all share a DNA segment inherited from an ancestor way back in the old country. We probably won’t solve that mystery, but I hope you will agree it was worth taking a look.
Update February 2022: Casimer Wilczynski‘s 1954 obituary said that he was the brother of Mrs. Maryanna Rakoczynska of Buffalo and Mrs. Antoinette Szachowska of Poland. Records in Poland show that Antonina Wilczyńska, daughter of Wojciech Wilczyński and Anna Kuczerska, married Piotr Szachowski, son of Franciszek Szachowski and Józefa Madalińska, at Kościoł św. Jana Chrzciciela in Włocławek, Warsaw Gubernia, Congress Poland, Russia in 1899.
- “Ancestry Passenger Lists,” database, Ancestry (ancestry.com: accessed 27 January 2022), Franciszek Ziolkowski; citing Passenger Lists.
- 1930 Federal Census, New York, population schedule, Buffalo, Erie, New York, enumeration district (ED) 0251, Page: 30A, Frank Ziolkowski; digital images, (online : accessed 25 October 2021); Fifteenth Census of the United States.
- 1940 Federal Census, New York, population schedule, Buffalo, Erie, New York, enumeration district (ED) 64-445, Page: 11A, Frank Ziolkowski; digital images, (online : accessed 25 October 2021); Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940.
- Bars and Stripes, Buffalo Courier Express, Buffalo, New York, 19 January 1945, page 10.
- William F. Ziolkowski. 56 Fiorina- Josephine Kieta, 90 Howell, Buffalo Courier Express, Buffalo, New York, 21 August 1045, page 13.
- Josephine Ziolkowski, Buffalo News, Buffalo, New York, 14 December 2004.
- New York State, Department of Health, Vital Records Index, Albany, New York.
- Jan Kieta, Dziennik dla Wszystkich [Everybody’s Daily], Buffalo, New York, 23 February 1942, page 11. https://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/lccn/sn83045091/1942-02-23/ed-1/seq-11/.
- St. Stanislaus RC Cemetery (Cheektowaga, New York), https://gravefinderatststans.com, Jan Kieta.
- Kieta — Stanislawa (nee Panczakiewicz), Buffalo Courier Express, Buffalo, New York, 27 April 1980, page C 13.
- St. Stanislaus RC Cemetery (Cheektowaga, New York), https://gravefinderatststans.com.
- Panczakiewicz -Joseph, Buffalo Courier Express, Buffalo, New York, 30 January 1968, page 22, column 3.
- Rakoczynski. Peter, Buffalo Evening News, Buffalo, New York, 6 April 1959, 28 Vital Statistics.
- “Find a Grave,” database, Find a Grave (findagrave.com: accessed 25 October 2021), Piotr Rakoczynski; citing cemetery records.
- Mary Rakoczynskl (nee Wilczynski), Buffalo Evening News, Buffalo, New York, 27 July 1954, Vital Statistics 23.
- Marjanna Rakoczyńska, Dziennik dla Wszystkich [Everybody’s Daily], Buffalo, New York, 26 July 1954, Page 10. https://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/lccn/sn83045091/1954-07-26/ed-1/seq-10/.
- Find a Grave, Marianna Rakoczynska.
- “Polskie Towarzystwo Genealogiczne,” database, Polish Genealogical Society, Geneteka (geneteka.genealodzy.pl: accessed 28 December 2021), 1866 43 Piotr Rakoca [Inne nazwiska: Rakocza ] Wawrzyniec Urszula Szajnecka Kowal Rakutowo; citing church records or Urząd Stanu Cywilnego (Civil Registry Office).
- Geneteka, 1844 103 Wawrzyniec Rakoczyński Mikołaj Marianna Gentkiewicz Gętkiewicz Kowal Rakutowo.
- Geneteka, 1844 128 Urszula Szeynacka [Inne nazwiska: Szejnacka Szajnacka ] Jan Małgorzata Krysztofiak Krzysztofiak Kowal Rakutowo.
- Geneteka, 1865 21 Wawrzyniec Rakoca Mikołaj, Marianna Gientkiewicz Giętkiewicz Urszula Szajnecka Jan, Małgorzata Krysztofiak.
- “Polskie Towarzystwo Genealogiczne,” database, Polish Genealogical Society, Geneteka (geneteka.genealodzy.pl: accessed 27 January 2022), 1903 31 Jan Wirzbicki Marianna Wirzbicka Marianna Ziółkowska Józef, Antonina Andrzejewska Zgłowiączka; citing church records or Urząd Stanu Cywilnego (Civil Registry Office).
- Wikipedia contributors, “Zgłowiączka, Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Zg%C5%82owi%C4%85czka,_Kuyavian-Pomeranian_Voivodeship&oldid=864219556 (accessed January 28, 2022).
- Wikipedia contributors, “Włocławek,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=W%C5%82oc%C5%82awek&oldid=1062286844 (accessed December 29, 2021).
- Wikipedia contributors, “Rakutowo,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Rakutowo&oldid=777031989 (accessed December 29, 2021).
- Wikipedia contributors, “Nowy Targ,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Nowy_Targ&oldid=1061947703 (accessed December 29, 2021).
- Geneteka, 1899 13 Piotr Szachowski Franciszek, Józefa Madalińska Antonina Wilczyńska Wojciech, Anna Kuczerska Włocławek św.Jana Chrzciciela.
- Genealogia w Archiwach, 1899 13 Piotr Szachowski Franciszek, Józefa Madalińska Antonina Wilczyńska Wojciech, Anna Kuczerska Włocławek św.Jana Chrzciciela.
- Wikipedia editors, “Church of St. John the Baptist in Włocławek,” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, //pl.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ko%C5%9Bci%C3%B3%C5%82_%C5% 9Bw._Jana_Chrzciciela_we_W% C5% 82oc% C5% 82awku & oldid = 63794577 (accessed February 22, 2022).