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Dead end in international search...

Dead end in international search...

Posted: 24 Jan 2013 2:18AM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: Nowak, nee ...?
I am in desperate need of assistance in my search to find out more about my family:

My grandfather was named William Nowak, he was born in the 1890s, but I'm not sure of the date. He married Bernice (maiden name unknown....another key item I need to find out!) in the mid 1920s, then immigrated to Canada (specifically Cambridge/Waterloo Ontario) in 1929 to work on the tunnel from Detroit to Windsor. his relatives are traceable, and I've been able to locate a few around the Detroit area. My problem is, I have no clue about my grandmother's side of the family; I do not know the name of the small village in Poland where she was born (also sometime in the 1890s, 1896 I believe?), only that a lot of her family were killed in the Warsaw ghetto during WWII. Luckily, she followed my grandfather in 1933 to Canada, along with their 2 children, before Hitler could do too much damage to the Jewish population. here is my theory: her family MUST have been either Jewish or suspected to have gypsy blood...otherwise why would they have been forced to live in the squalid conditions of the gated Jewish ghetto? In the Nowak side of the family (my grandfather's side, which had markedly 'Aryan' physical attributes) this idea was fiercely denied, and my grandmother seemed to be a staunch Roman Catholic...however, over the years I have heard mention of some 'skeletons in the closet' - secrets that Bernice took to her grave in 1988.

First off, my father, who was born in 1925 (William Thomas Nowak) just outside Krakow, did not look at all like his father; many times my grandfather would threaten to 'sell him off the the gypsies' since he wasn't really his son. My grandmother would always scoff at him, attack him verbally...and the conversation always ended there, without any further details. So, there is a strong possibility that he was not really the biological son of William Nowak. It was rumored that Bernice had a lover back in Poland - an olive-skinned, black-eyed man who lived next door - but according to her, she had NEVER taken up with him after she was married. His first name was Peter and was rumored to be of some exotic ethnic descent (of course extremely vague)

Does anyone have any suggestions on how I might start with this seemingly hopeless endeavor? I've searched census records, birth/death/marriage records, etc...but most of these sites seem to be only within the U.S. I was thinking of cemetery records for Bernice and William, but I do not know the name of the cemetery in which they are buried, in what used to be called Preston, Ont. Also, as my sister pointed out, this would only give me specific birth dates, and would not offer any help as to her maiden name. If I could find a way to access marriage records of the 1920s in Poland, then that could be a start...I've only reached brick walls in this avenue as well, unfortunately.

Please, PLEASE help me! Any information (no matter how trivial you may think it is) would be most gratefully appreciated!

Re: Dead end in international search...

Posted: 24 Jan 2013 8:54PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 24 Jan 2013 9:12PM GMT
The english Version Of Bronislawa Is Bernice and Bertha,so i guess Bernise gave the polish or true version Of her Name as the mother On The death certificate or Thomas Did.So If This is your Thomas And Bernice(Bronislawa)then You now have Her Maiden Name and real polish First Name.

Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1938 and Deaths Overseas, 1939-1947
Name: Baby Nowak
Death Date: 12 Dec 1932
Death County or District: Waterloo
Gender: Female
Birth Location: Galt Hospital
Father: Thos Nowak
Place of Birth:Poland
Mother: Bronislawa Sierakowska
Place of Birth:Poland
Township:Preston
Adress:206 Montrose St.





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Re: Dead end in international search...

Posted: 25 Jan 2013 1:49PM GMT
Classification: Query
I think one thing which just might make things clearer would be if you could get the actual date of ANY of the deaths. You say that "a lot of her family were killed in the Warsaw ghetto during WW2.." Are you absolutely sure it was the ghetto, which would make pretty sure they were Jewish, which was destroyed in 1943, or was it in the Warsaw Uprising in 1944 when the Poles rose up against the Nazis in the belief they would be helped by the Allies, i.e. the Russians who were just over the river? The Russians sat on their hands for political reasons and let the Poles be slaughtered - I believe civilian casualities were about 30,000. If your relatives were killed in 1944 it would be fairly sure that they were not Jewish. Hope this helps a bit.
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