Monday, April 15, 2013


     My 2nd great grandparents Pawel "Paul" Szukalski and Constance Budzbanowski Szukalski were parishioners of St. Casimir's Catholic Church in Newton, Wisconsin.  I like to research the churches of my ancestors.  I find that not only does it give me a place to potentially find records but also helps me to "picture" their lives -- to see how their lives entwined with the history of that local church. I was very happy to find a lot of information on the history of St. Casimir's Church on the website.  The exact address for the information is The 28 page history tells not only of the history of the buildings but also the various pastors of that church.

       According to its history, St. Casimir's is the 4th oldest Catholic church in the state of Wisconsin.  The congregation was formed in 1868.  My 2nd great grandfather Paul Szukalski was listed as a charter member of the parish.  Okay. how exciting is that?  On 21 July 1880, the church was destroyed by fire.  That must have been devastating to the congregation.  Masses were then held in the parish school house. However, the congregation was determined to build a new church.  According to the history, the majority of the families of the parish donated either $50 or $100 (which was a lot of money in those days) to build a new church.  The new church was completed in July of 1881.

        I thought this was very interesting.  "In about the year 1895, there were forty-eight families on the Church Records, thirty-eight of whom were Polish and the rest German.  This incident also explains why priests, attending this parish, had to know these two languages sufficiently in order to accommodate all the people."  Supposedly the parish (between the years of 1875 and 1890) actually consisted of double the amount of families as those in 1895, but more of the settlers sold their farms and moved to larger cities.

       The parish also converted an old priest' house into a parish school house which educated children from 1876 to 1900.  I wonder if my great grandmother Anna Szukalski and her siblings attended school there?  There were 8 grades and both boys and girls were educated at the school.

        The history of the parish lists all the pastors from the inaugural pastor to when the history was written in 1943.  After the listing of the pastors, it named one prominent priest who was raised in that parish. Yes, it was my great grand uncle Reverend John Szukalski.  I will talk about him in my next post.

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