Wednesday, May 29, 2013


My great aunts (Rose, Teresa, Clementine, Helen and Clara) moved to Van Nuys in the late 1920's and immediately made a name for themselves.  In this article found in the Van Nuys News June 6, 1931 edition, they were busy hosting a pyjama breakfast.  Ordinarily, I don't think pjyama parties are big news but this obviously was no typical pyjama breakfast.  The garden pajama breakfast was hosted by these ladies and their mother at the family house on Van Nuys Boulevard.

Besides eating a "delightful" breakfast at tables on their spacious lawns, they played croquet and other outdoor games and also got to tour the immense bird aviary. Of course, since it was hosted by the Stachowiak Sisters, musical entertainment was also provided.  Helen's son Harry Schultz, who according to this article was a child prodigy of the Hollywood Conservatory, recited readings.

I am thinking that my great aunts sure knew how to throw a party and were very creative and entertaining when they did!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


My 2nd great grandfather Pawel "Paul" Szukalski died at the age of 63 after suffering a fall over an embankment on 11 Mar 1900.   Paul and his wife Constance (Budzbanowski) were on their way home from church at St. Casimer's and were on a bridge that goes over Pine Creek. They were in a cutter (which is I guess some sort of sleigh) that was pulled by horses.  There was no snow on the ground which understandably made it harder for the horses to pull the cutter with the Szukalski s   The bridge had no rails and for some reason the horses went over the embankment into the 20 feet ravine.

Paul Szukalski broke his neck as a result of the fall. Constance was unhurt in the accident, as were the horses.  Paul was taken to a neighboring farm house and a doctor was summoned.  According to the Manitowoc Daily Herald (March 12, 1900 edition), "A doctor ... did all in his power to alleviate the sufferings of the patient; but the spark of life soon left the body and the uncertainty of human existence had again been sadly and forcibly illustrated".

The newspaper also said that Paul Szukalski was "one of the most prosperous farmers of the community and enjoyed a wide acquaintance in the county.  He had many friends in the city to whom the news of his death will come as a shock."  I am sure that it was heartbreaking for his wife Constance and their 7 children.

Monday, May 20, 2013


The Stachowiak Sisters (Rose, Helen and Clementine) had only been in Van Nuys (Los Angeles City) for a few months and they were already in demand for their entertainment talent at meetings, banquets and other gatherings.  On this occasion, they were performing readings and songs for the Van Nuys Realty Board banquet.

This article was posted in the Van Nuys News -- 25 January 1928 edition.

Sunday, May 12, 2013


It's amazing what you can find!  So, I am researching on yesterday and after awhile I get bored with the "historical records" section so I decide to research the "newspaper" section.  After finding some leads on my Sherlock side (yes, I am getting to how this relates to my Polish roots), I think perhaps that I can find some information  on my Polish "Stachowiak" line even though this is an Irish site.

Lo and behold, I find a lot of news articles on Stachowiaks.  Who knew it was such a popular name?  My Stachowiaks are from Milwaukee so I did save the articles on Stachowiaks from Racine and Stevens Point, Wisconsin although I haven't yet figured out if they are truly related to my Stachowiaks and where the link is. Another project for another day!

But I did find some information on my Grandpa Leonard's sisters.  That is the great thing about newspaper articles -- yes, sometimes it will give you exact dates of events (like birth and death) but often times they talk about the person's hobbies, passions or every day events.  I just love those types of details.

I never knew exactly when my Great Grandparents (Charles Stachowiak and Anna Szukalski Stachowiak) moved to Los Angeles (Van Nuys to be exact) from Milwaukee, but knew it was after 1920 and before 1930.  Thanks to the above article and another article I found, I think that they probably moved in the year 1927.

I was curious when I read that the Stachowiak ladies "came from Milwaukee with their mother".  What about their father?  I know that he moved to Van Nuys too, but perhaps he had to stay behind to sell his tin business before moving out west.  The article does mention that the Stachowiak misses "are talented in dramatics and have appeared in a good many productions".  Who knew we had dramatic talent on both sides of my family tree?  There will be more about those Stachowiak sisters in future posts ...

**  Article is from the Van Nuys News, August 24, 1928 edition

Wednesday, May 8, 2013



Sunday, May 5, 2013


My second great grandfather Pawel "Paul" Szukalski was born 2 Feb 1837 in Swiekatowo  Kuyawsko-Pomorskie, Poland  (a village in north central Poland).  His parents were Michael Szukalski and Elizabeth Kielpikowska.  According to the Poznan Project documents, his father Michael was 70 at the time of his birth while his mother Elizabeth was 35.  I definitely need to send for their marriage certificate to check this out!

Pawel married Constantia Budzbanowski on 16 Mar 1862 in the same town as Pawel's birth.  Pawel and Constantia had 3 children -- John, Theophilus and Thomas (in 1863, 1864 and 1868) and then immigrated to the US in 1869.  They brought Constantia's widowed father John Budzbanowski with them to the US.  They settled in Newton, Manitowoc, Wisconsin.  In the 1870 census, Pawel's occupation was listed as "laborer" and then in the 1880 census, it was listed as "farmer".

Constantia had 4 more children in the US -- Damazy, my great grandmother Anna and her twin sister Katherine and the baby of the family Marian.