Finding Antoni Horosiewicz’s birth record from Poland

A photo of Antoni Horosiewicz from his 1937 Declaration of Intent to Naturalize.

Over the years, my genealogy research has ebbed and flowed.

One area where I made a lot of progress, but also was stymied, was with my Grandma Becker’s parents, Antoni Horosiewicz and Stefania Klekotka.

Stefania Klekotka and Antoni Horosiewicz marriage photo, May 14, 1912.
(The witnesses on the church marriage record were Roman Simicki and Francisca Nowak. Possibly these are the two other people in this photo)

Both were immigrants from Poland who met and married in St. Louis, before later moving to Granite City, Illinois.

One of my early finds was their church marriage record from Our Lady of Czestochowa parish in St. Louis. This included the names of their parents. Antoni’s were listed as Stanisław Horosiewicz and Marianna Mościska.

My last spurt of discoveries came in 2018, when I obtained Antoni’s citizenship-related documents and Social Security application, all from 1937-1940. Those new documents, together with a passenger manifest I had obtained previously, made it seem likely that Antoni was born in the village of Kossaki, Poland, close to the Bug River and near the town of Nur.

I took a break from research for a bit, and began picking up the threads again this week.

With help from a genealogist from Poland named Lidia Zawrot, I obtained Antoni’s birth record in the Nur parish civil register. He was indeed born in Kossaki, and the document includes the names of his parents, as well as some witnesses who were surely family friends.

It’s hard to overstate how excited I am about this discovery. It’s the first time I have found vital records from overseas that I am certain belong to members of the Horosiewicz or Becker branches of my family.

Church records at that time were written in Cyrillic, since that part of Poland was under Russian control. Here is an English translation of the text of the document:

It happened in the settlement of Nur on the fifteenth / twenty-second of March one thousand eight hundred and eighty-four at two in the afternoon. Stanisław Chorosiewicz, twenty-five years old, a farmer living in Kossaki, in the presence of Justyn Mościcki, thirty-eight from Tworkowice in the Grodno Gubernia, and Józef Chorosiewicz, fifty-four, living in Kossaki, farmers, showed us a male infant and they stated that he was born in Kossaki yesterday, at eight in the morning, by his legal wife Marcyanna née Bartnikowska, twenty-three years old. This child was baptized today by us with the name: Antoni and his godparents were Justyn Mościcki and Paulina Bocian. This deed was read to the illiterate father and witnesses and only signed by us.”

Fr. Jan Szostakiewicz
Vicar responsible for keeping civil status records

Birth record for Antoni Horosiewicz

Jadzia’s obituary

Jadzia Renaud

Jadzia Marie Renaud was welcomed into the kingdom of heaven on June 24, 2020, at the age of 14.

Jadzia was born Aug. 24, 2005, and attended the STEAM Academy at McCluer South-Berkeley High School, where she was a member of the mock trial team, book club and theater. She was a beautiful young woman remembered by teachers, friends and classmates as an inspiring leader, a person of honesty and integrity, wise beyond her years.

Jadzia was an artist, sketching illustrations daily in notebooks, sometimes sharing them with friends — but only very occasionally giving her parents a peek. She loved to sing and recently learned to whistle.

Jadzia was a scholar who loved the Ferguson-Florissant PROBE program. Twice, she was the district-wide spelling champion. In 2017 she reached the sixth round of the Post-Dispatch regional spelling bee finals.

She was a programmer, a tinkerer, and a founding member of the Viper Bots, a robotics team at Vogt Elementary. Her team was recognized on the floor of the Missouri House of Representatives in 2016.

She was all this and so much more.

Jadzia is survived by her parents, Joshua and Yolange Renaud (nee Zegarra Antelo); her loving siblings Ludivine, Josie and Joseph Renaud; her grandparents Joseph and Anita Renaud (nee George), and Hector Zegarra Barron and Lucila Antelo Flores; her great-grandmothers Janice Renaud (nee Becker) and Paddy Kuncas (formerly George, nee Lawrence); and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, teachers and neighbors in St. Louis, Texas, Bolivia, England and around the world who cared deeply about her.

Services: Visitation will be held Tuesday, June 30, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Grace Church, 2695 Creve Coeur Mill Road, Maryland Heights, MO 63043; followed by a service at 1 p.m. Interment will be private at Memorial Park Cemetery. The service will be live-streamed at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFa0Qh0lzq8

When Jadzia was very small, she was diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome, a connective tissue disorder which affected her heart. She lived with this condition all her life, but never let it define her. The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, memorials be made to The Marfan Foundation online at marfan.org.

Grieving over Jadzia

I took Jadzia to see the Blues victory parade. She was pretty excited to get to be part of it,

This blog was created to tell the story of our family. And it is with great sadness that I must write a post I never dreamed I would have to write.

Jadzia, our beloved oldest daughter, died in her sleep last night.

Jadzia was 14 years old, and very much looking forward to her quinceañera in August, her sophomore year of high school this fall, and so many other dreams and plans.

We weren’t ready to lose our dear girl. We are grief-stricken and figuring things out.

To everyone who had some part in Jadzia’s life, we say thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Thank you for the love you showed her, for the care you gave her. We know you share our sorrow.

Grandma Renaud’s 80th birthday

All the Renaud family together in one shot! Photo by Justin Renaud

Grandma cuts her birthday cake.

My parents, aunts, and uncles got together to plan a special celebration for Grandma Renaud’s 80th birthday.

They held the party here in St. Louis, where Grandma was born and lived for many years. Around 70 people came from Texas and places farther afield. It was a lot of fun to see Becker and Renaud relatives together in one room again.

There was a dress code, so I was required to go out and buy a new suit. Yoli and I ended up cleaning up pretty nicely, I think.

Photo by Justin Renaud

Back home after the party finished.

Finding Fire Capt. Frank J. Becker

Frank Becker. Photo reprinted with permission of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Frank Becker. Photo reprinted with permission of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

My great-grandfather Frank Becker was a fireman. I knew that he had been promoted to captain at some point, and some relatives had once told me they thought it had been covered on TV or in the newspaper.

I wanted to see if I could find a news story about the promotion.

Continue reading “Finding Fire Capt. Frank J. Becker”