Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Connecting the Family: Patricia Sullivan 4 Generation Pedigree

Almost everyone alive knew my mom as Pat Hanson, so for grandchildren and great grandchildren, her family names of Sullivan and Bednorz don't connect Pat with her ancestors.  My daughter, Christie suggested that some kind of chart attached to the family stories would be helpful in knowing who the players were in my Mom's history.
Patricia Sullivan Hanson 4 Generation Family Tree

It turns out that Legacy has a nifty chart maker utility that lets us view the family relationships.  I've experimented with a couple charting options and the one above seems to fit the blog pagination well.  So this is the pedigree for Patricia Hanson nee Sullivan.  You can see that this family is comprised of mid-19th century immigrants - the Sullivans from Ireland and the Bednorz family from Poland.  Patricia's mom (Marie Bednorz) was first generation American and 100% Polish. Her father (William Augustine Sullivan) was second generation American and 100% Irish.  That makes Patricia 50% Polish and 50% Irish.

Tracking this family back to Europe is proving difficult, especially in the case of the Bednorz-Marketon family.  Looking at the birth locations that have come to me via family lore, I see a major issue in confirming the birth location.  There is a city in southern Poland called Opole (Oppoln in German) in the area of Silesia. Schleswig-Holstein, however, is in the northern peninsula of Germany that includes Denmark and the people in that region would be Germans or Danes and not Poles.  (While not on the map below, if you continued up the peninsula from Hamburg Germany, you'd be in Schleswig-Holstein.)

So I'm currently thinking that searching in the Opole region of Poland is a good bet.  That said, there was a lot of upheaval in the mid-19th century across all the Germanic regions as Germany was unifying its duchies and regions into one larger German State.  The Encyclopedia Brittanica (online) has this entry for Opole:

"...southwestern Poland, situated on the Oder River. Opole began as the home of the Slavic Opolanie tribe; the earliest mention of it was in the 9th century. In 1202 it became the capital of the Opole principality, which included the entire Upper Silesia region. The town passed to Bohemia (1327), the Habsburgs (16th century), and Prussia (1742) and was returned to Poland in 1945." Source:

The Sullivan family might be easier to find, but I haven't made any concerted efforts to look for this family in Ireland.  There is still plenty to flesh out about these two families experiences as immigrants in Wisconsin and Minnesota.  I have some newspaper articles that may help illuminate the lives of the William Sullivan family members, but need to research the Bednorz - probably in Minnesota - in order to put some flesh on their bones.  More to come....

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