GRALLA FAMILY NEWSLETTER
Vol. 5 No. 2
CHURCH RECORDS OF NEIDENBURG AND SOLDAU EXAMINED.
After a little break, it was again time to do some research! The records of the Gralla families in Neidenburg and Soldau, East Prussia, which are now in present day Poland, were worked on to see if ties could be found to some of the other Gralla lines. Some of the family lines that were found were:
Adam Gralla and his wife Anna Toffel of Neidenberg. Their children include, Maria, born 11 Apr. 1863, Anna, 13 Dec. 1865, and Wilhelm, 29 May 1873.
Jacob Gralla, a farmer in Pierlawken, and his wife Eva Lukas were included in these records. They had eight children, of whom many U.S. Grallas, especially those in the Illinois area, probably can claim as ancestors. They were, Michael, born 7 Aug. 1807, Maria, born 22 Aug. 1810, Anna, 18 Feb. 1814, Martin, 11 Nov. 1816, Jacob, 26 Apr 1819, Elisabeth, 26 Sep 1822, Gottlieb, 14 Oct. 1824, and Samuel, 11 Dec. 1827.
Michael Gralla, above, married at age 30 years in Pierlawken. He was an innkeeper. His wife ws Johanna Braun, 23, also of Pierlawken. This marriage took place on 18 Jun 1872.
There are many other Grallas mentioned in this area which we will review in future newsletters.
GERMAN TELEPHONE DIRECTORIES HELP LOCATE NEW CONTACTS.
Among some of the newest acquisitions to the Family History Library are the German Telephone disks on CD ROM. Through this means, we can readily locate numerous Grallas throughout Germany. Future plans include an expanded mailing list in order to see what information can still be obtained through family members and relatives. Along with the German CD ROM directories, are also the US telephone directories where US Gralla lists can also be compiled.
JAN GRALLA SHARES PERSONAL HISTORY.
During the research trip to Poland in July 1992, which we reported on in the last two issues of the Gralla Family Newsletter, Jan Gralla of Swibie, in the area of Tost, now called in Polish, Toszek, shared a little of his own family's experiences in the times of World War II. Jan Gralla was the oldest son of his family. His responsibility was to care for his brothers and sisters, so that his parents could work to support the family. His father owned 8 hectares of land. During the war times, the mayor of the city refused to let Jan's father join the military because he was needed locally to provide food for the people by farming his and other people's land. He also was told that the military needed the food he provided as well. But eventually he was drafted and returned much later in May 1945. He had spent quite some time in the Dachau concentration camp. He was given two trials while there and was eventually set free. He was beaten and treated badly, and left to starve. Somehow, he managed to return to Swibie. He was so afraid of what had happened, that he hid for 14 months, before he let anyone know where he was. His 8 hectares of land were given to the state and he no longer had land or property.
Jan Gralla told of how most of the Poles in his village are trying to move to Germany to make a better life for themselves. They sacrifice everything they own to start over. He would very much like to do this also. His children are already there. However, the government determines where you will have to locate because of housing, jobs, etc. You can not choose to be with your family members, already there.
KOSCHENTIN, HOME OF FRANZ GRALLA.
Franz Gralla, featured in a previous newsletter as "Robin Hood, Gralla", lived in the village of Koschentin from his birth in 1865 till the late 1890's. Koschentin was formerly part of Prussia in the province of Silesia, and is now a part of Southern Poland. Koschentin records give evidence of several Grallas, aside from his immediate family. They attended church in a historically significant parish which was entirely built of wood without the use of a single nail. All the logs were wedged together in a dovetail pattern. This church still stands and is a true landmark. The interior was so beautiful that it was hard to imagine such works of art could exist in Poland. The ceilings were painted with murals and an ancient crypt of a woman who owned the nearby village of Ruschinowitz. This crypt was found in 1973 buried underneath much rubble. It is now located in the church for all to see.
PORT OF HAMBURG: POINT OF EMIGRATION FOR MANY GRALLAS.
Over the years we have been giving names of immigrants who left their homeland for America via Hamburg, Germany. There are still many more to share that left through this port.
Yankel Gralla, 25, from Myszyniec left on 30 Apr. 1890 aboard the ship Breslau. This ship went via Glasgow, Scotland to NY. He traveled alone. Scholem Gralla, 20 and Jecive Gralla 11, left from Makow on 5 May 1890 to NY. Chane Gralla, 20, left on the ship Dania, on 10 Jan. 1892 from Makow. Jan Gralla, 19, and Adam Gralla, 30, departed on the ship Persia on 10 Apr 1897. Their residence had been Grale, the little village in Poland which was named after the Gralla family. This village was visited by our American Gralla researcher on the research trip last year. From the neighboring village of Kasielsk, Taube Gralla, 24, Gule Gralla, 2, and Leib Gralla, 1/2 year left on 6 Jun 1902. And later, on August 1st, 1929, Alexander Gralla, 20 left for Montevideo, Uraguay having previously resided in Eydtkuhnen in East Prussia. So perhaps today there could still be a Gralla line in that region.
Arriving into NY. harbor on 11 Jul. 1910 was Aron Gralla, sailing from the port of Antwerp, Belgium on the S.S. Hapland. He was born in Rozan, Poland, a shoemaker whose wife Esther Konorowitz remained temporarily in Rozan. His passage was paid by his brother, Solomon Gralla, of 186 Westend Ave., NYC, where Aron also planned to reside. He was 5'5", with dark hair and brown eyes. He was 34 years old at this time.
Stanislaw Gralla came aboard the S.S. Rotterdam from the port of Rotterdam on 23 July 1910 and arrived in NY on 1 Aug. He came from Kadzidlo, a village near Grale, Poland, where many Gralla families still live today. His destination was Edgewater, N.J. He was 20 and traveled with his 18 year old sister, Wadislawa. They were met by their father Josef. Stanislaw was 5'2" and Wadislawa was 5' tall.
GRALLA FAMILY IN PROVINCE POSEN.
The name Gralla in Poland and Germany originated in only a few villages. One of these villages was Witowo, in the former German province Posen, now Poznan in Poland.
Valentin Gralla and his wife Marianna Kreychowski had the following children in Witowo:
Antonia, 6 May 1889, Marianna, born 7 Jul. 1889, Agnes, 28 Jan. 1894, Valentin, 5 Jan. 1896, and Midralina, 21 Aug. 1896.
The father, Valentin married in 1889. He was the son of Joseph Gralla and his wife Catharina. Marianna Kreychowski was the daughter of Michael and Antonia. She is from the village of Bronislau.
Another Gralla family of this village was that of Casimir Gralla and his wife Josepha Gabala who had the following children:
Anton, 5 Jun. 1873, Martin, 4 Oct. 1875, Anton 28 May 1881, Agnes, 7 Jan. 1884, and Franz, 6 Oct 1888.
Casimir Gralla married on 30 Jan. 1871 at age 32, the son of Simon. Josepha was the daughter of Simon Gabala and his wife Hedwig.
There are also one or two other Gralla families in this town. It is not known which Grallas in the US. possibly have descended through these lines. There are still several Grallas in the US.
that do not know their village of family origin. More research still needs to be done in this village.
FUTURE RESEARCH GOALS.
Among the new research goals that have been set is the US 1920 Federal census. This may show Grallas who have not been previously found on earlier census records. Many Grallas arrived in the U.S. around this time period.
MEMORIES OF THE 1968 FAMILY REUNION.
THE NAREW RIVER IN POLAND WHICH FLOWS THROUGH THE VILLAGE OF ROZAN AND MYSZYNIEC.