Seeking birth family of Michał (Michael) Gudzinowicz Praniewicz from Poland/Russia?


after reaching out to some historical societies in Massachusettes, I learned that I was dealing with two exact people named “Michael Praniewicz” – sorry for all the confusion. Below you will see my edited, much more precise questions.

My main questions are as follows:

  1. Where do you think Ryski, Russia is? This is the place of his birth listed on his naturalization (intent and decloration) papers. I cannot located any town called “Ryski, Russia”.

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  1. Furthermore, I found this list of noble people of Vilnius in 19th century. Both of his surnames “Praniewicz” and “Gudzinowicz” – could this just be a coincidence, or should I write to the Lithuania archives to see if they have anything on his birth in Wilno/Vilnius? It sort of makes sense to me because I have been told that our family was a wealthy family. Our last name means "Son of a Laundered one" Lol - so we musta been clean/wealthy folks!?

  1. He came to New York on a ship called “Palatia” on July 20, 1900. Looking through ancestory at all of the names, and he does not come up having arrived on the Palatia. Any ideas? Is there a way to search deeper into the ship records?

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Full name: Michał (Michael) Gudzinowicz Praniewicz
- Alternate spellings of surname: Prenewicz, Pronowicz?

  • birth date:

    • April 25th or 30th, 1871 or 1872 (listed on Naturalization papers July 9, 1912 and on death certificate June 24th, 1948)
  • birth place:

    • Ryski, Russia (listed on naturalization papers July 9, 1912) (Foreign residence St. Petersburg Russia)
    • Poland (listed on death certificate)
  • death date: June 20th, 1948 11:35am

  • death place: Allegheny, Pittsburg, Mercy Hospital

  • parent's names: Unknown, but they were Polish

Spouce: Rozilla OR Rosalie OR Rose, Salachińsk OR Salaczińska OR Salacheeska OR Salawański OR Salatyński OR Sałacztńska

  • spouse's birth date:

    • 1893 (1940 Census, enumerated in Pennsylvania)
    • 09 Feb 1891 (united states Social Security death index)
    • OR 11 Feb 1890 (according to Family)
  • spouse's birth place: Poland (family says “between Poland and Russia)

  • spouse: death date: July 1976 (cannot find death record)

  • marriage date: unknown, cannot find marriage record. Around 1912?

  • Marriage place: unknown, I think Pennsylvania. cannot find marriage record. Family says she came to the US at 16 or 17 to live with her sister, met Michael when she worked as a waitress on the southside. He had been in Pennsylvania and owned property since at least 1906. He came into her restaurant and sat at the same booth and ordered coffee all the time. They liked talking because they understood the same language. Family said he was around 44 and she was 18 when they got married. Not sure if this is true.

    • religion: Catholic

    • If immigrated, residence in US: He stayed in Pennsylvania his whole life.

Christine Praniewicz

Posted 2017-01-26T00:20:06.360

Reputation: 51

Question was closed 2017-05-07T05:24:58.440


Are you sure that your Michael had 2 wives and lived in Pennsylvania & Massachusetts? You mention Bertha in the 1940 census (in Boston with a Michael) but Rose is also with a Michael in Upper Burrell PA in 1940 . I think you should reevaluate your evidence sort which records go with which of the (probably) 2 men. That may reduce some of the birth date & place variations.

– bgwiehle – 2017-01-26T02:15:27.097

Hi, welcome to G&FH.SE! Can we clarify something? If you are looking at the 1940 Census, that is a US Federal Census, not a state census. A better shorthand would be, "1940 Census, enumerated in [place name]". – Jan Murphy – 2017-01-27T04:21:31.543

I would suggest looking for other records that would help you see which records actually belong to your great-grandfather. Looking for the records of any siblings of your great-grandparents might help you see what is going on. It is not enough just to match a single person's name to know that two records belong to the same person, because many people can share the exact same name. You need to look for other identifying factors. – Jan Murphy – 2017-01-27T04:27:41.073

Hi Jan and Bgwiehle. I am sorry for the confusion. After finding more information out, I have made edits above. This is as exact as I can figure out! You will see my three main questions above! – Christine Praniewicz – 2017-01-27T17:14:32.947

1Excellent! Now I'm going to ask you to focus one more time and ask you to focus on question number three -- here's why. 1) We prefer to have ONE question in a question for the site. It's okay to leave more than one question about the same family and to refer back to your previous questions. 2) You may get more information about the place you need to identify in your first question if you can find the passenger list 3) It's almost always better to start with what you know and to work backwards in small steps instead of making leaps. Your second question is a big leap. – Jan Murphy – 2017-01-27T17:32:37.593

1I agree with @JanMurphy that it will be best to focus this question on 3. Perhaps ask 1 as a separate focussed question now but definitely wait until you have more evidence suggesting that spending time on 2 could be fruitful. – PolyGeo – 2017-01-27T19:36:09.693

2Now that we have an answer that locates Ryski, perhaps we can break out the question about finding Michał's parents into a separate question. Let us know if you need help. – Jan Murphy – 2017-01-29T17:02:13.077



The Geographical dictionary of the Kingdom of Poland and Other Slavic Countries lists three different locations for Ryski. The first is a village in the powiat lidzki; the second is a small town in the powiat grodzienski; and the third is a nature reserve also in the powiat grodzienski.

If you search for Ryski at this site, it will show you all three locations.


Posted 2017-01-26T00:20:06.360

Reputation: 778