[Ger-Poland-Volhynia] a new dilemma

Craig Schiller craigbear at gmail.com
Wed Mar 19 14:47:06 PDT 2014

For a quick refresher on the situation that this question pertains to, one
of my great-grandfather's brothers, Paul, was known to have emigrated to
the United States in the 1910s, but then permanently lost contact with my
great-grandfather around WWII -- with the result that those of us alive
today had virtually *no* knowledge of him beyond the fact that he existed,
and have had to start entirely from scratch just to find out anything about
him at all. Our best lead was a border crossing document which had him
entering the US at Noyes, MN in 1913, and listed a spouse named Bertha who
lived in "Jeznewka, Volina". (From SGGEE research, further, I confirmed
that "Jeznewka" is most likely Yasenivka, a village which *is* located in*
exactly* the area where my other Schillers were living at that time.)

That border document sent me hunting in Racine, WI, where I located two
separate WWI draft cards, one which listed a wife named Bertha but had the
wrong birthdate on it, and one which had the right birthdate and had the
name Bertha listed and then crossed out before listing my great-grandfather
(correct name and address) as a replacement next-of-kin. However, I've
tried without success so far to clarify whether the two draft cards were
for the same Paul or not, because of (a) the contradictions between the two
cards (different birthdates, Bertha being listed on one but crossed out on
the other, etc.) and (b) the rather odd notion that one person would even
have two separate cards in the same draft round in the first place.

>From there, I located two naturalization index cards in Racine, a failed
application from 1923 and a successful one from circa 1940, which
corresponded cleanly to the address and birthdate on the draft card that
listed my great-grandfather as next of kin. So in turn I ordered the
naturalization petitions and certificate from an archive in Wisconsin, and
they arrived today. They *almost*, I say *almost*, seem to solve my
problem: they both name him as the widower of a woman named Bertha; they
both give an original US entry that corresponds correctly to the date and
location on the border crossing document that sent me looking in Racine in
the first place...and they both give a birthdate that corresponds correctly
to the draft card that had my great-grandfather's name on it.

Problem solved? Nope.

They both list his birthplace *and* his last foreign residence as "Vicnov,
Poland". No trace of Borowiec, Grodziec or Jeznewka...*Vicnov*. So now,
after all of this, I suddenly have to figure out if despite all that
circumstantial evidence, I've actually been barking up the wrong tree the
whole time.

So my question is: does the place name "Vicnov" mean anything plausible to
anyone? Or should I just chalk this up to a bureaucratic error like my old
"Gruec" problem, and accept that I've got the right guy?

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