Many families retain funeral home guest books, prayer cards, sympathy cards and letters sent at the passing of a loved one. These remembrances are often tucked away in a small box in a closet or attic and forgotten. If you stumble across an old box of cards while you are cleaning out an attic or closet, and you happen to enjoy genealogical research, you might want to open that box again and look at the cards from a different perspective.
Awhile back my sister and I found a box of sympathy cards and letters sent to the family when Zofia Szczerba Mirota died in 1953. From time to time we would go through the cards and wonder who some of the senders were and how were they connected to our family?
The “Genealogy Sisters” of course had to investigate. Most were from extended family and friends and even if their names were no longer familiar to us some fifty plus years later, by putting together bits and pieces of information we were able to identify most of them. A few stumpers remained.
One such stumper was on a lovely pale peach die-cut and embossed card sent by Mr. and Mrs. Wm Post (Blanche Kania). The old-fashioned rendering of a bouquet of lilies and forget-me-nots are simple and sweet. And I love the formality of signing the card using the Mr. & Mrs. designation. But then the researcher in me snaps back to attention. Why did Blanche feel it necessary to further identify herself by her maiden name? Would the family not know her as Mrs. Wm. Post? Who are they? Were they (or she) part of the Polish community in White House Station? Was she a distant relative or a family friend? And why do I care 59 years later?
The idea of researching someone who knew Zofia or the family well enough to send a card, whom I either didn’t know or more likely don’t remember, intrigues me. Since Maryann has just recently blogged about the prayer card and obit for Zofia, it seems timely to get started on this project. So I’ve assigned myself the task of finding out who Blanche Kania and William Post were. As I do this I’ll keep track of how I went about it, what sources were useful or a waste of time, as a sort of road map for a future project. Ever mindful of privacy issues, some details may be omitted when I report back on the success (or failure) of this project.
6 thoughts on “Sympathy card from Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Post (Blanche Kania)”
You can find a photograph of Blanche Kania Post’s mother, Anna Kruk Kania, on the cover of a small book called, “For a Better Life – A History of the Polish Settlement in Readington Township” by Stephanie B. Stevens, copyright 1990. Looking in the 1940 Federal Census I found the family living in Readington Township, with the father, Stanley, a carpenter contractor, born in Poland. Their mother, Anna Kania, was listed as a farmer at her own place, born in Austria. The children living at home were: Joseph, Jenny, Helen, Blanche, and Sophie. Hope this helps.
So, my Genealogy Sister Maryann did the work for me. Thank you Maryann! Assuming that Blanche Kania Post most likely knew Zofia from the Polish community of Whitehouse Station, she searched the 1940 census for Readington Township. She next looked in Stephanie B. Stevens’ book about the Polish Community in the area. Not only are the Kania’s mentioned, other people who sent sympathy cards to the family were also mentioned in Stevens’ book. I would love to include the photo of Blanche’s mother Anna, however due to the copyright I won’t. I wonder what else we can find out? I did look in the Hunterdon Central High School alumni book but did not find either Blanches or William Post in it. Very few first generation children were allowed to finish high school and were instead encouraged to find work to help support the family.
My mom Sophia Kania, knew a Mary Mirota, her sister is Veronica Bronia Cookoo Kania, Ronnie’s name was Blanche for about the first 20 years.
I’m pretty sure we are talking about the same people! We may have more information, and maybe some photos to share. One of us will send you a PM soon.
Blanche Kania Post went by Veronica or Ronnie. She and Daria’s mother, Sophia, are my paternal grandfather’s sisters. He, too, was a child of Anna and Stanley Kania; he was the eldest. Ronnie married William Post, and he ran a women’s clothing store in Flemington, NJ. Ronnie most likely did graduate high school, but she probably attended the Flemington High School on Bonnell Street in Flemington – it became a middle school after Hunterdon Central was built. Daria is my father’s cousin. Another Blanche Kania existed, though. My grandfather, Thaddeus William Kania Sr., married Blanche Sdebel. She was from the Readington / Whitehouse area (and also lived in New York) and became Blanche Kania. Anna and Stanley had a daughter named Jeannie, not Jenny. I think it is misspelled on the census.
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