SSA Form SS-5 Leads

It was very exciting when I received the Form SS-5 copies of the social security applications for Vincent Szubinski and Peter Anthony Smasz.

For Peter (1), the form supplied a middle name that I had never found before. The names of his parents were the same as recorded previously except for his mother’s last name. Sophia Wojcik was listed in the Form SS-5, while Sophia Blizniak was listed in Peter’s death certificate. Since the Form SS-5 was completed 30 years earlier and by Peter instead of by another person, as in the death certificate, I set Wojcik as the preferred name in FTM.

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Thank you to #NGS2015GEN for the Home Study Course Scholarship

Helping people tell their stories has always been a passion of mine. I’ve been doing this for years as a career advisor to alumni from the University of Illinois. But, those stories focused on the world of work and my clients’ professional lives.

I’m intrigued by the research questions that arise within family history and wish to dive into these questions more deeply. The John T. Humphrey Scholarship will help me achieve these goals. The American Genealogical Studies courses would firm-up the foundation of the education that I have already built, fill in gaps, and provide the recommended structure for citing and reporting on the information I collect.

Continue reading Thank you to #NGS2015GEN for the Home Study Course Scholarship

A Full #NGS2015GEN Friday

While I could only attend this one day of the #NGS2015GEN conference, I packed it full.  I was so excited about all the things that I would learn and the people that I would meet.

I was not disappointed.

I’ll need to process the amazing amount of information and review my notes, but here is a review of the topics.

8:00 am – Problem Solving: Using a Cast of Characters by Ann Carter Fleming, CG, CGL, FNGS @BCGenealogists sponsor

9:30 am – The Problem-Solver’s Great Trifecta: GPS+FAN+DNA with Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA @BCGenealogists sponsor

11 am – Researching Online at the Maryland State Archives Website by Michael Hait, CG

FGS Luncheon – Lincoln Lives: 21st Century Access to Resources Documenting the Life and Times of Father Abraham with Curt B. Witcher, MLS, FUGA, IGSF

2:30 pm – Forensic Genealogy Meets the Genealogical Proof Standard by Michael S. Ramage, JD, CG

4 pm – What is a “Reasonably Exhaustive Search?” with Michael Hait, CG @BCGenealogists sponsor

7 pm – NGS Banquet John P. Colletta will entertain us with this burning question: Why Great-Grandpa Shaved Off His Mustache: Tales of Our Ancestors and the Weather. Stories of winter through the centuries and across the country illustrate how weather affected our ancestors’ lives.

Social Security Requests

I took a risk and opted to request the extracts instead of the full photocopies of the SS-5 application.  The responses contained enough information to verify death date, residence at time of death, birth date, and birth location, but parent’s names were not included.

Since I was looking for information on my two maternal great grandfathers, the extract isn’t enough information. I wanted to see if the parents are listed. I also want to confirm that only Poland was listed as the birth place. So, I will be submitting additional requests.

For information on requesting information from the SSA, visit

“Cousin” Sean Hayes on #WDYTYA

If I was as genealogically lucky as my husband, I would be related to everyone who bears my maiden name. While that isn’t as easy for the Hays/Hayes clan as the Bartimus descendants, I still feel a kinship when I hear the name.

I also like to hear the different Hays/Hayes stories to see where paths parallel and diverge. It is amazing that Hays/Hayes could be Scottish, Irish, English, German, and even French.

I’m looking forward to hearing Sean Hayes’ story on today’s episode of #WDYTYA. The teaser indicates that his lineage is Irish, but doesn’t yet mention his American roots.

So far, I can only trace my father’s Hays line back to Washington County, Maryland in the early 1800’s. Henry Hays is reported to have been born in that county in 1808. While I have not yet found direct evidence to support the birth date and location, he did marry Sarah Eakle in Washington County, Maryland in 1832 and buy and sell land between 1843 and 1854. (See source information below)

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Polka Celebration for Illinois

As I was scanning headlines earlier this week, I found one that had my half Polish heart standing up to take notice.

A Grammy award winning polka song is close to becoming the Illinois state song.

The Article originally appeared on the The Southern but was also carried on the Chicago Tribuine, which is where I first noticed the headline.

Source: Maddox, J. (2015, March 26). Committee approves polka song as state symbol. Retrieved March 28, 2015, from

As most polkas, it is an up beat song that had me on my feet and dancing. The song “Polka Celebration” will help as stated “chase away the blues.”

The song version shared on the Trib was clearer, but the version shared by The Southern has a great video of Eddie Blazonczyk’s Versatones in concert.

Here is the version shared by

Unfortunately the State’s official dance has already been declared the square dance.

Although, for a woman whose father’s family came from the farmland of Ogle County, Illinois, and whose mother’s family is south side Chicago Polish, this mix is fairly appropriate.

Obits & an Inquest

Henry Hays, reportedly born in 1808, was killed in 1888. Because he is my four times great grandfather, I have been curious about the facts of his life since I started researching in 2003. Initially, I only had information from family bibles. My challenge with this source if I don’t know who originally entered the information on the family page.

I know that he has a shared family plot in Fairmount Cemetery in Polo, Illinois, but I haven’t found officially information regarding his death yet.

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Spring and Fresh Starts

I’m using the first mini-crocus of spring as inspiration to jump start my genealogy blog. I was overwhelming myself by thinking that I needed to get Henry Hays’ full story online. Instead, I’m going to start with the articles and headlines that marked the end of his life. If you are researching another root of Henry Hays’ tree or another Hays/Hayes line out of Ogle county, email me at or subscribe to this blog.

Welcome to

HAYSKA stands for Hays Kinship Association. My goal for the association is to support and collaborate on research the various Hays/Hayes lines. Email and let me know who you are researching.

“Hayska” also means daughter of Hays and represents my personal genealogical research. Started in 2003, the primary projects focus on:

  1. Henry Hays (1808-1888)
  2. Tracing Polish ancestors

Full Hays, Trump, Szubinski, and Smasz Family Tree found at Rootsweb WorldConnect Project (Hayska database)