THE SCHWERTFEGER / SCHWERT FAMILY:

Family and Descendants of
Carl Schwertfeger / Schwert
(1824 - 1902)

Spouse: Veronica Modrzejewska
(1830 - 1906)



A conditional baptism record from Saint Boniface Roman Catholic Church, 124 Locust Street, Buffalo, New York, indicates that Carl (= Karl) Schwertfeger was born on December 7, 1824. Carl's death certificate gives the name of his father as "Gottlieb;" his mother's name is unknown. Carl's marriage record, plus several of the baptismal records for his children, show that he was originally "evangelische" (Lutheran).

Among the possibilities is that Carl was a son of Gottlieb and Catharina (née Zielinska) Schwertfeger (also listed in churchbook records as "Szertfeger," "Schwerz," and "Schwartz."). Gottlieb (a Catholic) and Catharina (a Lutheran) were married in Groß Trampken, West Prussia on November 23, 1824 -- just two weeks before the birthdate of Carl. This marriage is recorded in the ledgers of the Catholic church at Kladau. There is, however, no baptismal ledger entry at Kladau for the birth of Carl. Subsequent churchbook records for Gottlieb and Catharina show them to have been residents of Lagschau, a village from which most of the Schwertfegers later emigrated.

On October 27, 1850, Carl married Veronica Modrzejewska, a Catholic. The marriage occurred at the Catholic church in nearby Gardschau (now Godziszewo, Poland). Witnesses to the marriage were Lorenz Schlija and Franz Chnieleski.

The marriage record lists Carl as being from Czerbienczin (several alternative spellings include "Scherpingen" and "Szczerbiecin") just to the south of Sobbowitz. A map of these communities is available here.

Veronica Modrzejewska was born on October 28, 1830 in Mittel-Golmkau, just southwest of Sobbowitz. The village is today Gołębiewo-Średnie, Poland. Veronica was baptized on October 31, 1830. The baptismal ledger at Gardschau indicates that her father was Adalbert Modrzejewski and her mother was Zuzanna (née Zapendowska) Modrzejewska.

Although various church documents from West Prussia show that Veronica's maiden name was "Modrzejewska" (or in some documents, "Modrejewska"), it is in later year presented in documents of the Diocese of Buffalo, New York as variants distant from its original spelling:

  • Modchiweska
  • Modergeski
  • Motraeski
  • Metzaefska
    Some documentation, including the death certificate of her daughter Rosalia, the death certificate of her daughter Maria, the death certificate of her daughter Franciska, and the death certificate of Veronica, herself, suggests that Veronica's own children remained uncertain of their mother's maiden surname. On Maria's death certificate, Veronica's first name is given as "Verona."

    During the first years of their marriage, Carl and Veronica lived in the region of Mittel-Golmkau. After 1867, Carl and Veronica appear to have settled in the region of Lagschau, about 40 km south of Danzig, West Prussia. The village is now Łaguszewo, located about 40 km south of Gdańsk, Poland.

    Evidence indicates that Carl and Veronica had at least eight children. We know that one of them (Pauline) died of smallpox on December 8, 1871 in Lagschau at the age of 11. Four of the older children (Franz, Johann, Francisca, and Friedrich) emigrated to the United States in the late 1870's and early 1880's, where they settled in the industrial city of Buffalo, New York. The four shortened their surname to "Schwert" upon their arrival in the United States, and they anglicized their given names to "Frank," "John," "Frances," and "Frederick," respectively.

    In 1887, Carl and Veronica emigrated to the United States. Their three youngest children (Maria, Joseph, and Rosalia) accompanied them. They traveled on the steamship Polynesia, departing Hamburg, Germany, on March 30th and arriving at New York Harbor on April 18th.

    The actual ship passenger manifest for the Polynesia (National Archives) shows that the listed surname was "Schwerdtfeger." Upon emigration, Carl, Veronica, and the three children likewise anglicized their given names, shortened their surname to "Schwert," and joined the four other children in Buffalo.

    A conditional baptism was given to Carl at Saint Boniface Church, Buffalo, on September 6, 1887 --- probably as part of a conversion to the Roman Catholic Church. Witnesses are his sons Franz (= "Frank") and Johann (= "John").

    The 1892 New York State Census shows Veronica residing with her children Friedrich (= "Fred") and Rosalia (= " Rose"); no street address is given. The 1896 Buffalo City Directory places Carl living at "229 Mulberry Street," along with son Friedrich; spouse names are not included in this directory. We can find no record of either Carl or Veronica in the 1900 U.S. Census, and we can find no records (census or otherwise) showing Carl and Veronica ever having resided together in Buffalo.

    Carl died in Buffalo of Brights disease (= nephritis) on December 2, 1902. Carl's place of residence at the time of his death is listed as "197 Mulberry Street." Although Carl is not listed in either document, both the 1900 U.S. Census and the 1905 New York State Census show that "197 Mulberry Street" was the residence of his son Friedrich and daughter-in-law Pauline (née Wisoska) Schwert. Carl is interred in a single grave in Section GG, Lot 2, Line 4, Grave #43, (N42°55.505’, W078°47.227’), United German & French Cemetery, Cheektowaga, NY. His headstone is composed of crinoidal limestone.

    The 1905 New York State Census shows Veronica residing at 264 Grape Street, with her daughter Rosalia and son-in-law Bernhard (= "Barney") Rebeschke / Rebescher.

    Veronica died in Buffalo on March 21, 1906. Her death certificate indicates the cause to be "heart paralysis" contributed by "Bright's disease." At the time of death, she resided at 228 Dodge Street in Buffalo, probably in the care of her daughter Mary (= Maria) Patz (the 1905 election enumeration shows that Mary and John Martin Patz resided at 228 Dodge Street) . Veronica is interred in Section 12, Lot 1, Line 9, Grave #477, (N42°55.535’, W078°47.199’), United German & French Cemetery (Pine Hill), Cheektowaga, NY. Her headstone is crinoidal limestone, with identical proportions and design to that of Carl's.

    No photos are known to exist of either Carl or Veronica.


  • Steamship Polynesia (1881). "Built for the Carr Line by C. Mitchell & Co, Walker-on-Tyne (yard #430) (engines by Wallsend Slipway Co), and was launched on 5 November 1881. 2,171 tons; 92,1 x 11,0 meters (length x breadth); straight stem, 1 funnel, 2 masts; iron construction, screw propulsion; accommodation for 950 passengers in steerage. The Carr Line operated a passenger service between Hamburg and New York from 1881 to 1888. 5 November 1881, maiden voyage, Hamburg-New York. 25 May 1888, purchased by the Hamburg America Line. Between 27 April 1889 and 29 May 1892, 19 roundtrip voyages, Stettin-New York. 11 August 1894, last voyage, Hamburg-Baltimore. 1894, West Indies service. 30 July 1903, given to Furness, Withy & Co, West Hartlepool, in payment; sold to Gläfcke & Hennings, Hamburg. 1904, sold to Antonio & Bernado, Genoa. 28 August 1921, sunk by mine near Reggio, Italy."

    (Source is Palmer List of Merchant Vessels, by Michael Palmer. Click on photo for enlargement, 96K)


    Parents of Carl Schwertfeger / Schwert:

    • Gottlieb Schwertfeger: Born ????; died ????.

    • Unknown: Born ????; died ????.


    Descendants of Carl and Veronica (née Modrzejewska) Schwertfeger / Schwert:


    General location of the grave of Carl Schwertfeger / Schwert, Section GG, Lot 2, Line 4, Grave #43, United German & French Cemetery (Pine Hill), Cheektowaga, NY. Maps to locate the gravesites of Carl and Veronica are available here and here.

    (Photo by Bernard Patz, 2011. Click on photo for enlargement, 249K)

    Grave of Carl Schwertfeger / Schwert, (N42°55.505’, W078°47.227’), Section GG, Lot 2, Line 4, Grave #43, United German & French Cemetery (Pine Hill), Cheektowaga, NY.

    (Photo by Bernard Patz, 2011. Click on photo for enlargement, 113K)

    Relative locations of the graves of Carl Schwertfeger / Schwert and of Veronica (née Modrzejewska) Schwertfeger / Schwert. Carl is interred in Section GG, Lot 2, Line 4, Grave #43. Veronica is interred in Section 12, Lot 1, Line 9, Grave #477. Maps to locate the gravesites of Carl and Veronica are available here and here.

    (Photo by Bernard Patz, 2011. Click on photo for enlargement, 315K)

    General region of the grave of Veronica (née Modrzejewska) Schwertfeger / Schwert, Section 12, Lot 1, Line 9, Grave #477, United German & French Cemetery (Pine Hill), Cheektowaga, NY. Maps to locate the gravesites of Carl and Veronica are available here and here.

    (Photo by Bernard Patz, 2001. Click on photo for enlargement, 96K)

    Grave of Veronica (née Modrzejewska) Schwertfeger / Schwert, (N42°55.535’, W078°47.199’), Section 12, Lot 1, Line 9, Grave #477, United German & French Cemetery (Pine Hill), Cheektowaga, NY. A map to locate the gravesite is available here.

    (Photo by Bernard Patz, 2001. Click on photo for enlargement, 76K)


    Documents and Other Artifacts:
    • Ship Passenger Manifest #1: Passenger ship Polynesia, departed Hamburg, Germany, for New York City on March 30, 1887. This is the first page of the manifest, showing the departure/arrival information. On this ship arrived Carl Schwertfeger, Veronica Schwertfeger, Maria Schwertfeger, Joseph Schwertfeger, and Rosalie Schwertfeger. Document was obtained from the collection of the National Archives in Washington, DC.

    • Ship Passenger Manifest #2: Passenger ship Polynesia, departed Hamburg, Germany, for New York City on March 30, 1887. This is the page listing Carl Schwertfeger, Veronica Schwertfeger, Maria Schwertfeger, Joseph Schwertfeger, and Rosalie Schwertfeger. Document was obtained from the collection of the National Archives in Washington, DC.

    • Ship Passenger List: Passenger ship Polynesia, departed Hamburg, Germany, for New York City on March 30, 1887. Passenger list ("218") includes: Carl Schwertfeger, Veronica Schwertfeger, Maria Schwertfeger, Joseph Schwertfeger, and Rosalia Schwertfeger. A larger, denser version of this passenger list is available here. Document is from LDS Microfilm #473087.

    • Conditional Baptism Record: Carl Schwert, baptized on September 6, 1887 at Saint Boniface R.C. Church, 124 Locust Street, Buffalo, NY. Sponsors are Frank and Joh. Schwert (= Johann Schwert?). Baptism record gives Carl's birthdate at December 7, 1824.

    • Letter on Baptism of Carl Schwert: Letter from Chancery of the Diocese of Buffalo, New York, providing an interpretation for the conditional baptism of Carl (= Karl) Schwert.

    • Marriage Record: Joseph Schwert and Anna Sarach, daughter of Johann and Rosalia Sarach, September 9, 1890, Saint Boniface R.C. Church, 124 Locust Street, Buffalo, NY. Record lists maiden name of Veronica as "Modchiweska"(?)

    • Marriage Record: Saint Boniface R.C. Church (124 Locust Street, Buffalo, NY) record of the marriage of Mary Schwert and John Martin Patz. Record lists maiden name of Veronica as "Modergeski."

    • 1892 New York State Census: 1892 New York State Census records for Veronica (née Modrzejewska) Schwertfeger / Schwert. Residing with her are her children Friedrich and Rosalia. No street address is given. Misspellings characterize this census.

    • Marriage Record: Rosalia Schwert and Bernhard Rebeski, Saint Boniface R.C. Church, 124 Locust Street, Buffalo, NY, July 12, 1893. Record lists maiden name of Veronica as "Motraeski."

    • Baptismal Record: Bernhard Otto Rebescher, born February 15, 1897. Baptized on February 21, 1897, by Fr. Ferdinand Kolb of Saint Boniface R.C. Church, 124 Locust Street, Buffalo, NY. Sponsors were "Karl and Veronica Schwert."

    • Marriage Record: Friedrich Schwert and Pauline Wisoska, January 18, 1898, Saint Boniface R.C. Church, 124 Locust Street, Buffalo, New York. Parents of Friedrich are listed as "Carolus Schwert" and "Veronica Metzaefska."

    • Death Certificate: Carl Schwertfeger / Schwert, died on December 2, 1902 at the age of 77. Buried on December 4, 1902.

    • Interment Record: Carl Schwertfeger / Schwert, died on December 2, 1902 at the age of 77. Interred on December 4, 1902, United German & French Cemetery (Pine Hill), Cheektowaga, NY, Section GG, Lot 2, Line 4, Grave #43.

    • 1905 New York State Census: 1905 New York State Census record for Veronica (née Modrzejewska) Schwertfeger / Schwert. Veronica is shown residing with at 264 Grape Street, Buffalo, NY. The preceding page of this census shows that Veronica is residing with her daughter Rosalia (= "Rose") and son-in-law Bernhard (= "Barney") Rebeschke / Rebescher.

    • Death Record: Veronica (née Modrzejewska) Schwertfeger / Schwert, died at the age of 75, with last rites on March 21, 1906. Buried on March 23, 1906. Record is from Saint Boniface R.C. Church, 124 Locust Street, Buffalo, NY.

    • Death Certificate: Veronica (née Modrzejewska) Schwert. Record shows date of birth as October 28, 1830. Place of death is 228 Dodge Street, Buffalo. Birth place is Prussia, Germany. Record showing "married," not "widowed," is in error. Certificate is signed by her son, Frank Carl Schwert, who resided at 44 Ralph Alley. Record was hand-corrected in August 24, 2001, by City of Buffalo officials from "Male" to "FeMale" (sic).

    • Cemetery Register Record: Veronica (née Modrzejewska) Schwertfeger / Schwert, died March 21, 1906, of Bright's Disease. Section 12, Lot 1, Line 9, Grave #477, United German & French Cemetery (Pine Hill), Cheektowaga, NY.

    • Interment Record: Veronica (née Modrzejewska) Schwertfeger / Schwert, died March 21, 1906. Section 12, Lot 1, Line 9, Grave #477, United German & French Cemetery (Pine Hill), Cheektowaga, NY.

    • Cemetery Map: Map to locate the graves of Carl and Veronica (née Modrzejewska) Schwertfeger / Schwert. Carl is interred in Section GG, Lot 2, Line 4, Grave #43. Veronica is interred in Section 12, Lot 1, Line 9, Grave #477. United German & French Cemetery (Pine Hill), Cheektowaga, NY.

    • Cemetery Map: Map to locate the graves of Carl and Veronica (née Modrzejewska) Schwertfeger / Schwert. Carl is interred in Section GG, Lot 2, Line 4, Grave #43. Veronica is interred in Section 12, Lot 1, Line 9, Grave #477. United German & French Cemetery (Pine Hill), Cheektowaga, NY.

    • Cemetery Plot Map: Veronica (née Modrzejewska) Schwertfeger / Schwert, Section 12, Lot 1, Line 9, Grave #477, United German & French Cemetery (Pine Hill), Cheektowaga, NY.

    • Cemetery Plot Map: Veronica (née Modrzejewska) Schwertfeger / Schwert, Section 12, Lot 1, Line 9, Grave #477, United German & French Cemetery (Pine Hill), Cheektowaga, NY. This map from UG&F Cemetery shows that no other Schwerts are interred with her.


    Schwertfamily.net is maintained by Donald P. Schwert, great great grandson of Carl and Veronica (née Modrzejewska) Schwertfeger (Schwert). We seek your assistance in helping us to develop this family history. Correspondence can be mailed to: Donald P. Schwert, 300 Broadway N #204, Fargo, ND, 58102-4720 U.S.A.


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