Lucky Ladewski Papers

The Ladewski Papers - Search the digitized histories of local immigrant families assembled by South Bend genealogist Gertrude "Lucky" Ladewski and her sister Gene Szymarek . Please address any corrections, ammendents or additions documents concerning a specific family section to Jim Piechorowski at [email protected]

Gertrude T. (Stachowiak) Ladewski

A.K.A   “G. Lucky”

1928 – 2002

Memories of Gertrude “Lucky” Ladewski

“I remember one of the first issues I ever typeset of the Newsletter of the Polish Genealogical Society (as the PGSA was called back then) had an article on Lucky Ladewski. I was sorry to hear she had passed on, and am glad to hear you’re working to restore and digitize her work.


It’s bad enough when death robs us of a good person; we can’t let her work be lost too.”


Good Luck

Fred Hoffman

Gen Dobry, August 31, 2006

Lucky’s obituary in the South Bend Tribune’s, February 22, 2002 edition celebrates the life and aspirations of a lady in love with life and determined to achieve whatever she set her mind too.

I regret never having had the opportunity to meet her in the living years.

“G. Lucky was an “accomplished” woman. As an author and using her pen name of “G. Lucky” her column “Tell It Like It Is” was highly admired and respected in two papers in which she wrote: “The Polka World” and  “The Polka News”. After a battle with cancer, she coordinated, through the Polka industry and her column in 17 states a cancer fund drive in which $10,000 was raised for cancer and research.

Lucky and her husband George founded “Polka Partner Records” which opened many doors. Through the polka industry here in South Bend they created “The Polka Power / Club”.  Her thirst for her heritage did not stop here.

Genealogy was one of her great loves. She co-authored two published books on the Genealogy of South Bend’s Polish Families with her sister Gene. Her determination was unstoppable. Her gold card from the South Bend Public Library for volunteerism proved her love of words.”

Had it not been for her sister, Gene Szymarek, drafting Lucky into her personal effort to write a family history, the twelve case of written polish family histories might have never found their way to the Northern Indiana Center for History.

In a 1988 interview with South Bend Tribune correspondent Ann Carey, Lucky stated:

“ There is no way I wanted to get into this, but then I got angry when I saw all the incorrect information. I got into it really because Gene came over and said there wasn’t anything on the Polish in St. Joseph County.”  

Gene Szymarek, joined the South Bend Genealogical Society and discovered that she was the only person there researching Polish families. In additional she was told that it would be impossible to get any information from Poland.

The sisters opined that a “sure way to get them interested in something is to tell them it can’t be done” their determined efforts led to the eventual publication of three books detailing St. Joseph County Polonia:

Lucky aptly described this journey as

“My Magnificent Obsession. I’d love to write a bestseller, but that would become obsolete. My name on a book on genealogy will last forever and I know I’ll have left something of value. You have to do something with your life and leave something besides your name on a tombstone marker”

The Ladewski Papers … Contribute Your Family Data


Believe it or not, Lucky was not always right!!

Although, we do not revise Lucky’s original work we do enter correction pages by living family members as an addendum page to the original.

As a tribute to “Lucky’s Obsession” and our effort to document the immigrant migration to the Northern Indiana we are accepting “New Family Data” into the Ladewski Papers.

You do not have to be Polish to add your family information, the current database contains many “National Origins”.

Below are examples of what you can contribute

Family Trees

We ask that you consider submitting your family tree if you know the village/town your ancestors came from in the old country. We currently have 275 family trees in the database containing origin information, which allows the researcher access to foreign Church Records.

Obituary, Marriage, Birth Records

Upon receipt we will establish a family file for your name in the database or supplement your current family records. We ask that you submit your “scanned data” in JPEG format or copies of the originals to the Email or Postal address listed below.

Family Photos

Photo’s are the most precious way to remember a loved ancestor, please tell us who your ancestor is and possibly a paragraph listing their birth death and life experiences. We will only correct spelling and will honor your life story. Upon receipt we will establish a family file for your name in the database or supplement your current family records. We ask that you submit your “scanned data” in JPEG format or copies of the originals to the Email or Postal address listed below

Attaching  your Email Address to Family Information

Many contributors attach their Email address to the Family File in hopes of being contacted by other researchers. We will “NEVER” attach your address to any data unless you authorize us to do so in writing.


Email:  [email protected]

Postal:        Jim Piechorowski

                   55659 River Shore Lane

                   Elkhart, Indiana 46516            


George & Lucky Ladewski April 1969 Genealogy Society Article 1988

(Click on the above pictures to see enlargement)

Click on photo below to enter the World of Lucky Ladewski Papers


Web Mistress note:

After a year and a half of compiling and processing the files of Lucky, I must say that it has been a pleasure to be a part of putting this Great Lady's works on the web site. Thank you Jim for all that you have done, Thank you to Lucky's family for their generosity in donating the files, and Thank you Lucky for all your hard work, that started all of this.

I am sure that Lucky is in heaven and smiling down and thankful that her work has not been forgotten and that so many will benifit from her reseach. (05/17/2007)

Project started: Sunday, March 12, 2006, 2:24:12 PM

Project updated: Thursday, November 27, 2008 09:30:56 AM

Return To: Saint Joseph County, Indiana INGenWeb Site