Category Archives: Beyond the Stacks


Travel without the Jet Lag

Your fave travel blogger — what? In my mind I’m your favorite blogger — is back with some movie recommendations.

Check ’em out!

The Beach: Remember that fantasy you had of running away and starting a new life on a peaceful tropical island? Nobody knows where you are. Not a care in the world. This movie is that fantasy . . . until it goes wrong . . . oh, so very, very wrong. — Stars a young Leonardo DiCaprio and the ethereal Tilda Swinton.

Y Tu Mama Tambien: This is a hot little number from south of the border. Two teenage boys on a road trip through Mexico, pick up a sultry older woman. I promise you won’t be bored. — Diego Luna before Milk and Gael Garcia Bernal before The Motorcycle Diaries (itself a great road trip movie).

L’auberge Espagnole: Relive that college trip to Europe. You know, that one where you lived out of your JanSport backpack for three months. The one where you fell head-over-heels for . . . what’s-her-face? Actually, the appeal of this flick really is appreciating the digs these kids find for the summer IN BARCELONA! — See Audrey Tautou as she’s on the brink of international stardom.

Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara: I like the magic glitter that Bollywood sprinkles all over its movies. They’re so good! Four bachelors meet up for their last trip together as single guys — one is headed for matrimonial bliss . . . or maybe not. After you see this, I’m sure you’ll wanna book a trip to Bunol. In the movie the fellas enjoy tomatina before running with the bulls. We know that in real life the bulls run in July and tomatoes are thrown in August (it’s the natural order of things). But that’s the magic of movies.

And . . . National Lampoon’s Vacation / European Vacation . . . I’m just sayin’.

– Kevin Post, CADL Outreach Librarian



Beyond the Stacks: Yes, it’s worth fishing around in that seat-back pocket

beyond-squareI admit it. I’m a little weird. I look forward to fishing around it that seat-back pocket . . . for a copy of the airline magazine — and oh the pleasure of getting a fresh, new copy! Airline magazines have a guaranteed readership and therefore attract the attention of advertisers. What does this mean? The quality has remained pretty high, even when commercial magazines have made some cut-backs.

While I think there’s nothing better than snatching a printed copy out of the seat-back pocket, you can also enjoy the online versions of these great reads. So, go ahead and board CADL, crack open that laptop, or log onto one of our computers. Unlike most airlines, we always offer free WiFi.

Here’s a few of my faves:

  • Delta Sky Magazine – Atlanta based Delta has great coverage of southern U.S. cities. And you can subscribe for home delivery! Also, their magazine is a fully functioning website, complete with a blog — I know you like a good blog. Check out the dining recommendations for Delta destinations.
  • Emirates’ Open Skies is as luxurious as the glossies on display at your local bookstore — or CADL branch. Luxury, Luxury, Luxury — go ahead, see how the other half lives.
  • Porter Airline’s re: Porter is hip — as you would expect from this edgy, Canadian airline. Also, the online archived issues are available in easy-to-access, portable pdf files. Refresh that high school français.

– Kevin Post, CADL Outreach Librarian

“What does it mean to pre-board? Do you get on before you get on?” — George Carlin, comedian

Are Travel Reward Programs Worth It?

Love to travel but not sure how to make the time or even afford it? Meet Kevin Post, CADL’s Outreach Librarian, who has a passion for travelling. Whether for work or fun, Kevin’s got some tips on the resources you can find at the library to help plan that next big trip.

Want to travel really cheap? How about free?

If you really want to save some dough while on the road, I suggest looking into loyalty programs. I know, I know, you’re thinking to yourself, ‘I don’t have time to keep up on travel points and airline miles!’ But the truth is it’s really easy. All you need is an email address and thirty minutes. Then there are websites that will do the work for you!

To really maximize your points/miles you really shouldn’t spread yourself too thin. So, rule numero uno: Pick a few companies with which you’ve had reliable good service and that do business in areas you frequent, and stick with them. But do join the programs of any company you use and switch your earning preferences to reflect your main programs — e.g. when I stay at a Hyatt, I have my earning preferences set to Delta Skymiles, not Hyatt Gold Passport points. It’s easy enough to change your account settings. This way I’m still earning miles while sleeping!

The next step is to sign up for one of the many programs that will monitor your rewards programs for you – usually for free. There are a few, but I use because it will track lots and lots of programs – even drugstores and gas stations. I also use It monitors your points/miles and allows you to search for tickets. It is a metasite (remember those?) that will search and provide you with cash and point prices. It is a great way to know if you should use your precious points or just pay cash. – Please note that in my opinion does value points/miles on the high end, and it will take you a bit of time to enter your information when you sign up for an account. But you only have to do it once for most accounts.

A little effort goes a long way, a really long way. I have gone to Madrid, Paris, Montreal, and Mexico City all on frequent flyer tickets.

Also, remember: you shouldn’t be buying anything online without earning points/miles. Most reward programs offer ‘online shopping malls’ that will earn you a lot of points/miles on your everyday purchases. Usually these sites just redirect you to the merchant, so it’s just one extra click. These sites include: and among others.

Happy planning. Happier free travels.

– Kevin P., Outreach Librarian at CADL

“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” – James Michener

Scoring That Cheap Seat on the Short Flight

Love to travel but not sure how to make the time or even afford it? Meet Kevin Post, CADL’s Bookmobile Librarian, who has a passion for travelling. Whether for work or fun, Kevin’s got some tips on the resources you can find at the library to help plan that next big trip.

Before we can even think about lounging under the Florida sun or skiing the mountains of Quebec, we all have to find a way to get there. For this, I am going to talk about my favorite site for searching airfares (rental cars and hotels).

Metasites are always my first stop when planning travel — metasites are sites that search other webpages for you. You simply enter the information once, such as the dates you want to fly, and the metasite will do all the work for you.

Kayak is my favorite for airfares. It searches (nearly) all the commercial airlines as well as aggregators like Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz. I just enter my preferred flight dates and times and hit the search button. I love watching that progress bar whiz by while the cheapest fares begin to appear.

If you’re like me, you don’t always want the absolute lowest fare at the expense of having to fly in the early morning — or maybe you prefer to rack up the miles with a particular brand. Kayak makes it easy to filter your results. It offers, among many, the ability to limit take-off and landing times, layover airports (I much prefer a couple of hours at O’Hare to, say Cincinnati), class of carriage, brands and the very important flight duration. Use these filters well and you’ll have cheapest fare for a flight you can tolerate.

Kayak will even allow you to bracket your travel dates by up to three days for both departure and return — maybe it’s worth it to you to save $100 and come home a day early.

When you find a flight you like, Kayak will take you directly to the website so you can make your purchase.

Next time you’re in your branch, play around with this great site – maybe plan that fantasy trip you’ve always pushed off for next year.

Happy planning. Happier travels.

– Kevin P. Bookmobile/Outreach Librarian at CADL

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

The ‘Second City’ is Second to None

I know I said in my last post that we’d be going somewhere warm, but I’m excited to be bopping over to Chicago instead. I’m licking my chops thinking about all the good eats, but I’m also going to get into the culture too. In fact, the Art Institute of Chicago is hosting an exhibit entitled: Picasso in Chicago. It should prove to be grand.

FoodLoversGuideToChicagoFor those who love to eat their way around a city, I recommend Food Lover’s Guide to Chicago. This book not only lists some of my favorite restos, like the yummy Chicago Diner (Meat Free Since ‘83); it also gives you the layout of the city and great transit information. Once you peek through the first few pages, you’ll know Chicago like a local.

For those who want to really take a bite out of Chicago history, I recommend The Pig and the Skyscraper by Marco D’Eramo. Although it may lean toward the dramatic, it’s a great, detailed history of the Second City. – this title is not available through CADL, but ask your librarian how to request it through MelCat. — Ah! Not familiar with MelCat? Do yourself a favor and ask about it or get step-by-step instructions in My’brary Adventure’s post, Your Library Can Only Hold So Many Books.

Here’s to hoping that my favorite Picasso painting ‘Girl Before a Mirror’ will be on loan from MoMA (Museum of Modern Art)!

– Kevin P., Bookmobile/Outreach Librarian at CADL

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness . . . — Mark Twain

Hitch a ride with Capital Area District Libraries


Love to travel but not sure how to make the time or even afford it? Meet Kevin Post, CADL’s Bookmobile Librarian, who has a passion for travelling. Whether for work or fun, Kevin’s got some tips on the resources you can find at the library to help plan that next big trip.

As a librarian I think most people expect that my favorite pastime is reading.  While it may be in the top of that list, collecting stamps – passport stamps — is my numero uno passion in life.  Yes, I obsess over frequent flyer miles, update my TripAdvisor Facebook map often and I’m always planning my next trip, but I’m also a working bloke and therefore can’t always be zipping around. Come to think of it, I do travel for work; as the CADL bookmobile librarian I get to visit lots of places around Ingham County!

As I’m sure I’m not the only travel enthusiast out there, I’d like to share some of the best ways CADL keeps me in the know and on the go.

OmanInspired by the news coverage of the Hajj (but hampered by the lack of visa and time) I decided to pick up a couple of books about travel and customs in Saudi Arabia, rather than hop a flight. As usual, CADL had my back with its up-to-date collection.

I’m especially fond of the Lonely Planet guides because they have great coverage on the history of a country, not to mention good budget recommendations.  Even if I’m not actually planning on setting foot in the country, these guides give me a good sense of what it might be like. For the latest on Saudi Arabia in great detail, place a hold on the following titles:

Without even leaving your home you can learn so much more about the destinations on your list. In fact, did you know that the world’s second tallest building is in Mecca? Complete with a 20-story shopping mall!

Be sure to check back for more travel inspired blogs. Next time I think we should go someplace warm. How about you?

– Kevin Post, Bookmobile Librarian

Finding Family: The Jail Breaker


Meet Jeff, life-long Lansing area resident and amateur genealogist. Follow him as he enters his 19th year of researching his family’s path from the harsh copper mines of the Keeweenaw Peninsula to the conveniences of modern Lansing life. You’ll see the drive behind the long research hours, meet his family members and learn something about family life in the Upper Peninsula.

“He referred to his home surroundings, stating that he lost his mother by death when he was only 4 years old and added with a touch of irony ‘I never knew my mother.’” – Calumet News (?)

Ignatius Pytlewski, son of Stanislaus and Antonia, was the Pytlewski skeleton in the closet. Your family may have one. The closer these skeletons lie in relation to living relatives, the trickier it becomes to pass on the information without hurting your family members. You may want to hold on to your little family secret until a time where the information may not hurt particular family members. Enough time has passed where I can dish the Pytlewski dirt that has been hiding in plain sight for over a century.

Ignatius had a fascinating life to say the least! Ignatius’ mother, Antonia, died in childbirth when he was 4 years of age. Ignatius grew up in a time where his father was just starting up Petlewski’s Bar. He slept in the basement of the saloon his father purchased in 1892. In 1905, five out of seven brothers and sisters were likely sharing the 2nd story and basement of the saloon. His Uncle Joseph also lived with them, making it a total of 9 people in a two-story dwelling, where one of the floors served as the saloon. Ignatius likely did not have a lot of space in Petlewski’s Bar. He attempted to make an honest living working for five months as a drill boy for the Calumet and Hecla Mining Co. He was discharged for destroying property and lying. A C&H employment record also leads me to suspect he gained employment  in 1907 with C&H under the name Emory Nicholas. “Emory” quit after five months.

Children in Calumet grew up with cold and snow filled winters without many luxuries.   Ignatius had to share his household with 8 other family members.  Pictured is Paul Petlewski standing in front of Vienna Bakery in Calumet, MI.  Circa 1920.

Children in Calumet grew up with cold and snow filled winters without many luxuries. Ignatius had to share his household with 8 other family members. Pictured is Paul Petlewski standing in front of Vienna Bakery in Calumet, MI. Circa 1920.  Photo courtesy of Kathy Petlewski.

In 1905 Ignatius’ troubles began when he was charged with burglary.  A local newspaper reports,

“He confessed to making a skeleton key with nothing but a file, and with a picture of a pattern and with this key, he had not the least trouble in entering the Wieder harness store, where he stole several coins.  This was his last escapade and ended in his undoing.  He had taken every precaution that it was in the nature of  a human being to take and which would have done credit too many older criminal, but he had forgotten that ‘footprints in the snow’ tell tales.”

Ignatius struck again in 1908.  The testimony of Sylvan Malfroid recalls how Petlewski got caught.

He said I found this boy [Ignatius] in the office.  I asked him if anything was taken away and he said I don’t know, I don’t think so.  I said the boy was probably on his way home and wandered in there and wanted to sleep off his jag.  It was just a notion that I thought he might be drunk by the way he looked and by his actions he was leaning against the desk.  I asked him where did he board, and he said I board at Swedtown.  I asked him what his name and he said was John Rowe.  He said he was a Polander and I thought that was a funny name for that nationality, then a boy came to the door and said Let that boy go thats my brother he never done anything, then we let the boy go and we thought we could know him again, I thought afterwards if I had not mentioned that he might be drunk that Christ would not have let him go.

After being arrested for his burglary of several local Calumet business, The Daily Mining Gazette Reports.

Petlewski told Marshall Trudell that it took him about one and one-half hours to saw the two bars which permitted him to escape.  He stated that just as he had completed the work the janitor of the building, Mike Schulte, opened the jail door and asked him if he was calling for a drink.  Realizing that if he said yes the fact that he sawed his way out would have been evident, he replied in the negative, and Mr. Shulte left.

It was not more than three minutes after the janitor was gone that Petlewski managed to get through the small hole, first having taken off his outer clothing to make it easier to pass through.  During the time that he was sawing the bars his saw broke, and this fact made it much harder to complete. the job.  He carried the saw with him just for the purpose it was used.

Another newspaper reports how Ignatius

“was amused on reading the stories of his escape from the Red Jacket jail recently by sawing his way out, and laughingly reminded those present how he had passed the local officer who arrested him at the time on several occasions afterward.”

During Ignatius’ 1905 trial, William Richards, a theft victim, says of Ignatius, “If he is crazy I am crazy. That is a steady business of his, the same as yours and mine he does it as a business and pretty good at it too.”  Supporting this statement, the Calumet News reports that

“The prisoner was searched and a bunch of keys, containing no less than 115 were found in his person, many of them made by himself, and believed to fit any lock that was ever invented.”

The article goes on to say that

“It will be remembered that when the Pytlewski house was searched [for his previous crimes], it was found that the boy had wired the home from basement to [illegible] and had installed a miniature telephone system for his own private use.”

This was in 1908 when telephones were a newer technology. The Daily Mining Gazette also reports,

“It is said that at one time he had the garret in his home completely wired for electricity with all kinds of bells and alarms.  He had a number of guns and revolvers there, and once when the police had occasion to search the place they found ammunition enough to stock a good sizes shop.”

Ignatius plead guilty to the crimes he committed in 1908. The court, however, was lenient with his sentence. The Daily Mining Gazette reports,

“‘The circumstances of your case appeal to the court somewhat,’ said Justice Streeter to the boy, ‘your youth. the fact that you have done steady work and the fact that while you have been living at home you have been thrown practically on your own resources.  You have done wrong because you have found it easy to do so.'”

According to the Court,  Ignatius was sent to Ionia Reformatory of Michigan for a period of one and a half to five years.  He remained there in 1910 according to the census. By 1917, his World War I draft registration card tells us he landed himself in the Illinois State Penitentiary in Rock Island, Illinois. I still haven’t solved that mystery!

By 1940, Ignatius’ life settled. He lived with his sister Theresa in Chicago while working as an elevator greeter. Like Ignatius, the 1st generation of American-born Pytlewski family members changed their name to Petlewski and moved away from Calumet. Walter and his brother John moved to Detroit. Stanislaus’ children moved on to Illinois and Wisconsin. Walter’s brothers, Alex and Vincent, and his sister Mary were the only Pytlewskis that remained in Calumet.  Today, both residences of the Pytlewskis no longer exist.  The only evidence of that the family existed in Calumet are the gravestones on the ground and the records in libraries and archives.

For those who have been following Beyond the Stacks: Finding Family, the following are the records we’ve touched on in locating family: touched on quite a few records that you can use to find your family.

  • Family Photos
  • Oral History
  • Census Records
  • Employment Records
  • Estate Files (including wills)
  • Newspaper Articles
  • Court Records
  • Deeds
  • City & Business Directories
  • Vital Records
  • Court Records
  • Military Records
  • Cemetary Gravestones and Records

I hope you enjoyed reading my family’s story and maybe picked up a few ideas on how you can discover more about your family!

Resources Consulted

Daily Mining Gazette. Houghton, Michigan.
Calumet News. Calumet, Michigan.
The People of the State of Michigan v. Ignatius Pytlewski File 2955.  Houghton County, MI Circuit Court.  Accessed at Michigan Tech Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections.
The People of the State of Michigan v. Ignatius Pytlewski. File 2956.  Houghton County, MI Circuit Court.  Accessed at Michigan Tech Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections.
The People of the State of Michigan v. Ignitz Petlewsky. File 2393 Houghton County, MI Circuit Court.  Accessed at Michigan Tech Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections.
Year: 1910; Census Place: Easton, Ionia, Michigan; Roll: T624_650; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 0014; ; FHL microfilm: 1374663.  Accessed 13 Dec 2012. AncestryLibrary Database. Capital Area District Libraries
“United States Census, 1940,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 13 Dec 2012), Nickouls Petlewski in household of Stanley Zwierzchowski, Ward 35, Chicago, Chicago City, Cook, Illinois, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 103-2172, sheet 15A, family 300, NARA digital publication T627, roll 991.
National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; ; State Headquarters: Illinois; ; ; ; ; Microfilm Series: M2097; Microfilm Roll: 226. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.United States, Selective Service System. Selective Service Registration Cards, World War II: Fourth Registration.
Registration State: Illinois; Registration County: Rock Island; Roll: 1614549; Draft Board: 1. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005.

(c) jantaya