About Me

F0023_L11HR-058U84E_14_1_ImageCD_20080314_1241PM_MieszalaD (2)Debbie Mieszala, Certified Genealogist®, specializes in forensic genealogy, 20th-century research, and the Midwest. She does genealogical research for the military to locate relatives of service members missing in past wars, and formerly did adoption-related research as a Confidential Intermediary in Illinois.

A national-level lecturer and author, she has taught at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research, and the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh, and she has presented for Ancestry Academy. Debbie’s work has been published in NGS Magazine, The Digital Genealogist, and OnBoard. She is a former trustee for the Board for Certification of Genealogists. She has attended IGHR, NIGR, and GRIP. Debbie holds a certificate in paralegal studies.


Certified Genealogist is a registered certification mark of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, used under license, and the board name is registered in the US Patent & Trademark Office.

18 Responses to About Me

  1. Mary Bavido says:

    Great articles and good information. Looking forward to reading future blogs!

  2. Dan Mieszala says:

    So what have you found on the Mieszala name? I know of at least three separate family lines. Mine if from Poznan and south east.

    Be great to know what you found. My dad left Chicago and thus I have lost a lot of the history but I do have a few historic photograph copies.

    • debbiemieszala says:

      Alex (Aleksander) Mieszala was born in 1891 in Grabowek, Lomza, Poland. His parents were Walenty Mieszala and Katarzyna Gladek. Walenty was the son of Franciszek Mieszala and his wife Elzbieta. This is as far back as I have taken it to date. The surname is uncommon, but the places in Poland that the two Chicago Mieszala families I am familiar with came from are not close to one another. They used many of the same given names in their families.

      • Hi,
        Alex was not my grandfather. There is another Daniel Mieszala much younger than I still in Illinois possibly belonging to Alex. My Grandfather was Michael (most likely the Polish spelling) and grandmother was Josefina who emigrated during WWI. My great grandmother had actually come over well before that after re-marrying as a widow. She paid for the (rather large) family to come over and it took over 4 years to accomplish.
        Sorry for the long delay, I did not check the box below. Thanks for the reply.

        • debbiemieszala says:

          Hi. I wonder if the two families connect. I think there were two different Mieszala families in Chicago, coming from different parts of Poland. They used a lot of the same given names with their children.

  3. HUBERT says:

    Hello Debbie, my name is Hubert Pienkosz i am great-grandson Wladyslaw Mieszala, i am looking for some information about my family and i found your website. I found a lot infotmarion here. Maybe you have some pictures of Alex Mieszala or he’s siblings??


    Hubert Pienkosz

    • debbiemieszala says:

      Hi Hubert. It was good to connect with you via email. I shared the only picture I had, and am unsure on where the others came from that you saw.

  4. Mark Bramlette says:

    If I have the right Debbie, you and I are distant cousins by descent from Margaret Loy ( Find A Grave Memorial# 49720416 ) and her husband, Rev. Stillman Tucker. (Find A Grave Memorial# 11254824) Your ancestor, Phoebe Tucker Collins (Grave Memorial# 79923719) was my mother’s Aunt Phoebe. Please write. We have been out of touch for too long.

    • debbiemieszala says:

      Hi Mark. I am the right person, but my ancestor is the other sibling, Martin Luther Loy. Definitely out of touch too long. Good to see you here.

  5. Barbara Critchett-Hull says:

    Is there anyway to obtain the names of a birth father/mother if the information was marked as “legally omitted ” on the original birth certificate ( Springfield, Illinois?) I am adult daughter of a deceased adoptee. His birth circumstances and period first year of life ( adopted at age 1) adoption was very secretive. No one is alive to ask more questions. I have done the DNA testing and registered with IARMIE but no luck. I only want the names, ethinicity and no real desire to locate surviving relatives. Is there any hope?

    • debbiemieszala says:

      Sometimes birth fathers are named in the adoption agency records or home study paperwork. Only non-identifying information is released from agencies and home studies, and there is usually a fee for that in Illinois. If a birth father’s name appeared in the agency documents, a Confidential Intermediary could do a search for that named person. However, many people are turning to DNA testing to seek answers to questions like yours, and having some success. Many begin with Ancestry DNA and upload their Ancestry raw data to GedMatch, Family Tree DNA, and My Heritage to seek additional matches. It is then an exercise in sorting matches that are not from your mother’s side, and not from your paternal birth grandmother’s side, and seeing what you have left. If those who you match have trees you would then look for a pattern in the matches, common ancestral couples, for example. Yes, there is hope, but it might not come without some effort and it likely will not come through paper records dealing with the adoption.

  6. joan lozier says:

    i saw your webinar on legacy family tree free april webinars entitled ‘The Five-Story Fall: Indirect and Direct Evidence to Extend the Pedigree presented by Debra Miesala’ and thought it was the most incredible genealogy research story i’ve ever heard especially since i’ve got a great-great-grandfather who came over from ireland about 1840 & landed in l’isle-verte, quebec, canada supposedly shipwrecked, i’ve got every piece of evidence for him once he marries & has children but nothing from ireland before he gets here & i’ve tried many times, but your webinar gave me hope again. unfortunately i had spent the night before at the ER with my significant other & got only 3 hrs. sleep sunday morning & tried desperately to stay functioning during your presentation but had trouble, is there any place i can see this webinar again?? thanks for your help & so glad to have seen what i saw on sunday

  7. Brian Mieszala says:

    Hi Debbie,

    So I was curious and trying to see where in Poland my family is from and this website came up. I didn’t realize how common the name Mieszala was. I’m from the Chicagoland area and my grandfather’s name was Felix Mieszala. Do you happen to have him in your records at all?

    • debbiemieszala says:

      Hi Brian. My husband had an uncle Felix. Maybe it was the same one? Who was your father? There were two unrelated Mieszala families in Chicago using similar given names. ~Debbie

  8. TRM says:

    Thank you for your compilation of Michigan historic statutes!

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