*Who Am I? What Is This All About?

What is this?

If you have a Rzeszut, Rzesut or Zesut in your family tree and their United States roots began in Glastonbury, CT then this very well could be a website chronicling the Rzeszut’s you are a descendant of.

A few years ago I became interested in genealogy – the study of family history. After researching some of my paternal lineage I decided to find out as much as I could about my grandmother Wanda Zesut Thibeault’s family. All I knew was that they were from Poland and had settled in Glastonbury, CT. I knew some family names and had some aunt’s who had some information but I was looking for hard facts I could use to build a family tree and establish a timeline.

I’ve been researching the Rzeszuts (later Americanized to Zesut) for about 4 months and have “met” several distant and not-so-distant relatives as a result. They’ve all expressed an interest in my research so I decided to present it all in the form of this website so that anyone interested can see what I’ve uncovered.  This blog is heavily inspired by the king of all genealogy blogs http://www.stephendanko.com/.

If anyone out there has old Rzeszut documents or photos I would love to get copies for inclusion (or not) on this site.

Hopefully you’ll find it interesting!


P.S. Yes, that IS an actual photograph of Kasper and Anna Rzeszut at the top of the page. I received a copy from my Aunt Toni (Grandaughter of Anthony Zesut) who recieved it from Irene (daughter of Frank Zesut).


38 Responses to “*Who Am I? What Is This All About?”

  1. William(Bill)Gerich Says:

    Hi Elliot,
    This is just terrifc. Thank you for doing this for all of us. I have not forgotten the photos I promised to send. They are in a pile next to me and I will scan them in soon. They are mostly photos from the 50s/60s and do not add anything to what you already have on my great grand parents. In the name of completeness I will send them along anyway.

    As for “what we are” I feel we need to go with ethnicity and language and not politcal borders. As you know the borders in that part of the world were a changing tide for centuries. The break up of the Austro-Hungarian Empire left a real hodge podge in terms of “where everyone was from”.
    The family spoke Polish and was ethnically Polish from my experiences.

    Keep up the wonderful work. Your cousin,
    William Anthony Zesut Gerich (Son of Sophie Zesut Gerich)

  2. Lenora Thibeault Says:

    Hi El. You’ve done a wonderful job! I’m really looking forward to future inclusions. In case Bill is reading this – I didn’t realize you were named after our grandfather. Our mothers were so young when he passed away, but he must have made a big impression as a father. Again, Elliot, great work.
    Aunt Lenora

  3. wrannej Says:

    Thanks for the comments! Lot’s more info to come. This is the first “blog” I’ve done so there’s still some aspects I need to figure out. I’d like to see if people can sign up to be notified via email of updates so that you don’t have to keep checking. I’ve got lot’s to add…..


  4. William(Bill)Gerich Says:

    Hi Lenora(“Baby”),

    Yes, I was named after both of my Grandfathers and while I did know my Grandpa Gerich I, of course, never knew Grandpa Zesut. I hope that one day we are able to uncover a photo of him. It has been a long time Cuz….I’m not sure I’d recognize you if you hit me with a truck. Isn’t it wonderful how Elliot has roped us all in?

    Here is my direct email address wagerich@bellsouthDOTnet. Please let me know if you should come down to Florida. Sy and I live in Delray Beach.

    p.s. HOW did we get to be this old????????

    Love, Cousin Bill

  5. Carol Thibeault Says:

    Elliot —
    What a great job! I can’t wait to see who responds and contributes. Thank you for doing this.


  6. Lenora Thibeault Says:

    El, I just came across an accounting of expenses related to the distribution of funds from the sale of land owned by Anthony Zesut in Glastonbury. Unfortunately, I can’t find the letter that accompanied the document. It was discovered, in 1984, that Anthony Zesut owned land in Glastonbury, apparently unknown to anyone else at the time of his death. My Aunt Anne (Anthony’s daughter) was approached to sell the land to, I believe, a soap company. (Williams Soap Co.?, could it be the same one he worked for?) The land was landlocked, with no access, so was sold for $10,000. (I think). The proceeds were divided among Anthony’s surviving children and the children of his deceased children. My memory of this is somewhat sketchy, but I’m sure one of my sisters or cousins can verify or add to or correct information. It was an amazing thing to receive a small inheritance from a grandfather I had never known. Quite a connection to our history. If you are interested in a copy of the document, let me know.
    Love, Aunt Lenora

  7. William(Bill)Gerich Says:

    I too remember receiving a small in heritance as a result of selling my Grandfather’s (Anthony) land in Glastonbury. I believe that my sister Andrea, Brother Michael and I each recieved approximately $400 which equaled the amount our mother Sophie (Anthony’s daughter) would have received if she were alive at the time. I too felt like our grandfather was reaching out in time to give something his children and the grand children he never knew….and who never knew him. I had forgotten about this and am glad you remebered Lenora.

    On a different note…..I remember as a very young boy of 5 or 6 riding in the rumble seat of a car with my mom sitting beside me and Grandma Victoria in the front seat next to someone named Frank who was driving. I also recall seeing a photgraph of it many years latter and have not seen it since. Does anyone remember seeing this photo or know where it is?


  8. wrannej Says:

    Interesting stuff Bill. There are TONS of land record transactions at the Glastonbury Town Hall (I’ll be posting some of the oldest ones soon) and I’m sure the origins of the land you folks inherited the sale money from are in there.

    That photo sounds cool – the Frank must be Anthony’s brother. I wonder where you were going. Would love for that pic to turn up! Kasper, Anthony and Joseph all died unexpectedly leaving Frank and William to take on the patriarchical roles in the family (Michael moved out west) so I wonder if you were attending a Zesut family function of some kind with Frank leading the way.


  9. Toni (Thibeault) Barrett Says:

    Hi Elliot,
    Great job. Lots of information and it is all very exciting to read about our ancestors. Thanks for sharing. Love, Aunt Toni

  10. Lenora Thibeault Says:

    El, My mother and father (Wanda Zesut and Leonard Thibeault) actually eloped to Beecher Falls, VT since, as the story goes, the Polish church and the French church in Hartford refused to marry them because they were not of the same nationality. Of course they were, they were both born in the US. Anyway, George Gerich was my father’s best man. (Bill’s uncle). I do have photos of the three of them on my parents’ wedding day. I never heard of a maid of honor, but I imagine there had to be two witnesses. My Grandpa Thibeault was also there. George was the one who introduced my parents. He and my Uncle Andy (Bill’s father and George’s brother) apparently already knew the five girls who lived on Broad St. since Andy married Sophie. Anyway, my father and George lost contact until sometime in the 90’s when they connected again and remained friends until my father died. I hope this is clear and not too rambling. I’ll dig out the old photos and scan them in. I’m sure Aunt Toni and your mother have photos as well.
    Bill, did you get my email?
    Aunt L

  11. wrannej Says:

    Interesting. Their marriage certificate is on file at the City Hall in Hartford. I meant to get a copy when I was there but got distracted. The cert. will have the names of both witnesses on it. I might actually have a photo from the wedding I’ll have to check. I had forgotten they were married in VT and that it wasn’t a big family affair.


  12. Flora Romeo Stoneberg Says:

    Hello, all..
    I’m sure none of you except Elliot and his mom Carol will know me, but I am the granddaughter of Victoria Puscizna’s (married to Anthony) sister Anna. This makes me a second cousin once removed to Elliot. I found Elliot through his mom Carol while I was doing my own family genealogy. The only clue I had to Victoria was that she signed my grandmother’s funeral book when she died in 1960. Easiest way to understand this is that Carol’s and my grandmothers were sisters. So, even though the Zesuts are not my blood relatives, anyone related through Victoria’s 5 daughters are! I look forward to getting to know my extended family! Should any of you want to contact me, my email is fstoneberg “at” yahoo.com. (I stated me email this way as I was told it would prevent being scanned for spam…don’t really know if it works!) I live in Pittsburgh, PA, and look forward to getting to know you.

    Flora Stoneberg

  13. Carol Thibeault Says:

    Happy New Year to everyone in my family — both new and old (and I don’t mean age-wise!) I am so hoping that this website will bring us all a little closer.

    Flora – I am so happy that you posted your message. I know that you and Elliot have been communicating, and I can’t wait to see where your Puscizna information and the Rzesut info will intersect. Elliot has been doing such a great job in putting this all together. I have to admit that it might have been your original email to me this past summer that led to this Rzesut website. Thanks for being in touch! There is so much information about this family out there. Elliot has been working on both sides of his family tree which is a lot of work!

    Lenora & Bill (Billy – as I recall) – I remember the inheritance well. I bought well-needed tires for my car with that money! Just to add a little bit of info to George Gerich getting in touch with my father — Out of the blue, he actually found my name and phone number as a state employee in Hartford, CT and called me at work! I took down his phone number and gave it to my father. It is so nice that they were able to get together after all that time.

    I wish I had some good info to share regarding our ancestors, but I’m afraid I don’t have any. I know we called our Grandmother Victoria ‘botchy’ which somehow relates to the polish word for grandmother – babcia. I actually took a polish language course in college, thinking that maybe I would have some innate ability to speak the language, but I didn’t do well at it at all. It was only then that I found out that ‘botchy’ was not how grandmother was pronounced in polish. Flora- what did you call your grandmother?

    I love it that Elliot has gotten all this information. I was in Glastonbury recently because I had a home buyer interested in moving there from Chicago. (I am a realtor.) This was all around the same time that Elliot began collecting this information. I took drives down the streets where the Rzesuts lived and imagined what it must have been like way back then. Also, another (crazy/silly) thing I used to do was that when I would drive past the Colt Firearms building on my way to work in Hartford many years ago, I would invison my grandfather Anthony working there, even though I didn’t know him or what he looked like. I guess I feel a very strong connection to our past. I would love to get copies of old Colt employee records/photos if any exist.

    It would be great if everyone who takes a look at this website writes a little note that they have seen it, and any info they might want to share about their lives/family. Just a little ‘Hello’ would be great.

    Carol Wanda Zesut Thibeault

  14. Lenora Thibeault Says:

    Hi Carol and Everyone! Happy New Year! No new information, but Carol I have a sidebar to your story of George contacting Dad. Dad had asked me if I knew if George was still alive, so I called Michael Gerich who called either Andrea or George directly who then called you. It was then they renewed their friendship. OK, anyone else remember this differently? Also, my inheritance went for new tires too, only they were Frank’s. Anyway, again Happy New Year and Happy Birthday, Carol.
    Lenora etc.

  15. Toni (Thibeault) Barrett Says:

    Hi Elliot and everyone else. I Just want to relate a little story about the Williams soap factory. I believe the old building was made into apartments or condos and when Ron was still alive we went there to a party given by his Captain. He was in the National Guard in the Public Affairs Division at the time and I had no idea that there was some sort of conection to the soap factory for us. Also, that was the only soap that Uncle Ron would use to shave his face with and could be purchased at CVS. I don’t know if it is still being made or sold. I will have to look for it again. What made me think of this silly story is the picture you have posted and they put that picture on the soap box. I am going to take a look and see if they have any there to buy. If they do I will give it to you. Aunt Toni

  16. Flora Romeo Stoneberg Says:

    Happy New Year, Everyone!
    It is so much fun reading all the notes going back and forth and I am trying to use my genealogy chart that Elliot helped me fill in for this branch of the family to learn how everyone is related! Carol…we called my grandmother (Anna Puscizna, Victoria’s sister) Nana Slick. She was married to Michal Slick (Americanized last name, don’t know the original) and they had 8 children, 7 of whom lived to adulthood. 6 girls and 1 boy! My mom was the baby of the family. Two sisters are still living: My Aunt Emma (who is Victoria’s niece) will be 99 on Feb. 21, and her sister Victoria (named for Anna’s sister!) was 91 yesterday. I do have Anna and Victoria’s parents’ names from Anna’s and Michal’s Marriage Certificate: Josef Puscizna and Marianna Bolek. These are not verified but I am in the process of doing that. This will be of interest mostly to the descendants of Victoria and Anthony Rzeszut. My mom and dad were the only ones to move away from Connecticut, so most of Anna’s descendants are still in and around the Enfield/Thompsonville areas.

  17. Lenora Thibeault Says:

    Elliot, You are doing a fantastic job. It’s like a serial and I can’t wait for the next installment. I can’t say enough in praise of your efforts.
    Bill, Thank you so much for sending along the photos. You’re so good, I’m embarrassed to say I have some photos too, but haven’t taken the time to sort through them. Everyone would understand if they saw how many boxes of photos I have. I do have one picture of Aunt Mary when she was young. And I promise I will spend some time today looking through my cache.
    Flora, Nice to meet you. Thank you for sharing all of your info. I’m Wanda Zesut’s third daughter. Interesting that Anna and Victoria had so many daughters and my mother followed in their footsteps.

  18. Carol Thibeault Says:

    It IS like watching a TV show and you can’t wait for the next episode. To think that 6 months ago I didn’t even know how to spell Puscizna and now we have all this information! This is great fun – Thank you, Elliot!

  19. William(Bill)Gerich Says:

    Hi evryone. Yes, it is a bit like a soap opera isn’t it?

    We should all consider supporting Elliot in this work. There are research costs (copying documents, renting microfilm data bases, etc.) as well as the costs of running this website which he has been footing the bill for himself. I know he is doing this out of love and a sense of family history and we have all praised him for his fine work. I, for one, am backing up my words with a check. He’s too shy to ask……so why not send him a small donation so that he can cover his out of pocket costs.

    Come on ZESUTs…..let’s do it!

    Bill Gerich (son of Sophie Zseut)”

  20. Michele (Dion) Mandell Says:

    Elliot, This is unbelievable! Thank you Elliot for all the hard work you are putting into this. It is truly amazing to read all these facts about our family. I haven’t really taken it all in yet! I do have som ephotos and would be happy to share. I have always been curious about Mary Rzesut and the course of her life. Towards the end of her life she spent a short time in the nursing home in which I worked. I understand she was instituitionalized since age 20-due to a car accident. I wonder if anyone could confirm that….Will keep in touch.
    Michele (Dion) Mandell Anne (Rzesut) Dion’s youngest daughter.

  21. wrannej Says:

    Hi Michele!

    Welcome aboard! Glad you’re enjoying the blog! Mary Rzesut is a bit of a mystery – I’ll email you off the board to fill you in on what we’ve pieced together so far.

    Would LOVE to see what photos you’ve got!


  22. Jason Thibodeau Says:


    Excellent job with the site so far. I can only imagine the time commitment this involves, but it is much appreciated. I’ve signed up for the email notifications.

    Jason Thibodeau
    Worcester, MA
    Anne (Rzesut) Dion’s grandson

  23. wrannej Says:

    Hi Jason!

    Great to hear from you! Thanks for the kind words! Hmmm..since our grandmother’s were sisters that would make you and I Second Cousins. Interesting!


  24. Carol Thibeault Says:

    Hello to Michele and Jason –

    I am so glad that you’ve joined us!

    Michele- I hope you have some information about Mary in her later years. Do you have photos of her?


  25. Carol Thibeault Says:


    We know whose grandson you are, but don’t know who your parents are. Are you Leslie’s (Dion) son? Can you elaborate?

    It’s nice to meet you.

    Carol Wanda Zesut Thibeault
    Elliot’s mother

  26. Michele (Dion) Mandell Says:

    Yes, I do have photos of Mary in her later years-and even her younger years. I need to find all this! I’ll be busy tonight.

  27. Jason Thibodeau Says:

    Oops, sorry about that. Yes, you are correct – Leslie Thibodeau (Dion) is my mother and my father is Donald. I have two siblings as well, a sister Darcey and a brother Lee.

    Nice to meet you both as well!

  28. Toni (Thibeault) Barrett Says:

    Hi Michelle, Thank you for that wonderful picture of Victoria and Anthony. That is the very first time I have ever seen a photo of Anthony. I am Wanda Zesut Thibeault’s daughter. She and your mother were sisters and I remember your brother and sister from my childhood. When I was a teenager I babysat for your older brother and sister. Your brother Roger was a real little scamp and boy what a time I had looking after him when he was two.

    I am also very glad to know that there was family to see Aunt Mary.

    Thanks again for sharing the picture.

    Toni Barrett

  29. William(Bill)Gerich Says:

    Good morning Elliot,

    I’m still chuckling over today’s “bootlegger revelation”. I also like my Aunt Wanda’s term “rascal” to describe my grandfather. In Spanish (we lived in PR for a dozen years) the term “Malito” would be used in the same way. I’ve always prided myself on being a bit of a “rascal”……hereditary I guessJ.

    An interesting sidebar to the bootlegging story is that my Grandfather William Gerich (my other namesake) was also a bootlegger. In the eulogy I did for my uncle George (of introducing and standing up for Wanda and Leonard fame) I recounted a story that Uncle George told of being a young boy of 5 or so whose job was to stir the vat of fermenting brew that my Grandfather Gerich had “aging” in the basement (making him, perhaps the youngest bootlegger in the family). My Grandmother Gerich made the tea that was then added to the hooch to give it the color of liquor (and stretch it a bit, I’m sure). It was then sold out the back door of my grandfather’s neighborhood grocery/meat market. They never got caught to my knowledge.

    So it seems that bootlegging ran on both sides of my family……as an incurable romanticist, I am tickled pink!!!!!!

    This is just terrific….keep it up.



  30. Branden Zesut Says:

    My names Branden Zesut and Frank Zesut is my Great Grandpa, Irene pardo is my dad’s aunt….

  31. wrannej Says:

    Hi Branden – Glad you found this place!

  32. Carol Thibeault Says:

    Hi Branden- Thanks for signing in. Anthony Zesut (Frank’s brother) is my Grandfather. Listening to Irene tell stories about our family is always a pleasure and very entertaining. It’s nice to meet you. -Carol

  33. Lynda Zesut Glarner Says:

    I stumbled on this site when I ‘googled’ my name (married name) and it was attached to an obituary for Sharon Zesut, who was married to my father Robert Zesut, son of Michael and Josephine Zesut. She was my stepmother, my mother is Lorna Hastings. I am the oldest of 5 siblings, Richard, James, JoAnn and Robert Jr. . I am very interested in the history of our family. I will be following this site, and will talk to my father about any photo’s or information he may want to share.
    Lynda Zesut Glarner

  34. wrannej Says:

    Hi Lynda,

    Welcome aboard! Great to hear from you!


  35. Łukasz Rzeszut Says:

    Hi, my name is Łukasz Rzeszut I live in Poland.Sorry because my english is not very well.My family 60 years ago move to Przasnysz from small village Kolbuszowa. In Approximately 100 maybe 120 years my great-grandmother leave in United State.That’s all. I don’t remember nothing else. Łuaksz Rzeszut (Zesut)

  36. jim zesut Says:

    i just found this site, my nane is james zesut , father robert zesut ,son of michale and josphine zesut,and yes i know irean pardo also, i see my sister found you all before me ” hi lynda” well ill put this in my favorites and ill be back.

  37. wrannej Says:

    Hi Jim,

    Good to hear from you! I haven’t updated this site in ages (I really don’t have much more to put up except for a few photos and some census data). I guess I should do that soon!


  38. Jo-Ann Lois Zesut (Clinton) Says:

    I know that this was originally posted quite a few years ago, but thought that I would respond anyhow. My father is Robert Walter Zesut from Glastonbury, CT. He had a brother Walter & John as well. His father was Walter Zesut & his mother was Josephine. Also, there was a cousin Edward from Glastonbury & I believe others that I don’t recall. My father has 6 children in total: Lynda, Richard, James, myself, Robert & Elizabeth. I’m really bad with family history but hope that this helps you in some way. It is great that you are doing this as it is nice to find out more about my past & for others to do so as well.
    Take Care,
    Jo-Ann Zesut ( Clinton)

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