Discovering our Ancestors' Travels and Travails

My maternal grandmother’s sister Maryanna Kapuścińska married Grzegorz Mastykarz in Lackawanna, Erie, New York, in 1915. Their children were my mother’s first cousins, and we all saw each other most often at weddings and funerals.

In researching this family, I encountered the Mastykarz name spelled various ways: Masteka, Mastyka, Mastykas, Mastykaj, etc., which made me wonder about the actual spelling of the name, and from where the family had come. American records indicated they were from Galicia, or the Austria-Hungary occupied part of Poland before the first World War. Galicia was the poorest province of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and because people from here often had little formal education, their names were often recorded phonetically.

The Słownik nazwisk współcześnie w Polsce używanych, or Dictionary of Surnames Currently Used in Poland, by Professor Kazimierz Rymut, shows these names starting with Masty-  that were listed in Poland in 1990:

NazwiskoOgólna liczbaRozmieszczenie
Masty1Rz:1
Mastyga53Go:5, Ka:8, Ks:3, Op:20, Sz:4, Wr:13
Mastyj63BB:2, Cz:5, Ka:17, Kr:4, Ks:9, Rz:16, Ta:10
Mastyjan14Ko:14
Mastyk21Ka:1, Ks:4, Pr:1, Tb:2, Wb:3, Wr:10
Mastyka42Wa:6, Cz:1, Gd:4, JG:5, Kr:2, Ks:17, Pr:1, Ta:1, Wr:5
Mastykarz56BB:1, By:1, Gd:17, Ka:6, Kr:4, Ol:1, Op:2, Pl:5, Su:10, Sz:7, Wb:1, Za:1
Mastyla11Kr:11
Mastylak24Ol:14, Sz:10
Mastylarek00
Mastylarz1Ka:1
Mastyła48Ko:42, Ks:4, Sł:2
Mastyło37Ko:15, Ol:9, Po:2, Sz:4, Tb:3, Za:4
Mastyna107Wa:4, Bs:13, Ka:8, Ki:66, Kr:5, Ol:11
Mastyniuk00
Mastynow00
Mastyń00
Mastyński3Po:2, Wr:1

 

Poland_administrative_division_1975_literki

Polish Provinces, 1975-1999

Mastykarz looks like the Polish spelling used most often. While Mastykarz was found in many places in Poland, in 1990 it was found more often in these former provinces:

  • Gd: Gdańsk: 17
  • Ka: Katowice: 6
  • Pł: Płock: 5
  • Su: Suwałki: 10
  • Sz: Szczecin: 7

Both Michał and Grzegorz lived in Lackawanna, Erie, New York. Grzegorz‘ descendants shared these pictures of the Mastykarz brothers, reporting that Grzegorz is on the left and Michał is on the right in each picture. The third man may be Józef Solowski, who married Maryanna Kapuścińska Mastykarz‘s cousin Maryanna Witoń in Buffalo in 1915.

Mastykarz men

Photographs of Grzegorz and Michał Mastykarz  (possibly Józef Solowski), circa 1915

Records indicate that Michał Mastykarz traveled between Europe and the United States several times. I was able to find ship manifests for travel to America in 1908 and 1911 as a “non immigrant alien.”  He did not intend to stay in the United States, but came for a  limited time as a visitor (tourist) or a temporary worker.

Michał Mastykas came to the United States on 4 Nov 1908 to New York, New York, United States on the ship Blücher from Hamburg, Germany. The record said that Michał had been in the United States before, in 1902 1906, in Buffalo, New York, but I did not find the records.

1908 Michael Mostykas marked

1908 Ship Blücher from Hamburg, Germany 23 October

1908 Michael Mostykas 2 marked

1908 Ship Blücher arrived in New York 4 November

His entry in the ship manifest was stamped as a “non immigrant alien” traveling to Buffalo with Adolf Niedziela to his father Jan Niedziela, who was described as an acquaintance of Michał. The US ship manifest listed Michał‘s wife Victoria, and show Michał came from Skidziń and Adolf Niedziela from Przecieszyn in Austria.

1908 Michal Mastykas Hamburg marked

1908 Hamburg, Germany, ship manifest

Skidziń and Przecieszyn correlate with the Hamburg record that said they were from Oświęcim (Auschwitz in German). From the First Partition of Poland in 1772 to after World War I, this area was in the Austrian Kingdom of Galicia. From 1975 to 1998, this area was administratively part of the Katowice province.  Today both villages are in the administrative district of Gmina Brzeszcze, within Oświęcim County, województwo małopolskie (Lesser Poland Voivodeship) in southern Poland.

Michał appeared in the census in 1910 as a boarder at 431 Center Street in Lackawanna, Erie, New York, United States. He was 35 years old, married for 8 years, from Austrian Poland. The record said he was an alien who had arrived in the United States in 1902. He spoke Polish, and was a furnace helper, probably in a foundry, a factory that produces metal castings. It was reported he could neither read nor write.

1910 Michael Mastyksz cropped

1910 census, Lackawanna, New York

In 1911, Michał was a “non immigrant alien” going to Buffalo on the ship Main, which sailed from Bremen, Germany on 31 August and arrived in New York on 12 Sep 1911. He left behind his wife, Wiktorya Mastykarz, in Skidziń, which was also listed as his place of birth. He had been in the United States 1909 1911, and was going to meet a friend, John Bier***a in New York.

1911 Michal Mastyharz ship1

1911 Ship Main from Bremen, Germany 31 August

1911 Michal Mastyharz ship2

1911 Ship Main arrived in New York 12 September

Although Michał was with Gregory and Mary Mateka in the January 1920 census, it appears that he returned to the old country. His name was found on a manifest of the ship Cedric of the White Star Dominion Line, traveling from New York, New York, arriving 6 Feb 1920 in Liverpool, England, United Kingdom.

1920 Michal Mastykan marked

1920 Ship Cedric from New York, arriving 6 Feb 1920 in Liverpool, England, United Kingdom.

While the Polish name Michał is Michael in other languages, Grzegosz often used the name George in America, although there was much variation in spelling of both of his names in many records. First Names of the Polish Commonwealth: Origins & Meanings, by George W. Helon and William “Fred” Hoffman, had this entry for Grzegorz.

grzegorz-name.jpg
Grzegorz. First Names of the Polish Commonwealth: Origins & Meanings,
by George W. Helon and William “Fred” Hoffman (1998)

Grzegorz Mastykarz came to United States on the ship Hannover, which set sail from Bremen, Germany, on on 25 July and arrived 7 Aug 1912 at the port of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The ship manifest said he was a farm laborer who had come from Germany, and was going to his brother Michał at 110 Lee Street in Buffalo. His ticket had been paid for by his brother.

1912-gregorz-mastykarz-ship-manifest-marked

1912 Ship Hannover from Bremen, Germany, 25 July

1912 Gregorz Mastykarz ship manifest marked2

1912 Ship Hannover arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 7 August

Wikipedia says that Landwehr, or Landeswehr, is “a German language term used in referring to certain national armies, or militias found in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Europe. In different context it refers to large-scale, low-strength fortifications.”

Although Grzegorz‘ last residence was Germany, his place of birth in the ship manifest looks something like Borswa Hora (?) in Galicia. Could it have been Brzeszcze, the town near Skidziń? Some of his descendants think that his place of birth may have been Cieszanów, Galicia (Austria Poland), or somewhere in what is now the Ukraine.

Grzegorz married Marya Kapuscinska in Lackawanna, New York, on 3 February 1915. I found the record in the Erie County Courthouse, in Buffalo, New York, in the 1990s. Allowing for possible errors in transcription, the marriage record for Gzegor Mastyka and Mary Kapuscinska listed his mother as “Hajia Oguodnit.” I believe he may have said something like “Helcia Ogrodnik.” Helcia is the Polish diminutive for Helena, Ogrodnik means gardener in Polish.

His father’s name looked like “Bascel” on their marriage certificate, which could be Bazyli or Bazyl in Polish, the equivalent of the English name Basil or Basel. Hoffman and Helon had this entry for Bazyli in First Names of the Polish Commonwealth: Origins & Meanings.

Bazyli

Bazyli. First Names of the Polish Commonwealth: Origins & Meanings,
by George W. Helon and William “Fred” Hoffman (1998)

George and Mary Masstacz were in the New York State census on 529 Ingham Avenue in Lackawanna, Erie, New York, in June 1915.

1915 Masstacz marked

1915 New York State census, George and Mary Masstacz, Lackawanna, New York (full page)

Their American born daughter Mary, one year old, was with them.

1915 Masstacz cropped

1915 New York State census, George and Mary Masstacz, Lackawanna, New York

In 1918, Grzegorz registered for the World War I draft as George Mustek, making his mark with an X. He was living with his wife Mary at 116 Rich St. in Lackawanna, was medium height and build, and he had blue eyes and brown hair.

1918 George Mustek 005262607_04461

George Mustek World War I draft registration, 1918

In the 1920 census, Gregory and Mary Mateka were at 116 Rich Street in Lackawanna, Erie, New York, with their children Mary, Joseph, and Stanley. Michael was listed as a 46 year old boarder, an alien who had arrived in 1914.

1920 Gregory and Mary Mateka census.jpg

1920 census record, Gregory and Mary Mateka, Lackawanna, New York

This 1925 census record from their farm in Evans, Erie, New York, was a bit mixed up:

1925 Mastykarz census cropped

1925 New York State census record, Mastykarz and Mary Grzegorz [sic], Evans, Erie, New York

Grzegorz Mastykarz and Maryanna Kapuścińska had the following children:

  • Maryanna, born 1914, New York, United States; married Bronisław Harzynski; died 8 Nov 1968.
  • Józef was born on 16 Feb 1916 in New York, United States. Józef died in an accidental drowning after falling from a raft on 18 Jun 1926 at the age of 10 at Blackwell Canal on Tifft Farm in Lackawanna, Erie, New York, United States. He was buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Lackawanna, Erie, New York, United States.
  • Stanisław Józef, born 5 Nov 1918, New York, United States; married Justina Covino, 21 Nov 1940; died 3 Jan 2004, Wilmington, New Castle, Delaware, United States. This couple changed their name to Masters in the 1940s.
  • Jan Edward, born 11 Aug 1922, New York, United States; married Josephine Marie Bosco, 22 Jun 1946; died 16 Nov 2000, Lake View, Erie, New York, United States.

Maryanna Kapuścińska had arrived in the United States on 27 Jan 1912. She filed first papers (declared her intention to become a citizen) in 1928, and was naturalized as an American citizen in Buffalo, Erie, New York, on 12 Sep 1932.

1932 Mary Mastykarz naturalization cropped

Mary Mastykarz Naturalization Card, Buffalo, New York

1976 mary mastykarz obit

Front Page, Hamburg, New York, 19 August 1976

Maryanna‘s actual birth date is uncertain. A December 1888 birth record from Poland may be hers or possibly an older sister named Maryanna who died before her birth. Her age was listed as twenty-two on the ship manifest in January 1912. She filed for Social Security in 1963 and 1966 with different birth dates.

  • Mary Ann Mastykarz [Mary Ann Kapusczynski] Birth Date: 5 Dec 1890 Birth Place: Poland Father: Wincenty Kapusczynski Mother: Mary Witan SSN: 086383718 May 1963
  • Mary Mastykarz SSN: 067-42-6618 Last Residence: 14218 Buffalo, Erie, New York  BORN: 8 Dec 1891 Died: Aug 1976 SSN issued: New York (1966)

 

On 29 October 1941, Grzegorz Mastykarz‘ death notice was published in Dziennik dla Wszystkich, “Everybody’s Daily,” the Buffalo, New York, Polish daily newspaper from 1911 to 1957.

1941 Grzegorz Mastykarz 29 Oct Dniennik

Dziennik dla Wszystkich, 29 Oct 1941

  On Tuesday, October 28th 1941 at 7:45 in the morning, he departed this earth.

In holy remembrance of
Grzegorz Mastykarz.

  The late Grzegorz was born in Poland. He lived at 161 Ingham Avenue in Lackawanna, New York.

  Funeral services will be on Thursday, October 30th at 9:00 a.m. at the chapel of Piotr Pasiecznik, at 303 Ridge Road at the corner of Ingham Avenue, Lackawanna, New York,  to St. Hyacinth Church at 9:30 a.m. and then on to Holy Cross Cemetery, Lackawanna, New York.

  For this sad ritual family and friends are invited in mourning.

Marja (born Kapuścińska), wife; Stanisław and Jan sons; Marjanna, daughter; Bronisław Harzynski, son-in-law; Justina (Covina) daughter-in-law, grandson and granddaughter.

 

 

https://images.findagrave.com/photos/2014/38/124803867_1391863996.jpg

Mastykarz gravestone, Holy Cross Cemetery, FindaGrave photograph

Sources

By Halibutt, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3154253

Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Citing Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1820-1897. Microfilm Publication M237, 675 rolls. NAI: 6256867. Records of the U.S. Customs Service, Record Group 36. National Archives at Washington, D.C.

“Ancestry,” database, Ancestry (ancestry.com: accessed 24 October 2018), Michael Mostykas; citing Passenger Lists. Staatsarchiv Hamburg. Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2008. Citing Staatsarchiv Hamburg, Bestand: 373-7 I, VIII (Auswanderungsamt I). Mikrofilmrollen K 1701 – K 2008, S 17363 – S 17383, 13116 – 13183.

1910 Federal Census, New York State, population schedule, Lackawanna Ward 2, Erie, New York, Michael Mostyksz; digital images, Heritage Quest Online (www.heritagequestonline.com : accessed August 2016). Year: 1910; Census Place: Lackawanna Ward 2, Erie, New York; Roll: T624_939; Page: 17A; Enumeration District: 0280; FHL microfilm: 1374952

Ancestry, Michal Mastyharz. Year: 1911; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 1737; Line: 29; Page Number: 211. Citing: Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.

 “UK, Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878-1960,” digital images, Ancestry.com (http://ancestry.com : accessed 28 November 2018), Michael Mostykan. The National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Board of Trade: Commercial and Statistical Department and successors: Inwards Passenger Lists.; Class: BT26; Piece: 668

Pennsylvania Philadelphia, “Passenger Lists,” database, FamilySearch, National Archives and Records Administration (familysearch.org: accessed August 2016), Gregorz Mastykarz, 1912; citing ship manifests.

“Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Passenger List Index Cards, 1883-1948,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KFDX-JHW : 12 December 2014), Gregorz Mastykarz, 1912; citing Immigration, NARA microfilm publication T526 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,380,289.

New York State, Marriage Index, 1881-1967. Gzeyner Masztyka, Mary Kapuscienska, Certificate Number: 1951, New York State Department of Health; Albany, NY, USA.

New York State Vital Records Index, Cert. No. 1951, Mastyka-Kapuscinska.  Gzegor Masztyka, Mary Kapuscinska, (3 February 1915), Marriage Record: ; Erie County Courthouse, Buffalo, New York.

1915 New York State Census, New York State, population schedule, Lackawanna Ward 01, A.D. 07, E.D. 01, Erie, New York, United States, , George Mastykarz; FHL microfilm “New York State Census, 1915,” database, FamilySearch  (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K9NB-PHZ : 8 November 2014), Mary Miasstacz, Lackawanna Ward 01, A.D. 07, E.D. 01, Erie, New York, United States; from “New York, State Census, 1915,” database and images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : 2012); citing p. 51, line 45, state population census schedules, 1915, New York State Archives, Albany.

“World War I Draft Registration Cards,” database, Ancestry.com (: accessed November 2018), George Mustek; citing World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. M1509, 4,582 rolls.

1920 Federal Census, New York, population schedule, Lackawanna Ward 2, Erie, New York, Gregory Mateka; digital images, HeritageQuest (heritagequestonline.com : accessed November 2018).

1925 New York State Census, New York, population schedule, Evans, Erie, , Mastykoz Grzegorsz; FHL microfilm. New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1925; Election District: 02; Assembly District: 08; City: Evans; County: Erie; Page: 28 Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1925 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.

Playmates Silent as Parents search for Boy Who Drowned, Buffalo Courier Express, Buffalo, New York, 21 June 1926, page 1.

New York State Vital Records Index, Death Cert. No. 38660, Joseph Mastykaz.

Towarzystwa Genealogicznego Centralnej Polski, 158/D- Akta stanu cywilnego parafii rzymskokatolickiej w Koprzywnicy, 1888 #239, Maryanna Kapuscinska birth record; digital images, Towarzystwa Genealogicznego Centralnej Polski (http://metryki.genealodzy.pl : accessed 22 March 2015).

Social Security Administration, “U.S. Social Security Death Index,” database, Social Security Applications and Claims (: accessed 7 August 2015), Mary Ann Mastykarz, , 1963. Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.

Social Security Administration, “U.S. Social Security Death Index,” database, Death Master File (: accessed 2 October 2018), Mary Mastykarz, 067-42-6618, 1966. Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2014.

Mary Mastykarz, , U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York; 1907-1966; National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D. C. “New York, Western District, Naturalization Index, 1907-1966,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XPH2-ZPK : 6 December 2014), Mary Mastykarz, 1932; from “Alphabetical Index to Petitions for Naturalizations of the US District Court for the Western District of New York, 1907-1966,” database, Fold3.com (http://www.fold3.com : n.d.); citing U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York, NARA microfilm publication M1677 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 11.

MASTYKARZ-Mary [nee Kapuscienski], Front Page, Hamburg, New York, 19 August 1976.

MASTYKARZ RITES HELD THURSDAY, Lackawanna Leader, Lackawanna, New York, 6 November 1941, page 1, column 8.

DEATHS Oct 28 George Mastykarz, 58, 161 Ingham.  Grzegorz Mastykarz, Dziennik dla Wszystkich [Everybody’s Daily], Buffalo, New York, 29 October 1941.

Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 26 November 2018), memorial page for Gezegus Mastykarz (unknown–28 Oct 1941), Find A Grave Memorial no. 124803867, citing Holy Cross Cemetery, Lackawanna, Erie County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave (contributor 8).

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In Polish Surnames: Origins and Meanings, author William “Fred” Hoffman lists the variations of the Polish Klajn surname. It comes from the German word klein meaning small or young, and the German form Klein is found most often in Poland.

Klein name

Klajn entry from Polish Surnames: Origins and Meanings, 2001

In the late 1800s, Michał, Józef, Jan, Roman, and Benedykt Klein lived in Buffalo, Erie, New York. Church and other records indicated that they were related. They were witnesses at each other’s weddings. They were godparents at Klein children’s christenings. They even named their children after one another. They had come from Prussia, the part of Poland that was occupied by Germany at that time. They were likely to have spoken both Polish and some German. From about 1878 to 1888, they had each immigrated to Buffalo, New York, from Kościelna Jania, which was called Kirchenjahn, in the Prussian province of Marienwerder, West Prussia. [1]

Today, the village of Kościelna Jania is not very large, with only 220 people. Wikipedia saysKoscielna Jania

Kościelna Jania (German: Kirchenjahn) is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Smętowo Graniczne, within Starogard County, Pomeranian Voivodeship, in northern Poland. It lies approximately 6 kilometres (4 mi) west of Smętowo Graniczne, 25 km (16 mi) south of Starogard Gdański, and 69 km (43 mi) south of the regional capital Gdańsk.

Michał and Jan‘s marriage records at the Polish St. Stanislaus Church in Buffalo, Erie, New York, listed their parents as Jan Klein and Barbara Kotowska. The Klein babies’ baptismal records at St. Stanislaus Church said that their fathers had been born in Kościelna Jania, in Borussia, the Latin name for Prussia. The old records are available on FamilySearch for the Roman Catholic parish register of baptisms, marriages and deaths for Kirchenjahn (Kr. Marienwerder), West Prussia, Germany; now Kościelna Jania (Starogard Gdańsk), Gdańsk, Poland. Text in Latin, Polish and German.

1200px-SM_Kościelna_Jania_Kościół_Świętej_Trójcy_(1)_ID_637746

Kościół Świętej Trójcy w Koscielnej Jani

Kościół is the Polish word for church, while Kirche is the German word. It is not surprising that the Jania/Jahn village with the Roman Catholic church was called Kościelna Jania in Polish and Kirchenjahn in German.

I was able to find the marriage of Jan Klein and Barbara Kotowska at Kościół Trójcy Świętej w Kościelnej Jani, Church of the Holy Trinity in Kościelna Jania, on 4 Nov 1845.

1845 Klein Kotowska marriage marked

1845 Marriage, Johan Klein and Barbara Kotowska, Kirchen Jahn, West Prussia (Kościelna Jania, Poland)

Jan Klein was born about 1819. Barbara Kotowska was born to Antoni Kotowski and Julianna G. in Kościelna Jania in 27 May 1827. She was baptized 29 May 1827.

1827 Barbara Kotowska birth marked

1827 Baptism Record, Barbara Kotowska, Kirchen Jahn, West Prussia (Kościelna Jania, Poland)

 Johann Klein and Barbara Kotowska‘s son Michael Klein was born in Kirchen Jahn on 12 Sep 1846 and baptized at Kościół Trójcy Świętej w Kościelnej Jani on 14 Sep 1846.

1846 Michael Klein birth marked

1846 Baptism Record, Michael Klein, Kirchen Jahn, West Prussia (Kościelna Jania, Poland)

Joseph Klein was born to Johann Klein and Barbara Kotowska in Kirchen Jahn on 2 Dec 1848 and baptized 5 Dec 1848.

1848 Joseph Klein Birth marked

1848 Baptism Record, Joseph Klein, Kirchen Jahn, West Prussia (Kościelna Jania, Poland)

Johann Klein was born to Johann Klein and Barbara Kotowska in Kirchen Jahn on 9 Sep 1851 and baptized 5 Dec 1851.

1851 Johann Klein marked

1851 Baptism Record, Johann Klein, Kirchen Jahn, West Prussia (Kościelna Jania, Poland)

Roman Klein was born to Johann Klein and Barbara Kotowska in Kirchen Jahn on 2 Aug 1857 and baptized 10 Aug 1857.

1857 Roman Klein marked

1857 Baptism Record, Roman Klein, Kirchen Jahn, West Prussia (Kościelna Jania, Poland)

Benedykt Klein was born to Johann Klein and Barbara Kotowska in Kirchen Jahn on 5 Jul 1861 and baptized 5 Jul 1861.

1861 Benedict Klein marked

1861 Baptism Record, Benedict Klein, Kirchen Jahn, West Prussia (Kościelna Jania, Poland)

In each of these baptism records, Johann Klein was identified as “Schneider,” the German word for “tailor.” It literally means “someone who cuts,” from the German verb schneiden “to cut”. He was identified as Catholisch, not Evangelisch, indicating that he was Roman Catholic. In general, the Polish people in this region were Roman Catholic, and the Germans were Protestant, but there were exceptions. A few people with Polish names were German, while others with German names were Polish.

While Michał and Jan Klein were each married at St. Stanislaus RC Church in Buffalo in 1874 and 1884, Józef Klein (of Kirchenjahn) married Elizabeth Ośmiła in early 1877 in Barloschno, Marienwerder, West Prussia, about 2 miles from Kościelna Jania. It is now Barłożno, Skórcz, Starogard, Pomorskie, in Poland. The Roman Catholic Church in Barłożno is Kościół św. Marcina, St. Martin. The records were found  at Family Search as Roman Catholic parish register and transcripts of births, marriages and deaths for Barloschno, Westpreußen, Germany; now Barłożno (Starogard Gdański), Gdańsk, Poland. Text in Latin, Polish and German.

1877 Klein Osmila marriage marked

1877 Marriage, Józef Klein and Elizabeth Ośmiła, Barloschno, West Prussia (Barłożno, Poland)

Unfortunately, Elisabeth Ośmiła Klein must have died, because widower Józef Klein (age 38) married again in 16 Feb 1885 to Maryanna Chrzanowska (age 23) at Kościół Trójcy Świętej in Kirchen Jahn. This family immigrated to the United States in 1888.

1885 Klein Chrzanowska marriage marked

1885 Marriage, Józef Klein and Maryanna Chrzanowska, Kirchen Jahn, West Prussia (Kościelna Jania, Poland)

In Buffalo, Józef‘ and Marya became the parents of Feliks Maryan Klein. In Feliks‘ 1890 baptism record from St. Stanislaus  Church in Buffalo, New York, Józef‘s place of birth was identified as Kościelna Jania and Marya‘s was listed as Leśna Jania.

Leśna is the Polish word for Forestry. The village of Leśna Jania is approximately 3 kilometers (<2 miles) south of Kościelna Jania.

Maryanna Chrzanowska was born to Peter Chrzanowski and Antonia Laskowska in Lesnijahn in 24 Oct 1862. She was baptized at Kościół Trójcy Świętej w Kościelnej Jani, Church of the Holy Trinity in Kościelna Jania on 28 Oct 1862.

1862 Marianna Chrzanowska birth marked

1862 Baptism Record, Maryanna Chrzanowska, Kirchen Jahn, West Prussia (Kościelna Jania, Poland)

Piotr/Peter Chrzanowski and Antonia Laskowska were married in Barłożno on 15 Nov 1858. Piotr Chrzanowski had been baptized in Kościelna Jania in 1832. Antonia Laskowska, the daughter of Jakub Laskowski and Wiktoria Guz, was baptized in Barłożno in 1840.

1858 Chrzanowski Laskowska marriage marked

1858 Marriage, Peter Chrzanowski and Antonia Laskowska, Barloschno, West Prussia (Barłożno, Poland)

The villages of Kościelna Jania and Leśna Jania are about 20 miles away from the village of Szembruczek, where Martin and Anna Szczepański had lived in West Prussia before coming to the United States. In 1913, Felix Klein married Marta Szczepańska, Martin and Anna‘s daughter, in Bennington, Wyoming, New York. These were their ancestors.

Feliks & Marta chart

Ancestors of Feliks Klein and Marta Szczepanska

[1] There may have been other Klein children, even other children who immigrated to Buffalo or elsewhere. I started looking for Feliks Klein’s ancestors, and could not help but find other Klein relatives in Buffalo, New York.

Sources

Hoffman, William F. Polish Surnames: Origins and Meanings. Chicago, Illinois : Polish Genealogical Society of America. 1993, Second Edition, Revised 2001.

“Kościelna Jania.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 13 Jul. 2017. Web. 10 Oct. 2018.

By Sławomir Milejski – Praca własna, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48604836

Parafia pod wezwaniem Trójcy Świętej w Kościelnej Jani, Holy Trinity, Kościelna Jania, http://www.koscielnajaniaparafia.pl/

“Leśna Jania.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 13 Jul. 2017. Web. 10 Oct. 2018.

“Barłożno.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 13 Jul. 2017. Web. 11 Nov. 2018.

Polskie Towarzystwo Genealogiczne, “Geneteka, Metryki,” database, Polish Genealogical Society, Genealodzy (genealodzy.pl: accessed November 2018); citing church records or Urząd Stanu Cywilnego (Civil Registry Office).

LDS Family History Library, “Kościelna Jania (Starogard),” database, Kościół rzymsko-katolicki. Parafja, Family Search (familysearch.com: accessed November 2018), Jan Klein and Barbara Kotowska, marriage 1845/16; citing Germany, Preußen, Westpreußen, Kirchenjahn – Church records; https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSVW-H9FK-7?i=328&cat=369158

LDS Family History Library, “Barłożno (Starogard),” database, Kościół rzymsko-katolicki. Parafja, Family Search (familysearch.com: accessed November 2018), Piotr Chrzanowski and Antonia Laskowska, marriage 1858/16; citing Germany, Preußen, Westpreußen, Barloschno – Church records; https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CS2Y-8SXB-T?i=500&cat=244497

LDS Family History Library, “Barłożno (Starogard),” database, Kościół rzymsko-katolicki. Parafja, Family Search (familysearch.com: accessed November 2018), Josef Klein and Elizabeth Ośmiła, marriage 1877/2; citing Germany, Preußen, Westpreußen, Barloschno – Church records; https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CS2Y-8S6R-1?i=27&cat=244497

LDS Family History Library, “Kościelna Jania (Starogard),” database, Kościół rzymsko-katolicki. Parafja, Family Search (familysearch.com: accessed November 2018), Joseph Klein and               Marianna Chrzanowska, marriage 1858/16; citing Germany, Preußen, Westpreußen, Kirchenjahn – Church records;  https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSVW-H9FK-D?i=390&cat=369158

LDS Family History Library, “Kościelna Jania (Starogard),” database, Kościół rzymsko-katolicki. Parafja, Family Search (familysearch.com: accessed November 2018), Barbara Kotowska, birth 1827; citing Germany, Preußen, Westpreußen, Kirchenjahn – Church records; https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSZY-4W6H?i=282&cat=369158

LDS Family History Library, “Kościelna Jania (Starogard),” database, Kościół rzymsko-katolicki. Parafja, Family Search (familysearch.com: accessed November 2018), Piotr Chrzanowski, birth 1832; citing Germany, Preußen, Westpreußen, Kirchenjahn – Church records; https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSZY-4WZQ?i=291&cat=369158

Polskie Towarzystwo Genealogiczne, “Geneteka, Metryki,” database, Polish Genealogical Society, Genealodzy (genealodzy.pl: accessed November 2018), Antonia Laskowska, 1840; citing church records or Urząd Stanu Cywilnego (Civil Registry Office).

LDS Family History Library, “Kościelna Jania (Starogard),” database, Kościół rzymsko-katolicki. Parafja, Family Search (familysearch.com: accessed November 2018), Michał Klein, birth 1846/43; citing Germany, Preußen, Westpreußen, Kirchenjahn – Church records; https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSVW-H9NS-K?i=183&cat=369158

LDS Family History Library, “Kościelna Jania (Starogard),” database, Kościół rzymsko-katolicki. Parafja, Family Search (familysearch.com: accessed November 2018), Józef Klein, birth 1848/51; citing Germany, Preußen, Westpreußen, Kirchenjahn – Church records; https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSVW-H9N9-7?i=194&cat=369158

LDS Family History Library, “Kościelna Jania (Starogard),” database, Kościół rzymsko-katolicki. Parafja, Family Search (familysearch.com: accessed November 2018), Jan Klein, birth 1851/58; citing Germany, Preußen, Westpreußen, Kirchenjahn – Church records; https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSVW-H9F1-Z?i=209&cat=369158

LDS Family History Library, “Kościelna Jania (Starogard),” database, Kościół rzymsko-katolicki. Parafja, Family Search (familysearch.com: accessed November 2018), Roman Klein, birth 1857/46; citing Germany, Preußen, Westpreußen, Kirchenjahn – Church records;  https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSVW-H9NM-W?i=237&cat=369158

LDS Family History Library, “Kościelna Jania (Starogard),” database, Kościół rzymsko-katolicki. Parafja, Family Search (familysearch.com: accessed November 2018), Benedykt Klein, birth 1861/50; citing Germany, Preußen, Westpreußen, Kirchenjahn – Church records;  https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSVW-H9FB-R?i=259&cat=369158

LDS Family History Library, “Kościelna Jania (Starogard),” database, Kościół rzymsko-katolicki. Parafja, Family Search (familysearch.com: accessed November 2018), Marianna Chrzanowska, birth 1862/64; citing Germany, Preußen, Westpreußen, Kirchenjahn – Church records;  https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSVW-H9FR-T?i=267&cat=369158

LDS Family History Library, “Kościelna Jania (Starogard),” database, Kościół rzymsko-katolicki. Parafja, Family Search (familysearch.com: accessed November 2018), Bronisława Klein, birth 1878/4; citing Germany, Preußen, Westpreußen, Kirchenjahn – Church records;  https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSVW-H9FH-C?i=58&cat=369158

LDS Family History Library, “Kościelna Jania (Starogard),” database, Kościół rzymsko-katolicki. Parafja, Family Search (familysearch.com: accessed November 2018), Benedykt Klein, birth 1879/30; citing Germany, Preußen, Westpreußen, Kirchenjahn – Church records;  https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSVW-H9F4-4?i=65&cat=369158

LDS Family History Library, “Kościelna Jania (Starogard),” database, Kościół rzymsko-katolicki. Parafja, Family Search (familysearch.com: accessed November 2018), Teodosia Klein, birth 1880/52; citing Germany, Preußen, Westpreußen, Kirchenjahn – Church records;  https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSVW-H9F9-R?i=74&cat=369158

On 27 Oct 1913, Marta Szczepańska, the daughter of Martin Szczepański and Anna Kalinowska, married Feliks Klein, son of Joseph Klein and Marianna Chrzanowska, at Sacred Heart of Jesus Roman Catholic Church in Bennington, Wyoming, New York.

Both sets of parents had immigrated to the United States from West Prussia. The bride and groom were each born in Buffalo and baptized at Saint Stanislaus Bishop & Martyr Roman Catholic Church in Buffalo, Erie, New York.

Martin and Anna Szczepański had come from Szembruczek, Grudziądz, in 1881. In German, it was Klein Schönbruck (Kr. Graudenz), Westpreußen. Now, Szembruczek is in the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship, or in Polish, województwo kujawsko-pomorskie. Marta was born in Buffalo and baptized on 15 April 1895.

Josef and Marianne Klein and three children Brunisław, Bronisława, and Martha arrived in New York, New York on the ship Eider from Bremen and Southampton on 18 Apr 1888.

1888 Klein CastleGarden

1888 Klein Family, Castle Garden Search Result

1888 Klein ship manifest marked

1888 ship manifest, ship Eider from Bremen and Southampton to New York

Feliks Maryan Klein was born in Buffalo 21 Nov 1890 and baptized at St. Stanislaus  Church in Buffalo, New York. Józef Klein‘s place of birth was identified as Kościelna Jania and Marya Chrzanowska‘s was listed as Leśna Jania. They were mistakenly identified as places in the Prussian province of Posen.

1890 Feliks Klein 1

1890 Feliks Klein 2

1890 Feliks Maryan Klein Baptism, St. Stanislaus RC Church, Buffalo, New York

Feliks‘ godparents were Benedykt Klein and Konstancya Klein. Benedykt was a tailor who had immigrated to the United States in 1880. Konstancya was the wife of Roman Klein, a shoemaker who had arrived in 1880.

Joseph and Maria Klein appeared in Buffalo, New York, in the 1892 New York State census with their children. Bronisławka, Anna, and Felix. Their daughter Martha was not listed with them.

1892 Klein census

1892 New York state census, Felix and Martha Klein, Buffalo, Erie, New York

On 23 Apr 1893, Helena Marta Klein was baptized at St. Stanislaus RC Church, Buffalo, New York.

1893 Klein Helena 1

1893 Klein Helena 2

1893 Helena Marta Klein Baptism, St. Stanislaus RC Church, Buffalo, New York

Helena Marta‘s godfather was listed as Michał Klein. In the first page of the marriage register of the newly founded St. Stanislaus Church in Buffalo, Michael Klein, son of Joannes Klein and Barbara Kotowska, married Marcjanna Ciężska, daughter of Adalbert and Agnes. Joannes is the Latin form for the Polish name Jan. Adalbert is the Latin form for the Polish name Wojciech.

1874 Klein Ciężska marriage

1874 marriage register, St. Stanislaus RC Church, Buffalo, New York

In 1884, Jan Klein, son of Jan Klein and Barbara Kotowska, married Katarzyna Ƶyngier, daughter of Józef Ƶyngier and Katarzyna Mazurowska at St. Stanislaus RC Church, Buffalo, New York. Katarzyna was the godmother of Helena Klein in 1893.

1884 Klein Zyngier marriage

1884 marriage register, St. Stanislaus RC Church, Buffalo, New York

I found a page in the St. Stanislaus baptism registers with twins Marta Aniela and Roman Benedykt born Sept. 16, 1887, to Michał Klein of Kościelna Jania and Martyna Cięzka. Martyna is Latin for the Polish name Marcianna/Marcjanna.

Michał, Jan, Roman, and Benedykt were Józef Klein‘s brothers.

Although the Szczepański  family had already moved to Bennington, Wyoming, New York, for the 1900 census, the Joseph and Mary Klein family was at 74 Reed Street in Buffalo. The correction in the record suggests that Mary was Joseph‘s second wife, married in 1885. Felix’s half-sister Bronisława/Anna was listed as Agnes in the 1900 census, and she may have been Anna Klein who married Bolesław Kapanek about 1904. John Klein, age 48, was listed as a boarder with Joseph and Mary in 1900.

1900 Klein cropped

1900 census, Joseph and Mary Klein, Buffalo, Erie, New York

By 1910, the Joseph Klein family had moved to Bennington, New York. In the census, Felix Klein was listed as a farm hand with his sister Helen and her husband Arthur Fox on Harlow Road in Darien, New York.

1910 Klein census cropped

1910 census, Joseph and Mary Klein, Bennington, Wyoming, New York

Joseph Klein died 26 Nov 1912. He was buried in Sacred Heart Cemetery in Bennington, Wyoming, New York. With her younger sons, Mary Chrzanowska Klein moved to 47 Rich Street in Buffalo, New York, before her death in the 1930s.

After their 1913 marriage, Felix and Martha Klein lived on Town Line Road in Bennington, Wyoming, New York for the 1915 census.

1915 Kline cropped

1915 New York state census, Felix and Martha Klein, Bennington, Wyoming, New York

But when Felix registered for the World War I draft in 1917, the couple lived at 219 Loepere Street in Buffalo, New York, with their two children. The family was at the same address for the census in 1920.

1917 Felix Klein 005262574_02252

World War I draft registration, Felix Klein, Buffalo, New York

By the 1925 New York census, Felix F. and Martha Klein had moved to Allegany Road in Bennington Center, New York. Felix also used the middle name Florian, because it was the name listed in 1942 when he signed up for the World War II draft.

1942 Felix Klein 44544_03_00013-01591

WWII Draft Registration, Felix Florian Klein, Bennington, NY

Felix and Martha farmed for many years in Bennington before they retired to 1910 Sharrick Road, in Darien, Genesee, New York. They both died in 1964, and were laid to rest in Sacred Heart Cemetery in Bennington, Wyoming, New York.

The children of Feliks Klein and Marta Szczepańska were:

  • Franciszka KLEIN (1914-1993)
  • Teresa KLEIN (1916-2005)
  • Leo Albert KLEIN (1920-1977)
  • Clara KLEIN (1923-2011)
  • Richard Joseph KLEIN (1925-1985)
  • Norman J. KLEIN (1930-1985)
  • Barbara Ann KLEIN (1936-2016)

Klein family

Felix and Martha Klein and Family (1963)

Sources

“Passenger Lists,” database, The Battery Conservancy, Castle Garden (castlegarden.org: accessed ‎27 October 2018), Klein; citing ship manifests

Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Year: 1888; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 517; Line: 37; List Number: 472

St. Stanislaus Bishop & Martyr RC Church (Buffalo, New York), Baptism 1890, page 26, Feliks Maryan Klein; FHL microfilm, entry 932

1892 New York State Census, New York State; Buffalo, Erie, population schedule, Ward 14, Joseph Klein, Family Search, FHL Microfilm.

St. Stanislaus Bishop & Martyr RC Church (Buffalo, New York), Baptism 1893, page 344, Helena Marta Klein; FHL microfilm, entry 387

St. Stanislaus Bishop & Martyr RC Church (Buffalo, New York), Marriage 1874, page 2, Michael Klein, Marcjanna Ciężska; FHL microfilm, entry 6

St. Stanislaus Bishop & Martyr RC Church (Buffalo, New York), Marriage 1884, Jan Klein, Katarzyna Ƶyngier; FHL microfilm, entry 53

1900 U. S. Census, New York, population schedule, Buffalo Ward 14, Erie, New York, Felix Klein; digital images, HeritageQuest Online (heritagequestonline.com : accessed 5 October 2018).

1910 Federal Census, New York State, population schedule, Darien, Genesee, New York, Joseph Klein; digital images, Heritage Quest Online (www.heritagequestonline.com : accessed 10 October 2018).

1910 Federal Census, New York State, population schedule, Bennington, Wyoming, New York, Joseph Klein; digital images, Heritage Quest Online (www.heritagequestonline.com : accessed 6 October 2018).

Sacred Heart of Jesus RC Cemetery (Bennington, New York), gravestones and record cards.

Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 11 October 2018), memorial page for Joseph Klein (5 Dec 1848–26 Nov 1912), Find A Grave Memorial no. 60436404, citing Sacred Heart Cemetery, Bennington, Wyoming County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Jim and Elizabeth (contributor 47230507) .

1920 Federal Census, New York, population schedule, Buffalo Ward 15, Erie, New York, , Mary Klein.

1915 New York State Census, New York State, population schedule, Bennington, Wyoming, , Felix Kline.

“World War I Draft Registration Cards,” database, Ancestry.com (: accessed 5 October 2018), Felix Klein; citing World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918.

1920 Federal Census, New York, population schedule, Buffalo Ward 15, Erie, New York, Feliks Klein; digital images, HeritageQuest (heritagequestonline.com : accessed 11 October 2018).

National Archives, “World War II Draft Registration Cards,” database, Ancestry.com (: accessed 5 October 2018), Felix Florian Klein; citing World War II Draft Cards (Fourth Registration).

New York State, Death Index Beginning 1957, Martha Klein, 5 June 1964; digital images,  (https://health.data.ny.gov/Health/Genealogical-Research-Death-Index-Beginning-1957 : accessed November 2017).

KLEIN-Martha, Buffalo Courier Express, Buffalo, New York, 10 June 1964, page 10.

KLEIN-Felix, Buffalo Courier Express, Buffalo, New York, 26 July 1964, page 8B.

Personal letters to author from Clara Klein Rembas, 1990s.

After Andrzej and Jadwiga Kajdasz arrived in Buffalo in 1888, the family grew. In 1900, the census showed the family was living at 51 Sobieski Street in Buffalo, Erie, New York. Marcin/Martin had married and was living nearby with his wife Rozalia. The older children were listed with English names, and Marya was listed with the name Julia. In later years, her name was usually listed as Mary J., so Julia is likely her middle name. Another boy, Franciszek, was born 1 August 1900.

1900 Kaidas census cropped

1900 census, Andrew and Jadwiga Kajasz and family, Buffalo, Erie, New York

Andrzej and Jadwiga‘s daughter Magdalena had been baptized in 1890 at St. Adalbert Basilica at 212 Stanislaus Street in Buffalo, Erie, New York. Her parents were listed as Andrea Kajdasz and Hedwig Wojcieczak. Later, Andrzej and Jadwiga joined the Polish National Church. When they died in 1917 and 1934, they were interred in the Holy Mother of the Rosary Polish National Parish Cemetery in Cheektowaga, Erie, New York.

1890 Magdalina Kajdasz birth cropped

1890 Magdalena Kadisz, baptism, St.Adalbert Basilica, Buffalo, New York

Magdalena‘s baptism record said that Andrzej and Jadwiga were from Poznań. A search at the Poznań Project found their 1876 marriage in both church and civil records. These matched their immigration records, which reported that they had come from Schroda.

Kajdasz Poznan Project

Andrzej Kajdasz and Jadwiga Wojcieszek, 1876 Poznan Project results

Mądre - Wikipedia

Mądre, Środa Wielkopolska

Wikipedia says that “Mądre is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Zaniemyśl, within Środa Wielkopolska County, Greater Poland Voivodeship, in west-central Poland. It lies approximately 7 kilometres (4 mi) east of Zaniemyśl, 8 km (5 mi) south of Środa Wielkopolska, and 36 km (22 mi) south-east of the regional capital Poznań.” The church in Mądre is Kościół Rzymskokatolicki Pw. św. Jadwigi Śląskiej, St. Hedwig of Silesia. Mądre is the Polish word for “wise.”

A search for Andrzej‘s parents, Jakub Kajdasz and Marianna Walkowiak, shows that they were married in 1844 in Środa Wielkopolska, and his father’s name was Tomasz.

Kajdasz Jakub Poznan Project

Jakub Kajdasz and Marianna Walkowiak, Poznan Project results, 1844

Collegiate church and marketplace

Środa Wielkopolska Collegiate church and marketplace

Jakub and Marianna‘s marriage was indexed in Geneteka, which said they were married 10 November 1844. The old church in Środa is Parafia Kolegiacka Wniebowzięcia Najświętszej Marii Panny, Collegiate parish church Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The word Środa means “Wednesday” in Polish.

Jadwiga‘s parents were also found at the Poznań Project. Marcin Wojcieszek and Dorota Wawrzynkiewicz were married in Koźmin in 1849.

Wojcieszak Poznan Project

Marcin Woycieszak and Dorota Wawrzynkiewicz, Poznan Project results, 1849

Wikipedia says “Koźmin Wielkopolski German: Koschmin) is a town in Krotoszyn County, Greater Poland Voivodeship, Poland, with 6,678 inhabitants according to the 2010 census.” The Roman Catholic church in Koźmin is Kościół pw. św. Wawrzyńca, St. Lawrence. Described as dating from 999, it has undergone many changes through the centuries.

While I have not yet located the original records, this indexed information fills in some names in the ancestry tree of Marya‘s son Daniel with Konstanty Maciejewski Konstanty was also known as August Warner.

DanielSources

1900 Federal Census, New York, population schedule, Election District 5 Buffalo city Ward 14, Erie, New York, United States, enumeration district (ED) District: 112, Jadwiga Kaidas; digital images, HeritageQuest (heritagequestonline.com : accessed May 2017).

St. Adalbert RC Church, Buffalo, New York, Church records, FHL microfilm, Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah, birth 1890, Magdalena Kadasz.

St. Adalbert’s Basilica Complex, Buffalo, NY, Polonia Trail, Western New York, Polish-American Congress WNY, http://poloniatrail.com/location/st-adalberts-basilica-complex/

Holy Mother of the Rosary Cathedral Polish National Catholic Church Complex, Polish-American Congress WNY, http://poloniatrail.com/location/holy-mother-of-the-rosary-cathedral-polish-national-catholic-church/

Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 13 October 2018), memorial page for Andrzej Kajdasz (30 Nov 1859–23 Aug 1917), Find A Grave Memorial no. 115361906, citing Holy Mother of the Rosary Parish Cemetery, Cheektowaga, Erie County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Dakota (contributor 48202698)

Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 13 October 2018), memorial page for Jadwiga Kajdasz (1856–1934), Find A Grave Memorial no. 115361905, citing Holy Mother of the Rosary Parish Cemetery, Cheektowaga, Erie County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Dakota (contributor 48202698) .

Łukasz Bielecki, “Poznan Project,” database, Poznan Project (http://poznan-project.psnc.pl: accessed 11 October 2018), Andreas Kajdasz , Hedwig Wojcieszak; citing church records or Urząd Stanu Cywilnego (Civil Registry Office).

“Mądre.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 7 Oct. 2017. Web. 12 Oct. 2018.

Kościół Rzymskokatolicki Pw. św. Jadwigi Śląskiej, St. Hedwig of Silesia. Mądre, Środa Wielkopolska. http://parafiamadre.pl/

Łukasz Bielecki, “Poznan Project,” database, Poznan Project (http://poznan-project.psnc.pl: accessed 12 October 2018), Jakub Kajdasz and Marianna Walkowiak; citing church records or Urząd Stanu Cywilnego (Civil Registry Office).

“Środa Wielkopolska.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 16 Jun. 2018. Web. 13 Oct. 2018.

Polskie Towarzystwo Genealogiczne, “Geneteka, Metryki,” database, Polish Genealogical Society, Genealodzy (genealodzy.pl: accessed 12 October 2018), Marriage of Jakub Kajdasz and Marianna Walkowiak; citing church records or Urząd Stanu Cywilnego (Civil Registry Office).

Parafia Kolegiacka Wniebowzięcia Najświętszej Marii Panny, Collegiate parish church Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Środa Wielkopolska. http://kolegiata.sroda.wlkp.pl/historia.php

Łukasz Bielecki, “Poznan Project,” database, Poznan Project (http://poznan-project.psnc.pl: accessed 12 October 2018), Martinus Woycieszak, Dorothea Wawrzynkiewicz; citing church records or Urząd Stanu Cywilnego (Civil Registry Office).

“Koźmin Wielkopolski.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 10 Jan. 2018. Web. 12 Oct. 2018.

Kościół pw. św. Wawrzyńca, St. Lawrence. Koźmin Wielkopolski. http://www.fara-kozmin.kalisz.opoka.org.pl

Marya Kajdasz, the future wife of Konstanty Maciejewski/August Warner, was just one month old when she made the overseas journey with her parents Andrzej and Jadwiga Kajdasz and her brothers Marcin and Ludwik on the S.S. Elbe from Bremen and Southampton to New York, with a final destination of Buffalo, Erie, New York.

Castle Garden had a record of the family’s landing in New York on 2 May 1888.

1888 Kaidas NY

Castle Garden search results for Kaidas (Kajdasz) Family

Marie Kaidas Castle Garden

Marie Kaidas (Marya Kaydasz), Castle Garden, 1888

The Kaidas (Kajdasz) family were on the ship’s passenger list.

1888 ship manifest Kaidas marked

1888, ship passenger list, S.S. Elbe from Bremen and Southampton to New York, New York

1888 ship manifest Kaidas cropped

Kaidas (Kajdasz) Family on S.S. Elba ship’s passenger list, 1888

Although the Kajdasz family were Polish, they came from Prussia, the part of Poland that was occupied by Germany at that time. They were likely to have spoken both Polish and some German. Because they left from Germany, their names were listed in German in the ship’s manifest. Andrzej was Andreas, Jadwiga was Hedwig, Marcin was Martin, Ludwik was Ludwig, and Marya was Marie.

SS_Elbe_1881

SS Elbe (1881), postcard

The manifest said the family had come from Schroda, which was a kreis (district) of the Prussian province of Posen in the 19th Century.

Sources

“Passenger Lists,” database, The Battery Conservancy, Castle Garden (castlegarden.org: accessed 11 October 2018), Kaidas; citing ship manifests.

“Ancestry,” database, Ancestry (ancestry.com: accessed 11 October 2018), Kaidas family; citing Passenger Lists. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957, M237, 1820-1897, Roll 518

“SS Elbe (1881).” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 13 Jun. 2018. Web. 12 Oct. 2018.

I was surprised to learn my great-grandfather renounced his allegiance to the Emperor of Germany when he became a citizen of the United States in 1887. I knew he was Polish! This is where the history part of family history becomes important.

The country of Poland did not officially exist when many of our ancestors immigrated to the United States. The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth had been partitioned by the Kingdom of Prussia, the Russian Empire, and Habsburg Austria in 1772, 1793, and 1795. Ethnically Polish immigrants were listed with German, Russian, or Austrian nationalities in the records, and their places of origin were given with Polish, German, or Russian names. The Latin versions of the place names were listed in Roman Catholic church records. These are research challenges.

Here is a Prussian map from the late 1800s, with the areas that with a few boundary changes, became officially part of Poland after World War I and World War II:

  • 2 East Prussia
  • 13 West Prussia
  • 7 Stettin
  • 8 Posen
  • 12 Silesia

While my father’s ancestors came from West Prussia, allied families identified as German came from East Prussia, Silesia, and Posen.

Posen was the German name of the provincial city as well as the Prussian province. The province of Posen was divided into two government regions (Regierungsbezirke), named Posen (Poznań) and Bromberg (Bydgoszcz). These regions were again subdivided into districts called Kreise, similar to counties.

Kreise of the Prussian Province of Posen in the 19th Century

Of course, these districts had both German and Polish names. The following is a list, with links, from Wikipedia.

Kreis (“County”) Polish spelling Origin
City of Posen Poznań
Adelnau Odolanów
Birnbaum Miedzychód
Bomst Babimost
Fraustadt Wschowa
Gostyn Gostyn Kröben
Grätz Grodzisk Buk
Jarotschin Jarocin Pleschen
Kempen Kępno Schildberg
Koschmin Koźmin Krotoschin
Kosten Kościan
Krotoschin Krotoszyn
Lissa Leszno Fraustadt
Meseritz Międzyrzecz
Neutomischel Nowy Tomyśl Buk
Obornik Oborniki
Ostrowo Ostrów ?Adelnau?
Pleschen Pleszew
Posen Ost Poznań, Wsch. Posen
Posen West Poznań, Zach. Posen
Rawitsch Rawicz Kröben
Samter Szamotuły
Schildberg Ostrzeszów
Schmiegel Śmigiel Kosten
Schrimm Śrem
Schroda Środa
Schwerin Skwierzyna Birnbaum – 1877
Wreschen Września
City of Bromberg Bydgoszcz
Bromberg Bydgoszcz
Czarnikau Czarników
Filehne Wieleń Czarnikau
Gnesen Gniezno
Hohensalza Inowrocław
Kolmar Chodzież
Mogilno Mogilno
Schubin Szubin
Strelno Strzelno ??
Wirsitz Wyrzysk
Witkowo Witkowo ?Gnesen?
Wongrowitz Wągrowiec
Znin Żnin ??

A search for places of the old German Posen province at Kartenmeister.com lists 12,936 entries, including duplicate and alternative spellings for villages, cities, and towns.

This region was historically known as Wielkopolska, or Greater Poland (Großpolen in German). The major city is Poznań. There is considerable overlap with the present-day Greater Poland Voivodeship, województwo wielkopolskie in Polish.

Historical boundaries of Wielkopolska, or Greater Poland, in the boundaries of current Poland

In the twenty first century, Poznań is both a city and a powiat (county) in the Greater Poland Voivodeship. Powiat Poznań  contains the towns Swarzędz, Luboń, Mosina, Murowana Goślina, PuszczykowoKostrzyn, Pobiedziska, Kórnik, Buk, and Stęszew. Each of the towns is associated with about a dozen villages, some which are identified on the map below.

Poznań powiat (county) in present day Poland

Immigrants who said that they came from Posen may have been referring to the city, the nearby villages or towns, or the German province. Although the Poznan Project has been very helpful in indexing marriage records from the German province of Posen/Poznań from 1800 to 1899, it is not complete. Volunteers at Projekt BaSIA are currently indexing many records from this area. Other German and Polish place names can be found on Kartenmeister.com, as well as on old and contemporary maps. While their results are available at no charge, please consider volunteering or donating to these efforts if they can help you in your research.

Sources

File:Prussiamap.gif. (2014, November 25). Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository. Retrieved 17:15, September 27, 2018 from https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Prussiamap.gif&oldid=140555672.

Wikipedia contributors. (2018, September 20). Districts of Prussia. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 17:17, September 27, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Districts_of_Prussia&oldid=860414056

File:Prowincja Poznańska de.svg. (2018, January 9). Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository. Retrieved 17:18, September 27, 2018 from https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Prowincja_Pozna%C5%84ska_de.svg&oldid=278217654.

Wikipedia contributors. (2018, September 26). Poznań. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 17:19, September 27, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Pozna%C5%84&oldid=861254372

File:Poznańskie kaliskie.png. (2018, June 8). Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository. Retrieved 17:20, September 27, 2018 from https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Pozna%C5%84skie_kaliskie.png&oldid=305225584.

Wikipedia contributors. (2018, September 21). Poznań County. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 17:23, September 27, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Pozna%C5%84_County&oldid=860512701

By Poznaniak [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

The primary reason I started recording family history was to document what my parents knew. Several of their older siblings and cousins had died, and I knew that much family knowledge was in danger of being lost.

I also wanted to make sense of who was who! My dad had six living brothers and sisters, and some of their children were his age, and had offspring who were the same ages as my sisters and myself. My mother’s family had first and second cousins of various ages. As children, we called all the adults aunt and uncle. It was not until I was older that I realized that not all of them were my parents’ siblings. How were we related?

In 1991, I tried to make sense of family relationships with a program called Brother’s Keeper on a personal computer. My parents and aunts told me about their aunts, uncles, and cousins. There were a lot of cousins! I began calling and writing, and found that each branch of the Szczepański family had someone who was interested in their family’s history and was willing to share the information with me. Corresponding back and forth filled in many blanks in the family tree.

My father was one of the thirty five grandchildren of Marcin Szczepański and Anna Kalinowska.  He died in 1995, and in going through his papers, I was astonished to find his grandfather’s original naturalization certificate from 1887. What were the odds that over a hundred years later, the certificate would come into the hands of the great-grandchild (of 106) most interested in family history? In 1997, I included a copy of Martin Szczepanski’s naturalization certificate in the book I wrote about the Descendants of Martin and Anna Szczepański. Because I had been blessed to learn so much, I felt an obligation to honor my father and our immigrant ancestors and to share the story of their descendants in America.

Born between 1907 and 1939, here is a timeline of the grandchildren of Marcin Szczepański and Anna Kalinowska.Szczepanski cousins