Discovering our Ancestors' Travels and Travails

Archive for the ‘DNA’ Category

“Cabbage” Patch Kids: Kapusta/Kapuściński DNA Cousins

I find genetic connections fascinating. They are clues, like anything else, and need research and documentation. I recently reached out to a DNA match on Although we were only distantly related, with 9.6 centimorgans shared across 1 DNA segment, we both had the Kapuscinski name in our family trees and ties to Buffalo, New York. I wanted to learn if we shared common ancestors, or could identify a place where our common ancestors had been.

His ancestors were also identified as Kapusta. Although I knew that Kapusta and Kapuściński had the same root word, this was the first family I had seen using both versions of the name.

name Kapus

Entry from William F. “Fred” Hoffman’s Polish Surnames: Origins and Meanings, 2001

It was not surprising that there could be different versions of the same Polish name. The Polish language changes words to indicate gender, number, and case. For example,

  • the -ski ending indicates an adjective, for possession or affiliation
  • -ska is the feminine form of the adjective
  • -owski/-owska indicates the place of
  • -owa is the ending used for a wife’s name
  • -ówna is an unmarried daughter, etc.

So the same root name can have various endings, depending how it is used by a Polish speaker. For more about Polish names, see

Agnes Kapuscinska chart

Ancestors of Agnieszka Kapuścińska

My grandmother Agnieszka Kapuścińska was born in February 1895 in Gnieszowice, Koprzywnica, near Sandomierz in Russian Poland. Now it is in the Świętokrzyskie province of Poland. Her sister Maryanna had come to the United States in 1912, and paid for her sister’s ticket the following year. Maryanna married Grzegosz Mastykarz in 1915, and Agnieszka married Jan Skrok in 1917. While I had previously identified my grandmother’s ancestors, and had been able to trace the sisters, I did not know of any other relatives named Kapuściński in Buffalo, New York.

However, I found Casimir and Mary Kapuszcinski in Buffalo, New York, in the 1930 United States Federal Census, at 73 Gibson Street.

1930 Kapuszcinski census cropped

1930 census record, Casimir and Mary Kapuszcinski, Buffalo, New York

In 1940, Casimir and Mary Kapusta were at 37 Lombard Street, in Buffalo, New York.

1940 Kapusta census cropped

1940 census record, Casimer and Mary Kapusta, Buffalo, New York

The older children had been born in Ohio, which made me look for information there. I found the 15 Oct 1928 marriage record for Kazimir Kapusta and Mary Staron, born Obora. Both had been previously married, and had been divorced, in Cleveland, Ohio.

1928 marriage Kapusta cropped

1928 Marriage Record, Kazimir Kapusta and Mary Staron, Warrensville, Ohio

In the 1920 census record, Casimer Kapusta was a lodger in the home of Walenty and Mary Starol [sic] at 3472 East 76th Street in Cleveland, Ohio.

1920 Kapuscinski census cropped

1920 census, Walenty and Mary Starol and Casimer Kapusta, Cleveland, Ohio

Walenty Staron married Victoria Falkowska in Shaker Heights, Ohio, on 23 Oct 1928. His naturalization record in 1944 identified his children and previous residence in Sandomierz, Poland.

1944 Staron naturalization children

1944 Naturalization Petition, Walenty Staron, Cleveland, Ohio

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Maryanna Obora‘s children with Walenty Staron were

  • Szczepan (1915-1982)
  • Marta  (1917-2005)
  • Kazimiera  (1919-2018)
  • Czesław  (1921-1945)

The children of Kazimierz Kapusta and Maryanna Obora born in Buffalo, New York, were

  • Edward Jerome  (1927-2007)
  • Alfred  (1929-1932)
  • Richard J.  (1931-    )
  • Genevieve/Jean  (1933-2017)

Genevieve/Jean‘s grandson was my DNA match, so I wanted to see if we could find where in Poland his great-grandparents had been born, and if there were any links to my identified ancestors. We exchanged information on his other grandparents, but I was most interested in his Kapusta and Obora lines from Russian Poland.

1918 Kapusta WWI draft cropped

WWI Draft Registration Form, Kazimierz Kapusta, Cleveland, Ohio

Kazimierz‘ 1918 draft registration identified him as a “frendley alien” born in 1894 in “Bialobozie, Kelecska, Russia.” (Already, spelling is suspect.) Because I knew where my Kapuściński ancestors were from in the former Kielce province, it helped me to find Białoborze.

Wikipedia says “Białoborze is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Stopnica, within Busko County, Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship, in south-central Poland. It lies approximately 3 kilometres (2 mi) north-east of Stopnica, 18 km (11 mi) east of Busko-Zdrój, and 55 km (34 mi) south-east of the regional capital Kielce.”

A search on the Geneteka database for Kazimierz Kapusta in the Świętokrzyskie province showed that Kazimierz Kapusta  was born in 1894 in Białoborze to Jan Kapusta and Katarzyna Sikora, which matched the information on his marriage record. He was baptized (entry #66, according to the Geneteka index) at Kościół św. Apostołów Piotra i Pawła in Stopnica, not far from the area near Sandomierz where my Kapuściński ancestors were found. The Polish records were indexed, but I did not find the records themselves online.

From Geneteka, I could see Jan Kapusta and Katarzyna Sikora had these children in Białoborze. Unfortunately, the first boy, named Jan, died in 1891.

1891       41         Jan Kapusta
1892       53         Apolonia Kapusta
1894       66         Kazimierz Kapusta
1896       121       Jan Kapusta

Further research on Geneteka showed that

  • Jan Kapusta and Katarzyna Sikora were married in Stopnica (Skrobaczów) 1889.08.14.
  • Jan Kapusta was the son of Walenty Kapusta and Apolonia Lech.
  • Katarzyna Sikora was the daughter of Wojciech Sikora and Agnieszka Pawłowska.

Jan Kapusta, son of Walenty Kapusta and Apolonia Lech, died in 1897 (Stopnica entry 63) in Białoborze. On 1899.08.24, Katarzyna Kapusta (born Sikora) married Andrzej Jaros (Jarosz), the son of Ignacy Jaros and Antonina Włoch.


1913 Obora cropped

1913 Manifest for the ship Campania from Liverpool, England, to New York, New York

Maryanna Obora immigrated on 17 Feb 1913 to New York, New York, United States, on the ship Campania from Liverpool, England, with a final destination of Cleveland, Ohio. Her place of birth was listed as Dzieslawice in Russian Poland.

Wikipedia says “Dziesławice is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Stopnica, within Busko County, Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship, in south-central Poland.” Often immigrants who were married in the new country had previously known each other or each other’s families in the old country, as was the case here. Again, Geneteka was useful.

Marianna Obora was born in 1896 in Dziesławice to Wojciech Obora and Marianna Pyrz. Again, this was very close to the information on her marriage record. She was baptized (entry #256, according to the Geneteka index) at Kościół św. Apostołów Piotra i Pawła in Stopnica. As before, the Polish records were indexed, but I did not find the records themselves online.

From Geneteka, I could see Wojciech Obora and Marianna Pyrz had these children in Dziesławice. Sadly, the records say that Stanisław [sic] died in 1900 and Antoni in 1905.

1896       256         Marianna
1899       121         Stanisława
1904       11           Antoni
1906       102         Stanisława
1908       60           Józefa

Further research on Geneteka showed that

  • Wojciech Obora and Marianna Pyrz were married in Stopnica (Falęcin – Dziesławice) 1895.05.15.
  • Wojciech Obora was the son of Jan Obora and Marianna Wróbel.
  • Marianna Pyrz was the daughter of Kacper Pyrz and Franciszka Kania.

Ancestors of Genevieve/Jean Kapuscinski

Our DNA connection is very small, and we do not have any common matches, so I was not surprised my DNA match and I did not find common ancestors in a few generations. But our forebears came from the same region, and I was able to put my prior experience with Geneteka to good use in identifying the ancestors of one of the grandmothers of my DNA match. Even genetically distant cousins can collaborate and share information to help one another find out more about their ancestors!


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

“Polish name.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 9 Aug. 2018. Web. 16 Aug. 2018.

1930 Federal Census, New York, population schedule, Buffalo, Erie, New York, USA, Casimir Kapuszcinski; digital images, HeritageQuest ( : accessed 13 August 2018).

1940 Federal Census, New York, population schedule, Buffalo, Erie, New York, Casimir Kapusta; digital images, HeritageQuest ( : accessed 13 August 2018). Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Marriage Records and Indexes, 1810-1973 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.

1920 Federal Census, Ohio, population schedule, Cleveland Ward 14, Cuyahoga, Ohio, Casimer Kapusta; digital images, HeritageQuest ( : accessed 13 August 2018).

Ohio, State Marriage Registers, Marriage, Walenty Staron, Victoria Falkowska, 23 October 1928. Ohio, Naturalization Petition and Record Books, 1888-1946 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.

“World War I Draft Registration Cards,” database, (: accessed 13 August 2018), Kazimirz Kapusta; citing Ohio; Registration County: Cuyahoga; Roll: 1831773.

“Passenger Lists,” database, The Statue of Liberty – Ellis Island Foundation, Ellis Island ( accessed 13 August 2018), Kazimierz Kapusta; citing ship manifests.

Polskie Towarzystwo Genealogiczne, “Geneteka, Metryki,” database, Polish Genealogical Society, Genealodzy ( accessed 13 August 2018); citing church records or Urząd Stanu Cywilnego (Civil Registry Office).


Finding my Maciejewski Family’s Ancestral Origins

I was recently contacted by someone researching Maciejewski ancestors who had the same first names as mine did. Although we did not appear to be related (Maciejewski is not a rare Polish name), I was able to commiserate about how difficult it can be to find places in the old country where our families originated, and demonstrate how, over years, I found and confirmed my Maciejewski family who came from West Prussia in 1883.

My great grandfather Jan Maciejewski‘s church death record said he was born in Tylice, and there are four places with that name in Poland. I picked one, and I guessed wrong. I wrote about it, though…

I researched Jan and Weronika Maciejewski‘s children’s baptism records in the United States…

And saw that the parents were from Nieżywięć and Tylice in West Prussia…

I finally found Jan and Weronika‘s marriage record…

But their son, my grandfather Antoni Maciejewski, was not born/baptized in Nieżywięć! I searched civil records from the Torun archives and found my grandfather’s birth record in 1883 in Zgniłobłoty

Which helped me recognize the family’s arrival record at Castle Garden in New York City later that year…

And identify other children of this family who were born and died in West Prussia…

I recommend checking all the records, including siblings, cousins, and other relatives and friends. This is sometimes called “cluster genealogy.” When you seem to be stuck, genealogy author Elizabeth Shown Mills recommends checking the “FAN club”  of your ancestor’s friends, associates, and neighbors. Even for ancestors who were married in America, I have found that couples often knew of each other’s families in the old country.

I wrote about how my grandparents grew up and were married in the US, but their parents’ places of origin were only twenty miles apart half a world away…

That’s how chain migration works…

Because of the interrelationships of our ancestors, I helped some DNA cousins find their grandparents’ places of origin…  and

I often share information about other families I find along the way. Others have helped me. It is always rewarding to help others find primary or contemporaneous sources, and I like to hear from researchers of related families.

Happy ancestor hunting!

Looking For a Common Maciejewski Ancestor

In A Tale of Two Families, I wrote about some AncestryDNA matches and the records I found while trying to discover our common ancestor(s). Briefly,

  • A baby boy was born to a young woman in Buffalo, New York, in 1906. One hundred eleven years later his great-grandson tested with AncestryDNA and matched several Maciejewski family members. I was surprised to find the connection, and researched it.
  • The first section looks at Tadeusz/Theodore Jurek‘s grandparents and great-grandparents back in Prussia. We do not appear to have a genetic connection there, so our relatively close DNA connection appears to be with Tadeusz‘ parents. Who were they?
  • The second section shows the Maciejewski and Jurek fathers died in 1890 and 1896.
  • In 1900 and 1905, the widows raised their kids, who were about the same ages, and the families moved to the same street. They knew one another. Proximity was important for baby-making.
  • In the 1910 census, Tadeusz Jurek appeared. Who was his mother? Not Władysława (Lottie), for sure. She had had four kids in seven years. Was it Marianna or Stanisława?
  • Multiple events show Marianna Jurek was Tadeusz‘ mother.
  • Interrelationships show that this Tadeusz/Theodore Jurek is the same person seen in Buffalo and Rochester, and links to the family in Long Island.
  • In early 2018, Tadeusz/Theodore Jurek‘s grandson F. also did a DNA test. AncestryDNA estimates that he is my second cousin.

Since we know I am not closely related to Marianna Jurek, F. would only be a half cousin, on Tadeusz‘ father’s side. Given our genetic connection, the two mostly likely candidates for the father of Marianna‘s son are Antoni Maciejewski or his brother Konstanty/Gust, since Ludwik was only eleven in 1905.

Maciejewski Jurek

Maciejewski and Jurek children in Buffalo, New York

  • If Antoni were the father, then
    • Tadeusz/Theodore and my father would be half-brothers,
    • F.‘s mother and I would be half first cousins, and
    • F. would be my half first-cousin one generation removed (half 1C1R).
  • If Konstanty/Gust were the father, then
    • Tadeusz/Theodore and my father would be first cousins,
    • F.‘s mother and I would be second cousins, and
    • F. would be my second cousin one generation removed (2C1R).

AncestryDNA says that F. and I share “208 centimorgans across 8 DNA segments” and estimates we are second cousins. Statistically,

  • second cousins share about 233 centimorgans (range 46-515)
  • half 1C1R share about 226 centimorgans (range 57-530)
  • 2C1R share about 123 centimorgans (range 0-316)

From analysis so far, it appears more likely that Antoni Maciejewski was Tadeusz/Theodore Jurek‘s father, but it could also have been his brother Konstanty/Gust.


Bettinger, Blaine, Shared cM Project, International Society of Genetic Genealogy,, accessed 3 Jun 2018

A Tale of Two Families

Some of the more popular reasons people test DNA are to learn more about their heritage and perhaps, find some new relatives. After my own DNA test in late 2015, I was able to connect with the previously unknown daughter of a second cousin, and confirmed dozens of other known relatives.

In the fall of 2017, a new match appeared on AncestryDNA, estimated to be my fourth cousin, with 75 centimorgans shared across 3 DNA segments. We had multiple shared matches–3 great-grandchildren, 3 great-great-grandchildren, and 1 great-great-great-granddaughter of Jan and Veronica Lewandowska Maciejewski–so we obviously have Maciejewski and/or Lewandowski ancestors in common. I wanted to learn more about our connection.

His family was from Long Island, New York. From the family tree he posted online, I could see that his mother’s family was not Polish. His father’s ancestors were Polish, so that was our likely connection. The census records for his father’s father’s parents consistently said they had come from Russian-Poland. The Maciejewski family had come from West Prussia, so that was not a link to our shared heritage. I started looking for information about his father’s mother’s family.

I found a link to his grandparents’ 1950 wedding announcement in a Long Island paper. The article titled “Nassau Summer Brides” identified the bride’s parents as Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Jurek. When I searched for Theodore Jurek in census records, I was surprised to learn that in his early years, he had lived on the same street in Buffalo, New York, as my great-grandmother Veronica Maciejewska and her family!

So here is the tale of two families…

In December 1883, Jan and Weronika Lewandowska Maciejewski immigrated to Buffalo, New York, with their infant Antoni. The family grew with the arrival of Konstanty (August), Wiktorya (Dorota), Marya, Anna, and Ludwik. Jan and Weronika had been married in 1869 in Kościół św. Jana Chrzciciela, Nieżywięć, West Prussia.

In 1888, Jan and Teofila Rossa Jurek also immigrated to Buffalo, New York, with their daughters Władysława and Marianna. In Buffalo, they had Franciszek and Stanisława. I was able to find a baptism entry for Stanisława at St. Adalbert’s Roman Catholic Church in Buffalo in 1890, which showed that her parents had been born in Posen (Poznań in Polish).

1890 Stanislawa Jurek birth cropped

1890 Baptism Record, St. Adalbert’s RC Church, Buffalo, New York

The Poznan Project has indexed the marriages from the parishes of this region, and a search for Jan Jurek and Teofila found their marriage in Kościół pw. św. Wita (St. Vitus), the Catholic parish in Słupy, entry 8 / 1884:

  • Joannes Jurek (24 years old)
    father: Joseph Jurek , mother: Marianna Świtalska
  • Theophila Rossa (26 years old)
    father: Jacobus Rossa , mother: Anna Domagała

Słupy, Schubin, Posen, was approximately 66 miles from Nieżywięć, West Prussia. Both locations are currently in Kujawsko-Pomorskie, Poland.

Death of the Fathers

Sadly, the fathers of both these families met with untimely ends. Jan Jurek died in 1890. An article on the front page of the March 6, 1890 Buffalo Evening News has the entry “Killed by the Cars” saying that “Jan Jurek, a Polish laborer, tried to board a passing Central engine at the William street crossing at 7:30 this morning. He slipped and was killed. Coroner Tucker.”

1890 Jan Jurek death

1890 Buffalo Evening News

Jan Maciejewski died 30 Apr 1896, of endocarditis, and was buried at St. Stanislaus Cemetery, in Cheektowaga, New York.

1896 Jan Maciejewski Death Certificate

1896 Death Certificate, Buffalo, New York

Widows and Their Families

In the 1900 federal census, both women were listed as widows. Veronica Maciejewski was living at 242 Detroit Street, with her children Anthony (17), Constanty (15), Victoria (12), Mary (11), Ann (8), and Louis (5).

1900 Veronica Maciejewski census

1900 Maciejewski Census, Buffalo, New York

In 1900, Teofila Jurek was at 169 Rother Avenue with Wladislawa (14), Mary (13), Frank (11), Stanislawa (9), and Teofila’s mother, Anna Rosa (78).


1900 Jurek census, Buffalo, New York

Further research in church and civil records in Bobrowo and Słupy, Prussia, as well as Buffalo, New York, showed the birth dates for the children of these families.

Maciejewski Jurek

Children of Maciejewski and Jurek Families in Buffalo, New York

In 1905, the Jurek family lived at 160 Stanislaus Street: Teofila (41), Mary (18), Frank (16), Stella (14), and Anna (84).

1905 Jurek Rosa NYS census cropped

1905 New York State Census, Jurek Family, Buffalo, New York

The Maciejewski family lived at 303 Detroit Street in 1905: Veronica (55), Anthony (22), Konstanty (20), Victoria (18), Mary (16), Anna (13), and Louis (10).

1905 Veronica Maciejewski census

1905 New York State Census, Maciejewski Family, Buffalo, New York

Both women purchased homes on Goodyear Avenue. In the Buffalo Courier on August 21, 1905, under DEEDS—CITY was “Martin Hauck to Veronica Maciejewska, Goodyear Avenue, west side, 520 feet north Empire Street, 30 feet front, $1.”  On June 15, 1907, under MORTGAGES—CITY was the entryTeofila Jurek to Grace H. Selkirk, Goodyear Avenue. 385.69 feet south Sycamore Street. $2,000.”

1910 Census Records

There were more changes to the families. In the 1910 census, Thaddeus Jurek (2) had joined the Telofila Jurek family at 212 Goodyear Avenue, along with Frank (21), Maryanna (22), and Stella (19).


1910 Jurek Census, Buffalo, New York

Władysława Jurek had married Szczepan Kubiak about 1903 and the couple were living with their four children Edward, Mary, Louisa, and Irene at 97 Koons Avenue for the 1910 census.


1910 Kubiak Census, Buffalo, New York

On 5 Aug 1907, Antoni Maciejewski had married Marya Szczepańska in Bennington, New York. In the 1910 census, they and their daughters Sophia and Celia were living with his mother and his siblings Victoria (28), Mary (21), Anna (18), and Ludwik (15) at 127 Goodyear Avenue.

1910 Maciejewski census 4450075_00386

1910 Maciejewski Census, Buffalo, New York

On 5 Apr 1910, Konstanty Maciejewski had married Marya Kajdasz in Buffalo, New York, and the couple was living at 301 Mills Street. Konstanty was called Gust, and used the name August Warner in later years, as documented in How Did Maciejewski Become Warner?

1910 GustavMary Maciejewski census cropped

1910 Maciejewski Census, Buffalo, New York

Marianna Jurek Married Szczepan Kozłowski

In America, Telofila was called Tillie Jurek. She and her cat were featured in a story in the Buffalo Courier on 27 February 1915, “Destroys Two of Cat’s Lives and Draws Fine of $10 in City Court.”

1915 Tilli Jurek cat

1915 Buffalo Courier, Buffalo, New York

Tillie Rosa was listed as the bride’s mother when Mary Anna Jurek married Szczepan Kozłowski in the Polish National Catholic Church in Rochester, New York, on 18 Oct 1919.

1919 Kozlowski Jurek marriage

1919 Kozlowski-Jurek Marriage Record, Rochester, New York

In the 1920 census, Tadeusz Jurek, 12 years old, is listed as the nephew of Frank (31), living with his grandmother, Teofila (60), and Stanisława (28), at 212 Goodyear Avenue in Buffalo.

1920 Jurek census

1920 Jurek Census, Buffalo, New York

In the 1925 New York census, the Stephen and Mary Kozłowski family at 19 Pulaski Street in Rochester includes Theodore Jurek, age 18 and Frank Kozłowski, age 3.

1925 Kozlowski Jurek census

1925 Kozlowski-Jurek Census, Rochester, New York

Still at 19 Pulaski Street in Rochester in 1940, Stephen and Mary Kozłowski’s family included Frank (18), Richard (13), and Norma (10).

1940 Kozlowski census m-t0627-02848-00417

1940 Kozlowski Census, Rochester, New York

Mary (Jurek) Kozłowski died 1 Mar 1947 at her home, 19 Pulaski St. The account in the Rochester NY Democrat Chronicle of 4 March 1947 said she was survived by her husband, “one daughter Norma Kozlowski; three sons, Theodore of Hicksvllle, N. Y., Frank, and Cpl. Richard Kozlowski, U. S. Marine Corp.; one sister, Mrs. Lottie Kubiak; one brother, Frank Jurek, two granddaughters and one grandson; several nieces and nephews.”

When Frank Kozłowski died in 1961, his obituary in the Rochester NY Democrat Chronicle on 26 July 1961 stated “Survivors include his wife, two brothers, Theodore Jurek of Bethpage, L.I., and Deputy Sheriff Richard Kozlowski of Churchville; a sister, Norma Kozlowski of Brockport, and several nieces and nephews.”

Tadeusz/Theodore Jurek

Theodore Jurek joined the United States Army 29 Sep 1927. He married Helen Skszyba, daughter of Stanisław Skszyba and Marya Pliszka, who was born 23 Jan 1910 in Duryea, Luzerne, Pennsylvania, United States. The couple lived with their three children on Nassau Road in Hempstead, Nassau, New York in the 1940 federal census.


1940 Jurek Census, Hempstead, New York

Theodore Jurek’s military and Social Security records said he was born 21 Mar 1906 and died 2 Oct 1977. His last residence was listed as Bethpage, New York. He and his wife Helen were buried at Long Island National Cemetery.

Because in former generations, physical proximity was needed to create a baby, I have looked for common places where our known ancestors lived. Based on my “extremely high” AncestryDNA connections with his great-grandson and another Jurek descendant (208 centimorgans shared across 8 DNA segments, an estimated second cousin), and even more Maciejewski family descendants in common, we know the families are related. Perhaps additional research in Buffalo records and further analysis of DNA relationships will give more information about the identity of Tadeusz‘ father, but meanwhile, we remain DNA cousins.

Notes About Names

Polish names - Jurek

Because Polish people would speak the Polish language and give their children Polish names, they are the first names I have listed here. Other names listed in church and official records from Prussia may be in Latin or German, and names in American records may be either an English version of the same name (Ludwik/Louis), or an Americanized nickname (Władysława/Lottie).





“Nassau Summer Brides,” Nassau Review-Star, Freeport, New York, 3 July 1950, Page 5, col 1.

St. Adalbert RC Church, Buffalo, New York, Church records, FHL microfilm, Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah, Stanisława Jurek.

Łukasz Bielecki, “Poznan Project,” database, Poznan Project ( accessed March 2018), Jurek – Rossa; citing church records or Urząd Stanu Cywilnego (Civil Registry Office).

“Killed by the Cars”, Buffalo Evening News, Buffalo, New York, 6 March 1890, page 1.

Buffalo, New York, death certificate no. 231 (1 May 1896), Jan Madjewski; City Clerk’s Office, City Hall, Buffalo, New York.

St. Stanislaus Bishop & Martyr RC Church (Buffalo, New York), , Death Register, 1896, Jan Maciejewski; FHL microfilm .

1900 Federal Census, United States, population schedule, Buffalo (city), New York, enumeration district (ED) 70, Veronica Maciejewski

1900 Federal Census, New York, population schedule, Buffalo Ward 14, Erie, New York, Anna Rosa

LDS Family History Library, “Bobrowo (Brodnica),” database, Kościół rzymsko-katolicki. Parafja, Family Search ( accessed February 2018), Anton Maciejewski; citing Germany, Preußen, Westpreußen, Bobrau – Church records.

LDS Family History Library, “Słupy (Szubin),” database, Kościół rzymsko-katolicki. Parafja, Family Search ( accessed 11 May 2018), Władysława and Marianna Jurek; citing Germany, Preußen, Posen, Slupy – Church records.

1905 New York State Census, New York, population schedule, Buffalo Ward 14, Erie, New York, USA, Anna Rosa

1905 New York State Census, New York, population schedule, Buffalo, New York, , Veronica Maciejewski

DEEDS Veronica Maciejewska, Buffalo Courier, Buffalo, New York, 21 August 1905, Page 8, column 4.

MORTGAGES Teofila Jurek, Buffalo Courier, Buffalo, New York, 15 June 1907.

1910 Federal Census, New York State, population schedule, Buffalo Ward 12, Erie, New York, Stephen Kubiak

1910 Federal Census, New York State, population schedule, Buffalo, New York, Veronica Maciejewski

Konstantyn Maciejewski and Mary Kajdasz, (5 April 1910), Marriage Record; Erie County Courthouse, Buffalo, New York.

1910 Federal Census, New York State, population schedule, Buffalo, New York, enumeration district (ED) 104, sheet 18, Gustav Maciejewski

1910 Federal Census, New York State, population schedule, Buffalo Ward 12, Erie, New York, Teofila Jurek

“Destroys Two of Cat’s Lives and Draws Fine of $10 in City Court” Buffalo Courier, Buffalo, New York, 27 February 1915, page 6, column 2-3

New York, County Marriage Records, 1847-1849, 1907-1936 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2016.

1920 Federal Census, New York, population schedule, Buffalo Ward 16, Erie, New York, Teofila Jurek

1925 New York State Census, New York, population schedule, Rochester Ward 17, Monroe, Stephen Kozlowski

1940 Federal Census, New York, population schedule, Rochester, Monroe, New York, 19 Pulaski Street, Stephen Kozlowski

1940 Federal Census, New York, population schedule, Hempstead, Nassau, New York, Theodore Jurek

Mary Kozlowski, Democrat Chronicle, Rochester, New York, 4 March 1947, page 6.

Frank Kozlowski, Democrat Chronicle, Rochester, New York, 26 July 1961.

Social Security Administration, “U.S. Social Security Death Index,” database, Social Security Applications and Claims (: accessed December 2017), Helen Jurek, 053546980.

Social Security Administration, “U.S. Social Security Death Index,” database, Death Master File (: accessed February 2018), Theodore Jurek, 111-01-8499, before 1951.

US VA, National Cemetery Administration, “Nationwide Gravesite Locator,” database, US Department of Veteran Affairs ( : accessed January 2018), Theodore S Sr Jurek.

Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed 11 May 2018), memorial page for Theodore S Jurek, Sr (21 Mar 1906–2 Oct 1977), Find A Grave Memorial no. 2718164, citing Long Island National Cemetery, East Farmingdale, Suffolk County, New York, USA ; Maintained by US Veterans Affairs Office (contributor 5) .


Kalinowska from Szembruk, West Prussia: Looking for Common Ancestors

Before finding my great grandparents’ ancestral village of Szembruczek, and confused by variations of Szombrug, Szömbrug, Szenbruk, Szenburg, Szönbruk, Szymbruczek, etc., in the baptism records of the children of my great grandparents Marcin Szczepański and Anna Kalinowska, I saw that two sisters who were my fourth cousin estimated DNA matches on and GEDmatch also had an ancestor whose birth name was Kalinowska.

I exchanged messages with one of the sisters, and she said that according to American records, their great-great-grandmother was born Ludwika Kalinowska about 1844 and died in Chicago in 1926. Ludwika’s death certificate listed her place of birth only as Poland and her father’s name as Walter. She had been married twice. Ludwika’s first husband, the sisters’ great-great-grandfather, was Ludwik Kierznowski and her second husband was Franciszek Konracki. They thought Ludwika was a widow by the time she settled in Chicago with her three daughters. Another clue was that the sisters’ great-grandmother Katarzyna Kiersznowska Niewirowska spoke both German and Polish, an indication that she had come from Prussia, the German occupied part of Poland in the nineteenth century.

After Ludwika immigrated with her daughters to Chicago, her daughter Katarzyna Kiersznowska married Franciszek Niewirowski at St. Stanislaus Kostka Roman Catholic Church in Chicago, Illinois, on 27 November 1885. The church records, filmed by the Church of Latter Day Saints, are available online at FamilySearch, and the marriage record was very informative.

1885 marriage record Niewirowski Kiersznowski.jpg

1885 Marriage Record, St. Stanislaus Kostka RC Church, Chicago, Illinois

Franciszek Niewirowski, young man (Polish młodzian), 22 years old, has been in Chicago 1.5 years, and lives Blackhawk Street No. 78. He is the son (Polish syn) of Józef and Maryanna Brzozowska. He was born (Polish urodzony) at what reads like Szennato. (Czytać is the Polish verb “to read.”)

Katarzyna Kierznowska, young woman (Polish panna), 19 years old, has been in Chicago (illegible) No. 199. She is the daughter (Polish córka) of Ludwik and Ludwika. Her place of birth is listed as duży Szömbrug.

Katarzyna Kierznowska came from duży Szömbrug, also known as Groß Schönbrück or Szembruk in Polish, the same place as my great grandparents Marcin Szczepański and Anna Kalinowska!

In the scanned records from the LDS Church Family History Center on FamilySearch for  Sw. Bartłomieja (St. Bartholomew) parish in Szembruk, West Prussia, we were able to find:

  • Katarzyna Kierznowska‘s birth record 26 Nov 1864
1864 Kalinowski Kierznowska births

1864 Baptism Record, Katarzyna Kierznowska, Szembruk, West Prussia

  • her sister Marianna Kierznowska‘s birth record Jan 1868
1868 Kierznowska birth

1868 Baptism Record, Marianna Kierznowska, Szembruk, West Prussia

  • their father Ludwik Kierznowski‘s death record 17 Feb 1869
1869 Kierznowski death

1869 Death Record, Ludwik Kierznowski, Szembruk, West Prussia

  • Ludwika Kalinowska Kierznowska‘s marriage to Franciszek Konracki 9 Jan 1876
1876 marriage Konracki

1876 Marriage Record, Franz Konracki and Ludwika Kierznowska, Szembruk, West Prussia

  • the birth record for Rozalia Konracka 29 Sep 1876
1876 Rozalia Konracki birth

1876 Baptism Record, Rozalia Konracka, Szembruk, West Prussia

Unfortunately, we were not able to find birth records or the marriage record for Ludwik Kierznowski and Ludwika Kalinowska in earlier years, or any records for anyone named Władysław or Wacław Kalinowski.

My great-grandmother Anna Kalinowska was born in 1858 to Jan Kalinowski (b. 1824) and Marianna Nowakowska (b. 1835)

1858 Anna Kalinowska birth cropped

1858 Baptism Record, Anna Kalinowska, Szembruk, West Prussia

Jan Kalinowski and Marianna Nowakowska were married 31 Oct 1853. It was his second marriage, and he was 30 years old.

1853 Kalinowski Nowakowska marriage

1853 Kalinowski-Nowakowska Marriage Record, Szembruk, West Prussia

Going back thirty years, Jan Kalinowski‘s parents were Wojciech (Adalbert) Kalinowski and Anna Szynkowska

1819-1824 Kalinowski births

1819-1824 Children of Adalbert Kalinowski and Anna Szynkowska, Szembruk, West Prussia

The early register appears to be a catching up. Jan‘s sisters Marianna and Katarzyna are recorded on the same page.

In going through the Szembruk records, I found other members of this family either in birth, death, or marriage records. Although not complete or proven yet, here is what I have found of this family so far:

1-Wojciech KALINOWSKI (ca 1796-1 Oct 1852)
. . . . 2-Ewa KALINOWSKA (abt 1816-7 Sep 1826)
. . . . 2-Marianna KALINOWSKA (15 Aug 1819-2 Feb 1850)
. . . . +Frederick WERTHER (1817-)
. . . . . . . . 3-Agata WERTHER (abt 1840-5 Oct 1848)
. . . . . . . . 3-Eva WERTHER (Nov 1841-21 Nov 1841)
. . . . . . . . 3-Jan WERTHER (1847-15 Oct 1849)
. . . . 2-Justyna KALINOWSKA (1823-22 Feb 1833)
. . . . 2-Katarzyna KALINOWSKA (20 Dec 1823-)
. . . . +Józef KLUGIEWICZ (1821-)
. . . . 2-Jan KALINOWSKI (6 Jan 1824-)
. . . . +first wife  (-bef 1853)
. . . . +Marianna NOWAKOWSKA (21 Jan 1835-)
. . . . . . . . 3-Jan KALINOWSKI (11 Jan 1855-)
. . . . . . . . 3-Anna KALINOWSKA (27 Mar 1858-10 Sep 1938)
. . . . . . . . 3-Fabian KALINOWSKI (7 Dec 1862-)
. . . . . . . . 3-Marcin KALINOWSKI (9 Nov 1864-)
. . . . . . . . 3-Fabian KALINOWSKI (7 Dec 1867-)
. . . . . . . . 3-Józef KALINOWSKI (-20 Sep 1871)
. . . . 2-Dorota KALINOWSKA (1826-10 Feb 1853)
. . . . +MANIEWICZ (abt 1820-)
. . . . 2-Franciszek KALINOWSKI (abt Dec 1836-2 Apr 1837)
. . . . 2-Marcin KALINOWSKI (18 Oct 1838-10 Apr 1841)

To recap: We have DNA in common. We have ancestors that came from Szembruk, West Prussia. We have the same name in our family trees. It is possible, if unlikely, that Władysław or Wacław was a child of Wojciech and Anna. It is also possible that the name of her father on Ludwika‘s death certificate was incorrect, or that our mutual ancestor was even further back, or not a result of a documented union. Although the Kalinowski surname is suggestive of a connection, some of the 31 centimorgans shared across 2 DNA segments or 20.8 centimorgans shared across 1 DNA segment that we have in common could be shared from earlier as yet unknown ancestors in the Kierznowski, Niewirowski, or Brzozowski lines.


St. Stanislaus Kostka RC Church, Chicago, Illinois, Franciszek NIEWIEROWSKI and Katarzyna KIERZNOWSKA (Marriage),

Szembruk, Poland, Katarzyna KIERZNOWSKA (Birth)

Szembruk, Poland, Marianna KIERZNOWSKA (Birth)

Szembruk, Poland, Ludwik KIERZNOWSKI (Death)

Szembruk, Poland, Franciszek KONRACKI and Ludwika KALINOWSKA (Marriage)

Szembruk, Poland, Rozalia KONRACKI (Birth),

Szembruk, Poland, Anna KALINOWSKA (Birth),

Szembruk, Poland, Jan KALINOWSKI and Marianna NOWAKOWSKA (Marriage)

Szembruk, Poland, Jan KALINOWSKI (Birth)

Finding New Cousins With DNA Evidence

I have always had a fondness for facts. I was baffled in 2006 when a new doctor first told me about “evidence based” medicine; I had previously assumed that all medical practice would be based on evidence. One of the graduate courses I took while studying information security computer science was in “Formal Methods” using mathematics and logic to evaluate the reliability and robustness of a design and form conclusions. I like facts.

In the past, and through most of the entries in this blog, family history decisions were based on the multidisciplinary benchmark of a “preponderance of evidence.” If multiple reports support a cogent narrative, then they are worth repeating. If there are discrepancies, they are worth investigating. Often, by examining different sources, things can make sense. [1]

DNA results are but one tool in the family researcher’s toolkit, but it is undoubtedly evidence based!

In early 2018, I know almost two dozen people with whom I match with AncestryDNA, all descendants of my ancestors who immigrated to the United States either from

Poland ancestral areas

Poland marked with author’s ancestral locations

  • Marienwerder, West Prussia, now Kujawsko-Pomorskie in north-central Poland, where my father’s grandparents and father were born, or
  • Radom, specifically the Sandomierz area of Świętokrzyskie, historically part of the Małopolska (Lesser Poland) region, where my mother’s parents and grandparents were born.

Most of my known DNA matches are close family, first cousins, second cousins, or third cousins, sometimes removed by a generation or two. Since the estimate of relationships is based on the identified amount of DNA we share, a handful of matches are listed by Ancestry as fourth cousins, even though we are second or third cousins in our genealogical trees.

Since DNA can occasionally reveal links that were unsuspected, it has also brought up some surprises.

For example, I knew my grandfather Antoni Maciejewski had two brothers, Konstanty and Ludwik. I knew that their children, my father’s cousins, had grown out of touch. I had heard stories about the rest of the family. I was delighted when I found a family tree online, and even more so in 2016 when my previously unknown second cousin coordinated a mini family reunion in Buffalo, New York, with several of Ludwik Maciejewski/Louis Warner‘s descendants. Some of us confirmed our genetic connection with DNA evidence.

I was contacted by a gentleman from Ontario when we matched on FamilyTreeDNA. Although we both had Szczepański/Szczepanowski names in our family trees, we found that our Szczepański forebears came from different areas. However, we could trace several of our lines to Świętokrzyskie. His experience encouraged me to continue researching Polish records. Although we never identified a most recent common ancestor (MRCA), we were able to ascertain that we both had Zybała, Bokwa, and Sad(owa) ancestors from Koprzywnica and the villages surrounding it.

Another genetic connection was made with a Canadian woman after we had connections on AncestryDNA, FamilyTreeDNA, and GEDmatch. She knew she had been adopted, and her birth parentage had become a concern when one of her children was born with a genetic heart condition. She knew the names of her birth parents, and began cold-calling from a phone book people with her birth mother’s last name until she found a family with similar stories. With additional information, her daughter was successfully treated, and her son’s risk was confirmed for proper treatment. Although we never discovered a most recent common ancestor (MRCA), we were able to ascertain that her father’s parents, named Drach and Wieczorek, were from the villages of Świniary and Suchowola near Koprzywnica.

I heard from a DNA cousin with a Kasprzyk ancestor who had immigrated through Canada to Detroit and then to Buffalo from “Poland Oporto (sic) Russia.” We exchanged newspaper clippings and he shared his findings of a researcher in Poland of his ancestors near Opatów in Świętokrzyskie.

Several second cousins and I were contacted by an AncestryDNA match who had been adopted as a baby. She knew her mother had been Polish, and asked her DNA matches if we could help in her search for her birth parents. I was able to share information about our likely ancestors from West Prussia, and their descendants who had immigrated to America, even if I could not give her specific information about her birth circumstances. They were clues, she said, and helped her pursue her search.

Another genetic match had posted a family tree with entirely different people living in the same town as several of my relatives. There is probably a story there.

I had more in common with one match on FamilyTreeDNA and GEDmatch than just our DNA. Although we were born elsewhere in different decades, we are both Cornell University graduates currently living in Rhode Island. We both have ancestors who lived in Prussia in the 1800s, although some of his Jablonowski ancestors moved to Höntrop, near Bochum, Germany, before immigrating to the United States.

Because two Polish siblings that I matched on FamilyTreeDNA and GEDmatch were also matches for one of my first cousins one generation removed, I had originally thought we were connected through my father’s family. However, they were from the Świętokrzyskie area, where my mother’s family had lived! It baffled me, until I realized that our genetic connection may be through both his parents, with his father my first cousin on my father’s side, and his mother a distant relation of my mother’s family. That also explains some other anomalies in our results. Even though his mother does not appear to be a DNA match to me, some of her matches are also matches to me, possibly through a long ago ancestor.

Chicago was a common destination for immigrants from Polish lands, so I have found some DNA (estimated) 4th cousins whose ancestors landed in Chicago. They identified their ancestors as Kalinowski or Kaniecki, from Prussia. Although it has been difficult to identify specifically our most recent common ancestors (MRCA), in several instances we were able to identify our common ancestral villages and actually find their ancestors’ baptism and marriage records in Szembruk and nearby places in West Prussia.

I am intrigued with two recent AncestryDNA matches from Long Island with ties back to Buffalo, New York. There is definitely a link, and I am looking forward to learning more about how to evaluate it when I attend the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh’s course in Practical Genetic Genealogy with Blaine Bettinger at Daemen College in Amherst, New York, this summer.

DNA can confirm genetic relationships you’ve identified through research, find new connections, or cast doubt on identified ancestry. This has all happened in my experience with DNA testing. I have reached out to many DNA matches, and although not all have responded, I am curious about our common heritage. My grandson says we are all related some way. It’s interesting to try to discover how, at least for our closer relations.

[1] Not all evidence is created equal. Professional genealogists apply five criteria in their “Genealogical Proof Standard:”

  • a reasonably exhaustive search
  • complete and accurate source citations
  • analysis and correlation of the collected information
  • resolution of any conflicting evidence
  • a soundly reasoned, coherently written conclusion

DNA Descendants

Even with the same parents, children do not inherit all of the same genes from each parent. You get half from your mom and half from your dad, but only identical twins receive the same genes from each parent.

While siblings with the same parents undoubtedly have some genes in common, they receive different proportions from each grandparent.

This is evident from the ethnic differences in my own grandchildren. Although they clearly have European lineage, there are variations in the location percentages identified by


My own heritage is predominantly Eastern European, so some, but obviously not all, of the Eastern European DNA came from me.