Discovering our Ancestors' Travels and Travails

Archive for the ‘Kalinowski’ Category

Szczepański, Maciejewski, Klein, Sczepanski, and Graff Cousins

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

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Szennato, Szynnato? Szynwałd, Groß Schönwalde! Deciphering Polish/Prussian Place Names

Church records were very helpful in researching the ancestors of two of my fourth cousin DNA matches from Ancestry.com. Their great-grandmother, Katarzyna Kiersznowska Niewirowska was born in Groß Schönbrück/ Szembruk, the same place that my great grandparents Marcin Szczepański and Anna Kalinowska were from!

It took awhile longer to find the records for their great-grandfather Franciszek Niewirowski mostly because there is no place called Szennato.

The St. Stanislaus Kostka Roman Catholic Church marriage record for Katarzyna Kiersznowska and Franciszek Niewirowski in Chicago, Illinois, on 27 November 1885 was listed on FamilySearch.

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.

Aware of chain migration, I was looking for information about Franciszek Niewirowski while researching Katarzyna Kierznowska and her mother Ludwika Kalinowska in the Szembruk church records.

In the Szembruk records, I found an 1875 entry for the death of Elżbieta Trever, a daughter of Franz and Marianna Niewirowski, which indicated there were Niewirowski family in the area. Elżbieta is Polish for Elizabeth. She died in Garnseedorf, which had a Lutheran, but no Catholic Church. (It was across the nearby border, which remained German after WWI, according to Wikipedia.) I researched Kartenmeister.com, and saw that the Polish name was listed as Szlemno, which might have been very loosely recorded as Szennato. I also saw the associated Catholic parish was Groß Schönwalde in Kreis Graudenz. The border is visible in the old and new maps below.

Deutsch-Eylau_27 cropped

Part of Deutsch Eylau – 27 old German Map (Kartenmeister.com)

Szombruk Szynwald map

Contemporary Polish map (Google.com)

In Polish, Groß Schönwalde is called Szynwałd. In a straight line, it is about four miles from Szembruk. The Szynwałd church is Kościół Narodzenia Najświętszej Maryi Panny (Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary).

The Szynwałd records were filmed by the Church of Latter Day Saints and are posted online at FamilySearch at Germany, Preußen, Westpreußen, Groß Schönwalde (Kr. Graudenz) – Church records / Poland, Bydgoszcz, Szynwałd (Grudziądz) – Church records.[1]  I found Franciszek Niewirowski‘s baptism record for 26 Nov 1862.

1862 Niewirowski birth

1862 Birth Record, Franz Niewirowski, Szynwałd, West Prussia

However, while looking through the pages, I saw several entries that looked like Szynnato, so I thought that there might be a village with that spelling nearby.

After looking in vain for a nearby village called Szynnato, I went back to the original record and saw that what I was reading as Szynnato was actually “nw,” not “nn,” (the W sounds like a V) the letter “ł” (L with a line across it, pronounced like a W sound), not “t,” and “d” with the squiggle over the letter going back to make a line over the “l”, not “o.” In short, it’s Szynwałd in cursive.

Going back to the Chicago marriage record, I could now read Szenwałd. It is not exactly Szynwałd, but it is close.

1885 Szennato

Szenwałd

Notes

[1] When the church records were filmed in 1954, Szynwałd (Grudziądz) was in the Bydgoszcz province of Poland. During the German Occupation of the 19th century, it was Provinz Westpreußen (West Prussia), or Prusy Zachodnie in Polish. After Poland was reunited in 1920, it was in the Pomeranian Province, and between 1975 and 1998, it was in the Toruń Province. Currently, Szynwałd is in the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship, or in Polish, województwo kujawsko-pomorskie.

Sources

St. Stanislaus Kostka RC Church, Chicago, Illinois, Franciszek NIEWIEROWSKI and Katarzyna KIERZNOWSKA (Marriage), https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-DR53-QPL?i=414&cc=1452409&cat=411138

Szynwałd, Poland, Franciszek NIEWIEROWSKI (Birth), https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSZL-S95R-3?i=525&cat=295396

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 Ancestry.com 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)
+Anna SZYNKOWSKA (-)
. . . . 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.

Sources

St. Stanislaus Kostka RC Church, Chicago, Illinois, Franciszek NIEWIEROWSKI and Katarzyna KIERZNOWSKA (Marriage), https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-DR53-QPL?i=414&cc=1452409&cat=411138

Szembruk, Poland, Katarzyna KIERZNOWSKA (Birth) https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CS8M-3CNP?i=186&cat=295340

Szembruk, Poland, Marianna KIERZNOWSKA (Birth) https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CS8M-3CNS?i=197&cat=295340

Szembruk, Poland, Ludwik KIERZNOWSKI (Death) https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CS8M-3ZZC?i=469&cat=295340

Szembruk, Poland, Franciszek KONRACKI and Ludwika KALINOWSKA (Marriage) https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CS8M-3HY7?i=311&cat=295340

Szembruk, Poland, Rozalia KONRACKI (Birth), https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CS8M-38PT?i=228&cat=295340

Szembruk, Poland, Anna KALINOWSKA (Birth), https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CS8M-3CLK?cat=295340

Szembruk, Poland, Jan KALINOWSKI and Marianna NOWAKOWSKA (Marriage) https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CS8M-3H1S?i=293&cat=295340

Szembruk, Poland, Jan KALINOWSKI (Birth) https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CS8M-3DQM?i=15&cat=295340

Chain Migration

Since my grandparents had been married in the United States, I had thought that they had met here and that their families had not known one another back in Poland. Instead, as I discovered more about my specific ancestors, I learned that often descendants of families who had been known to each other in the old country would later marry and continue on family traditions in the new country. Their story of immigration and allied families is a tradition that continues today.

Family history researchers refer to this tendency of people from a place to travel together and to bring their families with them as chain migration.

My father’s grandparents had immigrated to Buffalo in the 1880s, when my grandfather Antoni Maciejewski was just a baby. My grandmother Marya Szczepańska was born in Buffalo. I was surprised to learn that their parents had been born half a world away in Nieżywięć and Szembruczek, small villages in West Prussia that were just twenty miles apart. Although I thought I had solved a puzzle when I learned that my great-grandfather Marcin Szczepański‘s mother was born to the Kaniecki family, I subsequently learned that Jan Kaniecki‘s mother had been born Kalinowska, and he was probably first cousin to my great-grandmother, Anna Kalinowska Szczepanska. My father and his siblings called him “Uncle.” There are undoubtedly other family ties that have been lost in the intervening years.

My mother’s parents, Agnieszka Kapuscińska and Jan Skrok, moved to the United States in the 1910s with their siblings, cousins, and other relations.  They married in Buffalo, returned to Poland about 1920, and then came back to America later that decade. Although her grandmother had lived in Buffalo for almost ten years, my mother never met her or other family members who later remained in Poland. Because my aunt and uncle had been born in the United States, they were “anchor babies” who allowed my Polish-born grandmother to travel back to America with an United States passport that included an infant who had been born in Poland. My grandparents subsequently had several more children in America, including my mother.

Many genealogists have used chain migration to identify their family members, but The Legal Genealogist Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL, expresses our family situation best in her blog post “For the record…What “chain migration” looks like”.

Yet though these immigrants personally may not ever have fully assimilated in the United States, they most assuredly contributed directly and personally to this country.

In many cases, they married here in America.

They worked long and hard here in America.

They paid taxes here in America.

They sent their children to school here in America.

They — and their children — and grandchildren — and great grandchildren — are my family.

And their children — and grandchildren — and great grandchildren — most assuredly are fully assimilated and contribute directly and personally to this country.

We have served this nation in the United States Army, Air Force, Marines and Navy.

In the civilian service of the United States and of several states.

In the ranks of the medical profession. The legal profession. As educators. As scientists.

As parents.

And even as grandparents.

This is what my family looks like.

We are precisely what “chain migration” really looks like.

And we’re damned proud of it.

Finding Szembruczek

I started researching family history more than twenty years ago. My father’s mother Marya Szczepańska had been born in Buffalo in 1887. Her parents, Martin Szczepański and Anna Kalinowska, had immigrated to Buffalo in 1881 and the family grew. By 1997, I was able to identify over three hundred Descendants of Martin and Anna Szczepański, and self-published a book about them. However, I was not sure where in Germany-Poland Martin and Anna had come from.

From American records, we knew a bit about them. Martin and Anna lived in Buffalo until about 1900, when they bought land in Bennington, New York, and began dairy farming. Martin Szczepański was fluent in both German and Polish, and his 1931 obituary in the Attica News said he had come from Germany. It may be the obituary was a misspelling of his name as Martsin, the English phonetic spelling of the Polish name Marcin. Anna‘s obituary in the Attica News in 1938 said she had been born in Poland. Other records said that he was born in 1854 and she was born in 1858.

1938 Anna Szczepanski obit

1931-martin-szczepanski-obit.jpg

We knew they were married in 1878, because they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1928, and the occasion was published in the Attica News on November 15, 1928.

1928 Bennington Szczepanski golden wedding

This picture must have been from about that time:

Martin and Anna_0001

Martin and Anna had six children. Five of them—Franciszek (1884), Marya (1887), Bernard (1892), Marta (1895), and Leon (1898)—were baptized at St. Stanislaus Roman Catholic Church in Buffalo, New York. Their children’s baptism records listed the parents’ place of birth as Szombrug, Szömbrug, Szenbruk, Szenburg, Szönbruk, Szymbruczek or a variation.

Szczepanski parents StStan

Borussia is the Latin name for Prussia. Since umlauts are not used in Polish or Latin, it looked like these were versions of a German name, so in German it probably started with SCH and in Polish SZ. In 1997, I thought their place of birth was Schomberg, Prussia, which would have been something like Szomberg in Polish, but that was not correct. More recently, I suspected the German version of the names in Prussia would be Schomberg, Schömberg, or Schoenberg. There were many places with those names, and I wrote about them in a blog post called “Which Szomberg?

In 2017, after talking to some researchers at a conference of the Polish Genealogical Society of Connecticut and the Northeast in New Britain, Connecticut about patterns of Polish migration, I investigated places that had been in West Prussia, especially those that were Schönberg in German and Szymbark in Polish.

When I did not find their records there, I searched for variations of Szymbruczek and Szymbruk, the names from the children’s birth registers that seemed most Polish, and finally found Szembruczek and Szembruk, in what used to be West Prussia.

The village of Szembruczek is quite small. In German it was called Klein Schönbrück. The nearby larger village was called Groß Schönbrück. In German, Klein means little, and Groß, also written as Gross, means large. In Polish, Małe and Mały mean little. The Polish suffix -ek indicates a diminutive, something little or cute. Marya’s baptism entry actually listed what I now can see was Szembruk Mały, or Little Szembruk.

The database at the website Kartenmeister.com has four entries for Szembruczek:

Kartenmeister Szembruczek

Wikipedia identified:Szembruczek

Szembruczek [ʂɛmˈbrut͡ʂɛk] (German: Klein Schönbrück) is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Rogóźno, within Grudziądz County, Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship, in north-central Poland. It lies approximately 6 kilometres (4 mi) east of Rogóźno, 17 km (11 mi) north-east of Grudziądz, and 63 km (39 mi) north-east of Toruń. The village has a population of 230.

The Polish name Szembruk is an assimilation of the name Schönbrück , derived from the German words “schöne Brücke” (“beautiful bridge”). Kartenmeister.com says Groß Schönbrück was also called Duzy Zembnik [1] and Wielkie Szembruck. Not surprisingly, Duży is the Polish word for big, and Wielkie means great.

Kartenmeister Szembruk

Most importantly, Groß Schönbrück/Szembruk has a Catholic church, Sw. Bartłomieja (St. Bartholomew). The Church of Latter Day Saints (LDS) filmed the early Parish registers of births, marriages, and deaths for “Groß Schönbruck (Kr. Graudenz), Westpreußen, Germany; now Szembruk (Grudziądz), Bydgoszcz, Poland. Text in Latin, Polish and German.” [2] No longer available on microfilm loan, the records have been digitized, and some are available at the Family Search website.

It had been a puzzle for more than twenty years, but in 2017, I found Martin Szczepański‘s baptism record online!

1854 Martin Szczepanski birth pg11854 Martin Szczepanski birth pg2

He was born 7 November, leg. (legitimate), in Kl. Schoenbruck, and baptized 12 November 1854. Because the records are German, his name is listed as Martin, and not the Polish Marcin.

The second page (here listed below the entry from the first page) shows Martin’s father’s name was Jan Szczepanski. His mother’s name was Franciszka Kaniecka. This information solved an ongoing mystery. In the 1990s, I had asked my father’s older sisters Cele and Imelda, who was called Emily, about their grandparents. Emily thought her grandmother’s maiden name had been Kaniecki, because when Martin and Anna moved to their farm in Bennington, their daughter Marya stayed behind in Buffalo with the Kaniecki family. Emily told me that her mother said that Jan Kaniecki was her only uncle from that side of the family. Cele knew that her grandmother’s maiden name had been Kalinowski, because it rhymed with her married name, Malinowski. But she did not know how the Kaniecki and Szczepański families were related. I wrote about the Kaniecki family in Buffalo on pages 156-157 of the Szczepański book.

1858 Szembruk birth records1858 Anna Kalinowska birth cropped

Anna Kalinowska was born 27 März, and baptized 5 April 1858. Unfortunately, the ink is somewhat faded and her parents’ names are indistinct, but her father’s name is Johannes (German for Jan) Kalynowski and her mother’s name is Marianna Nowakowska. (Marianna’s family name is clearer with her other children.)

1878 Szembrek marriage records1878 Szczepanski-Kalinowska marriage pg1

Martin Szczepanski and Anna Kalynowska were married 12 November 1878. I think he is identified as Jüngling (young unmarried man) 24 years old, and she is Mädfrau, young unmarried woman, of 21. The second page of the record ends with the dates that banns were announced and that the ceremony was performed in Gr. Schoenbruck.


Notes:

[1] Zębnik is the Polish word for pinion, a round gear.

[2] When the church records were filmed in 1954, Szembruk (Grudziądz) was in the Bydgoszcz province of Poland. During the German Occupation of the 19th century, it was Provinz Westpreußen (West Prussia), or Prusy Zachodnie in Polish. After Poland was reunited in 1920, it was in the Pomeranian Province, and between 1975 and 1998, it was in the Toruń Province. Currently, Szembruk is in the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship, or in Polish, województwo kujawsko-pomorskie.

Sources:

  1. Martsin Szczepanski, Attica News, Attica, New York, 29 October 1931. http://www.fultonhistory.com/Newspapers%2021/Attica%20NY%20News/Attica%20NY%20News%201930-1933/Attica%20NY%20News%201930-1933%20-%200453.pdf.
  2. Mrs. Martin Szczepanski, Attica News, Attica, New York, 13 September 1938. http://www.fultonhistory.com/Newspapers%2021/Attica%20NY%20News/Attica%20NY%20News%201937-1940/Attica%20NY%20News%201937-1940%20-%200656.pdf.
  3. https://myfamilyhistoryresearch.wordpress.com/2017/04/30/1928-szczepanski-golden-wedding-anniversary/
  4. GOLDEN WEDDING, Attica News, Attica, New York, 15 November 1928. http://www.fultonhistory.com/Newspapers%2021/Attica%20NY%20News/Attica%20NY%20News%201927-1930/Attica%20NY%20News%201927-1930%20-%200507.pdf.
  5. St. Stanislaus Bishop & Martyr RC Church (Buffalo, New York), Baptism Register, FHL microfilm . Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.
  6. https://myfamilyhistoryresearch.wordpress.com/2017/05/21/which-szomberg/
  7. https://myfamilyhistoryresearch.wordpress.com/2017/10/18/west-prussia/
  8. Szembruczek. (2017, March 24). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved November 3, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Szembruczek
  9. Kościół rzymsko-katolicki. Parafja Szembruk (Grudziądz) (Main Author), Księgi metrykalne, 1795-1917, Manuscript/Manuscript on Film, Salt Lake City, Utah : Mikrofilmowało The Genealogical Society of Utah, 1954, 1988. https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/295340
  10. https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CS8M-38Z9?cat=295340
  11. https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CS8M-3CLK?cat=295340
  12. https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CS8M-3HR9?cat=295340

Marcin & Anna Szczepański’s Growing Family

My, how the family has grown! Marcin and Anna Szczepański had six children after coming to the United States in 1881. Five of these children had an average of seven children each, giving Marcin and Anna 35 grandchildren. Our father had 8 siblings, and 26 cousins from his mother’s side of the family. That’s a lot of people!

Of course, most of those children had children, and they are our siblings, first, and second cousins. All told, there were 106 of us in this generation. Unfortunately, a few died as babies and some have died in adulthood:

  • Józef MALINOWSKI (1929-1929)
  • Telesfor Teodor MALINOWSKI Jr. (1932-1968)
  • Ryta WNĘK (1933-1958)
  • Norbert Joseph MALINOWSKI (1934-2010)
  • Edwin A. WNĘK (1935-1991)
  • Joan WNĘK SCHUESSLER (1937-2008)
  • Martyna IGNASIAK (1942-1942)
  • Michael Bernard MACIEJEWSKI (1943-1973)
  • Ronald James BOCZKOWSKI (1943-2006)
  • Daniel Joseph WNĘK (1948-1995)
  • James Alois AMEND (1949-2007)
  • Roy FRANCIS (1952-1952)
  • Howard FRANCIS (1955-1955)
  • Arlene AMEND (1956-1984)
  • Robert RENNICKS (1956-1998)
  • Paul Edward RENNICKS (1958-1983)
  • Baby Girl MACIEJEWSKI (1968-1968)

From 1929 to 1972, there were babies born to this generation almost every year:

szczepanski-g-grandkids

Szczepanski bookSince I still had some of my old books about the Descendants of Martin and Anna Szczepański, I recently sent letters to 83 descendants whose addresses I was able to find in internet directories. A few I was unable to identify, especially in cases where more than one person of the approximate age used a similar name. I asked that families talk to each other and let me know if anyone would like a copy of the book. I have a limited number of copies left, and I would like to see them all in good homes!

Although the data is not complete for the next generation, there were at least 169  children born between 1954 and the early 2000s. Michael was the most popular name, with 7 boys named Michael in the Wopperer, Wojciechowski, Mathews, Brimmer, Maciejewski, Voytovich, and Slawson families. Brian, James, Jeffrey, Mark, and Paul each had 4 boys with those names. Girls’ names were more diverse, although there were 3 girls with each of the names Emily, Jennifer, Mary, and Tanya. Here is the the list of names in the 5th  generation from Marcin and Anna and the frequency with which they occurred:

szczepanski-g-g-grandkids

Please let me know if you have updates to the list!

Researching Family History

I have been researching my ancestors–the people without whom my sisters and I would not be here.Our father’s grandparents and father came to America from the German partition of Poland in the 1880s.

  • I recently connected with our second cousin on the Maciejewski side. Her grandfather, who used the name Louis Warner, and our grandfather Anthony Maciejewski were brothers. I will post about our great grandfather, Jan Maciejewski, and the place I think he came from. It has not been proven, but it’s an interesting story.
  • In 1997 I self-published a book about the Descendants of Martin and Anna Szczepanski.
  • Not much is known about the families of Veronica Lewandowski and Anna Kalinowski, our paternal great-grandmothers.

Our mother’s parents and grandmother, their siblings and cousins came through Ellis Island from the Russian partition of Poland in the 1910s. Some went back to Poland and returned to the United States in the 1920s and later. I am inspired by our grandmother, who traveled to a strange country not knowing the language at the age of 18, and made the journey again across the Atlantic as a young mother with three little ones.

  • The Skrok, Rzepka, and Szczepanski families were closely allied, both here and in the old country. So much so, that when our mom’s cousin John Kiec fell in love with their second cousin Pelagia (Pearl) Rzepka, she said it caused a family rift. The couple wanted to marry, but could not do so in the Roman Catholic Church. He was not listed with his siblings in his mother’s obituary in 1938! The couple was married in the Polish National Church in 1940. Our mom said that it was considered a sin to go near the Polish National Church or to have anything to do with “them.” Oh, the stories!
  • I was skeptical when Mom told me about her Szczepanski cousins from Russian Poland. However, I found multiple Rzepka marriages with these names in the parish in Wojciechowice in the late nineteenth century.
  • In the United States, the Mastykarz family is related to Kapuscinski, and the Solowski family is related to Witon.