Posts Tagged Kowalski

#52Ancestors: Week 18 – Deconstructing Brick Walls with a “Studzinski” masonry tool

This is week 18 of the 2015 #52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge where a group of u52ancestors-2015 Images blog about a different ancestor for each week of the year.  To learn more about the 52 Ancestor Challenge visit Amy Johnson’s site at Amy’s website.

The Budny family tree includes the second most popular Polish surname, Kowalski.  Doing genealogy search on a name that is equivalent to the English word, Smith; is loathe at best. Armed with a few documents, I set about chipping away the mortar in the  Kowalski brick wall.

One of the documents listed #52Ancestors – No. 1 – Frank Kowalski – Starting Over, Coming Home, listed his mother’s name, Mary Pouloska or Pauloska.  From Frank’s border crossing card into Detroit from Windsor, Ontario, Canada, I learned he intended to go to his aunt’s residence.  Her married name is Stanislawa Studzinski.  Stanislawa is Mary Pauloska’s sister.  I am using the Studzinski line as a tool to learn more about the Pouloska’s so I can connect the dots to the Kowalski’s.

The reason the Kowalski line is a brick wall, is that the family went back to Poland.  Wladylsaw Kowalski may have arrived about 1910 and left around 1920.  He didn’t like this new world. It has been difficult to find them on the 1910 or 1920 census. I don’t know if Wladyslaw and Mary married in New Jersey or in Poland.

Using the 1940 census and working backwards, I was able to gleaned additional information.  Such as, Stanislawa’s husband’s name, Antoni Studzinski and their children’s names.  Antoni came from the same Polish town of Glinik, as the Kowalski’s.

Antoni (Tony) came over in 1907 with a friend or possible relative, Antoni Sobiecki. Both are going to Jersey City, NJ.  Sobiecki is going to his cousin with a last name that looks like, Stanislaw Pickowsky.  Tony is meeting up with his brother-in-law, Joseph Polkowski.  These two families live next door to each other, respectively at 602 Henderson St and 597 Henderson St.  It took me over a year to decipher the street as the image isn’t clear.  I used various city directories to determine the street name. However, the directories where inclusive on finding a Pouloska name or other variant spelling.

Illegible handwriting on a manifest record.

Illegible handwriting on a manifest record

The last names appear to be the same on the manifest.  Were they a match to Pauloska, Pouloska or Poulowska? It has been difficult for me to find verifiable records using the Pauloska, Kowalski, Studzinski and Sobiecki names. I focused my using the Studzinski name.

Records that would be useful are either New Jersey or New York marriage record for Antoni Studzinski and Stanislawa Pouloska. I can’t confirm possible records of Tony in the 1910 or 1920 census. The 1930 census has Tony and Stella (Stanislawa) in Detroit, Michigan.  Their two daughters are, Sabrina, born in New Jersey, (1916) and Helen, born in Detroit, in 1921.

Antoni Studzinski died in 1939. Stella is enumerated on the 1940 census, with Betty, (a/k/a Sabrina), Helen, and Frank Kowalski, nephew. At age 33, Elizabeth Studzinski, marries John H. Marchewska.  Her 1950 marriage record lists her mother’s name as, Stella Powlowski.  I had to wait until Michigan released marriage records up to 1952 earlier this year to get that information.  Those Studzinski ladies took their time settling down.  Still have not found a marriage record for Helen.

I recently discovered a 1941 Detroit marriage record for Stella Studzinski to Stephen Andrews.  The index record lists her father as Joseph Pawloski, her mother as Valeria Witkowski.  Antoni Studzinski mother was Antonia Wizckowska, according to his death certificate. That may be dot that explains why Joseph Pouloska is Antoni’s brother-in-law. As Witkowski may be a phonetic pronunciation of Wizckowska.

Stephen Andrews remarries in 1949.  I don’t know if Stella has passed away or if they divorced.  Hopefully I will locate records on Helen to see how she spelled Pouloska, Powloski, Pauloska.  Then it is on to to see if I can find the family in Poland.

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#52Ancestors – No. 1 – Frank Kowalski – Starting Over, Coming Home

52ancestors-2015 Image

Image courtesy of No Story Too Small (Amy Johnson Crow)

This is the first post of the 2015 #52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge where a group of us blog about a different ancestor for each week of the year.  To learn more about the 52 Ancestor Challenge visit Amy Johnson’s site at Amy’s website.

To spice up the writing challenge, optional themes were added to give participants inspiration on how we look at our ancestors.  The theme this week is “Fresh Start.”  I jumped the collateral tree limbs and chose Frank Kowalski.  Born in the US, raised in Poland, emigrated back to US prior to WWII.

Frank was born (1916) in New Jersey to immigrant Polish parents.  The story goes his father didn’t care much for the new country and went back to Poland.  Because of Frank’s common surname being the equivalent of “Smith,” I have not been able to find definitive records for him or his family.  His parents names are generic too.

According to his son, Frank never talked about his family, his siblings, relatives, his life in Poland.  The usual clues one would use are just not there.  Frank wanted a new start when he returned to the US and he left his family stories behind.

It is  not known when the Kowalski’s went back to Poland. I am hoping to find them on the 1920 Census or city directories.  No luck so far.  Though Frank had an accent, his English was good.  He may have went to school here as young child.  I am not certain if his parents stayed in New Jersey or made a migration to Detroit before going back to Poland.  Frank himself came to Detroit in October 1938.

A ship passenger list is the first record I can confirm for Frank. The Ascania sailed from La Havre, France, on the 7th of October 1938.  The ship arrives at its destination, the Port of Quebec, on 18 October 1938.  The manifest is a list of US citizens.  Frank is listed as Fransicek S. Kowalski.  It includes his birth date and lists, Jersey City, NJ as his birth place.

He was naturalized at a district court in Warsaw, Poland, on October 3, 1938.  Entered on the line is, PP 6112, which could be a possible record ID for his naturalization paperwork.  Also included in his address in the US.  Bingo!  Frank lists his aunt, Stanislawa Studzinski, in Detroit, MI. Finally a direction to take my research.  From Quebec, Frank made passage to Windsor, Ontario and crossed over to Detroit.

Frank lives with Stanislawa and his two cousins in 1940.  The Studzinski research is also an enigma as I can find very few records on them.  The Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, provides clues to Frank’s military service.  It lists the dates of his military service.  Frank avoided persecution by Germans or Soviets in WWII if he had stayed in Poland.

One story Frank did share, is that he tried to visit his mother while station in Poland.  It was toward the end, but his commanding officer refused to let him go.  I wondered if that information would be in his military file?

Frank married Wladria (Wanda) Uroda in 1946 and they reared two children.  There were no family tales, histories were provided.  As if Frank’s childhood didn’t exist. Frank put his past behind for reasons not known to start over.

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