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davidckane



Joined: 11 Jun 2021
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Post Posted: Wed Dec 22, 2021 3:12 pm      Post subject: Finding Family Origin in Russian Poland
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I received significant help from this forum in the past in finding other branches of my family in German occupied areas of Poland, so I'm hoping for a similar outcome here.

I'm looking for suggestions to track down the villages/towns of my great-great grandparents -- Wladyslaw Witkowski and Anna Skonieczna. Despite years of searching, I have very little information about their origins. Based on census data and a few other records, I know they came from Russian Poland. Both were born in or around 1870 (Anna died in Jersey City in 1910 and Wladyslaw in 1945, although he had shortened his name to William Witt by then). They arrived in the USA in the early 1890s, although the precise year is unclear. They may have married in Poland as I have not located a marriage record for them in the United States. I also have searched for immigration records that might provide more detail on the villages/towns from which they came, but never found any.

Does anyone have any suggestions for next steps? Are there any databases, websites, particular types of records, etc., that might help break through this barrier?

Thanks!

David
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mcdonald0517
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Post Posted: Wed Dec 22, 2021 7:31 pm      Post subject:
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Hi David,

I believe this is the Naturalization record for Wladyslaw Witkowski from family search. If you page through this, you will see that he was granted citizenship in 1896. He arrived in November, 1890 and was from "Ryfin" or "Ryfun" Russia - however, that is most likely an incorrect spelling. So now, we need to take that clue and see if we can locate his actual village.

The dates for this record line up fairly well with the 1900 census in which it is reported he arrived in 1891 (pretty close) and was Naturalized at the time of the census. Also, this document shows him living in Jersey City.

https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89Q4-4358?i=967&cc=2057433&personaUrl=%2Fark%3A%2F61903%2F1%3A1%3A6C1J-TT3V

Also, finding this record changes some of your information a bit. At the time of his naturalization in 1896, he was 23 years old. So, if you do the math, his profile now looks something like this:

Born: 1873, Ryfun, Russia (wherever that is)
Immigrated: Nov 1890 (age 17 so probably unmarried)
Married: 1892 (I would check the marriages for Jersey City or Hudson NJ for the marriage record)

I suggest you search for his marriage record around 1892.

I will keep looking for more information.

Best,
Cynthia
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mcdonald0517
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Post Posted: Wed Dec 22, 2021 8:07 pm      Post subject:
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Here is the link you can use to request a search of the New Jersey State Archives for the marriage record:

https://wwwnet-dos.state.nj.us/DOS_ArchivesDBPortal/index.aspx

Perhaps other members of the community can offer suggestions as well.

Best,
Cynthia
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dnowicki
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Post Posted: Thu Dec 23, 2021 12:48 am      Post subject:
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mcdonald0517 wrote:
Hi David,

I believe this is the Naturalization record for Wladyslaw Witkowski from family search. If you page through this, you will see that he was granted citizenship in 1896. He arrived in November, 1890 and was from "Ryfin" or "Ryfun" Russia - however, that is most likely an incorrect spelling. So now, we need to take that clue and see if we can locate his actual village.

The dates for this record line up fairly well with the 1900 census in which it is reported he arrived in 1891 (pretty close) and was Naturalized at the time of the census. Also, this document shows him living in Jersey City.

https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89Q4-4358?i=967&cc=2057433&personaUrl=%2Fark%3A%2F61903%2F1%3A1%3A6C1J-TT3V

Also, finding this record changes some of your information a bit. At the time of his naturalization in 1896, he was 23 years old. So, if you do the math, his profile now looks something like this:

Born: 1873, Ryfun, Russia (wherever that is)
Immigrated: Nov 1890 (age 17 so probably unmarried)
Married: 1892 (I would check the marriages for Jersey City or Hudson NJ for the marriage record)

I suggest you search for his marriage record around 1892.

I will keep looking for more information.

Best,
Cynthia


Hi Cynthia& David,

The place on the naturalization record is Rypin, which could refer to the town or the powiat, which was part of the Kingdom of Poland (Królestwo Polskie) aka Russian Poland. If this indeed is his naturalization record (which seems likely), a clue in the record is the name of the priest who was a sworn witness for Władysław (Ladislaus). The priest was Ignacy (Ignatius) Barszcz who, according to Wacław Kruszka’s Hystoria Polska w Ameryce was the pastor of St. Anthony of Padua R.C. parish in Jersey City. St. Anthony’s would be a good place to look for his church marriage record and for baptismal records of his children. The parish still exists at 457 Monmouth St. Marriage and baptismal records are available on Family Search but must be viewed either at a Family History Center or affiliate library. Geneteka lists a Władysław Witkowski born to Maciej Witkowski & Franciszka Sieradzka in 1873. The fly in the ointment is that the birth was registered in Tłuchowo which was in powiat Lipnowski which bordered powiat Rypinski. Here is a link to the birth record: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSL5-F9HY-W?cat=233743
I would recommend first looking for his marriage record in St. Anthony of Padua and following the paper trail from there.

Good luck & Merry Christmas.

Dave
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mcdonald0517
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Post Posted: Thu Dec 23, 2021 2:20 am      Post subject:
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I was hoping you would add to this Dave! Yes, so much more sense to go directly to the parish rather than the state archive. I had thought of Rypin, but didn’t know enough about the history of Poland to place it in the Kingdom of Poland (Russia). I always learn something when you post.

Merry Christmas to all,
Cynthia
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davidckane



Joined: 11 Jun 2021
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Post Posted: Thu Dec 23, 2021 8:44 am      Post subject:
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Thank you both so much!! Once again, you have overcome a huge barrier for me. I really appreciate it! You both always find records and provide information so easily after I struggle for a long time. I'm incredibly grateful.

I went on Genetika and, based on the region that I believe includes Rypin, I found a birth entry for Wladyslaw Witkowski in 1871 with parents Jan and Marianna, which matches references to his parents that I've seen on other documents. (https://geneteka.genealodzy.pl/index.php?op=gt&lang=eng&bdm=B&w=02kp&rid=B&search_lastname=witkowski&search_name=&search_lastname2=&search_name2=&from_date=1871&to_date=1871). The birth occurred in Chrostkowo, which seems to be only about twelve miles from Rypin. I suspect this is them (unless there is an issue I'm misunderstanding, which is possible given my limited knowledge of Poland). Do you have any suggestions for how to pull the record? I'm extremely excited to see it.

I will definitely try the parish for the marriage record. I've had searches performed by the state archives in New Jersey two times (about a decade apart), but neither search turned up anything for a marriage in the early 1890s. Going straight to the parish is a smart way to try another route.

Happy holidays!!

David
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Fantom
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Post Posted: Thu Dec 23, 2021 9:05 am      Post subject:
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davidckane wrote:
Thank you both so much!! Once again, you have overcome a huge barrier for me. I really appreciate it! You both always find records and provide information so easily after I struggle for a long time. I'm incredibly grateful.

I went on Genetika and, based on the region that I believe includes Rypin, I found a birth entry for Wladyslaw Witkowski in 1871 with parents Jan and Marianna, which matches references to his parents that I've seen on other documents. (https://geneteka.genealodzy.pl/index.php?op=gt&lang=eng&bdm=B&w=02kp&rid=B&search_lastname=witkowski&search_name=&search_lastname2=&search_name2=&from_date=1871&to_date=1871). The birth occurred in Chrostkowo, which seems to be only about twelve miles from Rypin. I suspect this is them (unless there is an issue I'm misunderstanding, which is possible given my limited knowledge of Poland). Do you have any suggestions for how to pull the record? I'm extremely excited to see it.

I will definitely try the parish for the marriage record. I've had searches performed by the state archives in New Jersey two times (about a decade apart), but neither search turned up anything for a marriage in the early 1890s. Going straight to the parish is a smart way to try another route.

Happy holidays!!

David


The name of the archival fond is "Akta Stanu Cywilnego Parafii Rzymskokatolickiej Chrostkowo".
The reference is 71/193/0. Your time frame would be 1862 - 1911. Type: Births.
Denomination: Roman Catholic.
It is in a possession of Wloclawek Branch of the National Archives in Torun.

[email protected]

These parochial books do not seem to have been scanned yet.
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davidckane



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Post Posted: Thu Dec 23, 2021 9:20 am      Post subject:
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Thanks very much!
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Sophia
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Post Posted: Thu Dec 23, 2021 9:43 am      Post subject:
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Hi David,
It is interesting that your Wladyslaw Witkowski, when anglicizing his name, became William. I would have guessed Walter. However, there was no rule that had to be followed. I bring it up because New Jersey does have an online searchable database for legal name changes, and there is a "Walter Carl Wittkowski, Sr." who changed his name to "Walter Carl Witt, Sr." in 1929. He was from Essex County, rather than Hudson County, but these counties are next to each other. I don't think he is your William Witt but if you think that this Walter Witt might have been a relative of William's, then you can pursue getting documents related to this name change.
The search term that I used was "Witt" and as you look at the table of results, you can see various surnames that people chose to change to Witt (the search results also include all names that begin with "Witt...").
https://wwwnet-dos.state.nj.us/DOS_ArchivesDBPortal/NameChanges.aspx
Best of luck with your search,
Sophia
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mcdonald0517
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Post Posted: Thu Dec 23, 2021 12:04 pm      Post subject:
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Hi David, Dave, Sophia,

I think I found the parish books online for Chrostkowo. Here is the link to year 1871, akt 29 birth record. The link will take you to the first page of the parish book. If you look at the thumbnail index in the left column of the screen, select image 7. That is the image that has act 29:

https://www.genealogiawarchiwach.pl/#query.type=ALL&query.city=Chrostkowo&query.dateFrom=1871&query.dateTo=1874&query.suggestion=false&query.thumbnails=false&query.facet=true&query.asc=false&query.sortMode=PUBLICATION&modal=252707091&personTree=false&goComments=false&searcher=big&query.query

I also attached the birth record. You need to get it translated to be sure it is your ancestor. If it is, then you now have the parish books to research his family line in Poland.

Best,
Cynthia



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dnowicki
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Post Posted: Thu Dec 23, 2021 12:46 pm      Post subject:
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mcdonald0517 wrote:
Hi David, Dave, Sophia,

I think I found the parish books online for Chrostkowo. Here is the link to year 1871, akt 29 birth record. The link will take you to the first page of the parish book. If you look at the thumbnail index in the left column of the screen, select image 7. That is the image that has act 29:

https://www.genealogiawarchiwach.pl/#query.type=ALL&query.city=Chrostkowo&query.dateFrom=1871&query.dateTo=1874&query.suggestion=false&query.thumbnails=false&query.facet=true&query.asc=false&query.sortMode=PUBLICATION&modal=252707091&personTree=false&goComments=false&searcher=big&query.query

I also attached the birth record. You need to get it translated to be sure it is your ancestor. If it is, then you now have the parish books to research his family line in Poland.

Best,
Cynthia


Hi David, Cynthia, & Sophia,

The Włocławek branch of the Polish National Archive in Toruń has its own site. Here is the link
https://www.genealogiawarchiwach.pl/

Attached is a cropped scan of the birth record from 1871 which Cynthia located but I would recommend not getting overly excited until docs from this side of the pond verify his mother’s maiden name as Kępczyńska. Checking the records at St. Anthony of Padua would still be worthwhile not only for Władysław but also for Anna. Also attached is a map of powiat Rypinski from 1907.

Looks like Santa may be coming early for you this year.

Time to finish up prep for Wigilia and to eat a few cookies.

Dave



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davidckane



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Post Posted: Thu Dec 23, 2021 4:18 pm      Post subject:
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Thank you all so much. I really appreciate everyone who chimed in, provided information or records, or gave suggestions/guidance. I am sorting through them all still and plan to work on tracking down all leads. I will start with St. Anthony's to see what comes back.

Merry Christmas and happy new year to all!

David
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davidckane



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Post Posted: Mon Dec 27, 2021 10:25 am      Post subject:
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Hi everyone. At the risk of asking too many questions, I went back through my records while waiting for the parish to respond and found a notation on Wladyslaw Witkowski's second marriage certificate to his mother's maiden name of Anna Malinowska, as well as his father Jan. I then found on Geneteka a marriage record between two people with those names in Rypin in 1871 located at https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSVV-D9W6-P?cat=234302 at record number eight, which I already had translated from Russian. It seems like a strong lead, but I would like to find a birth record for Wladyslaw within the subsequent couple of years to feel more confident that I have the correct people (as these seem to be common names). Unfortunately, I cannot find any birth record for Wladyslaw Witkowski on Geneteka in Rypin. Obviously, that could mean one does not exist and I have the wrong people, but I wonder if it's possible that the record simply has not been indexed, etc. Does anyone have a suggestion as to where else (or how else) to search for the record? Thanks all!
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marcelproust
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Post Posted: Tue Dec 28, 2021 12:37 am      Post subject:
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davidckane wrote:
Hi everyone. At the risk of asking too many questions, I went back through my records while waiting for the parish to respond and found a notation on Wladyslaw Witkowski's second marriage certificate to his mother's maiden name of Anna Malinowska, as well as his father Jan. I then found on Geneteka a marriage record between two people with those names in Rypin in 1871 located at https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSVV-D9W6-P?cat=234302 at record number eight, which I already had translated from Russian. It seems like a strong lead, but I would like to find a birth record for Wladyslaw within the subsequent couple of years to feel more confident that I have the correct people (as these seem to be common names). Unfortunately, I cannot find any birth record for Wladyslaw Witkowski on Geneteka in Rypin. Obviously, that could mean one does not exist and I have the wrong people, but I wonder if it's possible that the record simply has not been indexed, etc. Does anyone have a suggestion as to where else (or how else) to search for the record? Thanks all!


I have found Jan's birth record in the parish of Rypin, in the year of 1844.
Here it is.

Nr 59
Rusinowo

It happened in the town of Rypin, on October 29th/November 10th, 1844, at 2 p.m.
Appeared Antoni Witkowski, farmer living in Rusinowo, 30 years old, in the presence of Jan Preczewski, steward from Rusinowo, 33 years old and Jan Tuchalski, the church servant, from Rypin, 58 years old, and presented Us a male infant child, who was born in Rusinowo, on October 18th/30th of the current year, at 10 p.m., of his wife, Barbara nee Wojciechowska, 21 years old.
At The Holy Baptism, held today, the child was given the name: Jan, and the godparents were: Jan Preczewski and Józefa Pawłowska.
This act was read to the declarant and the witnesses and it was signed. The father of the child and the witnesses were illiterate.

Priest Paweł Gryszpanowisz, the parish-priest of the Rypin parish.



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