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A SHOCKING And Sad Story about my Polish family - But True!

29 Jan 2007 /  #1
Greetings! I thought I'd share a story that happened to me this past summer. Both of my paternal grandparents were born and raised in Poland, or rather, at that time, Austria. Galicia, around Krakow to be exact. I never knew them. My father was first generation American, but always always always wanted to go and visit Poland. He died in 1982. Anyway, when the opportunity came to go to Istebna, about 30 miles southeast of Krakow, this past summer to do English as a Second Language camps, I jumped at the opportunity. I had perfected the correct pronunciation of pop's last name - Wloszek (with a funny line in the middle of the "l") and I had a copy of his New York birth certificate. As soon as I got off the plane, I asked anyone and everyone who spoke even the slightest bit of English, if they knew any Wloszeks. Folks would either looked very confused, laugh, or tell me to check restaurants! ???? The Grandfolks came to America in 1914 so it's not like it's been a long time since Wloszeks were hanging out, no? Anyway, I finally found a Linguist from the University at Krakow. I told her the story and she asked me to write the family name down. I did. She said the little line in the "l" of Wloszek was wrong - that was my problem. I showed her Pop's birth certificate (although issued in New York it's almost all in Polish because he was delivered by a Polish midwife) to prove that that IS how it's spelled. She asked me what Pop looked like. I said he was small, with black hair, dark brown eyes and dark skin. That's when she told me that Wloszek means Italian in Polish. It's the feminine form of Italian. Sbe figures my ancestors came from Italy to help rebuild Krakow, or something. So, what to make of all this? Anyone got any ideas?
BialaPolska 1 | 116  
29 Jan 2007 /  #2
Well she is right, it does mean Italian. And you descritpion of your dad does not sound like a Polish man, definetely more of an italian man.
OP Zirondelle  
29 Jan 2007 /  #3
It's humorous to think I went around asking people "Do you know any Italians?" They must have thought I was crazy! LOL!
shewolf 5 | 1,077  
29 Jan 2007 /  #4
But how did it make you feel to find out you might really be Italian?
OP Zirondelle  
29 Jan 2007 /  #5
Che bella! Here's another ironic thing. Before we went to Poland we spent a month in Italy! My problem is how do I find out what the original Italian name was?

Oh! I forgot to add another funny thing. The Linguist said that Wloszek is also a slang expression meaning "short, dark foreigner who does a rotten job". I must say, that description fit my Pop to a tee!
30 Jan 2007 /  #6
Hello, do you know anything about the Galicia's? I have relatives with that name.
30 Jan 2007 /  #7

:) :) :) :) :) :)
Matyjasz 2 | 1,544  
30 Jan 2007 /  #8
So what's so shocking bout that story? :)
30 Jan 2007 /  #9
Wloszek = Włoszek, sound familiar form me.
It' s just type of polish surname. My girl mate surname is Włoszek too. And probably she even has no idea of any italian connotation.
OP Zirondelle  
30 Jan 2007 /  #10
Well, Mozart - find out if she knows of a Francizek (?) Wloszek who immigrated to the US in the 1900's. Maybe we're related!

It's not all that shocking, Matyjasc, nor sad either. Americans have tons of European ancestors, so finding an Italian one in the mix is par for the course. I'm also part French, Scottish, German, Irish, English and Dutch. I just wanted an ATTENTION GETTING headline. So there you are.
jcsm 3 | 88  
31 Jan 2007 /  #11
Hi Zirondelle,

I liked the story even though not shocking or sad!

Although I think it may have happened a very long time ago, if you would like some help in possibly discovering the Italian connection, please email me.

2 Feb 2007 /  #12
Oh... , Zirondelle let me tell you sth. My last name is very strange and sound is strange and is not polish at all, but I am pilish and my family at least 6 generations, I am saying about family of my father. So ... Poland is in the center of Europe and there were lots of different nations, that is all. And everything is possible ;-)
8 Feb 2007 /  #13
My last name is Wloszek. My grandfather came over from Poland around 1915 - 1917. He also used a hyphenated L little line over the l. My brother spent a few months in Poland in 1974 with relatives in the Krakow. So maybe we are related. I live in Ohio.
9 Feb 2007 /  #14
It's strange that you asked folks or a linguist about your father. Maybe there are no Włoszeks in Istebna any more that's why local people felt confused and because this surname is not neutral in meaning it made them react in a certain way. Why didn't you visit a local parish??? A priest would be the most valuable and credible source of information. He probably would have found your father's birth certificate.

In Poland there are about 500 people named 'Włoszek' so this surname really exists.
Was your father born in Istebna?
OP Zirondelle  
9 Feb 2007 /  #15
Ale39 I was in Istebna AND Krakow looking for the old folks. jwloszek, did your grandfather have any brothers? My grandfather came to Buffalo, New York. I can't find any record of him coming through Ellis Island - maybe he came through Canada. He was about 25 and single when he came over.
12 Feb 2007 /  #16
I do free amateur/volunteer census lookups and genealogy lookups here in the states. I have access to and other subscriber software and genealogy sites.

Could this be him?

Francizek Walaszek, father's first name is Zukhar (??)
Birth: abt 1894 - Galicia
Departure from: Bremen
Arrival: 22 Dec 1913 - New York, New York

Or this?

Francizek Walkosz, brother's name is Jaid or Zaid (??)
Birth: abt 1868
Departure: Bremen
Arrival: 14 Aug 1906 - New York, New York
Destination: Chicago

Also, have you checked for Canada info online, at their archives? You'll need to start at what they call the genealogy centre, click on that button and click thru till you get to various other parts of the site and click on the hypertext or underlined links from there. You may find immigration records for him here:
OP Zirondelle  
13 Feb 2007 /  #17
Bookratt, thank you so much! That first entry really fits the picture! Did you get it at the Ellis Island site? It's very strange that another man with the same name came from Poland around the same time and settled in Chicago. Very frustrating!

I've tried the Canadian sites with no luck. My other great grandfather was born in France, so finding him has been tough as well.
27 Feb 2007 /  #18
For NYC and surrounding areas, I always check the databases at italiangen dot org (I do transcribing for them); they have tons of birth, marriage, naturalization records and death cert numbers for the five boroughs of NYC and the closest counties.

Try surnamenavigator dot org also. Make sure to try with different starting points checked off each time (click on the country flags for each search you run and re-eneter name--surname only---each time). Be sure and do the USA search 7 times, once for each region available, for all files to be searched and found. Be sure pop-up blocker is off, or it doesn't work. It uses Vista -like pop up windows and layers, and MANY of them. I have broadband, so it runs pretty fast, but if you don't---be prepared to wait awhile.

I can't remember now where I got that info--I believe it was at ellis island, but I also had run ancestry dot com, castlegarden dot com and genealogy dot com, familysearch dot com, and genweb and rootsweb dot org searches, also.

Ancestry dot com has library editions of its genealogy software and all cds, free to subscribers or patrons of the larger US library systems who purchase the complete library editions--so if you have a good-size library where you live or have access to a university library, I bet you can run ancestry for free--like I do. Just ask the reference librarian if they have it for public use and he or she will sign you up. If they allow the local genealogy group to use it free, they must allow you to access it free, too.

I always started at cyndislist dot com before I ran searches for my own family, back when I first started looking for them about five years ago. Start there and check out all the Polish (and other links).

And don't forget to check county historical societies and county courthouses for the early records, rather than state archives and state records offices. Also check to see if free groups at yahoo dot com have genealogy grups specific to your needs (such as state or ethnic groups); I have been lucky with the PA and NY groups I found there.
OP Zirondelle  
19 Mar 2007 /  #19
You are a Doll!

An open fire hydrant of facts!

30 Mar 2007 /  #20
Hey my grandpa came from Poland in 1915-1917 . He had that funny L also. He settled in PA. at first. And my brother went to Poland in 1974 also. My parents had eight kids . Maybe we are related.

And I live in Ohio also. And we think that the Wloszeks in Mich. are somehow distant cousins or my grandpas other family.
12 Feb 2008 /  #21
I was a Wloszek {married now} from Michigan. I really have not looked into any of my history, even though as a child i visited Oscwiecim --spelled wrong, just know it and alot of my fathers family was there--still is. He grew up in Poland during the war. I believe his father was in the army. If interested you may want to look into seeing what you can find out. Hope this helps.
fillygirl - | 3  
8 Mar 2008 /  #22
Boy, bookratt, you are just full of genealogy info. Maybe you can help me! Looking for info on my great-grandfather, Martin Patla. The only thing I've been able to find, is him living with my grandparents, Adam & Mary Szuszczewicz (his daughter) in the 1920 Census Records in Philadelphia,Pa. He is 64 yrs. old then and a widow. He was born 1856 in Poland. I think his wife's name was Franceszka. My grandmother, Mary, was born 1890. The only story I've heard is that after his wife died, when my grandmother was small, he couldn't care for her and her brother Albert, so he put them in an Orphanage in Ct. Don't know if there were any other siblings. My grandmother married Adam in Meriden, Ct. They had their 1st three children there, then moved to Phila.,Pa. So I've like hit a BRICK WALL with her(Mary's) parents. Don't know when they got to U.S., where they were married or even when he died? I assume he died in Phila. if he was living there. My Mom was born in 1926 and she doesn't remember him.

If you can help in any way, I'd sooo appreciate it or give me some clues where to look!! :-(

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