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Looking for information on my great grandfather Josef Sokolowski

13 Apr 2016 #1
Seeing how these threads seem to get hijacked quite quickly, it is hard to get an answer string going.
I am looking for information on my great grandfather, and am at a dead end.
The information I have is this:
Josef Sokolowski (Also listed as Sokolowske once). Born in 1890 (listed between 1885 and 1898).
From my limited research he was born in Jesionowo, Warminsko-Mazurskie, Poland (Galacia, Poland in the ship manifest, and from his own accounts).

It is believed that Joe lived with his grandparents, but we do not know what reason he would not live with his own parents.
We also wondered if Josef and John were Jewish, and that may have been a reason for them coming to the US.
My family believes that my grandparents know a lot more than they are saying, for whatever reason they want this trail to die. That is the reason I am so interested to know. Even if the facts show he was just a simple farmer, I would still like to know where he came from.

Somewhere we have a recording of him doing an interview for a local newspaper in North Dakota, He says his family name is Growsheba (that is the phonetic spelling, my mom says it is a very guttural sound, with a rolled R).

Thanks for anything you can help me with. I really want to get to know something about Grandpa Joe.

He had a cousin, John Sokolowski (born in 1888) that lists his birthplace as Warsaw, Rybno (maybe Rybne) Poland.
Johns Parents names were Blase Sokolowski and Marcelle Pszeboah.
AdrianK9 6 | 364
14 Apr 2016 #2
Sokolowski is a very popular name. If you know for fact he's Jewish that would help narrow your search a lot. I would start with US immigration records or the records in the local towns or in Krakow - especially if he owned land or was part of petty nobility his record would be there.

Keep in mind too though Poland didn't exist during the years you mention as those were the partition years.
14 Apr 2016 #3
I don't know for sure if he was Jewish or not, that is why i'm trying every avenue I can think of. For some reason my grandmother is keeping his history a big secret. I need to get my hands on the recorded interview.

I forgot to add. His name was "Americanized" sometime around 1920. He went by Joe Private. Some of my family have wondered if it was a play on his private nature, as in "Well aren't you a Joe Private"
jon357 74 | 21,900
14 Apr 2016 #4
Jesionowo, Warminsko-Mazurskie, Poland (Galacia, Poland in the ship manifest, and from his own accounts).

Jesionowo, Warminsko-Mazurskie is quite a long way in Polish terms from Galicia. That's an inconsistency which suggests that you maybe right - there is something not being said. Equally he could have been born in one place and lived in the other.

For some reason my grandmother is keeping his history a big secret.

It might be one of many things, most of them fairly ordinary. Something scandalous decades ago could be very normal nowadays. If you think there might be a Jewish connection, why not try a DNA test?
OP JoJoDaPyro
18 Apr 2016 #5
jon357, I did a DNA test through National Geographic last year. My mothers side shows a Jewish link. The evidence is there, but not the documentation of it. It's just a hard roadblock to hit. Thanks again.
Ironside 53 | 12,474
18 Apr 2016 #6
I forgot to add

When he emigrated to the USA?
OP JoJoDaPyro
18 Apr 2016 #7
1915 or sometime close to then. Its hard to say for sure. There are a lot of Josef Sokolowskis that came to the US around that time. His stories also don't fit that, as he claims that he was 14 when he came here (That would be around 1904). Also he said that he stowed away on his voyage here, and that would leave no record of his arrival in the US.

I have a record that I believe is him in 1920, still using the name Sokolowske. In 1925 he is using Private as his last name. His doctor supposedly had him change it to fit in better.
19 Apr 2016 #8
Joe Private.

I am sure you have seen this, but here is a link to a 1940 Census record. I think it is him as he was living in North Dakota according to the record, and you mentioned that he was interviewed in North Dakota.

Good luck with your search for information.
OP JoJoDaPyro
19 Apr 2016 #9
Yes, that is him. There is a territorial census from 1935 also. My roadblock is pre 1935. I have a possible match in 1920 in Fernwood, Idaho, under Joe Sokolowske, but I can't be sure it's him, besides that he had said he was a "Tree Butcher". There is so much incorrect information from some of my family (I believe my grandmother sent someone down the incorrect path on purpose). From his own accounts, he came to the US with a cousin, John Sokolowski. I have found many "Johns", but only one married to a "Rose". My Grandma's sister met him on several occasions. The John I have info on had a sister Kathryn, who still has a living daughter. It is the polish link I am interested in finding.

Thanks again.

Merged: More searching

I have found out a few things in my searches. I am looking for information on Blase Sokolowski, father of Franciszek Sokolowski, Katarzyna Sokolowski (Welper) and Jan (John) Sokolowski, as well as 11 other children. He was married 3 times. Born around 1860, and would have lived in Kaumic in 1882. Any help is greatly appreciated.
4 Dec 2018 #10
I believe I am a descendant of Blase J. Sokolowski (his daughter Josephine Sokolowska - born in Poland) and would look forward to more information about this lineage as well.

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