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Olkowski, Rombkowski - Finding my Polish Roots

LostChild 2 | 5
19 Nov 2010 #1
One set of paternal great-grandparents has the name Olkowski. Information is very limited. The NY/Hamburg Passenger Lists indicate Thorn WestPrussen as the home residence, but US census records indicate Posen is the home residence. My mother never allowed me to have any contact with my Polish relatives but as an adult I contacted and met some of them.

The other set of paternal great-grandparents is a bit more complicated. I remember my grandmother telling me about a name change and something about the Czar's army. Both families settled in Buffalo, NY in mid-late 1800s. It's been a real project tracking down this side of my Dad's family. His mother's maiden name was Rombkowski according to her Social Security application form. Just out of sheer luck and first name only searching I found one US census showing "Rorstrowski" and another US census showing "Rumbkouski." Castle Garden website shows immigration info as "Rembetzk;" Hamburg Lists show "Rembetzky" and US List shows "Rombetzky." One passenger list gave home residence as "Polish/Russian." From pieces of info I've gained over many years, I have been able to connect all these spellings with first names and birthdates. I don't know if this great-grandfather had reason to "hide" himself in his new country or what. In the 1930 US census he and my great-grandmother totally disappear, but the two youngest boys are shown living with a married older sister - again using first name searches.

My Polish family seemed to always be so secretive about everything and I don't know if it is just a Polish trait to be secretive or whether they were well acquainted with my mother and didn't trust my suddenly showing up in their lives. To make things even harder there is apparently nobody else on the planet doing any research on "Olkowski" or "Rombkowski" (in any of its forms) so I have no way to make contacts with others regarding my family.

Is there anyone who might know anything about any of these names who might be able to give me any kind of information on these names or history? I have always had such a strong sense of my Polish roots and very frankly don't put much consideration to my mother's family history.
JK_TX - | 23
19 Nov 2010 #2
You can try also:

Hope this helps
pgtx 30 | 3,156
19 Nov 2010 #3 is a map of places in Poland where people with Olkowski last name live...
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446
19 Nov 2010 #4
OLKOWSKI: topo nick from Olki or Olków

ROMBKOWSKI: presumed original spelling Rąbkowski; topo nikc from Rąbka or Rąbkowa (extremely rare).

For more information on family whereabouts, heraldic links (coats of arms) and contacts with root-tracers, family-tree makers and possibly even living long-lost relations please contact me
OP LostChild 2 | 5
20 Nov 2010 #5
Thank you all for information you posted. With regard to Rombkowski, I took another look at info I have from Ancestry. There is one passenger list showing residence as Suwalki in Russia. I don't know if this is a Polish area under the control of Russia. The territorial boundaries seem to have shifted so much with various conflicts or conquests.

I have much to learn.
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446
20 Nov 2010 #6
The Suwałki area is in today's Poland, but the Podlasie region in which it is situated once stretched farther east into what is now Belarus.
OP LostChild 2 | 5
5 Jan 2011 #7
I have found one immigration record on Olkowski that says she and her children were from Russia. I'm completely confused! Where is Turon (Thorn) in relationship to Russian territory and to Posen. I'm definitely going to have to buy some older maps of Poland.

Polonius3 - you have been very informative in your posts. Many thanks. I have written down your email address for future use if I need it.
Wroclaw 44 | 5,385
5 Jan 2011 #8
I'm definitely going to have to buy some older maps of Poland.

in the history section: Watch Poland grow and shrink (interactive map)
OP LostChild 2 | 5
6 Jan 2011 #9
Thank you, Wroclaw! That was a pretty amazing map! I have put a couple books about Poland on my "wish list" for books. I don't speak any Polish, but maybe that should be something I look into as well. That's one thing that irritates me about never being allowed around my Polish family - if I had that experience I would be bi-lingual in English/Polish. Just this week I ate my first kielbasa in about 40 years - I'm not too sure about Polish cooking - I just can't imagine "duck blood soup" although I've read that it's a special occasion meal in Poland.

It has been very interesting trying to trace my family - I use the Ancestry program and also try to find info from various other websites - it's how I came across this forum. The 1940 US Census will be released in 2012, so am looking forward to that. Buffalo, NY sites have some interesting info and pictures.
4 Nov 2012 #10
I am an Olkowski. Born in Trenton, NJ in 1973. Trenton has a very large Polish-American population. You must be related in one way or another to me, as Olkowski seems to be a less popular name than some of the other surnames.

I have done some ancestry searching and have some info if you are interested.

I just happened upon this thread by accident so I'm sure I won't be visiting it again so perhaps you can contact me at sharon_rossino at yahoo dot com

this forum won't allow me to post my email address as it should be written, but I think you'll figure it out...

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