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William Alexander, 1850, Krunicza, Prussia, Poland

martha1950 1 | 1
5 Feb 2010 #1
I am trying to find my husbands great-grandfather. All I know is that he changed his name to William Alexander and that his naturalization record says he was born in Krunicza, Prussia, Poland on June 14, 1851 and that he sailed on the ship Elba from Bremen and arrived in Baltimore, Maryland, USA on Feb. 13, 1880. From there he came to a place called Bremond, Texas (a polish community) and married Mary Ann Paszkiet, whose parents (Michael & Josepha Paszkiet also came from Poland. He is buried in St. Mary's Cemetery in Bremond, Tx but the birthdate on his headstone says Feb. 14, 1850. Some of the records from St. Mary's Catholic Church are signed Valentin and/or Valentine Alexander and some are signed William Alexander. I'm told that polish parents oftened named a son born on Valentine's Day after St Valentine. I'm not polish, just an American with a mixed ancestry of english, scottish, welsh, german, dutch and spanish. I've found the polish sites to be very interesting and hope someone can help me. I want to know what his polish name is and I also want to know where he is from. I can't find Krunicza on the internet and wonder if he just put that down or if there is a Krunicza. Family legend is he came somewhere from Poland and changed his name and didn't tell anyone why or where he came from. Thank you for any help. Please email me at
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446
5 Feb 2010 #2
Infortunately, with so little to go on, determining your ancestor's original surname would seem next to impossible. If he changed it to Alexander, it might have been Aleksandrowicz, Aleksiak, maybe even Olkiewicz (all derived from the Aleksander root), but not necessarily. There are people who translated their Polish names (Nowak and Andrzejak became Newman and Andrews respectively), but others arbitraily changed them on a whim (Kwiatkowski became Smith, Grzyb -- Bradley, Baran -- Peterson, Żurek -- Armstrong, etc.).
Ziemowit 13 | 4,223
5 Feb 2010 #3
Given the exact date of his birthday and the territory, the case is not hopeless. The crucial thing should be identifying the correct name of the village Krunicza.

What comes to my mind now is "Kruszwica" for Krunicza. Is the spelling of Krunicza in the record with the exact "cz" in it?
bookratt 6 | 85
5 Feb 2010 #4
Ziemowit is probably spot on, but is it also possible that Krunicza is a misspelling for the name Krupnicza? I know the street name here in Krakow, and know there is a Krupnicza Street in Wroclaw and most likely Warsaw, also.

Could it therefore have been referring to the city of Nesvizh (where the drink Krupnik was originally brewed), which was under Polish rule from 1919-1939, but was a part of Russia---and now is part of Belarus?

Might be way off base here, but his name change had me thinking of why Alexander vs Andrews. I started thinking Russia, and got there that way.

And here is where Paszkiet names are distributed here now, if it helps. Poles in the US often mixed and married with Poles who immigrated from the same geographic region of Poland, so maybe he was from one of these highlighted areas, too?

Good luck!
TheOther 5 | 3,758
5 Feb 2010 #5
Krunicza, Prussia, Poland

Family legend is he came somewhere from Poland

Martha, just a small but (for genealogical and historical accuracy) important correction: the great-grandfather of your husband was either born in Prussia, Austria-Hungary or Russia, but NOT in Poland. That country didn't exist in 1850.
Trevek 26 | 1,702
5 Feb 2010 #6
Is it actually possible that he was of Scottish descent himself? There were a lot of Scots in Poland over a few centuries.

Check out a website called Electric Scotland:

and see the books on Scots in Germany, Prussia and Poland.
Wroclaw 44 | 5,386
5 Feb 2010 #7
he was born in Krunicza, Prussia, Poland

possibly this place, Krynica:

have you checked the Ship's Record.

as well as checking the passenger it's always worth checking next of kin and the place name/address given for them.

edit. just realized that if he changed his name in the states you won't find him in Ship's Records

you'll have to check all the records for the particular ship and then match place of birth/origin
with date of birth.

check the name of the ship and date of departure. Elba or Elbe ?

the Elbe which sailed out of Bremen wasn't built until 1881
Ziemowit 13 | 4,223
6 Feb 2010 #8
possibly this place, Krynica

Krynica is what comes to mind, indeed. But if we stick closely to what was indicated as the territory of his birth, neither of the towns/villages of Krynica shown in the given Wiki link matches this except one. If the territory was described as "Prussia, Poland", we should only cover those Polish lands grabbed by the Kngdom of Prussia in the partitions of Poland in 1772, 1793 and 1795 which in 1850 still belonged to Prussia. These are: Grand Dutchy of Poznań, almost the entire province of West Prussia, and the land of Warmia on the territory of East Prussia. This only exception mentioned is the now resort village of Krynica Morska (taken over by Prussia in 1772), but I doubt if anyone originating from there would have been associating "Poland" to "Prussia" in reference to this town, as it had never been ethnically Polish until the end of WWII.
OP martha1950 1 | 1
9 Feb 2010 #9
Thanks to everyone who commented. I will try some of the different spellings of Krunizca. If anyone has any more ideas, please let me know. And also thanks for telling me about Prussia and Poland. I have learned so much already and found so many interesting things about the polish culture. If I ever find his real name, I will surely post it. Thanks again, Martha.
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446
9 Feb 2010 #10
PASZKIET: And paszkot are archaic regional words for the fieldfare (bird) which in standard Polish is known as a kwiczoł. The ancestral nest of the Paszkiet family is the Bydgoszcz (in German: Bromberg) area of northern Poland.

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