Discovering our Ancestors' Travels and Travails

Other Skrok Families

One of the perks of family history research is connecting with other family historians who are researching the same family names or in the same or nearby places.

My grandfather Jan Skrok was born in Kaliszany and baptized in Wojciechowice in Radom, Russian Poland. He was an immigrant to Buffalo, New York in 1913, and by listing his surname with Polish genealogical societies and at conferences I have been able to connect with other people researching the Skrok name.

The 2012 revised edition of William F. Hoffman’s Polish Surnames: Origins & Meanings identifies the origin of the name Skrok from a dialect word meaning “cracklings,” a kind of fried food.

Skrok {e} < dial. skrok, “cracklings” (kind of fried food) [R] (1,760)

Skrok, Polish Surnames: Origins & Meanings, 3rd edition

While many Skrok families exist (Rymut counted 1,760 people with that name in Poland), and several Skrok immigrants traveled to Buffalo from Pielaszów, family researchers in the United States asked me about two other Skrok families:

  • Skrok family from Krzcin, Koprzywnica, Sandomierz, Radom, Russian Poland, to Brooklyn, New York
  • Skrok family from Maniów, Szczucin, Dąbrowa, Galicia (Austrian Poland), to Ware, Massachusetts, and Dunkirk, New York
Locations of Wojciechowice, Kaliszany, Krzin, and Maniów in Poland (Google map)

Skrok Family from Krzcin

MD, a researcher from Minnesota, wrote me in 2019 that his mother’s sister Helen married Chester Skrok of Brooklyn, New York, in the Williamsburg section. MD asked if he might be a relation to my grandfather Jan Skrok. My uncle was also called Chester/Chet Skrok, so I wanted to learn more.

Chester and “Benny JoeSkrok were born in Brooklyn, the sons of Andrzej Skrok and Maryanna Śmieszek. Chester was Czesław in Polish. “Benny Joe” was originally named Bolesław Józef.

MD shared “After coming to the US, Andrzej worked at an Austin Nichols distillery in the area until Prohibition, and then got a job as a baker at the New Warsaw Bakery on Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint, Brooklyn (Source: WW1 and WW2 draft registration cards). In 1940 just before the onset of New York rent control law, he bought 143 North 7th Street, an 8 unit four-story red brick brownstone that his son Chester’s wife Helen Skrok, who will be 96 on July 12, still owns.  Andrzej also had a son Benjamin.”

Andrzej Skrok was born in Oct 20 1893 in Krzcin in the Radom Province of Russian Poland.

It is in Cyrillic, in the Napoleonic format, but you can read his father’s name, Antoni Skrok. His mother is Katarzyna Żak. (The preposition z and the suffix -ow indicate the original family name.) The baby’s name Andrzej is also in Roman letters.

Wikipedia says that Krzcin is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Koprzywnica, within Sandomierz County, Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship, in south-central Poland. It lies approximately 4 kilometres (2 mi) south-east of Koprzywnica, 17 km (11 mi) south-west of Sandomierz, and 78 km (48 mi) south-east of the regional capital Kielce.

I saw many Skrok family graves in the cemetery in Koprzywnica when I visited Poland in 2004, but did not know if we were related.

Antoni Skrok and Katarzyna Żak were married in 1882 in Koprzywnica, Sandomierz, Radom, Congress Poland, Russia.

#14

Took place in the village Koprzywnica on January 26th/February 7th,1882 at 10 o’clock in the morning. We announce that today, in the presence of witnesses Walenty Penkalt?,36 years old, and Józef Lukowski,50 years old, both peasants, residing in the village Krzcin, a religious marriage union was concluded between Antoni Skrok,bachelor,retired soldier,33 years old, born and residing in the village Krzcin, son of Andrzej, already deceased, and Maryanna, nee Zybała, the spouses Skrok, and Katarzyna Zak,a maiden,19 years old,born and residing in the village Krzcin, daughter of Stefan and Barbara, nee Paruch, the spouses Zak( in Russian written- Зак).This marriage was preceded by three marriage banns in the parish of Koprzywnica church on January 15th,22nd,29th of the current year. The religious wedding ceremony performed by priest Aleksander Dolzycki. This act was read aloud to the illiterate present and then signed only by Us.

1882 Marriage of Antoni Skrok and Katarzyna Żak, Koprzywnica, Sandomierz, Radom, Congress Poland, Russia

Several Skrok and Zak family members moved to Brooklyn. In 1911 Jan Skrok, son of Katarzyna Skrok in Krzcin, was going to his brother Walenty Skrok. He was traveling with Wincenty Zak, also going to Brooklyn. Andrzej immigrated to the United States in 1912. Andrzej‘s mother was listed as Katarzyna Skrok in the 1913 ship manifest.

Skrok Family from Maniów

Another researcher, CH, and I both listed Skrok as names that we were researching when we both attended the 2019 conference of the Polish Genealogical Society of Connecticut and the NorthEast. Like my uncle, her ancestor was also known as Thaddeus Skrok.

CH wrote: “His father, Michael Skrok, was from Manowo, Poland. His parents were Joseph and Mary Skrok. He was born in 1891 and immigrated to the US through Ellis Island in 1910. They settled in West Warren, MA but they lived several other places: Detroit, MI and Spencer, MA. I believe my father had cousins in Detroit, MI and Buffalo, NY.”

We found her ancestors from Maniów, Szczucin, Dąbrowa, Małopolska. Polish researcher Julie Roberts Szczepankiewicz, has written about her research into ancestors from Maniów in her blog From Shepherds and Shoemakers at https://fromshepherdsandshoemakers.com/category/places/poland/maniow/.

Although incomplete, Józef Skrok and Marianna Mamuszka had the following children:

  • Karolina Skrok, born 16 Jul 1884, Maniów, Szczucin, Dąbrowa, Małopolska; married Stanisław Żołądź, 6 Jan 1904, Ware, Hampshire, Massachusetts, United States; married Jan Michalski, 8 Feb 1932, Chautauqua, New York, United States; she died 31 Mar 1964, Buffalo, Erie, New York.
  • Wiktorya Skrok was born on 9 Dec 1885 in Maniów, Szczucin, Dąbrowa, Małopolska. She was baptized on 9 Dec 1885 in Szczucin, Dąbrowa, Małopolska; married Józef Warchol/Warhol; she died 20 Oct 1916 in Ware, Worcester, Massachusetts.
  • Anna Skrok, born 2 Jun 1888, Maniów, Szczucin, Dąbrowa, Małopolska; married Marian Nowicki; she died 30 Jul 1985 in Ware, Worcester, Massachusetts.
  • Michał Skrok, born 29 Mar 1891, Maniów, Szczucin, Dąbrowa, Małopolska; married Ewa Woźniak, 18 Aug 1914, West Warren, Worcester, Massachusetts; he died 1954 in Springfield, Hampden, Massachusetts.
  • Julia Skrok was born on 14 Aug 1893 in Maniów, Szczucin, Dąbrowa, Małopolska. She was baptized on 14 Aug 1893 in Szczucin, Dąbrowa, Małopolska.
  • Wojciech Skrok was born on 2 Oct 1894 in Maniów, Szczucin, Dąbrowa, Małopolska. He died before 3 Apr 1899 at the age of 4.
  • Aniela Skrok, born 15 Jun 1896, Maniów, Szczucin, Dąbrowa, Małopolska; married Jan Mroczkowski, 24 Jan 1921, Chautauqua, New York, United States; she died 2 Jul 1925, Dunkirk, Chautauqua, New York, United States.
  • Wojciech Skrok was born on 3 Apr 1899 in Maniów, Szczucin, Dąbrowa, Małopolska. He was baptized on 3 Apr 1899 in Szczucin, Dąbrowa, Małopolska.
  • Bronisława Skrok was born on 18 Mar 1901 in Maniów, Szczucin, Dąbrowa, Małopolska. She was baptized on 18 Mar 1901 in Szczucin, Dąbrowa, Małopolska.
  • Antoni Skrok was born on 28 Jul 1903 in Maniów, Szczucin, Dąbrowa, Małopolska. He was baptized on 28 Jul 1903 in Szczucin, Dąbrowa, Małopolska.
  • Ludwika Skrok, born 1904, Maniów, Szczucin, Dąbrowa, Małopolska; died aft 1925.
  • Magdalena Skrok was born on 29 Oct 1907 in Maniów, Szczucin, Dąbrowa, Małopolska. She was baptized on 29 Oct 1907 in Szczucin, Dąbrowa, Małopolska.

CH‘s grandfather Michał Skrok lived with Stanisław and Karolina Skrok Żołądź in Dunkirk, New York in 1910 when he first came to the United States.

Many of CH‘s relatives were buried at Saint Mary’s Cemetery, Ware, Hampshire County, Massachusetts, including Michał Skrok and his wife Ewa Wozniak Skrok.

Michał and Ewa‘s son Tadeusz/Thaddeus Skrok died 14 Aug 1981 in Tolland, Tolland, Connecticut, and was buried at Saint Mary’s Cemetery, Ware, Hampshire County, Massachusetts.

Saint Marys Cemetery, Ware, Massachusetts, FindaGrave photograph courtesy of BC

Common Names

My mother’s brothers Chet and Ted both served in the United States military in World War II. My uncles knew that there were other veterans with their names who had served, and my contact with other family researchers confirmed it.

My uncle ChetCzesław (Chester) Skrok–was born 25 Sep 1919 in Buffalo, New York, while another Czesław (Chester) Skrok, was born 30 Oct 1922 in Brooklyn, New York.

My uncle TedTadeusz (Thaddeus) Skrok–was born 11 Feb 1923 in Sosnowiec, Kielce, Poland, while another Tadeusz (Thaddeus/Teddy Joseph) Skrok, was born 27 Aug 1920 in West Warren, Worcester, Massachusetts.

It is interesting that both other Skrok family researchers said that their families would visit Buffalo, New York to see relatives. As a child growing up in Buffalo, I had gotten the impression that everyone in the world visited Buffalo and nearby Niagara Falls. It may have been more true than I realized.

Sources

  • Hoffman, William F. Polish Surnames: Origins and Meanings. Chicago, Illinois : Polish Genealogical Society of America. 1993, Second Edition, Revised 2001. Third Edition, Revised 2012.

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