Discovering our Ancestors' Travels and Travails

Julianna Kwiatek

Sometimes a researcher finds a surprise, as I did with our great aunt Julianna Kwiatek. I knew she had arrived in Buffalo in 1913 with her half-sister Stanislawa Skrok, her mother Maryanna Kwiatek and her sister Aniela Kwiatek. She was listed with her parents and sister and brother Leo in the 1915 New York State census, and again in the 1920 census.

1920 Kwiatek family Buffalo

In 1920, the family owned their house at 223 Metcalfe Street in Buffalo, and it was the custom of homeowners at that the time to take in boarders1917 John Kasprowicz WWI draft registration to help pay expenses. One of the boarders listed with the Kwiatek family was a young man named John Kasprowicz.

After 1920, I kept looking for more evidence of the family. I ran queries for each member of the family, and found an unexpected entry for Julia Kwiatek on Family Search.

1920 Julia Kwiatek familysearch

Hmmm. I wonder. A teenage girl, a boarder in his 20s, and a marriage later that year in a nearby state known to also have a substantial population of Polish immigrants. Checking the particulars, the bride’s parents were named Andrew Kwiatek and Mary Kasprzyk, and they were all born in Russia. Is it a coincidence?

1920 Julia Kwiatek marriage Pennsylvania

The bride’s age is given as 21, while we know Julia Kwiatek was only 16. Could she have presented herself as an adult because her parents did not approve of the marriage and would not give their consent? The groom’s age is given as 25 in the marriage record, but perhaps the couple was trying to minimize the disparity in their ages. It is possible that another Andrej Kwiatek and Maryanna Kasprzyk had a daughter Julia, but the connection to John Kasprowicz is less likely.

After 1920, I could not find any record in America of any Kwiatek family members, or even of John and Julia Kasprowicz. Did the entire Kwiatek family return to Poland? It seems likely. We know that Maryanna Kasprzyk Skrok Kwiatek‘s older children–Jan Skrok and Stanislawa Skrok Kiec–did return to Poland with their spouses and children and re-emigrated to America a few years later. But it is not at all clear what happened to the Kwiatek family.

Update: Andrzej Kwiatek and Maryanna returned to Poland with their children Julia, Aniela, Leon, and a new baby, Zofia, in September 1921.

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