Well, maybe not originally. Our Kapuściński and Skrok ancestors’ birthplaces were in Świętokrzyskie near Sandomierz, but much of the area had been destroyed during World War I in the heavy fighting of the Eastern Front. The Skrok, Kiec, and Kwiatek families lived in and near Sosnowiec in the early 1920s after returning to Poland and before re-emigrating to the United States.
This area was a highly industrialized and densely populated region of southern Małopolska (Lesser Poland), with Dąbrowa Górnicza, Sosnowiec and Będzin as the three main cultural and industrial centers.
Jan Skrok came back to the United States first, leaving his wife Agnieszka, daughter Helena, son Czesław, and Polish-born baby Tadeusz behind in Sosnowiec, powiat Będziu, Poland. (I was told that another baby, named Edward, had been born and died in Poland.) He traveled on the ship S. S. Estonia, leaving Danzig on 18 January 1923 and arriving in New York on 2 February 1923.
After a brief stay in the hospital on Ellis Island, he joined his wife’s cousin’s husband Jozef Szulowski in Buffalo, New York. Jan declared his intention to become a United States citizen (filed first papers for Naturalization) on March 23, 1923.
He applied for his wife and children to re-emigrate to the United States on 4-Apr-1923.
I remember seeing my grandmother’s United States passport with her three small children, two of whom had been born in the United States. They sailed from Danzig on the S. S. Lituania on 18 July 1923 and arrived in New York 1 August 1923. Agnieszka listed her mother, Marya Kapuscinska, of Niesowwiec (Gnieszowice), powiat Sandomierz, as her nearest relative in Poland.
Jan’s sister’s husband, Adam Kiec, also returned to the United States in 1923, sailing on the S. S. Estonia leaving Danzig on 27 September 1923 and arriving in New York on 9 October 1923. His entry on the ship’s manifest listed his wife Stanislawa Kiec of Dabrowicze, powiat Będziu, as his closest relative.
Adam declared his intention to become a United States citizen (filed first papers for Naturalization) on 2 January, 1924.
The three oldest Kiec children, Jan, Helena, and Stanisław, had been born in Buffalo, so they obtained United States passports in Warsaw. They traveled on the S. S. Polonia from Danzig on 25 September 1929, and arrived at the port of New York on 9 October 1929. They were 14, 13, and 11 years old, and were going to their father, Adam Kiec, in Buffalo, New York.
The two younger Kiec children had been born in Poland. Wacław, age 9, and Stefania, age 6, traveled with their mother Stanisława Kiec on the S. S. Lituania leaving Danzig on 6 December 1929. They arrived in New York on 19 December 1929, with their final destination meeting Adam Kiec in Buffalo, New York. They left behind Marja Kwiatek, Stanisława’s mother and the children’s grandmother, in Sosnowiec, Poland .
This back and forth travel was not unusual for the time. Polish immigration to the United States reached its highest point in 1912-1913, but many Poles intended to work in the United States and then return to the land of their birth in improved financial circumstances. After the first World War, many ex-patriots returned to the newly formed Second Polish Republic. But the countryside, and they, had been changed by the experience.