Jan Rzepka, son of Ignacy Rzepka and Małgorzata Skrok, was born 14 Jul 1890 in Kaliszany and baptized at Kościół św. Wojciecha Biskupa i Męczennika (St. Adalbert, in English) in Wojciechowice, Opatów, Radom, in Russian Poland. It is currently in the Świętokrzyskie (Holy Cross) voivodeship of Poland.
He arrived at Ellis Island at the Port of New York 29 August 1910. He had sailed from Antwerp, Belgium on the SS Vaderland. He is listed as 20, male, single, citizen of Russia, Polish race, last residence Russia Kaliszany.
He married Salomea Zielińska, daughter of Marcin and Petronela Zieliński, in Buffalo, New York, on 31 Jan 1912. Salomea had been born 9 Jun 1883 in Prussia, and had immigrated with her parents, arriving at the Port of New York 30 Jul 1884.
In the 1920 census, the family, now including Helen, Julia, Salomea, and John, was living at 32 Cochrane Street in Buffalo, in the same house as her parents. Jan’s brother Władysław (Walter) Rzepka had been wounded in the Great War (World War I), and was living with them as well. Walter had become a naturalized American citizen in 1919 after his Unites States Army service.
The family had another American born baby, Leona, on 22 Mar 1921, after which Jan Rzepka and his family traveled to Poland.
Jan Rzepka returned to Buffalo on the ship President Adams sailing from London on October 31st, 1923. His last permanent address was listed as Szczepanowo, Poland, and he left behind his wife, Salomea Rzepka, in Szczepanowo, Dąbrowa.
His wife and children traveled back from Poland on the ship America sailing from Bremen August 5th, 1925, arriving at the Port of New York August 15th, 1925. The children were American citizens, going to their father, John Rzepka, at 152 Townsend Street, Buffalo, New York.
They were traveling with their Polish born mother, Salomeja Rzepka.
Salomeja‘s last permanent address was listed as Szczepanowo, Mogilno, Poland, and the person she was leaving behind was her mother-in-law, Magdalena [sic] Rzepka. This is interesting because prior to World War I, Szczepanowo, a village in the Dąbrowa area of Mogilno, had been part of Posen, Prussia. It became part of Poland when the Second Republic of Poland was formed after the war. Szczepanowo is currently in the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship in north-central Poland.
The area near Opatów where the Rzepkas and Skroks were born had been heavily damaged in the World War. When Jan Rzepka‘s first cousins Jan Skrok and Stanisława Skrok Kiec and their mother Marianna Kasprzyk Skrok Kwiatek returned to Poland with their families after the war, they lived in Sosnowiec. That is where several Skrok and Kiec children were born before the families returned to the United States. Historically in Małopolska, or Lesser Poland, and located near the boundary of the Kingdom of Poland/Congress Poland/Russian Poland, the German Empire, and Austria-Hungary, Sosnowiec was associated with Schlesien, Prussia. In Polish this area was known as Śląsk. In English it is called Silesia.
Update April 2018: Szczepanowo is approximately 20 miles from Liszkowo, a village in the administrative district of Gmina Rojewo, within Inowrocław County. It is possible, but not proven, that the Zieliński family was originally from that area. Perhaps Magdalena was another relative, not Salomeja‘s mother-in-law.
The Battery Conservancy http://CastleGarden.org
The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation (SOLEIF) https://www.libertyellisfoundation.org