Some of the more popular reasons people test DNA are to learn more about their heritage and perhaps, find some new relatives. After my own DNA test in late 2015, I was able to connect with the previously unknown daughter of a second cousin, and confirmed dozens of other known relatives.
In the fall of 2017, a new match appeared on AncestryDNA, estimated to be my fourth cousin, with 75 centimorgans shared across 3 DNA segments. We had multiple shared matches–3 great-grandchildren, 3 great-great-grandchildren, and 1 great-great-great-granddaughter of Jan and Veronica Lewandowska Maciejewski–so we obviously have Maciejewski and/or Lewandowski ancestors in common. I wanted to learn more about our connection.
His family was from Long Island, New York. From the family tree he posted online, I could see that his mother’s family was not Polish. His father’s ancestors were Polish, so that was our likely connection. The census records for his father’s father’s parents consistently said they had come from Russian-Poland. The Maciejewski family had come from West Prussia, so that was not a link to our shared heritage. I started looking for information about his father’s mother’s family.
I found a link to his grandparents’ 1950 wedding announcement in a Long Island paper. The article titled “Nassau Summer Brides” identified the bride’s parents as Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Jurek. When I searched for Theodore Jurek in census records, I was surprised to learn that in his early years, he had lived on the same street in Buffalo, New York, as my great-grandmother Veronica Maciejewska and her family!
So here is the tale of two families…
In December 1883, Jan and Weronika Lewandowska Maciejewski immigrated to Buffalo, New York, with their infant Antoni. The family grew with the arrival of Konstanty (August), Wiktorya (Dorota), Marya, Anna, and Ludwik. Jan and Weronika had been married in 1869 in Kościół św. Jana Chrzciciela, Nieżywięć, West Prussia.
In 1888, Jan and Teofila Rossa Jurek also immigrated to Buffalo, New York, with their daughters Władysława and Marianna. In Buffalo, they had Franciszek and Stanisława. I was able to find a baptism entry for Stanisława at St. Adalbert’s Roman Catholic Church in Buffalo in 1890, which showed that her parents had been born in Posen (Poznań in Polish).
The Poznan Project has indexed the marriages from the parishes of this region, and a search for Jan Jurek and Teofila found their marriage in Kościół pw. św. Wita (St. Vitus), the Catholic parish in Słupy, entry 8 / 1884:
- Joannes Jurek (24 years old)
father: Joseph Jurek , mother: Marianna Świtalska
- Theophila Rossa (26 years old)
father: Jacobus Rossa , mother: Anna Domagała
Słupy, Schubin, Posen, was approximately 66 miles from Nieżywięć, West Prussia. Both locations are currently in Kujawsko-Pomorskie, Poland.
Death of the Fathers
Sadly, the fathers of both these families met with untimely ends. Jan Jurek died in 1890. An article on the front page of the March 6, 1890 Buffalo Evening News has the entry “Killed by the Cars” saying that “Jan Jurek, a Polish laborer, tried to board a passing Central engine at the William street crossing at 7:30 this morning. He slipped and was killed. Coroner Tucker.”
Jan Maciejewski died 30 Apr 1896, of endocarditis, and was buried at St. Stanislaus Cemetery, in Cheektowaga, New York.
Widows and Their Families
In the 1900 federal census, both women were listed as widows. Veronica Maciejewski was living at 242 Detroit Street, with her children Anthony (17), Constanty (15), Victoria (12), Mary (11), Ann (8), and Louis (5).
In 1900, Teofila Jurek was at 169 Rother Avenue with Wladislawa (14), Mary (13), Frank (11), Stanislawa (9), and Teofila’s mother, Anna Rosa (78).
Further research in church and civil records in Bobrowo and Słupy, Prussia, as well as Buffalo, New York, showed the birth dates for the children of these families.
In 1905, the Jurek family lived at 160 Stanislaus Street: Teofila (41), Mary (18), Frank (16), Stella (14), and Anna (84).
The Maciejewski family lived at 303 Detroit Street in 1905: Veronica (55), Anthony (22), Konstanty (20), Victoria (18), Mary (16), Anna (13), and Louis (10).
Both women purchased homes on Goodyear Avenue. In the Buffalo Courier on August 21, 1905, under DEEDS—CITY was “Martin Hauck to Veronica Maciejewska, Goodyear Avenue, west side, 520 feet north Empire Street, 30 feet front, $1.” On June 15, 1907, under MORTGAGES—CITY was the entry “Teofila Jurek to Grace H. Selkirk, Goodyear Avenue. 385.69 feet south Sycamore Street. $2,000.”
1910 Census Records
There were more changes to the families. In the 1910 census, Thaddeus Jurek (2) had joined the Telofila Jurek family at 212 Goodyear Avenue, along with Frank (21), Maryanna (22), and Stella (19).
Władysława Jurek had married Szczepan Kubiak about 1903 and the couple were living with their four children Edward, Mary, Louisa, and Irene at 97 Koons Avenue for the 1910 census.
On 5 Aug 1907, Antoni Maciejewski had married Marya Szczepańska in Bennington, New York. In the 1910 census, they and their daughters Sophia and Celia were living with his mother and his siblings Victoria (28), Mary (21), Anna (18), and Ludwik (15) at 127 Goodyear Avenue.
On 5 Apr 1910, Konstanty Maciejewski had married Marya Kajdasz in Buffalo, New York, and the couple was living at 301 Mills Street. Konstanty was called Gust, and used the name August Warner in later years, as documented in How Did Maciejewski Become Warner?
Marianna Jurek Married Szczepan Kozłowski
In America, Telofila was called Tillie Jurek. She and her cat were featured in a story in the Buffalo Courier on 27 February 1915, “Destroys Two of Cat’s Lives and Draws Fine of $10 in City Court.”
Tillie Rosa was listed as the bride’s mother when Mary Anna Jurek married Szczepan Kozłowski in the Polish National Catholic Church in Rochester, New York, on 18 Oct 1919.
In the 1920 census, Tadeusz Jurek, 12 years old, is listed as the nephew of Frank (31), living with his grandmother, Teofila (60), and Stanisława (28), at 212 Goodyear Avenue in Buffalo.
In the 1925 New York census, the Stephen and Mary Kozłowski family at 19 Pulaski Street in Rochester includes Theodore Jurek, age 18 and Frank Kozłowski, age 3.
Still at 19 Pulaski Street in Rochester in 1940, Stephen and Mary Kozłowski’s family included Frank (18), Richard (13), and Norma (10).
Mary (Jurek) Kozłowski died 1 Mar 1947 at her home, 19 Pulaski St. The account in the Rochester NY Democrat Chronicle of 4 March 1947 said she was survived by her husband, “one daughter Norma Kozlowski; three sons, Theodore of Hicksvllle, N. Y., Frank, and Cpl. Richard Kozlowski, U. S. Marine Corp.; one sister, Mrs. Lottie Kubiak; one brother, Frank Jurek, two granddaughters and one grandson; several nieces and nephews.”
When Frank Kozłowski died in 1961, his obituary in the Rochester NY Democrat Chronicle on 26 July 1961 stated “Survivors include his wife, two brothers, Theodore Jurek of Bethpage, L.I., and Deputy Sheriff Richard Kozlowski of Churchville; a sister, Norma Kozlowski of Brockport, and several nieces and nephews.”
Theodore Jurek joined the United States Army 29 Sep 1927. He married Helen Skszyba, daughter of Stanisław Skszyba and Marya Pliszka, who was born 23 Jan 1910 in Duryea, Luzerne, Pennsylvania, United States. The couple lived with their three children on Nassau Road in Hempstead, Nassau, New York in the 1940 federal census.
Theodore Jurek’s military and Social Security records said he was born 21 Mar 1906 and died 2 Oct 1977. His last residence was listed as Bethpage, New York. He and his wife Helen were buried at Long Island National Cemetery.
Because in former generations, physical proximity was needed to create a baby, I have looked for common places where our known ancestors lived. Based on my “extremely high” AncestryDNA connections with his great-grandson and another Jurek descendant (208 centimorgans shared across 8 DNA segments, an estimated second cousin), and even more Maciejewski family descendants in common, we know the families are related. Perhaps additional research in Buffalo records and further analysis of DNA relationships will give more information about the identity of Tadeusz‘ father, but meanwhile, we remain DNA cousins.
Notes About Names
Because Polish people would speak the Polish language and give their children Polish names, they are the first names I have listed here. Other names listed in church and official records from Prussia may be in Latin or German, and names in American records may be either an English version of the same name (Ludwik/Louis), or an Americanized nickname (Władysława/Lottie).
“Nassau Summer Brides,” Nassau Review-Star, Freeport, New York, 3 July 1950, Page 5, col 1.
St. Adalbert RC Church, Buffalo, New York, Church records, FHL microfilm, Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah, Stanisława Jurek.
Łukasz Bielecki, “Poznan Project,” database, Poznan Project (http://poznan-project.psnc.pl: accessed March 2018), Jurek – Rossa; citing church records or Urząd Stanu Cywilnego (Civil Registry Office).
“Killed by the Cars”, Buffalo Evening News, Buffalo, New York, 6 March 1890, page 1.
Buffalo, New York, death certificate no. 231 (1 May 1896), Jan Madjewski; City Clerk’s Office, City Hall, Buffalo, New York.
St. Stanislaus Bishop & Martyr RC Church (Buffalo, New York), , Death Register, 1896, Jan Maciejewski; FHL microfilm .
1900 Federal Census, United States, population schedule, Buffalo (city), New York, enumeration district (ED) 70, Veronica Maciejewski
1900 Federal Census, New York, population schedule, Buffalo Ward 14, Erie, New York, Anna Rosa
LDS Family History Library, “Bobrowo (Brodnica),” database, Kościół rzymsko-katolicki. Parafja, Family Search (familysearch.com: accessed February 2018), Anton Maciejewski; citing Germany, Preußen, Westpreußen, Bobrau – Church records.
LDS Family History Library, “Słupy (Szubin),” database, Kościół rzymsko-katolicki. Parafja, Family Search (familysearch.com: accessed 11 May 2018), Władysława and Marianna Jurek; citing Germany, Preußen, Posen, Slupy – Church records.
1905 New York State Census, New York, population schedule, Buffalo Ward 14, Erie, New York, USA, Anna Rosa
1905 New York State Census, New York, population schedule, Buffalo, New York, , Veronica Maciejewski
DEEDS Veronica Maciejewska, Buffalo Courier, Buffalo, New York, 21 August 1905, Page 8, column 4.
MORTGAGES Teofila Jurek, Buffalo Courier, Buffalo, New York, 15 June 1907.
1910 Federal Census, New York State, population schedule, Buffalo Ward 12, Erie, New York, Stephen Kubiak
1910 Federal Census, New York State, population schedule, Buffalo, New York, Veronica Maciejewski
Konstantyn Maciejewski and Mary Kajdasz, (5 April 1910), Marriage Record; Erie County Courthouse, Buffalo, New York.
1910 Federal Census, New York State, population schedule, Buffalo, New York, enumeration district (ED) 104, sheet 18, Gustav Maciejewski
1910 Federal Census, New York State, population schedule, Buffalo Ward 12, Erie, New York, Teofila Jurek
“Destroys Two of Cat’s Lives and Draws Fine of $10 in City Court” Buffalo Courier, Buffalo, New York, 27 February 1915, page 6, column 2-3
New York, County Marriage Records, 1847-1849, 1907-1936 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016.
1920 Federal Census, New York, population schedule, Buffalo Ward 16, Erie, New York, Teofila Jurek
1925 New York State Census, New York, population schedule, Rochester Ward 17, Monroe, Stephen Kozlowski
1940 Federal Census, New York, population schedule, Rochester, Monroe, New York, 19 Pulaski Street, Stephen Kozlowski
1940 Federal Census, New York, population schedule, Hempstead, Nassau, New York, Theodore Jurek
Mary Kozlowski, Democrat Chronicle, Rochester, New York, 4 March 1947, page 6.
Frank Kozlowski, Democrat Chronicle, Rochester, New York, 26 July 1961.
Social Security Administration, “U.S. Social Security Death Index,” database, Social Security Applications and Claims (: accessed December 2017), Helen Jurek, 053546980.
Social Security Administration, “U.S. Social Security Death Index,” database, Death Master File (: accessed February 2018), Theodore Jurek, 111-01-8499, before 1951.
US VA, National Cemetery Administration, “Nationwide Gravesite Locator,” database, US Department of Veteran Affairs (http://gravelocator.cem.va.gov/ : accessed January 2018), Theodore S Sr Jurek.
Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 11 May 2018), memorial page for Theodore S Jurek, Sr (21 Mar 1906–2 Oct 1977), Find A Grave Memorial no. 2718164, citing Long Island National Cemetery, East Farmingdale, Suffolk County, New York, USA ; Maintained by US Veterans Affairs Office (contributor 5) .
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[…] names would change over time. Our Polish ancestors gave their children Polish names, but as they and their offspring became assimilated, the names would become more English sounding. […]