Discovering our Ancestors' Travels and Travails

I remember family gatherings with the Solowski and Mastykarz families as a child. They were friendly and fun, and they encouraged my perhaps overly cautious parents to relax a bit and let kids play. Everyone was a cousin somehow and we were all family! When I grew up and tried to identify our exact relationships, my mother knew that Mary Mastykarz was her mother’s sister, and Mary Solowski was their cousin, and they had all come from Poland years ago.

From American records I was able to find that Mary Solowski‘s birth name was Maryanna Witoń, and that she was the daughter of Michał Witoń and Jadwiga Duma. Mary Mastykarz and my grandmother Agnieszka were the daughters of Maryanna Witoń and Wincenty Kapuściński.

Maryanna Witoń and Agnieszka Kapuścińska were first cousins

It was not until I was able to research in Polish records that I was able to confirm that Michał and Maryanna Witoń were siblings, the children of Kacper Witoń and Teresa Kaczmarz.

Cistercian church of St. Florian, Koprzywnica, Sandomierz
Koprzywnica, Sandomierz, Świętokrzyskie, Poland

In October 1888, Michał Witoń married Jadwiga Duma at Kościół św. Floriana, the Church of St. Florian, in Koprzywnica, near Sandomierz. While in 2019 Koprzywnica is in the Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship, in south-central Poland, in the time period before World War I this area was occupied by Russia, so the record is written in Cyrillic.

1888 Marriage, Michał Witoń and Jadwiga Duma, Koprzywnica, Sandomierz

#37 Gnieszowice, Michał Witoń, Jadwiga Duma
It happened in the town of Koprzywnica on 12/24 October 1888 at 10 o’clock in the morning. We declare that —in the presence of the witnesses Antoni Wilk, 50 years old, and Jakób Rozwadeski, 44 years old, peasants from Gnieszowice— a religious marital union was contracted between Michał Witoń, a peasant, 25 years old, bachelor, son of Kacper and the late Theresa née Kaczmar, born in Gnieszowice, and Jadwiga Duma, a maiden, 17 years old, daughter of the late Wawrzyniec and Wiktoria née Siudak, born in Gnieszowice.
This wedding was preceded by three announcements [of the banns] on 18/30 November[should be September], 25 November [should be September], 7 October, and 2/14 October of the current year. The religious ceremony of the wedding was performed by the clergyman Teodor Pajązckowski. This document was read aloud to the declaring witnesses and signed by Us.
[signed: pr(iest) Pajączkowski]

Michał and Jadwiga were the parents of these children that I found in the Koprzywnica records:

  • Jan WITOŃ (1891-)
  • Maryanna WITOŃ (1893-1971)
  • Roch WITOŃ (1896-)
  • Michał WITOŃ (1899-)
  • Zofia WITOŃ (1902-)
  • Piotr WITOŃ (1905-)
  • Józef WITOŃ (1909-)

Maryanna Witoń was born 1893 in Gnieszowice, a small village near Koprzywnica, Sandomierz. Her godmother was her father’s sister Maryanna Witoń Kapuścińska .

1893 birth record, Marianna Witoń, Gnieszowice, Koprzywnica, Sandomierz

#194 Gnieszowice, Marianna Witoń

It happened in Koprzywnica on the 19th September/ 1st of October, 1893. He appeared Michał Witon, age 31 from Gnieszowice , witnesses:
Franciszek Lis, age 32 & Jan Furtiak 28 of Gnieszowice
and presented a baby girl, born in Gnieszowice the 17th/29th of September to his wife, Jadwiga née Duma, age 22
baptized baby Marianna whose godparents were:
Franciszek Lis & Marianna Kapuscinska

abstract, 1893 birth record, Marianna Witoń, Gnieszowice, Koprzywnica

Maryanna Witoń immigrated to Buffalo, New York, in 1912 and married Józef Solowski at Corpus Christi Roman Catholic Church in Buffalo, New York, on 26 Jan 1915. The witnesses were John Witon and Josepha Brodzia.

Photograph of the Solowski Family shared by a descendant

Józef SOLOWSKI and Maryanna WITOŃ had the following children:

  • Jan SOLOWSKI was born on 22 Oct 1915 in Buffalo, Erie, New York, United States. Jan died of injuries suffered in a January 18 auto accident on 11 Feb 1939 at the age of 23 at Emergency Hospital in Buffalo, Erie, New York, United States. In English, his name was John.
  • Stanisława SOLOWSKA, born 27 Aug 1917, Buffalo, Erie, New York, United States; married Edmund E. WROŃSKI, 23 Jun 1947, Buffalo, Erie, New York, United States; died Nov 1980, Buffalo, Erie, New York, United States. Stanisława used the name Stella.
  • Józefa M. SOLOWSKA, born 29 Feb 1920, Buffalo, Erie, New York, United States; married Bronisław P. BICIO, Jul 1948, Buffalo, Erie, New York, United States; died 6 Nov 2008, Sloan, Erie, New York, United States. Józefa used the name Josephine and was called Josie.
  • Władysław P. SOLOWSKI, born 10 Mar 1922, Buffalo, Erie, New York, United States; married Gertruda B. RATKA, 17 Jun 1950; died 25 Nov 2009. Władysław used the name Ladislaus as a child and Walter as an adult.
  • Bolesław SOLOWSKI, born 7 Feb 1924, Buffalo, Erie, New York, United States; married Delfina BROCIEK, 21 Jun 1947; died 24 Jun 1973 at age 49. Bolesław was called Bill, and used the name William.

In the 1920, 1930, and 1940 censuses, Józef and Maryanna Solowski and their family lived at 25 Jones Street in Buffalo, New York. When Josef registered for the World War II old man’s draft in 1942, his address was the restaurant at 104 Fillmore Street, Buffalo, New York.

Sadly, Józef Solowski died 17 July 1942 and was buried at St. Stanislaus Bishop and Martyr Cemetery in Cheektowaga. After the death of her husband, Mary Solowski owned and managed the Top Hill Grill at Fillmore and South Division Street in Buffalo, New York.

Walter and William Solowski both served in the military in World War II. Walter enlisted 23 Dec 1942 in the Army Air Corps. William enlisted 18 Jan 1943 in the United States Marine Corps.

In 1950, the Solowski, Wronski, Solowski, and Bicio families lived at 102 and 104 Fillmore Street in Buffalo, Erie, New York.

1950 census, Solowski, Wronski, Solowski, and Bicio families at 102 and 104 Fillmore Street in Buffalo, Erie, New York

Maryanna Witoń Solowska died 22 Apr 1971, and was also laid to rest in St. Stanislaus Cemetery. Top Hill Grill, the family business begun in 1940, was continued by Walter and Trudy Solowski, and lasted almost 70 years.

Family of Maryanna Witoń Solowska

Update June, 2019: Our genetic connection was verified with Ancestry DNA evidence, when two descendants of Maryanna Witoń Solowski matched three descendants of Agnieszka Kapuścińska Skrok Kiec, as well as a woman in Poland who had tested her DNA about 2016.

Update April 2022: Added 1950 census.


Comments on: "Family of Maryanna Witoń Solowska" (10)

  1. Hey,
    I think I may have helped in your Witon research on Facebook! Small world.

    I try to help those whose family come the Russian-Poland partition, particularly those from Kielce (Kieleckie) Gubernia/Wojewodztwo.

    Thanks for following my blog. I will follow yours too and it to my blogroll.

    — mike


    • Yes, you did, and thank you! Geneteka has been very helpful, but I would not have know about it and Genbaza if not for you and other researchers sharing your expertise!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. […] Solowski was the daughter of Józef Solowski and Maryanna Witoń. Józef and Maryanna were married in Buffalo on 26 Jan […]


  3. […] he was a victim of his own secrets. While he had been invited both to my parents’ and his Solowski cousins’ house for Thanksgiving dinner in 1992, he declined both invitations. He led each family to believe […]


  4. […] I went to the documents. I ordered copies of my grandmother, her sister, and their cousin’s Social Security applications, and found they had been born in Gnieszowice, Koprzywnica, a small […]


  5. […] I recognized two of RD and my “Relatives in Common”–JH and TM–as descendants of my grandmother’s sister Marianna Kapuścińska Mastykarz. Another of our relatives in common–CK–was a descendant of my grandmother’s cousin Marianna Witoń Solowska. […]


  6. […] While many of the letters were addressed to Josephine‘s brother Edmund Wronski, others were sent to Edmund‘s wife’s mother Maryanna Witoń Solowska and her family. […]


  7. […] Christi Roman Catholic Church in Buffalo, Erie, New York, on 26 Jan 1915. I wrote about the “Family of Maryanna Witoń Solowski,” but we did not know much about the origins of Józef […]


  8. […] Clues to Solowski Family Origins in Poland,” Genowefa Solowska Dojutrek‘s letters to Maryanna Witoń Solowska in 1960 and 1970 provided the clues to Maryanna‘s husband Józef Solowski‘s origins in […]


  9. […] about three young women–two sisters, Maryanna and Agnieszka Kapuścińska and their cousin Maryanna Witoń–born in Gnieszowice, Koprzywnica, Sandomierz, Radom, Congress Poland, Russia, who left their […]


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