In 2017 I was contacted by an Ancestry DNA match looking for information. JS explained that his father died when he was seven years old, so he did not know much about his father’s family. We shared 28 centiMorgans across 2 segments and did not have any shared DNA matches, so there were no clues.
I replied that my ancestors had came to the United States from two places. My father’s families were from West Prussia in the 1880s. My mother’s families were from the Russian occupied area near Sandomierz, Poland. As we did not show any DNA matches in common, I could not tell which family side we matched. I had posted trees of my ancestors. I explained that some of them were his relatives, some may even be his ancestors generations back, or may identify a place where his ancestors also lived.
Standard family history advice is to start with what you know, and fill in the blanks as you go along. Sometimes people find close matches who can share information on immediate family, but our connection goes back multiple generations. We might be related through one of his 16 great-great-grandparents, his 32 g-g-g-grandparents, or even further back! I wished him luck with his search.
In 2018, JS wrote that he had posted what he had found on his tree, and noted that our ethnicity estimates showed we both were Polish. Although our paternal families had immigrated earlier, we each had Polish maternal grandparents who were born in the old country. The family tree he shared showed that his father’s family came from the part of Poland that was occupied by Germany in the 19th century, while his mother’s family came from Galicia, the southern part of Poland that was occupied by the Austrian Empire until WWI. It seemed likely we would match through our father’s families.
In 1900, William, Hattie, Eva, Milliara, and Stacie Swobodzinski lived at 66F North 7th Street in Brooklyn, Kings, New York.
In 1910, Walter, Agnes, Lottie, Statia, Tessie, Wanda, and John Swobodzinski lived at 66F North 7th Street in Brooklyn, Kings, New York.
I shared my thoughts on Swobodziński Polish names:
- William/Walter was probably Władysław
- Hattie/Agnes was possibly Jadwiga (Hedwig in German)
- Eva would be Ewa in Polish
- Lottie was probably Władysława (often Lottie or Charlotte)
- Stacie/Statia was probably Stanisława (or Stella)
- Tessie was possibly Teresa
- Wanda is a Polish name 🙂
- John was probably Jan
In New York City records, I found death information for Jadwiga Swobodzinska, who died 14 May 1924 and Wladyslaw Swobodzinski, who died 4 May 1925. They were buried in Saint John Cemetery in Middle Village, Queens County, New York.
|Birth Date:||abt 1874|
|Years in US:||30 Years|
|Death Date:||11 May 1924|
|Death Street Address:||94 Wythe Ave|
|Death Place:||New York City, Brooklyn, New York, USA|
|Cause of Death:||Chronic Endocarditis, Diabetes|
|Burial Date:||14 May 1924|
|Burial Place:||St Johns Cemetery|
|Father’s Birth Place:||Poland|
|Mother’s Birth Place:||Poland|
|Birth Date:||abt 1866|
|Residence Street Address:||94 North 8th St|
|Years in US:||33 Years|
|Death Date:||1 May 1925|
|Hospital:||Beth Moses Hospital|
|Death Place:||New York City, Brooklyn, New York, USA|
|Cause of Death:||Cerebral Headdiseas Fracture Auto Accident Dentition|
|Burial Date:||4 May 1925|
|Burial Place:||St Johns Cemetery|
|Father’s Birth Place:||Ireland|
|Mother’s Birth Place:||Ireland|
|Mother:||Mary Anne Swobodzinski|
In 1925, the three youngest children– Tessie, Wanda, and John Swobodzinski–were together at 94 North 8th Street in Brooklyn, Kings, New York.
I had some questions.
- Did Ewa die or get married?
- Did Stella marry Charles A Bollmann in 1917?
- Did Władysława marry Joseph Jadek in 1920?
- Did Wanda marry Dominic Cilli?
- What happened to John after 1925?
- When and where were John and Anna married?
- Do you have any family records that have other clues?
I recommend checking out brothers and sisters, because sometimes their records have clues, and sometimes they confirm other sources. If you have any idea about the church they attended, those records can be VERY informative. I was able to trace my ancestors back to the old country that way.
JS replied that Wanda did marry Dominick Cilli. JS worked on his Uncle Dominick‘s dairy farm from the time he was 10 until he was 18. I shared Dominick Cilli‘s 1979 obituary from the East Hampton Star, which listed his wife Wanda Swobodzinski. Jan/John Swobodzinski had married Anna Grab in New Jersey in 1943 and they also lived on Long Island, New York.
From Russia or Prussia?
There was a discrepancy between the place of origin for the Swobodzinski family census records. In 1900, it says they’re from Russian Poland, and in 1910, they are from German Poland. I thought the latter may be correct, because I was looking for my ancestors, and saw the Swobodziński name in the “Roman Catholic parish registers of baptisms, marriages and deaths for Niezywienc (Kr. Strasburg), Westpreußen, Germany; now Nieżywięć (Brodnica), Bydgoszcz, Poland. Includes Seeheim (Kr. Briesen), now Osieczek (Wąbrzeźno), Bydgoszcz, Poland. Text in Latin and Polish with some German.”
I found arrival records for Władysław through the Castle Garden website. Castle Garden was the entry point for immigrants to New York before Ellis Island was established in 1892.
Arr. 5 Apr 1890
Port of Departure BREMEN & SOUTHAMPTON
Last Residence BRIESEN
Briesen was the German name for Wąbrzeźno, Poland.
Jadwiga and Ewa Swobodzinska arrived in New York 29 Dec 1890 on the ship Aller from Bremen and Southampton.
Because of the proximity, I suggested JS might want to check the records of Nieżywięć and Wąbrzeźno, although they may have come from other nearby villages.
In 2020, I wrote about another of my DNA relatives’ families, the Faltynowski family who immigrated to Jersey City, New Jersey, in Faltynowski Family: From Russia or Prussia? and Faltynowski Family Came From Prussia! There were some similarities with the Swobodziński family. Both families listed their place of origin in American records as both Russia and Prussia. The places listed in their passenger lists–Wąbrzeźno, Pluskowęsy, and Golub–are near Nieżywięć, where my paternal great-grandparents were married in 1869.
Polish Names in America
I was intrigued by our DNA connection and wanted to follow up with Polish names in JS‘ family tree, and it worked! Both Władysława (Lottie)’s birth record in New Jersey and Teresa‘s social security record say that their mother’s birth name was Jadwiga Jankowska. Teresa married Józef Serpenski and they were buried in Saint John Cemetery in Queens, the same place as Władysław and Jadwiga.
Here are the children of Władysław Swobodziński and Jadwiga Jankowska.
- Ewa Swobodzińska, born 20 Apr 1889, Prussia; married Franciszek Piekarski, 3 May 1908, Kings, New York; she died 14 Mar 1926.
- Antoni Swobodziński was born in 1894 in United States, died 17 Jul 1895, Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey.
- Władysława Swobodzińska, born 9 Oct 1897, Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey; married Józef Jadach, 5 Feb 1920, Brooklyn, Kings, New York; she died September 1992.
- Stanisława Swobodzińska, born 22 Feb 1900, Brooklyn, Kings, New York; married Charles Bollman, 23 Oct 1917, Brooklyn, Kings, New York; married Cornelius Cosgrove 22 Feb 1943; she died 1 Jan 1997.
- Teresa Swobodzińska, born 9 Jan 1902, Brooklyn, Kings, New York; married Józef Serpinski, 7 Jan 1926, Brooklyn, Kings, New York; she died 23 Nov 1988.
- Wanda Swobodzińska, born 23 Oct 1904, Brooklyn, Kings, New York; married Dominick Cilli, 16 Feb 1946, Southampton, Suffolk, New York; she died 21 Apr 2005.
- Jan Swobodziński, born 15 Jan 1906, Brooklyn, Kings, New York; married Anna Grab, 1943, New Jersey; he died 22 Oct 1952, Southampton, Suffolk, New York.
So from American records, we knew that the Swobodziński family came from Briesen/Wąbrzeźno, that they were married about 1887, and their daughter Ewa was born about 1889 in the old country.
Władysław Swobodziński and Jadwiga Jankowska
Władysław Swobodziński and Jadwiga Jankowska were married on 25 November 1887 in Groß Radowisk, Briesen, Westpreußen, Preußen. Today it is Wielkie Radowiska, a village in the administrative district of Gmina Dębowa Łąka, within Wąbrzeźno County, Kujawsko-Pomorskie, in north-central Poland. He was 24 years old, and she was 18 years old. Both Władysław and Jadwiga lived in Małe Pułkowo, a nearby village.
The German word groß means greater or large, as does the Polish word wielkie. Both the German word klein and the Polish word małe mean small. Of course, the exact form of the word depends on the gender, number, and case of the word it is modifying.
Władysław Swobodziński and Jadwiga Jankowska‘s civil marriage record from the Toruń Archives was even more informative.
Klein Pulkowo on November 23, 1887
Today appeared at the signed registrar for the purpose of marriage
1. day laborer Wladislaus Swobodzinski, catholic, born on October 14, 1863 in Sloszewo district Strasburg residing in Klein Pulkowo previous Danzig/Weichselmündung , son of farmhand Ignatz Swobodzinski and Julianna nee Apostołowicz residing in Klein Pulkowo
2. the unmarried day laborer Hedwig Jankowska, catholic, born on September 2, 1869 in Piontkowo residing in Klein Pulkowo, daughter of night watchman Marjan Jankowski and Rosalie nee Zawadzka residing in Klein Pulkowo
page 2 witnesses:
3. farmhand Ignatz Swobodzinski 51 ys. old, residing in Klein Pulkowo father of the groom
4. grocer Lorenz Walter 43 ys. old, residing in Klein Pulkowo
Signatures: the bride and her father-in-law signed with +++1887 marriage, Władysław Swobodziński and Jadwiga Jankowska, Klein Pulkowo
Lorenz was Wawrzyniec in Polish, which is how he signed his name. Wawrzyniec Walter was born in Piątkowo in 1845, the son of Józef Walter and Agnieszka Jankiewicz/Jankowska (records differ).
The Swobodziński family lived in Małe Pułkowo and that is where their daughter Ewa was born 20 April 1889. She was baptized in Groß Radowisk, Briesen / Wielkie Radowiska, Wąbrzeźno.
Ewa Swobodzińska‘s birth was registered in Lobdowo. Małe Pułkowo was called Klein Pulkowo in the German record.
Ignacy Swobodziński and Julianna Apostołowicz
Władysław‘s parents Ignacy Swobodziński and Julianna Postolska [Apostołowicz] were married in 1862 in Wrotzk, Strasburg, Westpreußen, Preußen. Today it is Wrocki, Golub-Dobrzyń, Golub-Dobrzyń, Kujawsko-Pomorskie, Poland. He was 26 and she was 22 years old. The witnesses were Jan Betlejewski and Marcin Wiśniewski. Julianna‘s last name is listed as Postolska in this record instead of Apostołowicz. Both names are from the Polish root word apostoł, “apostle.” “Unfortunately, obtaining a scan of an entry from the record book is impossible. The Archives of Historical Records of the Toruń Diocese do not allow the taking of photos or scans of books.” This certificate from the Toruń Diocesan Archives was issued in 2021.
Władysław Swobodziński was born 14 October 1863 in Słoszewo and baptized 18 October 1863 in Wrocki.
Ignacy Swobodziński and Julianna Apostołowicz were the parents of several children–Władisław, Franciszka, Franciszek Antoni, Bronisława, and Pelagia–who were indexed in the Polish Genealogy Society database Geneteka.
Marian Jankowski and Rozalia Zawadzka
Jadwiga‘s parents Marian Jankowski and Rozalia Zawadzka were married in early 1858 in Pluskowenz, Briesen, Marienwerder, Westpreußen, Preußen. It is now Pluskowęsy, Kowalewo Pomorskie, Golub-Dobrzyń, Kujawsko-Pomorskie, Poland. He was 31 and she was 25 years old, and they lived in the nearby village of Piątkowo.
Jadwiga Jankowska was born September 1869 in Piątkowo and baptized in Pluskowęsy.
Marian Jankowski and Rozalia Zawadzka were the parents of several children–Józef, Szymon, Jan, Józefina, Jadwiga, and Stanisław–who were indexed in the Polish Genealogy Society database Geneteka.
Ancestors of Jan Swobodziński
The places of the Swobodziński and Jankowski families were near Niezywienc, Strasburg, Marienwerder, Westpreußen, Preußen, where my great-grandparents Jan Maciejewski and Weronika Lewandowska were married in 1869. It is now Nieżywięć. Bobrowo, Brodnica, Kujawsko-Pomorskie, Poland.
|Marienwerder, Westpreußen, Preußen||Kujawsko-Pomorskie, Poland|
|Groß Radowisk, Briesen||Wielkie Radowiska, Dębowa Łąka, Wąbrzeźno|
|Klein Pulkowo, Briesen||Małe Pułkowo, Dębowa Łąka, Wąbrzeźno|
|Lobedau, Briesen||Łobdowo, Dębowa Łąka, Wąbrzeźno|
|Wrotz, Strasburg||Wrocki, Golub-Dobrzyń, Golub-Dobrzyń|
|Schlossau, Strasburg||Słoszewy, Bobrowo, Brodnica|
|Pusta Dombrowken, Strasburg||Pusta Dąbrówka, Golub-Dobrzyń, Golub-Dobrzyń|
|Pluskowenz, Briesen||Pluskowęsy, Kowalewo Pomorskie, Golub-Dobrzyń|
|Piontkowo, Briesen||Piątkowo, Kowalewo Pomorskie, Golub-Dobrzyń|
Final Resting Place
Saint John Cemetery in Middle Village, Queens, New York was the final resting place for many members of the Swobodziński family.
Jadwiga and Władisław Swobodziński were buried in 1924 and 1925 and Ewa Swobodzińska Pickarska was buried in 1926. Muriel (Bollman?) was buried in 1928. Joseph Serpenski was buried in 1953. Theresa Serpenski‘s name is on the stone, but not the year of her death, 1988.
The Jadach family phonetically Americanized their name to Yadah, and Władisława Swobodzińska Jadach adopted the name Ida in America. This family is also buried here:
- Joseph Yadah, 11 Mar 1986
- Ida Yadah, 1 Oct 1992
- Edward Yadah, 1 May 1997
- Helen Mary Yadah, 13 May 2009
- Thomas Yadah, 27 Nov 2018
While JS and I found his immigrant grandparents and his great-grandparents in the old country, we would have to go back several more generations to find common ancestors. However, we discovered that our families came from the same area of West Prussia!
- Nieżywięć, http://www.kartenmeister.com/preview/City.asp?CitNum=20065, https://www.meyersgaz.org/place/20335009, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nie%C5%BCywi%C4%99%C4%87,_Kuyavian-Pomeranian_Voivodeship.
- Wąbrzeźno, http://www.kartenmeister.com/preview/City.asp?CitNum=23697, https://www.meyersgaz.org/place/10240065, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W%C4%85brze%C5%BAno.
- Wielkie Radowiska, http://www.kartenmeister.com/preview/City.asp?CitNum=26726, https://www.meyersgaz.org/place/20538046, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wielkie_Radowiska.
- Małe Pułkowo, http://www.kartenmeister.com/preview/City.asp?CitNum=90050, https://www.meyersgaz.org/place/10997081, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ma%C5%82e_Pu%C5%82kowo.
- Łobdowo, http://www.kartenmeister.com/preview/City.asp?CitNum=90030, https://www.meyersgaz.org/place/20084015, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%81obdowo.
- Wrocki, http://www.kartenmeister.com/preview/City.asp?CitNum=26689, https://www.meyersgaz.org/place/21197034, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wrocki.
- Słoszewy, http://www.kartenmeister.com/preview/City.asp?CitNum=26718, https://www.meyersgaz.org/place/20724020, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%C5%82oszewy.
- Pusta Dąbrowka, http://www.kartenmeister.com/preview/City.asp?CitNum=26697, https://www.meyersgaz.org/place/20527009, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pusta_D%C4%85br%C3%B3wka.
- Pluskowęsy, http://www.kartenmeister.com/preview/City.asp?CitNum=26750, https://www.meyersgaz.org/place/20491023, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pluskow%C4%99sy,_Golub-Dobrzy%C5%84_County.
- Piątkowo, http://www.kartenmeister.com/preview/City.asp?CitNum=26785, https://www.meyersgaz.org/place/20481034, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pi%C4%85tkowo,_Golub-Dobrzy%C5%84_County.
- LDS Family History Library, “Wrocki,” database, Kościół rzymsko-katolicki. Parafja, Family Search (familysearch.com: accessed 26 June 2021), Ladislaus Swobodzinski; citing Germany, Preußen, Westpreußen, Wrotzk – Church records.
- “Polskie Towarzystwo Genealogiczne,” database, Polish Genealogical Society, Geneteka (geneteka.genealodzy.pl: accessed 26 June 2021), 1863 61 Ladislaus Szwobodziński Ignatius Julianna Apostolska Wrocki Słoszewy; citing church records or Urząd Stanu Cywilnego (Civil Registry Office).
- “Passenger Lists,” database, The Battery Conservancy, Castle Garden (castlegarden.org: accessed 3 June 2018), WLADISL SWOBODZIEWSKI; citing ship manifests.
- “Passenger Lists,” database, The Statue of Liberty – Ellis Island Foundation, Ellis Island (www.libertyellisfoundation.org: accessed 12 February 2020), Wladisl Swobodzienski; citing ship manifests.
- New York City Death, Certificate Number: 9213, Wladyslaw Swofoodzinski, 1 May 1925; Death Records, New York, New York.
- New York City Death, Certificate Number: 9213, Wladyslaw Swobodzinski.
- “Find a Grave,” database, Find a Grave (findagrave.com: accessed 4 August 2021), Wladyslaw Swobodzinski; citing cemetery records.
- Geneteka, 1887 12 Władysław Swobodziński Jadwiga Jankowska Wielkie Radowiska.
- “Archiwum Państwowe w Toruniu,” database, Genealogia w Archiwach (www.genealogiawarchiwach.pl: accessed 20 June 2021), Władisław Swobodzinski, Hedwig Jankowska; citing Urząd Stanu Cywilnego.
- “Genealogical Translations,” database, private Facebook group, Facebook (facebook.com: accessed 21 June 2021), Wladislaus Swobodzinski, Hedwig Jankowska.
- 1900 Federal Census, New York, population schedule, Brooklyn Ward 14, Kings, New York, William Swobodzinski; digital images, Twelfth Census of the United States (online : accessed 17 June 2018); National Archives and Records Administration, 1900. T623.
- 1910 Federal Census, New York State, population schedule, Brooklyn Ward 14, Kings, New York, Walter Swobodzenski; digital images, NARA microfilm publication T624 (: accessed 17 June 2018); Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910.
- Geneteka, 1869 30 Jadwiga Jankowska Marian Rozalia Zawadzka Pluskowęsy Piątkowo.
- Ellis Island, Jadwiga Swobodziwska.
- New York City Death, Certificate Number: 10002, Jadwiga Swobodzinska.
- Find a Grave, Jadwiga Swobodzinski.
- LDS Family History Library, “Wielkie Radowiska,” database, Kościół rzymsko-katolicki. Parafja, Family Search (familysearch.com: accessed 20 June 2021), Eva Swobodzińska; citing Germany, Preußen, Westpreußen, Groß Radowisk – Church records.
- Find a Grave, Eva B. Pickarski.
- New York, New York, Marriage Place: Kings, New York, USA: Certificate Number: 3553, Eva Swobadrinstra, Frank Pickharstra; Ancestry, ancestry.com.
- “New Jersey Birth Index,” database, Ancestry.com (: accessed 17 June 2018), Wladyslawa Swobodienski; New Jersey State Archives, Trenton, New Jersey.
- Find a Grave, Ida Yadah.
- New York, New York, Władysława Swobodzińska and Jozef Jadach: License Number: 1922.
- Joseph Yadah, Petition Date: 22 Mar 1926, New York, USA, Ancestry.com, Records of District Courts of the United States; Record Group Number: RG 21; National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D. C.
- Find a Grave, Joseph Yadah.
- Find a Grave, Edward J. Yadah.
- New York City Birth Place: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 16669, Helen Yadah, 24 April 1923; Birth Records, .
- Find a Grave, Helen Mary Yadah.
- Thomas Yadah, Old Colony Memorial, Plymouth, Massachusetts, 22 November 2018.
- Find a Grave, Thomas Yadah.
- Cosgrove Bolling marriage, Southampton Press, Southampton, New York, 9 April 1943, page 2. https://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/lccn/sn83007173/1943-04-09/ed-1/seq-2/.
- Social Security Administration, “U.S. Social Security Death Index,” database, Social Security Applications and Claims (online : accessed 8 August 2021), Sallie Cosgrove, 093164903.
- “United States Public Records Index, [database on-line],” database, “United States Public Records” (ancestry.com: accessed 9 August 2021), Sallie Swobdzinska; citing Original Data: Voter Registration Lists, Public Record Filings, Historical Residential Records, and Other Household Database Listings.
- Social Security Administration, “U.S. Social Security Death Index,” database, Death Master File (: accessed 8 August 2021), Sallie Cosgrove, 093-16-4903, before 1951.
- Sallie Cosgrove, Sag Harbor Express, Sag Harbor, New York, 9 January 1997, Page 4. https://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/lccn/sn90066145/1997-01-09/ed-1/seq-4/.
- New York, New York, : License Number: 18345.
- Southampton Press, 9 April 1943.
- Sag Harbor Express, 26 December 1957.
- Sag Harbor Express, 16 January 1958.
- Social Security Administration, “U.S. Social Security Death Index”, database, Social Security Applications and Claims, Eleanora Theresa Swobodzinski, 054109241, 1953.
- Theresa Serpenski,, East Hampton Star, East Hampton, New York, 1 December 1988, page 1-2, column 3.
- Find a Grave, Theresa Serpenski.
- New York, New York, Marriage License Place: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA: License Number: 410.
- Joseph J. Serpenski, Long Island Star-Journal, Long Island City, New York.
- Find a Grave, Joseph Serpenski.
- Social Security Administration, “U.S. Social Security Death Index”, database, Death Master File, Wanda Cilli.
- Social Security Administration, “U.S. Social Security Death Index”, database, Social Security Applications and Claims, Wanda Cilli, 096030414, 1951.
- New York State, Department of Health, Vital Records Index, Marriage, Certificate Number: 7940, Wanda S Swobodzinska, Dominick Cilli, 16 February 1946, Albany, New York.
- New York State Vital Records Index, Death, Certificate Number: 64739, John Swobodzinski.
- Find a Grave, John Swobodzinski.
- “New Jersey Marriage Index,” database, Ancestry.com (online : accessed 15 June 2021), John J Swobodzinski, Anna Grob; New Jersey State Archives, Trenton, New Jersey.
- Geneteka, 1862 13 Ignatz Swabowski Julianna Postolska Wrocki.
- Geneteka, 1858 3 Marian Jankowski Rozalia Zawadzka Pluskowęsy.
Comments on: "Swobodziński DNA Match: Finding a Common Location in West Prussia" (3)
This is amazing! All this research – you must really love it. It makes my eyes cross!
It is challenging, like a complicated knitting pattern! I like puzzles, and solving one piece leads to the next–eventually. I started this project in 2017 when JS asked about our DNA relationship, and found different pieces over several years. When people change names it is like trying to recover a dropped stitch. You have to weave it back into the pattern. Occasionally you make a mistake and have to unravel and start again. Finishing and sharing a project is very satisfying. Now, if I had better finger dexterity and eye-hand coordination, I would have other options. 🙂
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