Sometimes I stumble down into a rabbit hole of a family line of DNA matches even if it is not a line on which we are related. I did this with MG and KB‘s maternal grandmother’s family. I matched MG with 28 centiMorgans on Family Tree DNA, and when I was researching, I realized I matched her sister KB on Ancestry with 15 centiMorgans, as well as their sons GG and AB. So we are not close kin, but I wanted to see what I could find and share with my DNA cousins.
I looked first at their maternal grandmother Zofia Ziencina Slosarczyk‘s family. The name Ziencina is not found in Poland, but it is the phonetic equivalent of Zięcina, since the Polish letter ę sounds like “en.” The word zięć in Polish means son-in-law, and many names have their origin in this base word.
It took a while, but using obituaries and death notices, census, immigration, and naturalization records, we were able to identify MG and KB‘s maternal grandmother’s family of origin. Her parents and siblings had multiple marriages and they used other names in America, so even identifying their great-grandmother’s birth name took some effort. Although her descendants had heard her name spoken in Polish, the spelling was not as expected for the Polish name Łącka:
- The Polish letter Ł sounds like “w“
- The Polish letter ą sounds like “own”
- The Polish letter c sounds like “ts”
- The Polish letters ka sound like “ka.”
To hear how Katarzyna Łącka Zięcina sounds in Polish, click on the speaker icon here.
Katarzyna Łącka and her children with Jakób Zięcina were from Galicia, which was then part of the Austria-Hungarian Empire.
- Bronisława Zięcina (1897-1960)
- Stefania Zięcina (1900-2000)
- Zofia Zięcina (1901-1987)
- Karolina Zięcina (1903-)
- Kunegunda Zięcina (1905-1993)
- Maryanna Zięcina (1909-1941)
- Władysław Zięcina (1911-bef 1993)
Today the area they were from is Małopolska, the Lesser Poland Province of Poland. While most of the family immigrated to the United States, Karolina Zięcina was returned to Poland, possibly to her mother’s brothers Józef and Jędrzej Łącki. Family lore was that Karolina married in Poland and her son became a priest. Other descendants may live there still.
Katarzyna Łącka Zięcina Baran Dubis
Katarzyna Łącka‘s marriage to Jakób Zięcina did not last, with one family story saying that as she came in the front door where her husband was staying, he snuck out the back door.
Katarzyna Zięcina married Stanisław Baran in Chicago, Cook, Illinois on 25 Nov 1916. In 1920, Stanley and Kate Baran lived on Seeley Street in Chicago, Cook, Illinois, with Kate‘s daughters Stella and Sophy Ziencina.
In 1930, Stanley and Catherine Baran lived at 2034 Winchester Street in Chicago, Cook, Illinois. Bronisława/Bessie had married Władysław Garstka. Stefania/Stella had married Franciszek Fujara on 29 June 1920. Zofia/Sophia had married Wincenty Ślosarczyk in Chicago on 18 Jan 1922. Kunegunda/Genevieve had married Peter Karos in Chicago on 30 July 1924.
The youngest children–Maryanna and Władysław–had been adopted by Stanley Baran, and were now Marie and Walter Baran.
After the death of Stanisław/Stanley Baran in Chicago on 8 July 1932, Katarzyna Baran married Józef Dłubisz/Joseph Dubis. In 1940, Joseph and Katherine Dubis lived in Downers Grove, DuPage, Illinois.
Katarzyna Dubis died 20 June 1953. Her death notice, shared by her great-granddaughter MG, was published in the Polish newspaper Dziennik Chicagoski on 22 June 1953.
The abbreviation śp. for świętej pamięci, means “of holy memory.” Katarzyna Dubis lived in Downers Grove, the Winiarski funeral home made arrangements, the church was St. Hedwig, and the cemetery was St. Adalbert, in the family plot. Sadly, she was predeceased by her daughter Marianna. Left behind to grieve were her husband Józef, children Bronisława, Stefania, Zofia, Kunegunda, and Władysław, her sons-in-law Walter Garstka, Frank Fujara, Vincent Slosarczyk and John Grzech, her daughter-in-law Anna, grandsons and granddaughters and great-grandchildren, together with family.
Joseph Dubis died in 1956. His wife Agnieszka/Agnes had died in 1933 in Downers Grove, but “Kathryn, nee Baron” was in his 1956 death notice. His original Polish name was Dłubisz, according to his 1940 naturalization record. The difference is subtle: https://translate.google.com/?sl=pl&tl=en&text=D%C5%82ubisz&op=translate.
Zofia and her sister Stefania Zięcina arrived in New York 11 Sept 1912 on the ship Kronprinz Wilhelm from Bremen. They were accompanied by Bronisława Wilga and Honorata Kruczak. All four last lived in Jastrzębia, Galicia. Bronisława left her father Franciszek Wilga, and Honorata her father Ignacy Rzecina [Zięcina?]. Stefania and Zofia left their uncle, Jędrzej Łącki in Jastrzębia, Galicia.
They were going to Three Rivers, Massachusetts, a mill village in the Pioneer Valley, now in Palmer, Hampden, Massachusetts. Bronisława was joining her sister Rozalia Wilga, and Honorata was joining her brother-in-law Paweł Kiełbasa. Stefania and Zofia were joining their mother Katarzyna Zięcina, who had paid for the girls’ tickets. These travelers had been born in Jastrzębia, Galicia.
Stefania and Zofia were detained at Ellis Island as “Likely Public Charges.” They were admitted to the United States, probably because someone sent money and vouched for them.
The last four children–Karolina, Kunegunda, Maryanna, and Władysław–came together to the United States. They arrived in New York 2 November 1921 on the S.S. Potomac from Danzig. Their place of birth was Kąśna Górna, Małopolska. Because of their youth, the three younger ones were held at Ellis Island as “Likely Public Charges,” but they were eventually admitted to the United States.
Karolina arrived in New York 2 November 1921 and was admitted to the Ellis Island hospital. Her documentation listed “Medically Certified Trachoma.” Inspectors would use their fingers or button-hooks to check immigrants’ eyes. (The idea makes me cringe.) Trachoma was one of the primary medical reasons for deportation because it was contagious, hard to treat, and often resulted in blindness. Karolina was sent back to Europe 13 Jan 1922 on the ship Hudson. Although without modern antibiotics, treatments were limited, the Ellis Island Immigrant Hospital was reportedly good. Many people, like my grandfather, recovered in the hospital and then were admitted to the United States. But Ellis Island was “Isle of Hope, Isle of Tears” for many immigrants. While almost everyone was admitted before 1914, after World War I more people were deported.
Maryanna Zięcina Baran Kozłowska Kaye obtained a Certificate of Arrival when she petitioned for naturalization in 1941. Unfortunately, she died before it was approved, and her petition for naturalization was denied on 2 June 1942.
Kunegunda Zięcina Karos declared her intention to become an United States citizen 18 February 1944. She became a citizen 17 February 1948. She asked to have her name changed to Genevieve, and was known as Genewefa in Polish.
Other family members also became American citizens.
Obituaries and Death Notices
Maryanna—Maria Kaye–died 30 October 1941. Her death notice was in the Polish newspaper Dziennik Chicagoski on 31 October 1941. Left to mourn were her husband Władysław, her parents Józef and Katarzyna, her sisters Bronisława, Stefania, Zofia, and Genowefa, and her brother Władysław, along with the whole family.
Bronisława Gartska died 4 February 1960. Her death notice was in the Polish newspaper Dziennik Chicagoski on 5 February 1960.
In the Chicago Tribune, her name was Bernice Gartska. She was the sister of Stephanie Fujara, Genevieve Grzech, Sophia Slosarczyk, and Walter Baran.
Zofia—Sophia Slosarzyk–died 25 March 1987 in Chicago, Cook, Illinois.
Władysław—Walter Baran–died before 1993.
Kunegunda—Genevieve Grzech–died in 1993. Her obituary said that she was survived by her sister Stella Fulara [sic] in Chicago.
Stefania—Stella Fujara–lived to be 100 years old. Her 2000 obituary mentions her late siblings Walter, Bernice, Genevieve, Marie, and Sophie.
The Old Country
Jakób Zięcina and Katarzyna Łącka were married 26 September 1895 in Jastrzębia, Ciężkowice, Galicia.
Parafia św. Bartłomieja Apostoła w Jastrzębi is the Roman Catholic Parish of St. Bartholomew in Jastrzębia, Małopolskie. Wikipedia says “Jastrzębia [jasˈtʂɛmbja] is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Ciężkowice, within Tarnów County, Lesser Poland Voivodeship, in southern Poland. It lies approximately 9 kilometres (6 mi) west of Ciężkowice, 29 km (18 mi) south-west of Tarnów, and 72 km (45 mi) south-east of the regional capital Kraków.”
The record says Jakób Zięcina and Katarzyna Łącka were born and lived in Przybyłów, a property near Kaśna Górna, a local village.
Here is the Jastrzębia church virtual tour: http://www.360studio.org/spacery/jastrzebia.html.
- Hoffman, William F. Polish Surnames: Origins and Meanings. Chicago, Illinois : Polish Genealogical Society of America. 1993, Second Edition, Revised 2001. Third Edition, Revised 2012.
- Archdiocese of Chicago, “Catholic Cemeteries,” database, (https://www.catholiccemeterieschicago.org/ : accessed 15 November 2021), Katherine Dubis.
- Illinois, Cook County Birth Registers 1871-1922, Birth: Registration Date 19 Mar 1942, Certificate Number 131437, Walter Baron, 14 July 1911; Division of Vital Records, Springfield, Illinois.
- 1930 Federal Census, Illinois, population schedule, Chicago, Cook, Illinois, enumeration district (ED) 1139, Page: 2B, Catherine Baran; digital images, various (online : accessed 14 September 2021); Fifteenth Census of the United States.
- Social Security Administration, “U.S. Social Security Death Index,” database, Social Security Applications and Claims (online : accessed 15 December 2021), Bernice Zincina Garstka, 302221480, August 1943.
- Bronisława Garstka, Dziennik Chicagoski [Chicago’s Daily], Chicago, Illinois, 5 February 1960.
- Walter Gartska, Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Illinois, 25 December 1967, Page 158.
- Illinois Cook County Birth Registers 1871-1922, Birth, Edwin Stephen Garstka.
- “Ancestry Passenger Lists,” database, Ancestry (ancestry.com: accessed 13 November 2021), Zofia Ziecina; citing Passenger Lists.
- 1920 Federal Census, Illinois, population schedule, Chicago Ward 28, Cook (Chicago), Illinois, enumeration district (ED) 1706, Page: 11B, Kate Baran; digital images, (online : accessed 14 September 2021).
- “Find a Grave,” database, Find a Grave (findagrave.com: accessed 10 September 2021), Stella Ziencina Fujara; citing cemetery records.
- Illinois Marriage Records, (: accessed 10 September 2021), Stella Ziencina, Frank P. Fujara.
- 1930 Federal Census, Illinois, population schedule, Chicago, Cook, Illinois, ED 1139, Page: 2B, , Stella Fujara.
- Frank Fujara, Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Illinois, 25 June 1966.
- Ancestry, Zofia Ziecina.
- Illinois, State Deaths and Stillbirths, Death, Entry Number 605899, Sophie Slosarzyk, 25 March 1987; Division of Vital Records, Springfield, Illinois.
- Illinois, Marriage Records, Vincent Slosarzyk, Sophia Ziencina.
- Vincent L. Slosarzyk, Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Illinois, 29 November 1954, Page 77.
- Find a Grave, Vincent Leo Slosarzyk.
- Social Security Administration, “U.S. Social Security Death Index”, database, Social Security Applications and Claims, Genevieve Grzech, 345096077.
- Grzech, Genevieve, Tampa Bay Times, Tampa, Florida, October 1993.
- Illinois, Marriage Records, Genevieve Karos.
- “Florida Marriage Index,” database, Ancestry.com (: accessed 14 September 2021), Genevieve K Grzech, Spencer D Aiken; Florida Department of Health, Office of Vital Records; Certificate: 24273.
- Illinois State Deaths and Stillbirths, Death, Marie Baron Kaye.
- Maria Baran Kaye, Dziennik Chicagoski [Chicago’s Daily], Chicago, Illinois, 31 October 1941.
- Virtual Mentor. 2008;10(4):235-241. doi: 10.1001/virtualmentor.2008.10.4.mhst1-0804. AMA Journal of Ethics (https://journalofethics.ama-assn.org/article/medical-examination-immigrants-ellis-island/2008-04 : accessed 17 Dec 2021)
- Jastrzębia Ciężkowice, Poland, “Kościół rzymsko-katolicki. Parafja Ciężkowice (Tarnów),” database, LDS Family History Library, Family Search (familysearch.com: accessed 29 December 2021), Jakób Zięcina, Katarzyna Łącka; citing Austria, Galizien, Ciężkowice, Jastrzębia – Church records.
- Wikipedia contributors, “Jastrzębia, Tarnów County,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Jastrz%C4%99bia,_Tarn%C3%B3w_County&oldid=1014761235 (accessed December 30, 2021).