I find genetic connections fascinating. They are clues, like anything else, and need research and documentation. I recently reached out to a DNA match on Ancestry.com. Although we were only distantly related, with 9.6 centimorgans shared across 1 DNA segment, we both had the Kapuscinski name in our family trees and ties to Buffalo, New York. I wanted to learn if we shared common ancestors, or could identify a place where our common ancestors had been.
His ancestors were also identified as Kapusta. Although I knew that Kapusta and Kapuściński had the same root word, this was the first family I had seen using both versions of the name.
It was not surprising that there could be different versions of the same Polish name. The Polish language changes words to indicate gender, number, and case. For example,
- the -ski ending indicates an adjective, for possession or affiliation
- -ska is the feminine form of the adjective
- -owski/-owska indicates the place of
- -owa is the ending used for a wife’s name
- -ówna is an unmarried daughter, etc.
So the same root name can have various endings, depending how it is used by a Polish speaker. For more about Polish names, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish_name.
My grandmother Agnieszka Kapuścińska was born in February 1895 in Gnieszowice, Koprzywnica, near Sandomierz in Russian Poland. Now it is in the Świętokrzyskie province of Poland. Her sister Maryanna had come to the United States in 1912, and paid for her sister’s ticket the following year. Maryanna married Grzegosz Mastykarz in 1915, and Agnieszka married Jan Skrok in 1917. While I had previously identified my grandmother’s ancestors, and had been able to trace the sisters, I did not know of any other relatives named Kapuściński in Buffalo, New York.
However, I found Casimir and Mary Kapuszcinski in Buffalo, New York, in the 1930 United States Federal Census, at 73 Gibson Street.
In 1940, Casimir and Mary Kapusta were at 37 Lombard Street, in Buffalo, New York.
The older children had been born in Ohio, which made me look for information there. I found the 15 Sep 1928 marriage record for Kazimir Kapusta and Mary Staron, born Obora. Both had been previously married, and had been divorced, in Cleveland, Ohio.
In the 1920 census record, Casimer Kapusta was a lodger in the home of Walenty and Mary Starol [sic] at 3472 East 76th Street in Cleveland, Ohio.
Walenty Staron married Victoria Falkowska in Shaker Heights, Ohio, on 23 Oct 1928. His naturalization record in 1944 identified his children and previous residence in Sandomierz, Poland.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Maryanna Obora‘s children with Walenty Staron were
- Szczepan (1915-1982)
- Marta (1917-2005)
- Kazimiera (1919-2018)
- Czesław (1921-1945)
The children of Kazimierz Kapusta and Maryanna Obora born in Buffalo, New York, were
- Edward Jerome (1927-2007)
- Alfred (1929-1932)
- Richard J. (1931-2022)
- Genevieve/Jean (1933-2017)
Genevieve/Jean‘s grandson was my DNA match, so I wanted to see if we could find where in Poland his great-grandparents had been born, and if there were any links to my identified ancestors. We exchanged information on his other grandparents, but I was most interested in his Kapusta and Obora lines from Russian Poland.
Kazimierz‘ 1918 draft registration identified him as a “frendley alien” born in 1894 in “Bialobozie, Kelecska, Russia.” (Already, spelling is suspect.) Because I knew where my Kapuściński ancestors were from in the former Kielce province, it helped me to find Białoborze.
Wikipedia says “Białoborze is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Stopnica, within Busko County, Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship, in south-central Poland. It lies approximately 3 kilometres (2 mi) north-east of Stopnica, 18 km (11 mi) east of Busko-Zdrój, and 55 km (34 mi) south-east of the regional capital Kielce.”
A search on the Geneteka database for Kazimierz Kapusta in the Świętokrzyskie province showed that Kazimierz Kapusta was born in 1894 in Białoborze to Jan Kapusta and Katarzyna Sikora, which matched the information on his marriage record. He was baptized (entry #66, according to the Geneteka index) at Kościół św. Apostołów Piotra i Pawła in Stopnica, not far from the area near Sandomierz where my Kapuściński ancestors were found. The Polish records were indexed, but I did not find the records themselves online.
From Geneteka, I could see Jan Kapusta and Katarzyna Sikora had these children in Białoborze. Unfortunately, the first boy, named Jan, died in 1891.
1891 41 Jan Kapusta
1892 53 Apolonia Kapusta
1894 66 Kazimierz Kapusta
1896 121 Jan Kapusta
Further research on Geneteka showed that
- Jan Kapusta and Katarzyna Sikora were married in Stopnica (Skrobaczów) 1889.08.14.
- Jan Kapusta was the son of Walenty Kapusta and Apolonia Lech.
- Katarzyna Sikora was the daughter of Wojciech Sikora and Agnieszka Pawłowska.
Jan Kapusta, son of Walenty Kapusta and Apolonia Lech, died in 1897 (Stopnica entry 63) in Białoborze. On 1899.08.24, Katarzyna Kapusta (born Sikora) married Andrzej Jaros (Jarosz), the son of Ignacy Jaros and Antonina Włoch.
Maryanna Obora immigrated on 17 Feb 1913 to New York, New York, United States, on the ship Campania from Liverpool, England, with a final destination of Cleveland, Ohio. Her place of birth was listed as Dzieslawice in Russian Poland.
Wikipedia says “Dziesławice is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Stopnica, within Busko County, Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship, in south-central Poland.” Often immigrants who were married in the new country had previously known each other or each other’s families in the old country, as was the case here. Again, Geneteka was useful.
Marianna Obora was born in 1896 in Dziesławice to Wojciech Obora and Marianna Pyrz. Again, this was very close to the information on her marriage record. She was baptized (entry #256, according to the Geneteka index) at Kościół św. Apostołów Piotra i Pawła in Stopnica. As before, the Polish records were indexed, but I did not find the records themselves online.
From Geneteka, I could see Wojciech Obora and Marianna Pyrz had these children in Dziesławice. Sadly, the records say that Stanisław [sic] died in 1900 and Antoni in 1905.
1896 256 Marianna
1899 121 Stanisława
1904 11 Antoni
1906 102 Stanisława
1908 60 Józefa
Further research on Geneteka showed that
- Wojciech Obora and Marianna Pyrz were married in Stopnica (Falęcin – Dziesławice) 1895.05.15.
- Wojciech Obora was the son of Jan Obora and Marianna Wróbel.
- Marianna Pyrz was the daughter of Kacper Pyrz and Franciszka Kania.
Our DNA connection is very small, and we do not have any common matches, so I was not surprised my DNA match and I did not find common ancestors in a few generations. But our forebears came from the same region, and I was able to put my prior experience with Geneteka to good use in identifying the ancestors of one of the grandmothers of my DNA match. Even genetically distant cousins can collaborate and share information to help one another find out more about their ancestors!
Hoffman, William F. Polish Surnames: Origins and Meanings. Chicago, Illinois : Polish Genealogical Society of America. 1993, Second Edition, Revised 2001.
“Polish name.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 9 Aug. 2018. Web. 16 Aug. 2018.
1930 Federal Census, New York, population schedule, Buffalo, Erie, New York, USA, Casimir Kapuszcinski; digital images, HeritageQuest (heritagequestonline.com : accessed 13 August 2018).
1940 Federal Census, New York, population schedule, Buffalo, Erie, New York, Casimir Kapusta; digital images, HeritageQuest (heritagequestonline.com : accessed 13 August 2018).
Ancestry.com. Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Marriage Records and Indexes, 1810-1973 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
1920 Federal Census, Ohio, population schedule, Cleveland Ward 14, Cuyahoga, Ohio, Casimer Kapusta; digital images, HeritageQuest (heritagequestonline.com : accessed 13 August 2018).
Ohio, State Marriage Registers, Marriage, Walenty Staron, Victoria Falkowska, 23 October 1928.
Ancestry.com. Ohio, Naturalization Petition and Record Books, 1888-1946 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
“World War I Draft Registration Cards,” database, Ancestry.com (: accessed 13 August 2018), Kazimirz Kapusta; citing Ohio; Registration County: Cuyahoga; Roll: 1831773.
“Passenger Lists,” database, The Statue of Liberty – Ellis Island Foundation, Ellis Island (www.libertyellisfoundation.org: accessed 13 August 2018), Kazimierz Kapusta; citing ship manifests.
Polskie Towarzystwo Genealogiczne, “Geneteka, Metryki,” database, Polish Genealogical Society, Genealodzy (genealodzy.pl: accessed 13 August 2018); citing church records or Urząd Stanu Cywilnego (Civil Registry Office).