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The 2 Michał Ostrowskis


My greatgrandfather, Michał Ostrowski:

. . . was born around 1860, according to one family source.
. . . married Rozalia Kozłowska.
. . . had at least 7 children: Franceszka, Michał, Maria, Stella, Stanisław, Piotr, and Jan or Paweł.
. . . travelled back and forth between Long Island, New York, and Poland doing seasonal farmwork, according to a family source.
. . . died in 1907 at the age of 47 of a ruptured appendix, according to a family source.


My grandfather, Michał Ostrowski:
. . . was born on 29 September 1886 in the Suwałki area (so say both his naturalization petition and his World War I draft registration). However, some other family sources say he was born on 20 September.
He was most likely named Michał (Michael), not because that was his father's name, but because he was born on or near the feast day of St. Michael, which is 29 September.
While the discrepancies in birthdates may be due to errors of memory, it's also quite possible that he was born on the 20th, but as many Poles did, celebrated his "name day" rather than the date of his physical birth.
Family history has it that he was born in the Raczki-area settlement of Rudniki.
One of my aunts also said that he'd described to her how he used to play at the ruins of the Pac Palace in Dowspuda as a child. Since Rudniki is just over the Rospuda River from Dowspuda, this sounds right.
I remember him telling us grandkids how he and his brother (I don't know which brother) were chased through the forest by the German woodcutter for whom they worked; the woodcutter was drunk and apparently went after them with an axe. Rudniki/Raczki is only about 3 miles from what was then the border with East Prussia.
ship manifest . . . at the age of 18 emigrated to the United States in 1904 on board the S.S. Moltke, which left Hamburg on 20 April and arrived at Ellis Island on 1 May at 9:00 a.m.
According to the ship manifest, his former residence is written as "Kornecz," which my father believes is "Koniecbór," a settlement just northeast of Rudniki. Given the likelihood of non-Poles acting as scribes for the German shipping line, the transcription of my grandfather's pronunciation of "Koniecbór" as "Kornecz" is plausible.
The data on the ship manifest labelled him as a laborer, as Russian in nationality, and as Lithuanian in "race"; either clerical error or the fact that the Suwałki area had originally been part of Lithuania could account for this.
The ship manifest also noted that he had only $2.00 in his possession, that he didn't have a ticket to his final destination, and that his uncle, "Josef Schmidt," whom he was joining, paid for his passage.
. . . spent 3 days as an Ellis Island detainee, finally being discharged (by an official whose initials were FHA) and allowed into the country on 3 May at 2:15 p.m. The Record of Detained Alien Passengers noted that during his detention he was served 2 breakfasts, 3 dinners, and 2 suppers.
The ship manifest identifies the cause of the detention as "Indef. address" (indefinite address), since his destination was listed only as Johnsons, Orange County, New York.
. . . stayed not much more than a year with his uncle in Johnsons, Orange County, New York; I later discovered that this uncle, "Josef Shmidt," was really named Józef Kozłowski.
. . . may have been working as a farmhand in Clifton Park, Saratoga County, NY.
My father said that, around the time he got married, my grandfather lived in Clifton Park, working as a farmhand.
In the 1905 New York State census, I found a name of a farmhand in Clifton Park that looks like a bad transcription of my grandfather's name.
my grandparents' wedding picture. . . married Julia Bukowa in St. Adalbert's Church in Schenectady, NY, on 9 September 1906.
. . . took a job with ALCO (American Locomotive Company) in Schenectady, for whom he worked most of the rest of his life. On his 1917 draft registration, he noted that his occupation was Heater in the ALCO hammer shop.
. . . had 10 children: Helen, Johanna, Clara, Theodore, Walter, Casimir, Lillian, Matthew, Roman, and Edmund.
. . . died in his sleep on 28 February 1969; his obituary noted that along with his surviving U.S. siblings were two brothers and two sisters in Poland.

Michael on his wedding day, 1906 picture of Michael with 2 grandchildren, 1940s picture of Michael and Julia, 1951 picture of Michael with grandchildren, 1956 Michael, Christmas 1968
Wedding day, 1906
With 2 grandchildren
early 1940s
With 2 grandchildren, 1956
Christmas 1968

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