Keeping up with the Bosakowskis

My grandmother Katarzyna Bosakowska came to this country in 1912 – one of at least sixteen Bosakowski family members who left the town of Zalozce, Austria for the United States in a chain migration that began in 1905 and continued for two decades. Their destination was Manhattan’s Lower East Side, where they lived in tenement buildings in the shadow of the newly built Manhattan Bridge. Some stayed for a short while before returning to the old country. Some bounced back and forth between Zalozce and New York before finally settling in a single place. But most of them came to New York to start a new life and they never looked back.

Postcard of Zalozce, Austria circa 1910. I managed to find it on eBay!

Photo of the spanking new Manhattan Bridge taken in 1910. Courtesy of the amazing photo archive website

I have been able to group this cohort of immigrants into three family clusters. For the most part, our cast of characters was born in the 1880s or 1890s, and it would appear that they were all cousins.

The first group – Ignacy, Jan, Kata, Ludvika and Karolina – all came to America between 1905-1907. Their parents were Piotr Bosakowski and Maria Czechowicz Bosakowska.

During that same period, in 1906, Michal Bosakowski settled in New York too. His parents were Karol Bosakowski and Katarzyna Czechowicz Bosakowska. (It’s intriguing that Piotr and Karol Bosakowski both married women named Czechowicz. Were they sisters?) In the ensuing years, four of Michal’s siblings also made the journey: Pawel (1910), Piotr (1913), Antoni (1913) and Agnieszka (1921). Michal’s son Andrej also came over in 1921. And it seems that that at least one brother – Franciszek – stayed behind in Zalozce.

My grandmother Katarzyna left Zalozce in 1912. She was the daughter of Jozef Bosakowski and Maria Buchna (or was it spelled Buczna?) Bosakowska. She was preceded by her younger sister Honorata, who made the trip in 1911. Brother Wincenty followed in 1913. At least two other brothers – Stanislaw and Walter – stayed behind.

In future posts, I’ll lay out what I know about their journeys to America (and, in some cases, their journeys back). And I’ll follow them through the early decades of the last century, when the Lower East Side was practically crawling with Bosakowskis.

This entry was posted in Family Line - Bosakowski, New York City, Zalozce/Zaliztsi and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Keeping up with the Bosakowskis

  1. joan wojcicki crosby says:

    Hi John,
    My mother Lottie Bosakowski is the daughter of Paul & Karoline (jankowski)Bosakowski
    Email or facebook me
    Joan Wojcicki Crosby

  2. Pingback: My great-grandparents’ 1883 wedding record and other cool finds | John Kowal's Family History Blog

  3. Pingback: The Austro-Hungarian military veteran in my family tree | John Kowal's Family History Blog

  4. Danielle Bosak says:


    Carol Bosakowski was my Grandfather. He had four children, Ronald, Dennis, Caryn, and Rosann. He shortened our last name to Bosak years ago. I don’t know much, but if I can give you any further info, please let me know. Thank you for posting this, it’s awesome!

    Danielle Bosak

    • johnkowal says:

      Hi Danielle,
      Thanks for the kind words. I know that Carol was the son of Paul Bosakowski, who was my grandmother’s cousin (and your great-grandfather). Paul came to the US in 1910 and married a woman named Karolina Jankowska who came from the same town in Austria. I’m working on a post that includes them so stay tuned.
      I’ve been in touch with the daughter of Carol’s sister Lottie.
      If you have any photos of your great grandparents I’d love to see them!

  5. Pingback: The Bosakowskis take Manhattan: 1910-1915 | John Kowal's Family History Blog

  6. Alex Fieglar says:

    I just came back today from visiting Załoźce for the first time. I went there to visit the town of my 93 year-old father, Waclaw Fieglar. I went armed with a hand-drawn map of the town which my father has not seen since he was imprisoned by the Russians in 1940 and sent to Kazakhstan along with the rest of his family. I marveled at how accurate the map still is 74 years later and how wonderful his memory is! I also went with a brief history of his recollections of life in the town in which he mentions the people he remembers, among which figure the Bosakowski and Czechowski families. Should there be any questions you may be interested in asking about your family from my dad, I would be glad to pass them on. Similarly, if your family records have any information of the Fieglars (Jakob and wife Helena Chmura, children Alojzy, Waclaw and Adolphina) I would be very much interested in it.


    Alex Fieglar
    Warsaw, Poland

    • johnkowal says:

      Dear Alex,
      Thanks for your message. While you wrote, I was on my own trip to Poland and Ukraine which included my first-ever visit to Zalozce. It was an amazing experience, tinged with a bit of sadness for all that has been lost. I’ll write a post about it soon and send you the link when I do.
      Among other things, I got to put my hands on a detailed 1850 cadastral map of Zalozce that shows where people lived. I hope to get a copy of it in September from the archive in Lviv where it is now. I’ll keep you posted.
      I would love to hear more of your father’s recollections of Zalozce – and particularly of my own family. I will contact you shortly to follow up.

      • Alex Fieglar says:

        Hi John,

        I just came back to Toronto from Warsaw and spent part of the day reminiscing about Zalozce with my father and showing him pictures of his home and town. I queried him as to his recollections of the Bosakowski family and he told me that Aniela Bosakowski was a classmate of his in primary school (grades 5 or 6 cica 1929/1930) .

        He even showed me a picture of her, a photo of which I attach. He is the young boy sitting in the centre of the front row. As he recalls, Aniela is the girl in white standing between the two teachers. If this is her and you wish, I can get the original from my dad and send you a better scan of it.

        He recalls that her dad was a butcher or sold meats, and that the family home was on what is today Adam Mickiewicz Street (вул. Адама Міцкевича ) west of today’s T2013 road. (general map coordinates 49.803413 , 25.384411

        Hopefully this is useful to you.


        Alex Fieglar

        Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2014 15:32:01 +0000

  7. Lori L Singleton says:

    Hello. My name is Lori Singleton and Joni Buscema (Neshta) is my aunt through marriage. I believe it was you that sent her a 2014 email through 23andme asking if she knew anything about her polish ancestry as well as writing several details I’ve read in your blog (great job on that btw). She gave me that email as well as several documents that I’ve been putting in ancestry. However, I’ve come up with a bit of a confusing issue.

    I have a Certificate of Death for Caroline Neshta (Bosakowska) which lists her DOB as 4/10/1891. According to “Keeping up with the Bosakowska’s”, a Kata (Katherine) was born in 1891 while Karolina was born in 1897. I’ve assumed that Karolina was my wife’s ancestors but the DOB doesn’t match. In your email you mentioned Karolina was who married Michael Neshta, which is my wife’s G Grandfather but again DOB. Also, on the COD Paul Bosockowski is listed as her father with an unknown mother. The informant was William M Donohue of Westbury and I’m not quite sure who that is. Is it possible that Caroline Neshta was actually Katherine Bosakowska or someone from a completely different line of Bosakowska’s.
    Thank you for any reply. 

    • johnkowal says:

      Hi Lori,
      Nice to meet you. I did eventually connect with Joni and she and I are friends on Facebook.
      I’m glad you found my blog helpful. I wrote it in part to connect with other family members who might have information I couldn’t find. It took time to slowly figure out that the 20+ Bosakowski family members that emigrated to the US and Canada were the children of three brothers (Jozef, Piotr and Karol). Some in this large group of cousins had the same or similar names. A person’s age could be different on different documents. Some people actually misrepresented their age (like my grandmother who was three years older than she said she was). Over time, I figured out which facts were right – but that means that some information from earlier blog posts could be wrong.
      I can tell you there was a Karolina (Caroline) Bosakowska and two cousins named Katarzyna Bosakowska (the one you mention plus my own grandmother). It was Caroline who married Michael Neszta in NYC on May 23, 1915. I have seen the marriage record but I don’t have a copy since you had to purchase it. (You can order it if you don’t have it.)
      Since writing the blog post you refer to, I found Caroline’s actual birth record. She was born on July 16, 1893 in Zalozce, Austria (now Zaliztsi, Ukraine). So it seems in her youth she claimed to be younger than she really was (just like my grandmother). For example, in the 1930 census she says she was 33 when she was really 36 going on 37. But on the death certificate she is indicated as older than she really was. For what it’s worth, death certificates can be very unreliable – especially for an older person. The information is provided by next of kin who may not know what they’re talking about. That’s why the father is listed as Paul when it was really Piotr (Peter). That’s also why no one seemed to know the name of Caroline’s mother (it was Maria Czechowicz).
      I have her death as March 25, 1955 but I’m not sure where I got that information. Is that what you have on the certificate of death? What was the cause?
      If you’re on ancestry you will find a lot of information on my tree, including a copy of the birth records for Caroline and her siblings, her parents’ records, etc. There was a big gap in information for Caroline after she married Michael Neszta (and I gather it was an unhappy marriage) but just now I found her in the 1930 census with the name misspelled as Nester. I also never found her immigration record but it’s there somewhere if you look.
      Let me know if I can be of any more help. I’d be happy to email you the birth record if that’s easier.

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