Category Archives: Family Line – Kowal

Six immigrant ancestors and the fault lines of World War I

To the day they died, I’m sure my immigrant ancestors remembered where they were when they learned of the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, one hundred years ago. That calculated act of terrorism plunged the countries of their … Continue reading

Posted in Family Line - Agin, Family Line - Bosakowski, Family Line - Kowal, Family Line - Sabol, Germany, Kharucha Vel'ka, New Jersey, New York City, Slovakia, Zalozce/Zaliztsi | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Kowal family moves to Staten Island

I recently came across a batch of old photos that provide a window into the year my grandparents moved from the teeming tenements of the Lower East Side to a remote, rural corner of Staten Island. The photos belong to my cousin … Continue reading

Posted in Family Line - Kowal, Staten Island | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

My father’s childhood home in a 1940 tax photo

I remember visits, when I was a boy, to my grandparents’ little house in a remote corner of Staten Island. My grandfather bought the newly built house in the 1920s and sold it in the late 1960s after my grandmother … Continue reading

Posted in Family Line - Kowal, Staten Island | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Alex Kowal’s first day in America

One hundred years ago today, my grandfather Alexey (Alex) Kowal stepped onto American soil for the first time. He didn’t come through Ellis Island, like his future wife Katarzyna Bosakowska and so many millions of other immigrants from that same … Continue reading

Posted in Family Line - Kowal, Kharucha Vel'ka, Staten Island | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

The immigrants in my family tree: 1624-1913

In a year when immigration is at the center of the national conversation, I thought it would be fun to focus on the stories of the immigrants in my family tree. I grew up knowing three of them – my … Continue reading

Posted in Family Line - Agin, Family Line - Bosakowski, Family Line - Kowal, Family Line - Sabol | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

Goodbye to all that

One hundred years ago today, my grandfather Alexej (Alex) Kowal arrived at the dock in Libau, a port city in present day Latvia. There, he waited with 130 fellow Ukrainians who had all been recruited by the Canada Pacific Railway … Continue reading

Posted in Family Line - Kowal, Kharucha Vel'ka | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

My dad’s household in the 1940 census

I took my first peek at the 1940 census. The government released it last week after a 72 year privacy restriction was lifted and it’s all up on the ancestry.com site. It will take some time before all 132 million … Continue reading

Posted in Family Line - Kowal, Staten Island | Tagged , , | 4 Comments