Category Archives: Staten Island

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

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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

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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

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

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New details on Alex Kowal’s journey to America

In a recent post, I recounted the story of my grandfather Alex Kowal’s journey to America, which I pieced together from travel and immigration documents. Since then, I have learned some interesting new information about the friends who traveled with … Continue reading

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There’s nothing like a good obituary

Researching your family history can lead to frustrating dead ends. This is especially true when it comes to tracing the lives of female ancestors since you need to know both maiden and married names. It can also be challenging for … Continue reading

Posted in Family Line - Agin, Family Line - Bosakowski, New Jersey, Staten Island | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

My grandfather’s journey to America finally comes into focus

For two months, I searched for evidence of my grandfather Alex Kowal’s arrival in America. Census records helped me zero in on 1912 or 1913. Recalling that my grandfather told me he spent time in Canada before coming to the … Continue reading

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