My grandfather, Peter Kowalczyk (also spelled Kowaczik and Kowalczik) was born in Poland in about 1893, possibly in the Krakow area. He came to the US in about 1913, probably with one or more of his brothers or sisters. His wife, Julia Zawrotniak (Kortowski or Kortanowski) came to the US from Poland at about the same time. I haven’t been able to find them in any ship’s passenger lists.The only clue to their arrival comes from the New York City census for 1925.According to these records, Peter arrived in 1914 and Julia arrived in 1913. The different arrival dates indicate that Peter and Julia were married after they arrived in the US.I believe that they were married here in about 1916, but I have been unable to locate any marriage records for them.So far I have checked the index for Middlesex County, NJ ( 1795 to 1927) or New York City (1914 to 1921). Peter and Julia had five children: Anthony (b. 1917), Thaddeus (b. 1919), Mary (b. 1921), Walter (b. 1923), and Wanda (b. 1924). Tony and Ted were both born in Perth Amboy, NJ.The City of Perth Amboy could not locate Tony’s birth record, but did have Ted’s, which gave a home address in 1919 of 373 Inslee Street.Since both Tony and Ted were baptized in St. Stephen’s Catholic Church in Perth Amboy, NJ, it’s probable that the family lived in the area from ~1913 until ~1920. Tony’s sponsors at his 1917 baptism were his Uncle Joseph Kowalczyk and Helen Ziawoska.Ted’s sponsors in 1919 were Francis Micek and Julia Rusek.It’s possible that Joseph was no longer living in the area, but they may have just wanted different sponsors.One interesting point about the baptismal records is that Tony’s lists Julia’s maiden name as Makowski, while Ted’s lists it as Zawrotniak. Neither Peter nor Joseph Kowalczyk appears in the Soundex Index for the 1920 Census of New York or New Jersey.In addition, I could not find them in a line-by-line search of the census records for Perth Amboy.Finally, I did locate all the listings for Inslee Street, but there was none for Number 373.
Sometime between Ted’s birth in February 1919 and Mary’s birth in April 1921, the family moved to an apartment at 26 Washington Avenue in Laurel Hill, Queens, New York.Peter’s brother Joseph and his wife Catherine also lived in this building. Joseph was born in Poland in 1890 and came to the US in about 1906. Catherine was born in Austria in 1888 and came to the US in about 1903. At the time of the 1925 census, Peter and Catherine had nine children, all born in the US: John (b. 1914), Josephine (b. 1915), Mildred (b. 1917), Alfred (b. 1918), Casimer (b. 1919), Andrew (b. 1920), Joseph Jr. (b. 1921), Alexander (b. 1923), and Corro (b. 1924). (The last name may be Charles or Carl.)
The 1925 census also lists another family in the building as Klowalska. This similar name may be a coincidence, but it may be Kowalczyk misspelled by the census-taker. The father’s name was not listed, but the mother’s name was Julia and the census lists six children: John (b. 1911), Leo (b. 1913), Catherine (b. 1915), Alex (b. 1917), Joseph (b. 1919), and Sophie (b. 1920).
During the Depression, Peter and Julia's children were taken away and sent to a home run by the Catholic Church.Somewhere along the line, the children's last names were changed to Kowalski. Eventually, Peter and Julia moved to 5511 43rd Street in Laurel Hill Queens, NY. One of Peter's brothers, probably Joseph, lived about half a block away on 43rd Street. Julia and Peter lived at this address until ~1950 when Julia died. The house was later sold and Peter was living at a rooming house at 5119 46th Street, Woodside Queens, NY when he died in July 1957.