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Our Smolinski family

Polish immigrants arrived in droves between 1890 and the start of World War I in 1914. It is estimated that more than four million Poles — out of a population of 22 million — emigrated to the United States during that period.

My grandparents, Helena Kalinowski married Boleslaw Smolinski in 1902 in Kolno, a city in a part of Poland under Russian control from the late 1700s until the end of World War 1. They were teenagers. He left for America soon after the wedding, she followed a year later.

My grandfather's name, in Polish, appears as Smolnik or Smolnek. My grandmother's maiden name was Kalinowska, though others from the same family who settled in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, had a variety of spellings, including Kalinowski, Kalinoski andKalinowsky. I once saw my grandmother's name written as Kalinowskich.

Helena and Boleslaw were reunited in New Jersey where their first child, Wanda, was born in 1904. For reasons unknown, they returned to Kolno in 1905 and remained there until their second child, Boleslaw, was born in 1906. Then they sailed again to the United States and settled in Solvay, New York, just outside of Syracuse. Two of Boleslaw's brothers, Ignacy (or Ignatz) and Joseph soon followed. So did Stanley and Rosa Smolinski, listed in the 1910 census as the parents of Boleslaw, Ignacy and Joseph.

That census shows ten Smolinskis living at 319 Second Street, Solvay: Boleslaw, 26; Helen, 24: and their children, Wanda, 5; Boleslaw Jr., 4; Helen, 2, and Edward, three months; Stanley, 56; Rosa, 45; Ignacy, 22, and Joseph, 20. (According to the census, the household also included a boarder, Peter Naja, 23, a native of Russia-Poland.)

AFTER A SHORT STAY in the United States, Stanley and Rose separated. He returned to Poland, she remained in Solvay and in 1913 married Stanley Karulevski (Karolewski). On the marriage license, Rose listed her parents as Martin Koziol and Marian Bugnacki. Karolewski died in 1915, and Rose would marry again, to Peter Lubak, though the date of their wedding is unknown.

Soon after Stanley returned to Poland, my grandfather, Boleslaw Smolinski, left his wife and children and moved elsewhere. My mother never talked about her father, but in the 1980s (see story below), we inadvertently discovered Boleslaw may have started another family in the Binghamton, New York, area.

My mother then admitted her father hadn't actually left home intending to desert his family. He went in search of a job, and found one in Elmira. He wrote to my grandmother, and asked her and the children to join them. My grandmother, employed as a cook at the Solvay Process Company, refused to move. And that was that. Whether they ever saw each other again is unknown. My immediate family — my parents, my sister and myself — kept in contact with Boleslaw's brother, Joseph, in Highland Falls, New York, but for some reason did not maintain a relationship with another brother, Ignacy (James), who lived only a mile from our home in Solvay.

BOTH BOLESLAWS in our family — my grandfather and my uncle — changed their first names to William. My grandmother dropped the "a" from her first name, and was known to co-workers as Helen, though everyone in our family called her Nana.

Occasionally we were visited by a woman we called "Babka." This was my Great-Grandmother Kalinowska, and I'm fairly certain she lived in Pennsylvania, but I do not know her real first name. Babka usually refers to a cake, but viewers of "Seinfeld" may remember an episode that included a woman called "Babka," which comes from the Polish word, "babcia" (bahp-chah), or "grandma."

Ignacy (or Ignatz) Smolinski remained in Solvay and became known as James. However, when he applied for citizenship in 1917, he apparently had to use the name that appeared on his birth certificate — Ignacy Smolnik.

The 1920 United States census has him married to Iadwiga Basceska (Baczewski), but this was an incorrect transcription of a first name that was difficult to read. Her first name most likely was Jadwiga, translated as Hedwig or Hattie. (Jadwiga is pronounced as though it is spelled Iadwiga.)

In the 1930 census Mrs. Smolinski's first name is listed as Agness, the same first name the couple gave their third daughter, who was born in 1918. (I assume this spelling was incorrect and that Agnes, with one S, is preferred.)

Ignacy and Iadwiga Smolinski — aka James and Agnes Smolinski — and their five daughters, Helen, Jennie, Agnes, Ann and Dorothy, lived at 301 Center Street, a few blocks west of where the Smolinski brothers had lived after they arrived in Solvay. My grandmother moved a few blocks in the other direction, to Summit Avenue, atop a hill a short distance from the main entrance to the Solvay Process factory.

JOSEF SMOLINSKI, better known as Joseph, soon left Solvay and joined the United States Army. He had the good fortune to spend almost all of his time stationed at the U. S. Military Academy in West Point, New York. He married, settled in nearby Highland Falls, and raised three children. The Solvay Smolinskis frequently visited Master Sergeant Joseph Smolinski, and his family even more frequently visited Solvay. One of his grandchildren, Ray Mesaris, who died in 2012 in Florida, spent several weeks with the Smolinskis on Russet Lane during at least two summer vacations.

Interestingly, Nana's first child, Wanda, married Peter Kaldowski, thus strengthening our family's connection with the Koziols. Three of her husband's sisters married Koziol brothers and lived in West Solvay. The name is pronounced KAY-zel, which is why, after experimenting with Kozo, this particular family finally settled on Kazel as their Americanized last name.

The search for more information will continue. Any corrections or additional information would be appreciated. Likewise, if you want your name removed from any of these family trees, let me know.

Contact: jackmajor38@gmail.com

 

NOTE: Since writing the above, I came upon a marriage record for William Smolinski and Catherine Zalewska in Hallstead, Pennsylvania. The wedding took place November 19, 1915.

This interests me because the first clue I had of the possible whereabouts of my grandfather after he left my grandmother was provided by my cousin, Tom Smolinski of Falls Church, Virginia, after his son, Scott, was married. At a family gathering in Syracuse, at the home of Tom's sister, Sandra Grecco, we watched wedding films and heard a story that Scott (or his brother, Tim) met someone in the Washington, DC, area, who asked him if his family had any connection with Syracuse.

This person claimed to know Smolinskis from Binghamton, NY, who were children or grandchildren of a Smolinski who had left the Syracuse area and started another family.

Known as Boleslaw Smolinski for the 1910 United States Census, my grandfather listed his parents as Stanley and Rosa Smolinski. His birth year was listed as 1884.

The William Smolinski who married Catherine Zalewska in a Pennsylvania town just a few miles from Binghamton, listed his parents as Stanley Smolinski and Rose Keglovska Smolinski. His birth year was listed at 1887. The difference between 1884 and 1887 could easily be explained by the way people print the two numbers — 4 and 7. It's possible in both cases he said he was born in 1884, or 1887, and it was transcribed incorrectly.

Or perhaps the fact Stanley and Rose (or Rosa) Smolinski were listed as parents for Boleslaw (or William) Smolinski may simply be a coincidence.

 
The Smolinski brothers

Boleslaw (William) Smolinski (1884-19??) m. Helen Kalinowski (1887-1962). Helen worked for many years as a cook at the Solvay Process Company. She was a doting grandmother to 11 children who called her Nana. She was a strong woman, loving and good-hearted, but with an iron will and a fierce sense of family loyalty.
She and Boleslaw Smolinski had four children:

Wanda Smolinski (1904-1982) m. Peter Kaldowski (1898-1960)

Alma Kaldowski (1927-2012) m. James Furcinito. Alma's obituary, below.

James Furcinito m. Bonnie Ernst (divorced)

Peter Furcinito m. Ann Marie Russell. They have two children:

Elizabeth Furcinito (1997- )

Edward Furcinito (2000- ).

 

Boleslaw (William) Smolinski (1906-1975) m. Gertrude Maltby (1910-1998)

William J. "Bimby" Smolinski (1932-2017) m. Marcia Maloney (divorced) 2nd wife: Reed Catlin (divorced).

Suzanne Alisha "Suzie" Smolinski (1963) m. Donald L. Winchester. Suzanne and Donald Winchester live in Centennial, Colorado.

Matthew Winchester (1995)

Michael Winchester (1998)

Joseph Winchester (2000)

Amy Smolinski (1964)

Helen Smolinski (1970) lives in San Francisco and is a staff attorney at the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights. Photo below

Mary Smolinski m. Bob deLoe

Katherine Ann "Kate" Smolinski

Robert P. Smolinski (1935- ) m. Patricia Sullivan. Bob is an attorney and the former police justice of the village of Solvay, NY.

William Smolinski (1965- ). Like his father, Billy graduated from LeMoyne College and played basketball for the the Dolphins. He also is an attorney in Solvay.

Jennifer Smolinski (1967- )

James D. Smolinski (1941- ) m. Avril Judson. 2nd wife: Joanne O'Connor (obituary below)

Alison Smolinski (1961) m. Richard Wilson; North Grafton, MA.

Joseph Wilson (1994-2010) died of injuries suffered in an automobile accident.

James Smolinski (1968- ) and Kierstin G. Lavoie, North Grafton, MA

Delaney Smolinski (1999- )

Brady Smolinski (2002- )

Elizabeth Smolinski (1970- ) and Frank G. Beshai IV, North Grafton, MA

Delaney Beshai (1997- )

Phillip D. Smolinski (1949- ) m. Colette Godard. Home: Marcellus, NY

Alexander P. Smolinski m. Kim Henry

Andrew D. Smolinski

Phillip Smolinski

 

Helen Smolinski (1908-1998) m. Stanley E. "Buster" Major (1903-1985)

John S. "Jack" Major (1938- ) m. Karla Silberman (1941- ); 2nd wife: Olinda Johnson (1947- ), Bluffton, SC

Jeffrey Stephen Major (1967- ) m. Elyse Press (1965- )

Jonah Allen Major (2000- )

Ethan Henry Major (2002- )

Laura Suzanne Major (1969- )

Meridith Johnson Major (1980- )

Mary Elizabeth "Mary Beth" Major (1943- ) m. Frederick Chard, Naples, FL

Brian Chard (1969-)

Danielle Chard (1974- )

 

Edward Smolinski (1910-80) m. Sarah "Sally" Eldridge (1913-1986).

Thomas Smolinski (1937- ) m. Edith Fiske. Home: Falls Church, VA

Scott Thomas Smolinski (1963- ) m. Valerie Singleton; Arlington, VA.

Kelly Smolinski (1990- )

Heather Smolinski (1994- )

Timothy Stephen Smolinski (1964-) m. Vicky Woodbury

Ava Smolinski.

Mary Smolinski (1966- ) m. Ken McInerney. Home: Arlington, VA.

Clare McInerney (1998- )

Tommy McInerney (2000-)

Sarah Smolinski (1968- ) m. Gregg Kassan

Grant Kassan (2001- )

Chad Kassan (2004- )

Sandra Smolinski (1941- ) m. Paul Grecco (1944- ) Home: Bluffton, SC

Paul Grecco Jr. (1965-). Life partner: Rusty Fitzpatrick. Fort Lauderdale, FL

Isabel Carter Sharp (Grecco) (2004- )

Alexandra Quinn Viele (Grecco) (2008- )

Edward Grecco m. Trina Russo; Bluffton, SC.

Thad Grecco (1998- )

Edward Ty Grecco (2003- )

Peter Grecco (1971-2014) m. Luz Marina; Bluffton, SC. Obituary below.

Isabella Bianca Grecco (2003- )

Linda Smolinski m. ?? Whalen. 2nd husband: Anthony "Chappie" Romano. Home: Syracuse

Kathleen Ann Smolinski (1951- ) m. Michael Donegan. Home: Syracuse

Jessica Ann Smolinski (1970- ) w. Matthew W. Kenyon

Mackenzie Matthew Kenyon (1999- ) (Photo at bottom of page.)

Alexandra Ashley Donegan (1988- )

 

Ignacy (James) Smolinski (1888-1967) m. Jadwiga (Agnes) Baczewski (1889-1977).

An obituary in the Syracuse Herald-Journal (July 21, 1941) for Mrs. Mary Baczewski, widow of Joseph Baczewski, identified the deceased as the mother of Mrs. Ignatius Smolinski of 301 Center Street, Solvay. She also was survived by a son, Walter Baczewski, also of Solvay.

On February 3, 1942 the Herald-Journal carried an obit for Stanley Baczewski, a native of Poland who worked as a moulder at the Pierce-Butler Radiator Corporation. He lived in Syracuse and was survived by his wife, Antonia, and three sons – Chester, John and Edward Baczewski. At the time John was a private in the U.S. Army.

Also listed as survivors were a sister, Mrs. Jadwiga Smolinski, and a brother, Walter Baczewski, both of Solvay. I'm assuming Stanley Baczewski also was a son of Joseph and Mary Baczewski and that the omission of his name from the list of his mother's survivors was an oversight.

The 1930 U. S. Census listed James and Agness Smolinski living in Solvay with five daughters. I'm listing them below in hopes members of their families will verify and elaborate or correct my information. (One of the daughters also was listed as Agness, with two S's. I have found other online references which list the daughter's first name as Agnes, with the usual spelling; that is, one S.)

Helen Smolinski (1913-2009) m. Adolph S Podolak (1913-1962). Her obituary said she had worked at Onondaga Pottery, General Electric and Edwards & Son department store.

Rosalie Podolak m. George Oberlender

Suzanne Podolak m. Richard Greene

Jennie Smolinski (1915-1983) m. Martin Kuss (1910-1988). They were married in 1942. Martin Kuss retired from Crucible Steel where he had worked for 35 years.

Agnes Smolinski (1918-1986) m. George E. DuBosh Sr. (1909-1996). They had twins:

Georgette DuBosh m. Thomas Maksym

George E. DuBosh Jr.

Ann Smolinski (1922-1993) m. Warner Lang (1913-1995)
Ann S. Lang retired from the New York Telephone Company. Warner Lang was a native of Berlin, Germany; he lived in the Syracuse area 62 years and was a meat cutter 34 years with American Stores and Acme Supermarkets.

Dorothy Smolinski (1926-2015 ) lived for many years in Camillus. She retired in 1982 after 38 years with the New York Telephone Company.

 

Joseph Smolinski (1891-1964) m. Catherine Lewis (1896-1958)

Olga Smolinski (1917-1943) m. Joseph A. Mesaris (1908- ). Olga Smolinski was his second wife; he and his first wife had divorced, and he was a soldier stationed at West Point, NY. They had one child:

Raymond Mesaris (1934-2012). He was married to the late Anne Conley Mesaris, beloved mother of their children, and later to Kathleen "Kitty" Gorry Mesaris (1944-2009) who also predeceased him. After 33 years, Raymond retired as Chief of Police with New York State Park Police, Bear Mountain. He moved to Port Charlotte, FL, where he died. In addition to the children listed below, he was survived by ten grandchildren.

Raymond J. Mesaris, Jr. of Fort Montgomery

Betsy M. Anderson of Port Charlotte, FL

Kathryn A. Mesaris m. James Pole of Denton, TX

Matthew Pole

Sarah Pole

Katie Pole

Christine L. Mesaris m. Derek C. Deegan of Highland Falls

Nicole Deegan

Kayla Deegan

Mary Smolinski (1918-1993) m. John Gorry (1917-1993)


Rev. Joseph J. Smolinski (1922-2016 ) Father Joseph J. Smolinski served as a U.S. Army chaplain, 1953-1973, in Germany, Korea and Turkey, and was a parachutist stationed with the Airborne Corps Artillery

From 1973 until his retirement in 1997 Father Smolinski was chaplain at Letchworth Village, a since abandoned mental facility in Thiells (Rockland County), NY. He is living in the Bronxin a home for retired priests.

Father Joe recently died. His obituary, courtesy of the William F. Hogan funeral home in Highland Falls, NY:

Reverend Joseph J. Smolinski, 94, a lifelong resident of the area, passed away on Monday, June 6, 2016 at Our Lady of Consolation in the Bronx. Son of the late Jozef Smolinski and Catherine Lewis Smolinski, he was born on April 5, 1922 in West Point, NY.

Father Joe was ordained in the priesthood on April 17, 1948 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. He was commissioned June 15, 1953 in the U.S. Army serving as a Chaplain and Paratrooper during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. He retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel on June 30, 1973.

His awards included the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, National Defense Medal, Korean Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal and the Army Commendation Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters.

Upon discharge from the U.S. Army he served as Chaplain at Letchworth Village in Thiells, NY from 1973-1997 and then retired to live in Highland Falls where he often assisted at Sacred Heart Church.

Survivors include his nephew Raymond J. Masaris, Jr. & family; his nieces: Kathryn Pole & Family, Betsy Lane & Family, and Christine Deegan & Family.

Visitation will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 14th at Sacred Heart Church, 353 Main Street, Highland Falls, NY. The Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, June 15th at Sacred Heart Church in Highland Falls with The Most Reverend Dominick J. Lagonegro con-celebrating. Interment will follow in West Point Cemetery, West Point, NY.

Memorial contributions may be made to New York Catholic Foundation, Egan Pavilion, 1011 First Avenue, Suite 1400, New York, NY 10022 or V.F.W. Post 8858, 50 River Road, Harriman, NY 10926.

 

 
Miscellaneous

JoAnne Marie Hildenbrand O'Connor-Smolinski, "Neena", 72, passed away February 8, 2016 at Crouse Hospital. JoAnne was a very loving, caring and selfless person. She will be greatly missed by her family and friends, and will always be remembered for her heartwarming personality and wonderful smile.

JoAnne was predeceased by her first husband, Robert J. O'Connor, in 1979.

Surviving are her husband, James D. Smolinski; children, Ellen, Kevin, Mark, Elizabeth, and Christopher; stepchildren, Alison, James, and Elizabeth; sister, Judi Chlebus; and many grandchildren.

A funeral Mass will be celebrated Friday, February 19 at 10 a.m. in Holy Family Church, Fairmount. Burial will be private in St. Mary's Cemetery, DeWitt.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the SPCA, 5878 E. Molloy Rd., Mattydale, NY 13211.

Share condolences at www.BuranichFH.com

Alex Smolinski lives in Milwaukee. He is the owner of Wonder Wonder Sound, an audio production and mixing studio. He works with Milwaukee agencies whose clients need music or sounds for a commercial.

He studied music in college and was a member of the band, Johny Vegas. He also hired out for others. “If record labels needed a drummer for one show I would get the call and learn a bunch of songs, show up and never see them again,” he told Ester Robards, who wrote an article on Alex for Urban Milwaukee.

He was introduced to Milwaukee while touring with Johny Vegas. After the band split, Alex joined The Churchills and met future wife Kim Henry, a member of the band.

 
 
From out of the past

Island Packet, July 20, 2014
Beloved husband, father, son, and brother, Peter D. "Pete" Grecco, 43, of Bluffton, SC, passed away on Tuesday, July 15 from complications associated with congestive heart failure.

Pete was born in Syracuse, New York, the youngest of three sons of Paul and Sandra Grecco. He is survived by his loving wife, Luz "Lucy", daughter Isabella "Bella", and their pups Lola and Milo. Pete is also survived by his parents, his two older brothers Paul, Jr. and Edward, and their families.

Pete was a 21 year resident of Bluffton and ran the family business, Superior Pools Services.

 

Alma J. (Kaldowski) Furcinito, 84, of Liverpool passed away on Saturday July 21, 2012.

She was born in Solvay, and was a resident of Liverpool for 42 years. Alma was a graduate of the Convent School in Syracuse and continued her education attending Marymount College. Mrs. Furcinito was very active and volunteered teaching religious education at various parish schools.

Surviving are her husband of 63 years, James S. Furcinito of Liverpool, two sons, James P. (Charlotte) Furcinito of Houston, TX, Peter S. (Ann Marie) Furcinito , two grandchildren, Elizabeth and Edward Furcinito all of Liverpool.

 
Mackenzie Kenyon is a student at Westhill High School.
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