Polish American Names- Please Help

Researching my husband family tree is a slow process for several reasons that I will not list to save face for several family members. Today’s stumbling block is regarding the name changes made after coming to America. I have taken a photo of two Pennsylvania census records.  It is my strong belief that they are both the same family. I know that the 1910 family is my husband’s. I am not 100% sure the 1900 one is.

Pennsylvania Census Records
Pennsylvania Census Records



The comparison concerns on the censuses are:

  1. Joseph Butka’s birth years 1900 reads Jul 1861 (38)      1910 abt 1864 (46)
  2. Joseph birthplace 1900 Russia, Poland                                1910 Russia
  3. Parents birthplace same issue as Joseph’s
  4. Home: 1900 Conyngham, Luzerne, Pennsylvania            1910 Newport, Luzerne, Pennsylvania
  5. Immigration year 1900 was 1888                                             1910 was 1889
  6. 1900 census name concerns were Bronislana age 10; Boleslaw age 7; Wyadyslaw age 3

Assessment of the census Data:

  1. Like most census an age range of difference may be common depending on when the census was taken in relationship to the birth month. Taking this into consideration the age will not be a concern at this time. The purchase of a birth certificate is placed on my “To Do” list once I’m sure of the correct Joseph. The same age difference could be attributed to Mary’s 1900 age 36 and her 1910 age 44.
  2. Having recently listened to Webinars about researching across the “pond” and European ancestor, (I did not write down the webinar presenters names at the time or the resource at the time of viewing, for that I apologize to them), I know that Poland was part of Russia. This eliminates the birthplace concern for Joseph and his parents; it is most likely the same place.
  3. I used Google Maps to research the location of Conyngham and Newport areas of Luzerne County Pennsylvania. They are in the same area; redistricting over the years makes the location most probably the same address location.
  4. In regards to the immigration date; I added “find Joseph Butka immigration records to my “To Do” list. A cursory search on Ancestry.com showed too many for me to verify which one was my Joseph for this blog post. I did find a possible match for Joseph at Ancestry.com

It looks like a second visit to the United States and most likely his immigration date. A Josef Molcan [Motran] is listed as his brother-in-law residing in Pittsburg Pa.

Source Citation: Roll: T840_26; Line: 14.Source Information:

Ancestry.com. Philadelphia Passenger Lists, 1800-1945 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006. Original data: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1883-1945. Micropublication T840. RG085. Rolls # 1-181. National Archives, Washington, D.C. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1800-1882. Micropublication M425. RG036. Rolls # 1-108. National Archives, Washington, D.C.


  1. In regards to my final concern on the census, I Googled Polish given names finding a great site for listed English translations; http://polandpoland.com/common_polish_names.html .

Bronslana = Bernice/Bertha; she would be age 20 on the 1910 census. Not finding her in Joseph’s home is not a concern. She most likely is married or hired out.

Boleslaw = William/Bill; he would be age 17; there is a William age 16 on the 1910 census

Wladyslaw = Walter/Edward; he would be 13 on the 1910 census. There is an Edward age 13 listed.

Caroline on the 1900 census most likely is the Carrie, a nickname for Caroline, on the 1910 census.

Zigmund age 10 on the 1910 was not born when the 1900 census was taken, but shortly after or early in the New Year.  Zigmund is my father–in-law’s middle name. He was named after an uncle.

I found a marriage certificate for my father-in-law’s parents that confirms that Joseph and Mary are William’s parent’s born in Russia Poland. William was 23 years old when her married Lottie Boberick. William was born in Pennsylvania further confirming the arrival of his parents in America before 1890. He is most probably the William listed on the 1910 Luzrene County Pennsylvania census. William and Lottie were living in that county in a town called Nanticoke, where several relatives still live today.


Based on the above assessment I feel that they are the same family.  Once I have received the document on my “To Do” list and they confirm they are my family, I will add them to my Butka-Stearns Family Tree.


I am open to any suggestions or discussion on the validity of my argument that they are the same family.


Resources for the Blog post include:

  1. Ancestry.com
  2. Google Search
  3. http://polandpoland.com/common_polish_names.html
  4. Family records and interviews

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