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Created by Administrator Account in 5/4/2012 11:53:04 AM


… My husband's family name is Kubisiak. We have very little information about the family except that they came from Posnine, Poland (which I can't locate). His great grandfather's name was Michael John Kubisiak born at Posnine. Michael fathers name was Stahley and mother was Kathan. We think Kathan was from Germany and her fathers name was Michal Novich and her mothers last name was Morski. I do not have any dates of births, deaths, etc.

Well, there is a limit to how much I can tell anyone about specific families -- I just don't have the data. I can, however, suggest that "Posnine, Poland" is probably "Poznań," one of the major cities of Poland. If an American asked a Pole where he came from and the Pole answered "Poznań," the American would probably write what he heard as "Posnine." So I think it's very likely Poznań (called Posen by the Germans when they ruled the area) is what you're looking for... The bad news is that in Poland such administrative subdivisions as provinces (wojewodztwa) and counties (powiaty) and districts (gminy) are named for the town in which their administrative centers were located; Poznań has been the center of various such subdivisions, and often when people said where they came from, they were referring to the province or county of Poznań, not the city. In other words, "I come from Poznań" might have meant not the city but the whole region of which Poznań was the capital, which historically was larger than the modern-day province of Poznań. So you want to start by assuming your husband's family came from the city of Poznań -- it's a big place, lots of people did -- but there's no guarantee that assumption will prove correct.

"Michael John Kubisiak" would appear in Polish records as "Michał Jan Kubisiak" (the Polish l with a slash through it is pronounced like our w). "Stahley" and "Kathan" make no sense, those aren't Polish names; I'm guessing "Stahley" should be "Stanley," which is an English name often used as an equivalent to Polish "Stanisław." As for "Kathan," I have to guess here -- it seems most likely to be a misreading or misspelling of "Katarzyna," the Polish form of "Catherine."

Now, as for the surname Kubisiak, it breaks down as Kubis + -iak. Kubis is a nickname derived from the last part of the first name Jakub (Jacob); for some reason English-speakers never formed a nickname from that part, but Poles and Germans formed several, and Kubis is one -- it would be kind of like "Jake" or "Jakey" in English. The -iak suffix usually means "son of" in surnames, so the surname started out meaning "Kubis's son," referring to some member of the family named Kubis who was fairly prominent in his community at the time surnames were becoming established.

Surnames formed from first names are pretty common in Poland, and Kubisiak is no exception -- as of 1990 there were 1,405 Polish citizens named Kubisiak. They lived all over the country, with the largest numbers in the provinces of Kalisz (142), Łódź (126), Poznań (192). The significant number of Kubisiaks living in the Poznań province suggests that could well be where your husband's ancestors came from. Unfortunately, this still doesn't narrow the search down enough to do you much good.

I hate to say it, but to have any realistic chance of tracing the family in Poland, you're going to have to have more info from some source -- naturalization papers, ship passenger lists, records at a church (often marriage or baptismal records give info on family origins). Even if the family came from the city of Poznań rather than the surrounding area, Poznań is too big to track down one family with a name as common as Kubisiak. To make any progress tracing the family in Poland, you absolutely have to have the correct name, birth date, and birthplace of the ancestor who emigrated. Until you have those, your chances of getting anywhere are pretty slim. I realize you were probably hoping the surname would provide a clue or a lead, but the truth is I have to disappoint people who hope for that about 95% of the time. Most Polish names just don't offer any information that helps significantly with research.

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