Our Polish Heritage

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Chain migration has been a hot topic in the United States in recent years and it is a sociological pattern that has gone on for centuries. Suffield benefited from it over one hundred years ago when the Poles began to arrive here and resuscitate the overused Connecticut River Valley soil. They may have made the journey across the Atlantic and through Ellis Island one by one, but over the years they came as families and friends.

Between 1900 and 1915, my grandmother (Serafina Kreczko), three sisters, two brothers and six cousins came to the Springfield/Suffield area. The sisters married and settled in Suffield. A map of where they all lived around 1910 shows that there was a “Kluster of Kreczkos” living within a mile (easy walking distance) of one another in the vicinity of Hill St., Russell Ave., Blossom Ave. and Halladay Ave. Four Gogulski sisters married and did the same thing on a section of East Street South. The Poles who found Suffield to be a satisfying community not only encouraged and sponsored family members to come to the United States. They did the same for friends in their home villages.

Most of the Polish immigrants in Suffield came from the Russian Partition. Suchawola and D–browa-Bia–ystocka are two adjacent “gminas” (administrative municipalities) in what is now northeast Poland, then Russia. These centers of population were also the seat of Catholic parishes. My grandparents happened to be from those two parishes but they were not the only Suffield immigrants from there. To date, there is a list of almost 20 surnames of Suffield families who lived in villages close to these “gminas” and worshiped in the two churches. The list includes the names Karakla(Kierkla), Carney, Majewski, Matyskiela, Pacewicz, Glownia, Sutula, Kreczko and Zak. Polish families and friends helped each other with the immigration process and getting settled in their new American communities.

There are probably similar examples of clusters of families and friends in Suffield that originated in these and other parts of Poland. I would like to expand the list above and start others from different parts of Poland. If you know the surnames (especially maiden names), places of birth and their relatives of your Polish ancestors, I would like to hear from you. Please email me at zaksa@aol.com or send a message through Ancestry.com (user name is also zaksa.)

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