My new name is Janina Kruk

I left on September 12th from Columbus, Ohio to JFK to Warsaw Poland. Flight from Columbus to JFK was cancelled due to weather. Rebook on a later flight from Columbus to LA to London to Warsaw. Flight cancelled because of bird flew into the engine. Caught fire and flight cancelled. Needless to say, I went home to Columbus my first night of travel. On Friday September 13 I departed Columbus Ohio to Chicago arriving in Warsaw at 8.30 AM.

I stayed in Warsaw for two nights before meeting with Zenon on Monday to search for my ancestors. Zenon had discovered my grandparents name prior to our departure. He discovered my surname is Kruk (phonetically: crook) not Krukowski. My aunt Betty Krukowski and I had a bet regarding our surname. She thought it was Kruk and I thought it was Krukowski. Sadly my aunt passed away in May but I know was looking down with the smile knowing she was right, knowing she won the bet.

One other thing my name is Jan and Zenon thought I was a male because in Polish Jan is a male John and Janina is female. So I decided to change my name to Janina (Yanina) Kruk.

On Monday we met Mariola in the village of Brzeźno-Kolonia who is the granddaughter of Marianna Kruk. Marianna Kruk was sister of my grandfather Jan. Zenon discovered through the records that my great-grandparents were Joseph Kruk and Marianna Sobotka. After this discovery we set up to meet Mariola on Tuesday to meet Mariola’s mother Halina, wife of Marianna’s Kruk son Leszek. We also discovered another Halina wife of another son of Marianna Kruk, Tadeusz.

After death of my father Edward Krukowski, son to John Kruk’s I discovered letters from 1940s and 1950s which helped us locate the village of Kolonia-Brzeźno, my ancestors’ home. More to come as we are to visit Wyszków home of Halina (Leszek’s wife) and Ostrołęka home of Halina (Tadeusz’s wife).

The windmill where we spent the first night.
The windmill where we spent the first night.
Our evening feast.
Our evening feast.

More to come.

Janina Kruk


  1. Hi — I was doing some research into my grandfather, Frank Szwajnos, who lived in Ciche, Poland before emigrating to the US in 1905. He had 2 half brothers, James and John. I know my grandfathers fathers name was Jan and his mother died giving birth to my grandfather. I researched James Szwajnos (who changed his name to Swaynos) marriage certificate and it said that his father’s name was Joseph Szwajnos and his mother was Tillie Kruka. Do you know of her or are related?

    Thank you, Susan Bittner Dearth

  2. Could you ask Halina Walczak, if she knows of Jan Walczak son of Rosa and Michael Walczak. Jan came to US in 1911.

    Jan is my grandfather. I have working 30 years on trying to locate his home and family in Poland, with no luck. His immigration papers said he was born in Wowiczko. This place does not exist, a misspelling. Wyoszkow has a similar sound as Wowiczko.


  3. My name is Ron Ganczar, living in West Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada.
    In Sept 2012, I visited Oleszyce Poland, and found the marriage record of my grandfather and grandmother, Andrew Gancarz and Katrina Sopel.
    They left Poland in 1899, and settled in Sifton, Manitoba, Canada.
    Their daughter, named Rozalia, married Karl Kruk, around 1907-08, in Sifton, manitoba.
    The Kruk name is very common in the Sifton Manitoba, Canada area.

    Ron Ganczar,
    email [email protected]

  4. I was so excited to read of your visit. My maternal grandmother’s side of the family has been nearly impossible to trace; her mother was Malgorzata Kruk Adamczyk. Now I have an area to start where I might find some Kruk families. My grandmother always said that her family came from the Warsaw area, more specifically from Lodz. However, my grandmother’s sisters lived in Limanova province. Thanks. I am excited to have a town I can investigate.

  5. Hi Susan,

    My Grandfather Jan was born in 1884 had one sister that lived the rest died at a young age. I have not researched his father my great grandfather how many siblings he had etc. I searched my for my roots in Poland via internet for over 5 years, was never able to find records from Poland only the records from the States. Going to Poland and hiring Zenon as my Genealogist guide for 9 days I (He) was able to undercover so much of my family history. If you ever get a chance to do a forefather’s tours I assure you it will be the most rewarding trip. I have not come across a Tillie in my family line. Sorry ;( Janina

  6. Hi Linda,

    During our search we met two different families with the surname Kruk however they were not related to me. Maybe they are related to u ;).. Good luck on your search. Janina

  7. Hi Sandra,

    I did not get the opportunity to ask Halina while I was in Poland. If I come across that name in my continual research I will let u know.

  8. Hi! My name is Jon Davis from Shelby Ohio. I just kinda found this website when looking into my history for a project. You know what… I’ll just get to the point. So, I guess I’m related to you… My mom Karen Davis (Nee-Krukowski) is the daughter of Edward Krukowski. You might have met my aunt Jan Krukowski, she went to Poland and showed me this blog. I’m honestly not really what to say next other than happy Thanksgiving!!!

  9. Hello Janina,

    Wondering if you are related to the Gancarz, or Ganczar family.
    I am from Canada, and am related to the Kruk families in Canada.

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