Zagrocki Family  
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agrocki & agrodzki

Family Origins and Deepest Root

The most distant confirmed ancestor of this family is Frank Zagrodzki, Adalbert's father.  Tradition says he lived most of his life in and around Warsaw.

The Adalbert Zagrocki (Wojciech Zagrodzki) family lived in the area northwest of Warsaw.  Tradition says that Adalbert and Josephine met in a small town between Plock and Plonsk.  During the period they lived in Poland, this area was under Russian rule.  Adalbert worked as a sheep herder and hired himself out to wealthy land owners, and because of his job, the family moved frequently.  We know they lived in at least five different towns.  The place that Adalbert, Josephine, William, Casimir, and Rose lived last, before they came to America, was Okalewko, a town about 80 miles northwest of Warsaw.  Since Adalbert emigrated before Josephine, he most likely left her and the two boys with family, and we can surmise that Okalewko is probably the home of either the Zagrocki or Prymuszewski family.

The oldest record of the Zagrocki family in Poland found so far is the 1885 baptism of daughter Stanislawa, in the Parish of Drobin.  Teofil was also baptized there in early 1887.  The church record notes name of the village they were living in as Dohrosielice.  The next known residence of the Zagrocki family was Tarchomin where William was born in October 1898.  Tarchomin was a small village that is now absorbed by Warsaw.  The whereabouts of the family between 1887 and 1898 is unknown at this time.

The third known residence of the Zagrocki family is identified in Casimir's immigration records as Munkolin, where was born March 1904.  This is probably the town of Makolin, located near Bodzanów, which is the fourth town where the family lived and where Rose was born in September 1906.  Bodzanów is about 40 miles northwest of Warsaw in the direction of Plock.

The family's last residence is noted in their naturalization records:  Okalewko, a town about 80 miles northwest of Warsaw and about 20 miles directly north of Sierpc.  Probably, there were relatives in this area who looked after Josephine, William, and Casimir when Adalbert went to America ahead of them.

The Immigrant Ancestors

The Zagrocki family - parents Adalbert and Josephine, and children Teofil, John, William, Casimir, and Rose -  emigrated from Poland in the early part of the twentieth century.  Teofil was the first to emigrate, arriving on the "Cleveland" at New York harbor on November 23, 1910.  John came next, probably arriving in early 1912.  Adalbert and Rose arrived on the "Zeeland" at New York harbor on September 9, 1913.  Finally, Josephine, William, and Casimir came on the "Brandenburg" and entered the United States at Baltimore harbor on December 28, 1913.

Rose was only seven when she arrived with her father on September 9, 1913.  The nearly four months of waiting for her mother and brothers to arrive on December 28 of the same year must have seemed like an eternity.  She later wrote, "I did not know my mother when she came…."

Family tradition says that one of the main incentives to come to America was for the sons to avoid conscription into the Russian military.  According to his naturalization records, Teofil entered the United States under the alias of Alexander Kinicki, and one of Teofil's grandsons remembers he had a military sword hanging in the his house.  If the sword was his, it implies that he was either in the calvary or an officer in the army.  However, it might also have been a souvenir.  Nonetheless, all of these things suggest that Teofil deserted from the Russian army and fled to America, but, right now, the evidence is all circumstantial.

Even if it is true that the Zagrocki family was avoiding military service, remember that they were avoiding military service for a foreign government, the Russian military, they were not avoiding service in the Polish military.  Only a few years after they came to America, John Zagrocki volunteered for the United States Army to fight in World War I, and many more Zagrockis in later generations served in the United States armed forces.

The Origin of the Name

In Polish, the name 'Zagrocki' is properly known as Zagrodzki.  However, in Polish there is a phonetic similarity between the 'Zagrodzki' and 'Zagrocki' spellings because the letter 'c' is pronounced like the English 'ts'.  Apparently, there is less distinction between the ' c = ts' sound and the 'dz' sound in Polish, particularly be the case in the some dialects, perhaps, and 'Zagrocki' is found as a common variant spelling for Zagrodzki.  In the Drobin parish church records, where Teofil's baptism is recorded, Adalbert's family was recorded using both spellings.

The name 'Zagrocki' or 'Zagrodzki' translates literally as 'Fencer'.  In Polish, the word 'zagroda' refers to both a fence or enclosure, and to a farm house or cottage.  The verb 'zagradzac' means to fence, or to enclose with a fence.  A common English surname with the same meaning is 'Croft'.

The first names of the family members were also somewhat different in Polish.  Adalbert was Wojciech; Josephine was Jozefa; John was Jan or Janosh, William was Boleslaw, Casimir was Kazimierz, and Rose was Rozalia.  Teofil continued to use the Polish form of his name, but he was known informally as Phil.  The name Boleslaw or Boleslaus means 'strong bravery'.  William used Boleslaw as his formal name, and it is the name which appears on his marriage license.

Descendants of Adalbert Zagrodzki and Josephine Prymuszewska - 3 generations



Josephine Zagrocki (nee Prymuszewski) 1953
Stella Zagrocki (nee Wisniewski) 1977
William Zagrocki 1970


A Coal Miner's Widow  - The difficult times of the Wisniewski family.

Other Topics Related to the Zagrocki Family on this Site

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Beaver County, PA

Off-Site Links

Mapa Polski is an excellent map site for locating Polish towns.  There are some problems using it for with names spelled with diacritical marks.
The Worldwide Directory of Cities and Towns is an excellent site for locating towns throughout the world.  The alphabetical directories make it relatively easy to search for spelling variations.  The maps do not show national boundaries or roads, but natural features are shown.  Hint:  if you can't figure out the location of your town from the map, search for some well known city and compare its location to that of the one your searching.
Badzanow homepage (in Polish)
Drobin homepage (in Polish)

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 This page was last updated on: Sunday, December 18, 2011
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