My Polish Connection

My Polish Connection

Katarzyna Zmudzinska was born on Nov 24, 1887 in the village of Mosty Male in Galicia, Austria.  The village of Mosty Male is now located in southern Poland very near the border with the Ukraine, 34 nm northwest of Lviv.  Her parents were Blazi Zmudzinski and Anna Jasniuk and she had sisters named Tekla, Anna and Marynka and brothers named Mikolaj and Michal. Of this family it was believed that only Katarzyna and Anna came to the United States,  Katarzyna came in 1907 and her sister Anna followed in 1910.  Recently it was learned that brother Michal also came to the United States probably in the 1950s.

ZMUD1.JPG (78680 bytes)                    ZMUD3.JPG (76661 bytes)                    ZMUD2.JPG (98495 bytes)

Photos: Left:  Tekla, Anna (mother) & Michal    Center:  Anna (sister) & Katarzyna   Right: Michal, wife Anna & her brother & sister

Katarzyna departed from Antwerp, Belgium on January 26, 1907 on the ship Westernland and arrived in the United States on February 10, 1907.  She was processed at Ellis Island and arrived in New York where she worked in 1907 and 1908 as a housemaid for a Mrs. Bryan and for a Mrs. Blumenfeld. It was during this time in New York that she met Karol Dominik Bykantowicz, a house guest of her employer. Dominik Bykantowicz also used  the name  K. D. Bennett or Charlie Bennett. He was born April 17, 1872 in Russia or probably Russian occupied Poland.

Katarzyna received letters from her friends telling of higher wages and better ZMUD5.JPG (89930 bytes) opportunities in the Kansas City area and in pursuit of the American dream, in 1909 she moved to Kansas City, Kansas. Dominik Bykantowicz promptly followed her to Kansas and they were married. In 1910 they had a daughter that they named Adelka Bykantowicz (Edna Bennett) and in 1912 another daughter was born who they named Helena Bykantowicz (Helen Bennett).

Photo: Dominik, Katarzyna, Edna & Helen

ZMUD4.JPG (122110 bytes)Dominik and Katarzyna owned and operated a grocery store, K. D. Bennett Groceries, located at 29 S. James Street in Kansas City, Kansas. During the very hot summer of 1918,  one August morning after walking to the store, Dominik suffered a sudden heart attack and died at the age of 47. 

Photo:  Katarzyna with Edna & Helen 


Fitz1.jpg (44096 bytes)Annie.jpg (54613 bytes) After Dominik's death, Katarzyna married Michael Fitz. He was born Mikhail Ficzaj on July 19, 1891 in Ganya, Hungary (Czechoslovakia), his father was Mikhail Oliksov Ficzaj and his mother was Anna Laurishi.  Michael left the port of Fiume, Italy/Austria on December 28, 1908 aboard the Caronia.  He arrived in New York on January 3, 1909.  Katarzyna and Michael had two children, Anna Fitz born in 1919 and Michail Fitz in 1921. 

 Photos: Left: Mikhail & Katarczyna Fitz, Right: Michail & Anna

Katarzyna died July 5, 1959 and is buried in Mount Calvary Cemetery in Kansas City, Ks.  Today she has many descendants who would like to know more about their Polish roots and the family she left behind in the land of her birth.


Bykantowicz Family Photos

Unidentified Photos - Photos  from the Slavic community in Kansas City, Ks.



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