The Piasecki family originally is from Poland. They came to Ellis island, then ended up in Connecticut. I know that there is no connection to the Piasecki’s who have to do with helicopters.
I am just trying to find my husband's ancestors.

  • Have you found an immigration record of his Piasecki ancestor's arrival to the US? How was the surname spelled on that? Have you found a record of the same ancestor prior to leaving Poland? How was the surname spelled on that?
    – PolyGeo
    Dec 11, 2018 at 20:31
  • Similar question at genealogy.stackexchange.com/q/14186/19
    – PolyGeo
    Dec 11, 2018 at 22:08
  • 1
    Possible duplicate of Determining correct spelling of Polish last name?
    – Bregalad
    Dec 13, 2018 at 7:21
  • 1
    Piasecki is not an uncommon Polish name, in that exact spelling, and since it's relatively simple, there's not that much chance for it being changed in transcription. There's multiple famous people with this name pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piasecki That said, even simple Polish names sometimes changed between generations.
    – skolima
    Dec 16, 2018 at 9:02

1 Answer 1


This is a common question for beginning genealogists. However, the emphasis on the correct spelling of a name is a relatively recent phenomenon. Even if you could determine a preferential spelling for your husband's family, that wouldn't help you find his ancestors -- and it might make it less likely.

Most of the material we use for studying genealogy and family history was created for another purpose. For many of the records, the people mentioned in a record were not writing down their own names. Passenger lists for immigration, for example, were created by the shipping companies in the shipping company offices near the departure ports. The person buying the ticket (not necessarily the passenger) gave the information to the clerk, and the manifests were created by copying the information on the forms for each individual.

Because so many opportunities arise for names to be spelled or indexed in a way that doesn't match the spelling we expect, what we need to do is to collect a list of surname variants -- different spellings and ways the name has been badly indexed -- and then search for those spellings as well as the more familiar ones.

The FamilySearch Wiki article Guessing a Name Variation cautions:

Just because an ancestor always spelled his name the same way, that does not guarantee it was always spelled that way by a clerk or by an indexer. If your first search fails to find an ancestor, consider the possibility the name is spelled differently than you expect. In fact, experienced genealogists worry their skills are slipping if they are not finding several documents with unexpected spellings of the name.

Search for other identifiers besides surname spellings that will distinguish your husband's family. It helps to collect the names of extended family plus friends, associates and neighbors in the new country, since they may have been neighbors in the old country too.

The FamilySearch Wiki is a good place to start -- start with the main article Poland Genealogy (the section Getting Started with Poland Research), the Research Strategies, and the articles Poland Emigration and Immigration.

Further reading:

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