I am trying to trace Valentina Korzauthkowska who could be my beloved aunt Valentine. She immigrated to the US and arrived in NYC on the Rijindam on June 19, 1912 from Rotterdam.

Her manifests says that her most recent place of residence is Suelewa, Russia but of course that could be a transcriptional error since the handwriting on the manifest while readable was a bit fuzzy. I have tried to find this town or village in maps of current and pre-WWI Poland, which was occupied by Russia at that time, without finding it. The maps of the western area of Russia at that time, which I have found so far, are inscrutable to me.

Where was the town of Suelewa or is there a map of the western part of Russia that I can read, or a better way to search for it?

1 Answer 1


One strategy is to examine the passenger manifest from her arrival and note the names in the other columns. We see that her nearest relative is her mother Maryanna Korzautkowska in (illegible) "Plock." Looking up and down that column, we see several other passengers' relatives are in "Plock." "Plock" may be an actual place in Polish Russia, or it may be the clerk's notation for "Poland" or "Polish" since it is very close to an offensive term for people of Polish descent.

On the second page, in column 18, we see that Valentina says she is going to join her sister, T. Sczep(a)(n)kowski in Albany, NY. At the end of that line we see Valentina's place of birth listed as Suelewa, more clearly written than her place of residence. "Suelewa" appears at least twice in this record, so the digital transcription of the handwritten record appears to be correct, but the clerk may have written it phonetically, so it may be something else entirely.

Now you have two additional personal names you can follow up with. Questions you can try to answer are:

  • What is sister T's full name? [imm-/emigration records, city directories, 1910/1920 census]
  • What is the name of T's husband? [imm-/emigration records, city directories, 1910/1920 census]
  • When and where did T and her husband marry, the U.S. or Poland/Russia/elsewhere? [marriage records]
  • When did T come to the U.S.? [imm-/emigration records]
  • Did T come to the U.S. under the name Sczep(a)(n)kowski or under the name Korzaut(h)kowska? [search for both]
  • Did mother Maryanna stay in Polish Russia or did she emigrate to the U.S. also?
  • Were any of these people later naturalized? Naturalization records will sometimes give the town of birth.
  • If you find the family in Albany, examine the nearby neighbors from when the family first arrived. Your people may initially have stayed with or near people from their home village, so you may have to trace back people who aren't related to you in order to find your relatives' home town.

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