The Modzelewski/Modjesky/Solesky Family of Baltimore, MD

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The Modzelewski/Modjesky/Solesky Family of Baltimore, MD

Wladislaw (Walter) Modzelewski was the immigrant ancestor of this family, coming from Poland. According to his Social Security SS-5 form, his parents were Jozef Modzelewski and Katarzyna Goalski (probably Golski or even Gorski?)

According to his 1940 Alien Registration Fornm, he was born in Wdziekon, Poland.

His wife was Sofia Borkowska, also from Poland.

Wladislaw was apparently a cousin of my great grandfather, Boleslaw Modzelewski, who was born in Miodusy Wielkie, Poland (Russian Partition). There is a letter from Boleslaw to Joseph Solesky (a son of Wladislaw) which mentions the relationship: "In your recent letter, you asked whether and how my Dad is related to your Dad. Your Dad's father and my Dad's father were brothers. In Poland they called each other brother."

What can we make of this? There are three issues with intepreting the text:

  1. The letter is signed by Boleslaw, but the handwriting is that of his daughter (my great aunt) Agnes.
  2. Part of the text is scratched out, "your Dad's father" is changed to "your Dad". These first two issues make me wonder about the context of the relationship. Presumably Boleslaw is dictating the letter to Agnes. Is he describing the relationship in terms of himself or Agnes?
  3. "In Poland they called each other brother" could mean that they were first cousins. "brat" in Polish means brother, but there is also "brat stryjeczny" (paternal brother, son of father's brother) and "brat wujeczny" (maternal brother, son of mother's brother). Our generic term is cousin, but Polish is more specific. So it is likely that "In Poland they called each other brother" means they were first cousins. Otherwise they would not call each other brother, they would actually be brothers.
One interpretation is that the text means that Joseph's father (Wladislaw) and Boleslaw's grandfather ("my Dad's father") were brothers. Wladislaw was born in 1870. Boleslaw was born in 1874. The man I believe was his father, Piotr, was born in 1855, and his father (also Piotr) was born in 1820. To me, 50 years seems to be too large of a span of years between first cousins.

If instead the relationship is correct for Agnes writing the letter, then it means that her grandfather, the Piotr born in 1855, was the first cousin of Wladislaw (born in 1875). That seems much more likely to be the case.

These two interpretations don't even take into account the issue of the scratched out text. Those two possibilities would be that Wladislaw's father Jozef and Piotr (born in 1820) were cousins, or that Jozef and Piotr (born in 1855) were cousins. If Wladislaw was born in 1870, the Jozef must have been born before 1850, probably in the range of 1820-1850. Both of these seem chronologically plausible.

There is a second page of the letter, which continues the discussion about relatives on his mother's (Sofia Borkowska) side. The uncle is Boleslaw Borkowski, who went by Benjemin/Benny. He married Stefania Kaczynska, who was a niece of my great grandfather Boleslaw. She was the daughter of Boleslaw Kaczynski and Stanislawa Modzelewska.

Euphemia Borkowska married John Bruhy. I do not know who Mary Borkowska married.

Their parents were Jan Borkowski and Maria Schmidt.

And now on to the Baltimore families:

Walter Edward Modzelewski
Born: 17 NOV 1870 in Poland
Died: 23 MAR 1944
Married: to Sophie Borkowska on 20 JUN 1904 in St. John Capistrano's Hungarian R.C. Church in Bethlehem, PA
Children: Mary Modzelewski, Frank Isadore Modzelewski, Evelyn Helen Modzelewski, Boleslous (Charles) Modzelewski, Stephanie Dorothy Modzelewski, Ladislaus Joseph Modzelewski, Adam Modzelewski, Stanislaus Modzelewski and Leroy Modzelewski

Mary Modzelewski
Born: ABT 1902
Married: to Ivan R. Eward, who was born 30 JUN 1898
Children: Ivan R. Eward who was born 15 DEC 1919 and died 16 NOV 1989
Ivan Jr was living in the Tressler Orphanage in Tyrone Twp, Perry Co, PA in 1930, so preusmably his parents had died by then.

Frank Isadore Modzelewski
Born: ABT 1903
Died: 1955
Married: to Helen on ABT 1924, she was born 9 JAN 1904 and died OCT 1966. Not sure of her maiden name yet
Child: Joseph Solesky who was born 28 SEP 1923 and died FEB 1975.
Child: Kenneth O. Solesky who was born 24 NOV 1925 and died 10 NOV 2006.
Frank changed his name to Frank Isadore Solesky.

Evelyn Helen Modzelewski
Born: 15 MAR 1905
Died: FEB 1995 in Baltimore, Maryland
Married: to Raphael Mazzola on 27 AUG 1931 in Howard County, MD
Raphael was born 24 OCT 1898 possibly in Palermo, Italy. I can't seem to find out what what happened to him, or find any children for them.

Boleslous (Charles) Modzelewski
Born: 6 MAR 1906
Died: NOV 1968 in Baltimore, MD
Married: to Jessie, who was born about 1912, according to the 1930 census. Her parents were Polish
He chaged his name to Charles Modjesky. No other information on his wife or any possible children.

Stephanie Dorothy Modzelewski
Born: 4 MAR 1910
Died: 23 MAR 2011 in Gwynn Oak, MD
Married: to a Caldwell, husband's first name unknown. She may also have been married to a Bentley.

Ladislaus Joseph Modzelewski
Born: 15 NOV 1909
Died: OCT 1982 in Baltimore, MD
He went by the name Joseph Solesky.
Married: Doris O'Brien, who was born 13 SEP 1922 and died 6 JAN 2008. Childen: Bryan Solesky Judy Solesky Joe Solesky, married to Gina Stephanie Soleski who died before 2008 and was married to a Russel

Adam Modzelewski
Born: 1913
Died: 1959
Married: to Frances R. Bonkoski on 26 MAR 1938 in Howard County, MD
Child: Adam Alfred Modjesky Jr born: 21 OCT 1943
Adam Alfred Modjesky Jr married Donna K White on 27 JUN 1964 in Solano County, CA. They were divorced 23 MAR 1983. Donna was born 18 APR 1947 in Oklahoma, and died 31 DEC 1995 in Vallejo, Solano County, California. They had one child, Paul J Modjesky, born: 5 AUG 1970 in Solano County, California. I believe Paul married Barbara. Adam Alfred Modjesky Jr then married Colette M Hofer on 30 APR 1983 in Reno, NV. They have two children: Heather Frances and Adam Alfred III.

Stanislaus Modzelewski
Born: 15 OCT 1915 in Lewistown, PA
Died: DEC 1976 in Baltimore, MD
Married: to Virginia E.
Children: Virginia Ann Modjesky and Stanley James Modzelewski

Leroy Modzelewski
Born: ABT MAR 1919
No oher information about Leroy, perhaps he died young?


I greatly appreciate any comments, questions, or other information you may have! csmolinski@blackcatsystems.com

Last modified June 11, 2011