Biography of Stanislaw Orbik

Birth: My great grandfather Stanislaw Orbik was born in the village of Tajenko, in the parish of Barglow-Koscielny, on 22 August 1875. He was the son of Jan Orbik, born in Tajno, at the time a framer worker in Tajenko, later a farm owner in Tajenko, and Franciszka Polkowski, born in  Polkowo, in the nearby parish of Jaminy. Witnesses to his birth were Mateusz Skorzynski and Jan Sikora. Stanislaw Orbik's godparents were Adam Dabrowski and Maryanna Tyszko.

Stanley Orbik circa 1940


Immigration: Stanislaw Orbik immigrated to America aboard the ship Rugia, under Captain Luthausen, on 2 March 1892, sailing from Hamburg to New York. His name appears on the register from Hamburg as well as the incoming passenger registration at New York. He would have been one of the first to arrive through Ellis Island as it opened in early 1892. He was 17 at the time and was traveling with his young aunt Anna 26, (nee Orbik), and her husband Frank Sikora, 28, and their first child Bronsilawa, aged 2. This family changed their name to Sikorski in America but Frank's parents names from Frank's death record in Chicago match the name of his birth record in Orzechowka so he was definitely a Sikora. The Hamburg list is easier to read than the New York record. It lists them coming from Tajenek, which is a variation of Tajenko. Also traveling with them from Tajenko were Michael Romanowski, 26, Piotr Skowronski, 21, and Andrej Grabowski, 21. These were all common names from the Tajenko at that time.

Finding Stanislaw Orbik was particularly hard to do, considering the availability of online search tools for immigration at This problem was exacerbated by bad spelling, incorrect transcription, and a little fibbing on the part of my great grandfather Stanislaw Orbik. Stanislaw Orbik naturalized on 3 Oct 1894 in the Superior Court of Cook County . At that time he renounced allegiance to the Czar of Russia, who was running that particular partitioned part of Poland at that time. At that time he would have been 19 and the naturalization process for minors would require 6 years in county instead of 5 for adults. If he petitioned for naturalization 6 years earlier than 1894, it would suggest that he was in country in 1888. In fact 1888 was the year Stanislaw indicated that he did arrive on the 1910 and 1920 US Census records. So I was searching for Stanislaw Orbik, who immigrated in 1888 at the age of 13. I could not find Stanislaw Orbik immigrating at the time, nor anytime before 1913 (his 1st cousin Stanislaw) nor anyone with a familiar surname from Tajenko or the area that he may have been traveling with. I knew that he had an aunt Anna nee Orbik Sikorski living in the same parish in South Chicago, but I could find no Frank and Anna Sikorski immigrating near 1888 as well. I was stumped for a long time. In my searches on , I sometimes found relatives in the immigration records by transposing letters, as if by cklerical error or by dyslexic record keepers. In this way I found Orbiks listed as Ordik and Obrik. I tried every combination I could think of with no result. Once, using wildcards, I ran across an entry for Stanisl Onbik, aged 17, in 1892 immigrating from Tapinek, Austria. It looked possible but the Austria reference threw me off as Stanislaw was from the Russian partition, far from the Austrian partition. When the 1930 US Census was released in 2000, I noticed that Stanislaw Orbik changed his immigration date to 1892. Was this a mistake by the census taker? Did a neighbor or friend get the date wrong? So I wanted checked the record more closely. What I found was a name looking like Onbik but could also be Orbik depending on how you read it. In 1892, his age 17 would have been correct because he was born in 1875. Tapinek could have been Tajenek but the Austrian reference was still there. This was most likely a clerical error because the page was full of ditto marks under county of origin. Perhaps the person making the entries did not understand Polish, or perhaps was lazy and did not want to write down every passengers country of origin so he used ditto marks a little too liberally. At any rate there were several people with common Tajenko names traveling with together and listed together with him. One was a family Frank Sikora, 28, his wife Anna Sikora, 26, and a child Bronislawa, aged 2. Could this be Frank Sikorski, his wife Anna Orbik and their child? Why was their names different - Sikora vs. Sikorski?  The ages were certainly correct. I went earlier records I had. The death record of Frank Siokorski on June 6 1928 in Chicago states he was born on May 22 1865 in Orzechowka Poland (a village nearby to Tajenko) ands lists his parents as Antoni Sikorski and and Franciszka Zlotkowski from Orzechowka. I remembered checking this out many years ago in the parish records of Barglow Koscielny and could find no Sikorksi living in that village but there were some in nearby villages. In fact some of the Sikorskis were listed as nobility in some villages. Now I was was looking for Sikora and Zlotkowskis in Orzechowa. Finally in 2006, I found Frank Sikora born in 1862 to Antoni Sikora and Rozalia Zlotkowski! So it appears that this 1892 record is correct. Stanislaw Orbik immigrated in 1892 with his aunt, uncle and cousin, as well as some neighbors.

This leads to some interesting assumptions. First, Frank Sikora used the name Sikorski, probably as a way to elevate his status in the new world, as the -ski ending typically denoted nobility in earlier days. This seems to have been a vogue in the early 1800s as populations shifted, economic opportunities increased and people tried to improve their social status. Secondly, it seems that Stanislaw may have lied about his immigration year so he could become a citizen faster. If he in fact immigrated in 1892, he would not be eligible for citizenship until at least 1897. Since he naturalized in 1894, it would seem he pulled a fast one over n the government. So he listed his immigration at 1988 in 1910 and 1920, but told the truth in 1930. Either his memory was fading or he he was the victim of a guilty conscience. His desire to naturalize as fast as possible, including the risk of getting caught lying, would indicate that Stanislaw had no desire ever to return to his homeland. This is supported by family stories from the Indianapolis Orbik clan (descendants of his 1st cousin Stanislaw Walter Orbik), that the Orbik left to avoid being drafted into the Russian Army. History supports this as it is well documented that Russia dipped heavily into this area of the "western provinces" to fulfill its recruiting needs. Often an enlistment lasted 10 to 20 years and the soldiers were shipped to far away frontiers. So seldom did the soldiers make it home alive that family and freinds through them a " wake" or sort of "good-bye forever" party before they left. Stanislaw Walter Orbik's father Franciszek Orbik was drafted like this and did not return to his village (and start having children) for ten years.

Marriage: Stanislaw Orbik, now Stanley Orbik, married Marianna Pyterek on 6 February 1900 in the parish of Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in South Chicago. The witnesses were Joseph Iwanerewski and Antonia Wisniewski.

Residence: When  Stanislaw Orbik naturalized on 3 Oct 1894, he listed his residence as 8632 Baltimore and lived at 8640 Baltimore until his death in 1945. The house at 8640 Baltimore was built by Stanley Orbik's father-in -law, Alexander Pyterek, and the Orbiks probably moved there after Alexander's death in 1909. Stanley Orbik's mother-in-law Helena Murkowski Pyterek lived with them there until her death.

Children: Stanislaw Orbik and Marianna Pyterek had these children:

  1. Hieronim (Harry) Orbik (1900-1938), married Agnes Ulaszek (1900-1984), whose family was from Osobnica, near Jalso.

  2. Eugenia Francis (Jeannie) Orbik (1902-1998), married Steven Marolewski (1899-1981) whose family was from Mlyniec near Torun.

  3. Joanna Emelia (Jennie) Orbik (1905-?) married Leo Szczepankiewicz (1905-?).

  4. Helen Josephine Orbik (1908-1909).

  5. John Orbik (1910-1988), married Genevieve Scedzinski. They adopted one son named Rodney .

  6. Alfred Orbik, (1916-1916).

  7. Raymond Orbik, (1921- 2005). He was institutionalized at an early age.

Death: Stanley Orbik died Sept 8 1945 in Chicago Illinois of heart disease. He is buried next to his wife Mary in Holy Cross Cemetery in Calumet City Illinois.

Other Family Information:

Stanislaw was the second oldest child and the first-born male an thereby subject to inherit the family farm. Yet in 1892, when only 17, he immigrated to Chicago.

Stanley Orbik's wife listed his occupation as "Tongsman in the #2 Merchant Mill of Wisconsin Steel" on his death certificate. Mary also listed his birthplace as Tajenko Poland, which led him to be one of the first family members I found in my research. Mary was obviously deeply concerned with preserving details about the past.

On Sept 12, 1918, Stanley Orbik and his two brothers registered for the draft. Stanley was 43 at the time. He was listed as medium height with blue eyes and was listed as a roll hand at the Wisconsin Steel Works in South Chicago.

  See the Stanislaw Orbik immigration record from New York - 1892.

See the Hamburg Version.