Ancestors of Anna Carolina Petroll Syska


The Petroll name is not common.  According to one source there are currently only 303 people with the name Petroll living in Germany, 64 in Brazil, 57 in the United states and 17 in Poland.  There appears to be a number of smaller countries, in particular, the slavic countries,who appear not to be included at all. According to Ancestry website, only a handful of Petrolls immigrated to the US in the 19th century, all from Prussia or Germany.

I was unable to find the source of the Petroll name, but the spellings of surnames were not rigid up until the 18th and 19th centuries.  Records show that many people used multiple spellings of their names throughout their own lives and we know many immigrants names were changed both intentionally and unintentionally.  There are a number of similar surnames including Petrolli, Petrolla, Petrolo etc.  The majority of people with related surnames live in Italy.


Ancestors of Anna Carolina Petroll Syska (my 2nd gr grandmother )

On Sept1830 petroll gumpert marriageember 26, 1830,  Johann Christian Petroll (1802-1855)  married Anna Dorothea Gumpert (1811-1853) in  Adelnau, Posen, Prussia.  According to the marriage record, he was 28 years old and his bride was 18. 

Christian and Dorothea had 5 children, 2 of whom died in childhood.  The children were Carl (b.1831), Carolina (1834-1895), Susane (1837-1841), Christian (1839-1839) and August (b. 1846).  

Dorothea died March 9, 1853 and Christian died Nov. 22, 1855 both in Posen, Prussia.  Their 2nd daughter, Carolina married Adolph Syska and emmigrated to the United States in 1885. 

1831 Birth Carl Petroll

Christian Petroll was born on June 8th, 1802 as the 5th child of George Friedrich Petroll (1761-1813) and Christine Rauhut Petroll (1765-1831). George Friedrich Petroll and Christine Rauhut were married in 1785 in Schwarzwald, Posen, Poland.  

Province of Posznan was part of Poland until 1793 when it was annexed in the Kingdom of Prussia. In 1871 Poznan was made part of Germany and in 1918 it was finally returned to Poland .
Province of Posznan was part of Poland until 1793 when it was annexed in the Kingdom of Prussia. In 1871 Poznan was made part of Germany and in 1918 it was finally returned to Poland .

Although the family continued to live in the same region, their nationality was a moving target.  The Province of Posen/Poznan shifted from Poland to Prussia to Germany and back again to Poland between 1793 to 1918.  Today it remains part of Poland. 
George and Christine had 9 children from 1786 to 1808 including: Anna Marie (b.1786), Johann Gottlieb (1793-1835), George Friedrich (1794-1850), Johann Gottfried (1797-1855), Anna Christina (1799-1867), Johann Christian (1802-1855), Johann Carl Mathias (1804-1832), Christoph (1806-1816) and Johann Mathias (1808-1808).   George died in 1813 when he was 55 years old while Christine Rauhut Petroll passed away in 1831 at 66 years old 

As of now, that’s as far as I can trace the Petroll line.  I will be sharing information about the ancestry of Dorothea Gumpert in my next blog entry. 

churches poland1 churches poland2

** Special thanks to Barbara Moon for sharing all these wonderful records and photos**


Carolina Petroll Syska (1834-1895)

Carolina (Petroll) Syska about 1890 in NYC Back of photo says "S.W. Felt- 147 and 149 Chicago Ave"
Carolina (Petroll) Syska about 1890 in YC
Back of photo says “S.W. Felt- 147 and 149 Chicago Ave”



 Anna Carolina Petroll was born on March 29, 1834, the third child of  Christian & Dorothea (Gumpert) Petroll in Poznan, Prussia (also known as Posen, Germany or Adelnau, Poland.)


Carolina’s siblings included Johann Carl Petroll born in 1831, Anna Susana Petroll born in 1837, Johann Christian Petroll born in 1839, who died in infancy, and Johann August Petroll born in 1846.


   March 29, 1834 in Adelnau (Posen) Prussia

On June 9, 1851, Carolina Petroll married Johann Adolph Szyszka in Radlow, Oder-Spree, Germany.  The marriage record indicates that Carolina was 17 years old and Adolph was 27 years old.

Marriage of Carolina Petroll and adolph syska

Adolph & Caroline had 11 children between 1852 and 1875.   

Below are birth records from Adelnau for 4 of their children.  Their oldest daughter, Augusta was born in 1852. Second daughter, Amalie Emile, was born in January of 1854 only to pass away 2 months later (see record below).  Third child Anna Wilhemina is believed to have died in childbirth although date of her death is unknown.  Their first son, Julius was born in 1857 but passed away three months later. Next they had Mary Wanda, Adolph and Ottillie.  In December of 1866, their 8th child, Fredrich Wilhelm Szyska was born (see record below).  Pauline Bertha Szyszka, the 9th child, was born in 1869, followed by August in 1871 and Juliane Bertha in 1875 (see records of Pauline & Juliane’s birth’s below) .  

In all five girls and three boys survived: Augusta, Mary Wanda, Adolph, Ottillie,  William, Pauline, August and Bertha.    

Amalie Emilie Szyszka1866 WF Syska birth



pauline and bertha szyszka

More about Adolph & Caroline’s children can be read by accessing the prior post:

Descendants of immigrants Adolph and Carolina (Petroll) Syska

 In 1885 Carolina & Adolph emigrated to the USA with three of their children:  Pauline, August & Bertha.  They sailed from Bremen Germany aboard the Donau Ship,arriving in NY on June 5, 1885.  Adolph & Caroline’s other children had previously emigrated to the United States between 1876 and 1883.
hamburg passenger list

Adolph & Caroline settled in New York City.  They owned a meat market on 88th & Amsterdam.

syska family history images

Carolina passed away on Nov. 9, 1895 at 61 years old and was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery.

Carolina Petroll Syska death record

Johann Adolph Syska passed away in 1916 at 92 years old.   He was also buried at Woodlawn. 

Johann Adolph Syska death


Coming soon:  I’ll be posting more information about the Petroll ancestry in the next blog entry.

Syska Family Census


Adolph Syska (1824-1916)

Adolph & Carolina (Petroll) Syska(my 2nd gr grandparents)  arrived in the USA in June of 1885.  Carolina passed away in 1895.  In 1900 Adolph was living in the Bronx with his oldest daughter, Augusta (Syska) Hoffman, her husband, Hiram Hoffman, and her son Frederick. 


Son of Adolph & Carolina (Petroll) Syska:

William F. Syska Sr. (1866-1956) & Elizabeth (Zimmermann) Syska (1871-1954) & Family


William & Lizzie were residing at 6354 Rhodes Ave, Chicago, IL with their 4 children ages 0 to 7 yrs. – Erna, William, Chester & Herbert.  They were living in the home of  Lizzie’s parents, Emil & Elizabeth Zimmermann, along with Lizzie’s siblings Paul, Clara, Carl, Carl’s wife Mary and his daughter Corrinne, and sister in law, Bertha Wordelmann. Emil Zimmermann owned the home at this address and lists his occupation as carpenter.   William Syska lists his occupation as Butcher and indicates he came to the USA in 1885.  He and Lizzie were married 9 years prior in about 1891.


William & Lizzie were living at 752 East 137th St., Bronx, NY.  They had moved to NY sometime prior to 1906 when they were living at the Old Burke Farm located between Bear Swamp Rd. and White Plains Rd. Bronx, NY.  There is an article written about William Syska providing farming consultation to city residents at the time.  
In 1910 they had 8 children ages 7 months to 17 years, with his oldest daughter, Erna, employed as a dressmaker.  William, who was 44 y.o., although the census says ’42’, lists his occupation as Butcher.  We know that in 1918 he reopened a Butcher shop, in Pelham NY.


Sometime prior to 1920 the family moved to Wilton CT and purchased a farm.  William, aged 53, listed his occupation as Farmer.  He resided with wife, Lizzie and all of their children except Erna. We know from a newspaper clipping, that they had a fire in the barn in November of 1920.  The newspaper says that “Mr. Syska’s son was filling the tank of the car with gasoline when it ignited.”  Another article indicates that the family moved back to westchester in 1923, but other city records have the family living in CT. until atleast 1929.


In 1935 William & Elizabeth Syska were living in Daytona Beach FL.  The exact date of their move to FL is unknown.  The Daytona Beach city record shows them living on Ridgewood Ave. in Daytona Beach in 1932.  They owned and operated a gas station, grocer and orchard in FL and continued to reside there until at least 1945.


William & Lizzie were residing at 127 Congress Ave., Daytona Beach FL with their daughter Gladys (Syska) Allard Horton and her 3 sons ages 7 mos. to 9 years.  William is 73 y.o. and lists his occupation as Manager of Gas Filling Station.    The FL 1945 census above is the first time, he indicates he is retired!












Son of William & Elizabeth (Zimmermann) Syska:

William F. Syska Jr. (1896-1981) & Beatrice (Scofield) Syska (1906-1945) & Family


In 1930, a family of four, William, Beatrice, Stanley & Doug, resided in an aparment on Church St. in New Rochelle that they rented for $35 a month.  William and Beatrice (my grandparents) had been married 3 years earlier.  William listed his occupation as carpenter but indicated he had not worked on the previous day.


The family was residing at 19 Burling Ln, New Rochelle, NY in an apartment they rented for $25 a month with their 9 children ages 2 months to 12 years.  Their youngest son, Bruce, wasn’t born until 1943.   
Times were tough for the syska family.  A 43 yr old William Syska Jr., head of household, listed his occupation as a carpenter but was out of work.  He had been on unemployment for 39 weeks.  In 1939 he had worked for 26 weeks and his income for the year was $558.  Beatrice was 33 yr.old and listed her occupation as housework, not to mention mother of 9!  She gave birth to one more child 3 years after this and then passed away in 1945


Immigration ships that brought the Syska and Zimmerman families to America in the 19th century

Here is the passenger list from the Howard which brought the Zimmermann family to America from the port of Hamburg Germany to the port of NY, USA on May 21, 1848.  Although they had been at sea for over 5 weeks their journey was not over.  They took another boat up the Hudson river, a relatively short 130 mile jaunt, to Albany where they loaded onto a train first to Buffalo NY and then onto their final destination of Sheboygan, WI.   The passenger list below shows that my 3rd gr grandparents, Gottfried & Caroline Zimmermann, were not only accompanied by their 8 children (ages 5 to 22), but also by Gottfried’s brother, Michael Frederick Zimmermann (1806-1892) along with his wife, Maria Dorothee, and their 8 children (ages from 6 mos. to 14 years.)

Passengers listed as follows:

Gottfired Zimmermann (age 50);  Caroline (42), Fred (22), Gottlieb (18), Gottfried (15), Carl Ludwig or Louis (13),  William (11), Emil (10), my 2nd grgf, Caroline (7) and on the next page Theodore (5).  Next the family of Michael Frederick Zimmermann is listed and then Christian Zimmermann* (age 25) is also listed.

*Christian may have been a brother or other relative of Gottfried and Michael’s.  I do not believe he is one of their children as he is not listed on any future census or other records as residing with or being part of either family.

Below is the passenger list from the Donau which arrived in NY from Bremen Germany on June 15, 1885 carrying the Szyszka (Syska) family to America.  On board were Adolph & Caroline (my 2nd gr grandparents) with four of their children including 16 y.o. Pauline, 10 y.o. August, 7 y.o. Bertha and 21 y.o. Ottilie.  Their older children had already come to America separately between 1874 and 1883. In total they had 11 children but 3 died in childhood, while the 8 surviving children all emigrated to America.  Adolph & Caroline were descended by 28 grandchildren and well over 50 great grandchildren.

Adolph & Caroline’s children in order were:  Augusta (b.1852),  Amalie E. (b.1854) died in infancy, Anna Wilhelmina (b.1855) probably died in childhood, Julius (b.1857) died in infancy, Mary Wanda (b.1858), Adolph (b.1863), Ottillie (b.1863), William (b.1866) (my grgf), Pauline (b.1869), August (b.1871), Bertha (b.1875).

Descendants of immigrants Adolph and Carolina (Petroll) Syska

Descendants of immigrants Adolph and Carolina (Petroll) Syska

Children & Grandchildren of Adolph & Caroline:

When I started my geneology research it seemed that every Syska or Szyszka I encountered was a descendant of Adolph and Caroline(Petroll) Szyszka.  Since then I have found other Syskas who came to the US from Germany, Poland, Prussia  and ‘Russian Poland’.  The origins of the Szyszka surname is slavik meaning pine cone. I have found one other related spelling variation – Sczyszka.   After coming to America, many immigrants, but not all, changed the name to Syska.  Other similar sounding names – Sisko, Siska, Seska, Cisco- are probably not related and have different origins.
Although…. some of the Syska grandchildren were known to use Cisco as an alias- but that’s a different story best left for a later blog entry.  Apologies to those whose legitimate surname is Cisco… 

Syska remains a somewhat uncommon surname in the US.  Adolph and Caroline had 11 children, 8 of whom emigrated to America, producing 28 grandchildren and well over 50 great grandchildren.  Although some of the information below is redundant, I thought it would be worthwhile to follow Adolph and Caroline’s children and see how their branches grew.  Many settled  in the NY area, others made their homes in Illinois, Connecticut and Florida,while the grandchildren and great grandchildren spread throughout the country.

1st generation in US- Children of Adolph & Caroline
2nd generation
3rd generation

Adolph & Caroline came to America aboard the Donau passenger ship from Bremen Germany and arriving in New York on June 15, 1885.  Four of their younger children came with them, 16 y.o. Pauline, 10 y.o. August, 7 y.o. Bertha and 21 y.o. Ottilie.  

Their children in order were 

Augusta (1852)
Amalie E. (1854) died in infancy
Anna Wilhelmina (1855) probably died in childhood
Julius (1857) died in infancy
Mary Wanda (1858)
Adolph (1863)
Ottillie (1863)
William (1866)
Pauline (1869)
August (1871)
Bertha (1875)

Wanda (Szyszka) Gerlach (1858-1948) came to america in 1874, at 16 years old, according to the 1900 Census.  Her full birth name is Mary Wanda Caroline Szyszka.  She married Andrew Joseph Gerlach on Dec 15, 1878.  The couple initially resided in Manhattan while Andrew owned a butcher shop on 125th St. They moved to Yorktown in Westchester County, NY, where they owned and operated a Farm, moving again before 1910 to the Bronx.  Wanda had 6 children from 1879 to 1891, two of whom died as infants.  Her husband, Andrew Gerlach Sr. died in 1918. After his death, Wanda moved in with her daughter and son in law, Louise and Henry Von Pein. in Mount Vernon.  Then in 1930 she was living in the the Bronx with her 14 y.o. grandson William.  She passed away in 1948 at 90 yrs. old and is buried with her husband in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx.  Their four children: Louise Anna (Gerlach) Von Pein (1879), Clara O. (Gerlach) Hillier (1882-1977), Emma Gerlach (1884) and Andrew W. Gerlach (1891)

  •   Louise Anna (1879-1968) married Henry Von Pein, a lawyer, and resided in NY, but after Henry’s death, Louise moved to California with her daughters.  They had 3 children:  Gladys Von Pein (1903-1994), Lily Von Pein (1905-2001) and Mae Von Pein (1911-2001)
  • Clara O. (Gerlach) Hillier (1882-1977), married Fred Hillier and had 2 children:   Wanda & Clare Helen.
  • Andrew W. Gerlach (1891) married Agnes (unknown) and had 4 children:  William, Andrew, Norma & June 


Augusta (Syska) Hoffman Plate (1852-1935)  came to america in May of 1876 at the age of 24.  She is listed as a servant on the passenger list of the ship, Main,  arriving from Bremen.  There is a Wolga Szyszka, age 23, listed 2 lines above her, unknown if they are related.  She first married  Frederick Plate prior to 1880, when her only child, Frederick Plate, Jr., was born in New York, NY.  On October 13, 1886, Augusta married her 2nd husband, Hiram Hoffman.  I have been unable to determine if she was widowed or divorced from Fred Plate at the time.  Augusta and Hiram lived in the Bronx with her son from her first marriage, Fred,  and her father, Adolph Szyszka, until Adolph’s death in 1912.  Hiram Hoffman passed away in 1925 after which Augusta moved in with her sister Ottillie (Syska) Strassle in 1925 and then  with her niece Carrie (Syska) Searles in 1930.

  • Her son,  Frederick Plate Jr. married Adele (unknown ), moved to Queens and had 2 children – Frederick & Adele Plate.

Adolph Gustav Szyszka (1863-1940)  came to America on Oct. 1, 1879 according to his Naturalization record.  He married Katherine Stapelfield in 1887.  They lived in manhattan and Adolph worked as a Butcher.  Adolph and Katherine had four children:  William A. (1888-1982), Adolph G. Jr.(1890-1961), Louisa (1894-1906) and Hilda (Syska) Holtermann (1897-1975)

  • William A. Syska married Catherine Voss, had 3 children and lived in manhattan until about 1930 when he moved to the Bronx, then to Yorktown in Westchester county and finally to Germantown, NY.  According to census records, he owned his own Butcher shop, location unknown.  A 1979 newspaper article, featured a 91 y.o. William A. Syska, who had suffered 3 strokes and lost the use of his right arm.  His cousin, William F. Syska (1866-1981) had also suffered multiple strokes affecting his speech.
    • William & Catherine’s children were Catharine (Syska) Dalton (1912-), Hilda (Syska) Powers (1914- ) and William Syska Jr. (1917-1945). 

  • Adolph G. Syska Jr. married Elsie Mahler and lived in Bronxville, NY with his wife and two children.  Adolph graduated from Columbia university as a mechanical engineer and, in 1928, he founded the Syska & Hennessy Engineering firm with John R. Hennessy.  He designed the mechanical systems for several notable buildings including the UN Headquarters.
    • Adolph & Elsie’s children were Robert Syska (1925-2009) and Edna (Syska) Peltier (1922-2004) who married Paul Peltier and lived in several places, including New Orleans, La and San Antonio, Tx, but settled in Naples Fl in approximately 1979.

William F. Syska (1866-1956) came to America around 1883 at about 17 years old.   Census and other records give multiple dates from 1882 to 1885.  William was not on the passenger list of the Donau ship that brought his parents and 4 of his siblings in 1885.  He was naturalized on Nov. 5, 1900 in Chicago Illinois, but the record does not give his date of arrival. 
In 1891, William married Dorothea Elizabeth Zimmermann (1871-1954).  They lived first in Chicago, Illinois with Lizzie’s parents, but moved several times after that to Missouri, Bronx, Pelham and New Rochelle, NY, Wilton, Norwalk and Westport CT., and Daytona Beach FL.  William worked as a farmer, butcher, owner/operator of a meat market as well as gas stations in Norwalk CT and Daytona Beach FL.  William and Lizzie owned several other properties in NY, CT and FL.


  • William and Lizzie had 8 children-Erna J. (Syska) Braun (1892-), William F. Syska Jr. (1896-1981), Chester E. Syska (1898-1983), Herbert P Syska (1900-1974), Clara E (Syska) Vogt Keller (1903-2001),  Stanley E. Syska (1905-1971), Adele (Syska) Pinkham (1907-1992), Gladys L. (Syska) Ellis Allard (1909-2002)
    • Erna married Andrew Braun and had 2 daughters and one son – Living. 
    • William Jr. married Beatrice Scofield and had 8 children: Stanley M Syska (1928-2005), Douglas Syska (1929-2014), Paul W. Syska (1931-2011), daughter-living (1932), daughter-living (1934), Walter Syska (1935-2010) -moved to Tennessee, Robert Syska (1937-2007), son-living (1938), Russell Syska (1940-1978), son-living (1943)
    • Chester married Helen Joslin in 1921 after a rocky start to their relationship in which Chester was charged with felonious assault for making public comments about Helen.   Chester and Helen lived in Westchester and Putnam counties in NY and Chester worked as a carpenter building homes.  About 1950 they moved to Stamford CT and about 1960 to Jacksonville, FL   Chester and Helen’s children are: Arlene June (Syska) Perry (1922-1968),  Chester L. Syska (1925- unk) who operated a camp in Catskill NY,  Louise Syska (1927-1942), Richard Syska (1931-1996) moved to Berkely, CA
    • Herbert Syska married Roseann (unknown) had one son:  Herbert P. Syska Jr. (1929-1993) who served in the US Marines and moved to El Paso, Tx.
    • Clara married Peter Keller and had 2 children– a son and daughter living.  She next married Frederick Vogt but had no children with him.  She passed away in North Carolina at 97 years old.
    • Stanley E. Syska married Catherine, moved to Astoria, NY and had 3 children Stanley (1929-2009), daughter-living (1936-unk) and Donald (1939-2005) 
    • Gladys lived in CT and FL and had 2 sons- living.
    • Adele married Stuart Pinkham in CT and had one son, William Pinkham (1940-1997)

Arriving in NY port on June 15, 1885 aboard the Donau ship:
August W. Szyszka (1871 – ) came to America in 1885 with his parents and 3 sisters.  Each Census records gives a different immigration year for August from 1881 to 1901.  However, he is listed on the passenger list with his parents in 1885, which appears to be the most credible record.   He married his wife, Ella Hoke, in 1894. They had 3 children together, but 2 died in childhood, settled first in the Bronx where August worked as a meat cutter/butcher and also as a carpenter,next moved to Pelham in Westchester county before 1915 and then, before 1920, moved to New Rochelle with their daughter and son-in-law, Grace Carrie & Austin Searles.   Ella, passed away in 1925 and, by 1930, both August and his sister, Augusta Hoffman, a widow herself, were residing with Grace and Austin Searles.  On October 28, 1930, August married his second wife, Anna Kleiner.  They resided in their own apartment in New Rochelle, until August’s death in 1955.

  • Children of August and Ella are Grace Caroline (Syska) Searles (1895-1973) and Alma Syska (1898-1904) 

Augusta Ottillie (Szyszka) Strassle (1863-1944) came to America in 1885 at 21 years old with her parents aboard the Donau.  She married  Edward Strassle, a carpenter,  in 1886 and they resided in the Bronx with their 3 children.  Her husband, Edward, passed away between 1930 and 1940.  Ottillie died in Feb. 1944 at the age of 80.
  • Her children are:  Charles Tybert Strassle (1887-), Bertha Augusta Strassle (1888-) and Elinore B Strassle 1889-)

Pauline B. (Szyszka) Brunotte (1869-1938), 16 y.o,,   also came in 1885 with her parents, marrying Wilhelm Brunotte on April 20, 1893 in NYC.  Pauline’s younger sister, Bertha, married Wilhelm’s younger Brother, Leonard, 11 years later. Two sisters marrying two brothers – something my own parents did- is actually more common than I thought.  

Pauline and Wilhelm initially settled in the New York city area. Their first child, Wilhemina, was born in Bergen NJ Oct. 1897 and passed away in NYC in Jan. of 1898.  Pauline had 8 children all together, but only 3 survived childhood. At least two more of their children were born in NYC – William and Helen. They moved to Chicago Illinois prior to 1910.   Wilhelm, a teamster, worked as a sales manager at a brewery along with his brother Leonard.  Wilhelm  died in 1929 at.57 years old due to an accident at work.
His great niece (Bertha & Leonard’s granddaughter) shared the following story: 
Wilhelm was on the loading dock when a stack of beer barrels busted loose and rolled over him.  He refused to go to the hospital so his brother took him home and he passed away 3-4 days later.  

Pauline passed away in Daytona Beach Florida in 1938.   She may have been residing with her younger brother William F. Syska who moved to Daytona beach Fl in the early 30’s where he owned and operated a gas station, grocery store and orange grove.

  • Their children are: Helen Marie (Brunotte) Holm Dempsey (1899 -1956 )  William Brunotte Jr. (1902-1987 ) Paul R. Brunotte (1911 -1987)

Bertha (Szyszka) Brunotte (1875-1949)  arrived in the USA when she was just 7 years old, on the Donau ship with her parents, two sisters and brother. In 1904 she married Leonard Brunotte, who was her sister Pauline’s brother-in-law.  They married in New York, NY and their first child, Martha, was also born in NY, but passed away at 3 years old in 1907.  Their son, Thomas, was born in NY in 1906 and they moved to Chicago prior to 1910.  Their third child, John, was born in 1913.  Leonard worked as a teamster delivering beer for the same brewery where his brother Wilhelm worked.   In 1940, Leonard and Bertha were living on South wood in chicago in the home of their son and daughter in law, John & Theresa Brunotte.  Bertha passed away in 1949 at 74 years old and Leonard lived until 1969.  They are both buried in Mt. Emblem cemetery in Elmhurst IL.

  • Bertha and Leonard’s children are: Martha Brunotte (1904-1907), Thomas Brunotte ( 1906-1992 ) and John Brunotte (1913-1973)



On June 15, 1885, Johnann ‘Adolph’ Szyzska (b.1824–1916) arrived in New York with his family having departed from Bremen, Germany aboard a ship called the Donau. Adolph, 61, came with his wife, Anna Carolina Petroll (1834-1895) and 4 of his 9 children to the United States.  The Passenger list is difficult to decipher, but it appears the children are Pauline, Bertha, Ottillie and possibly August.  Several of his older children emigrated to the US before this date.  Census records indicate Mary Wanda came in 1874 with her sister Augusta arriving in 1876.  In 1879, Adolph Gustav Szyzska (1861-1940) moved to America while his brothers Gustav Syska (1856- )  and William F. Syska (1866-1956) gave their dates of immigration as 1882 and 1883, respectively. 

The political situation in Poland/Prussia/Germany at the time, could conceivably have impacted the family’s decision to emigrate  from their home in the Poznan province.    Poznan (also called Wielkopolski), is a large province with both a sizable Polish and German population.  In 1793, during the partition of Poland, Poznan became a province of Prussia, but in 1848, it was annexed as part of the German Confederation. Germanisation policies, including restricting polish language in schools and land seizures, were adopted to attract German settlers.  It was during this time that the Szyzska family moved to the USA.  After  WWII, Poznan was returned to Poland, but by then the Szyzska’s and their descendants were Americans!

Upon arrival, the Szyzska family settled in New York City, but ten years later, Carolina died on November 9, 1895.  Adolph and Carolina were  married on June 9, 1851 in Radlow, Oder-Spree, Brandenburg, Germany.  Carolina was the daughter of Johann Christian Petroll (1801-1855) and Anna Dorothea Gumpett (1811-1853), both from the Poznan province as well.  After the death of his wife, Adolph lived with his daughter Augusta  and her husband, Hiram Hoffman, in the Bronx until his death in 1916 (according to 1910 census). 

Adolph has a great many descendants and it appears that most, if not all, the Syskas in this country can trace their heritage to Adolph and Carolina (although there are a number of similar names that appear unrelated – Sisco, Cisco etc.)   At some point prior to 1900, the family name was changed from Szyzska to Syska.  The 1900 census has the name spelled as SYSKA.  Adolph listed his occupation as a farmer on the ship coming to the United States but it is unknown if he worked in the USA..

Adolph and Carolina had 9 children – Augusta ‘Amalie’ (Syska) Plate Hoffman (b. 1852 – 1935),  Anna Wilhelmina Syska (b. 1855), Gustav Syska (1856- ),  Johann Julius Syska (1857-1857),  Wanda Syska Gerlach (b.1858-1948), Adolph G. Syska  (b. 1861-1940), Ottillie (Syska) Strassle (b.1863), William F. Syska (b. 1866-1956) – my great grandfather,  Pauline B. (Syska) Brunotte (b. 1869-1938), August W. Syska (b. 1871-1955), and Bertha J. Syska (b. 1875-1949). 

*OF NOTE – Adolph G. Syska (1861-1940) married Katherine Stapelfield and had a son Adolph G. Syska (b. 1889) – my grandfather’s first cousin,  who co founded the Syska Hennessey engineeringfirm in New York City in 1928.  

The Beginning of this Quest

The Syska Family Genealogy blog is created to share our family history and make connections.  I think you will find the information quite interesting and I would love to hear from anyone who has information, questions or comments.   

The Syska  Family was a mystery to me as I was growing up.  Although we have countless cousins, we were spread so far apart, geographically and socially. A year ago I began my adventure to trace our roots on my father’s side with very little information.  I only knew my parents and grandparents names and where my father grew up, but Syska is not a very common name.  It turns out that most of the Syskas in the United States descended from my second great grandparents:  Johnann Adolph Szyzska(1824-1916) and Anna Carolina Petroll (1834-1895).  Adolph and Carolina came to America from a part of Prussia that was originally in Poland.  

During this journey I have also traced my great grandmother’s family, the Zimmermans who settled in Sheboygan Wisconsin and the Keupers, both families of German origin, as well as my grandmother, Beatrice Scofield’s, family, the Scofields and Sellecks who settled in southern NY and CT and descended from the early English settlers.

I am going to post all my research to date, but new and updated information is constantly available.  Most recently, I found my grandmother, Beatrice Scofield’s grave, which was significant in confirming the date of her death and her father’s name.  Hopefully, you will find this blog enlightening and will want to share the information, documents, photos or stories you have.