Surname Saturday – Wasik Family

Surname Saturday looks at the history behind our family names.

Stanislaw “Stanley” Wasik second from left. Zofia Szczerba is to his left, and Katie Wasik to his right. With Adam and Sophie Wasik. 14 November 1937.  Cherry Valley, Pennsylvania.

“Wasik Name Meaning. Polish (Wasik): descriptive nickname from a diminutive of was ‘moustache’ (see Was).Polish and Ukrainian: from a pet form of the personal name Wasyl, Polish form of Greek Basileios (see Basil). Eastern German: nickname from Sorbian wasik ‘crawler’” [Source:].

There are two common versions of this surname in Poland, the way it is spelled in our family’s lineage, Wasik, and also the ogonek ą in Wąsik, which may give it a more nasal sound. According to a compilation of Polish surnames by Kazimierz Rymunt published in Krakow-Chicago 2002, the surname Wasik had 2,879 residents and the surname Wąsik had 10,631 [Dictionary of Surnames in Current Use in Poland at the Beginning of the 21st Century].

Stanislaw or Stanley Wasik was born in the small village of Berdechów, which is in southern Poland about 50 miles south-east of Krakow. His mother was Apolonia “Pauline” Olszewski Szczerba Wasik. Apolonia was my great-grandmother. When my grandmother, Zofia’s, father, Piotr or Peter Szczerba died in 1882, Apolonia then married Laurentius or Walter (Wawrzynia) Wasik in Berdechow. Stanley had a twin named Jozef. He also had an older brother Jan “John” Wasik (1887-1934). It is possible that Jan also had a twin.

After John and Stanley emigrated to the United States to work the coal mines in western Pennsylvania, they in turn married sisters from a neighboring Polish village called Falkowa. John Wasik married Katarzyna “Katie” Bronczyk shown above in the photo. They had twelve children. Stanley Wasik married Jadwiga “Jennie” Stoklosa, and they had nine children. Confused yet? My sister and I were always in a state of confusion until we went to a Wasik family reunion. That helped a lot. We also heard that another Wasik sibling may have married another sister of Jennie and Katie.

John Wasik died in Smith, Washington County, PA in 1934. An interesting note is that on his immigration record from 1910 John Wasik said his nationality was Austrian (Poland was part of the Austrian Empire then), but he was ethnic Ruthenian. The Ruthenians are also called the Lemkos. You can click this link to read more:

Stanley Wasik died in McDonald, Washington County, PA at the age of 79. Here are his daughters below with his wife Jennie.

Jennie Wasik with her daughters.
Jennie Wasik with her daughters, from left to right: Virginia, Julia, Stella, Helen, and Chris. Photo from Chester Wasik.

Another sweet photo of Jennie Wasik and children below. Chester Wasik is sitting next to his mom. Standing are his siblings – Steve, Chris, Virginia, and Helen.

Jennie Wasik with two of her sons and three of her daughters. Photo from Chester Wasik.

I never met Jennie Wasik, but I love this quote from her daughter, Stella, to my mother:

“Mom and Dick are pretty good at present but Dick is failing more and more each day. He is 71. Mom is 69 but claims she is going to stay 39, she has more pep than her daughters. [written 9 Nov 1968].

After Stanley Wasik died, Jennie married Edward “Dick” Klimas, and Jennie lived to the age of 96! Sto Lat is a favorite Polish song meaning may you live to be one hundred. Jennie came very close.

As you can see twins do run in the Wasik family. This photo below is of Stella Wasik Teyssier with her husband, and their twins.

Eugene and Stella Teyssier with their twins.
Eugene and Stella with their twins.

Chester Wasik while serving  in the Navy is shown below.

Chester Wasik during WWII.

Some of John and Katie Wasik’s children are shown in these two photographs, taken near the Wasik family farm. Thank you to all of the Wasik family for your military service! So happy that I got to talk with so many of the Wasik family. It was especially nice to hear Sophie talk about her aunt Sophia, my grandmother, and how much she loved her. Sophie (in the white sweater) is next to her sister. Helen kindly shared family documents.

Stanley, John, Jr., August, and Paul Wasik. I may have the brothers mixed up.



The photo below is of Adam Wasik taken in 1942.

'Adam' - 1942
‘Adam’ – 1942

The photo below is of Stanley Wasik in 1942.

“Stanley Wasik and his friend.”

This photograph was with other Wasik ones, but I don’t know who these two are.

"This picture was taken last summer"
“This picture was taken last summer”
"Wilfred. He looks like the Wasik's, don't you think? 1948"
“Wilfred. He looks like the Wasik’s, don’t you think? 1948”
The Wasik farm in Washington County, PA, taken during a family reunion Ho-Down.

You can search on our Genealogy Sisters blog for other postings about the Wasik family, and enjoy some other photographs. My sister and I always love hearing from the extended Wasik family!

Surname Saturday is a blogging post suggested by Geneabloggers. Take a look at the website for more genealogy information:

Copyright 2016 by Maryann Barnes and Genealogy Sisters.

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