The Blachniaks

The Blachniak Family in Camden NJ

From Left:
John, Walter, Sadie, Johnina (in white dress), Stanley, Julya,
& Pauline Blachniak

Jan Blachniak was born in 1874 of Polish descent. He lived with his wife Julya in the town of Krzetow, in what was then Russia, and what is now now Poland. Before he came to America he and wife Julya had four children, Antonya, Sabina, Wladislaw, and Stanislaw. He left for America in 1909 by way of Antwerp, aboard the steamship Vaderland, arriving at Ellis Island , arriving on March 30, 1909. John Blachniak made his way to Camden NJ, where he stayed with his cousin Jan Glaskowski until he established himself. Once in America he adopted the English-version first name of John.  

While her husband made his way in America, Julya Blachniak originally stayed in Krzetow. She later moved to the nearby town of Janow. When she came to America, her closest relative at home was her mother, Katarzyna Majewska, who lived in Krzetow.

John Blachniak brought his wife and children to America in the fall of 1913. They made their way to Trieste, on the Adriatic Sea, and sailed to America aboard the steamship Argentina, arriving at Ellis Island in New York on October 18, 1913. A fifth child, daughter Johnina, was born in New Jersey in 1914. The Blachniaks lived at 1315 South 10th Street in those years.

The Blachniak family by 1920 had settled in the predominantly Polish Whitman Park section of Camden, where they were members of St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church at South 10th and Mechanic Street. At the time of the census, they owned a home at 923 Atlantic Avenue, a short walk from the church. John Blachniak was then working as a laborer at the Camden Forge foundry. The Polish-born children had adopted American names- Antonya became Pauline, Sabina was Sadie, while the boys followed the conventional Americanization formula- Wladislaw became Walter and Stanislaw was now Stanley.

The 1947 Directory shows that Walter and Stanley Blachniak were still living in Camden, Walter at 932 Beach Street in North Camden, Stanley at 942 Thurman Street in Whitman Park. Johnina Blachniak was also in North Camden, married to a crane operator, Harry Emore. They were living at 211 Burns Street in the Poets Row section, and at least one daughter Jeanne, was born.  She would later marry a fellow from South Camden, Frank Crissey, who would retire in 1987 after serving on the Camden City Police Department for 25 years. 

The Vaderland

Built by John Brown & Company, Clydebank, Scotland, 1900. 11,899 gross tons; 580 (bp) feet long; 60 feet wide. Steam quadruple expansion engines, twin screw.  Service speed 15 knots.  1,162 passengers (342 first class, 194 second class, 626 third class).
Built for Red Star Line, British flag, in 1900 and named Vaderland. Antwerp-New York service. Chartered by International Navigation Company, British flag, in 1915 and renamed Southland. Troopship service. Torpedoed in the Aegean Sea on 9/2/1915, but salvaged and repaired. Torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine off the Irish coast on June 4, 1917.

The Argentina

Built by Russell & Company, Port Glasgow, Scotland, 1907. 5,526 gross tons; 390 (bp) feet long; 48 feet wide. Steam triple expansion engines, twin screw.  Service speed 15 knots.  1,450 passengers (45 first class, 175 second class, 1,230 third class). 

Built for Austro-Americana Line, Austrian flag, in 1907 and named Argentina. Trieste-South America and Trieste-New York Service service. Used as a hospital ship in 1918. Sold to Cosulich Line, Italian flag, in 1919. Mediterranean-New York service. Sold to Florio Line, Italian flag, in 1926. Sold to Tirrenia Line, Italian flag, in 1932. Scrapped in 1960.

John and Johnina