Search for Polish man’s missing family

Ewa Sochacka is attempting to find out what may have happened to her relations Janette Maria and Kazimiera Freda, daughters of Josef Ciechanowski, who may have been known as Joseph Hamilton.
Ewa Sochacka is attempting to find out what may have happened to her relations Janette Maria and Kazimiera Freda, daughters of Josef Ciechanowski, who may have been known as Joseph Hamilton.

A woman from Poland is hoping Southern Reporter readers will be able to put her in touch with her family members who were based in Galashiels.

Ewa Sochacka, who lives near the city of Łódź in central Poland, is trying to find the family of her great uncle, Josef Ciechanowski, who may have been known locally as Joseph Hamilton.

Josef and his family

Josef and his family

He was born in 1913 in the small village of Zawady, near Łódź.

During the Second World War, may have served as a tank commander in the Polish army under the command of General Stanislaw Maczek, based in Belgium, England and finally Scotland, where he met his future wife, Agnes McLaren of Galashiels.

Josef visited his brother Adam, who is Ewa’s grandfather, after the war, but his last visit was in 1960, after which the Polish-based contingent of the family lost all contact with him.

Ewa told us: “My mum and his sister wrote to the Polish Embassy in the UK to ask for help in tracing Josef, but they could not help them.

Josef, Agnes and some of his fellow servicemen

Josef, Agnes and some of his fellow servicemen

“All other efforts to try and trace Josef and his family have failed.

“I recently managed to find the records of Josef and Agnes’s marriage in 1943, and the birth records of their daughters – Janette Maria and Kazimiera Freda – on the Scotlands People website.

“I also have some photographs of the family which would possibly have been taken between 1944-58.

I am hoping you can help us find out what happened to Josef, and if we still have family members living in the Galashiels area.

Ewa, a teacher who is very interested in her family genealogy, said that it seems that after his marriage to Agnes, Josef changed his name to Hamilton, which was Agnes’ mother’s maiden name. The reasons for this are not known.

If anyone knows what may have happened to Janette Maria or Kazimiera Freda or their families, email kevin.janiak@jpress.co.uk and we’ll pass on the news.