My grandfather's name was Abram Zelk Jelen, and I believe he was from Lomza, Poland. Because his mother had drowned washing clothes in a river, and he did not like his new stepmother, he left Poland alone, as a very young boy (age 12, 13, or 14), hiding in a hay cart while crossing the border, and arriving in the U.S. in the 1890s, after Queen Victoria gave him permission to leave England for the U.S. The U.S. emigration authorities changed his name to "Allen." He worked and sent money to Poland so his sisters (Rosie and Bessie) and brother(s) could come to the U.S. Another brother went to Moscow, instead. My grandfather married my grandmother (Becky Gordon) in 1902 in New York City, where both of them lived. They had nine children, one of whom was my mother. I also have relatives that I don't know, by the name of Jolen. The Jolens settled in California. How common was the name Abram Zelk Jelen? I read that an Abram Zelk Jelen married in Poland. That Jelen wasn't my grandfather, who came to the U.S. as a young boy and married my grandmother in NYC when he was 21.
Sincerely, Tara Allen