Hi. I just discovered this board and have read through the threads on it.
I'm looking for info on my great grandparents, Johannes Kalwa and his wife, Wilhemina Balzer. They emigrated to the US from West Prussia when my grandfather, John Kalwa, was a very young child. Settled in Buffalo, NY.
Family story is that my great-grandfather, Johannes, was a general in the Uhlans and fled Prussia in 1888 (year that Kaiser Wilhelm II was crowned) with his wife and two young children to escape political persecution. According to my grandfather and his sister, my great Aunt Anna, their father changed his name on the way to America and no one knows what it was originally, but they believed that his family was more German than Polish. My grandfather grew up speaking both Polish and German, as well as English.
I've no way to verify this story, have encountered very few people with the name Kalwa. In fact, my grandfather changed it to Kalway because his second wife supposedly liked the sound of it better. But, the story of political persecution might be true because it corresponds to a period in Prussian history when people were fleeing for political reasons (too complicated to get into in any depth here). Also, my great Aunt Anna, who was a few years older than my grandfather at the time the family left Prussia, remembered some details of the family's escape and related it to us.
This is my mother's family. She was the youngest of eight children. I believe that only six of them had children of their own, and they scattered around the country - Florida, New Jersey, PA (my home state).
Does any of this sound familiar?