Genealogy Search Tips

Wikipedia and the Search for Killer Kowalski

A visitor to this site asked if Thomas Kowalski was related to Killer Kowalski the famous professional wrestler. Visit Thomas Kowalski to see our previously published case study.

To try to answer that question we first searched Wikipedia and found that Killer Kowalski was born Wladek (Walter) Spulnik in 1926 in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. According to Wikipedia he legally changed his name to "Killer Kowalski" in 1963 and died in Maiden, Massachusetts on August 30, 2008.

Next we went to the online edition of The New York Times to look for an obituary - we found an article published in The New York Times Sports section on August 31, 2008. The article discussed some of the highlights of Kowalski's career and indicated that his parents were Anthony and Marie Spulnik who had emigrated from Poland to Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

We then read online a number of obituaries published in Canada, the United States and England - they all mentioned that Kowalski's surname at birth was Spulnik.

According to the obituary in the online edition of The Maiden Observer (Maiden, Massachusetts) Kowalski's parents were Anthony and Marie (Borovska) Spulnik who were Polish immigrants to Windsor, Ontario, where Kowalski was raised and educated. After high school Kowalski attended Assumption College which is now part of the University of Windsor.

According to this obituary Kowalski began his professional career in 1947 as “Tarzan” Kowalski but soon became known as “Killer” because of his hulking 6-foot, 7-inch, 275-pound frame and his brutal wrestling style.

Genealogy Search Tip

Find a Death Date

Church records are a good source for death dates and are generally found at the local church or at the denomination's headquarters. For example your ancestor's death record may be at the parish church from which he or she was buried or at the denomination headquarters for that church - Catholic, Episcopalian, Lutheran or any other denomination.

Church records can sometimes be found at local (for example, the county) genealogical societies and/or at local libraries.

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