Archive for March, 2015

#52Ancestors: Week 13 – Frisky! Alex Rusenko and Nervous Nellie

This is week 13 of the 2015 #52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge where a group of u52ancestors-2015 Images blog about a different ancestor for each week of the year.  To learn more about the 52 Ancestor Challenge visit Amy Johnson’s site at Amy’s website.

Irene Borucki is my 1st cousin 2x removed. Irene Borucki (1916-1998), is the daughter of Ignacy (Frank) Borucki and Alexandra Lipinska. I have never met any of my Borucki cousins. The connection was lost long ago. Recently released vital records from Michigan have filled in the branches on my family tree.

Since it is usually easier to search paternal lines, I hopscotched up Irene’s husband family tree. She married Theodore Rusenko in 1935. The family home was in Hamtramck, Michigan. A city of its own that lies within the borders of Detroit. A Polish conclave that still has the best Paczki or Polish doughnuts that I remember from my youth.

This story is about Theodore’s father, Alex Rusenko. Irene and Theodore’s marriage license provided the names of the groom’s parent. Using, I found the usual census, city directories, border crossings, and war registration records. The 1930 census indicated that Alex and his first wife Barbara Zawadzki were divorced.

A border crossing from on July 13, 1927 provided a curious and amusing observation. Seems that Alex crossed over from Detroit with a new wife before his divorce was final with Barbara. The passenger list doesn’t say if Alex was coming from a port outside of the US or if he took a quick visit to Windsor, Ontario. Alex Rusenko 1927 Detroit Border Crossing Manifest

The new wife’s name is recorded on the front as Nellie. On the back of the card, it is listed as Helen. In remarks section an amusing statement written by the inspector. “This man claims Helen to be his wife and admits not being legally divorced from his first wife Barbara.”

Nellie Rusenko’s manifest card from the same crossing implies that she previously arrived in the US in 1913. It is possible that the two crossed over the Detroit River into Canada for some reason. The home address listed on both cards is, 2330 Avaline (correct street name is, Evaline). The occupant listed for that address in the 1927 Detroit City Directory is Joe Dziurlikowski. This mysterious Nellie may have boarded at this address. Nellie Rusenko 1927 Detroit Border Crossing Manifest

Barbara Rusenko was granted her divorce on July 20, 1927. Eight years later, Alex Rusenko marries Louise Holjnacki, on February 12, 1935. The witnesses to the marriage, are Anna Stepchinko and Helena Gronkowski. Was Helena the woman he supposedly married before? Or, did he help a woman named Nellie/Helen enter the USA?

Alex Rusenko, born in Austria of Ukrainian descent, died 21 April 1978, in Warren, MI.

Source Citations

“Michigan, Detroit Manifests of Arrivals at the Port of Detroit, 1906-1954,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 30 March 2015), Ruselvan, Barbara – Samet, Isaac > image 10 of 7977; citing NARA microfilm publication M1478 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

“Michigan, Detroit Manifests of Arrivals at the Port of Detroit, 1906-1954,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 30 March 2015), Rayment, Cortland B. – Renoud, Joseph A. > image 7370 of 7933; citing NARA microfilm publication M1478 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

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#52Ancestors: Week 12 – Arthur A. Anderson – Cold Case

This is week 12 of the 2015 #52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge where a group of u52ancestors-2015 Images blog about a different ancestor for each week of the year.  To learn more about the 52 Ancestor Challenge visit Amy Johnson’s site at Amy’s website.

I have been busy spying on my ancestors. The Michigan Archives has released marriage, divorce, and death records up to 1952. Week 11 of 52 Ancestors I wrote about the three divorces of my Great Uncle Eddy (Budny). Curious as a cat, I pried in to the lives of two generations of my aunts and uncles.

I remember the story of my grandmother sisters trying to find two sisters given up for adoption. To bring them back to the fold. My great grandmother Minnie White lost her husband, Ernest Anderson in 1925. She remarried to a William O’Neil in 1926. There were five children still at home when Ernest died. The oldest daughter, Vietta, was married already. The six and youngest Betty Jane, was born just after her father’s death.

William and Minnie’s marriage did not last long. I have a feeling the relationship was not harmonious. As a laborer at Consumers Power, William may not have had the income to support the family. Some of the older girls get married. My grandmother, Edith, who was 13 in 1930, was sent to live with one of Minnie’s sisters in Detroit. As of the 1930 Census, Lucille, Betty Jane, and William and Minnie’s daughter, Rosetta O’Neil reside at 609 North Jefferson Street in Bay City, Michigan.

The family story goes on to say that Arthur left for California and the family never heard from him again. So what did happen to Arthur? A person of the same name does end up in California. The 1931 city directory for Bay City, MI; shows an Arthur Anderson at 509 Ketchum St. Arthur is not listed at that address on the 1930 Census. A few blocks away at 1615 N. Sheridan Street lists Ruth Pettit as a clerk at Woolworth’s.

Michigan marriage records for Bay County provide the next clue in Arthur’s life. The license application states Arthur A. Anderson, 22, single, never been married before, and is a bus driver. His parents are Ernest and Minnie White. Ruth Pettit, 18, born in New Jersey, the daughter of Martin Pettit and Elizabeth Madden, is the bride to be. This license is dated the 10th of January 1931. The marriage takes place on the 19th of January (1931). Incorrectly typed on the certificate is the year 1932.

Not sure if the young couple got caught up in desire and romance when they met as Ruth may have been pregnant at the time of their marriage or given birth just before their wedding date. A short three years later, a divorce decree ends the marriage. Dated October 4, 1933; the absolute decree, lists two children, three year old Ernest Anderson and 1 year old Bonnie Lee Anderson.

The petition was filed by Ruth on January 15, 1933 for non-support. The marriage date is listed at January 19, 1930. A year off the marriage license. Could be an error? Could be someone provided an earlier date to show all the children were born within the marriage. Sometimes the first baby comes before the wedding date.

There is no further listing of Arthur Anderson in the Bay City Directories that I have found. He could be residing elsewhere. A California death record for a similar name, listing the mother’s birth name of “White” could be a clue.

Other than that, the story grows cold for Arthur.  And, heats up for Ruth Pettit.

Arthur Arlington Anderson Death record
Event Date:        05 Jun 1986
Event Place:       Los Angeles, California, United States
Birth Date:         14 Feb 1909
Birthplace:         Michigan
Gender:              Male
Father’s Name:
Mother’s Name:              White

Source Citation: “California Death Index, 1940-1997,” index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 29 March 2015), Arthur Arlington Anderson, 05 Jun 1986; Department of Public Health Services, Sacramento.

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#52Ancestors: Week 11 – Uncle Eddy – A Bigamist or a Serial Marrier

This is week 11 of the 2015 #52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge where a group of u52ancestors-2015 Images blog about a different ancestor for each week of the year.  To learn more about the 52 Ancestor Challenge visit Amy Johnson’s site at Amy’s website.

The State of Michigan recently released Marriage, Divorce, and Death Records from 1926 to 1952. I have several great aunts and uncles that needed tending to find spouses maiden names. I spent the past two nights plugging in various family names and hit the jackpot on a few.


The marriage index can be accessed at and (free). You’ll have to do a little digging at to find the death records from 1926-1952. Use “Advanced Search” and check the box for Death Records, 1921-1952 OCLC LOADING.

Uncle Eddy a Bigamist or Polygamist?

I started my search in the marriage records index on Ancestry with the Budny surname. When Uncle Edward Budny’s name came up twice and the marriages were only a year apart, I thought he was a bigamist. Then I recognized the third wife’s name and it was “Oh My!” Is Uncle Eddy a “serial marrier?” screenshot of Edward Budny's marriage index screenshot of Edward Budny’s marriage index


Now the first step in an analysis would be to check if these three Edwards were the same person. Then check to see if the person is your relative. I knew right off the bat that this was my Edward. The Budny surname is not common in Detroit. There are a few Budny families in the area. Strangely, none of the families were related to each other.


Uncle Eddy was not mentioned a lot in my house. We hardly ever saw him. I knew growing up that there was some type of back story to Eddy and no one talked about it. I knew he wasn’t married (anymore) and he had a daughter. My only strong memory of him is at my 16 birthday party that fell on the same day as Father’s day. It was a great fun day with Eddy, my grandfather, and my aunt’s father-in-law. Who are all Polish and telling tall tales for sure.


Ancestry’s pop-up view of the record showed the parents’ names. All three records for Edward Budny listed the same parents, Adam Budny and Mary Borucky (Borucki). Those two are the progenitors of my Budny line.


So…was Eddy a bigamist? No, he wasn’t. The Michigan Divorce Index through 1952 are listed at Ancestry. What a relief to see two divorce listings for Uncle Eddy. Even though I could see the marriage and divorce dates online, I had to write them down on paper just to double check that the marriages didn’t overlap. screenshot of Edward Budny's divorces listings screenshot of Edward Budny’s divorces listings


Edward married Lillian Connor first in August 1939. Their divorce is granted on 16 September 1940. The marriage must have a rocky start from the beginning. Six weeks after the divorce, Eddy marries Victoria Podgorski on 26 October 1940. Vitoria and Eddy’s divorce is final on 21 January 1942. The first marriage lasted 14 months, the second; 15 months.


Third Time is Not a Charm


Another walk down the aisle less than three months after his second divorce. Lois Castle becomes Eddy’s third wife on 11 April 1942. Maybe this marriage has a fighting chance. Eddy enlists in the Army in March 1943 and musters out November 1944. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, so they say. The couple are still together in 1958 according to a city directory. A non-amicable divorce does occur sometime later. I think someone mentioned he had lady friends after his divorce. You know how family gossips.


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#52Ancestors: Week 10 – Grafting the Adcock Branch to the Howes Family Tree

This is week 10 of the 2015 #52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge where a group of u52ancestors-2015 Images blog about a different ancestor for each week of the year.  To learn more about the 52 Ancestor Challenge visit Amy Johnson’s site at Amy’s website.

Yes, I know I am late with this post.  I have outlined it several times in my head and finally have the words down to the blog.  Week 10 theme was Stormy Weather.  Whether personal crisis or weather related events that affected our ancestor’s lives.  My take was grief.  Our ancestors were flooded with grief at various stages in their lives.  Especially those who crossed an ocean or trekked overland from the east to west of the continent.  They endured countless hardships along the way.  The following story is about a family that continued to lose a parent early in their lives.

Grafting – taking a branch of one tree and inserting onto another so that the two branches may join together.

The Adcock branch was grafted to the family tree through marriage by my Aunt Pat. She married Noah Adcock in the 1950’s. Noah’s family hailed from De Kalb County, Tennessee. The Adcock’s served in many of the early wars, including the Revolutionary War and Mexican War of 1812. Two generations served on the confederate side of the Civil War.

Noah Adcock unexpectedly passed away at the age of 45. This early death, unfortunately, is pattern in the Adcock family history. The Adcock line is flooded with much grief in the past. Noah lost his own parents when he was quite young.

His mother, Ada L. Duncan, died a few weeks after his birth in December 1928. She was 28 years old and left five small children under her husband’s care. At 12 years of age, Noah loses his father, William M. Adcock. William Adcock (1884-1940) was 55 years old at the time of his death of myocarditis. Noah died of a heart attack.

Noah’s grandfather, Perry Green Adcock (1853-1927), died of mitral regurgitation at age of 73. Perry Adcock lost his father at the age of 11. William Adcock (1823-1864) died in the Civil War. Most likely of sickness.

William remarries circa 1939 to Alice Todd Willis. A widow herself with young children. Alice finds herself a widow again, when William dies in 1940. Noah has now lost both his parents and finds himself back at his grandmother’s home.

In 1928, William’s mother, Mary Jane Love, steps in to take care of Noah and his siblings. She does the same after William dies. Alice Todd Willis with small children of her own does not take custody. Mary Jane Love was nearly 70 when she takes over the care of William’s children. In 1940 she is nearly 80.

The flood of grief does not stop. Mary Love Adcock passes away in 1941. Leaving Noah without close times to his parents. Who provides the nurturing care after her death is not known to me. His oldest sister, Mary Lou Adcock, just recently married to James E. Judkins, is only 19 years old.

Noah joins the military in 1947 and serves until 1952. He does not return to Tennessee and settles in Michigan, where he marries my aunt.


1930 Census, Mary Jane Love is most likely misidentified as “Sarah” in household of William.

A daughter, Grace, is listed in William’s household on the 1930 Census. If this is William’s daughter, she may be from a prior marriage. No record has been found of this marriage, as of yet. Some online trees list Ada Duncan, as her mother. Ada would have been 12 when Grace was born in 1912, and could be dismissed as her mother. Ada and William were married in 1919. Grace could have also been a niece or cousin who lived with William.

The 1920 census, for William and Ada, lists a son named Robert. He does not appear on the 1930 census. I not located a death record for him. I did find one for his brother, Willie T. Adcock (1924) who died at birth.

Final Resting Place

William Adcock shares a headstone with Ada Duncan at the Faulkner Cemetery in Warren County, TN. His mother Mary Lou Adcock lies there too. A sweet grave epithet is engraved on her headstone. It reads, “Having finished life’s duty she now sweetly rests.”

 MaryJane Love_Adcock William_Ada_Adcock Headstone

Photograph Citations

James Hill, “Find-A-Grave” database. ( for Mary Jane Love Adcock (1861-1941), Faulkner Cemetery (Pike Hill), McMinnville, Warren Co, Tennessee; Memorial# 34255261; accessed 15 Mar 2015.

James Hill, “Find-A-Grave” database. ( for William Adcock and Ada Duncan Adcock, Faulkner Cemetery (Pike Hill), McMinnville, Warren Co, Tennessee; Memorial# 34255153 and 34255195; accessed 15 Mar 2015.

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#52Ancestors: Week 9 – Sarah Vina Howes – Last Chance at Love

This is week nine of the 2015 #52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge where a group of u52ancestors-2015 Images blog about a different ancestor for each week of the year.  To learn more about the 52 Ancestor Challenge visit Amy Johnson’s site at Amy’s website.

Two blocks from Sarah Howes’ house lives a middle aged man, Ira Bridges, recently widowed. How long did she know him before they got married? Were they attracted to each other from afar and waiting for the day they could be together? Or, did they marry for convenience?

Sarah V. Howes is my paternal great grandfather’s sister. She opted for the single life until she entered into a marriage at the age of 53. Born in 1855 in Warrick County, Indiana, she died in Farmersburg, IN at the age of 60. Married in 1908, two years later she is widowed, and on her own.

Sarah may have waited for marriage because she was busy raising her younger siblings. Her mother, Lusina Hedges dies at the age of 39, her father, Lewis Charles House/Howes four years later. Sarah had six younger siblings that need care. Her youngest sister is just four years old at the time of her mother’s death.

The family moves off the farm to Evansville, IN. Her brothers are miners, she herself is a seamstress. The siblings marry, but not Sarah. Every few years, she moves to various rooming houses in her neighborhood. Houses come and went in Evansville, the houses she lived in no longer are no longer standing.

Ira Levi Bridges is a few years older than Sarah. Born in Kentucky, his family moves to Newburgh, IN. A growing coal mining and port community. Ira’s first wife is Nancy Jane Buston. Their union produces four sons. Ira works in the coal mine like so many others at the time.

Nancy Buston Bridges, age 62, dies on April 18, 1908. Eight months later on December 23, 1908, in Warrick County, Ira marries Sarah Howes. Such a quick marriage after the death of his first wife.

The new couple move out of the city to Farmersburg where Ira operates a mine. Four years after their marriage, Ira dies of liver disease in 1912. He is buried at Oak Hill Cemetery, in Evansville, IN.

Sarah remains in Farmersburg where she passes away. She shares her gravestone with her parents in Union Cemetery, Newburgh, IN.

With just a few facts one could create a story of torrid love affair or an ordinary union of two people. It would be interesting to know why Sarah waited to marry, but alas, the story has been lost to time.

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