#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 Ancestry.com, 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 (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-21617-37015-76?cc=1916040 : 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 (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-21598-46402-30?cc=1916040 : 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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  1. #1 by Cheri Hudson Passey on April 1, 2015 - 8:08 pm

    I am working on the 52 Ancestors prompts this year too. Looking forward to the time in Progen with you!

  1. 52 Ancestors Challenge 2015: Week 13 Recap | No Story Too Small

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