Posts Tagged city directories for genealogy research

#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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#52Ancestors – No. 1 – Frank Kowalski – Starting Over, Coming Home

52ancestors-2015 Image

Image courtesy of No Story Too Small (Amy Johnson Crow)

This is the first post of the 2015 #52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge where a group of us 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.

To spice up the writing challenge, optional themes were added to give participants inspiration on how we look at our ancestors.  The theme this week is “Fresh Start.”  I jumped the collateral tree limbs and chose Frank Kowalski.  Born in the US, raised in Poland, emigrated back to US prior to WWII.

Frank was born (1916) in New Jersey to immigrant Polish parents.  The story goes his father didn’t care much for the new country and went back to Poland.  Because of Frank’s common surname being the equivalent of “Smith,” I have not been able to find definitive records for him or his family.  His parents names are generic too.

According to his son, Frank never talked about his family, his siblings, relatives, his life in Poland.  The usual clues one would use are just not there.  Frank wanted a new start when he returned to the US and he left his family stories behind.

It is  not known when the Kowalski’s went back to Poland. I am hoping to find them on the 1920 Census or city directories.  No luck so far.  Though Frank had an accent, his English was good.  He may have went to school here as young child.  I am not certain if his parents stayed in New Jersey or made a migration to Detroit before going back to Poland.  Frank himself came to Detroit in October 1938.

A ship passenger list is the first record I can confirm for Frank. The Ascania sailed from La Havre, France, on the 7th of October 1938.  The ship arrives at its destination, the Port of Quebec, on 18 October 1938.  The manifest is a list of US citizens.  Frank is listed as Fransicek S. Kowalski.  It includes his birth date and lists, Jersey City, NJ as his birth place.

He was naturalized at a district court in Warsaw, Poland, on October 3, 1938.  Entered on the line is, PP 6112, which could be a possible record ID for his naturalization paperwork.  Also included in his address in the US.  Bingo!  Frank lists his aunt, Stanislawa Studzinski, in Detroit, MI. Finally a direction to take my research.  From Quebec, Frank made passage to Windsor, Ontario and crossed over to Detroit.

Frank lives with Stanislawa and his two cousins in 1940.  The Studzinski research is also an enigma as I can find very few records on them.  The Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, provides clues to Frank’s military service.  It lists the dates of his military service.  Frank avoided persecution by Germans or Soviets in WWII if he had stayed in Poland.

One story Frank did share, is that he tried to visit his mother while station in Poland.  It was toward the end, but his commanding officer refused to let him go.  I wondered if that information would be in his military file?

Frank married Wladria (Wanda) Uroda in 1946 and they reared two children.  There were no family tales, histories were provided.  As if Frank’s childhood didn’t exist. Frank put his past behind for reasons not known to start over.

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#52Ancestors – No. 51 – Victoria Langner – Outlived most of her children

This post is number 51 in the series of the #52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge where a group of us 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.

Victoria Langner is the the mother-in-law of my great-aunt Phyllis Budny, subject of #13.  When I started getting the material for the blog post yesterday, my curiosity peeked into the family lines.  Yes, I have been researching for about 16 hours on just these two collateral lines. I had to mind map the sibling marriages between her and her husband’s family. I will write about the two families in a follow-up post.

Victoria Langner was born near Avon, in Sterns County, Minnesota. She and her parents, Joseph Langner and Christina Gallus immigrated from Silesia, Prussia (now Poland).  Victoria is one of nine children out of 12 who survived infancy.

She married Peter Herman (Hermanza) in 1899.  Eight of their 10 children were born near Holding, MN.  Two were born after the family moved to Detroit after 1910. Peter is not listed with Victoria on the 1910 Minnesota Census.  He may have went first to Detroit to secure a job and new home for the family.

Victoria Langner Herman and Mary Budny in 1947, Dearborn, MI.

Victoria Langner Herman and Mary Budny in 1947, Dearborn, MI.

Peter died of pneumonia during the 1917 Influenza Epidemic. There is a family story that Victoria had a man around to help with the finances in exchange for “benefits” after Peter died. When her boys were old enough and could support the family they chased him off.

However, I found a 1921 marriage record for Victoria and one, John Urbaniec.  The marriage did not last long.  Victoria cited, extreme cruelty, non-support, and desertion as cause in her divorce petition.  A decree was granted to her on October 26, 1925.

Victoria died at the age of 90 in 1970.  She is laid to rest at Holy Cross Cemetery in Detroit.  Eight Seven of her children died before 1940.  Her sons, Julius, died in 1966, Anthony in 1968. (Updated 12/23/2014.)  Her son, Francis, passed away in 1986.

Sources:

Michigan, Marriages, 1868-1925,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/NQM4-XYD : accessed 31 Mar 2014), John K. Urbaniec and Victoria Langner Herman, 25 Jan 1921; citing Detroit, Wayne, Michigan, v 7 rn 208057.
Ancestry.com. Michigan, Divorce Records, 1897-1952 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.

Original data: Michigan. Divorce records. Michigan Department of Community Health, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics, Lansing, Michigan.
Death: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=119218713&ref=acom

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National Archives Virtual Genealogy Fair Oct. 28-30, 2014

Looking for genealogy tips, have burning questions you need answered?  The National Archives is holding a genealogy fair via YouTube later this month. It will be a live lecture series over three days. More information can be had at National Archives Genealogy Fair.

Representatives from various National Archive locations will be presenting topics from intro genealogy to searching military records.  Family Search and Ancestry will also be presenting. For a list of topics and start times, check out their Genealogy Fair Schedule 2014.

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#52Ancestors – No. 41 – William H. Woodburn

This post is number 41 in the series of the #52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge where a group of us 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.

William Woodburn and his two wives are listed on one headstone.

William Woodburn and his two wives are listed on one headstone.

All Inclusive

Wives can be forever lost in history.  This is not the case for my first cousin 5 removed, William H. Woodburn. William’s headstone lists both his wives names along with his name.

Williams first wife was Martha Frances Chandler.  This union had four children.  Martha may have died in childbirth or shortly thereafter.  She died in 1864. Her last child, William Thomas Woodburn was born in 1864.

On October 14, 1868, William married America E. Baker, widow of Joseph Coffman.  America had two children with Joseph Coffman. William and America had three daughters.  Both William and American died in 1874.

Sources
Find A Grave: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=100413699&ref=acom

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