26 August 2014

Tombstone Tuesday: BAPAHИK

Buried at Holy Ghost Ukrainian Cemetery
Valley Township, Chester County, PA

25 August 2014

Mystery Monday: Who was Adolf Medeksza?

A friend recently received some information and included in it was an envelope addressed to a Mr. Adolf Medeksza in Philadelphia, PA in America. So who was he?

I quickly found (with the help of Ancestry.com of course) seven year old Adolf on the SS Haverford arriving in Philadelphia on 30 September 1907 with his mom and two siblings.

Adolf was born approximately 1900 in Tzawb, Russia, although they list their ethnicity as Polish. His mother is Anna. She is 26 years old at the time. His brother Alen is five. He also has another sibling who is only a couple months old. The handwriting is difficult to read but Ancestry.com identifies him as Kazimer. The passenger list notes who they left behind and that person is identified as Anna's father! I cannot read the first name but his last name is Hatusky.

The 1910 Philadelphia census reveals young Adolf, who is now 11 according to the census, is a junior. Adolf Sr., who the letter mentioned in the beginning was addressed to, is 39. He immigrated in 1903. Wife Annie is 10 years his junior. Kaize is nine; Walter is seven and little Stella is one. The family also has four boarders living with them. The census also reveals that Adolf and Annie have been married for 12 years and they had five children. Only four are living. Hence, Alen must have died between 1907 and 1910. The immigration notes show Annie and the boys all immigrated together, yet Walter was not included on the passenger list shown above. The last name also looks like Medekaga.

A 1918 Philadelphia City Directory showed an Adolf Medeksza living at 849 North American Street. He was a dyer.

Adolf Junior was living at 3096 Memphis Street in Philadelphia in 1923 when he applied for citizenship. Immigration then was completely different than it is today. Adolf listed his birth as Szawle, Lithuania.

Admittedly, I only did a fast search but I did not find either Adolf in the 1920 Census. In fact, nothing more is found on the father Adolf. What happened to the family?

24 August 2014

Sunday's Obituary: James A Skrabalak

James A. Skrabalak, 61, of Chipley, Florida, formerly of Binghamton, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, 24 October 2007, in Pensacola, Florida, after a brief illness. Jim was predeceased by his parents, John and Loretta Skrabalak. He is survived by his wife, Irene Skrabalak, Chipley, Fla.; one brother and sister-in-law, Robert and Danielle Skrabalak, Binghamton; two sisters and a brother-in-law, Donna and Melvin Burr, Binghamton, Patricia Markle, Johnson City; an uncle, Stanley Skrabalak, Endicott; two aunts, Helen Svarney, Johnson City, Josephine Wasko, Mesa, Arizona; several cousins, nieces and nephews.
Jim was a graduate of Binghamton Central High School and worked in the family business, "Scratchy's Highway Tavern," while living in Binghamton. He proudly served his country, completing a tour of duty in Vietnam and retiring from the US Navy in 1993. He was a member of AMVET Post 007 in Chipley, Fla., and F&AM AJ Russell Lodge in Jacksonville, Fla. Jim often returned home to Binghamton to visit family and friends, holding dear the memories of the area in which he grew up.

 A Memorial Mass will be held at St. Theresa's Catholic Church in Sunny Hills, Fla., with a celebration of life to be held in Binghamton at the convenience of the family. 

23 August 2014

Society Saturday: Historic Huguenot Street

Historic Huguenot Street will remember the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre of 1572 this weekend. On 24 August 1572, over 2,000 Protestants were slain in the city of Paris during what is now known as the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre. Public programming is planned to provide guests with a historic look back at the event and its effect on the future of the Huguenots in France.

A series of two educational and touching vignettes will be performed today at the DuBois Fort at noon and 4 p.m. Inspired by Giacomo Meyerbeer’s grand opera Les Huguenots (1836) and John Everett Millais’ pre-Raphaelite painting “A Huguenot, on St. Bartholomew’s Day, Refusing to Shield Himself from Danger by Wearing the Roman Catholic Badge” (1852), the vignettes will depict the circumstances of two star crossed lovers on the eve of the massacre. These performances are free and open to the public.

Throughout the weekend, the daily interpretation of the Crispell Memorial French Church will be updated to explore the events leading up to the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre, its implications, and its eventual effect on the history of New Paltz. This interpretation is included as part of the daily tours at no additional cost.

In addition to these memorial programs, Historic Huguenot Street will also host a demonstration and workshop by master red ware potter Rick Hamelin from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. today at the 1799 LeFevre House. Hamelin will perform live on the wheel, throwing red ware and relaying the history of pottery and tile-making, and guests will be invited to partake in a pinch pot workshop led by Hamelin. Members, seniors, and military $10, non-members $15. Students free with ID. Pre-registration for the pinch pot workshop is encouraged; email kara@huguenotstreet.org to register.

This type of special programming is an example of Historic Huguenot Street’s commitment to engage guests and better connect them with the history and heritage of this National Historic Landmark District. Since re-opening earlier this year in May, the improved guest experience and diverse range of public programs have driven remarkable increases in visitation, donations, and membership. The staff and Board of Trustees of Historic Huguenot Street are committed to continuing on this path of change and growth.

A National Historic Landmark District, Historic Huguenot Street is a 501(c)3 non-profit that encompasses 30 buildings across 10 acres that was the heart of the original 1678 settlement, including seven stone houses that date to the early eighteenth century.  It was founded in 1894 as the Huguenot Patriotic, Historical, and Monumental Society to preserve their French and Dutch heritage.  Since then, Historic Huguenot Street has grown into an innovative museum, chartered as an educational corporation by the University of the State of New York, that is dedicated to protecting our historic buildings, conserving an important collection of artifacts and manuscripts, and promoting the stories of the Huguenot Street families, from the sixteenth century to today.

The above is a press release from Historic Huguenot Street.


22 August 2014

National Archives to hold Virtual Genealogy Fair

The National Archives is a great resource but often a trip to Washington, DC is just not feasible. In October, the National Archives will hold its 2014 Virtual Genealogy Fair via You Tube.

The Virtual Genealogy Fair will start at 10 a.m. ET daily on 28-30 October. This live broadcast will offer the opportunity for virtual attendees to ask questions at the end of the various talks. The lectures will feature tips and techniques for using Federal records at the National Archives. There will be different level lectures from beginner to expert.

The schedule has not yet been formalized.

21 August 2014

Those Places Thursday: Historic Preservation Trust Announces History Tour

Twenty sites with ties to Lancaster’s industrial and commercial past have been identified for the 2014 Historic Walk + Talk Tour on Saturday, October 18, in downtown Lancaster. The tour is a joint effort of the Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County and Moxie House, publisher of Fig Lancaster.
“The focus of the tour is on buildings that contributed to Lancaster’s economic growth in the 19th century,” said Lisa Horst, president of the Historic Preservation Trust Board of Directors. “The tour route includes where the city’s railroad station once stood on North Queen Street and where the tracks ran along North Prince Street past what used to be tobacco warehouses – buildings that have been restored for use as offices, residences, restaurants and hotels. The Preservation Trust encourages adaptive reuse, and we are pleased to showcase on the tour excellent examples of this.”
Sites on the tour are:
  1. Sehner-Ellicott-von Hess House (1787) – 123 North Prince Street – office and home for surveyor Andrew Ellicott (1754 – 1820) who taught Meriwether navigational skills prior to the Lewis & Clark Expedition (1804-1806) Today: Headquarters for the Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County (Photo at right. Courtesy Historic Preservation Trust)
  2. H. Doer Tobacco Warehouse (1886) – 118 North Water Street – H. Doer warehouse and then J. Kleaman’s Tobacco Warehouse and followed by the Lancaster Stogie Company, Consolidated Cigar Corp. warehouse and retail store for Radel & Stauffer. Today: Steeple View Lofts (senior apartments), Miesse Candies, the Friendship Heart Gallery and The Arch (creative work spaces) 
  3. Fulton Theatre (1852) –
    12 North Prince Street – nation’s oldest continuously operating theatre and one of only eight theatres to be named a National Historic Landmark (Not open for tour due to performance. Open house planned for November 7, 2014) (Photo at right courtesy of PA Dutch Visitor's Bureau)
  4. Hirsh & Brother Tobacco Company Warehouse (1869-1874) – 42-44 North Water Street –initially a tobacco warehouse and then a warehouse for Conestoga Delivery followed by the Conestoga Restaurant Supply Company and Mack the Coffee Man Coffee Makers. Today: Fulton Theatre costume shop
  5. Brunswick Hotel site (1915-1920) – 26 East Chestnut Street – original structure razed in 1967 and replaced by a Hilton Inn and then the Hotel Imperial. The hotel was renamed the Brunswick Hotel before closing in 2012. In its day, the Brunswick was Lancaster’s finest luxury hotel. Today: The Hotel Lancaster
  6. Pennsylvania Railroad Station site (1834) – first of two passenger stations with the second being built in 1857 and a third in 1929. Train service here ended in 1929. Today: Red Rose Transit Station and Federal Taphouse restaurant
  7.  Keppel’s Wholesale Confectionery (1913) – 323-325 North Queen Street – built to house a hard candy factory and offices. Today: The Candy Factory – a group of independent artists and business studios
  8.  Lancaster Storage Company Garages (c. 1808-09; storefront c. 1920) – 342 North Queen Street (rear) – two story brick structure originally Jacob Sherer House and later the Washington Inn and then offices for Lancaster Storage Company. Today: Building Character
  9.  Edison Electric Illuminating Company (c. 1886 and 1892) – 333 North Arch Street – first site in city where commercial electricity was produced. Later became the Medical Arts Center, Kelly Michener Inc. (advertising) and then Cimbrian (advertising). Today: SouthEast Lancaster Health Services
  10.  Wacker Brewing Company (c. 1799) - 201 West Walnut Street – site of Lancaster’s last brewery following Prohibition; the brewery was owned by Joseph Wacker and his sons; became the Little Dutch Cafe (saloon) after most of the brewery was demolished in 1959. Today: Rachel’s Cafe and Creperie
  11.  S. R. Moss Cigar Factory (1896; rebuilt 1907) – 401 North Prince Street – original building largely destroyed by devastating fire in 1907; enlarged when rebuilt. Today: The Press Building – a condominium project
  12. High Welding Company (c. 1820) – 27 West Lemon Street – originally the livery stable andcarriage house for the adjacent John S. Rohrer Mansion (today The Belvedere Inn). In 1931, it was the birthplace of the High companies. Today: Zeller Travel
  13.  Swisher Tobacco Warehouse (c. late 800’s to early 1900’s) – 400 block of North Prince Street – initially Swisher Tobacco Warehouse and later Buckwalter Warehouse and then Stadel Volvo and numerous row houses. Today: a multi-use development known as Prince Street Centre that includes The Brickyard Sports Bar, offices and residential apartments.
  14.  G. Falk and Bro. and A. S. Rosenbaum Tobacco Warehouse (1881) – 300 Harrisburg Avenue – one of eight tobacco warehouses; was used for storing tobacco to about 1945. Over next 40 years, the building was occupied first by a wholesale paper and twine business, presumably United Paper and Twin, and then by an electronic business. Today: Lancaster Arts Hotel, a member of Historic Hotels of America
  15.  John DeHaven Tobacco Company Warehouse (c. 1876) – 626 North Charlotte Street – tobacco warehouse through 1900s and was then converted to painting facility for Henry Martin Brick Machine Manufacturing Company. Today: Gilbert Architects Inc. and Tower Marketing
  16.  Stevens High School (1906) – 335 West Chestnut Street – initially a high school for girls that became co-ed and eventually became an elementary school. It was sold in 1983 to OK Properties which developed the school into apartments. Today: The Residences at Stevens School
  17.  The Walter Schnader Tobacco Warehouse (c. 1900- ) – 417 West Grant Street – After Walter Schnader, the tobacco warehouse was operated by R. K. Schnader and Sons and then Horwitz Brothers. Operated as greeting card company in 1990. Today: Thistle Finch Distillery
  18. Robison, Blair and Company Factory (c. 1906) -352 North Prince Street -two and one-half story, 14 bay brick factory, stone foundation; segmental arches; corbelled cornice; originally built by Samuel Flick for Robinson, Blair and Company as a caramel factory. Today: City Crossings, an office complex that includes the headquarters for the Isaac’s Deli restaurant chain.
  19. Central Market (1889) – 23 North Market Street - the oldest continuously operating farmers market in the Unites States and nationally recognized by the American Planning Association, winning its 2013 National Planning Excellence Award for Urban Design (Photo at right courtesy of PA Dutch Visitor's Bureau)
  20.  Old City Hall (c. 1795-1798) – 1-3 West King Street - built as a "public office house" and housed the Commonwealth offices when Lancaster was the capital from 1799 to 1812. It has also housed city and county offices, a Masonic lodge, a post office, and library. Today: the Lancaster Visitor's center.
Founded in 1966 to “stem the rapid destruction of historic properties in Lancaster County,” the Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County’s mission is to encourage and facilitate historic preservation countywide. The trust has been directly involved in preserving important Lancaster County landmarks and has provided advice, assistance and guidance in the protection of others. The trust is a member-supported, 501(c)3 non-profit organization located in the historic Sehner-Ellicott-von Hess House (1787) at 123 North Prince Street in downtown Lancaster. Visit www.hptrust.org for additional information. The Sehner-Ellicott-Von Hess
The above is a press release from the Historic Preservation Trust

20 August 2014

Wedding Wednesday: 22 Years Ago

Twenty two years ago Friday (22 August) will be our (Glenn and I) anniversary. Today, being GeneaBloggers' Wedding Wednesday, I thought I would share some images from that day.

My mom (Barbara Still Ruczhak), me, Glenn, my Daddy (Joseph Ruczhak) at Our Lady Of Consolation RC Church, Parkesburg, Chester County, PA

Receiving line after the wedding: Frank Eckman, Sr. (Glenn's dad), my sister Noreen (my maid of honor), Glenn's best friend Rick Wilkey (his nest man), Dorothy Deyoe Eckman (Glenn's mom), my mom, Daddy, me and Glenn.
Me & Daddy

Glenn and his mom.


19 August 2014

Life is
like a flower.
It grows more beautiful
the more you care for it.

~ K.C. Rogers

Tombstone Tuesday: Keating

Edward b 30 March 1917 d 7 October 2001
Pauline b 5 July 1917 d 14 December 2000
buried at St Ann's Cemetery, Phoenixville, Chester County, PA
photo from "Mike O" at Find A Grave

17 August 2014

Sunday's Obituary: Stanley Robert Skrabalak

Stanley Robert Skrabalak, 91, formerly of Johnson City, passed away with his family by his side at Wilson Memorial Hospital, on Wednesday, March 3, 2010. Stanley was predeceased by his wife, Helen, in 2002. He is survived by his children, Duane Skrabalak, Binghamton, Dr. Dale Skrabalak and his wife, Linda, Endicott, Darlene (Kendrot) and husband, Jon, Raleigh, NC. He also leaves his grandchildren, Dr. Heather Gifford and husband, Andrew, Baltimore, MD, Nickolas Skrabalak and wife, Lauren, Charlotte, NC and Ashley Kendrot, Raleigh, NC; as well as his great-grandchildren, Alayna Gifford, Jocelyn Gifford and (due in June 2010) Maxton Gifford. He is also survived by two sisters, Helen and Josephine, both of Phoenix, AZ. Stanley had battled Parkinson's Disease and it's complications for nearly 40 years.

A member of the famed 45th Thunderbird Division and a veteran of the Sicily, Salerno and Southern France invasions, Stanley was awarded the Bronze Star medal for "meritorious service in handling supplies and food under enemy fire," during a German counterattack in the Vosges Mountains. He spent 27 months overseas, and after the three invasions, he wore an arrowhead signifying his forward wave position in an attack. After campaigns in Sicily, Naples-Foggis, Rome-Arno, Southern France, Rhineland and Central Europe, as well as the bloody Anzio-Beachhead, he was honorably discharged as T/5.

Stanley returned from service to open several businesses over the years. Included in this group was the Belmar Restaurant, located on Main St. in Binghamton. During these years, the Belmar hosted National celebrities during summer theatre, at the now closed Masonic Temple. Included in this group were such stars as Eva Gabor, Veronica Lake, Jackie Cooper and Red Buttons. The tavern/restaurant remained a Westside staple for years until Stanley and his wife, Helen, sold the business in the mid 1990's. Generations always knew they could find a friendly face, good friends, and the best chicken in a basket, city chicken and pizza (hot pies) in the city. Stan's annual Belmar Open was a highly sought after golf tournament that eclipsed any before or after with its all-day festivities.

Stanley was a member of The Church of the Holy Trinity. Stanley cherished his family. He was a kind, loving and generous man who knew how to enjoy life while teaching his children how to become better people each day. He enjoyed golf, bowling, and casinos, (especially Black Jack). Stanley and Helen enjoyed numerous trips to Atlantic City and Las Vegas. His winning ways at bingo became legendary at Ideal Senior Living Center, during his later years. His warmth and sense of humor will be greatly missed. (Oh, that infamous "seed tooth"!) We love you Dad. A funeral service will be held 10:00 a.m. on Monday, March 8, 2010, at The Church of the Holy Trinity, Binghamton. Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery. The family will receive relatives and friends in the church vestibule from 9:00 a.m. until time of service. Stanley's family would like to thank the many people who cared about Stanley both at Ideal Senior Living Center, and wherever Stanley touched their hearts. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Stanley's name to the Parkinson's Disease Foundation, 1359 Broadway, Suite 1509, New York, NY 10018.

Published in Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin from Mar. 6 to Mar. 7, 2010

16 August 2014

Sorting Saturday - an all day event

Sorting Saturday may have turned into an all day event here! I got up early (3:30 a.m.) with a rather large To Do list and I really have made some good progress already. (It's 8 a.m. btw)

This photo at right is just my card table. My desk is organized but covered in several projects. My bookshelf itself is organized however the bottom shelf (the oversized one where I can shove  bunch of stuff out of the way!) is screaming for attention. My file cabinets/boxes had piles on them that need sorted. My printer is covered in paperwork for church (check off Sisterhood minutes and agenda off that To Do list!). My trash is overflowing.

I went to a book sale yesterday with the girls and of course now I need to devour the books. One I already put up on eBay - Law book: 1952 Handcover Manual for Police and Constables in Pennsylvania. I found it on Amazon for $65. Needless to say, I do not have it listed at that price. The copy I have has an name/address stamped into the book. The name is N. Stanford Miller. The address is RD #1, Jonestown, PA. I got lots of other great finds too which I'll discuss later ... for now time to take the girls to work then back here to continue sorting!

15 August 2014

National Archives Holds Free Research and Genealogy Program

The National Archives will present a research and genealogy program on Wednesday, 27 August on using the online resources of the Archives. The session is titled: Genealogy Using Online Resources of the National Archives. Attendees will learn how to navigate archives.gov for your family history research with archives specialist Nancy Wing

The 11 a.m. program is free and open to the public. It will be held in the National Archives Building Research Center (Room G-25), in Washington, DC. Attendees should use the Pennsylvania Avenue entrance, between 7th and 9th Streets, NW. Metro accessible on the Yellow and Green lines, Archives/Navy Memorial/Penn Quarter station.

The National Archives Building and the National Archives at College Park are fully accessible. To request an accommodation (e.g., sign language interpreter) for a public program, please email public.program@nara.gov or call 202-357-5000 prior to the event. To verify the date and times of the programs, the public should call 202-357-5000, or view the Calendar of Events online.

14 August 2014

Throwback Thursday: Eighth Grade

Eighth Grade
Coatesville Area Catholic Elementary School
Coatesville, PA
Top Row: Kim Karmilowicz, Marty McDonald, Ms Hicks, Mona Clark
Second Row: Ben Walus, Deanna Skowood, Gina Labiak, Michele Ambroziak, Maureen Doyle, Karen Hess, Brian Blakely
Third Row: me, Steve McComsey, Eva Taylor, Billy, Peggy, Susan Pacana, Stephanie Palmer
Bottom Row: Jeff Huckle, Mary McNew, Mike Boggs, Bronwyn Zappacosta, Michael Jason, Cindy, Steven Dynesko