20 January 2019

Found a Wife

I found a wife! Not for me (my husband is work enough!) but for my Uncle Jim! Years ago, my great Aunt Helen (Still) Webster told me a story about my Uncle Jim (James Franklin Still) having a son. By the time we all came along, Uncle Jim was back East living with his brother/my grandfather (Lloyd Pierson Still). He spoke of working on ranches but never mentioned a wife or a child. 
Searching on Ancestry.com today, I found a marriage record for James Still born 1910 to a Julie Riddle on 14 April 1931 in Deep Creek, Routt, Colorado

The 1930 US Census shows Uncle Jim, obviously single, still living in East Marlboro, Chester County, PA. The 1940 Census shows him living in Clark Township, Routt County, Colorado. The 1940 Census also reveals he lived there in 1935 as well but now his father, Pierson George Still, has moved out with him and Uncle Jim is single. In fact, it shows that the two of them are living by themselves on a farm. 

I found land records for Uncle Jim, dated 15 September 1942 in Routt, Colorado. He received 649 acres on which to homestead. Whatever happened to that homestead land? I'll trace the land another time. For now, back to Julia ...

Julie Riddle is not easy to confirm. So, when I am stuck, I found timelines help.
1930 - Uncle Jim was still in Chester County, PA, so they had not yet met.
1931 - On 14 April, Uncle Jim and Julia Riddle were married. 
1940 - He is single in Colorado; she is married in Missouri as a hired hand with an 8 year old son!

In both the 1930 and the 1940 Census, Julia is a servant or hired hand to Jack and Pear Eckstine. It would appear that when Jack moved from CO to MO, Julia went with him and, at that point, took her son with her. Uncle Jim stayed in CO. The 1940 Census is the last available census at the moment, so tracing Julia and her son Billy Joe Still forward must find other sources. The 1950 Census will not be released until April of 2022.

Billy Joe Still - my second cousin (Ancestry says he is my 1st cousin 1x removed) - was born 3 August 1931 in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. He attended Creighton High School, in Creighton, MO. Social Security records show he dies in February (what is it with my family and February?) 1990. He died in Albany, Gentry County, Missouri. 

© 2019, Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman

17 June 2018

Family Day at Historic Huguenot Street

Today (Sunday, 17 June) is Family Day at Historic Huguenot Street.. Admission is free and includes the historic house tours and exhibits. Tours will be done on a first come first serve basis with a limit to 12 people per tour. You are welcome to bring a blanket and bagged lunch and have a picnic on the grounds. 

Learn about the families who founded New Paltz, including Pierre Deyo. The Pierre Deyo House, built in 1692, is one of the house on the tour.

We went awhile back, not on Family Day but just a regular day. My husband is descended from Jacobus "James" Deyoe (1760-1819) and Annatje "Hannah" Walker (1764-1835). The Deyoe and the Deyo families are of the same family. 

Those interested in tracing their family lineage to one of the 12 lines may also be interested in this (from a March 2018 press release):

Thanks to a grant from the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Historic Huguenot Street (HHS) has digitized records from the Reformed Church of New Paltz dating back to the 1680s and early 1700s. Two volumes of records, consisting of over 100 pages, document the community’s first marriages and baptisms, revealing the growth of the town and the social relationships between the French and Dutch settlers during the early colonial period. 
“These records contain illuminating information, and scanning them supports their long-term preservation,” said Josephine Bloodgood, Director of Curatorial and Preservation Affairs. “Prior to the digitization, access to the books was limited to those able to visit the HHS Archives in-person. Now scholars, researchers, genealogists, and general audiences from around the world can discover and study their contents.” 
Both volumes have been digitized and uploaded online in their entirety, courtesy of the Reformed Church and through the efforts of HHS staff members and interns. The documents have been uploaded to Hudson River Valley Heritage, a digital library that provides visitors with free access to search and browse historical materials. The records can be accessed by searching for “first register” and “second register” at hrvh.org/hhs, as well as by searching for names that appear within.

Historic Huguenot Street encompasses 30 buildings across 10 acres comprising the heart of the original 1678 New Paltz settlement. Seven are stone houses which date to the early eighteenth century. Historic Huguenot Street was founded in 1894 as the Huguenot Patriotic, Historical, and Monumental Society to preserve the nationally acclaimed collection of stone houses. 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 Department of Education, that is dedicated to protecting our historic buildings, preserving an important collection of artifacts and manuscripts, and promoting the stories of the Huguenot Street families from the seventeenth century to today.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2018

25 May 2018

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is is a day set aside in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country's armed forces. While I am appreciative of everyone who has served - both in war and in peace - this weekend is for those who died while serving ... like my Uncle Paul.

Paul Kurenda - Paulie as Baba always called him - died while serving in World War II. He had been serving in Europe and came down ill so the Army sent him stateside, first to South Carolina then to West Virginia then finally home to die. He passed away 11 August 1944 at the Valley Forge Army Hospital in Phoenixville, Chester County, PA. His official cause of death was "tuberculosis, pulmonary, acute, military, bilateral." He was just 22 years old when he died.

His obituary was published in the now-defunct Coatesville Record.
Coatesville Record
August 12, 1944

PFC. Paul Kurenda, aged twenty-two years, of 1047 Rock Run, died last night in Valley Forge General hospital after a long illness. He was taken ill while in England where he served with the army for one year after training in this country. Brought back, he was treated at hospitals in Charleston, S.C. and Martinsburg, W. Va., before being transferred to the Valley Forge institution.

Funeral services will be held on Monday morning at two 0'clock with High Mass at Holy Ghost Greek Orthodox Catholic church. Interment will be made in Ukrainian cemetery.

PFC Kurenda, who worked as a welder at Lukenweld before entering the service, is survived by his mother, Mrs. Frances Kurenda, of Rock Run; and three sisters, Mary, wife of Andrew Sokso, RD 1; Catherine, wife of John Yuzwick, Rock Run; and Anna, Wife of Joseph Ruczhak, Rock Run.

While his obituary does not include it, Baba & Gigi had told me that Uncle Paulie had developed gangrene in Europe and that his death was due to that. Gangrene - according to dictionary.com - is "
necrosis or death of soft tissue due to obstructed circulation, usually followed by decomposition and putrefaction."

So this weekend, my thoughts - as they often are - are with my Uncle. May His Memory Be Eternal.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2018

12 March 2018

Baptism Records Discovered

Baptismal records for four of the O'Flaherty family were found on Find My Past recently by my cousin's husband (Thank you, Ed!). His wife is descended from my 2nd Great Aunt Mary Theresa O'Flaherty Rogers. I do tend to rush into talking when I'm excited about a new discovery or new documentation so let me back up a moment.

Patrick O'Flaherty and Martha Durkin are my 2nd great grandparents. That is to say, they are my great-great grandparents. They married here in America, settled down in Phoenixville, Chester County, PA and had eight known children. 

Those children are:
1. James
2. Mary Theresa
3. Hugh
4. Michael
5. Dennis
6. Margaret A
7. Martha M
8. Catherine <-- my great grandmother

Today, I am going to talk about four of them: Mary Theresa, Hugh, Martha, and Catherine.

Mary Theresa, born 31 March 1868, married Patrick Rogers in 1891, at the age of 23. Patrick was born in Ireland and had immigrated in 1885. They had five children and lived in Philadelphia, where Patrick was a fireman boiler (according to the 1900 census). After her husband passed in 1935, Mary Theresa lived with her son, Joseph, who was also a fireman for the City. Mary Theresa passed on 1 May 1945, at the age of 77.

Cousin Ed found her baptismal record at St Mary's of the Assumption Church in Phoenixville. Well, he found the record on Find My Past but she was baptized at the church. Hers is probably the more difficult to read, in my opinion, due simply to the handwriting. While I cannot make out her male sponsor, her godmother was Anne Durkin. 

Hugh was born 31 March 1869, exactly a year after his elder sister. He married Katherine Dee and they had six children, one of whom sadly was stillborn. His baptism record (below) confirms his parents, date of birth, and date of baptism. Note the spelling of Dennis! I've seen Atty with Martha's name before on other records. His sponsors - in the Roman Catholic tradition the sponsors should both be Catholic as well. In addition, sponsors were someone you essentially entrusted your child to in the event of your passing, so they were generally someone close, like a family member. I have never seen a connection before with a Patrick Bradly or Maria Lynch. The baptism records also note the priest who performed the Sacrament of Baptism.

Martha was born two years later in 1879. She too died young, on 27 November 1897, at just 18 years of age. She never married or left home either. Neither her nor Margaret's death notices gave a cause of death. Both girls are buried at Black Rock Cemetery though.

Catherine is my great grandmother. She was the youngest of the O'Flaherty clan. She was born 2 August 1880. She married Martin Walsh (over time changed to Welsh). They had 10 known children, though one was stillborn and two died in infancy. She remained in Phoenixville, surviving her husband. She died 20 August 1949. Her baptism record below lists a Jacob Durkin as one of her sponsors. 

Family - please add your comments, recollections, or questions, either here in the comments or email or Facebook me and I will research, confirm, and post the answers! Thank you again, Ed. Now ... off to track down Jacob Durkin and Anne Durkin, as well as immigration records for everyone.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2018.

23 February 2018

My Dad

Daddy passed on 2 February. We buried him last Saturday - the 17th. Almost a week now. Still raw. But I will start writing again. It's been too long. For now ... his obituary, as published on the Wilde Funeral Home's website, is as follows:

Joseph P. Ruczhak, Jr., 75, of Christiana, PA, passed away on Friday, February 2, 2018 at the Brandywine Hospital. He was the husband of the late Barbara Still Ruczhak who died in 2013. They shared 45 years of marriage. Born in Rock Run, he was the son of the late Joseph and Anna Kurenda Ruczhak.

Joe was an area resident all his life and a 1960 graduate of the Coatesville High School. He served with the US Army in Vietnam. He was an UT Inspector at Lukens Steel Company/Arcelor Mittal. He retired in 2009 with 48 years of service. He was a member of Our Lady of Consolation Church.

He is survived by two daughters: Noreen Ruczhak of Christiana and Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman and her husband Glenn of Lancaster, three grandchildren; Anna and Zorina Eckman of Lancaster and Mary (Eckman) Soanes and her husband Ashton of Mount Alto, PA, two great grandchildren; Sasha and Celia Soanes. He is also survived by a brother John Ruczhak and his wife Anne of Coatesville.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday, February 17 at 11 a.m. at Our Lady of Consolation Church, 603 W. 2nd Avenue, Parkesburg, PA followed by Interment at St. Malachi Chapel Cemetery, Cochranville, PA. A viewing will be held on Saturday morning from 10 to 10:45 a.m. at the Wilde Funeral Home, 434 Main St. Parkesburg, PA.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in his memory to the Wounded Warrior Project www.woundedwarriorproject.org

Online condolences can be posted at www.wildefuneralhome.com

Wilde Funeral Home in Parkesburg did a great job. I just want to thank everyone there.

© Genealogical Gems, 2018. All Rights Reserved.

29 May 2017

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a time to remember those who died while serving in our nation's military. There are three men buried in the Holy Ghost Ukrainian Cemetery (Valley Township, Chester County, PA) who were Killed In Action. They are: Andrew Buckle, William Grycky, and Paul Kurenda. Vichnaya Pamyat.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2017

05 January 2017

Photo A Day Challenge - Siblings

Today's Genealogy Photo A Day Challenge is "Siblings". This photo is of two of my grandmother and her siblings and their mother! 

My cousin gave me a copy of this, which is believed to be the only photo of all of them together. From left to right then: Uncle Joe, my grandmother Mary, Uncle Gerry looking awesome in his uniform, Uncle Reds (given name was Raymond), my great grandmother Catherine O'Flaherty Welsh, Aunt Loretta, and Uncle Leo. The photo was taken at Uncle Leo's wedding in 1937.

Tomorrow's prompt is "Cousins".

(c) Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2017

03 January 2017

Tombstone Tuesday: Onifer Romanko

Onifer Romanko and his wife Rosalie are buried at Holy Ghost Ukrainian Cemetery in Valley Township, just outside Coatesville, Chester County, PA. 

Onifer is my great grandfather's uncle. I first "found" Onifer on the passenger list for my great grandfather (Panko Hruszczak). Panko had listed his Uncle Onifer as the person receiving him in Coatesville. From other records, I believe Onifer arrived in Coatesville himself in 1901. My goal is to determine when exactly he came over and where he actually came from! 

Tombstone Tuesday is a genealogical prompt of GeneaBloggers.

(c) Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2017

Photo A Day Challenge - Childhood

Today's Genealogy Photo A Day Challenge is "Childhood". This photo is of two of my cousins (Ken and Beth) and I (in the white shirt) with our great grandfather, Pierson George Still.

Ken is two years older than Beth and I. She is a week older than me. So, much of our childhood involving the Still side of the family includes our great grandfather. He was 90 when he passed in 1977, just two months shy of his 91st birthday.

Tomorrow's prompt is "Oldest & Youngest".

(c) Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2017

02 January 2017

Photo A Challenge A Day - Baby

Today's Genealogy Photo A Day Challenge is "Baby". So, If you caught yesterday's "New" photo of my adorable new granddaughter, you can probably guess who is being featured again today!

That's right, this excited Baba is showing off little Sasha again today! This photo was taken Sunday morning at my Dad's. That's him holding his great-grandchild! To be honest, not sure who was more adorable here: Sasha or my Daddy!

Oh - just an interesting tidbit. My mom passed in 2013 but her birthday was 13 June. Sasha was born in 2016 on ... 13 June!

Tomorrow's prompt is Childhood, so I'm not sure I can justify Baby Sasha tomorrow. You may be stuck with a photo of me or my kids! In the meantime, share your Baby photos.

(c) Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2017

Join me in this genealogy photo challenge

You are invited to join me in this Genealogy Photo A Day Challenge, put forth by StorybookAncestors.org.

(c) Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2017

01 January 2017

Photo A Day Challenge - New

Story Book Ancestor developed a Genealogy Photo A Day Challenge for January 2017. Today's prompt is "new". In my very humble opinion, what could be more new than MY NEW GRANDBABY! I may be biased here but look at her! Isn't she the cutest little baby?

(c) Genealogical Gems, 2017

30 October 2016

Sunday’s Obituaries: Aunt Katie and Cousin Steve

Yesterday was an exhausting day. It was a bittersweet day. I saw so many family members who I do not always have the opportunity to see and yet I saw them because of the circumstances. One of my daughters and I attended the viewing of my cousin and the services and burial for my aunt.

Katherine Wiker was my paternal grandfather’s sister. She was the last of that generation.

Aunt Katie’s obituary reads:
Katherine "Katie" Wiker
Photo with obituary
Katherine Ruczhak Wiker, 92, died Friday, October 21, 2016 in Windsor, New York. She was the wife of Chester P. Wiker Sr., who preceded her in death having shared 47 years of marriage.

Katherine was born in Coatesville, and lived in Hershey, PA and Windsor, NY. She was the daughter of the late Panko and Bessie Ruczhak. She worked for 24 years at Pepperidge Farm and then worked for the Coatesville Association for the Blind. She was devoted to her family and friends and was a member of Olivet United Methodist Church. 

Surviving her are her children, Chester P. Wiker, Jr.; Katherine M. Schwartz; daughters-in-law, Terri and Norah Wiker; son-in-law, Dave; 11 grandchildren, 14 great grandchildren and 3 great-great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her son, Richard E. Wiker; daughter-in-law, Gail Fry Wiker; and an infant daughter, Bessie Ann Wiker. She was also preceded in death by her brothers and sisters; Joseph, Theodore, Nicholas, Paul, Mary, Helen, Ann and Peter. 

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, October 29, 2016 at the Harris Mountain Funeral & Cremation Service, 1030 E. Lincoln Highway, Coatesville where relatives and friends may begin calling at 10 a.m. Interment will be in Romansville Methodist Cemetery.

Her obituary was published on Harris Mountain Funeral Home’s website. I do need to note that she had one other brother – also named Theodore – who passed early. He was just a toddler when he died and few of the siblings even knew about him. Aunt Katie did though. She told me once that her mom used to have her drive up the Polish Cemetery outside Coatesville to “visit” the baby.

Steve is my cousin. His mother and my maternal grandmother were sisters. Everyone called him “Buddy” but I never thought to ask why. It may have been to differentiate between him and his father, also named Stephen.

His obituary read:
Steve Kaba
Photo with obituary
Stephen E. Kaba, III, 72, of Royersford, PA, died on Tuesday, October 25, 2016 in Southeastern Veterans' Center, Royersford, PA. He was the husband of Mary (Giampietro) Kaba, who he was married to for 48 years. Born on June 27, 1944 in Phoenixville, PA, he was the son of the late Stephen E. Kaba, Jr., and Loretta (Welsh) Kaba.
Stephen was a graduate of Phoenixville High School, class of 1962.

Upon graduating from high school, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, retiring as a Master Sergeant.

He was employed as a General Contractor for many years, until his retirement. He was a friend of the Chapel of Four Chaplains, and a Eucharistic Minister at Sacred Heart Church in Royersford, PA.

Surviving in addition to his wife are, son, Stephen Kaba IV and wife Christine of Douglassville, PA, grandfather of, Hailey and Lauren Kaba, brother of Loretta Swier and Martin Kaba. He was preceded in death by his sister, Donna Moore.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend his Funeral Mass in St. Joseph Catholic Church, 3640 Schuylkill Road, Spring City, PA, on Saturday, October 29, 2016 at 11:00 am. Burial will follow in Limerick Garden of Memories. A viewing will be held in the church on Saturday morning from 9:00 am to 10:45 am.

In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to Southeastern Veterans' Center Resident Welfare Fund, DMVA Office for Veterans Affairs, Bldg. O-47, Fort Indiantown Gap, Annville, PA 17003-5002.

It was published on the Devlin Rosmos Keep Gatcha Funeral Home’s website.

Sunday’s Obituary is a genealogical prompt of GeneaBloggers.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016
Locations listed are located in Pennsylvania (USA), unless otherwise noted in post.