28 July 2014

Military Monday: World War I

Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia today back in 1914 after a Serbian nationalist assassinated  the Archduke Ferdinand of Austria and his wife. By 1914 my immigrants from that area were all here, already settled in Coatesville, Chester County.

Panko Hruszczak (my great grandfather) arrived at Ellis Island on 20 April 1911 aboard the Volturno from Rotterdam, Holland. His last known address was Prusy, Austria. He listed his ethnicity as Austria, Ruthenian. He was an 18 year old single white male. According to my grandfather he had only two sisters and they both ended up married in France. It is believed that his parents Theodore and Catherine Romanko Hruszczak remained in Prusy, Austria. Panko registered for the draft but was not called upon to fight.

Panko met and married Bessie (Paska) Matys. Bessie was her Americanized name. She arrived at Ellis Island on 28 October 1912. She listed her ethnicity as Ruthenian-Austrian and she was from the village Fraga. She was an 18 year old single white female. Her brother Frank was waiting for her in Coatesville. They left behind their parents - Joseph and Olena Vaspelship Matys - and three sisters. I have not found Frank's draft registration, although he would have been 36 in 1917.

My other paternal great grandfather is John Kurenda. He arrived in Baltimore on 10 May 1906. The 1930 Census however states he immigrated in 1910, which is incorrect. On 1 January 1908 he and Frances Skrbalik (later records and family spell it Skrabalek) applied for their marriage license in Reading, Berks County. The two arrived in Coatesville already married. I have no immigration notes or records on her.

I'm still working on my other lines, as well as the husband's lines. I know he has family members who fought in the War. I believe I may on one of mom's lines.

The United States managed to stay neutral for almost three years. We finally entered the War on 6  April 1917. Shortly thereafter we established a draft registration. More than 24 million US men would register for the draft, according to Ancestry.com. Not all obviously would serve. Some would be excused because they had young families. Some would be excused because they were farmers or they filled another need here at home that was war related.
Locations listed are located in Pennsylvania (USA), unless otherwise noted in post.