14 February 2015

Genealogy Do Over Week 6 evaluating evidence

This week’s prompt is evaluating evidence, and reviewing online education options. I have not ventured into online education options, except for some selective webinars. Hence, this week I plan to focus on evaluating evidence. Birthdates are the perfect example in regards to evaluating evidence. 

My great grandfather Panko Hruszczak is my immigrant. He passed away a month and a half before I was born so I never knew him personally. For the longest time the only thing I actually knew about him was the information printed on his funeral card! Then in my teenage years I started asking questions. 

His funeral card listed his birthplace as Austria Galicia. His obituary listed his birth information as simply having been born 75 years prior (putting his birth year as 1893) in Galicia, Austria. His death certificate lists his birth info as 5 August 1893 in Galicia, Austira. While I do not know who actually wrote the obituary, the informant of his death certificate was my grandfather, Joseph Ruczhak. 

Now, I have found in my personal experience, as well as researching for others, information provided by the person him (or her) self is more accurate than a spouse or child. In addition the younger the person was when providing the information, the more accurate it was. There are exceptions. Many young men lied about their ages in order to fight in time of war, for example.

Doc Year
Birth Date
Birth Place
WWI Draft Reg
6 August 1893
Powet, Austria
1920 Census
1930 Census
Certificate of Citizenship
6 August 1893
Prusy, Poland
SSN Application
6 August 1893
WWII Draft Reg
6 August 1893
Death Certificate
5 August 1893
Galicia Austria
Galicia Austria


Panko lists his birthday as 6 August 1893 on everything. That remains the same throughout all documentation found thus far. The only exception is his death certificate, which of course someone else filled out. His birthplace however does vary. 

He lists his birthplace as, what looks to be, Powet, Austria on his World War I Draft Registration in 1917. 

On 25 November 1936, Panko filed his application for a Social Security number. He lists his birthplace as Austria-Hungary. He Americanized his name on this form, spelling it as Ruszchak. He listed his parents are Theodore Ruszchak and Catherine Romanko.  

Panko spelled his last name as Hruszczak on his World War II Draft Registration in 1942. He lists his place of birth as simply Galicia in Europe. 

Other locations I have found are Austria-Poland, Prusy, Poland and Galician Austria. My best guess is that the town location changed because it was taken over by everyone from one time to another.
Next week:
Next week's prompt is reviewing genealogy database software, and digitizing photos and documents.

Looking back:
Week 5 - Research and Citations
Week 3 -  tracking research and conducting research
Week 2 - set research goals, self interviews, and family interviews
Week 1  


Genealogy Do-Over is a 13 week challenge from Thomas MacEntee, of GeneaBloggers.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015
Locations listed are located in Pennsylvania (USA), unless otherwise noted in post.