A Glimpse of the Past

My biggest complaint about research family is I don’t want to know just dates and places, I want to know what life was like! I want to know what they were doing and feeling! Alas, aside from what I learn from Michelle, my favorite medium, I will never know.

But! As I was googling around Google, I was led to these!

Images of America – Yonkers
Images of America – Throggs Neck – Pelham Bay

I can’t wait to get them! I love the one we have of Wallingford and I search the pictures for familiar locations and how they looked in the past. Although I won’t have that familiarity with Yonkers and Pelham Bay, I will be looking at places were my family lived and worked. You all know Yonkers is where Julia and Konrad Posluszny as well as a majority of his family lived before they moved northward to Connecticut. The Pelham Bay book is for Joanne and the other Ingram family I mentioned a post or two ago. Her father and grandfather had farms in the Pelham Bay Area and the book description mentioned the farmland in the area. I’m excited to get a glimpse and imagine one or two of the pictures are of their farms.

I may not get their actual memories but I will try to imagine them as I look through the books.

Family Helping Family

Imagine being a teenager and leaving your family with the possibility of never seeing them again. That’s what it was like for my grandmother Julianna Ingram, her sisters, and cousins. This is a story about being there for each other.

Julianna aka Julia aka Grammy, came to the United States in (census says) 1903. She would have been 16. She did not arrive with family to greet her. It wasn’t until 1908 that her sister Mary (Wirth-mother of Pauline and Katherine) joined her and 1912 when Elizabeth (Tante Lizzie) followed. Julia lived on her own, probably worked as a domestic, met Konrad Posluszny and married him in 1906 without family by her side.

Julia’s father, Ludwig, had 8 brothers and sisters. His sister Catherine married Franciszek Kukulska and they had three children. The oldest, Mary, was born in 1892 and came to the United States in 1908 at 16 years old. One year later she was getting married to John Juszczak and immediately became pregnant. Their marriage license shows Julia was a witness to their ceremony. By this time Julia had one child and another on the way and the first cousins lived a few blocks away from each other on Jefferson Street in Yonkers NY.

In May of 1910, Mary died giving birth to her daughter who was given the name Mary. Her husband John was a laborer in a sugar refinery and was unable to take care of the infant. He asked Julia to take the baby in and he would pay her for her care and of course, she did!

Four years later, John died in an accident at the sugar refinery. By this time Julia had 3 children of her own under the age of 5 and money was tight. She had no other option but to give Mary up for adoption. Fortunately, a couple heard of the situation through their church and adopted her. She never had to spend any time at an orphanage.

DNA testing on Ancestry led me to Mary’s daughter, Sandi. She told me that her mother’s adopted parents were lovely people. Their daughter died from diphtheria in 1914. They were good, hardworking German Methodists. Her mother knew she had been adopted but never wanted Sandi to find her family while she was alive. Sandi found the adoption documents while cleaning out her grandmother’s home in Florida after she passed away. Without those papers, we may never have figured out our connection.

I love thinking about how Grammy was by her cousin’s side when she got married and then was there for her daughter after she died. It was unfortunate that she had to give her up but she went from one family who loved her to another who was able to care for her better. The more I learn of Julianna Ingram, the more I love the thought that she runs through our veins.

A Piece of the Puzzle

Elizabeth Ann Posluszny, my mother, was born in April of 1922. Her mother, Juliana Ingram, was 34 and her father, Konrad Posluszny was 36 years old.

Betty, as she was known, was the youngest of five. Aunt Tootsie (Antoinette) was the oldest, born in 1909. Uncle Connie in 1910, Uncle Lou in 1913 and Aunt Judy in 1917.

Everyone was born in Yonkers, New York except Betty. After the 1920 census the family moved to Easthampton Massachusetts. According to Aunt Judy, her mother was so unhappy living there that “she didn’t even encourage my father to find a job” and “she didn’t unpack any boxes”. Next we know, Betty’s born in New Britain Connecticut and the family is living in an apartment owned by an Ingram cousin and by 1925 they bought 121 Clifton Street in Wallingford.

Connie b. 1910 with Betty b. 1922
Aunt Judy and Betty

Betty grew up in Wallingford and had whatever she wanted. If her mother couldn’t afford it, her oldest sister Tootsie who left school after 8th grade would buy it for her. She took dance lessons, played basketball and was a majorette with the high school band. She wasn’t as craft oriented as her sisters – she didn’t knit or crochet or do needlework, or sew; but she had her mother and sisters for that! She loved to read and collected postcards buying blank ones on her trips or keeping ones that arrived at the house.

Betty traveled a lot after high school. She and Tootsie took a train trip to Texas to visit Connie in the army after Betty graduated from high school in 1940. Betty and her cousin Pauline traveled by train to California to visit their Tanta Lizzie and Uncle Ben (Weiss) and see the sights of Los Angeles. Her collection of postcards sent to her family tell of her travels and the fun she had.

My DNA mystery match, Joanne, was born in 1945 and in our earlier emails she said she had been to Wallingford in the past with her parents. She was around 7 years old and went to the wedding of “an older couple”. They missed the ceremony but made it to the reception and she remembered “stepping down into the hall”. It was my parents wedding and the reception was at the old Moose Club on Long Hill Road. How strange I thought that they would be there as we never had any communication with them that I knew of. I wondered what else she would remember of our family or if there had ever been any other trips to Wallingford!

Life (and DNA) is Full of Surprises

Julianna, Konrad and Antoinette Posluszny 1909

I’ve written a few posts about my grandmother Julianna Ingram Posluszny. Her story has always been somewhat mysterious. Family members say she came to the United States at a young age, younger than records stated, and she came alone. I have yet to find a record I can confirm as hers. Her marriage license lists her as 18 in 1906 when they got married and, the 1910 census says she immigrated in 1903 so 15 years old. You’ll see in my past posts I’ve really mulled over it!

In this last year, through DNA matches I uncovered a mystery which brought with it a whole host of new questions. Through my Aunt Tootsie’s Christmas card list came the name and email correspondence with a woman who was an Ingram relative. Cousin Judy Behme corresponded with her and after Judy’s death I inherited her ancestry paperwork and I picked up the correspondence. We knew we would be related through Ingram (obviously!) but how. Then Joanne’s children gave her an Ancestry DNA kit for Christmas 2018.

My first cousins Bob and Mal were DNA matches to me at 507 and 497 cMs approximately. I didn’t question why they were listed as Second Cousins because after all, they were the children of my mother’s sister. Some odd little quirk in the system, no big deal I thought.

I knew Joanne’s maternal family name (Duy) and had seen the name in records from the town my grandmother came from. What I didn’t understand was why I was seeing DNA matches to people associated with this last name. Weird, I thought! There must be some DNA running through the Ingram line as well!

Then, Joanne’s DNA match was processed and posted on the Ancestry website and oh my, we matched with 1,040 cMs!

The Search Continues

Ingram Family date unknown
Ingram Family date unknown

Most of you know I have been researching all sides of our family when Ancestry.com was a twinkle in the creators’ eye. It started with personal stories, microfilm at the library, town clerk records, funeral cards that were kept in dresser drawers (when hoarding is a good thing). God bless Aunt Tootsie for being the keeper of family photos and Judy Behme for working with me and for handing over these photos for preservation.

Ancestry.com with it’s public records all in one place, online family trees and the creation of DNA matches has been a gold mine (but sometimes a curse!). I have been able to work alongside cousin Cathy Bellafronto on the other side of the world to add members to the tree.

But even with new information available, Grammy Julianna Ingram Posluszny born February 19, 1888 continues to be a little bit of a mystery to us in the present day.

We know this for fact – she had 2 sisters in the United States. Mary (Marianna, Marya) born 1891 who later became Mary Wirth mother of cousin Katherine and cousin Pauline; and Elizabeth (Elzbieta) born 1894, and married to Ben Weiss (Uncle Ben and Tante Lizzie of Los Angeles). However, Grammy’s obituary mentions 4 sisters, with 2 of them in Poland along with a brother Walter also in Poland.

Recent website discoveries show me yes indeed, there are 4 sisters – Marianna, Elzbieta, Zofia (b. 1898) and Christine (b. 1901). However, there is no record of Walter, but there is Franciszek Jozef born in 1896! Well, there are 2 boys in the picture at the top. So now we have Julianna born 1888, Mariana in 1891, Elzbieta 1894, Franciszek 1896, Zofia 1898 and Christina 1901. And Walter. So there are a few more people – mother Gertruda and father Ludwick and someone else – in the picture but I think we have the siblings fleshed out now.

Which leads to another mystery. Family stories and a medium agree that Julianna was young when she came to the United States. Younger than stated in manifest records. But how young? One record that has been found by me and cousin Loisanne list a Julianna Ingram arrived in New York on June 19, 1896 from Bremen on the Bonn. Based on the year she would have been NINE YEARS OLD. Possible? Then is she even in the second picture?

Her marriage license to Konrad Posluszny in July of 1906 states she is 19 years old consistent with a 1887/1888 birth year. The 1910 census says she immigrated in 1900 and the 1920 census is a little hard to read but transcription also says 1900 which would make her a more reasonable 12(!). So where is her ship manifest record? Maybe they fudged her age but would they really send her off at nine years old and if so, why? Did she travel under a different name? Unfortunately the records online from Padew – actually living, breathing scanned copies of the records which force me to keep my Polish to English and Latin to English app open – only run from 1890 to 1899 so, no record of Julianna’s birth.

Maybe there was something going on? Reasons they felt she should leave? It wouldn’t be the first time that they lied about age. Marianna’s manifest record says she was 18 years old for her trip in 1907 when she was actually 16 years old.

So there it is — if anyone has any ideas, suggestions, comments – please share them! What I have discovered is my great great grandparents are Sebastian Ingram and Elizabetha Burghardt and Andreas Kahl and Catherine Jung.

Leap of Faith

This Columbus Day weekend marks THIRTY years (that’s right 3-0!) since I waved goodbye to my father and twin sister at Bradley Airport in Hartford and flew to my new home with my newly fianced fiance in California.

Nancy and Rocky Jamaica 1987

I knew that my family was only a long day on a plane ride away if I every wanted to visit – and we did, making sure we alternated visits back and forth until we moved back to Connecticut in 1995 (at which point my husband and son were making that journey of leaving the only home they every knew!)

Which made me start thinking – and how I manage to tie this into being All About Family…

How many of our grandparents….great grandparents….great aunts and uncles made that journey to a new home, by themselves with little to their name except a suitcase and a small amount of money in their pocket?  Many of them left knowing they would never see their family members again.

Charles Jakiela – Age 17 – to New York from Lubatowa Galacia – November 1906 – heading to uncle in “South Hingtown” CT

Antonia Liro (Jakiela) -age 21 to New York from Wielepole, Galacia – September 1910 – heading to sister in Thorndike MA

Konrad Posluszny – age 16 to New York from Wildenthal, Galacia – December 1905 – heading to his brother John in Yonkers NY (and brother John arrived in 1899 based on the 1910 census)

Julianna Ingram (Posluszny) – age 16 to New York from Padew Galacia – 1903 – heading to we are not really sure where because the only Julianna Ingram record we can find is way off age wise.  The 1910 census though says she arrived in 1903.

Caroline Straub Posluszny Bonk – age 50 – to New York from Wildenthal Galacia in 1907 with her second husband and two children aged 10 and 3 – heading to her son John in Yonkers NY

We know that it was not easy for them to leave, or easy for them once they got there but with the blessing of their families, they did it….and so did we. ❤

Nancy and Rocky Bay of Fundy 2017

 

The Letter From Poland

Two years ago while cleaning out my Auntie Helen’s apartment after she passed away, I found a letter from her uncle Antoni Jakiela among her papers.  It was dated January 19, 1947 and addressed to her brother Steve.

Letter from Antoni

It was such a shock to find it and I made feeble attempts over the last couple of years to get it translated.  I even attempted myself with the help of Google but gave up quickly.

A couple of weeks ago I reached out again to Facebook and my friend Amy, my cousin Jim and friend Andrea quickly came to the rescue.  I emailed a copy out to everyone and Amy’s co-worker jumped on it and nearly had it done that day!

I received the transcribed letter back and was sad to read how the war had affected him and his family.  There was a sweetness to the letter and the questions he asked.  I did discover three new family members when he talked about his sons but  I don’t know what became of them or if they had families of their own.  I’ll keep searching!

Antoni Letter Transcribed

Signs From My Father

Leaving me dimes and sending me cardinals

IMG_2979

Growing up my sisters and I heard about and saw pictures of our parents at the El Rancho Motel in Myrtle Beach South Carolina.  They went there on their honeymoon and went again with my dad’s sister Helen and her husband Ticker.  They loved it there, and we loved looking at the pictures over and over again.

It’s no longer there but a search on the internet had this to say: “The sprawling grounds included 75 air-conditioned rooms with over 250-person capacity, car shelters, outdoor grilles and room service, a meeting room, and an adjoining restaurant. The palms and pines-wooded lot also included an 18-hole putting green, shuffleboard, ping pong, and their distinctive illuminated swimming pool, measuring 90′ x 40′, with a small island in the middle with palm trees.”  From that description I know why they loved it – heck I would too!

Last year and a few week ago, my husband and I spent a week in Surfside Beach, South Carolina which is just one town south of Myrtle Beach.

My mind was on planning and packing all the week before we left and we were doing a lot of weather watching and worrying whether we’d have sun or a week of rain.  It was evident my father wanted me to know he was thinking about our trip too when I reached my hand up in the shower to get the soap – and put my hand on a dime!  In the shower!  Boy that was weird….

We broke the trip down there into two days this time so we wouldn’t be burnt out and  stopped in La Plata MD which is about halfway.  It was a Best Western and I have a membership card.  I stuck my hand in my pocketbook to get my card holder and came up with a dime STUCK to my card holder! IMG_3580

I said “Daddy you are tricky! I know you’re with us!”

Once we got there we spent a lot of time on the balcony of the condo where we were on the 3rd floor.  It was relaxing looking at the water or just listening to the sound while reading our books.  While sitting there one day I heard a very familiar bird sound…..IMG_2997

Sure enough – there’s a cardinal sitting  there saying hello.   He showed himself during the week and finally, on the last day of our visit while I was sitting on the couch, I looking up and he was was fluttering around at our balcony rail!  He sat for a second and then flew off.

I can hear my father saying “That was a good time Nanc – I’m glad you had fun”.

 

 

 

 

 

Charles Jakiela in World War I

Proud to fight for his adopted country

My grandfather, Charles Jakiela immigrated to the United States from Lubatowa Poland in 1905.  He was married with two children when the time came in June of 1917 to register for the draft.

005206224_00756

 

Although he could have, he chose not to claim an exemption and left his wife, Antonia and two sons – Steven, 4 years old and Edward, 2 – behind in Southington Connecticut when he headed to Camp Devens in Ayer Massachusetts.  When asked why he enlisted when he could have been exempt he said it was because “he loved his country”.

The construction of Fort Devens started in early June, 1917, and was performed by a labor force of 5,000 workers which in just 10 weeks built a small city consisting of 1400 buildings, 20 miles of road, 400 miles of electric wiring and 60 miles of heating pipes in addition to water and sewer service. Due to the speed of its development, Camp Devens formally opened at the beginning of September, 1917. It was the first of 16 National Army cantonments to be completed in the country, processing and training more than 100,000 soldiers of the 76th and 12th Divisions from 1917-1919. (from http://www.worldwar1letters.wordpress.com). It was here at Camp Devens that Charles became a United States Citizen.

Charles_citizenship_0001

Fun fact – 31 Liberty Street in Southington listed on the Certificate is the same location that cousin Steve Jakiela had his deli and catering business – Liberty Deli!

Based on his headstone, I knew that he was in Battery C 302nd F.A. (field artillary).  I really didn’t give it much thought until I saw Bill O’Reilly on an episode of Finding Your Roots and the host, Henry Gates, talked to him about his grandfather who was in the a division of the army out of New York and they talked about how he fought in the Meuse-Argonne Offense in October-November of 1918.  Something just made me start looking again because I knew there had to be more information for Charles’s service.

I found out that the 302nd field artillary regiment was part of the 151st Field Artillery, which was part of the 76th Division, which was part of the 5th Army Corps commanded by Major General Omar Bundy.  The 302nd field artillary regiment were trained with the 4.7″ artillery guns.  I also found the following online:

Seventy-Sixth Division (National Army)

Known as the “Liberty Bell Division.” Insignia is a blue liberty bell superimposed on a khaki square. Organized at Camp Devens, Mass., in Sept., .1917. The division was composed of National Army drafts from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island and Connecticut. The first units embarked for overseas on July 5, 1918, and the last units arrived in France on July 31, 1918. Upon arrival in France the division was designated as a depot division and ordered to the St. Aignan area. Here the division was broken up, training cadres were formed and the personnel used as replacements for combat divisions at the front. The special units, such as the Signal Battalion and Sanitary Troops, were sent forward as corps and army troops.

Commanding generals: Maj.Gen. H. F. Hodges,. Aug. 25 to Nov. 27, 1917; Brig. Gen. Wm. Wiegel, Nov. 27, 1917 to Feb. 13, 1918; Maj. Gen. H. F. Hodges, Feb.13 to Nov. 11,1918.

This division was composed of the following organizations: 15ast and 152nd Inf. Brigs.; 301st, 302nd, 303rd, 304th Inf. Regts.; 301st, 302d, 303d Machine Gun Bns.; 301st, 302d, 303d Fld. Arty. Regts.; 301st Trench Mortar Battery; 301st Engr. Regt. and Train; 301st Fld. Sig. Bn.; 301st Hqs. Train and M. P.; 301st Amm. Train; 301st Supply Train; 301st Sanitary Train (301st, 302d, 303d and 304th Field Hospitals and Amb. Cos.).

I also found somewhere else (really should have written websites down!) that the 302d and 303d FA Regiments were in the St. Mihiel Sector from 11/2-11/11/18.

He survived his time in France, although I’m told he was heavily gassed, only to have disaster strike on the way home.  According to both Auntie Helen and Uncle Eddie, on the way out of France (England?-It was never said where), as the train the troops were on went over a trestle, a previously unexploded bomb exploded!  Charles landed in a brook and his head was smashed.  Auntie Helen said he had a scar from the front of his head down the back.  A man from Bristol saved him.  Once they arrived home, every Saturday night “four guys on motorcycles” came to their South Center Street home in Southington to visit.  Auntie Helen said he received a pension because of his injury and he would routinely write letters to the government because they wanted to cut his pension!

In 2002, I requested and received a Certification of Military Service for Charles which told me he was in the Army from October 4 of 1917 to April 30, 1919.  Unfortunately, in 1973, there was a fire in the area that destroyed a major portion of records for Army military personnel from 1912 through 1959.

Charles_military_discharge

He died at age 45 when Steve the oldest was 23 and John the youngest was turning 11.  But that’s a story for another time.  He’s buried in St. John’s cemetery.  If you go in the lower driveway to the end and the road curves to the left, he’s at the top of the hill on the right.  John always made sure there was an American flag by his headstone.  I think I will see that there always is.

Charles_headstone

 

Easter Through The Years

Remembering the traditions passed down through generations.

Easter memories include:

  • Church on Easter Sunday morning in our finest Spring clothes – usually freezing because it wasn’t quite as warm as the outfits were designed for!;

Jakiela girls easter 64
Jakiela Girls Easter 1964

  • Easter baskets with candy!;
  • Brunch after mass either at 121 Clifton Street or our house, Aunt Judy’s or Auntie Irene’s that would be eaten in shifts as families came and went…and usually involved a second round of food;

betty easter
Betty at Easter

  • Pierogies, stuffed cabbage, hungarian cookies, kielbasa, ham, horseradish, hard rolls, rye bread with seeds, babka – my mouth is watering!;

Gram_Easter
Gram at Easter

  • One Easter in the 1970s that was so warm and it was conveniently at Aunt Judy’s down the street that we came back to our house, got our bathing suits on and laid out in the sun!;
  • An Easter Sunday that fell on Gail’s and my birthday and we got to carry the gifts to the alter;
  • Our first Easter without Mommy and it was at the Behme’s house and Judy had a birthday cake for Gail and me because our birthday was a week or so later;
  • Celebrating Easter with Cody, coloring eggs and going to Easter egg hunts (and I wasn’t knocking kids down to get candy for him!);

Cody_easter_egg_hunt_0001
Cody and Wyatt 1993

  • Easter at cousin Joan’s house with all the kids hunting for the Golden Egg and having the Easter Bunny appear!;

Easter_at_Joans_0001
Easter at Joan Jakiela’s 1997

  • Our first Easter without Daddy after he passed away on Palm Sunday in 2010 and Gail’s description of him entering the gates of heaven and everyone cheering for his arrival;
  • The traditions we continue with our families and pass down to our children that we hope they will continue when we are no longer with them.