I’m Stuck

The search for the two Frank Cygan’s has put me over the edge.  The Frank Cygan with the birthdate that matches the Polish baptismal records, unfortunately lists his birthplace as Illinois on every document I find of him.  Grrr.  Now I know that he may have fibbed a bit to the census taker and to the draft board, but I’m not anywhere near closer to being able to prove he is a brother to my great grandfather Nicholas Cygan.

So I’m putting him aside for awhile. 

And I’m moving on.   And since I have nothing better to do (laundry, dishes, etc.) to do, I’ve decided to play around with Chicago church records.

Wish me luck!

The search for Frank Cygan (part 3)

The other Frank Cygan….

A few months ago, while poking around on Family Search, I made a great discovery…Polish Baptism Records.  And who did I find?  My great grandfather Nicholas.

Name: Nicolaus Cygan
Event: Baptism
Event Date: 01 Mar 1885
Event Place: Borowa, Borowa, Rzeszów, Poland
House Number: 25
Gender: Male
Father: Joannes Cygan
Mother: Helena Drzewicki
Volume Beginning Year: 1860
Volume Ending Year: 1887
Page Number: 131
Entry Number: 6
Film Number: 1959124
Digital Folder Number: 004645737
Image Number: 00244
Collection: Poland, Tarnow Roman Catholic Diocese Church Books, 1612-1900

I then did a little quick thinking and searched for Nicholas’ siblings by searching by his mother’s name:  Helena Drzewicki…and I found three more siblings:

Adam, Mary and Frank!

Here is Frank’s baptismal information:

Name: Franciscus Cygan
Event: Baptism
Event Date: 29 Sep 1887
Event Place: Borowa, Borowa, Rzeszów, Poland
House Number: 25
Gender: Male
Father: Joannes Cygan
Mother: Helena Darewicki
Volume Beginning Year: 1860
Volume Ending Year: 1887
Page Number: 142
Entry Number: 27
Film Number: 1959124
Digital Folder Number: 004645737
Image Number: 00257
Collection: Poland, Tarnow Roman Catholic Diocese Church Books, 1612-1900

 And here’s a Frank Cygan, living in Chicago with a birthdate of September 24, 1887.

I think I may have spent alot of time and research looking for the wrong Cygan.

There is also a Frank Cygan in the Social Security Death index with the birth date of September 24, 1887.

First Name: Frank
Middle Name:
Last Name: Cygan
Name Suffix:
Birth Date: 24 September 1887
Social Security Number: 340-05-2963
Place of Issuance: Illinois
Last Residence: Cook, Illinois
Zip Code of Last Residence: 60650
Death Date: January 1967
Estimated Age at Death: 80
Collection: U.S. Social Security Death Index

So now I’m off searching for Frank Cygan.  Date of birth September of 1887….

The search for Frank Cygan (part 2)

In order to prove I’m right about the “Grandma Cygan” photos, I decided to do some cluster genealogy and try to track down any siblings of my great-grandfather Nicholas Cygan.

I first learned of Frank Cygan, a brother to my great-grandfather Nicholas Cygan from Nicholas’ obituary published in the Dziennik Chicagoski on December 5, 1939.  Here is a translation of the obituary:

All relatives and friends to announce the sad news that beloved mazmoj. our father and my dziakdek Nize ours, the late Mikolaj Cygan.

pozegnai from this world, opatrozony s sacraments, on December 3rd, 1939 at 6tej morning, middle-aged.

The funeral will take place in Strode, on the 6th of December, at 9:30 in the morning, the house of mourning PNR. 4437 S. California Ave., To the church pp Poles five brothers and martyrs and from there to the cemetery of St Adalbert.

On this sad ritual to invite all relatives and friends, enveloped in a heavy grief:

Marianna, his wife, Helen, John, Clara and Czeslaw, children, Robert Raymond, grandson, Raymond Welsch, in-law, Violet (nee Sellhorn), daughter in law, Francis and Marianne Cygan, brother and sister-in-law, Joseph and Magdalena Jochim, tesciewie; Joseph Stankowski, Joseph and Helen Thomas and Catherine and Henry Jochimovie, brother-and szwagierki, together with the whole family.

Zajmujma funeral Joseph Pacholski and Son, 2620 W. 47th Street is. Phone 4228 Lafayette

I than came across a Frank Cygan when I found both Nicholas and Frank living together at 2017 W. 17th Street on the Cook County Clerk of Courts Naturalization website  (Here’s a hint for that site:  type your known ancestors address into the current address field, and see who comes up!  This is how I found Frank.)

That Frank Cygan listed his date of birth as February 10, 1888 and that he too was from Borowa, Poland.

I then searched for Frank Cygan with this date of birth and discovered a naturalization record where he listed his birthdate as February 10, 1888 and his address as Talman Ave.  And that’s when I thought I had him.

Frank Cygan naturalization index

1930 Census for Frank Cygan, Talman Ave.

But there’s another Frank Cygan that’s been lurking around (also with a wife Mary) and I’m beginning to wonder….

The search for Frank Cygan (part 1)

Helen Cygan with Grandma Cygan.

It all started about a year ago.  I recieved the following pictures from a distant cousin of my father’s.  The 1st photo states that it is a photo of “Helen Cygan with Grandma Cygan.”  I am assuming that this photo was taken when Helen was about 18 years old, or about 1929.

Antonette Koranda, Magdalene Jochim, Mary Cygan

The next photo is a photo that was taken in 1941 at my grandmother’s wedding shower.  My dad actually had a copy of this photo as well so he was able to identify the three ladies.  From left to right, Antonette Koranda, Magdeline Jochim and Mary Cygan.  Mary Cygan is the mother of Helen.

This is where it becomes complicated.   My father and his cousins, while never seeing the photo of Helen and her grandmother before, claim that the “Grandma Cygan” in the 1st photo is the same woman as Mary Cygan in the second photo.  

I don’t believe them. I do not believe the woman in the picture is Helen’s mother.  No way, no how.  And there’s a few reasons.  #1…the back of the photo reads “Helen and Grandma Cygan”.  Knowing that the photo actually came from Helen’s descendents, I believe that Helen was the one to write on the photos.  (She died young and her children would NOT have know who Helen’s grandmother was).  If Helen was in fact the author, she would have wrote Helen and Mom.  I also think the woman in the 1st photo is older than 38 years old (if Helen is 18 in the photo).

Here’s more proof.  Another photo of “Grandma Cygan”  This time the photo reads “Chester with Grandma Cygan”. (Chester is Helen’s brother).

And so here’s my dilema.  If this woman is not Mary Cygan, the mother of Helen and Chester, than who is she?  If she is “Grandma Cygan”, then she is the mother of Nicholas Cygan, my great grandfather.  And I never expected to find a photo of her.  I assumed she never left Poland.

In that case, this “Grandma Cygan” in these photos would be my great, great grandmother from Poland.

In order to verify the identity of this woman, I must research and document the Cygan family and hopefully find proof that #1 Grandma Cygan left Poland and/or #2 another Cygan descendant knows the identity of this woman.

And that is why I’m looking for Frank Cygan.

Please let me know what you think.   Do you think these photos are of the same woman? Here’s one more photo of Mary Cygan, so that you have a better photo of her (she’s the 1st woman on the left…in 1941)

Mary Cygan, Magdeline Jachim, Antonette Koranda

Lorge Family Photo? Or Peterson Family Photo?

This photo belonged to June Fergot Plummer, grandaughter of Celia Peterson Fergot.  As you can see from the postcard, it is addressed to Celia Peterson not Celia Fergot.  Therefore the picture was taken prior to her marriage to Emil Fergot (not sure of their marriage date). 

At first glance it appears the picture is from Joe and Annie Lorge and is of their children.  However, the photo appears to be of 2 boys and 2 girls.  And from my research, I don’t think Joe and Annie had any daughters. 

So is this a photo of the younger Peterson’s?  Possibly James, William, Celia and Florence? 

I’m hoping a Peterson or Lorge researcher can help!  If you are a Peterson or Lorge researcher, please contact me at mickishellmom@gmail.com and I will gladly send you a better scan of the photo.  Thanks for your help!


Unknown Kentucky Family Photo

I’m back.  I’ve never really been gone.  Just in need of motivation to add things to my genealogy blog.

I’m going to start posting some Plummer family photos that were put aside after we had the Plummer family reunion about 4 years ago.  (Has it really been that long?)

This is the first photo.  It’s an unknown. Leave a comment if you know who these kin are.

Unknown family.  From the Plummer collection.

A Century of Progress : a visit to the World’s Fair

This past weekend I spent some time scrapbooking some treasured family photos, and discovered a part of my family’s history that is worth sharing.

This photo of Harry and Bessie Firmiss was taken in 1934.  The back of the photo reads:  “Harry and Bessie, Starrie Rock”  I assumed that the significance of the photo was the location at which it was taken.  Boy was I wrong. While trying to determine the location of Starrie Rock, I googled “1934 : A Century of Progress” and discovered that this photo was taken at the 1933-1934 World’s Fair in Chicago

The 1933-1934 World’s Fair celebrated the Centennial History of Chicago.  It’s theme was technological innovation, which means that Harry and Bessie possibly witnessed the “Homes of Tomorrow Exhibit” or the “dream cars” that the American automobile manufacturers presented.

For Harry and Bessie, the exhibits may have seen far-fetched or unbelievable.  Yet Bessie herself witnessed many of those innovations come to life.  One can only imagine how she felt the first time her daughter’s microwave was put to use during Thanksgiving dinner!
 
Don’t Harry and Bessie look young in this photo?  In fact Harry is 40 years old, and Bessie 38.  Which means they weren’t alive when the famous 1893 World’s Fair was in Chicago.  Harry’s parents were still out East in New Jersey or Pennsylvania, but Bessie’s parents, Henry and Stella Beauchamp, were in fact living in Chicago, or the White City, as written about in Erik Larson’s book Devil in the White City.  Did they attend the 1893 World’s Fair? Were they able to afford a ride on the original Ferris wheel?  Did they have their picture taken at the Fair?

Maybe someday another treasured family photo will lead me to discover that and more…

The Grocery Store Business

Going grocery shopping is not one of my favorite things to do.  I always forget my coupons, I can’t find what I’m looking for and more than likely one of my two children will snub their noses at the selections in my cart.  Yet the  grocery store has played an important part in my family’s history.  At a young age I remember my grandfather telling me the story about how he came to be in the grocery store business.  According to grandpa, his family was able to survive the great depression better than most in Chicago, because his family was in the grocery store business.  “And people always have to eat.  People can go without new clothes or new shoes, but people always need groceries”.  –Bud Reilly

So how was grandpa’s family involved in the grocery business?  Turns out that his uncle, Daniel Reilly, listed his occupation in the 1910 and 1920 census as “Grocery Store Clerk”  Was this the same store that Grandpa at one time owned?  Further research into Daniel Reilly and his neighborhood is needed.

Recently we discovered the following picture of my grandfather.  It’s possible this is the store he at one time owned.  A better scan of the picture will be forthcoming, as well as the name of the store and the other two people photographed with my grandpa.  But until then, enjoy!  (And don’t forget to pick up the milk on your way home!)

Who was John Reilly’s Aunt?

In a previous post I mentioned that John Reilly’s passage to America was paid by his aunt Ms. Cusack of Lawndale Avenue in Chicago.  Because John arrived in America in 1905, we can hope that his aunt can be found in the 1900 census.

Sure enough.  The 1900 census lists Alice Cusack, age 31, living with her husband Patrick and four children at 851 S. Lawndale.  According to the census information, Alice Cusack was born in Ireland in October of 1868.  She immigrated to America in 1881 and had lived in the city of Chicago for 18 years.  Her husband Patrick Cusack’s occupation is listed as a “foreman” (or “fireman” ) at an organ company.  Patrick Cusack may have been instrumental in finding John Reilly a job once he arrived in Chicago due to the fact that in the 1910 census we find John’s occupation as a “piano polisher”.

But that’s later.  Now I want to find out more information on Patrick and Alice Cusack.

Patrick and Alice were married in Chicago on July 1, 1890 in Chicago at St. Patrick’s church.  Their marriage certificate lists Alice’s maiden name as O’Brien.  Her children’s birth certificates also list her maiden name as O’Brien.

Now I know Alice and Elizabeth’s maiden name was O’Brien. Maybe I can find out more information about her life in Ireland before she followed her oldest son John Reilly to America.