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.

John Reilly’s Arrival in the States

I’m reading an excellent book right now titled Island of Hope, Island of Tears.  The book features actual interviews of immigrants to the United States and highlights their experiences at Ellis Island and some of the reasons why many left home.  It is interesting to note that during the great migration period of 1892-1918, many individuals crossing the ocean were sponsored by a family member already living in America.

Such is the case of my great grandfather John Reilly. John Reilly left Ireland from the port of Queenstown, Ireland on January 19, 1905.  He traveled for nine days aboard the ship “The Baltic”.  Upon arriving in New York on January 28th, John listed his aunt, Ms. M. Cusack of 851 Lawndale, Chicago, as the “relative or friend” that he was going to join in the United States.  His ship passenger record also states that it was his “aunt” who purchased the ticket on his behalf.  John arrived with $8.00 to his name.  One can only imagine how he managed to get to from New York City to Chicago on $8.00. 

Here is a copy of the front page of the New York Times on the day John arrived in America.

Naming Patterns

In today’s society naming patterns aren’t as obvious as they once were.  Sure my oldest son is named for his grandfather Sam, but many times the parents of today pick a name for many different reasons.  However, when doing family history, researchers must be on the lookout for naming patterns as sometimes it will help move research along. 

For instance, my great grandmother’s marriage record states her name as Beatrice Beauchamp, and her early census records list her as Bessie.  {Which is of course how I knew her} However, in the 1930 census we finally find her as Elizabeth.  It turns out that Bessie Beauchamp’s grandmother was also named Elizabeth.

In the 1900 census the Henry and Stella Beauchamp family can be found living at 173 W. 16th street with their children Fred, Frank, Bessie and Lillian.  Henry is listed as a French-Canadian and it was always assumed that he was the immigrant ancestor.  However, a recently found death certificate for Elizabeth Bouchamp, age 65, with the place of residence at 173 W. 16th street, adds another branch to the Beauchamp family tree.  I believe this Elizabeth to be the grandmother of Bessie and the mother of my great, great grandfather Henry Beauchamp.

And while the relationship is not yet 100% proved, there are three documents that help prove it:

#1.  The death certificate listing the same address as the 1900 census two years later;
#2.  The marriage index listing for Henry’s second marriage that lists his mother as Elizabeth;
#3.  The 1920 census that lists Bessie as Elizabeth…[otherwise known as the naming pattern].

And if your wondering who Henry’s second wife was…that’s for a different day~!  Before I go there, I must also tell you about my grandfather Andrew Reilly being named after his grandfather, my son Jeremy’s discovery of a “Jeremiah”, and my nephew Nicholas’ discovery of another Nicholas!

I’m having fun!

St. Adalber’s Films Ordered

Today I ordered microfilm from the LDS church on the burial records of St. Adalbert’s Cemetery in Niles, Illinois.  I’m hoping to find some additional information on the burial of my great-grandfather Mikolaj (Nicholas) Cygan.  Specifically, I’m hoping to find out if he is buried in a family plot, and if so, who he is buried with.  I am hoping that he is buried with his son, Alfred, who died in September of 1917 at the age of 18 months from Gastroenteritis.

It is interesting to note that little Alfred died during the month of one of the worst outbreaks of polio in Chicago as seen by this Chicago Health Dept. Report found while searching Google Books.  How scary this time must of been for my great-grandparents.  Imagine having three children in the house under the age of 5 and the deadly disease infantile paralysis (polio) spreading like wildfire between siblings, cousins, and neighborhoods.

My dad does not recall my grandmother Clara ever talking about Alfred.   Of course,  Clara came after Alfred.  In fact, my great-grandmother Mary Jockem Cygan would have been 8 months pregnant with Clara when she lost her son Alfred.

Someday maybe I’ll find a picture of Alfred. This is why I search.  To honor those who may have been forgotten if not for my research.