Family History Research

Madness Monday – The Lithuanian Side of the Family

In a few days I am taking a class at the Newberry Library and wanted to stick around afterward and do a little research. I started updating my research files and began focusing on my husband’s Lithuanian side of the family. I remembered why I don’t spend too much time on them. They are so difficult to trace! I have had more success with my Czech side and Brian’s Italian side.

This is what I am facing:

Alexander Urban b. 1874 d. 1917 married Vincenta Norushas (Norkus?). The family told me Norkus was her maiden name. Yet I found her obituary this weekend which stated Norushas was her maiden name. Does Norkus=Norushas? I understand how the Czechs change the spelling of the woman’s last name after marriage but I am completely unfamiliar with the way the Lithuanians do this.  I cannot locate a ship log for her. I cannot locate a marriage license for her marriage to Alexander or her second husband Vincent William Tatarelis.

Then there are the Kaminski/Kaminsky/Kaminskai and Yasulis branches of the family. Anton Kaminski m. Veronica Yasulis. I have a ship log for both, who arrived separately. I am certain Anton’s log is his because he lists his brother in -law Yurgis Yasulis at 4409 S. Wood Street, Chicago as his contact. I cannot find anything on Yurgis beyond that. I looked at Behind the Name to see if Yurgis became John or another Americanized name. I found Yurgis could be Jurgis. Still, I cannot find anything on Yurgis beyond the ship log and the family stayed in the home after arrival for many years.

Finding Declaration and Naturalization information for Anton has been difficult too. I have searched IRAD with no luck. I keep checking the Cook County Declaration Database for various spellings (this is an ongoing project for the county). And of course the various Census records show him being either seven, five, or four years older than Veronica which makes his year of birth anywhere from 1873 to 1882. His grave says 1873 so my searches typically start there with a +2 or +5 difference to search.

If you have done Lithuanian research, I would love to hear your tips and suggestions. Have you searched something I should avoid because it is a time waster? Did you find a fabulous source? Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

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Book Review – Women Adrift

I was looking through my bookcase this morning and came across a book I read in a Chicago Women’s History grad school called Women Adrift, Independent Wage Earners in Chicago, 1880-1930 by Joanne J. Meyerowitz. I thought this would be a great book to mention this week since I wrote an article about women and naturalization.

I do not have any women in my family who went off on their own to become “women adrift” but this book was very interesting to read. The chapters walk the reader through what some of the women experienced. Chapter 1 discusses being apart from the family. Chapter 2 is about exercising caution in the big city. Chapter 3 mentions orphans and innocents while Chapter 4 discusses Surrogate Families. Chapter 5 goes in depth about the people who helped these women and Chapter 6 talks about the women being Urban Pioneers.

Meyerowitz addresses issues such as sexuality of this “new breed” of women coming to the cities; what social circles formed and why; the vices that existed in the cities and how the women handled them or fell prey to them; and contains many tables with statistics, several illustrations, and lengthy note and bibliography sections.

Whether you had a Woman Adrift in your family or not, this book is well worth your time to read. You might just see some similarities between these women and second or third generation women of immigrants in your families who branched out on their own after the 1930’s.

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