In conducting your own family history research you tend to come across records and documents that uncover additional names and places for you to research. It’s never that cut and dry. I have come across one such record.
Previously I had posted that I found a record about a passenger in the Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Passenger List Index Cards, 1883-1948 that might be my grandfather, Mychajlo Iwaniw. That record showed 2 other names that I had never heard of before, Mytro Iwaniw and Kasia Iwaniw. It’s Mytro Iwaniw that piques my interest. The record as shown in Exhibit #1, states that Mychajlo was visiting his brother, Mytro and that Mychajlo’s passage was paid for by said brother.
The interesting part is the birth year. The record in Exhibit #1 shows Mychajlo’s age as 28. This would calculate to 1883 as his birth year. This coincides with my estimation of his birth year based on my Uncle Wasyl’s birth year of 1903. At the time of my Uncle Wasyl’s birth my grandfather would have been about 20 years old. This seems reasonable. So, now I’ve got the birth year for Mychajlo as 1883 (1911 – 28 =1883). Now we need to locate additional documents/records for Mytro (or Mitro or Dmytro) Iwaniw from Pennsylvania. What we come up with is Mytro (Americanized as Mitro) Iwaniw World War I draft registration record as shown in Exhibit #2. In looking at Mytro’s draft registration record you’ll note that his birthday is listed as November 4, 1883. His birth year is 1883, the same as Mychajlo’s. Is it possible that they were twins? Or was their mother gave birth to Mychajlo in January 1883 and got pregnant with Mytro in February 1883. Without actual records it’s all conjecture at this point. It’s all speculation. Documents are what I need to be able to fill in the family history puzzle. I have not been able to locate any records online that cover the year 1883 for the village of Lutowiska. But I’m still searching.
When I was growing up and I would ask my father about my grandfather (my father’s father) I would be told that he died when my father was a baby. My father’s answer was that he died when my father was a baby and he didn’t remember him. OK. I can understand that but my father never related any stories about him that may have been passed down to him. It was as if when my grandfather died he ceased to exist. It was like his life was erased when he died.
I started my family research because I was interested in finding out about my other uncles, Wasyl and Mykola. I had met my Uncle Ivan when he came to visit from Ukraine in the 70’s. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the foresight to ask him for any details about the family or about my grandfather. Opportunities missed are opportunities lost. But at that time I had no interest in researching my family’s history.
So fast-forward a couple of decades (to the 1990’s) and I start to research my family history and like many others just starting out I’m a newbies who really doesn’t know what he’s doing. I started out with in using Family Tree Maker to enter my family information and used the built-in web page builder to publish the information. In doing so I got an e-mail from someone in Australia who told me that her grandfather’s name was also Mychajlo Iwaniw and he was from the village of Lutowiska. Coincidence? Could it be that my grandfather didn’t die as my father told me?
I think one of the things that one has to remember is that divorce was a stigma. It could be that my grandfather divorces my grandmother and instead of telling my father that his father left he was told that he died. That is what I am currently searching for in the old records from Galicia/Poland. Prior to the end of World War I the area where my father was born would have still been considered Galicia and part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It was only after 11 November 1918 that the Austro-Hungarian Empire was broken up and Galicia ceased to exist. Technically, my father was born in Galicia, Austria. So, my search involves finding any records containing Mychajlo Iwaniw from Lutowiska from about 1880 through the 1920’s. The record may be in the archives in either Lviv, Ukraine or Przemysl, Poland or both.
This is a case where it may be necessary to hire a professional researcher who is local to the archives and can actually locate all of the relevant records. There has to be either a death record for my grandfather or multiple civil marriage records for him.
One thing that seems to be given in conducting my family research is that there will be more questions than answers. One thing that I do periodically is do a search on FamilySearch.org records for the surname of IWANIW. I completed one such search a few days ago and came across a new record that I hadn’t seen before.
The record was a record for, who I believe, is my paternal grandfather Michael (Mychajlo) Iwaniw from the Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Passenger List Index Cards, 1883-1948. (See below) This does confirm what I was told by my father that my grandfather came to the U.S. for a short while and that his destination was the Wilkes-Barre area of Pennsylvania. This record also contradicts another passenger list record that I found on the Ellis Island site for another Mychajlo Iwaniw.
The PA list shows that Mychajlo came from Lutowiska, Austria (the old Austro-Hungarian Empire) while the NY list shows that Mychajlo was from Sloboda, Austria. The PA list shows his destination as Ashley, PA (near Wilkes-Barre, PA) and the NY list states his destination as Chicago, IL. The PA list shows his arrival date as July 11, 1911 and the NY list states he arrived on November 16, 1912. PA list states he was going to stay with his brother Mytro Iwaniw and the NY list stated he was going to stay with his nephew Mykola.
Now, this record raises more questions. There are 2 additional names have come up:
Kasia Iwaniw is listed as his wife. I only knew of 1 wife, my father’s mother Matrona Smoliw. The date on this form is 1911 which is 7 years before my father’s birth. Is this Kasia a previous wife? What happened to her?
The record makes reference to Mytro Iwaniw, a brother. It’s entirely possible my grandfather had a brother who came to America years before. If he was living in the U.S. when my father was born he may not have been told of him. My father always said that his father died when he was a baby. I have information that I am trying to confirm that makes me doubt this story.
In the NY list that Mychajlo Iwaniw was traveling to Chicago to visit with his nephew, Mykola. I can’t make out the last name from the form (see below) but I still plan on investigating this further.
So now you can better understand the reason my title for this posting. More mysteries as I get deeper into my family history.