Tuesday, February 27, 2018

George Sarna 1866-1945

George Sarna
George SARNA, my maternal great-grandfather, was born on 21 Feb 1866 in Kurima, Slovakia. I found his birth/baptism record during a past trip to Salt Lake City in 2009 with the help of an Eastern European genealogist who sent me in the right direction in where and how to look at baptism, marriage and burial church records in a foreign language. Months later, the microfilm I copied below is now found online at the FamilySearch website.

"Slovakia Church and Synagogue Books, 1592-1935," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V1QW-DX7 : 23 July 2017), Georgius Starna, 22 Feb 1866; citing p. , 9, Baptism, Kurima, Giraltovce, Slovakia, Odbor Archivnictva (The Archives of the Republic), Slovakia; FHL microfilm 1,792,392. Image 356 of 673. Accessed 27 Feb 2018.

Transcription of the entry -  

21 [Feb 1866 for birth], 22 [Feb 1866 for baptism], Georgius [m]ale, leg[itimate], parents are Joan: Szarna RC and Anna Kolibab RC, No. 52, God-parents are And: Hudak and Anna Jambra RC, baptized by [Idem. for name listed above] Parochus ??

The best record source for the mid-nineteenth century in eastern Europe is the 1869 Census taken by the Hungarians. These records can also be found on the FamilySearch.org website.

Slovakia, Sáros, Kurima, “1869 Census.” House No. 54, Szarna, Josef, [1867]. Database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-899K-ZLBC?cc=1986782&wc=QZ7W-33L%3A323642201%2C323846601 : 3 November 2015), Sáros > Kurima (Kurima) > image 59 of 264; Bytča, Banská Bystrica, and Nitra Regional Archives. Accessed: 27 Feb 2018.

I find the Szarna family in the 1869 Hungarian Census. This census was taken on 31 Dec 1869.The parents are listed as John Szarna and Anna Kolibab. Five sons are listed including :
-Janos born 1854
-Josef born 1861
-Adam born 1864
-Josef listed again born 1867. (This has to be  George, which year 1867 [1866] stated here).
-Andras Sarna born    1869

I know this is the right family with the maiden name of the mother listed as Kolibab. I also later searched for and found the other four sons' baptism records.

John on 6 Mar 1853 
Andrew on 17 Jun 1857 (Did this one die before census?)
Joseph 24 Sep 1860  
Adam 6 Jan 1863 
George 21 Feb 1866 (see above)
I also find another younger Andrew, born 23 Sep 1869 and sadly died five months later.

When George immigrated to the United States is questionable. I have several sources with different dates from 1869-1882. George settled in the small coal-mining town of Eckley, Luzerne, Pennsylvania. On 20 Aug 1883, miner George married Mary Koscelnik. I have a copy of their marriage certificate. On the bottom of the paper, it states that “the above is a true copy of the marriage register. Duplicate. Signed by Rev. Andrew Junca & dated 17 Dec 1911.”

Immaculate Conception Church (Eckley, Pennsylvania). Certificate of Marriage. 1883-1911. (Copy privately held by Mary Cooper, San Diego, CA). 2005. 

This church is well known for its external usage in the film "The Molly McGuires" which was filmed in the museum town of Eckley, Pennsylvania in 1970.

This photo was taken by the author.
They had seven children, with only five surviving to adulthood. These include:

Anna Sarna 1884-1970
George Sarna 1890-1912
John M. Sarna 1891-1984
Josephine Sarna 1892-1893
Mary Irene Sarna 1894-1991
Susan Sarna 1896-1896
Andrew E. Sarna 1899-1977

George and Mary were blessed with their first daughter, Anna Sarna born on 20 Aug 1884.

By 1888, George received his U.S. Citizenship from the Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne County in Wilkes-Barre on the 3rd of October.

Two more sons came along. George Sarna, Jr. was born in Feb 1890. John Sarna arrived on 12 May 1891 in Sandy Run, Luzerne, Pennsylvania. Their second daughter,
Josephine arrived in 1892. She died months later. I have no documentation of Josephine.

Family lore states that George and Mary needed to return to the “old country” to sell family property. On 25 April 1893, George applied for a passport to go back to his homeland with family. 

"United States Passport Applications, 1795-1925," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:Q24F-65FS : 4 October 2016), George Sarna, 1893; citing Passport Application, Pennsylvania, United States, source certificate #1029, Passport Applications, 1795-1905., 405, NARA microfilm publications M1490 and M1372 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.). Accessed 8 May 2010.
On his passport application, George states his birthdate as 15 March 1866. On his actual birth/baptism registration, the date is 21/22 Feb 1866. His birth location is stated Kurima, Hungaria (Slovakia). He states that he sailed (ship unknown) from Hamburg on 20 Nov 1882. He states that he was Naturalized on 3 Oct. 1888 in Common Pleas Court of Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne, Pensylvania. Michael Zemany, his witness, is his brother-in-law married to his wife's sister.

I am yet to find other documentation on his immigration and naturalization.

The family returns to the U.S. after Mary and baby son, John, become ill. Mary becomes “homesick” for her home in the United States. On the 6 Jul 1883, three months later, the family boards the S. S. Ethiopia from Glasgow, Scotland, to New York.

“UK Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960,” digital image, ancestry.com (http://ancestry.com : accessed 16 Mar 2014), Image 13 of 77, Line 1358, Georg Sarna entry: citing Outwards Passenger Lists. BT27. The National Archives, London, England. Ship Ethiopia out of Glasgow, 6 Jul 1893, G. C. Boothby, master, arrived New York 32 days later.
Interesting to see his occupation as a shoemaker. Is this what he did in the "old country" before he worked in the coal mines in Pennsylvania. 

The following spring, Mary arrives on 26 April 1894 in the township of Foster, Luzerne, Pennsylvania. Mary Irene Sarna is my grandmother. Two years later, Susan is born on 9 April 1896, in Upper Lehigh. Two months later, Susan dies of cholera infantum, which is a noncontagious diarrhea occurring in infants; formerly common in the summer months. This is the baby, my grandmother remembers with “holes” or blisters in her chest. Mary was 2 years old when her sister, Susan, died. Susan was buried at Woodside Cemetery (St. Anne’s Parish Cemetery) on 17 June 1896, according to death register.1  Was her sister Josephine buried there also?

Mary gave birth to her youngest son, Andrew on 27 April 1899.

I find the Sarna family in the 1900 census, with all five children, stating that Mary had a total of seven children. This verifies the loss of Josephine and Susan. Both George and Mary were born in 1863 and immigrated around 1880. 
George worked as a miner as seen in the US Census records from 1900 to 1930. 

Photo taken around 1904. Front row from left to right include Mary Sarna, Mary Kostelnic Sarna, Andrew Sarna and George Sarna Sr. Standing in back from left to right include George Sarna Jr., Anna Sarna and John Sarna.
Their son, George worked as a railroad brakeman in a local coal mine. An accident occured where a railroad car ran over him giving him a back fracture. He died days later in November 1912, in a local  hospital leaving behind a widow and young son. 

George Sarna, Sr. died on 7 Oct 1945. His eldest child/daughter Anna SARNA Remak provided the information. She listed her grandparents as John SARNA and Anna KOLIBABA. She states 3 Sep 1865 as his birthdate. He is buried at St. John’s Roman Catholic Cemetery.  

Pennsylvania, Luzerne County. “Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1964,” Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission. 1945. George Sarna File No. 86612. Image 2613 of 3644. ancestry.com : accessed 11 Dec 2016.
I have 3 different sources for George’s birth date. They include:  21 Feb 1866 - birth/baptism record, 15 Mar 1866 - US Passport, 3 Sep 1865 - Death certificate
I will go with his birth/baptism record.

George Sarna obituary, The Plain Speaker (Hazleton, Pennsylvania), Monday, 8 October 1945, p. 4, col 2.  newspapers.com on ancestry.com : Accessed 11 Feb 2016. 

George and Mary Sarna 1940s. Photo in possession by cousin Edward Merrick.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Jane “Jennie” Mauvillian Cooper Oswald (1864-1943) Part 2

Alta Mesa Memorial Park Cemetery, Palo Alto, California, visited and photographed by Kay Germain Ingalls, 13 January 2005.  Flat marker “Jennie M. Oswald Mother 1864 God Love You 1943.”
Jane “Jennie” M Cooper married William “Billy” Oswald on 19 Nov 1891 in Helena, Montana. Their only son, Austin Henry Cooper was born on 27 Aug 1892 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Oswald family was found in Fairbanks, Sully, South Dakota by 1900. 

Billy owned a sheep ranching farm in the 1890s in Montana. He moved to South Dakota around 1899, starting a cattle business and working on growing improvements on different types of wheat crops until 1905. Jennie’s mother, Elizabeth Gibson Cooper, died while visiting another daughter, Francis Cooper Gearhart in Sedalia, Missouri.  

Billy’s father died in 1906. Billy with his wife and son return home in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to take care of his mother, Theresa Sieber Oswald, along with other legal responsibilities. I find the Oswald family living at 820 “Seventeenth” Ave. North in the 1910 US Census in Minneapolis, Montana. The census taker received incorrect information about Jennie being born in New York and her parents born in Massachusetts. Son is listed as “Frank” Oswald. City Directories from 1906-1911 list their address as 820 16th Ave. North. Verifying that is the correct family, son Austin H. Oswald is listed at above address in the 1910 Directory. Widow, Theresa Oswald is living at 1117 Sixth Street just a half a mile from where Billy and Jennie settled. 

My next clue is a family letter written on 6 April 1914. What a treasure! It was written by one of Billy’s cousin, Lena Sieber Elsesser Birk, of Barnsville, Minnesota, to her sister-in-law, Malinda Knudson Sieber, of Houston, Texas.

The letter mentions Jennie three times along with Austin Oswald once with some clues about them. 

“Mrs. Nicklay is all right since Jennie is getting along there keeping up the saloon.” Mrs. Nicklay is Lena’s daughter’s mother-in-law.

Regarding the cousin’s trip to Minneapolis: “And also Aunt [Theresa] Oswald [was well]. They all have a lovely home. I do like Jennie Oswald. She had to take us everywhere and be our guard. She has a lovely boy [Austin Henry Oswald]…”

The author also mentions receiving a letter from Jennie mentioning “that Annie Foster got $600 from a streetcar company though having a fall and hurting herself.” 1

I would love to see this letter from Jennie to Lena!

By 1916, I find the Oswald family in Sacramento, California, mentioned in a city directory. They buy a ranch in Los Altos, south of Sacramento. They are listed here in directories until 1920. The family disappears in the 1920 U.S. Census. 

Again, directories and voters registrations come to the rescue. From 1922 to 1934, Will Oswald and son Austin share the responsibilities of running a ranch and vineyard in neighboring Cupertino. 

A news article from the San Francisco Chronicle dated Thursday, October 11,1923, mentioned father, Will Oswald and son, Austin Oswald as “expert viticulturists” who testified in a local family lawsuit, “to the effect that the vineyard had been improperly damaged, was in poor condition, that a large percentage of the vines were dead and that others were infested with mildew.” 2

1930 United States Census, California, Santa Clara County, population schedule, Fremont, enumeration district (ED) 43-10, Sheet 12-A, Family #35, John W. Oswald household; digital image, ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 19 Feb 2018); citing National Archives Microfilm Publication T626, Roll 219.
Billy and Jennie Oswald are found in Fremont, Santa Clara, California, in the 1930 Census. This census states that Jennie was naturalized in 1891. So that means she came earlier than I found with another Jane Cooper. I will have to do more research as to when she came to America. Austin is married to Helen, who immigrated from Germany in 1907. They were possibly married in 1927. I will have to do more research at my local Family History Center for California Marriage Records. 

John William “Billy” Oswald died on 1 June 1932 of myocarditis. He was buried at Alta Mesa Cemetery of Palo Alto, California. Obituaries for Billy were found in two Minneapolis, Minnesota, newspapers. One included here. 

J. W. Oswald obituary, The Star Tribune (Minneapolis, Minnesota), Tuesday, June 14, 1932. page 20. Col. 1. Newspapers.com : Accessed 19 Feb 2018.

Alta Mesa Memorial Park Cemetery, Palo Alto, California, visited and photographed by Kay Germain Ingalls, 13 January 2005.  Flat marker “John W. Oswald Father 1860-1932.”
By 1935, Jennie is living with her son, Austin, and daughter-in-law, Helen at 933/935 Ramona St. in Palo Alto, Santa Clara, California, according to Voter’s Registrations, Directories and the 1940 U.S. Census.

Jane Mauvillian Cooper Oswald died on 2 March 1943.

Jennie M. Oswald obituary, Palo Alto Times (Palo Alto, California), Tuesday, March 3, 1943. Accessed 19 Feb 2018.
Her obituary is my only source of her birth location at this point. She is buried next to her husband, John W. Oswald, at the Alta Mesa Memorial Park Cemetery in Palo Alto, California. Walter E. Cooper, of Denver, Colorado, is her only living sibling mentioned. Walter died six years later, being the last living adult child of fourteen of Austin Cooper and Elizabeth Gibson.

Her son Austin Henry Cooper continued with his life in Palo Alto. He is living at 651 Waverly from 1946-1962. He works as an inspector for Westinghouse Electric Company. In 1963, he moves to 152 Tasso St. and works as a Quality Assurance Manager. He retires in 1969. Austin died on 15 December 1972, leaving his widow, Helen Oswald. They have no children. Austin is buried in the same plot with his mother in Alta Mesa Memorial Park Cemetery. There is no marker for Austin. Helen, his wife, died in 1976, of pneumonia in a convalescent home buried along with Austin and Jennie with no marker.

Billy and Jennie had a great life together. But Billy had a different life before he met Jennie. Billy was in jail for murder! More details to follow.

1 Lena Birk of Barnesville, Minnesota, to Lynn Sieber of Houston, Texas, letter, 6 April 1914, personal correspondence, letter [data] in possession of Joanne Baucum, used by permission. 
2  “Experts Come to Aid Heney In Law Action,” The San Francisco Chronicle, Thursday, October 11, 1923. 
page 7. column 1. Accessed from Genealogybank.com on 11 Oct 2015.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

World War II Letters - September 1943 - Written by Stan Cooper

It seems Stan had a misunderstanding with his father. The beginning section of the letter has been torn off. Stan reported to his father, that the prized possession of his wristwatch had been stolen from his locker. 

Also to Stan's dismay, he has yet to hear about his entrance into Preparatory School. Remember, Stan joined the Navy just weeks before his high school graduation in the spring of 1941. Now, over two years later, Stan decides to declare the U. S. Navy as a full-time career! He puts forth a letter to his former commanding officer, Captain Benjamin F. Perry, who served on the USS San Diego from 10 January 1942 to 19 March 1943.He quotes this letter to his father. 

Stan had sent a telegram to his father that made Jack, his father,  very upset with his son, regarding "promises that Stan could not keep." There is also a misconception regarding money that Stan tried to explain and correct.

Stan also verified his goals for the near future, which he pretty much fulfilled with some minor changes. 

Stan quotes his mother regarding one of his situations as a "niger in the wood pile." I do not mean to offend anyone here; I am just quoting my father's letter. This statement means “some fact of considerable importance that is not disclosed – something suspicious or wrong”It could also mean the same thing as "a skeleton in the closet" or "an elephant in the room" that is used today.

1. http://www.quarterdeck.org/uss_san_diego/Unbeatable.htm

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Margaret Gunther Piña 1868-1938

Margaret Gunther Piña
Margaret GUNTHER Piña is my great grandmother. I am related through her daughter, my paternal grandmother, Sophie Ramona PIÑA Cooper. Margaret was born in 12 July 1868 in Brooklyn, New York. Her parents were Frederick Christian GUNTHER and Anna Maria BRAZY. Her parents immigrated from Germany in the early 1850s. Her father was a hatter. 

She was the fifth child of seven. These included:

Sophia Louise Gunther  1856-1952
Frederick Gunther          1858-1882
Gustav Gunther             1861-1900
Francis Brazi Gunther   1864-1919
Margaret Gunther          1868-1938
Otto Gunther                 1870-1905

Annie Gunther               1871-1963

Margaret married Ramon PIÑA, twenty years her senior.

Ramon Piña
They had seven children, including my grandmother, Sophie.

Margarite PIÑA 1887-1980
Sophie PIÑA 1888-1969
Ramon PIÑA 1891-1966
Piedad PIÑA 1894-1964
Frederick A. PIÑA 1896-1965
Anita PIÑA 1897-1897
Edward PIÑA 1903-2004

"New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949," database, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WT4-JSG : 20 March 2015), Margaret Pina, 26 Oct 1938; citing Death, Brooklyn, Kings, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 2,131,758. 

She died 26 Oct 1938 of Asthenia Pulmonary Oedema (fluid in the lungs for twenty-four hours). She also struggled with ovarian cystic along with abdominal cancers for eight years with two surgeries in 1930 and 1938 (her last one two months previous to her death).

She is buried at Evergreens Cemetery in Brooklyn with her family. 

Photo by author.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Jane “Jennie” Mauvillian Cooper Oswald (1864-1943) Part 1

Jane or "Jennie" Mauvillian Cooper is the ninth child, third daughter, of Austin COOPER and Elizabeth GIBSON. She was born on 9 Oct 1864, in Edgeworthstown, Longford, Ireland (stated in her obituary). I have yet to find evidence of this location in Ireland birth records.  

Her father, Austin Cooper, worked for the Ireland railway and one can see in his story that he moved around the British Isles with several positions. Austin died in 1883 working for the railway in Bellananagh, Cavan, Ireland. His widow, Elizabeth, left for America the following year. 

My next question is when did Jane come to the United States? I do find a Jane Cooper, age 29, on a ship list for the Eturia arriving in New York on 21 Apr 1890. There is a 3 year age difference listed, but is she being honest? From London, England? Is this the right one?

"New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957," digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 15 Oct 2017), Image 469 of 707, Line 849, Jane Cooper, Line 3 entry; citing List Number 506 of National Archives Microfilm Publication M237, Roll 546; Ship Eturia out of Liverpool,  W.A.C. Hains master, arrived New York on 21 April 1890.
My next reference to the whereabouts of Jennie is in Texas. She is referred to by her sister, Bessie Cooper, in a letter to their lawyer cousin, Mark Bloxham Cooper, dated 21 Apr 1891, after the death of their half-brother, Austin Irwin Cooper. Bessie gives Jinnie’s address as “806 San Antonia Street, Austin, Texas. U.S.A.” See post about Austin Irwin Cooper (1849-1891). http://familyfilmfabricfood.blogspot.com/search?q=Austin+Irwin+Cooper

I find Jennie seven months later on 19 Nov 1891 marrying John William "Billy" Oswald of Cascade County, Montana. How did they meet? How did she end up in Montana from Texas? 

Montana, County Marriages, 1865-1950,”  database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:F37W-L3R: 21 September 2017), John W Oswald and Jane M Cooper, 19 Nov 1891; citing Marriage, Helena, Lewis and Clarke, Montana, county courthouses, Montana; FHL microfilm 1,906,338 (image 566 of 927): accessed 2 January 2018.
There is also a marriage announcement in the local paper, The Helena Independent. 22 Nov 1891. They were married in St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Helena, the capital city of Montana. Henry A. Oswald, one of the witnesses, is the older brother of the groom.

Cooper, Jennie, and Oswald, J. W. Marriage announcement. The Helena Independent. 22 Nov.1891. p. 3, col. 3. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress. Accessed 16 Oct. 2017.
The birth of their only son, Austin Henry Oswald (named after both grandfathers) was on 27 August 1892 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It states on Austin Henry Oswald's birth registration that his father, J. W. Oswald's, occupation is Ranch[keeper]. Did Billy and Jennie go to visit his parents during Jennie's pregnancy? Or did Billy send his pregnant wife home for family care to help with the birth of their son?

"Minnesota Births and Christenings, 1840-1980," database, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FDM6-FGQ: 4 December 2014), Austin Henry Oswald, 27 Aug 1892; citing Minneapolis, Hennepin, Minnesota, reference; FHL microfilm 1,498,826. Accessed 3 Jan 2018.

I have a copy of a detailed letter (with notes), written by Austin Henry Oswald to the author, Don L. Thrapp, in 1960, who was asking questions about Austin's father and maternal grandfather, Al Sieber. Thrapp was in the process of writing his book Al Sieber: Chief of Scouts which was published in 1964.

Austin mentioned that his father was a close friend of Charles M. Russell, the "Western Artist," who worked for his father on his sheep ranch. Austin writes,

"my father's sheep ranch was in Little Bend, 30 miles from Cascade. Chas. Russell was his Buck Herder. Till he got married [1896 to Nancy Cooper - no relation], used to sell all of his paintings to the Silver Dollars Saloon in Great Falls for a few bucks. His widow lives in Carmel. Fame in wealth came to him in later life." 1

Another eye-opener was this news article of 1898 that mentions Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Oswald arriving in Great Falls, Montana. With the couple is their son and “Mrs. Cooper,” Jennie’s mother!

“Hotel Arrivals,” Anaconda Standard, (Anaconda, Montana), Friday, 22 April 1898, page 9, column 2, Chronicling America : accessed 11 Oct 2015). 
A week later, the same newspaper announces Billy's plan to purchase a ranch in California to raise fruit.

“Great Falls Notes,” Anaconda Standard, (Anaconda, Montana), Friday, 29 April 1898, page 9, column 3, Chronicling America: accessed 16 Oct 2017).
Apparently, this seemed to not work out as I find the Oswald family in Fairbanks, Sully, South Dakota as a stockman in the 1900 US Census. J. W. “Billy” and Jane “Jennie” have a 7-year-old son, Austin Henry Oswald. Jane’s arrival to the US is unknown. Living with them, is Jane’s mother, Elizabeth Cooper. This was my first discovery of Elizabeth coming to America. See her story. 

1900 United States Census, South Dakota, Sully County, population schedule, Fairbanks, enumeration district (ED) 817, Sheet 7-A, Family #84, John W. Oswald household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 7 May 2017); citing National Archives Microfilm Publication T263, Roll 1554.
What made them move from Montana to South Dakota? Another newspaper article shares this part of J.W. Oswald’s adventure dated 9 August 1904. 

"Macaroni Wheat - Sully County Man Raises Big Crop of that Cereal."  Aberdeen Daily News (Aberdeen South Dakota), Tuesday, August 9, 1904. page 6, column 1,  GenealogyBank.com : accessed 11 Oct. 2015.

1 Dan L. Thrapp Collection, Heley Memorial Library and History Center. Midland, Texas.