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National Genealogical Society

July 2024

2024 July President’s Letter
  This month’s newsletter has a theme about our immigrant ancestors. My article was about my paternal grandfather. He came to this country from what is now Slovakia in 1902 at 16 years of age. As far as I can tell, he traveled alone. He was child number six out of seven children. Five female children and two males. From what I have discovered thus far, he was the first in his family to leave home and immigrate to America. Several of his sisters immigrated a year or two later.
  On the passenger list I found from Ellis Island, the record shows my grandfather was going to stay or visit with his brother-in-law John in Manor, Pennsylvania.  I cannot read the surname. One of his sisters did marry someone whose middle name was John. But she immigrated in 1903 and married in 1904. I know there are errors in transcripts of dates or people didn’t remember dates accurately so perhaps this could be the correct connection. But there are no records I can find that John living in Manor, Pennsylvania. I find him in the 1900 census as a boarder in North Braddock, Allegheny, PA.
  Nor can I find any record of my grandfather in any census until 1920. I cannot find him in any city directory or other record that would put him in Manor, PA. Part of the reason may be that I haven’t used all the variations of his Eastern European name. I’ve sent a request to the Roman Catholic Church where he likely was married. I’m hoping this will provide me some information I don’t have.
  This is why we must do a reasonably exhaustive search to not only prove we are researching the right person but to gather the data to build the life story that we neglected to ask when our ancestors were alive.
  So, the quest continues to find answers to some of my questions about why my grandfather came to America and his early life here. Jobs were abundant in mining and the steel industry for eastern Europeans. Like many others from his native country, my grandfather worked in the steel mill.
Katie Gertz
President FHSA