The Grinkevich Family

The Grinkevich Family
For years this family with the many varied name spellings has been a source of fascination. I never knew my great grandparents-- we visited when I was very young, but I have no memory of this momentous occasion. Pictures show them as two tiny, wizened people aglow with love for each other. Perhaps therein lies the source of my interest. Though they went through many trials in their lives, from living in poverty in a Russian ruled country with no hope of a happy future, to burying several children in the spring of their young lives. Their tenacity carried them through. That, and their devotion, and faith in God.

Monday, December 31, 2012

The Joseph Grincavage family

WWI Registration
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Joseph Charles “Grynkerwicz” was still a coal miner working at the Swamp Colliery at Shamokin, PA on September 12, 1918. He was 43 years of age, with his birth date listed as Dec. 19, 1874.  Joseph is an alien from Russia/Lithuania and resided at 1209 Oneida, Shamokin, Northumberland County, PA. He is described as being of medium height and stout build with blue eyes and light brown hair. “Cassie”, his wife is listed as his nearest relative.  

The 1920 U.S. Census
census images courtesy

In Northumberland County, Pennsylvania Joseph and “Constancia” Grincavage were still living at 1209 Oneida Street in Coal Township.  They reported they owned their home free and clear. Joseph, age 43, and his wife, age 33, both reported being born in Lithuania to Lithuanian parents.  Their children, Helen, (who for some reason wasn’t listed in the 1910 census) was age 15, Joseph, 13, William, age 11, and five year old Valeria, were all born in Pennsylvania.  Only Constance was unable to read or write.  The entire family could speak English. William still worked as a coalminer, fifteen year old Helen worked at the silk mill.  While not yet naturalized Joseph had filed first papers for his citizenship.  Only the two boys Joseph and William attended school.

The 1930 U.S. Census
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This enumeration reports that Joseph and Constance were still living at 1209 Oneida in Coal Township, PA.  They owned their home valued at $600.  Fifty year old Joseph continued to mine coal as did several neighbors on the block. Helen, 25, William, 20, and Violet, 14, still lived at home with their parents.  Helen worked as a weaver at a local silk mill.
 Their son Joseph had married Pennsylvania native, Clara Topolski, on January 15 1930 at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Ranshaw, Northumberland, PA.  The newlyweds were renting a place next door for $10/month.  Twenty four year old Joseph was a school teacher in the Coal Township School. 
Neither household owned a radio.

A Wedding in the Family 

This marriage record from Saint Michael the Archangel Catholic Church shows the union of Violet (Valeria) “Grinhinch”, the youngest daughter of Joseph and Constance Koseraitis (Grincavage or Grinkevich) of Shamokin, PA,
 to Leo Shulskie of Mt. Carmel on September 25, 1932.
 The groom is the son of William and Frances (Metzer) Shulskie.  

The 1940 U.S. Census 

This census shows 35 year old Helen Grincavage living on Lexington Street in Baltimore, Maryland where she was employed as a clothing presser.  She earned $736 the previous year and was working a 40 hour work week.  Helen had five years of education.
Helen had three lodgers in her residence.  One looks like her mother, Constance, but a few facts don't quite agree.  From her obituary seen later in the family story we know Constance had moved to Baltimore after her husband, Joseph's, death in December 1936. The data that fits the bill: She is enumerated as being Lithuanian, age 57, with no formal education. What doesn’t fit: Constance is listed as being single and her surname appears to be Narcavage.  Despite the discrepancy it still seems that this is Constance Grincavage.

Joseph and Clara “Grincavag” were renting the residence at 1211 Pulaski Avenue in Coal Township at the time of the 1940 Census. (The street's name had changed from Oneida to Pulaski during the past ten years.)   Their monthly rent was $10.
Clara reported Joe’s age as 33, hers as 30, and daughter Arlene, 10, and Joyce, as 5. 
Joseph, a public school teacher, had completed four years of college.  Clara was an 8th grade graduate, and Arlene, a student, had completed third grade.

According to the enumeration, Joseph had worked 36 weeks in 1939 and had earned $1400. 
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~May They Rest In Peace~

Sadly, Violet died the year after her marriage to Leo Shulskie while giving birth to a baby girl, Joyce Marie. Violet was 17 years old.
Mother and child were laid to rest together in St. Michael’s Cemetery.

Tombstone photos courtesy of John Haile

  Joseph Grincavage died on December 13, 1936
“Joseph Grincavage, 56, of 1209 Pulaski Avenue, died of pneumonia at his home at 8:25 last evening.”
“Employed as a miner at the Pennsylvania colliery, Mr. Grincavage returned home from work five days ago complaining of illness.  Members of the family said Mr. Grincavage first suffered from a severe cold. Pneumonia developed and he lost strength rapidly thereafter until death came.”
“Mr. Grincavage was born in Lithuania.  He moved to Scotland and thence to Canada.  He came to the United States 32 years ago and settled in Shamokin.  Since then Mr. Grincavage had been employed as a miner at the Pennsylvania colliery.  He was a member of the Lithuanian church.”
“Surviving are his wife, Constance, and three children, Helen, at home; Joseph, a teacher in the Coal Township schools, of Shamokin, and William of Mount Carmel.  A brother, William, of Wisconsin, and two sisters, Mrs. Anna Mack, of Chicago, and Mrs. Eva Visneski of Shamokin, and three grandchildren also survive.”
“The funeral will be held Thursday morning at 9:00 from St. Michael’s Church.  Burial will be in the parish cemetery.”

Helen Grincavage Wrublewski died January 1985.

Her last place of residence was Shamokin, Pennsylvania.

-Social Security Death Index

The 1930 Census: Grinkevich, Grinker, and Pupp

The 1930 US Census

William & Magdeline in Little Black
Line 34 begins the enumeration of the William  and “Madgline” Grinkevich family at their dairy farm in Little Black.  Not only are they the only foreign born citizens on the page, they and their family are the only ones enumerated that weren’t born in Wisconsin. 
In addition to William and Magdeline, the Grinkevich household consisted of their son, 26 year old Charles, daughter-in law, Clara, age 24, and grandson, Robert, age 2 years and 6 months who was born in Illinois.  Daughter, Helen left the farm for Chicago a few weeks before the census to find work. (A blurb in the gossipy local newspaper told of Helen leaving for Chicago. Try as I might, I've been unable to find her enumerated in that city in 1930.)
Notice the neighbors are dairy farmers as well.  The only exceptions are a man who is a machinist at a tin shop, a young woman who is a public school teacher, and a 15 year old girl who works as a servant in a private home. Two of the neighbor men were veterans of the World War.

Albert & Agnes Pupp in Chicago 

This enumeration states that Albert, 25, and Agnes Pupp, 22, were renters at 4538 Spaulding Avenue, Chicago, Illinois.  By this time they had a start on a family as “Margery”, age 1 year and 7 months, and Irvin, 5 months old had arrived.  Both were born in Illinois. The couple paid $33 rent/month to the landlord, a native of Lithuania.  Albert Pupp was employed as a laborer in a tool manufacturing plant. He was not a veteran.  The family owned a radio.
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Later in 1930 Albert, Agnes, and children moved back to Wisconsin.  The Great Depression had cost Albert his job, forcing the family to restart their lives.  Initially they moved to Holton Township in Marathon County, WI, home of Albert’s parents, then on to a house just outside Dorchester in neighboring Clark County by 1932 or’33.  During these tough economic years Albert worked on road crews, farms, and even planted trees, doing anything he could to feed and clothe his growing family.  

Joseph & Mary Grinker
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According to the enumeration, newlyweds Joseph and Mary (Pupp) Grinker were living at 1531 West Adams Street, Chicago, Illinois in 1930.  Joe was a World War veteran, and was employed as a machinist at a radio parts factory.  The couple owned a radio. Mary’s brother, William, lived with them.  Very conveniently in the apartment next door resided two of the Geiger sisters from Clark County, Wisconsin.  Both Elsie and Frances Geiger had jobs ironing at a laundry.  (Elsie and William married in Dorchester one year and five months later. They were the first of what would be a total of five Pupp siblings that married one of five Geiger siblings. Four of these couples later appeared on the show "I've Got a Secret" due to the circumstances of marriage). Column 28 asks “Whether actually at work yesterday” (or the last regular working day).  Both William Pupp and Elsie Geiger answered “No”.  We don’t know from this enumeration if they are laid off, or on a reduced schedule due to the Depression.

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