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.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Mackniskas Family-updated

click on image to enlarge
This is the first document in this collection for Anna Grinkevich Mackniskas, the younger sister of Joseph, William, and Eva.  This birth certificate for her second child, Louise, shows that Anna's husband, Peter, was a cabinet maker in Steger.  Odds are he built pianos at Steger & Sons Piano Factory as did Anna's brother, William.

The family name seemed to evolve as do many migrants names.

The 1920 Census Enumeration states the following information: Anna (also known as Ona) was enumerated in Chicago where she and her husband, Peter, rented a place to live at 3500 Carroll Avenue. Peter and Anna “Makiskors” were both age 29. They were born in Russia/Lithuania as were their parents.  Peter worked as a janitor in an apartment building. Their children: Louise, age 2 1/2, 
Eleanore, 6 months, 
and Anna, age 7, were all born in Illinois. (As of this posting this is the only time Anna, daughter of Peter & Anna is named on a record.  She isn't listed on her mother's naturalization papers, and if she indeed was a child of Anna and Peter's wouldn't have lived beyond childhood. It's also possible she is a product of an immigrant with little knowledge of English talking to a census enumerator with limited knowledge of Lithuanian.)

Peter had filed the first papers for naturalization. They came to the USA in 1909 according to this census enumeration. A lodger, Rose Urban lived with them. Rose, 24 years old, was Lithuanian, and worked as a tailor at a tailor shop. She had a 2 ½ year old daughter.  Only Peter and his daughter, Anna who attended school were listed as having been able to read. 

This birth certificate issued from the state of Illinois is for “Edward Makers”.  It was finally corrected when Edward Mackniskas joined the Army to fight in WWII. The document states Edward is the third child born to Anna.  We know this is incorrect, as he is known to be the youngest of five, possible six children.  

document and information source--John Mackniskas

Last name          First      sex/race     age        cert#      date of death      county
MAKNICKAS  PETER    M/W    UNK  6029366   1930-11-01        COOK           

city                       date filed
CHICAGO           30-11-04    from the Illinois Statewide Death Index 1916-1950

Anna and her husband Peter Mackniskas had been married 19 years when he died on November 1, 1930.  He was laid to rest in the Lithuanian National Cemetery in Cook County, Illinois.  Peter, also known as Petras Makniskas headstone reads 'Maknikas'. 

Peter was just shy of his 40th birthday when he died of what grandson John Mackniskas states was told to him as a heart attack.  Anna was left with daughters Nellie, Louise, Amelie (also known as Millie), and seven year old son Edward to support.

The Taylor County Star~News, a newspaper based in the dairy country of central Wisconsin had a little blurb:
September 3, 1931
“Little Edward Macnitski who spent the summer with the Grinkers went back to Chicago Saturday night.”
Not only had Edward lost his father the previous year, but his Aunt Maggie and Uncle William Grinkevich had lost their youngest son John a few years earlier in 1928. This must have done both Edward Mackniskas and the Grinkevich family some good.


Though Anna’s husband, Peter, had filed initial papers for citizenship, he died in 1930 before he, and Anna by default, was naturalized.  Anna pursued this and filed for  citizenship.  The papers from her file for naturalization dated January 12, 1933:
Click on image to enlarge, right click to save

The above two pages contain some valuable information regarding dates of birth, marriage, immigration, etc.  Since it is Anna’s recollection of events that took place more than a decade before, there is of course room for error. The most puzzling thing it states is that Peter migrated to the USA October 14, 1910 and that they were married in Lithuania on June 15, 1911.   

Anna arrived in the USA in September 27, 1911 aboard the ship ‘Neckar’ which transported her from Bremen, Germany to Baltimore, Maryland.  While it wasn’t uncommon for a man to arrive in the USA first and then send for his wife, this story, though certainly not impossible, isn’t very likely to be true.

The Cook County Marriage Index
Anna Makniskas
Marriage Date:
25 Jul 1941
Vincent P Manikas
Marriage Location:
Cook County, IL
Marriage license:
File Number:
Archive collection name:
Cook County Genealogy Records (Marriages)
Archive repository location:
Chicago, IL
Archive repository name:

Cook County Clerk

Anna married Vincent Manikas in 1941. The name is so similar to Mackniskas and its numerous variations it makes you wonder whether the names are different spellings of the same surname. Vincent had been married previously to Juozapata Brioskis, aka “Josie”, and was the father of at least two children. Vincent, like Anna, was a Naturalized Citizen of the USA.

Anna Grinkevich Mackniskas Manikas had a stroke about 1969 and was taken care of by her daughter Louise Voss as well as son Edward and family who moved in so they could all help. She did alright for a few years but eventually died of a heart attack  June 17, 1973 while living at 2843 Derrough, known then as Melrose Park, now as Northlake, Illinois.   Anna's earthly remains were laid to rest at the Lithuanian National Cemetery with both husbands. 

 Anna was named in her older brother William Grinkevich's obituary as his only surviving sibling.  (William died July 31, 1964.) 

As for what became of Anna and Peter’s children:
Nellie in photo Edward carried for decades
Daughter Nellie married a man named Valionus and died young of breast cancer.

Louise, married Andrew “Andy” Voss.  They had one child, Dennis Voss, who died at the age 14 when his spleen ruptured on Oct 30 1961. Anna and Vincent were living downstairs in the two flat building on Jackson Boulevard that Vincent owned.  Anna’s son Edward, daughter-in-law Marcella, and grandchildren Kathleen, Barbara, John, and Tom were also living downstairs in the flat when the tragedy took place.  Vincent died not long afterward.  Then Andrew and Louise’s marriage fell apart due the devastating loss of their only child Dennis.  They divorced, later got back together, but never remarried. Following Vincent’s death Anna sold the house and she and Louise moved to 2843 Derrough in Northlake, IL. Louise died at the age of 81 on September 19, 1998.

Amelia (Millie) married a man named Kocharumbus.  He was much older than Millie.  Mr. Koharumbus, who was of Greek heritage, owned a restaurant in Chicago. Their only child, Donald, eventually changed his surname to Koch. Millie divorced Mr. Kocharumbus as he was too old for her, as the story goes, and she married John Sharvin, a soldier out of WWII. Millie died of a heart condition while in her 70’s.
Edward Mackniskas, 1924

Edward in Europe during WWII
The youngest child and only son, Edward was left handed and had a very mechanical mind. He was good at electronics as well as auto mechanics and worked as a tool and die maker.  Son John remembers his dad always loved music, enjoyed singing to his kids, and as being a wonderful family man.  He died as a result of being hospitalized for Senior Care Facility acquired infections when he was 82 on November 8, 2005.  He lies at rest in the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, Elwood, Will County, Illinois.

Thanks to John Mackniskas for information, and photos from his branch of the family.     
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