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

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