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Oooh, a mystery!


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Was his real name Dick Whitman?

(Serious: How big of a time gap are we talking? You might want to expand it to the decades around. Alternate names at all might be an option - look at mother's maiden names, English variations, etc. Did they get Ellis Islanded? I have a friend named Evans who found nothing on her family until they told her the name had been changed from Edelstein.)

I'm sorry; I'm bad at references. :P

Time gap? Well...he had to have come after 1921, probably later, as she remembers that he brought her a beautiful scarf. She thinks she was about in grade 3 when they found out he was shot, which would be around 1929.

I don't know if they got Ellis Islanded. Mother's maiden name is bizarre and doesn't even show up if you google it.

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@Lainey when you use that time machine - if you could rescue the US 1890 Census, all sorts of genealogists would love you.  

I had two completely different sets of names for my Italian great-great-grandparents (my grandpa's father's parents). I had no idea which set was correct. But I ordered my great-grandfather's death re

My family's been at this for a long time.  (Grew up Mormon.)  I worked as a record checker for the Genealogical library when I was in college.  We checked newly submitted family member against records

Shamrock

I have looked for variations in name spelling, but it's a weird one (Zurowski). There are SO MANY alternate spelling possibilities. I'm not familiar with the rootsweb message boards, but I will look into that, thanks. :)

No, I think his brother came later. It would really help if I knew which state he lived/died in. She can't remember. Or so she says. :shifty-kitty:

:think: Have you tried to find them on findagrave.com? Sometimes they have something. Even if you don't know the state, i don't imagine there would be very many Zurowski's.

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No, I'll try that. Shouldn't it have shown up in one of my many searches by now? You'd be surprised, though-I was. There are a lot of Zurowski's.

I know where my great-grandpa is buried anyway, but Canada's find a grave websites kind of suck.

I did find a potential article...I googled "uncle's name murdered shot" and one newspaper archive came up mentioning one article that matched that query from the 1920s. But you have to pay to access it. :/

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CallmeChaCha

Our public library gives us online access to some newspapers, even from home. We just need to have our library card number. Have you checked if your local public library has something like that?

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Our public library gives us online access to some newspapers, even from home. We just need to have our library card number. Have you checked if your local public library has something like that?

Yes, but we don't have online access, as far as I can tell. Plus, our main library--which all the others are connected to--was hit hard by the flood. Their phone isn't even working right now (well, last time I tried).

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Okay, guys, I need...something. My grandma kept phoning me, so much so that I couldn't avoid her calls anymore (which I had been doing...she is difficult). So finally I just told her I would stop looking into her father's past, even though I didn't mean it. Now I feel guilty. I know I won't stop, but I didn't know what else to say to her.

I don't know why she's suddenly decided this. She's saying that he was so quiet about his past that he must have wanted it to stay buried. Also because I can't find any record of him. But I mean, come on--there are SOOO many ways to misspell Zurowski. She's saying it's none of our business, and she told me the stuff I know about him, but it wasn't hers to tell (so that's why I should stop looking on her say-so). :roll: I think she's being ridiculous. She's also being manipulative, telling me she "couldn't sleep" because this was bothering her so much, and she just has a bad feeling about it, and then she basically ordered me to stop. Then she tried to get me to focus on my grandpa's side, instead.

I don't even know if there is anything secretive or interesting. There might be. On the other hand, she is funny in a way--she reads a lot of novels, and she will sometimes act like she sees herself and everyone else as a character in a book. I know that sounds weird, but she does it. So I have to wonder if she sees herself as the "antagonist" in this "story." Plus, she doesn't want me pursuing this as a hobby, because she thinks I should be exercising instead.

My family's crazy. I still feel guilty. Help?

PS--I think I found the uncle. I found a death record for a single, 38-year-old man with that name in 1932, in Detroit. Can't find an article still, though.

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Bethella
Okay, guys, I need...something. My grandma kept phoning me, so much so that I couldn't avoid her calls anymore (which I had been doing...she is difficult). So finally I just told her I would stop looking into her father's past, even though I didn't mean it. Now I feel guilty. I know I won't stop, but I didn't know what else to say to her.

I don't know why she's suddenly decided this. She's saying that he was so quiet about his past that he must have wanted it to stay buried. Also because I can't find any record of him. But I mean, come on--there are SOOO many ways to misspell Zurowski. She's saying it's none of our business, and she told me the stuff I know about him, but it wasn't hers to tell (so that's why I should stop looking on her say-so). :roll: I think she's being ridiculous. She's also being manipulative, telling me she "couldn't sleep" because this was bothering her so much, and she just has a bad feeling about it, and then she basically ordered me to stop. Then she tried to get me to focus on my grandpa's side, instead.

I don't even know if there is anything secretive or interesting. There might be. On the other hand, she is funny in a way--she reads a lot of novels, and she will sometimes act like she sees herself and everyone else as a character in a book. I know that sounds weird, but she does it. So I have to wonder if she sees herself as the "antagonist" in this "story." Plus, she doesn't want me pursuing this as a hobby, because she thinks I should be exercising instead.

My family's crazy. I still feel guilty. Help?

PS--I think I found the uncle. I found a death record for a single, 38-year-old man with that name in 1932, in Detroit. Can't find an article still, though.

That is quite odd. Is it possible she knows more than what she's told you? I can maybe see her being embarrassed or ashamed of the truth. But to just not want to know- I can't understand that (particularly because I'm a genealogist). It might be worth asking her what her specific reasons are for not wanting you to find out. "She's saying that he was so quiet about his past that he must have wanted it to stay buried." While he was her father, she's still making an assumption about what he would or would not have wanted. Since he isn't here to give us his opinion and hasn't left any documentation about how he felt about it I think you'd be okay looking in to it.

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Smokey-pony

In your shoes I'd try to find a death certificate for your grandmother's uncle, if possible. Also were there only those two brothers? Are there any cousins etc that you can look into? Can you get a hold of any vital records for you grandmother?

My dad said his parents always refused to talk about their families, especially his mother. I've been able to find a lot on both sides but no explanation for the secrecy. I discovered that at one point my dad lived only a couple miles away from his maternal grandparents while he was a boy, and yet he was told they both died before he was born.

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BlondeAgent007

Can you check old police records or records from maybe having had a stint in prison? That would be something somebody might not want to resurface. If his brother was murdered, it could possibly have been linked to criminal activity. I've never done genealogy before, did they even do obituaries for people serving time then?

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Bethella—Yes, it's possible, but it seems strange. She had a lot of brothers and sisters, so you'd think if there was anything, it would have come out already. Besides, how bad could it be? And who cares now, anyway? He's dead. He's been dead for 43 years. I'm of the mind that life is for the living; I don't think the dead get to have an opinion. I could even understand it if she said she didn't want to know whatever I turned up—but she's ordering ME to not even explore it!

Smokey-pony—Any idea how to find a death certificate for him? Like I said, I found a death record, but it didn't have much information on it. And I think it was him; I'm not positive. No, there were more brothers and sisters, but I think they stayed in Russia. I don't know about cousins. I don't think I can get a hold of any vital records for my grandmother, because she's still alive, and it doesn't sound like she'd cooperate with me at this point by showing them to me. I did, however, attempt to order a marriage certificate for her parents' marriage. I say “attempt†because it's not online, so hopefully it's in the archives. I will find out within a month if they were able to find anything, I'm told. The woman at the registry office sounded unsure that they will be successful, because the marriage took place in 1920. I also have someone from the museum in my great-grandparents' area looking into records for their obituaries and whatever else he might turn up. I haven't heard back from him yet, though.

That's strange about your dad's maternal grandparents. Did his mother not get along with her parents?

BlondeAgent007—I don't know how to check old police records, or even where I would start. Any suggestions? I have considered that maybe my great-grandfather was in jail or something. Who knows? My dad thinks he may have been involved in bootlegging during Prohibition. If so, that's something my hometown is proud of these days, not something to hide. But I can't find a single record for him anywhere, before he married my great-grandmother (actually, I can't find any record of him even then). As for the uncle, yes, it could be, but I don't know how to find that out, either. I was amazed to even find that death record. My grandma had said he was fooling around with someone's wife, but it's entirely possible that she just made that up (she does stuff like that).

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Smokey-pony

Did he die in the US? If so, on the death record does it say where he died? If you can find the county he died in contact that county's vital stats department and order the record. Often you have to pay a small fee. About your grandmother, it varies from state to state but you should be able to order a marriage certificate even though she's living. Possibly even a birth certif.

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Did he die in the US? If so, on the death record does it say where he died? If you can find the county he died in contact that county's vital stats department and order the record. Often you have to pay a small fee. About your grandmother, it varies from state to state but you should be able to order a marriage certificate even though she's living. Possibly even a birth certif.

I'm in Canada. I don't think I can do it while she's still living. My mom might be able to, though. I think it has to be next-of-kin. I know I was only able to try to order a marriage certificate for her parents because it was so long ago.

About the uncle, yes, he died in the US. The record I found says he died in Wayne County, Detroit, Michigan.

ETA: I'm really tempted to just go ahead and pay for access to that newspaper archive website. But I'm really afraid it will be for nothing, and the cheapest "subscription" is $20 for I think two months.

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Smokey-pony

Well you should be able to order the death certif from Wayne county then, ask for an "informational copy" vs a official one. They are often cheaper and less legal hurdles to jump over. I guess marriage records are different here. I don't know much about Canada laws. You could also try contacting the newspaper HQ and see if they can print off the article for you from their archives for a smaller fee. You might also want to see if there are any sort of geneology clubs in your area, or in the areas your ancestors/family have been. That is what I did when I was having trouble and they where a wealth of resources because they knew the area better than I did. Someone even volunteered to look in their library for free for me.

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After I posted my last post, I went and found where I could ask about a copy of his death certificate. I've just emailed them for now; we will see what they say. That's a good idea about the newspaper. I don't know which paper it is, though. But I guess I can email or call whichever ones I can find in the Detroit area.

Yeah, I've called the genealogical society, but I get immediately lost, lol. I think I'll write or call the newspapers next. Thanks! :D

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CallmeChaCha

I went to my local library's website and found the following linkies. I haven't looked through them, though, so I'm not sure what all they have and if they charge.

http://www.blacksheepancestors.com/ National (US) and international directory of online resources.

http://www.newspaperabstracts.com/

http://www.mdch.state.mi.us/pha/osr/gendisx/search2.htm

Apologies if you've looked at these already.

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I went to my local library's website and found the following linkies. I haven't looked through them, though, so I'm not sure what all they have and if they charge.

http://www.blacksheepancestors.com/ National (US) and international directory of online resources.

http://www.newspaperabstracts.com/

http://www.mdch.state.mi.us/pha/osr/gendisx/search2.htm

Apologies if you've looked at these already.

I actually just found blacksheepancestors.com tonight! haha.

The other two look sort of promising...they didn't turn up anything, though.

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So, I posted on the Ancestry.com message board for Wayne County, and got a response from someone telling me which cemetery the guy I think may have been my great-uncle was in. The cause of death was "traumatic internal hemorrhage," which sounds to me like it could be a result of a gunshot wound, no?

Except this guy also appears to have been married (and then not married) 10 years prior to his death.

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Smokey-pony

Yes traumatic internal hemorrhage certainly sounds like a gun shot lol! Did you order the death certif? Don't let the fact that he was married at one point sway you, part of genealogy is uncovering that sort of thing. Could be the wrong guy but if you don't dig around you'll never know. Also you can look on find a grave.com to see if they have a pic of his tombstone.

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No, I haven't ordered the death certificate yet. The person who told me about where the grave is said that they were going to the library next week, and they would look into it for me to see if there are any newspaper articles about him. I'd prefer to see that first.

The other thing with this guy is that he appears to have come over around 1912, which would put him in North American too early according to my grandma. But she was just a little kid then, so it's entirely possible that she just didn't realize he was in the US for years before he came to visit her family.

Hmmm, yeah, I will check out findagrave.com.

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Bethella

Traumatic internal hemorrhage could also mean something like being punched or hit and having internal bleeding. I suspect that the death certificate would specifically note if there was a gunshot wound involved.

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Smokey-pony

It may or may not specify a gunshot wound. I've seen some death certifs that are very specific and some that are vague.

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Yeah, I'm just going to wait to hear back from Michigan cemetery guy (or girl, I really have no idea).

I'm completely baffled that I can find NO record of them coming to North America. I'm also sort of surprised that I can't find any record of my great-grandfather, considering he owned a farm near my hometown.

Is anyone familiar with Russian/Polish/Ukrainian geography? I'm trying to figure out where my great-grandparents came from. I think all the names have been changed.

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Smokey-pony

If you have a name try looking on Google and Wikipedia, perhaps it can shed light in the modern day equivalent. If you want to share what city/village your looking up I'll see if my Google super powers are working...

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