Friday, October 25, 2013


DNA gets a lot of time in the news today, most of it related to crime.  At one time fingerprints were the technology that was used to solve mysterious crimes, but today, DNA plays an important role in solving crimes, especially in TV dramas.

DNA can also be used to solve mysteries of the genealogical kind.  A few years ago, offered an inexpensive DNA test, which was so reasonable that I sent in my money, got the kit, collected genetic material from the inside of my cheek with a cotton swab, sent it in and waited for the results. 

 A few months later, the results arrived and I was very disappointed.  The test showed that most of my ancestors ( 93%) came from Eastern Europe--which I already knew.    Every few weeks, I got a message from Ancestry.Com with new genetic matches.  Most of them indicated 5th-8th cousins, and the probability of a match was very low.  It seemed to me that I was getting anybody and everybody in their database.  Most of them didn't even have any Eastern European ancestors.  When I did get a good match, which happened twice, it was a  fourth cousin that I already knew about through my research on and another fourth cousin, a man who was adopted and knew nothing about his birth parents except a name. I decided that I shouldn't expect too much from a $10.00 test.

Just this week I got an email from Ancestry announcing enhanced DNA results.  I checked it out and found some interesting new information--my DNA shows that I am 92% Eastern European, the other 7% is broken down as follows:

Asia < 1%

  • Trace Regions < 1%
  • Asia Central < 1%

Europe 99%

Friday, October 18, 2013

Who are They?

I am the inheritor of many boxes of old family pictures.  My mother and I tried to identify the people on the pictures while she was alive, but in the oldest pictures, even she couldn't identify all of them.
There are several people  in these pictures that I think I may know, but I am not sure.
This man, for instance:  He appears in several old Koshuba and Rychly family pictures, usually weddings.  I think that he is either Peter Wons, my grandfather John Rychly's brother-in-law or Dmytro Popko, my grandmother's uncle.  
The photo below is of Joseph and John Koshuba, and Peter Wons. I have enlarged the picture to feature Peter Wons.  It was taken about 1915, and shows them in the uniforms of a fraternal organization that they belonged to.  I am sure that the Wons family was in St Paul at that time but I am not not sure about the Popko family.

This is the oldest photo, from about 1915.
The next picture was  taken at the wedding of my grandparents, Pauline Rychly and John Koshuba in November 1916.  The man in question could be either Peter Wons or Dymtro Popko. 
The third picture is from the wedding of Anna Koshuba to Joseph Graskow, which was probably sometime in 1917-1918.
Anna Koshuba was my grandfather John Koshuba's youngest sister.  Other than my grandmother, there doesn't appear to be any Rychly family members in the picture, so I am fairly sure that it is Peter Wons.
The next photo is from the wedding of Stephen Koshuba, my  grandfather's youngest brother to Helen Rychly, my grandmother's sister, in 1924.  The man could be either Peter Wons or Dmytro Popko. 
The last picture is from the wedding of Stephen Koshuba and Sally Popko.  Sally was my grandmother's first cousin.  Stephen and Helen divorced, and his second marriage was sometime after 1930.   The man in question is either Dmytro Popko, Sally's father, or Peter Wons, Stephen's brother-in-law. The man in question is  behind and between the bride, Sally, and one of the bridesmaids.  My guess is that this Dymtro Popko, Sally's father.
What do you, my readers think?  Please comment and let me know your thoughts.

November 1916

Peter Wons 1917-1918.

This could be either Peter
Wons of Dmytro Popko, 1924.

Wedding of Stephen Koshuba and Sally Popko. About 1930-31

Friday, October 11, 2013

Dusty Old Pictures--Instant Family History

A new TV set--1948.  Probably the first in the neighborhood!
What can you with those old snapshots in a box, taking up space? You may have your family story in that old box.  I started scanning old family pictures for a book for my grand-niece's bat mitzvah a few years ago.  Now I have a great resource for  the Gerstein  family history.
Avrom and Rose (Karbovsky) Krause were married in Poland in 1903.  They immigrated to Chicago, where they started a family.  They moved to Peoria, Illinois  for about 10 years, and back to Chicago about 1926. This is snapshot story of their daughter, Lillian Krause Gerstein and her family.
School Picture, Peoria, Illinois 1920's.

Lillian Krause, Chicago, late 1920's
Chicago Newspaper, 1930's, Lillian is circled on the left, Rose is next to her. 
Lillian's Grade School Graduation, Haugan School, 1932
Bill, Lillian and Beverly Krause
Lillian worked as a receptionist in an office, 1930's

Dave Gerstein's car, a  Ford, Miami Beach, Florida, 1941
Lillian and Dave and baby daughter, Arthington Street, 1946
Lillian and Dave loved  to socialize.  1960's

Lillian and her girlfriends at the beach, Late 1930's
Lillian and Dave in Hawaii, 1960's

Lillian, on her honeymoon, Miami Beach, October 1941.
Dave Gerstein is drafted into the Army, and is sent to Mineral Wells Texas 1942
Lillian and Dave moved to Phoenix, Arizona and bought a  brand new house. 1946
The Krause and Gerstein families celebrate at the Chez Paree Club in Chicago, late 1940's
The Gersteins move back to Chicago and lived on Arthington Street in Chicago.
Dave and son in front of Buckingham Fountain, Chicago--1955
The Gersteins in Miami Beach, Florida, 1958
Lillian and Dave moved to Skokie, IL, in the 1950's. 
Lillian's Mah Jong group, Skokie, 1980's
Lillian in Maui, Hawaii, 1992

Saturday, October 5, 2013