Friday, December 19, 2014

Genealogical Mysteries: The Final Word on Joseph Koshuba

The mysterious Joseph Koshuba was the subject of my first blog post in March of 2013.  Since then I solved the puzzle of the identity of Joseph, several times, and most of my solutions were way off.

Joseph Koshuba was my great uncle, and brother of my grandfather, John Koshuba.  Joseph died suddenly in 1919, leaving his wife Florence and three children.  I have a lot of family pictures, and my main source, my mother, identified many (unknown to me) family members.  In the wedding picture below, my mother identified the man in the first row, on the  far left as Joseph Koshuba. 
Wedding of John Koshuba and Pauline Rychly , November 1916.

The picture above is  of my grandmother Pauline Rychly Koshuba's wedding to John Koshuba in November, 1916.  Florence Koshuba is in the first row on the far right. My mother also identified her. I assumed that the man standing behind her, with his arm on her shoulder was Joseph Koshuba. At the time I assumed that because his hand was on Florence's shoulder. Since my mother was born in 1918, two weeks before Joseph died, I assumed that she was just guessing that the man on the left was Joseph. Now I know that she was right.  How could I prove it?

Top row from the left: Florence and unknown man,. Front row: Fred Koshuba, Joseph Koshuba and Katherine Florence. Source: Susan Strickler.

This picture was also taken at my grandmother's wedding.  It is of Florence, her two children and  the man I assumed  to be her husband Joseph standing next to her. The seated man with the little girl on his lap appears to be the man on the left in the picture above.  Why is he in this picture?  I revised my theory.  Maybe he was John Koshuba's brother-in-law, Peter Wons or perhaps he was Dymtro Popko, since his wife, Pelagia Rychly Popko was standing behind him in the large wedding picture. This picture was sent to me by Joseph Koshuba's grand-daughters, and they said that the baby girl was their aunt, Katherine Florence. So why was she sitting on Peter Wons' lap?  Well, since I assumed he was her uncle, it would make sense.

Wedding of Florence Holmberg to Joseph Koshuba, Feburary 1913.  Source: Ed Wons.

This picture is from the wedding of Florence Holmberg Koshuba's to Joseph Koshuba in February, 1913.  It was sent to me by Ed Wons,the grandson of Peter Wons and a Koshuba family cousin. This picture proved my theory about the identity of the man in the pictures from my grandmother's wedding wrong. Ed said that in this picture Peter Wons is in the second row, on the left right behind his wife, and John and Joseph's sister, Teckla Koshuba Wons.The two little boys in the picture are their sons. Now I know that Peter Wons is definitely not the man behind Florence in the group picture of my grandmother's wedding.

 Florence was identified as the bride by her grand-daughters. The groom is Joseph Koshuba, since I have the record showing that he married Florence Holmberg in February, 1913. The man on the left with with little girl on his lap in the 1916 wedding picture is Joseph. The man standing next to Florence in the Koshuba family picture taken at my grandmother's wedding in 1916 is not Joseph, neither is the man standing behind Florence in the large group picture from her wedding.

Joseph  and John Koshuba with an unknown man in the middle, wearing sashes and hats of the Zapororzhie Sich Society. 1912. Source: Pauline Noznick.

The next mystery:  who was the man with the moustache?  In this  picture from 1912,  Joseph Koshuba is on the left and John Koshuba is on the right.  The man with the mustache is in the middle. He may either be a relative or a close family friend.  Look again at the Holmberg-Koshuba wedding--is the man with the moustache in the second row on with right--without the mustache? If it is him, he had regrown the mustache by 1916.

What conclusions have I drawn from this mystery? Don't be a lazy or sloppy genealogist . DO NOT ASSUME ANYTHING.  Wait until proof is found.   Remember, patience is the genealogist's friend. I have fallen into these traps myself--first, I assumed that my mother misidentified Joseph Koshuba.  Then I assumed that another man was Joseph, mainly because he had his hand on Florence Koshuba's shoulder. In order to make my story work, I assumed that the man who turned out to be Joseph was either Dymtro Popko or Peter Wons.  All wrong.  I found documentation of Joseph and Florence's marriage when Joseph's grand-daughters identified Florence as the bride in the 1913 wedding picture.  I also had a copy of the marriage license, documenting the marriage. That solved the mystery of Joseph Koshuba--and the identity of the man in my grandmother's wedding picture.


Big Breakthrough in the Koshuba Family
Finding Fred Koshuba
Joseph Koshuba One Year Later 
Assumptions: The Fred Koshuba Story
The Koshuba Brothers
The Genealogy of the Holmberg-Koshuba Family
The Genealogy of the Kleviak Koshuba Family