05 January 2017

Photo A Day Challenge - Siblings

Today's Genealogy Photo A Day Challenge is "Siblings". This photo is of two of my grandmother and her siblings and their mother! 



My cousin gave me a copy of this, which is believed to be the only photo of all of them together. From left to right then: Uncle Joe, my grandmother Mary, Uncle Gerry looking awesome in his uniform, Uncle Reds (given name was Raymond), my great grandmother Catherine O'Flaherty Welsh, Aunt Loretta, and Uncle Leo. The photo was taken at Uncle Leo's wedding in 1937.

Tomorrow's prompt is "Cousins".

(c) Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2017

03 January 2017

Tombstone Tuesday: Onifer Romanko

Onifer Romanko and his wife Rosalie are buried at Holy Ghost Ukrainian Cemetery in Valley Township, just outside Coatesville, Chester County, PA. 

Onifer is my great grandfather's uncle. I first "found" Onifer on the passenger list for my great grandfather (Panko Hruszczak). Panko had listed his Uncle Onifer as the person receiving him in Coatesville. From other records, I believe Onifer arrived in Coatesville himself in 1901. My goal is to determine when exactly he came over and where he actually came from! 

Tombstone Tuesday is a genealogical prompt of GeneaBloggers.

(c) Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2017

Photo A Day Challenge - Childhood

Today's Genealogy Photo A Day Challenge is "Childhood". This photo is of two of my cousins (Ken and Beth) and I (in the white shirt) with our great grandfather, Pierson George Still.

Ken is two years older than Beth and I. She is a week older than me. So, much of our childhood involving the Still side of the family includes our great grandfather. He was 90 when he passed in 1977, just two months shy of his 91st birthday.

Tomorrow's prompt is "Oldest & Youngest".

(c) Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2017

02 January 2017

Photo A Challenge A Day - Baby

Today's Genealogy Photo A Day Challenge is "Baby". So, If you caught yesterday's "New" photo of my adorable new granddaughter, you can probably guess who is being featured again today!

That's right, this excited Baba is showing off little Sasha again today! This photo was taken Sunday morning at my Dad's. That's him holding his great-grandchild! To be honest, not sure who was more adorable here: Sasha or my Daddy!

Oh - just an interesting tidbit. My mom passed in 2013 but her birthday was 13 June. Sasha was born in 2016 on ... 13 June!

Tomorrow's prompt is Childhood, so I'm not sure I can justify Baby Sasha tomorrow. You may be stuck with a photo of me or my kids! In the meantime, share your Baby photos.

(c) Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2017


Join me in this genealogy photo challenge

You are invited to join me in this Genealogy Photo A Day Challenge, put forth by StorybookAncestors.org.


(c) Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2017

01 January 2017

Photo A Day Challenge - New

Story Book Ancestor developed a Genealogy Photo A Day Challenge for January 2017. Today's prompt is "new". In my very humble opinion, what could be more new than MY NEW GRANDBABY! I may be biased here but look at her! Isn't she the cutest little baby?



(c) Genealogical Gems, 2017

30 October 2016

Sunday’s Obituaries: Aunt Katie and Cousin Steve

Yesterday was an exhausting day. It was a bittersweet day. I saw so many family members who I do not always have the opportunity to see and yet I saw them because of the circumstances. One of my daughters and I attended the viewing of my cousin and the services and burial for my aunt.

Katherine Wiker was my paternal grandfather’s sister. She was the last of that generation.

Aunt Katie’s obituary reads:
Katherine "Katie" Wiker
Photo with obituary
Katherine Ruczhak Wiker, 92, died Friday, October 21, 2016 in Windsor, New York. She was the wife of Chester P. Wiker Sr., who preceded her in death having shared 47 years of marriage.

Katherine was born in Coatesville, and lived in Hershey, PA and Windsor, NY. She was the daughter of the late Panko and Bessie Ruczhak. She worked for 24 years at Pepperidge Farm and then worked for the Coatesville Association for the Blind. She was devoted to her family and friends and was a member of Olivet United Methodist Church. 

Surviving her are her children, Chester P. Wiker, Jr.; Katherine M. Schwartz; daughters-in-law, Terri and Norah Wiker; son-in-law, Dave; 11 grandchildren, 14 great grandchildren and 3 great-great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her son, Richard E. Wiker; daughter-in-law, Gail Fry Wiker; and an infant daughter, Bessie Ann Wiker. She was also preceded in death by her brothers and sisters; Joseph, Theodore, Nicholas, Paul, Mary, Helen, Ann and Peter. 

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, October 29, 2016 at the Harris Mountain Funeral & Cremation Service, 1030 E. Lincoln Highway, Coatesville where relatives and friends may begin calling at 10 a.m. Interment will be in Romansville Methodist Cemetery.

Her obituary was published on Harris Mountain Funeral Home’s website. I do need to note that she had one other brother – also named Theodore – who passed early. He was just a toddler when he died and few of the siblings even knew about him. Aunt Katie did though. She told me once that her mom used to have her drive up the Polish Cemetery outside Coatesville to “visit” the baby.

Steve is my cousin. His mother and my maternal grandmother were sisters. Everyone called him “Buddy” but I never thought to ask why. It may have been to differentiate between him and his father, also named Stephen.

His obituary read:
Steve Kaba
Photo with obituary
Stephen E. Kaba, III, 72, of Royersford, PA, died on Tuesday, October 25, 2016 in Southeastern Veterans' Center, Royersford, PA. He was the husband of Mary (Giampietro) Kaba, who he was married to for 48 years. Born on June 27, 1944 in Phoenixville, PA, he was the son of the late Stephen E. Kaba, Jr., and Loretta (Welsh) Kaba.
Stephen was a graduate of Phoenixville High School, class of 1962.

Upon graduating from high school, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, retiring as a Master Sergeant.

He was employed as a General Contractor for many years, until his retirement. He was a friend of the Chapel of Four Chaplains, and a Eucharistic Minister at Sacred Heart Church in Royersford, PA.

Surviving in addition to his wife are, son, Stephen Kaba IV and wife Christine of Douglassville, PA, grandfather of, Hailey and Lauren Kaba, brother of Loretta Swier and Martin Kaba. He was preceded in death by his sister, Donna Moore.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend his Funeral Mass in St. Joseph Catholic Church, 3640 Schuylkill Road, Spring City, PA, on Saturday, October 29, 2016 at 11:00 am. Burial will follow in Limerick Garden of Memories. A viewing will be held in the church on Saturday morning from 9:00 am to 10:45 am.

In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to Southeastern Veterans' Center Resident Welfare Fund, DMVA Office for Veterans Affairs, Bldg. O-47, Fort Indiantown Gap, Annville, PA 17003-5002.


It was published on the Devlin Rosmos Keep Gatcha Funeral Home’s website.



Sunday’s Obituary is a genealogical prompt of GeneaBloggers.


© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

13 June 2016

Military Monday: WWII Veterans

Last week I mentioned the Honor Roll at my church – the Holy Ghost Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Coatesville. Our Honor Roll plaque is in the back of the church and was originally created for those who served in World War II but has added the wars and our soldiers since then.

Today, I’d like to introduce you to our World War II veterans. The three marked with an * are the three who were Killed In Action (KIA). 

They are:
Babel, Harry
Bilinski, Michael
Bodnar, Stephen
Bodnar, Michael
Bodnar, Paul
Branson, Lewis Jr
Buckle, Andrew *
Buckle, John
Buckle, Michael
Daniels, George R Jr
Donkewicz, George
Donkewicz, John
Euler, Frank
Gbur, John
Grycky, William A *
Hachak, John
Handoe, John
Hanna, William H
Hasiey, Joseph
Hewczuk, Michael
Hruszczak, Nicholas ß my Uncle Nick (Gigi’s brother)
Hruszczak, Paul ß my Uncle Paul (Gigi’s brother)
Jacoby, John
Jacoby, Steve
Jacoby, William
Kasuba, B Myron
Katherina, Michael
Keshuta, Steve
Kish, George
Kopple, Nicholas
Kobylanski, M John
Koven, Michael
Koven, John
Kowalski, Joseph
Kozacheson, Nick
Krawchuk, Alex
Kryworuka, Abraham
Kryworuka, John
Kryworuka, Nicholas
Kryworuka, Paul
Kurenda, Paul * ß my Uncle Paulie (Baba’s brother)
Labiak, Paul
Labiak, Peter
Ladun, Joseph
Ladun, John
Lebid, John D.
Leveille, William J
Malamon, Demetro
Malamon, Michael
Mascuilli, Frank
Max, William
Max, Pete
Max, Stanley
Melnick, Peter
Melnick, Wasyl
Melnick, Michael
Monkow, Metro
Mogkow, Joseph
Monko, Maurice
Monko, Joseph
Mudry, Michael
Ohar, Peter
Panaski, Andrew
Panaski, Michael
Panaski, William
Papernick, William
Pashesnik, John
Peck, Harry
Podedworny, John
Poholka, John
Poholka, Paul
Poholka, Peter
Poholka, William
Procyson, Joseph A
Procyson, Paul
Pryma, Leon
Pryma, Michael
Rhoades, Charles E
Rhoades, Charles Jr
Sheremetta, John
Sheremetta, Paul
Sheremetta, Metro
Slawko, John
Slawko, Leon
Suchak, Steve
Suchak, Peter
Sushysnky, Steve
Sushysnky, Vladimir
Sushysnky, Anna
Towber, Paul Z
Towber, Michael
Turczyn, Joseph H
Turczyn, Nicholas
Turczyn, John
Urban, Michael
Urban, Joseph
Yankavish, Michael
Yosko, Andrew
Yosko, John
Zadorozny, Mary
Zaplitney, George
Zaplitny, Joseph
Zook, Anthony
Zook, Michael
Zubyk, Joseph T
Zvodar, Anthony
Zvodar, George
Zvodar, John

The Honor Roll also notes six veterans from the Korean War, eight from Vietnam, one from the Gulf War, and one from Iraq. The six Korean War veterans are: Robert L Barlow, Jr., Richard P Curry, George L Degnan, John Horblinski, Walter Maskula, and John Max. The eight listed (there are more) who served in Vietnam are William F Bigar, John L Dmytryk, Gary Handoe, Thomas P Kish, George Nolan, Teddy Ruzchak, Jr. (my cousin), Robert Timozek, and Wes Hatch. Our lone Gulf War veteran is Mark Teijaro and our lone veteran from Iraq is Jayme Houck.



Military Monday is a genealogical prompt of GeneaBloggers.


© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

12 June 2016

Cleaning leads to holdings find

I'm cleaning out - the house, my "office", my personal holdings, my piles and piles of papers! While cleaning out, I came across a listing of local newspaper holdings at the Lancaster Library. These holdings are on microfilm and the library is located on Duke Street in Lancaster City.

The Library offers:
Lancaster Journal
Lancaster Intelligencer
Lancaster Examiner & Herald
Lancaster Democrat
Saturday Express
Daily Evening Express
Lancaster Inquirer
Lancaster Daily Examiner
Uncle Samuel
Lancaster New Era
Morning News
Terre Hill Times
and the Lancaster Sunday News

Some of these collection date back to 1796.

(c) Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

06 June 2016

Military Monday: Church Honor Roll

Many communities – be it a town or a church family – have an Honor Roll of the brave men and women who served our nation over the years. Some wanted to serve and enlisted while others were drafted and have no choice.

My church – Holy Ghost Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Coatesville – is no different. Out Honor Roll plaque is in the back of the church. Both the American flag and the Ukrainian flag are attached.  The Honor Roll was originally created for those who served in World War II but has added the wars and our soldiers since then.

Three of our men have gold star next to their names, implying they were killed in action. They are Andrew Buckle, William Grycky, and (my uncle) Paul Kurenda. Not every parishioner who served is actually listed. Most of the men are buried up in our cemetery.

Some of their stories – like my Uncle Paul – I know but many I do not and fear their stories will be forgotten by the next generation or two if not retold. So, over the next several Mondays, I will try to highlight those brave men who served our country.



Military Monday is a genealogical prompt of GeneaBloggers.


© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

01 June 2016

Wedding Wednesday: Hubby with his parents

Glenn and I were married on 22 August 1992. Here he is pictured with his parents - Dorothy Deyoe and Frank Eckman. Both passed away a few years ago - Dad in 1994 and his mom in 1996. The photo just felt fitting today.


We were married by Father George Schneider at Our Lady of Consolation (I was Catholic at the time) in Parkesburg, Chester County.

Wedding Wednesday is a genealogical prompt from GeneaBloggers.

(c) Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

30 May 2016

On This Memorial Day We Remember …

On this Memorial Day we remember those who served and died in that service to out great Nation. Today, as President Barak Obama and many before him announced in his Memorial Day Proclamation, “we pay solemn tribute to those brave Americans who laid down their lives to defend our freedom.

In our families – mine and my husband’s – we have many who have served. Between us, we cover all five branches too. Our son-in-law is currently serving. However today is Memorial Day. Today we honor those who made that ultimate sacrifice. Today I honor my great Uncle Paulie (Paul Kurenda) and my husband’s 6th great uncle, Jacob Eckman.

Paulie with my grandmother, Anna
Paulie, as his sister (my grandmother) always called him, was the baby of the family. Born 16 July 1922, Paul grew up on a farm in Sadsburyville, Chester County. He was the youngest child of John Kurenda and Frances Skrabalak. Like many Coatesville area boys of that era, he went to work in the steel mill after school as a welder. 

On 1 January 1943, he enlisted – like so many of our nation’s young men – in the US Army. I know nothing of his service time. The only thing my grandparents ever said was that he served in Europe and his letters home were mostly about the weather. It evidently was always raining there. He got sick there and was sent stateside. As his condition worsened, he was sent to Valley Forge Hospital in Phoenixville, Chester County, to be nearer to family. He died there on 11 August 1944 at 5:20 p.m. His official cause of death was “tuberculosis, pulmonary, acute, miliary, bilateral.” He is buried at Holy Ghost Ukrainian Cemetery in Valley Township, Chester County between his parents. 

Growing up in Chester County, I have had more field trips to Valley Forge Battlefield than I can recall. Some facts stand out more than others – like that George Washington’s troops wintered there but there was no actual battle there. Another fact is that Jacob Eckman died there.

Jacob Eckman was born in Lancaster County in 1737 to Johannes Eckman and Eva Dorthea Seitz. On 29 April 1760 he married Anna Maria Taylor at the First Reformed Church of Christ in Lancaster. They had a son, Jacob, born 1763. Their son married Christina Musser in 1784 in Lancaster County.

Jacob served in the German Regiment of the Continental Army during the American Revolution under Colonel Baron De Arendt. His regiment was part of Muhlenberg’s Brigade. The Muster Rolls shows him present in December 1777. He was marked “sick present” in March 1778. He was on Furlough in April 1778 at the time of roll. In May his name was on the roster with no comment. Jacob died at Valley Forge on 20 May 1778.

Today – Memorial Day – is about them and the many other soldiers who have died in service for our country. May Their Memory Be Eternal.



Military Monday is a genealogical prompt of GeneaBloggers.


© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

26 May 2016

Ancestry explains DNA Testing

DNA testing has become quite popular, especially through Ancestry.com. In this video, Ancestry's Brad Argent explains DNA Testing.



(c) Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016
Locations listed are located in Pennsylvania (USA), unless otherwise noted in post.