Monday, March 17, 2014

I Remember Baba, Part II

The more I concentrate on the dates in the "Record" of Auntie Mary's, more and more questions come up.  Information is repeated and out of order, but the basics are there.  I have added a few family dates and that adds to the disorganization.  I need to create some organization.  I need to do more.

Baba was born May 15, 1880 in Kovno, rural Ulbania now known as Kaunas, Lithuania.  I've taken the first part of this information from the Record and Googled the present names of the cities in Russia.  I'm no historian, but that's where the information stands now. 

Baba's maiden name was Mary Carlin.  Her parents' names were mother Agatha and father Casmir.  Her first married name was Schapalinski.  What happened to the marriage and to him?

The only oral story I have of Baba in Russia from my Auntie Mary is that she cooked for a Russian priest.  My cousin Sharon shared her only oral story from her mom Auntie Mary.  "Baba got out of Kiev, Russian by crossing mountains with potato sacks on her feet.  Nuns from the convent helped." Did this priest live in Kiev?  Where did Baba go from there?

Baba emigrated to the United States and arrived in New York City in 1905.  She officially became a United States citizen on November 24, 1953.  I remember her practicing her name in order to sign the documents.  She could not read or write.  I was 6 years old at the time.

My grandpa Thomas Martin (Marten) (Martenuk) (?) was born January 20, 1880 in Belogorodka, Russia.  He emigrated to the US and arrived in New York in May 1907 on a vessel of the Cunard Line.  He became a United States citizen on May 12, 1924. I understand names were changed on Ellis Island due to misunderstandings and misspellings and also to make them simpler--Americanized.

Baba and Grandpa were married in Chicago, IL on May 29, 1913.  However, my Auntie Helen was born July 4, 1905 in New York, and Auntie Mary was born April 29, 1909 in Chicago.  This is the part my mom didn't want to hear.  Helen from the first marriage?  Mary?  My mom told me Grandpa and Baba met on the boat coming over to America??  Never questioned this--very romantic.

Auntie Helen, Grandpa, Baba, and Auntie Mary (on their wedding day?)

Uncle Walter, Grandpa, Auntie Helen, Auntie Mary, Baba, and Lillian

My Uncle Walter was born November 26, 1914.  My mom Lillian was born April 30, 1919.

So many questions.

Part III--How I remember Baba


  1. You are right, so many questions and dates don't match up. I'm sure there's a good story there. Keep digging and asking.