Tag Archives: Koszlak

The Baptism of Prokop Koszlak

I finally made it to a Family History centre to do some research on my Ukrainian family, and was rewarded with some of the first progress I’ve made on that side in years. So far I had only been able to locate Canadian records for my furthest back Ukrainian ancestors – Danylo Koszlak and Anna Bruchanski. Their Manitoban marriage record had provided a brief glimpse at their parents – recorded as couples Prokop Koszlak and wife Krystina Fink, and Dmytro Bruchanski and wife Nastia Rozdobudko. Since Danylo and Anna were born circa 1890, I had assumed their parents would have been born around 1860 in Novosilka, Ternopil oblast.

Normally I would have tried to start with Danylo and Anna’s baptismal records in Ukraine to verify their parentage, then located their parent’s marriage records. But the metrical (church) books for Novosilka are only available from 1864 and back in time, so my only hope was to scan through the baptisms, hoping for Prokops, Krystinas, Dmytros and Nastias of the right age and surname to be my ancestors. Luckily, Novosilka was not a huge place.

I believe I found my 3x great grandfather Prokop Koszlak’s baptismal record, a little further back than I’d expected, though It makes sense since Danylo had older siblings. Here it is; his baptism from the Greek Catholic church in Novosilka circa 1848, written in Latin:

Born on the 22nd of July (delivered by Maria Kuczynska) and baptized (by Hippolytus Janowicz) on the 22nd of July to the family living at house #279 in Leczowka (Novosilka). Prokop, son of Georgius Koszlak and his wife Praxeda nee Drebko, daughter of Danielis Drebko and his wife Maria nee Duda. Godparents are Constantinus Halka and Tatianna Sztogryn.

Minnesota Death Certificates: Harry Kosslak and Mary Faduck

A very good source of information about an ancestor can be the civil record certificates that they leave behind – birth, marriage or death (BMD) certificates. These can be obtained by contacting the government office for wherever said person was born/married/died, either in person or by mail, electronically, by phone, etc.

The state of Minnesota is lucky to have the Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS), who offer a range of services for a very reasonable fee. I used Ancestry.com‘s Social Security Death Index (SSDI) to find out that there were two Koszlaks who died in Minnesota, then used the MNHS’s online form to order (Uncertified) death certificates for both Harry (Hawrylo) Kosslak and Mary (Maria) Faduck, my great-great grandfather Daniel (Danylo)’s siblings($9.00 USD a piece).

Though I always love to add visuals to my blog posts, I won’t post the actual certificates due to their detailed, personal nature, but I will write about the highlights of their information from a genealogical standpoint.

Harry Kosslak, husband of Maria Lewko died April 16, 1954 in Minneapolis at age 68. His death certificate is fairly vague in the areas I had hoped to find more information – his birthplace is listed as unknown, his mother unknown, his father listed only by his surname: Kosslak. He is buried in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Minneapolis, one of the city’s oldest cemeteries. He lived at 4644 Knox Ave. N in Minneapolis at the time of his death.

Mary Faduck (nee Koshlak), widow of George Faduck died more recently than her brother Harry on October 9, 1981. Her certificate is clearer and more concise – Her birthplace is listed as “Galecia”, her country of origin “Austria Hungary”. She was also buried in St. Mary’s cemetery, and lived at 4648 Knox Ave N (possibly even the house right beside her brother’s, depending on how the numbering goes on that street!). But most importantly, Mary’s parent’s names are recorded: Prokov Koshlak and Christine Finko.

In Harry’s passenger manifest from the SS Kaiserin Victoria, he lists his father as “Prokop Koszlak” from Novosilka, strengthening my belief that Prokop is my great-great-great grandfather’s name. Christine Finko, however, likely spelled her name “Krystina Fink”.

Harry is the oldest Koszlak child that I know of and can prove, born in 1888 and Mary is the youngest, born in 1895. This suggests that Prokop and Krystina were probably married somewhere between 1873 and 1887 (my guess is closer to the 1887 range) and were likely born between 1855 and 1870. You can guess that based around the fact that Krystina probably did not give birth to children younger than 18 years of age, or older than 40, and that given that they were devout Greek Catholics, they were married at least 9 months before any children were born.

So, for $18.00 USD, I discovered that my great-great-great grandparents were Prokop Koszlak and Krystina Fink, both born between 1855 and 1870 and married between 1873 and 1887 in Novosilka, Pidhaitsi, Ternopil’, Ukraine.

P.S. In Danylo’s passenger manifest when he first came to North America, he states that he is going to visit his brother Jakiv Koszlak in Minneapolis. Sometimes in those days people fudged some details of family relations and whatnot in order to gain access to North America, so I keep that in mind. Not only that, but Ukrainians are known for referring to their first cousins as brothers and sisters. Jakiv was born in 1876. Neither Harry/Hawrylo or Jakiv/Jakob are mentioned in Daniel/Danylo’s obituary (perhaps because they were both already passed away?), and I have not been able to find any further information about Jakiv. Maybe he returned to Ukraine. As of now, the only solid, 100%-for-sure sibling of Danylo’s I can link to with actual records is Mary. I’ll include Harry as well, seeing as his father is also listed as Prokop from Novosilka in his passenger manifest and numerous other hints and clues, but for now I will exclude Jakiv until can find more proof that he is indeed related.

George and Mary Faduck

Recounted to me by a relative, and confirmed in my great great grandfather Danylo’s obituary is the fact that he had a sister named Mary who married George Faduck and lived in Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minnesota.

Mary Koszlak was born November 15, 1895 in the Austrian Empire (assuming Novosilka, but not yet proven). I have yet to find a passenger record of her immigration to North America. The earliest record of her that I’ve found is a Minnesota marriage to George Faduck on August 1, 1914 in Hennepin County. Luckily for me, vital records specific to Minnesota are available on Ancestry.com (Marriages from 1849-1950 and 1951-2002, Divorces from 1970-1995, Births from 1840-1980 and 1935-2002 and Deaths from 1908-2002). These same vital statistics (As well as the US Social Security Death Index) tell me Mary died October 9, 1981 in Hennepin County.

They appear on the 1930 census of the USA, living in Minneapolis’ tenth ward, 128 block, Knox Ave, house number 4543. George and Mary Faduck, ages 38 and 34 respectively, lived with their children: Annie (15), Lena (14), Stephen(11) and Elisabeth(3). Also living at 4534 Knox Ave was another family – the Abrahams (Michael, May and daughter Phyllis).

Document: The marriage of Danylo Koszlak and Anna Bruchanska

After some postal difficulties, I received the marriage certificate of my great great grandparents Danylo Koszlak and Anna Bruchanska from the Manitoba Vital Statistics Agency. So, voila:

The penmanship is somewhat difficult to read, but here’s my transcription:

Registration Division of: Beausejour Brokenhead
1. Name of GROOM (surname first): Surname: Koschlak; Given name: Danyto Danylo
2. Rank or profession: farmer
3. Bachelor, widower or divorced: bachelor
4. Age: 23
5. Religious denomination: gr. cat
6. Usual residence: Brokenhead T. 14, R.8, m.29
7. Name and surname of father: Prokop Koschlak
8. Rank or profession of father: farmer
9. Name and maiden name of mother: Chrystina Fink
10. Name of BRIDE (surname first): Surname: Bruchanska, Given name: Anna
11. Rank or profession: farmer
12. Spinster, widower or divorced: spinster
13. Age: 19
14. Religious denomination: gr. cat
15. Usual residence: Brokenhead
16. Name and surname of father: Dmytro Bruchanski
17. Rank or profession of father: farmer
18. Name and surname of mother: Nastia Rozdobudko
19. When married: 10th day of February, 1914
20. Where married: Brokenhead Church of the Holy Ghost
21. How married (license or banns; if by license, give number): Banns
22. Names and addresses of witnesses: Name: Nykola Rostlinkski; Address: Brokenhead T.14, R.7, m.13; Name: Michal Wialogowski; Address: Brokenhead, T.14, R.8, m.31
23. Signature, address and religious denomination of person solemnizing marriage: The above-stated particulars are true to the best of my knowledge and belief. Signature of officiating clergyman: Rev. Eaudraibuim (sp?); Address: Beausejour; Religious denomination: gr. cat
24. Registered number: 14. Filed at this office this: 5th 3 4th day of Feb March, 1914

This also further confirms that Danylo and Mary Faduck were siblings, since their parental information is the same on this marriage certificate and Mary’s death certificate.

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, Week 16: Prokop Koszlak

Click HERE for last week’s ancestor.

Prokop Koszlak was born around the year 1865 near the village of Novosilka in Pidhaitsi raion (region), Ternopil oblast (province) in modern day Ukraine. He is my 3x great grandfather, the father of  Danylo Koszlak. I have absolutely no documents pertaining to him other than 3 of his children’s marriage certificates from here in North America that list his name as their father. He was a farmer, and he married a woman named Kristina Fink. At least 3 of his children (possibly more) immigrated to North America in the early 1900’s, as did a large number of residents of the area. It was one of the poorest regions in Europe at the time, and the mass exodus of natives left to carve out a better life for their future generations.

I feel like my Ukrainian branch of family tree are the most exotic, to me anyways, and I was not expecting many records to be available. But happily I was wrong, there are church records and state held records available.

Roadblock number one in pushing my Ukrainian research back further: because my father was adopted, I don’t have birth certificates and hard evidence – documents directly connecting me to Prokop, and this is necessary for some research. However I have been told that because the records I am looking for – Prokop’s birth/marriage/death/other children – are more than 100 years old, it is possible the state archives, known as the RAHS would grant me a privacy release. Roadblock numbers two is a language barrier. I have overcome language barriers before, but the mix of Ukrainian/Polish/Russian in Cyrillic alphabet is proving to be a challenge for me, and I have to admit I have been putting it off.

There are two ways for me to get my hands on more information: Metrical (church) records, held by the LDS church that can be ordered on microfilm for viewing, and records held by the RAHS. The metrical records are from 1864 and earlier, which is a problem because I can’t be sure Prokop was born earlier than 1865, it’s possible his baptism is not included here. PLUS language barrier. As for the records held by the RAHS, and I believe this is the route I will pursue soon, there is the issue of language barrier again, I would have to compose a letter that the archivists can read, which should surely be in Ukrainian, thought there is a small chance someone will speak English there. There could also be fees involved in foreign currency, and up until now I have been a neglectful Ukrainian genealogist because it has just seemed too difficult! However, writing this post has got me going again in this direction, and I believe I will attempt to contact the archives soon, if I can find help!

Danylo Koszlak’s Canadian Naturalization

Another resource (albeit sometimes not a particularily genealogically helpful one) are old Canadian Naturalization records. An explanation of the Naturalization process can be found at the Government of Canada’s website. All newly naturalized citizens were listed in a report published by the Secretary of State, and also published in the Canada Gazette (the official newspaper of the Canadian Government).

The Government of Canada’s website offers a searchable database of these records. You can search by name from 1915-1932, OR you can search by date from 1936-1951.

Danylo Koszlak became a naturalized citizen on July 18, 1932. At the time, he was a labourer in Beausejour. His record was published October 15, 1932.

I have not yet found Passenger or Naturalization records for wife Annie Bruchanski.

Document: The 1920 Canadian Census – Koszlak Family

Bruchanski, Anna - 1921 Canada Census

The sixth census of Canada was taken in June of 1921. Here I found my great great grandfather Danylo Koszlak and his family. Just five years earlier on the 1916 Census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta they were living on a farm in the RM of Brokenhead. But by 1921 they had moved to nearby Beausejour town. Here’s the details of the census record:

Dan, Annie, Mike, Pete and Mary
Dan was the head of the house, Annie his wife, Mike and Pete were sons and Mary a daughter
Dan was 33, Annie 30, Mike 7, Pete 5, Mary 2
Dan and Annie were born in Austria, the children in Manitoba
All identified as Austrian in ethnicity
Dan came to Canada in 1910, Annie in 1912
Dan and Annie had not become Canadian citizens yet
No one could read or write
All could speak Polish
All were of Roman Catholic faith
Dan worked as a carpenter on odd jobs, no one else worked


Sunday’s Obituary: Harry Kosslak

From the Minneapolis Star, published Sunday, April 17, 1954:

KOSSLAK – Harry, age 68 of 4544 Knox Ave. N, Survived by his wife, Mary; 2 sons Fred of Mpls., Peter of New Jersey, 3 daughters, Mrs. John (Katherine) Sopeth, Mrs. Andrew (Annie) Loyas, and Mrs. Richard (Nancy) Procai; 5 grandchildren; 3 sisters, Mrs. George Faduck and 2 brothers. Funeral Mon, 8 o’clock from the Kapala Funeral Home; Requiem Mass 8:30 in the Church of St. Constantine. Interment St. Mary’s Cemetery, Vigil services Sun. evening 7 o’clock.

Harry was my great great great uncle.

Harry and Mary Koszlak

When I first asked a relative about my Ukrainian family tree, she told me my great great grandfather Danylo had a sister, Mary, and a brother named Harry who had children Fred, Catherine, Peter, Ann and Nancy.

It looks like Hawrylo Koszlak departed from Hamburg, Germany on the SS Kaiserin Victoria May 10, 1911, bound for New York. He was 25 years old and single. His closest relative from the country he came from was his father Prokop Koszlak in Novosilka. Hawrylo’s final destination: Minneapolis, Minnesota where he was going to meet his uncle Pawlo Riluch at 222 7th Ave. (The same address possible relation Jakob Koszlak was going to, one year later!). He was 5’6, with brown hair and grey eyes. His place of birth was listed as Novosilka. Upon his arrival, he was detained, for reasons still unknown to me. I have 3 records of this SS Kaiserin Victoria trip – the Hamburg passenger manifest, New York passenger manifest, and his Detainee record.

“Harry Kosslak” as he soon preferred to be called married Mary (Maria) Lewko in Hennepin County, Minneapolis on January 25, 1913.

Harry seems to have been drafted in 1917 for World War 1. His Draft Registration card is available on Ancestry.com. It states that he is Harry Koszlak, living at 46 Knox ave, Minneapolis, Minnesota. His date of birth is October 28, 1888 in Austrian Galicia. He was a declared citizen of the USA, but still legally a citizen of Austria. He was a labourer, employed by the city of Minneapolis. He was married with 3 children. He had served in the military in Austria for 3 years. He declared exemption from the draft due to his dependants.

The next record of Hawrylo is his appearance on the 1930 US Census. At this time, Harry and Mary had children Fred, Katherine, Peter, Annie and (Nancy) Stella. The 1930 Census of the US was conducted on April 6th of 1930 in Minneapolis – and at this time they appear living in the 129th block of the tenth ward of the city. Harry was employed as a labourer at “Gas Lite Mfg” and Fred was an assembler at “electrical appliance mfg”. The family was Ukrainian (rather than “Ruthenian” as seen on earlier documents) and both Harry and Mary immigrated to the USA in 1911.

Harry died April 16, 1954 in Hennepin County.

(click to enlarge) Harry Koszlak’s WWI Draft Registration Card