Sunday, January 1, 2017

The Czachorowskys | From Prussia to Chicago, An Introduction

Brand new year, brand new series!

The Czachorowskys are a conundrum. They seem to simply 'appear' in Chicago around 1868. Claiming to be from Prussia I have yet to determine their actual origins. Or their point of entry into the United States. Or why they chose Chicago. As I set out to research one family I discovered others. Curiosity getting the best of me, this turned into the study of five Czachorowsky families living in Chicago c. 1870.  It is my hope with this series to make some discoveries to either link these families together, or prove they are not related. This is a real-time research project, I have not worked on this cluster before. I plan to share my discoveries and my frustrations in hopes that more eyes on the evidence will result in some sound conclusions.

Join me as I explore these families, maybe we'll make some discoveries together!

Family One (primary family)

I had some basic information from a hand-drawn family tree, done by an in-law of the Czachorowsky clan. It became my starting point. None of it was sourced (of course!), so I set out to prove/disprove the documented information. This tree had been circulating around the family for several generations, and was generally taken as truth.  The original immigrant was Leo F. Czachorowsky. Sometimes known simply as L. F. He married a woman by the name of Anna Marie Junk according to the family tree. It was reported that the couple married in West Prussia in November of 1869. The date of arrival was not mentioned, nor were the birthplaces of the children of Leo and Anna. But it was a commonly held belief that most of them were born in Chicago, IL.

So, I began.

Using the U.S. census records, Chicago city directories, known burial information and the unsourced information supplied on the family tree I began to dig. This was by no means a linear search! I had to jump from census to census, then backtrack to city directories and other sources of information.

I found no record of the family in Chicago, or anywhere, in 1870.

The 1880 census revealed that the children were born in Chicago, it actually says 'Chicago' not Illinois, the first child being born in 1870 (in Chicago). Additionally, the 1880 census records Leo as 'F Louis' just to make it more fun! And Anna is recorded as 'Mary'. Both Leo and Mary report their birthplace as 'Prussia'.

OK. Prussia 1840's? That's fun too! Seems we have a bit of a brick wall building here.

The 1900 census revealed that Mary (Anna) had been in Chicago since 1861. 1861?! Leo had died in 1898 so there was no info on him, unfortunately. That census also revealed that Mary had been married for 31 years. That agrees with the 1869 marriage date - but perhaps not the marriage location.

On to city directories!

 L. F. first appeared in the 1868 edition of the Chicago city directory. He was listed as a clerk for Adolph Huebner and was boarding on south Jefferson St. Searching for JUNK revealed a variety of misspellings, mostly YOUNG, but the city directories proved the family was in Chicago as early as 1861.

The YOUNG family was operating several businesses in early Chicago. Both Mary and her mother (also Mary) were milliners and dressmakers, a son was a distiller of highwines in partnership with his uncle, his mother's brother.

Leo 'gos missing' from the directories between 1869 and 1871, Mary disappears in 1870, reappearing in 1871 in the business directory still using her maiden name - but at the correct residence, as listed on the 1880 census.

So, did they return to Prussia to marry? Great question! Still don't know the answer. Or why Mary used her maiden name for the 1871 listing.

By 1872 L.F. is listed as the milliner, and the trail grows warm again.

Families Two thru Five

As I was searching the city directories for Leo I noticed two other Czachorowskys that appeared about the same time. I was curious. It is an unusual name. Nowadays you can find it spelled with an 'i', but the 'y' has all but disappeared. As Leo just magically appeared in Chicago, maybe I would have luck researching these other two men. The first to appear was Bernard, followed by Anton. I would later discover Frank and Pauline. I can prove Anton and Pauline are brother and sister. The rest are currently unrelated as I have uncovered nothing to link them together, other than they all came from Prussia within a decade of one another. And all were born within a decade of one another.  And, curiously they all came to Chicago.

Family Two

Headed by Bernard Czachorowsky. Listed as a carpenter residing on Mitchell. Born in August 1832, he sometimes reported Prussia and other times Germany. Bernard was the first to emigrate, arriving in New York in December of 1856. It would be another decade before he showed up in Chicago.

Family Three A

Anton or Anthony Czachorowsky, a house mover living on S. Morgan. He was born January 1835, mostly reported his birthplace as Prussia, but Germany occasionally shows up too. He was married to Maria "Mary" Glowinsky. The couple married in Prussia and immigrated together with four young children and Anton's sister Pauline. Arriving in New York in September of 1868.

Family Three B (four)

Pauline Czachorowsky was the sister of Anton. But as she came to Chicago as an adult I decided to treat her as her own family unit. Pauline would marry Nicholas Ballmann in Chicago.

Family Five

Frank Czachorowsky. The biggest mystery of all the mysterious Czachorowskys ... as you will discover.

Over the coming weeks and months I plan to dig deeper into each Family, exploring all the documents I can find, and hopefully begin to put the pieces together to learn more about the Czachorowskys.

First up: A look at the decades and a who's who. Fasten your seat belts, this might be a bumpy ride .....

to be continued .......

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