Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Czachorowskys | From Prussia to Chicago: 1870 to 1880

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!

In researching this group of families I began to get confused.  I discovered that the names Frank, Bernard and Leo were used by all the families, Frank being the most common. I began to confuse one Frank with another. What I needed was one of those big boards you see on TV detective shows, so I could lay out all my 'suspects' and get a good visual of who belonged where.  

What I needed was a mind mapping program.

Down the rabbit hole I went .....

Surfacing several hours later I decided on good old pencil and paper to keep this train moving along -  - that software quest will have to be taken up another day.

OK. Here's my rough map:

I focused on the men since I was only looking at the Czachorowsky surname. As you can see Bernard is a dead-end for the moment, and both Leo & Anton had enough children to make things confusing! You can see the use of Frank, Leo and Bernard on both family lines.

Interestingly, searching all the US census (1790 - 1940) records for the surname 'Czachorowsky' (and it's variations) the first time the name appears anywhere is in Chicago in 1870. By 1900 it appears in New York with one family living in Albion; in Wisconsin with one woman living in Milwaukee; in Delaware with one family living in New Castle Co; and in Ohio with one family living in Cleveland. The only family spelling it with a 'y' is the Chicago group.

Now, let's look at the 1870 map and where the three original Czachorowsky men are first recorded living. (The mystery Frank does not appear for the first time until 1880.)  

Granted, Chicago was a lot smaller than it is today, however the population in 1870 was close to 300,000! Notice that these three men lived within blocks of each other. Bears further investigation, I think.

Looking at the census records, Bernard is the first to show up. The 1870 census record shows a woman named Mena Czachorowsky residing at the same address, 12 years younger than Bernard, her occupation: keeping house. This census records both Bernard and Mena as being born in Poland. Bernard lists his occupation as a carpenter. Mena could be a sister, or a wife. The census does not list a 'marriage month', but it does not list a 'birth month' either - and 'Poland' is incorrect. So, the only take-away from this is that Bernard was in Chicago in 1870. Interestingly, every other family on this street was a Prussian immigrant.

There are no other Czachorowskys recorded in any US census in 1870.

The 1870 Chicago city directory lists both Bernard and Anton. (But no Leo) Pay no attention to the spelling, there are so many reasons it's wrong. Illiteracy or a typesetting error come to mind. Or miscommunication - the Czachorowskys certainly wrote and spoke German. Our best clues are the addresses. Bear in mind that during this time in Chicago history street names and addresses were in flux. As the city expanded and more houses were being built houses often needed to be re-numbered. It wasn't until 1909 that things solidified. (Heck, the house I live in had three different addresses in the course of it's life - but never budged from it's present location!)

However, Leo did appear first in the city directories! Here he is in the 1868 edition:

He is boarding on south Jefferson, working as a clerk for Adolph Huebner (a grocer).

Here is Adolph Huebner's listing:

Seems Leo was working for and living with Adolph when he first arrived in Chicago. Did he know him? Another question that has no answer - but perhaps something else to investigate further.

By 1872 all three men are listed in the Chicago city directory:

Anton is still on Morgan, Bernard is still on Mitchell, Leo has moved to Canal. One of the reasons I love city directories is they are published annually. You can find people more readily than relying on the census alone. And you can watch them move around, too!

Leo was said to have been married in 1869, according to the hand drawn family tree. In researching sideways, searching for Leo's in-laws, I found his future mother-in-law in Chicago in 1864.

Huh. Will you look at that. Canal Street.

Here are the trio in the 1878 city directory:

No, Bernard did not move. Mitchell was renamed West 14th Street.

Here they are in the 1880 city directory:

Looks like Anton has moved to Maxwell Street!

Interestingly, Leo, (F Louis here), is the only Czachorowsky recorded on the 1880 census. Chicago or any other US city.

Here's a map of Chicago 1880 showing the addresses and location of our trio:

Of note, the Great Chicago Fire. 1871. Most of the Czachorowskys narrowly miss the fury. They fortunately settled just on the outskirts of the great tragedy as seen here:

However, it is quite possible that Leo was affected. 425 S Canal is just on the edge of the burned area - approximately at the corner of Taylor and Canal. Almost the epicenter! The fire started on DeKoven Street - one block southwest of Canal and Taylor. The fire spread northeast up along the lakefront. Another piece of the puzzle and an avenue of research .....

The final thing I want to cover this week is church affiliation. The Czachorowskys are buried in Catholic cemeteries. So, they must have been Catholic. They most likely attended church regularly. They most likely would have been married in church and baptized their children in church. The million dollar question is which church!?! There are four possibilities based on their residences and the churches operating in Chicago at the time. Better yet, the records are mostly all online!

The bad news? The records are unindexed.

What is that you say?

They are there for the looking, you just have to look at every single record. As such I have not looked at all the records available to me. (As I said in the intro - this is a real-time research project.)

Here's where you come in! A crowdsourcing opportunity! Should you decide to play along, here are the four candidates and the links to the online records. In order of proximity to their residences. (Remember, they would have walked or maybe taken the streetcar to get anywhere in the city - things needed to be close)

1. St Francis of Assisi est. 1857

2. Holy Family est. 1857

3. Notre Dame est. 1864

4. Old St. Pat's est. 1846

Happy hunting! Let me know if you find anything - oh, by the way, some of the records are in Latin or German .....

to be continued .........

*images courtesy of, Fold3, FamilySearch and David Rumsey map collection

No comments:

Post a Comment