Geneablogy: An occasional Journal about our experiences exploring our heritage

Friday, April 20, 2001

I've been having fun with the Ellis Island Records site since it opened earlier this week (particularly at hours like 3 and 4 in the morning). Whoever put it together did them a horrible disservice by basing it on Windows NT and ASP, because at peak hours (which is to say every hour), it's not very usable because NT just isn't scalable to the level they require. I hope they're throwing more iron at it. And I really hope that they eventually rewrite everything to use a system that can handle the kind of load they're throwing at it.

The best thing that I've found is Busia Horbal's passenger list. They misspelled her name in the database, which made it kind of tough to find her, but by searching for everyone named "Mazur" who was female and one of Polish, Ruthenian, Galician, or Austrian, and who arrived between 1907 and 1912, I was able to whittle the over 2000 people of that name down to a more manageable 250 or so. When I found Wiktoeya Mazur (now that's an imaginative way to spell Wiktorija) listed as having come from Lipa, Galicia, I knew I had my woman. If you want to search for her, make sure you use the misspelling above, otherwise you won't find her.

Busia came to America on the Friedrich Der Grosse (Frederick the Great), departing from Bremen, Germany on the last day of the year, 31 December 1910, and arriving in New York on 11 January 1911. (I just realized that that date is 1/11/11!) She was 20 years old and single, and came with just $6 in her pocket and a ticket to join her uncle, Wojciech Podgorski, in beautiful scenic Scranton, Pennsylvania. She listed as her nearest relative back home her father, Josef Mazur, in Lipa, Galicia. She was declared to be in good mental and physical health, and stood a towering four feet, eleven inches. She was fair complected and had grey eyes. It appears to me that it says she had blonde hair, but I'm not sure about that. I only remember her with grey hair. Interestingly, the manifest says she could read but couldn't write. I knew she couldn't write because her marriage license has an X for her signature, but the combination of being able to read and not being able to write strikes me as odd. And finally, the manifest lists her nationality as Austrian, and her race as Polish. It's odd that all my relatives on that side seem to be listed as Polish, because I was always told that Busia was half-Polish and half-Ukrainian, and Grandpa (Jozef Horbal) was all-Ukrainian.

I've managed to pry some other information out of the Ellis Island site, but none of it is complete, so I'll wait until I can get through to finish looking up the people I've found before I go into any details. I will say that it includes more Horbals from Bircza and a number of Laura's relatives coming from Italy.

Posted at 8:23:40 PM