Geneablogy: An occasional Journal about our experiences exploring our heritage

Thursday, April 26, 2001

Time for more misspelled ancestors from the Ellis Island Records web site. I had found great-grandpa (Józef) Horbal's passenger record at the New York Public Library, but I looked over the site and realized I hadn't posted anything about it here. So I went to the Ellis Island site and found him there; they misspelled his name as Josef Horbel, so if you want to look for him, that's the name to use. He came to America on the ship Kaiserin Auguste Victoria, leaving from Hamburg on December 10, 1909, arriving in New York on December 20 of that year. 18 years old and single, he was going to join his father Pawel in Northumberland, Pennsylvania. He was listed on the manifest as being Polish. His home town and birthplace are listed on the manifest as Starebystre, which is reasonably close to the actual location, Stara Bircza. He left behind his mother, Justyna Horbal.

Interestingly, in looking through the database I found a number of men who left from Stara Bircza or Bircza on the same ship, so young Józef was not travelling alone. Among the travellers on that ship was 36 year old Mikolaj Horbal, who was also travelling to Northumberland to join his brother Pawel. In other words, he was Józef's uncle. Mikolaj had left his wife Carolina behind for this, his second trip to America. He had previously come to America, spending the years between 1906 and 1908 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He was listed on the manifest as being Polish. Also on the ship was Jedrzej Horbal of Stara Bircza, 43, travelling to Hudson, Pennsylvania to join his brother-in-law Michal Moroz (the name is unclear here; maybe it's even Mazur, so it's not clear what the connection is here, if he was Pawel's brother or cousin or what); there are two places in Pennsylvania named Hudson, one in Clearfield County not far from Altoona and right by Philipsburg (where I had my accident last summer), and the other in Luzerne County, not far from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He had previously been in Hudson from 1902-1906. His wife Marya Horbal remained in Stara Bircza. He was listed as being Ruthenian, the word used at the time for Ukrainian.

Józef's father, then, was clearly in America before December, 1909. So I went looking for him and found that he too had his name misspelled in the database. He's listed on the record I found for him as Pawel Horbak, a mis-reading that's very plausible when you look at the actual written record. Pawel came to America almost a year earlier, travelling on the Batavia from Hamburg, leaving on December 19, 1908 and arriving in New York on January 8, 1909. 48 years old, he was listed as Ruthenian, and was travelling on to Altoona, where he was to join his friend Michal Rabak, who lived at 3827 4th Avenue there. He left behind his wife Justyna. Pawel was one of the few people shown as having a defining characteristic, a mole on his face. He had previously been in Altoona from 1903 to 1906 according to the manifest, so that's another document to look for. I haven't found it in the Ellis Island database. It's probably misspelled in another creative manner. Apparently he couldn't find work in Altoona, because by the arrival of his son and brother almost a year later, he was in Northumberland, about 100 miles to the east. It's interesting that Józef eventually wound up back in Altoona.

Posted at 9:25:31 AM