Monday, June 12, 2017

Miscellaneous Monday -- Vidunas' guests at Dinner Party

This is a newspaper article about a family who entertained several guests at dinner one night.  I wonder, as I go through all this information, who were these people that there were so many articles and mentions about them in the newspapers?  I think they were just ordinary miner families, and I suspect these newspapers did a lot of public relations pieces because it kept people buying their papers.  I have no clue, actually.  My guess is definately not evidence based practice.

Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, the Evening News (Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania)
Thu, Aug 5, 1937 · Page 11
Downloaded on Feb 8, 2017 from 
Moving on, it reads:
Mr and Mrs Adolph Markoe of 18 Penn street, Kingston, entertained at dinner Monday night for Mr and Mrs Walter Pelsky and children Jean and Charles of Providence, R.I.  Other guests were Mr and Mrs Andrew Yorski, Mr and Mrs Lewis Vidunas, Mr and Mrs John Vidunas, Mr and Mrs Frank Swalina, Mr and Mrs Lucian Chehosky, Betty Marko, Adolph Marko, Constance Bell, Ann Karp, Ann Milanch, George Davis, James Brennan, Anthony Amber, Sally and Alice Marko of New York City.
 Adolph Marko was a complete surprise when Louis Vidunas first told me about him.  Louis is a second cousin of mine, who has contacts with more Vidunas kin than I do.  He had heard but hadn't had proof, that Adolph Markelonis and his wife  Martha were relatives of August and Mary Sadausky Vidunas.  That was very surprising.

It took a lot of research, but I found the relationship ... Mary and Martha are sisters.  I'm not sure when Martha came to America from Lithuania, but toward the end they lived in the other half of the duplex that August and Mary Vidunas lived in.  These were not big houses, I think.  I was told that both sets of children essentially raised themselves.
18 and 20 Penn Street as of 2012
Markelonis lived on the left, Vidunas lived on the right
(Google Maps Streetview, 2012)

So, lets see what we can find out from this little article.

  • The name Markelonis was often shortened down to Marko or Markoe, later on to Markel.  Many families did this to help assimilate into American culture.
  • 18 Penn Street is the other half of the duplex
  • There were 26 adults at this party.  I wonder how big are these duplexes, really?
  • Who is the Walter Pelsky family from Providence RI?  Are they related somehow?
  • Attending are Andrew Yorski and wife Mary Sadausky Yorski
  • Mary's son Louis (spelled Lewis) Vidunas and wife Frances Greboski Vidunas
  • Mary's son John Vidunas and his wife Mary Vasilewski Vidunas
  • I don't know the Swalina family nor the Chehosky family.  A point of research would be to check the 1930 census and the 1940 census to see if they are neighbors.
  • Betty Markelonis (spelled Marko) and Adolph are the children of Adolph and Martha Sadausky Markelonis, and are single, I think, as are Sally and Alice who apparently live in New York City.  Their cousin Ann Vidunas was a nurse in New York City by 1940, perhaps they were staying with her?
  • I don't know the rest of the guests
So, there is indeed a relationship to the Vidunas family, albeit a roundabout way.  It still counts.

Do you have any corrections or suggestions?  Please feel free to contact me, the form is on the right.

Google Maps Streetview. (2012, April). 20 Penn Street, Kingston PA. Retrieved May 23, 2017, from Google Maps Streetview:,-75.9004284,3a,85y,

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Newspaper Wednesday -- Ambrose Vidunas 1893-1962

Ambrose Vidunas 3-Generation Pedigree

The Plain Speaker (Hazleton, Pennsylvania) ·  Wed, Apr 21, 1954 ·  Page 21
Downloaded on Mar 11, 2017 from
It started with this newspaper clipping I found as I searched for every instance of Vidunas in

Ambrose Vidunas.  He bought property on 213 East Green street, West Hazleton.

Below are Google Map views of his house as it looks today.  It probably didn't look that much different then.

213 East Green Street, West Hazelton
Google Maps 2017

213 East Green Street, West Hazelton
Google Maps 2017

213 East Green Street, West Hazelton
Duplex on left of white house
Google Street View, 2017

 Ambrose also went by Vidun, as evidenced by his WWII Draft Card.  Here, in 1942, he was living at 213 E. Green Street in West Hazelton, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.  He was 49 years old, was born 29 November 1893 in Lithuania.  Guess I'll have to find his immigration records.

He worked for the Lattimer Coal Company in Lattimer, Luzerne, Pennsylvania.  It seems to be his own signature.  Interesting, the Mrs. Rose Jenkus is his sister Rose Vidunas Chenkus.  She was living with her husband on 46 Jefferson Ave, West Hazelton.  Ambrose was tall at 5'11" weighing in at 157 pounds.  He had gray eyes, gray hair and light complexion.  He had no physical deformities.

Ambrose Vidunas WWII Draft Card, 1942
This is Ambrose's death certificate.  He was 68 years old, working as a Bartender.  His name was listed as "Vidunius."  He was living at 329 West Green Street, West Hazleton, was married but the informant, Mrs Joseph Boris of 329 W. Green Street cannot remember his wife's name, but only knew they had separated.  She did not know his parents' names.  He died of Anthro-Silicosis and Emphysema, made worse by his pneumonia.  He is buried at Sts Peter & Paul Lithuanian cemetery in Hazleton.

Ambrose Vidunas death certificate 1962

Below is his obituary, found in and was downloaded from  It reads:
Ambrose Vidunias, 239 West Green Street, West Hazleton, died at 7:20 a.m. yesterday at St. Joseph Hospital where he had been a patient since Sunday.
Born in Lithuania, he resided most of his life in West Hazleton.
He was last employed as a bartender at Chenkus' Cafe, West Hazleton
This would be his sister's cafe, by the way
The deceased was a member of Ss. Peter and Paul's Lithuanian Church
 Surviving are a daughter, Mrs (Helen) Boris, West Hazleton, wife of Justice of the Peace Joseph A. Boris; one granddaughter; two great grandchildren; a sister, Mrs. Rose Chenkus, West Hazleton; three brothers and two sisters in Europe.
The funeral will be held from the Pusti Funeral Home, 480 West Broad street ....  Interment will be in the parish cemetery.
This provides the answer as to who Mrs Boris is on the death certificate.  How sad that she did not know her grandparents' names, even, nor this man's wife.

Ambrose Vidunas obituary 1962
found on, clipped from

Here is the video discussing this information

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Wednesday's Child -- Albin Vidunas Birth Certificate

Albin Vidunas Birth certificate 1906

This is a birth certificate I found online.  The child is Albin Vidunas.  He was born 15 November 1906 to Hipolite and Maggie Poscavage Vidunas, in Shenandoah, Schuylkill Pennsylvania.  He is a single male, and is legitimate.  Albin was born at 6pm.  Line 20 indicates that he is the first born child.

Hipolite Vidunas is 25 years old and born in Lithuania, works as a laborer.
Maggie is 24 years old, born in Lithuania and works as a Housewife.

What is very interesting, to me, is that it looks like Hipolite delivered his own child.  The reason I think this is beccause of the signature line.  First of all, Hipolite apparently could not write, since he made his mark on the signature line.  The directions for the signature say 
"When there is no attending physician or midwife, then the father, householder, etc., should make this return"
This tells me there was no attending physician at the birth.  There may have been a lay midwife, similar to the ones depicted on the British TV show "Call the Midwife."  I can't tell.

Hmmm.  Looking closer, one finds the last line, which indicates this record was filed 3/24/1923.  This would be a delayed birth certificate,  filed when Albin was 17 years old.  Too late for WWI; too early for WWII.  Perhaps Albin was trying to join the Army and needed a birth certificate?

Is this your Vidunas?  I suspect all US Vidunas' are related, my project is to prove such.

Record Url:­bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&db=General­60484&h=432155

Source Information: Pennsylvania, Birth Records, 1906­1908 [database on­line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015.

Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Birth certificates, 1906–1908. Series 11.89 (50 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Monday, May 22, 2017

Music Monday -- William Vidunas

3 Generation Pedigree from 
This is an article I found about my father.  He was a Tech Sergeant for US Air Force at the time, and played tuba in the orchestra.  I've already written about his own father, the Soldier Musician in the US Army.  Dad never knew that his dad played so many instruments, yet he himself plays the Bass Violin and the Tuba.
The Town Talk (Alexandria, Louisiana)
Sun, Sep 15, 1974 · Page 29
Downloaded on Feb 26, 2017 from
The article reads:
The membership of the Rapides Symphony Orchestra is a cross section of professions drawn from musicians as far away as Beaumont, Tex.  T.Sgt. Bill Vidunas, stationed at England Air Force Base, discusses a selection during a rehearsal with Miss Florence Kushner of Lake Charles (Louisiana) and State Police Troop E Lt. Bill Taylor of Bunkie.  Miss Kushner is the aunt of Symphony Conductor William Kushner, also of Lake Charles.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Mystery Monday -- Hipolite, Hypolite, Ipolitas

Pennsylvania, Birth Records, 1906-1908 from
Hipolito Vidunas and Maggie Poscavage had a son Albin
It looks as if Daddy delivered his little boy

I started researching an interesting name.  First, it was Hipolite Vidunas, the father who delivered his own baby, Albin, at home in 1906 (see birth certificate above).  This was in Schulkill Pennsylvania.  One would think with a name like this, it should be easy to find.

1896 Hypolit Widunis, age 19,
Hamburg Passenger List

Hypolit Widunas, age 27
right side of page, ninth surname up from bottom
1899 Hamburg Passenger List

Then I discovered that Augustus W. Vidunas' sister, Elzbieta was on a ship to America, and was going to visit her brother Hipolite Vidunas.  This Hipolite is married to Valeria.  In the 1912 record below, he is "Ipolitas."  How can we be more confusing?!

Feb 1912 marriage record
Ipolitas Vidunas and Valerija Lucinskiute

I deduced that the pronounciation must be hip-POLL-it-uh.  His name would be Americanized to Paul.  Also, the Polish spelling is Ipolitas.  I also found one Paulitas.  Here, in 1925, his death record (below) again is spelled Hipolite (pronounced still, hip-POLL-it-uh).  His parents George and Rose have Americanized names (Lit = Jurgis and Rozalija), why not Paul?  I'm sure this is the same person because his wife is the same.

1925 Death certificate Hipolite Vidunas
wife Valeria Vidunas
parents George and Rose Savakinas Vidunas

So, I have found three Hipolites and one Ipolitas.  And nobody's wife matches up.  AND, I find bald spots on the top of my head, undoubtedly from frustration..

I found another one on  Hypolite and Mary Helandzesyte Vidunas had one son, Bronislaus.  I have a Bronislaus I'd found earlier, but he is married to Mary, no kids so far.

Ipolitas Vidunas is Augustus W. Vidunas' aunt's brother
Augustus W. Vidunas -- Ona Viduniene his mother -- Petras Paliutis her brother -- Ona Paliutiene his wife -- Ipolitas Vidunas her brother

Ipolitas "Paul" Vidunas is Agustus W. Vidunas' aunt's nephew (Which is's contorted way of saying they are cousins)
Augustus W. Vidunas -- Ona Viduniene his mother -- Petras Pauliutis her brother -- Ona Paliutiene his wife -- Jurgis "George" Vidunas her brother -- Ipolitas "Paul" Vidunas his son

So, what you, dear reader, can do is to comment if you also have similar problems, how you've solved it (assuming you did solve the dilemma), and any suggestions you have for me.  Are my premises and assumptions correct?  I am open to suggestions.

Comment below.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

In the News Wednesday -- Joseph Vidunas 1943

Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, the Evening News
(Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania)
Thu, Mar 18, 1943 ·  Page 24
downloaded March 2017,

Second Lt. Joseph Vidunas visits wife 1943
recently rec'd commission at Camp Davis NC, spends a short visit with his wife, Lois, at the home of his parents, Mr and Mrs John
Yorski of Penn Street, Kingston. Reporting for duty he will go to Camp Haan, Calif. Lt. Vidunas has been in the US Army since 1928

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Wednesday's Child -- Anne Vidunas

The Levittown Times (Levittown, Pennsylvania
24 August 1965, page 3
Downloaded 10 March 2017
I don't know anything about this little girl, Anne Vidunas, except she would be about 5 years old in 1965. This puts her birth date about 1960, and she would be 57 years old in 2017.

Do you know who this might be?  If so, contact me using the form on the right.

If my premise is correct, this would be a cousin of some sort.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Wonderful Resources

I found a few wonderful resources in my research.  I will list them here for two reasons.  First is a selfish one -- I want to be able to quickly find them to use them again.  Second is to share with you, my fellow family historian.  I will add more as I find them.

  1. Historic Map Works -- the subtitle is residential genealogy.  I have only searched two surnames and one residence and I like what I see.
  2. Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps -- I used this when researching my Vidunas clan in Pennsylvania.  I could really see how close they lived to the mines, the new school built of bricks and that they were within walking distance of their church.
  3. Gjenvick Passenger Lists of Ellis Island -- I found my Vidunas immigrants using this site
  4. The Map search of land ownership from the Library of Congress.  It can be a bit tricky to use, but you can search by state then by county.  Once you get the "slideshow" up, typically you have to click on the words on the slide from which you can find and search for your desired county.
  5. A place to purchase maps.  You can download a small resolution map for 5$, or a printable version for 20$.  I don't know about you, but that seems very expensive.  Especially when your purchased item comes with their watermark all over it.  What I did was I found the map here on their searchable engine, then I went to the Library of Congress site (above) to pinpoint the map I wanted.
  6. Some other websites I've not been able to fully explore but plan to include
    1. Farm Ownership guide from
    2. The Plat Plotter app which is supposed to work as an overlay with Google maps.  Should be useful when searching for present day locations for historical places
    3. Students of Descent either have their own app or they list other ways of finding genealogically significant locations
    4. Google Earth Hacks sounds cool, doesn't it?
    5. Searching for Townships.  Need to try this one out
    6. Heaven for Genealogists.  Well, I could use a little Heaven about now
    7. A YouTube video I thought was important enough to include here
    8. Another YouTube video I thought was important

Friday, April 7, 2017

Andrew Yorski obituary October 1946

Wilkes Barre Times Leader. (1946, October 8). Retrieved February 8, 2017, from 
Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, the Evening News 
(Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania).

Andrew Yorski was stepfather to Stella and Anna Vidunas, Louis and John Vidunas, and my grandfather Joseph Vidunas.  The obituary reads as follows:  "Andrew Yorski, 20 Penn street, Kingston, a veteran of World War I, died yesterday in Moses Taylor Hospital in Scranton, following illness of three days.
The funeral will be held from the home … with a high mass of requiem at 10:30 in St. Hedwig’s Church.  Burial will be in St. Mary’s cemetery, Pringle.Mr. Yorski was a resident of the West Side 50 years.  He came to this country from Poland when a young man.  Deceased had worked around the mines until a week ago.  He was a member of St. Hedwig’s Church, Kingston, Woodward Local of the United Mine Workers of America, and American Legion Post 395
Surviving are the following stepchildren:  Mrs. Stella Lohman, Louis and John Vidunas, and Miss Anna Vidunas, all of Kingston; Also 11 grandchildren."

Apparently his liver became very bad the last few days of his life.  He may have consumed alcohol, although one can get cirrhosis from other diseases.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Miscellaneous Vidunas stuff

Mary Vidunas Yorski with
Joseph and Lois Howell Vidunas,
1940s Kingston PA

This is a photograph of Joseph A. Vidunas with his mother Mary Vidunas Yorski and his wife Lois Howell Vidunas.  I wonder, is this a different set of insignia on his uniform?

I suspect the photographer is Louis A. Vidunas, his brother for a couple of reasons.  The photographer is a man, as evidenced by the shadow of a man's hat; and this photograph is owned by Joseph's grand nephew, Louis Vidunas III.

As far as I know, my dad has never seen this photograph of his parents.

Postcard of the Panama Canal from
Joseph to his brother Louis A. Vidunas, 1932

Back of the postcard of the Panama Canal from Joseph
This is the front of a postcard sent from Joseph on arrival at the Canal Zone in 1932.  What this tells me is that when Joseph was shipped to the Canal Zone because of the attack on Pearl Harbour, it was not his first trip.

Here, he writes
"Breezed in this afternoon.  I've got about 8 Atlas Beers under my belt and I'm going round for more.  Hot as h--l. Wish you were here.  Joe."

Postcard is owned by Louis' grandson, Louis Vidunas III.

SS Patricia,August Vidunas arrived 1901

These images are from the Ellis Island site.  The first one is a postcard of four sister ships, including the SS Patricia.  August arrived on this ship in 1901

SS Patricia Promenade Deck

This is a photograph of the promenade deck of all four sister ships.  Did August Vidunas walk these wooden planks?  How crowded was it?  Was it cold?  Did he get sick?

Naturalization for Andrew Yorski 1914

In his declaration of intent for Andrew Yorski to become a legal, naturalized citizen, he reports that he is 26 years old, a miner with fair complextion and black hair, brown eyes, and a scar and coal marks marring his face.  He is of average build, 5'10" and 195 pounds.  He was born in Cahy Slaszy Poland.  It is written as Russia Poland because it was considered property of Russia at the time.

His address is 38 Penn Street in Kingston, that he left Hamburg Germany but cannot remember the ship he sailed on, arriving at New York 15th May 1903.  The Czar of Russia then was Nicolas II.

I love to see the real signatures of my ancestors, and although he is related by marriage, he is still important, and this appears to be his true signature.  Sometimes the clerk will sign for the applicant, but this looks like the real deal.

Veteran's Compensation Andrew Yorski 1934

On this Veteran's Compensation application, we see that Andrew Yorski was in the Army for a grand total of six months.  That's a very short time, but I'm sure he was very glad to be done with it.

Death Certificate 1946 for Andrew Yorski
This is the death certificate for Andrew Yorski, also spelled Yarski.  He died at Moses Taylor hospital in Scranton, Lackawanna County PA.  he lived at 20 Penn Street, Kingston, Luzerne, PA.  His wife, born 1887, died before he did.  He was only 59 years old at the time he died.  His occupation was laborer.

Step daughter Anne Vidunas (who seems to not be married at this time) was a nurse who cared for her mother before she died, did she care for Andrew?  She gave the information for the certificate, and she also lived at 20 Penn Street in Kingston.  Andrew died at 9am on the 7th of October, 1946.  He died of Cirrhosis of the Liver.  In parenthesis is the word "Biliary" and I think this is another name for the condition.

Andrew is buried in Pringle Cemetery, Luzerne County, PA.  The funeral director looks like William A. Shukwictus, 232 Zerby Avenue, Kingston PA.  This address is the funeral home across the street from the church.