Friday, August 18, 2017

Family Friday -- Charles Otto Vidunas 1949-2006

Charles Otto Vidunas is the only child of William and Mary Neely Vidunas.  His accomplishments during his life are amazing, to say the least.  More so because he was blind.  When I re-started my ancestry search using the internet, I kept coming across this name.  He intrigued me from the start.

The preamble to a story run in the Indiana Gazette in 1979 is a good beginning to this story.
Perhaps we sighted people inadvertently form a mental picture of a "blind" person.  But to get the true impression, read Tom P. Mittelhouser's story on Chuck Vidunas, employee cafeteria manager at the Indiana Season-all plant.
Vidunas' outlook on life and his mastery of recreational and other goals supposedly reserved solely for the sighted is a fresh approach to our problems, big or small.  -- (, 1979)


Chuck Vidunas and co-worker at Season-all's Employee Cafeteria
(, 1979, p. 27)
Chuck isn't just the worker-bee, here, he is the manager.  His attitude about it is "Hey, I'm just like you -- I just can't see, that's all!"  He is not only a successful business manager, but also one of the best blind chess players in America, an accomplished computer programmer, certified technician in CPR; a better-than-average bowler.  You know what?  That's not the same as me, at all!  I can't claim any of those things other than CPR.

Apparently, he's been blind since birth with some sort of retinal degeneration which was only going to get worse as he got older.  He was born 1949 in Pittsburgh.  Oops, that shows that I should actually read these articles before I spout off.  He was one of eleven children, not the only one as I originally thought.  His dad William worked as a meat-cutter during tough times.  His mother was devoutly faithful, and she took him to a healing service at about age 4 or 5.  At the moment the healer announced that there was a young boy with an eye problem, he turned around to his mother with astonishment, saying "Mommy, my eyes are burning!"  Turns out, the retinal degeneration stopped getting worse, and as of 1979 the doctors still are unable to explain the remission.  He had a small amount of vision left for which he was very grateful (, 1979, p. 27)

Juvenile Macular Degeneration

This condition is inherited, and is sometimes called macular dystrophy.  The macula is a light-sensitive part of the retina responsible for central vision, allowing for fine details.  It is caused by one of three disorders, all of which share similar characteristics, all are rare, and as of 2017 there is still no treatment to prevent vision loss. -- (Boyd, 2015)

He was at the Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children from age 5 to 17 or 18.  During this time, he played in varsity wrestling, was President of the Key Club, and he became a champion chess player.  

Hey, you're only handicapped if you feel you are.  -- Chuck Vidunas, (, 1979)

After graduation, he became a qualified computer programmer.  After this, he learned food management at a business program for blind persons.  He started by managing several employee cafeterias in several Pennsylvania areas, but each one closed soon after that.  "They used to call me the Undertaker."  Finally, he was at the Campus Sportswear cafeteria for over a year, then found his "forever" home at Season-all.

Chuck Vidunas 1979 manager Employee Cafeteria
(, 1979, p. 27)
His biggest challenge was when a new plant employee would show up in the cafeteria for some coffee, and had a hard time when Chuck gave out change for a single buck when he paid with a 10$ bill.
Sure, I can't see very well, but I know and understand people.  maybe I can see other people better than they think I can.  -- Chuck Vidunas, (, 1979, p. 27)


Charles Vidunas installed as President of the White Township Lions Club
(, 1989, p. 16)


Chuck Vidunas, outgoing Lion's Club President 1990
(, 1990, p. 6)


Charles Vidunas in weight loss campaign 1996
.  (, 1996, p. 4)
Charles participated in this program, a fund-raiser targeted to sighted people so they can raise money for the Indiana County Blind Association.  For 63 days participants work to lose weight, with sponsors paying a certain amount for each pound lost.  All proceeds benefit the blind and visually impaired.  This has been an annual event since 1986.


Charles Vidunas competes in National Blind Chess Players' Championship
(, 2000, p. 16)

In this championship, Charles played for three days of matches.  Players compete in divisions according to experience, with Chuck the winner for Class E.  People from all over the US participated, 18 legally blind players.  These players used specially designed chess boards and pieces to help them identify their pieces and their locations on the board 


(, 2007)


Boyd, K. (2015, October 14). What is Juvenile Macular Degeneration? Retrieved from Juvenile Macular Degeneration: (1979, January 13). Indiana Gazette (Indiana, Pennsylvania). Retrieved from (1989, June 13). Indiana Gazette (Indiana, Pennsylvania). Retrieved from (1990, June). Indiana Gazette (Indiana, Pennsylvania). Retrieved from date indexed as 3 October 1989 (1996, April 11). Indiana Gazette (Indiana, Pennsylvania). Retrieved from (2000, July 10). The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky). Retrieved from (2007, January 24). Indiana Gazette (Indiana, Pennsylvania). Retrieved from

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Obit Sunday -- Charles Vidunas 1949 - 2006

Chuck Vidunas series, part 1
mini pedigree from LifeStory

This is the first of a couple of posts on Charles Vidunas, done with permission of his wife, done as an homage to honour his life.  He was the only son of William and Mary Neely Vidunas.  I haven't found any connection to my own line, but I still suspect that all US Vidunas lines ARE connected.  There just aren't that many of us, after all.

We start with his headstone, and I'll let the newspaper notices say the rest.

Charles "Chuck" Vidunas gravestone 2006

Indiana Gazette (Indiana, Pennsylvania)
Sat, Dec 24, 1988 ·  Page 14
The CORRECT date on the newspaper is 14 July 2006,
not as it is indexed

Indiana Gazette (Indiana, Pennsylvania)
Indexed Sat, Dec 17, 1988 ·  Page 4
the CORRECT date is 8 July 2006 as noted on the newspaper,
not as it is indexed

Charles Vidunas Obituary
Indiana Gazette (Indiana, Pennsylvania) ·  Sat, Dec 17, 1988 ·  Page 4
(the CORRECT date is 8 July 2006)

Charles Vidunas, age 57, died Friday, 7 July 2006 after three months illness

He was born 24 January 1949, Pittsburgh's North Side, the son of William and Mary Neely Vidunas.

Mr Vidunas was a member of the First Church of God in Indiana, a former member of the White Township Lions Club, having served as president, a member of the United States Chess Federation, Untied States Blind Bowlers, Pennsylvania Blind Vendors Association, and a former coach for the Season-All softball team.

He was a graduate of the Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children in Pittsburgh, and Computer Systems Institute with a computer science degree, also in Pittsburgh.

Mr. Vidunas was self-employed as owner and operator of Indiana Sportswear Cafeteria for two years, and Season-All Cafeteria for 17 years.  Most recently, he owned and operated CV Vending in General United States Mail facilities in the North Side of Pittsburgh.

He was a loving husband, father and grandfather, who embraced life with zeal and lots of ambition.

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