Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Lithuanian Immigrant Story

This is photo of Antanas Skrabulis, my immigrant ancestor. The story of my immigrant ancestor is the story of 4 brothers and 3 sisters. As a child, I was told that my grandfather Antanas Skrabulis came to the United States to avoid serving in the Russian army. Antanas arrived in Baltimore on 9 June 1904. He was going to join his brother Josef in Munson Station, PA.

The other 2 brothers, Stanislas and William, and a sister, Antanina, also came to the United States. Their sisters Marie and Ludwiga stayed in Lithuania. Here is a photo of Stanislas.

In 1910 Antanas and Stanislas were living in Clinton County, IL, working as coal miners. My grandfather settled there and worked in the coal mines until he died in 1947. His brother William and sister Antanina both got married and settled in Lake County, IN. My mom said that the other 2 brothers, Stanislas and Josef, returned to Lithuania, where they had left families behind. Mom was told that Josef was killed by robbers on his way home to Lithania. Antanas read in the newspaper that his brother Stanislas was killed by the Russians and his family taken to Siberia. A daughter of Stanislas named Emily came to America and settled in Ohio. My mom had photos of Emily and of her father Stanislas. But the children and grandchildren of Antanas lost touch with their relatives in Europe after World War II.

However, that was not the end of the story. Over 50 years later, a cousin of mine visited Lithuania. Before he went, he gathered information from me and some other cousins. I gave him copies of the photos of Stanislas and his daughter Emily. We looked at the information he gathered, and decided that he should visit the "address bureau" while in Vilnius to see if anyone with our Skrobul surname still lived in Antanas' home town. At the address bureau my cousin was given a phone number of a Skrobul family. He called, and was lucky enough to find someone who spoke English. They arranged to meet. When they met and compared notes, they confirmed that we were related. In fact, our new cousin recognized the photos of Stanislas and Emily, which she had seen copies of too. So, after 50 years and 2 world wars, 2 sides of the Skrabulis family are reconnected.

No comments: