Gleaning the minute details from newspaper articles can provide hints about those mystery ancestors we’re chasing. With persistence, we can sometimes piece together a story that would otherwise be lost to Time. Those details may include the glue to stick each fact to the others in the family constellation, yet still leave us wondering how—or if—that immediate family belongs to the extended family that is ours.
Right now, that’s how I’ve been left feeling. As I pore through announcements in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle—for free, thankfully, courtesy of the New York Public Library’s portal—I begin to see details that confirm the connection between my grandmother’s nephew, Wilbur G. Lasko, his brother, and his father. What I’m still lacking is confirmation that this Wilbur, Albert and Michael connect with Sophie.
Sometimes, it’s “slow and steady” that wins the prize in the genealogy race—not that I’m saying genealogy is a race, but bear with the analogy—so I’ll obviously keep plugging away at this task. One thing to do, instead of caving to that sense of being bogged down in the details, is to take encouragement at each little research victory.
Yesterday, we observed that Wilbur’s bride-to-be and his future in-laws had placed the proper engagement announcement in the local newspaper. That was in the Eagle’s February 17, 1941, edition. But when was the wedding?
To find the answer to that question, the library’s search engine conveniently directs us to an insertion in the Eagle on page three of the September 20 edition of that same year. The three paragraph entry—similar in length to some reports, but longer than others—contained the usual fluff one would expect in a wedding announcement. The names of each set of parents were listed—discreetly yet maddeningly omitting any mention of the mothers’ given names—along with their addresses.
In addition, this article reveals the middle name of Miss Ruth Louise Plocher’s fiancé: Wilbur’s middle name was George. Not only that, but we find confirmation that Wilbur’s brother—the best man—was Albert. Things are beginning to look like we have the right family.
These are all little steps in the overall progress, though. There are still other questions. One, for instance, might be about the choice of church location for the ceremony. If this Wilbur is really our Michael’s son—child of a Polish immigrant—one would presume that the church of choice would rather have been the local Catholic Church. Yet it is a Baptist Church. Had the Laskos not only given up their original surname—Laskowski—in favor of a new, more American-sounding appellation, but forsaken their ancestral religious traditions, as well?
Or—just like the hotel chosen for the reception—was this yet another token of coming up in the world? The Hotel Granada—if this is the one meant in the wedding announcement—was opened in Brooklyn in 1927 as host to a festive stream of galas. Apparently located near the Pratt Institute where Wilbur’s bride had recently graduated, the Hotel Granada’s elegant ambience later slid into a gradual decline over the years, ironically becoming incorporated into the Institute’s own dorm system at one point. At the tail end of its sad demise, along with much of the rest of Brooklyn of that era, the hotel became home to the down and out, the poorest of the poor—as was recounted in one blog post about the Hotel Granada here.
By that point, of course, just as had so many others who once called Brooklyn their home, Wilbur and his bride were long removed from the area.
Miss Ruth Louise Plocher, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Plocher of 2050 Gates Ave., Ridgewood, became the bride of Wilbur George Lasko, son of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Lasko of 6136 Palmetto St., Ridgewood, on Sept. 13 at the Emmanuel Baptist Church. The Rev. Wayland Zwayer, pastor of the church, officiated. A reception followed at the Hotel Granada.The bride’s father gave her in marriage. Miss Grace Plocher, sister of the bride, was maid of honor. The attendants were Mrs. Ruth Jung of Glendale and Miss Ann Frese of Williston Park. Albert Lasko of Floral Park, brother of the bridegroom, was best man. The ushers were Robert Balzer of Franklin Square and John McCusker of Woodhaven, cousin of the bride.After a trip through New England the bride and bridegroom will reside in Richmond Hill.