Thursday, April 2, 2015

Fast Forward to the Future

Suddenly, with one find on a census record, the pursuit of genealogical information switches from being a study of the past to a paper chase into the future. If—and that is a big IF—we have found the correct Michael and Mary Lasko, we now have the key to press our way forward and find their descendants.

We’ve already gotten our first toe-hold in the data by locating the couple’s sons’ names in the 1920 census: Albert and Wilbur. We have an idea of their approximate dates of birth—Albert in 1910, Wilbur in 1912. With the vast amount of data accessible online—starting first with and, then branching out from those points—it shouldn’t be too difficult to determine what might have become of those two cousins of my father.

All that hinges on some tenuous presumptions, however. First, that Michael really did change his name to Lasko. Second, that a family member’s recollection that Michael’s wife’s name was “Mayme” was correct. Third, that Mayme really was a nickname for Mary. And finally, that the apparent holes in New York City documentation of its residents did not swallow the true subjects of our pursuit.

Keeping those many caveats in mind, I wasted no time in getting started. Since he was the oldest, I first traced Albert as far as I could go—which was to a possible marriage showing in the 1940 census. Then...nothing—unless, of course, both he and this possible wife moved from the New York City metro area to a new home in Maryland. Whether it was our Albert who married Mildred and headed for Columbia in Howard County is yet to be determined. After that census paper trail stops at 1940, other avenues must replace their utility.

Younger brother Wilbur Lasko seemed to stay closer to home, by the records I was able to locate. He did, however, have his challenges—judging by a record of enlistment in the Army during World War II. He was, incidentally, married by that point in 1942.

Though I wasn’t able—yet—to find out more about Wilbur, there is one thing that stands out about him: unlike many of my other New York relatives, this distant cousin’s obituary made it into The New York Times. At least, that’s according to the “Historical Newspapers, Birth, Marriage & Death Announcements 1851-2003” collection housed in the files.

I was elated to find this little gem. Of course, that’s provided this is about our Lasko descendant—remember that big “IF” of Damocles hanging over our researching heads. With the power of convenient discovery, we still do have the responsibility to not perpetuate genealogical error in our reports.

But if it is, this simple obituary provides just enough detail to both confirm he is the one related to Mary and Albert, and that he was married and had a son of his own.

LASKO--Wilbur G., of Merrick, on Dec. 8, 1969, beloved husband of Ruth, father of Richard, son of Mary and brother of Albert. Funeral from N. F. Walker Funeral Home, 2039 Merrick Ave., Merrick, L. I. Services at St. John's Lutheran Church of Merrick, Wednesday, 10 A.M. Interment Maple Grove Cemetery. Memorials to St. John's Lutheran Church of Merrick appreciated.


  1. Doing what I do at Forgotten Old Photos - I peeked at Merrick, NY to see if there were any Lasko's living there... and the names of people living there today echo those found in the obit... Ruth, Micheal, and so on ... I'd bet the farm they are offspring of Wilbur and Ruth... just have to get past that IF this Wilbur is your cousin or not.. :)

    1. Now, that's an interesting possibility! Once I make sure we are on the right track, I'll have to go back and check that out.

      Long Island--the land of perpetual suburbs--is an interesting place. Unlike much of the rest of the country, there is not such a well-defined "Sense of Place." I remember, as a child, riding with my family along Merrick Road, on which one can go--from stoplight to stoplight--nearly the entire length of the island. The towns morph into and out of consciousness in monotonous progression. It is not the kind of place with "place" loyalties that proclaim, "Once a Merrick resident, always a Merrick resident!" People used to move about from village to village with hardly a thought as to the difference between towns.

      With that in mind, I'm quite surprised to learn that there are still Laskos there. I wonder...what are the chances???

  2. has Wilbur and Ruth's wedding engagement announcement.

    "Miss Ruth Louise Plocher, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Plocher of Rldgewood, and Boonton, N. J., and Wilbur G. Lasko are engaged to be married. The announcement was made on Feb. 12. the 22d wedding anniversary of Miss Plocher's parents. The bride-to-be, a member of Gamma Pi Delta Sorority, Is a graduate of Pratt Institute. Her fiance, son of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Lasko, is affiliated with the Texas Oil Company."

    1. Oh, Iggy, thank you so much for finding that. While I'm not a subscriber to, I did see the announcement was printed in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. If I remember correctly, there is at least one other free resource that includes that collection.

      Guess I better go back and dust off my old list of NYC references!

  3. Seems Iggy is hot on the trail too, you might have cousins soon:)

    1. Iggy can find anything--and anyone! I wouldn't be surprised!


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