Monday, August 8, 2016
The Only Family in the Entire Country
If Anna Gramlewicz became the only one in her entire family opting to remain in the United States, what became of her after her family left in 1912? After all, even though her sister Helen returned from Poland in 1920, insisting that she was going to stay here in the land of her birth, I found nary a sign showing that she followed through on that intention. The only one of the Gramlewicz family I could find, year after year, in census records, newspaper reports and city directories, was Anna.
Anna, like many girls of that era, was married at a fairly young age—nineteen. Her fiance was the twenty three year old son of Polish immigrants Alexander and Mary Jablonski. Like my own paternal grandfather, Vincent Jablonski was a machinist at a print shop in New York City, from the time he married Anna in 1916 up until the point of his early death in 1943.
Vincent and Anna had two children. The oldest they named Irene Martha. She was followed by a son who, depending on which record you believe, was named Henry or Zenon. Lest you presume that Zenon was Henry's middle name, it was more likely one named after his father—Vincent—for in his burial records (as in his military records), he was listed as Henry V. Jablonski.
I know very little about Henry, other than that, as had his dad, he died relatively young—at age fifty six in 1975. Thanks to an announcement of their engagement in the Long Island City Star Journal in 1943, I learned that Staff Sergeant Henry V. Jablonski was to become the husband of his high school sweetheart, Harriet Pardon. However, considering this was still in the midst of war years, I have no idea when—or even if—the wedding took place, and whether the couple ever had any children.
Society pages being the favored realm of the fairer sex, it was no surprise that Henry's sister merited a larger spread in the society page than he had enjoyed. Irene's wedding announcement in the Long Island Daily Press may have been modest, but a becoming photograph accompanied her engagement announcement in the Daily Press on October 3, 1940.
Irene's intended was Benjamin McLarty, of which very little was mentioned in the society reports—other than that his mother was Mrs. August Reisdorf. Since the wedding occurred October 12, 1940—far past the date for the 1940 enumeration—I'll have to await the release of the 1950 census before I can tell anything of the newlywed McLarty's family. The only thing I know beyond that, I gleaned from Irene McLarty's obituary in 1999, which mentioned one lone daughter, Veronica, and two grandchildren. Apparently, just as had befallen her own father and brother, Irene's husband had also died young—at age forty nine in 1961—so it was a very little family left to her, indeed.
Such was all that I could find on Anna Gramlewicz's legacy here in the States. After the death of her husband, her son-in-law, and then her son, Anna herself passed away in New York City in 1976. With her passing likely ended those letters sent across the ocean to her family who had returned to Poland.
It doesn't, however, end the story of our quest, for there are several more questions burning in my mind about the Gramlewicz story. Uppermost in my mind, of course, is to find out where, exactly, it was that the family returned to when they returned to Poland in 1912. Along with that answer, of course, comes many more details which, in their own turn, engender more questions. But before we can turn our attention to those, there is one more detail that I need to discuss about Anna, herself: the fact that she, too, had returned from Poland to America.
Above: The Brooklyn Bridge, circa 1895, as captured by amateur photographer Edgar S. Thomson; courtesy Wikipedia; in the public domain.