George Leo Rak
George Leo Rak was born on 19 May 1883 in Zülz, Silesia, Prussia, Germany. You will not find Zülz on any modern maps however as the town is now in Poland and has its Polish name, Biala. Germany has always been made up of states and before 1945 Prussia was its largest state. Prussia was so large in fact that it was divided into Provinces and Zülz was a city located in the Province of Silesia. After WWII the region was transferred to Poland.
In 1909, when he was 25, George married Paula Ziglinski and shortly after on 06 Oct 1910 their first child, Walter Leo was born.
On 01 Jun 1912 George, Paula, and young Walter boarded the ship Willehad in Hamburg, Germany where they would arrive in Quebec, Canada two weeks later. A few years earlier, in 1904, Paula’s brother Frederick (Fred) had already come to North America, first arriving in New York and eventually settling in Lake Thelma, Alberta. This is where George and Paula would follow and settle for a few years.
According to the 1916 Canadian census, George and Paula would have three more children while in Alberta. Rose was born on 02 Oct 1912; Werner was born in 1915 and John was born in 1916. In 1924 the family moved to Oregon. Because she is not shown on the immigration documentation, I assume that Werner passed away before they moved.
George and Paula settled outside of Aumsville, Oregon where they owned and operated a farm. He died on 16 May 1961 in Sublimity just 3 days before his 78th birthday. Four weeks before he passed away, he and Paula had entered Marian Home, a home for the elderly and ill. Services were held at the Shaw Catholic Church and he is buried at St. Mary Catholic Cemetery in Stayton, Oregon.
I am back from the dead! Or, at least I am feeling mentally capable of writing after two weeks of battling bronchitis. Now, I can finally return to my goals! Everything hit a brick wall when I got sick; I had been so motivated to make headway on business start-up, family history and blog writing, and delving into research with the History of Ozark County tome I received through Inter-library Loan. But, alas, very little of that happened. However, the return of my consciousness coincides perfectly with the Armchair Genealogist‘s Family History Writing Challenge. My goal for the month is to write 250 words a day of family history. 250 words is not much, but doing it everyday will be the challenge. I plan to post my progress here a few times a week, so follow me along in this challenge!
I have found a lot of WWII draft registration cards for my relatives. The strange thing about this, however, is that all of them were too old to serve in 1942. Then I learned about the “Old Man’s Draft”. In 1942 the selective service instituted a “Fourth Registration” to the draft. The men this was targeting were not for service in the military, but for those who could help out on the Home Front.
These Registration cards have truly been invaluable to my research. The main reason – the records are first hand sources. Each record is coming straight from the man that filled the card out, not a census taker that can’t get the spelling of a last name right. Granted, due to their age, sometimes the card might be victim to bad memory.
Another thing that is really neat about these records is they serve as a snapshot of the person. There is a section for the draft board to list the description including their height, weight, hair color, eye color, and any abnormalities.
Below are three records of my ancestors (click to see larger images):
John Bernard Marchel – Maternal Great-great Grandfather
Edward Morrison Kline, Sr. – Maternal Great-great Grandfather
George Leo Rak – Paternal Great-great Grandfather
I have been slowly learning and working with Photoshop for a few years now, though its mostly been for personal enjoyment as a photographer in Second Life. But now that I have decided to take Genealogy research to the professional level, I find myself also wanting to use my experiences with digital imaging to retouch and restore some of the photographs I have been scanning over the past few months. I hope to offer scanning and retouching old photos as a service in the future, but I’m still “practicing” — learning how to use the techniques I already know for a different purpose.
About a month and a half ago I came across a photo that I absolutely loved of my mother and her siblings, but it had been stained and bent, and had faded a fair amount.
I finally got around to editing the photo the other day and I was very pleased (okay, to be honest, I was giddy with excitement) at how it turned out. I still need more practice, especially with other types damage and color casts – but for now, I am very happy with where I am.
The interesting thing about writing this blog is while I write, I am able to find holes in my research. On my last post about Jacob Carroll I found a fairly significant discrepancy with his date of death. My data had said he died in 1935 but his gravestone said 1936. So I made a note to follow up on this. My source for 1935 was a short biography that was possibly his obituary. I found it in my grandma’s belongings with the old pictures that had been my great-grandmothers. It had been re-typed and laminated and no source information given. It was something that was likely made by a family member for remembrance, not genealogy and I began to doubt the information when I saw the gravestone.
However, the Missouri Digital Heritage website has a large collection of digitized documents. There aren’t a lot of my family, but as if a stroke of luck, Jake Carroll’s Death Certificate is there. It clearly states 1935 as the year he died, so this family document was right, and the date etched in the headstone was incorrect.