When I started my little family history project two months ago, I could only name two great-grandparents. Now I can finally identify all eight.
The last holdout was a great-grandmother on my father’s side, the mother of my grandfather Alex Kowal. I had my grandparents’ 1916 marriage certificate but the name of the groom’s mother wasn’t easy to decipher.
Was her name Wasylia Gyril? That didn’t sound right. So I went down to the New York City Department of Records and located my grandparents’ marriage license. That turned out to be much easier to read: my great-grandmother was Wasylia Chypil (probably written as Czypil on the marriage certificate).
I googled “Chypil” and didn’t find much. But I know that “y” in the Cyrillic alphabet is more like “u” so I googled “Chupil” too. That turns out to be a pretty common Ukrainian last name so they’re you have it.
So these are my eight great-grandparents:
- Philemon (or Felemon) Kowal and Wasylia Chypil Kowal who lived, I think, in Kharucha Vel’ka in the Volhynia region of Ukraine (now Riven’ska oblast);
- Jozef Bosakowski and Maria Buczna Bosakowska who lived in Zalozce, Austria (now Zaliztsi, Ukraine);
- Jacob Agin and Tillie Miller Agin who lived in Kingston, New Jersey (Tillie was an immigrant from Germany but I don’t know her exact place of birth); and
- Andrew and Mary Sabol who were immigrants from Slovakia (again, I don’t know the exact place of birth) who met and married in Raritan, New Jersey, where they raised a family.
I’ll write more about each of these couples in the next few weeks.