Who Are These People?

Mrs. Carolyn Knowland Hyde is on the right looking down.

Mrs. Carolyn Knowland Hyde is on the right looking down. Taken at the New York World’s Fair, circa 1939. Photograph copyright by Genealogy Sisters, 2014.

In this photograph from about 1939, Mrs. Carolyn Hyde is on the right. With here are her daughter, Carolyne, and also her grandson, Bill.  The man holding the coat could possibly be Melville Hanna Haskell, Carolyne’s second husband. Whenever my family and I look at our old photographs our constant refrain is, “Who are these people?” Little by little we are solving some of our mystery “unknown” pictures. Earlier, I posted another photo from the day above, and explained how Mary Mirota had worked for Mrs. Hyde as a private secretary. I received some very interesting information on the Hyde family from two readers, Dede and Woollcott, and I want to extend my thanks!

The photo mystery below is stamped on the back, February 24, 1939, so it was taken around the time of the World’s Fair picture. The horse and rider look to be ready for a formal event.

LadyWithHorse1939We also have a sequence of photographs that show a baby named Carol. Although Mary worked as a mother’s helper in the 1930s for the Lydecker family, the women and baby are not from that family. Possibly Mary worked for, or with, these ladies since they aren’t in any other family pictures.

"June - 1944. Carol age - 8 months." Baby Carol is held by Mary Mirota.

“June – 1944. Carol age – 8 months.” Carol is held by Mary Mirota.

July 2, 1944 - Mary Mirota is holding baby Carol. The other women is unknown.

July 2, 1944 – Mary Mirota is holding baby Carol. The other woman is unknown.

July 2, 1944. Carol is being held by an unknown woman.

July 2, 1944. Carol is being held by an unknown woman.

Carol is shown below as a cute toddler riding her tricycle, in October of 1945.


“Carol, at the age of two. Taken in our back yard.”

Mary Mirota is second from the left, next to her friend, Agnes. Taken on June 25, 1944 - Sunday

Mary Mirota is second from the left, next to her friend, Agnes – June 25, 1944 – Sunday.

June 25, 1944 - Sunday - Taken by Mary Mirota.

June 25, 1944 – Sunday – Taken by Mary Mirota.

The last two pictures above could have been taken in Mary Mirota’s home town of Whitehouse Station, Hunterdon County, New Jersey. My family is quite sure that the lady in the center in the black dress was Mary’s friend, Mary Szurick Mazur. Her other friend, Agnes, would later marry Mary’s brother, Mike Szurick. But who are all the other people?

Any help with solving these photo mysteries will be very much appreciated. If you want to send a private message, please use the Genealogy Sisters Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/GenealogySisters and I will answer you there. As always, good luck with your family research!

Posted in Blogger, Family Names, Hyde, Maryann, Mirota, New Jersey, New York, Photography, Research, Travel | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Wedding Wednesday – Jozef Mirota and Zofia Szczerba – 1909


17 February 1909

This lovely photograph is from my Polish grandparents wedding, on 17 February 1909 at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church at Carnegie, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. As you can see at the top, it is still in the frame. It was hard to get a good photo of it without reflections.

Previously I have blogged about some of our family’s Polish wedding traditions. My grandmother is shown in her beautiful veil. Her parents were Piotr Szczerba and Apolonia Olszewski.

MirotaWeddingCMy grandfather was the son of Margaretha Tabis and Jacob Mirota. After being conscripted to serve in the Austrian Army once, he decided to come to America before he had to serve again. He worked in the coal mines of Washington County, Pennsylvania, before moving to New Jersey with his family.


My sister had sent to the County of Allegheny for the marriage record a few years back. The Office of the Register of Wills, Orphans’ Court, at Allegheny County, has marriage records dated from 1885 to the present.The certificate is below.

MirotaSzczerbaWedding1909BAlthough their homeland on the application below is lasted as Galicia, Austria, they were really from southern Poland. Galicia was under Austrian rule from 1772 – 1918. My grandparents came from small villages south of Tarnów. While doing research my sister and I found out that our grandparents had an arranged marriage, and only met each other two weeks before their wedding date. Seemingly they had a very happy marriage and were blessed with four children, and many grandchildren. They celebrated their 44th wedding anniversary before my grandmother’s death in 1953.

MirotaSzczerbaWedding1909Wedding Wednesday is a blogging prompt suggested by Geneabloggers. Good luck searching for your family’s wedding records!

Joseph and Sophia Szczerba Mirota, Copyright 20124, Genealogy Sisters

Joseph and Sophia Szczerba Mirota, Copyright 2014, Genealogy Sisters

Posted in Allegheny County, Blog Prompt Series, Blogger, Carnegie, Family Names, Marriage Records, Maryann, Mirota, Olszewski, Pennsylvania, Research, Sczcerba, Tabis, Wedding Wednesday | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Wedding Wednesday – William Hall and Sarah Tierney – 1861


Source: Ulster Historical Foundation, 49 Malone Road, Belfast, Northern Ireland

The wedding of my great-great-grandparents, William John Hall and Sarah Tierney, took place at Saint Anne’s Church of Ireland, on 13 May 1861. It is always so exciting to find family records from over one hundred fifty years ago! I have belonged to the Ulster Historical Foundation in Belfast for a number of years, and they are a great source for anyone with Northern Ireland roots. If you know the name of the church that your ancestors belonged to, you can also usually contact them for help. Saint Anne’s is now called the Cathedral Church of Saint Anne, and the staff will assist with genealogical searches, for a fee.

My family is very lucky in that my father’s first cousin, Sal Rafferty Mayer (1909-1998), typed up four pages of family history in the 1970s. Sal’s first name was Sarah – most likely named after Sarah Tierney, or Sarah Hall. Without this source, our searches would have taken much longer, especially with such a common surname as Hall. Below, is an excerpt of Sal’s research on our wedding couple. You can see some of what she had was wrong, but the basic facts are here, along with a few interesting personal notes.We now know our ancestor was William John Hall, but most likely he was remembered under his middle name of John. His wife was remembered as Sarah Toomey, or possibly Tiernan. From current family research we now know her last name was Tierney. The wedding record above had her name as Susan Tierney. It is always a good idea to search a broad range of names. You can click on any of the images to enlarge them.

From the research of Sal Rafferty Mayer on the Hall family.

From the research of Sal Rafferty Mayer on the Hall family.

Doing a search yesterday on Family Search, the website of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I found the record below about the marriage. Interestingly, now she is listed as Sarah Tierney.


William and Sarah Hall had at least seven children: Mary – 1864; Anne – 1865; Joseph – 1867; William John – 1867; Agnes – 1868; Elizabeth “Lizzie” – 1870; and Sarah – 1873. From cousin Sal’s research, it is possible that only four of the children lived to maturity. With the three year gap from the marriage to the first child, Mary (my great-grandmother), it is also possible that at least one other child may have died in infancy. Mary Hall married Bernard Doran in Belfast, in 1884.

Doing some more research on William and Sarah Hall, I now have their official death certificates from Northern Ireland. The family lived in West Belfast, at Springfield Row. In the 1800s this area was called Springfield Village. William’s occupation was still listed as “Baker” at his death, so the family information that he was a machinist seems wrong. William’s certificate was signed with the “X” of his widow Sarah Hall, and Sarah’s was signed by her daughter, Elizabeth. From their ages at death, and also at their marriage, most likely William Hall was born in 1837 and Sarah Tierney in 1841 [Source; Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency, Oxford House, 49-55 Chichester Street, Belfast, Northern Ireland BT1 4Hl. Death Certificates sent 7 July 1014].

WilliamHall1881SarahTierneyHall1890 Many thanks to second cousin Robin Rafferty Benish for sharing her family research, and for the excellent research of my sister, Veronica. Wedding Wednesday is a blogging prompt suggested by Geneabloggers. Good luck searching for your family marriage records!

Posted in Belfast, Blog Prompt Series, Doran, Hall, Marriage Records, Tierney, Wedding Wednesday | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment