This is a photograph that was saved by my family, but for a long time the pretty woman’s identity was a mystery. The man seems to have military bearing and looks very distinguished. One piece of good luck was that there was writing on the back, and my sister and I used that for our starting point doing background research. Shown above are Joseph and Julia Mirota Bozicevic, possibly around the time they married in 1913. It took a lot of research to reach the point where my sister and I positively identified this woman as our great-aunt.
Our first clue was that the man most likely was Joe Bozicevic (as seen on the back of the picture), but none of our relatives remembered anyone by this last name. In May of 2001, my sister and I had gone to New York City to do genealogy research at the New York Public Library and we came across a record for a Julia Mirota in the New York Passenger Lists, 1820 – 1957 Index File. We couldn’t find the actual record, because we ran out of time. The next day my sister checked the Ellis Island record database online and found the record. Julia’s record showed her arrival at Ellis Island on 24 June 1912 and that she was going to her brother, Jozef Mirota of Cherry Valley, PA. That was our grandfather! She was 32 years old and single and had sailed on the SS Rotterdam. Next of kin in Pławna, Galicia, was her mother, Malgorrota Mirota. Julia was born around 1880 and her mother was still alive in 1912! We were busting through our brick walls!
Time to do more research. My sister ordered the LDS (Morman) microfilms for the Roman Catholic church records for Pławna, Poland in October of 2001, and spent lots of time searching through the records. The records were in Latin and hard to read. In the LDS microfilm #2064571 she found the baptism of Jozef Mirota in 1882. Also, the marriage of Jacob Mirota to Margaretha Tabis in 1863, at Zborowice (around 1 mile from Pławna ).
She called every time she hit pay dirt, and later found that Julia was born on the 15th of September in 1879. In a brilliant leap of deduction, my sister ordered the microfilms for the Allegheny, PA Marriage Index Records for women with the surname beginning with M, to see if Julia Mirota was married after she arrived in 1912. When the microfilms arrived at her local Family Search Center, she found that there were two marriage licenses issued in 1913 for Julia Mirota! The first one was to Mytro Tunasits, and then later in the same year another one was issued to marry a Jozef Bozicevic!!! We had solved the mystery woman’s identity in our photograph!
Then, my sister sent a letter to the County of Allegheny, in Pittsburgh, PA for a search in the Marriage Record Index of 1913. In January of 2002 she received a letter back with information showing the first marriage to Mytro Tunasits didn’t go through, but the second one to Joseph Bozicevic did. The application for the marriage license showed it was filed on 14 November 1913, Docket 87, and the license cost one dollar. They were married on the 17th of November at the Roman Catholic Church of St. Peter and Paul, in Cherry Valley, Washington County, PA. The marriage license statement included that Julia’s mother’s name was Margarite Tabisz, and that her father, Jacub Mirota, was deceased. Jozef Bozicevic was a coal miner living in Cherry Valley, born in Croatia, Austria, 33 years old, and his parents were Michael and Lucia Bozicevic.
Next research trip was to the National Archives in Philadelphia, and we looked up the World War I Draft Registration records for Washington County, PA. We found Joseph Bozicevic’s record, and we also found at that time he was still living at Box 81, Joffre, PA with his wife, Julia. My sister and I had found a new branch on our family tree – Great Aunt Julia Mirota Bozicevic.
Here’s a copy of the record that can now be found under this database: Ancestry.com. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005. Joe Bozicevic’s signature looks the same as the one on the back of our photo.