This photograph is of Jozef Peter Mirota (1882-1961), born in Pławna, Poland, and is from when he was a young man in the military in Poland. He looks so handsome and distinguished. The surname Mirota is not a common Polish name. Here at Genealogy Sisters we have traced our Mirota surname back to a Jan Mirota born in Pławna about 1725. Jozef Peter Mirota sailed to Ellis Island out of Hamburg, Germany on 10 November 1906, arriving in New York City on 23 November, on the steamship Patricia, from the Hamburg-Amerika Line. He was the son of Jacob and Margaretha Tabis Mirota. This photograph was most likely taken between 1900 and 1906 in Poland.
When Jozef Mirota arrived in Washington County, Pennsylvania, he found work in the local coal mines. He married Zofia Szczerba in 1909, and they had four children: Genevieve, Stephen, Mary, and Joseph, Jr. In 1920 the family moved to a farm in Readington Township, Hunterdon County, New Jersey, where he found work at the Jersey Central Railroad. The entire family helped out on their farm, even after the children were grown and married.
The roots of the name “Mirota” mean peasant farmer. The surname Mirota is listed 469 times in this directory, published in 2002. “Dictionary of Surnames in Current Use in Poland at the Beginning of the 21st Century”, Krakow-Chicago, 2002. Compiled by Kazimierz Rymut, Published by the Polish Academy of Sciences Polish Language Institute, Polish Genealogical Society of America.
According to researcher Andre Szczerba, Jozef Mirota would have been conscripted into the Austrian Army’s 3rd Battalion of the 20th Infantry Regiment, based on his residency in Pławna, and the details on his uniform in the photo. Andre also shared with us the image, seen below, of the 20th Infantry Regiment. The area of Poland that the Mirota family lived in when Jozef Mirota was young was called Galicia, and it was was occupied by the Austro-Hungarian Empire between 1772-1918.
The Mirota family was always very proud of their Polish roots, and the children spoke Polish at home. Here below are two photos of the Mirota daughters shown wearing Polish traditional costumes from the Małopolskie region. The first picture is of Mary Mirota (1913-1969), and the second is of Genevieve Mirota Lubas (1909-1978). Genevieve married Theodore Lubas in 1934. Mary Mirota married James Doran in 1948. The picture of Genevieve was taken at their family farm, and has the date 1937 on the back. The Krakow style women’s vest shows the embroidery and sequins which was usually hand sewn. The skirt is floral, and has the apron and white cotton shirt traditional worn for festive celebrations such as weddings, dances, and other special occasions. My sister, Veronica, and I think it could be the same costume shared by both sisters. We don’t have a clue if this was made by the sisters, their mother, bought locally, or sent to the Mirota family from relatives back in Poland.
This photo of Joseph Mirota, Jr., below was taken at Fort Bliss, Texas while he served during World War Two, and is dated December 1942. He enlisted 22 August 1942 and served for the duration of the war until 8 January 1946, when he received his honorable discharge from the 10th Special Service Company of the U.S. Army. Corporal Joseph Mirota received the Philippine Liberation Ribbon, the Asiatic-Pacific Theatre Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal and the World War II Victory Medal. He married Stefania Mosch Mitak in 1948.
Looking at the other names that I’ve mentioned in this blog posting in the “Dictionary of Surnames in Current Use in Poland at the Beginning of the 21st Century” published in 2002, are the relatively current Polish residents sharing the same surnames: Szcerba – 7,785; Lubas – 1851; Pucilowski – 498; Mitak – 239; Tabis – 41; Tabiś – 914; and even the Irish surname Doran – 1.
Surname Saturday is a blog prompt suggested by GeneaBloogers. Many thanks to all that have shared research with us here at Genealogy Sisters. Special thanks to Cousin Andre Sczerba for his continual sharing of genealogy information. He has a website that can be accessed by clicking on this link: http://familytreemaker.genealogy.com/users/s/z/c/Andre-P-Szczerba/