Thursday, June 9, 2011

suicide, abandoned children, & name changes, Oh My!

So while I was doing research on my dad's father's side of the family, the Panfil's, I figured I would also include looking into my dad's father's mother's side of the family, the Opalinski's.  Pauline Opalinski was born in Poland in 1902 and married my great grandfather Victor Panfil, my father used to call her Nana so from here on out that's what I will refer to her as to keep it simple.  Now I had always hear that Nana's parents were maybe a little crazy, and her family had some issues, but never knew what they were.

Now since my grandfather died when I was 10 I only have my 88 year old grandmother to ask questions to and she doesn't always know the answers because, lets face it, it's not totally her family.  Between her and my dad neither really knew what Nana's parents names were but the information I had was that she had 2 younger siblings, Lillian & Raymond.  At the time I did not yet have an membership so I relied on my website for all the information I was looking for.  I eventually found a census record for Nana and her family & came to discover her parents names were Stanley & Katherine (Catherine).  Upon further investigation I found the death certificates of both Nana's parents & was handed a bombshell.  I had heard from my grandmother that Nana's parents had died when she was young, but I had no idea what I had just stumbled on.  Turns out Nana's parents committed suicide within 7 months of each other.  In May of 1920 when her mother died Nana was just 18 years old and had been left behind with Raymond, 14, and Lillian, just 9 years old.

Now the 1920 census was compiled before Nana's mother Catherine committed suicide so she was still listed with the all the kids.  What my question was then was; what happened to the children?  What I do know is that Nana married my great grandfather Victor in 1921 and my grandfather was born in 1922.  I have Nana & Victor in 1930 living with their 2 children & no one else.  So my question then was, what happened to Raymond & Lillian.  I knew from Nana's father, Stanley's, death certificate that he had a brother named Anton so I looked for him.  I found him as well as his wife and 3 daughters, but no sign of Nana's siblings.  I then found another brother names Waclaw (Walter) and again found no signs of Nana's siblings.  I finally started using ancestry and made contact with a woman, Ann, who is a descendant of one of Anton (Anthony)'s daughters and we have been communicating back & forth and have still yet to come up with any solution to our, now mutual, dilemma.

Now it starts to get weird.  Grandma one day remember that Raymond's real name had been Roman & he actually  had changed his name from Roman Opalinski to Raymond Ormond, but no one seems to know why.  I have not determined whether Raymond and Lillian were adopted and am not sure how to go about figuring that out.  Ann has the world subscription to ancestry so she did some more digging and found records for a Raymond Ormond that traveled to Canada in 1933 to work and live there.  She also managed to get the social security applications for both Lillian and Raymond and found something pretty interesting.  Lillian's checked out to be everything we thought it would be, had her last name listed at Opalinski & had the correct names of both her parents as well as stating that she was married to a Patrick Ryan.  Now Raymond's was a totally different story.

His actually lists his name change as we thought, but instead of listing his parents as Stanley Opalinski & Catherin Fedek, he has his father's last name as Ormond.  Now why he did this I suppose we will never know, but what posses a man to change his name & when filling out his social security application lie & falsify his own father's last name

If only I could figure out a way to answer all of these questions & figure out what was going on with the Opalinski family.

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