Category Archives: Poray

Newberry Library, Chicago’s Family History Center

Today we had beautiful weather, a great day to be outside and enjoying the many sites Chicago has to offer. Instead, I opted for a day of research at Newberry Library. First and foremost, drivers beware, parking is costly! Parking meters are now $2.00 per hour with a 2 hour maximum. Local parking garage is $6 for the first half hour and $19 for 2-10 hours. So, if public transportation is an option I suggest taking it. Beware, the library does not allow any bags into the reading rooms. 

As you walk into this impressive building you are greeted by security. You must show your reading card and sign in. If you have any bags on you, security will promptly point you to lockers. Once you have signed in and passed security you follow the stairs to the second floor, which is where they house their genealogical materials. You must check in here with the librarian and he/she will assign you a desk to work at. Each desk seats four people, the staff does a great job at making sure they spread everyone out. It always seems like we are there alone!

The staff is overly helpful. I spent probably a good half hour with their historian today. I was seeking assistance with my Russian research, that I seem to ignore daily. My mother in law’s Grandfather was in the Russian White Army and came to the USA in 1916 (with his family). He was here working with the Russian Artillery Commission. You can read this previous post for information. I did learn today that once the Czar was overthrown the Russian Embassy began paying the salary of the Russians that ended up losing there salary due to this.  They were then given the job of assisting the Russians that were coming to the USA. The Embassy continued paying them until mid 1920’s. What I am trying to find is how Anatoly Porai Koshetz arrived in America, with his family. I have not been able to find any records through Ellis Island, either on Ancestry or Ellis Islands websites. My question was should I continue to look here or should I be looking in Russia. His suggestion was to continue with research in America. He believes something will surface. So for now, I will do that.

What I really want to share with you is the history of the collections in this building. As I stated earlier, this was not my first visit to the Newberry Library. Some of the books/folio’s we requested to look at today were very old, and in great condition. I want to tell you about my 3 favorite.

  1. First I browsed a book form the late 1800’s. The pages seemed to be made of cloth instead of paper. It had a very silk like feel to it. 
  2. I also looked over a few folio’s that were family tree’s, one from the 1800’s, it was the Royal lineage of England. I was in awe as I opened each flap of it. 
  3. Last another family tree folio which was also of the Royal families. This one was from the 1700’s. The tree itself went a few generations before “King Jesus” . 

They were all amazing to look through and honestly I feel privileged to have been able to hold and go through each one of these items. I appreciate the great job Newberry does in preserving history.

Besides the great conversation and research trips from the Historian, my research did not prove to be anything great today. I found a few marriage dates for some collateral lines. Found two ancestors in the DAR index. But that’s about it. 

I have one question for all of my fellow researchers that have their tree uploaded on Ancestry. How do you differentiate your direct line ancestors from your collateral lines? I know in some programs, such as Reunion you can “mark” these ancestors. I need some assistance as to how to make it easier to search my tree on Ancestry. My sister-in-law and I had a 20 minute conversation on the way home as to how we can make this more efficient. Any advice?


Saturday Night Fun – Surname Wordle

WWII Draft Registration records (Poray Family)

Not really a lot of information to report here. I did find Roman Poray’s WWII Draft registration card this week. 

Also found a possible directory listing for Anatoly Poray  in Lithuania in 1915. This is not definite, just a possibilty.

Fairfeild, CT GenWeb project

Since the reply from PPK in the previous post, I have emailed the administrator of the Fairfield County GenWeb project about finding Anatole in a cemetery. She has not had any luck and I have not found him on any of the web sites either. She has suggested trying to contact their vital records to see if I can find anything there. 

She did find them in the 1930 census, which I had problems finding the family. She did email all the information so that I could find the family. I do now have a copy of this record. 
Well, with help from PPK, we did prove that Anatole was in the Russian Military. Which is what I set out to do from the start. New goal is to see how far we can get this family tree back. We do know that Anatole’s father was Petrovich, no information on his mother at this point. 
Again, this will be a long process. I just hope it will be a successful one.

Where the Poray’s came from

I have also learned from my email to Russia that the Porai Koshits have 2 lines, 1 from St. Petersburg, Russia and the other is from Kiev, Ukraine. He did give me a name of a man doing research in Kiev. I have replied asking how to get ahold of this man, I cannot find anything on the internet to make contact. We do know that William did at one point live in Lugansk, which is now part of the Ukraine. Lugansk seems to be about 600+ km from Kiev. My assumption would be our link would be through the Kiev line. Hopefully, I will be able to make contact with this other Porai-Koshits and be able to continue with this search. 

I fear that this is going to be a hard line to research. The language barrier alone is going to make this difficult.  I did find the Russian Nobilty Association which will assist for $100 to do basic research in Russia. Then $25 per hour if we would like further research. 

The Americanizing of a name…

I have spent the last week doing some research on the Poray’s. Most of what I have found are the different variations of the name. When the family came to America, the name was Porai Koshitz. When Mary passed, it was Poray Koshetz. I have recently been in contact with a man from Russia who has given me the Russian variations of the name. They are…

Poray-Kochits – french in id passport
We also seemed to have Americanized the name Anatole from Anatoly. 
It seems that William dropped the Koshits from his name when he got married. Just need to find out when Porai changed to Poray?

Anatole Poray

My in law’s family has grown up listening to stories that their Great Grandfather Anatole Poray (Poray Koshetz (Koshitz)) was high in the Russian Army in 1916. We just have no proof at this point. I have started researching this family to prove this for my Mother in law. 

So far, I have found Anatole and his family in the 1920 census in Manhatten, NY. Anatole worked for the Russian Embassy. I also found his Draft Card for WWI. That is pretty much most of what I have found for the family so far. The 1930 Census though is proving to be much harder to find them in. I will not give up though. 
In Russia, I did find a school that holds the Poray Koshetz (Koshitz) name, in the town we believe they lived in (Luhansk) . I will find someone who can help us find the background for the school. It opened in 1923 and our Poray’s  left the area in 1916 when they came to America.
Obviously, there is a lot of work to be done here and it will be a challenge to do. Hopefully, we will be able to get this family tree back into Russia!

Letter Updates

Just wanted to keep everyone posted, I have not had any replies on the 3 letters I sent out. As soon as I do, I will let you know. 

I have spent my time the past week researching Al’s family. See post’s with Poray name for his side of the family.
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