Sunday, May 13, 2012

Stanley Sudeikis Was Not A Bigamist

NOTE:  See the comments at the end of this post, as Peter Bush appears to have uncovered the connection to Bridgeport, CT that was not adequately explained in the Sudeikis episode.  Unfortunately, the two listings in the 1930 census are still somewhat problematic and still may indicate two distinct individuals with the same name.

Although I have a reasonable doubt regarding my original premise, I will allow the post to stand.  It and John Lisle's and Peter Bush's additional information in the comment section will serve as a reminder that genealogical research often requires a deeper analysis to reach conclusions. It is more difficult than taking one or two records that appear to point to a conclusion at face value.  While the necessary "due diligence" probably occurred, it was not portrayed as such in the show's final edit. This show appeared to be based on conjecture rather than strong research - which is why I had my doubts.

A good genealogist will question the evidence, search for additional resources, and weigh everything in an effort to find the truth.  While this may have occurred in the research phase of this episode, it was not fully articulated - hence why several of us questioned the results and the methods utilized.  Thanks to Peter Bush and John Lisle for their tireless efforts in pursuing additional resources, we now can see a connection that seemed improbable; however, that still does not resolve the larger issues discussed below. Additional research may need to be conducted for a complete resolution of all remaining doubts in this particular episode. 

Jim Owston, May 21, 2012

The original post follows . . . 

Stanley Sudeikis, Sr. was not a bigamist. Well, that’s pretty direct statement, but who is Stanley Sudeikis and why should we even care? If you tuned into NBC’s “Who Do You Think You Are” this past Friday night, you were treated with a fascinating story of Jason Sudeikis’ paternal history.

His questions regarding his grandfather were answered. He found out that his grandparents were legally separated and that his grandfather had refused to work and died by fracturing his skull on the steps of a church at the corner of 50th and Honore in Chicago. It is supposed that he was intoxicated at the time. He also found out that his grandfather had never even seen his dad – not even once.

In tracing this line backwards, they found Stanley’s parents Stanley Sudeikis and Michalina (Emma) Bielska. They searched for Stanley in the 1920 census and lo and behold, it appeared that he had two families – one in Chicago and one in Bridgeport, CT.

The show suggested that Stanley Sudeikis might have been a bigamist having abandoned his first family and having started another in 1918. Much of this theory was built upon Stanley being missing in the 1920 census for Chicago, but a Stanley Sedakis was listed with another family in Bridgeport. To the show’s credit, the premise of bigamy was presented but was never conclusively stated as the case; however, this hypothesis becomes part of the episode’s overall theme.

Next, Jason traced Stanley to a ship’s manifest from August 1900 that points to Stanley being a son of Joseph Sudeikis – a coal miner in the anthracite region of Pennsylvania. Joseph Sudeikis tragically died in a mine explosion in November 1900. Thus, Jason’s family began a trend of children without fathers. Starting with the death of Joseph, it continued with the abandonment of Stanley, Sr.’s family in Chicago and Stanley, Jr.’s lack of responsibility towards his wife and children. Or did it?

Had the genealogists involved conducted a little extra research, their hypothesis that Stanley Sudeikis, Sr. was not responsible for his family and was possibly a bigamist would have been rejected. Although a great story, two genealogical errors occurred during the research for this episode.

Error One: If the name is the same, then it is the same person. This occurred with the assumption that Stanley in Chicago was one and the same as Stanley in Bridgeport.

You find this error occurring frequently among genealogies involving low frequency surnames. The rarer the surname – we might be more likely to apply the “name is the same – same person” conclusion. The temptation is greater to conclude that Stanley Sudeikis #1 and Stanley Sudeikis #2 were one the same than it would be to deduce that John Smith #1 is the same as John Smith #2. This is a fairly common genealogical error that has created misinformation in published genealogies and hundreds of family trees posted on

Recently while studying several SAR and DAR applications for my family, I found the military service of one man being ascribed to a different man of the same name (cousins) from the same geographic area. This occurred in six DAR applications; however, the lone SAR application had the service correct. In applications for another patriot, I found two DAR applications and two SAR applications that appended the service of one patriot to that of another with the same name. In the case of the DAR applications, the national organization caught the mistake.

Error Two: Using a minimal number of sources to prove a theory without triangulating the data with other available sources. In an era where records were infrequently kept and only one source is available, this can be an acceptable tactic to form a hypothesis; however, where other sources can prove or disprove a theory are not employed, it is sloppy research.

Both of these errors create a slippery slope in a family tree that will deviate from a true lineage. These errors are usually committed by neophytes. I cannot understand why the genealogists involved in this episode did not probe deeper. Maybe they did and the truth was not as a compelling story as that was presented on the show.

If this were the case, the producers decided to go with the story rather than the facts. Hmmm, it does sound a great deal like current Hollywood practices when dealing with historical events. Just last night I saw a TV show with a Civil War officer. His rank was that of a colonel, but he was wearing the frock coat of a general officer and the shoulder boards of a second lieutenant. I know, this sounds a bit anal retentive, but I can’t help it – a lack of accuracy bugs me.

Stanley in Chicago ≠ Stanley in Bridgeport

Midway through the episode, Jason Sudeikis meets with Chicago area genealogist Hilary Mac Austin at the Newberry Library. Together they discovered while searching the 1920 census that Stanley is absent from the household with his wife and Stanley, Jr.

They returned to the 1920 census to determine his whereabouts, and in the process, they found a Stanley Sedakis with another family living in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The discourse was as follows:

Sudeikis: “Well then, so he had two families?”

Austin: “It looks like he might have. I mean It’s not as though there are that many Stanley Sudeikises listed . . . and [pointing to his birth place] it’s Lithuania.”

Having ancestors that frequently relocated, I can appreciate families moving great distances. For example, my own great-grandfather lived in six states and one Canadian province during his 74 years. Even with that in my own background, the unprecedented jump from Chicago to Bridgeport was quite a stretch – not impossible, but that is where my doubts began to surface. Let’s look at the records and see where they deviate from each other.

According to the ship’s manifest and the 1910 census, Stanley, Sr. emigrated from Lithuania in 1900. Some records will have Russia – don’t let that throw you, as the current country name is used in the census and as borders change sometimes the designation in the census will change as well. For the greatest portion of Lithuania during the last several centuries, it was under Russian or Soviet control.

The show used information from his marriage record and the 1920 and 1930 Connecticut census records to construct a picture of the Bridgeport Stanley. So far so good; however, there are three things to remember when dealing with census records.

  • The data is as only good as the person supplying the information. That individual may have been misinformed, mistaken, or simply guessing. The informant may have known the correct data at one time, but had forgotten the details.

  • The census taker may have made mistakes while transcribing the information.

  • The person in question may be lying.

Because of the above, census records may deviate on details from record to record. So the exact answer may be convoluted because of conflicting data. In my cursory search of this family line, I discovered that some details varied from census to census. The ages varied and the year of immigration also varied.

In addition, a person missing from the household, as with the Chicago Sudeikis family, does not mean that individual was gone on a permanent basis or that he had abandoned his family. It meant that subject was not living in the household on April 1. The missing individual could have been temporarily working in another town, been incarcerated, or had been a resident of an infirmary on April 1.

That individual may have been back in the home when the census was actually taken; however, the information is based on whether that individual was there on April 1. Stanley, Sr.’s absence is not conclusive that he was one and the same as the Bridgeport Stanley – which is where this identity crisis began.

While they used the 1930 census to build information regarding the Bridgeport Stanley, they failed to check the Chicago census for the same year. Upon examination, Stanley, Emma, and Stanley, Jr. are all present within the same household in 1930.

Click image for the full census page.

Looking at other data from Ancestry, a picture develops of Stanley, Sr. of Chicago that may explain why he was missing. While not conclusive of being the same person, a World War I draft registration card for a Stanley Sudikis from 1917 has his residence as being Kenosha, Wisconsin. Kenosha is 62 miles to the north of Chicago. The card lists this Stanley as having a wife and a child – the same family arrangement as the Chicago Stanley. His date of birth is listed as July 10, 1890.

In addition, a daughter was born to the Chicago Stanley in 1921. Michalina Sudeikis was born on 20 January 1921 to Stanley Sudeikis and Michalina Bielska. Stanley is aged 28 on the record placing his year of birth at 1893. It appears that this daughter did not survive childhood as she is missing from the 1930 census. If Stanley is the father (as stated on the document) and the birth happened at term, then conception would have occurred in late April 1920.

Click document for a larger version.

I’ve also found three additional men named Stanley Sudeikis – one born in Chicago in 1913 and who settled in Kalamazoo, Michigan; a 35 year old Stanislaw Sudeikis who immigrated to Chicago in 1907; and one who was born in 1907 and immigrated the same year – he was a resident of Chester, Delaware in 1930 – his mother’s name was Mary as well.

In the 20 August 1914 marriage records of Holy Cross Church in Chicago for Joseph and Michalinam Bielskis, it lists Stanley’s parents as Joseph and Mariamnae Gecaite. In addition, no divorce record was found for Stanley and Emma Sudeikis. Emma’s 1947 death record lists her husband as Stanley; however, this is not conclusive whether he was still living or still living with her.

In his trip to Bridgeport, Jason found the 28 August 1918 marriage record of Stanley and Amelia Trakaitis. Stanley’s parents were listed as Joseph and Mary Gash. Genealogist Dr. Bob Rafford suggested that Gash may be an anglicized name for Gecaite. Hmmm. I guess that is possible, but the other names on the document are not Anglicized – so why should this one name be different?

While the parental names are similar, I think the evidence of the Stanley in Chicago fathering a child in 1921 and being present in the 1930 census in Chicago is enough to suspend the idea that the Bridgeport and Chicago Stanleys were one and the same. Since both men have a 1930 census record, it is not very probable that the two men were the same individual. In other words, how can a person be in two places at the same time? While I have seen some individuals listed twice in the same census (my second great grandmother for one), this is an exception to the rule (and the ones I have encountered were in the same geographic region). 

In addition, Stanley and Emma are missing from the extant Chicago city directories on Fold3; however, Stanley and Amelia/Millie (as she is recorded both ways) are found in the 1927 to 1931 Bridgeport directories on Amelia is listed as Stanley’s widow in the 1935 directory; however, the 1932-1934 directories were not available.

Why Bridgeport?

As I said at the outset, it is a stretch for an unskilled laborer working in Chicago to seek work in Connecticut. Chicago ranked as the second largest populated US metropolitan area in 1920; Bridgeport, in comparison, ranked 44th. While Bridgeport is a large city, employment opportunities in Chicago and the surrounding region would have been much better.

The Chicago Stanley had no known connection to Bridgeport. According to the census records, neither Stanley served in the military. If they had, Bridgeport’s Naval Base could be a connection to the city; however, this is not the case. It appears that Ameilia Trakaitis arrived in New York from Lithuania on 12 October 1913. Since Stanley, Sr. left Lithuania at approximately the age of eight, it does not appear that he would have had prior knowledge of Amelia.

In 1920, three rail lines offered service from New York to Chicago. The New York Central ran a northerly route to Albany, Buffalo, Cleveland, Toledo, and on to Chicago. The most southerly route was via the Pennsylvania Rail Road to Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Ft. Wayne, and then to Chicago. The Erie Rail Road had the most direct route. The Erie Limited line traveled to Binghampton, NY; Marion, Ohio; and then Chicago.

Considering that both Stanleys in the 1920s era were laborers and the great distance involved in pre-air travel, it would be difficult and cost prohibitive for a man to continue the ruse of having two separate families at a distance of 850 miles. Even though the Bridgeport Stanley was financially stable in 1930, it is still quite a stretch. Had the second family been in Kenosha, Wisconsin; Joliet, Illinois; or Gary, Indiana; then the probability would have been much greater that the two men were one and the same.

My ruling – the men were two different individuals and Stanley Sudeikis, Sr. of Chicago was not a bigamist. Just to be safe, perhaps, I should rephrase that to “the evidence does not indicate that Stanley Sudeikis was a bigamist.” I will say that all information was accessed via and its Fold3 subsidiary; no researchers were harmed in the gathering of this data.

The complete episode can be found below.

I also take issue with the coal miner angle, which may or may not be correct. Information in the 1900 and 1910 census for Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania creates a bit of doubt in my mind. Their case was much stronger regarding this relationship, so I will refrain from discussing it, as further evidence (not currently residing on is necessary to conclusively decide one way or the other.

Addendum: added on 5/14/2012

One of the readers of this post felt the strength of the confirmation that the two Stanleys were one and the same is based on similar signatures. The signatures were addressed for a period of only 23 seconds, and it was a very minor portion of the show. The discourse was as follows:

Sudeikis: “The ‘T’ into ‘A’ to ‘N’ – very, very similar.”

Rafford: “I think there is enough similarity between these two signatures to think that these are one and the same men [sic].”

To my knowledge, Sudeikis and Rafford are not handwriting experts, and neither am I. This is why I didn’t deal with it in my original post. From a evidential aspect, it is the weakest link suggested in the show. I am providing both signatures below. There are enough differences between the two signatures to indicate that different men signed these documents.

Since signatures will vary over time, I decided to find  a comparison with the signatures from the same person. Since I had already scanned a number of my father’s documents, I used him as the control signature with three iterations. The first came from 1936 and was from his car registration; the second, his selective service card from 1945; and the third was his lodge membership card from 1957.

Signed with a fountain pen, the earliest signature had more variations from the other two which utilized a ball point pen. It is pretty obvious these three signatures over a 21 year period were made by the same person. The continuation of the end of the “N” that crossed the “T” is a dead giveaway; however, the direction is backwards in the 1936 version. The two Stanley Sudeikis signatures only four years distant do not share as many similarities as the signatures of my father.

You be the judge.

Addendum: added on 5/22/2012

Peter Bush, who has been commenting on this post, made reference to his wife discovering that Stanley Sudeikis, Sr. was living at the same address in the 1910 census as he did for his marriage in 1914.  Peter also listed below (in the comment section) the addresses his wife found for Stanley, Sr.'s niece - Ann(a) Pukel(is).

I did the same for Stanley, Sr.'s family.  From 1910 to 1930 the family lived within an area of  24 city blocks.  Stanley, Jr. also died within this section of town.  Using Google Maps, I constructed the following map of the area.

A. 1910-1914; 4515 South Wood Street.
B. 1915; 4608 South Wood Street.
C. 1920; 1733 W. 51st Street, Rear.
D. 1921; 4730 South Hermitage.
E. 1930; 1920 W. 47th Street, Apartment 3.
F. 1947; W. 50th Street & South Honore Street (where Stanley, Jr. died).

I checked twenty-one 1940 census enumeration districts surrounding this area, but was unable to find the Sudeikis family.  It is possible that I missed their entry in this exercise.  Once the 1940 index for Illinois is complete, we may be able to find this particular family.


  1. Go Jim and go Geneabloggers!! In light of the evidence you uncovered, they should have employed a handwriting specialist to examine the signatures on the two marriage licenses. I don't know what their current practices are, but they should hire two genealogists for each portion/case to cross check eachother's work like when we index for Family Search and two people transcribe each page and an arbitrator reviews any disagreements.
    Nice job!

  2. CeCe:

    I hadn't seen Geneabloggers yet, so I will go read that analysis. Good suggestion for further practice on the show. Thanks for your comments.


  3. Jim,

    As you know, I came to many of the same conclusions. I looked at the passenger records, and I think that the Stanley who came to US in 1900 did go to Pennsylvania directly as that is what the passenger record said. But, after Joseph's death (I think it was 1907, not 1900), I suspect that he did go to Chicago as that is where a large contingent od Sudeikis family members were and is the Stanley Sudeikis in the 1910 census.

    And, since we do not see a WWI Draft registration for him, he could very well have gone into the service which might have been how he ended up in Bridgeport in 1918.

    The Stanley in Chicago, might be the one who registered for the draft in Wisconsin, but the 1930 census somewhat corroborates that he came to the US in 1913.

    I suspect that both Stanleys were related.

    One of the deleted scenes on the web site shows a 21 year old Stanley Jr. signing up for Social Security and claiming to be working in a meat packing plant. You can also see in Ancestry a 1935 Chicago marriage record for a Stanley Sudeikis. I suspect that this was a first marriage for Stanley Jr. So, it is likely he had already lost a wife by the time he met Jason's grandmother.

    Did he serve in World War II and come back with combat stress which caused the drinking?

    His separation papers from Edna claimed they were separated from the day they married; ie, it was a marriage of convenience as Edna was pregnant. Then how come Jason's father has a slightly older sister?

    One of the recordings of Emma Sudeikis's (Stanley Sr's wife) death record shows she was a widow and had died the year before Stanley Jr. died. BUT, they were both shown as buried in St. Casimir cemetery. I would be looking in the records of that cemetery for Stanley Sr. and maybe Stanley Jr's first wife.

    I wonder what we will find in the 1940 census!

    Forgive my rambling, but this episode was genealogically sloppy and, considering that it was all 20th century US records, it should not have been. I think that they had a researcher who blew it and they found an angle for good television but then were committed to their story even though someone found out it was bogus.


    1. My great grandfather owned a boarding house in 1910 for Lithuanians on wood street in Chicago. That was the year my grandmother was born. He also owned a boarding house in Woodruff, Wisconsin.

  4. John:

    The 1935 marriage is another Stanley it is not Stanley, Jr. - I am away from my notes, but his father was either Isadore or Anton - he was not any of the Stanleys in the show - but probably another relative. This particular Stanley moved to Kalamazoo, MI where he died.

    While mistakes occur in the census, the 1930 census for Stanley in Bridgeport lists him as not serving in the military. However, there is another Stanley with a similar surname who joined the Marines in 1926.

    The 1910 Census for Chicago - has the correct Stanley, Sr. in that city living, aged 17, with his sister (married as Puckelis) with both listed arriving in 1900. This agrees with the ship's manifest.

    As far as the older sister, this was not stated, but it appears that both children were illegitimate and they assumed that the marriage of convenience may have been conducted to legitimize the children.

    The Stanley that arrived in 1907 was 35 years old making him too old for any of the Stanleys in the program.


    1. Jim,

      Have you tried to put up together a family file for the Sudeikis families with the accumulated data? It might be worth doing and posting somewhere. (EG, RootsWeb WorldConnect)

      After it is posted, maybe tweet Jason and see if he responds...

  5. Of course, I missed this show! Very interesting information. I want to see the program now...

  6. A link to the episode is found above.


  7. You should look at all of the evidence before you say that they made such a big mistake. NBC posted many of the documents online for you to look at. Examine the signatures on the two marriage records. It's the same guy:

    Images 3 & 7. We can't know why he appears on both censuses. Maybe he was traveling back and forth. Maybe one of his families said that he was there when he really wasn't.

  8. Ms. Murray:

    Maybe the producers lied to us to get a good story that wasn't there. Maybe the sky is green. The fact that the evidence suggests two individuals, the line taken on the episode that he was a bigamist has to be questioned.

    As far as the signatures, I have done what you suggested. The final portion of this post now deals with this aspect of the episode with both signatures side by side and overlaid.

  9. I agree that this was not a very well researched show. The signatures are not close enough to be evidence. If it's the same guy his handwriting got better from 1914 to 1918 which is not likely. This would have been a good show to use their autosomal DNA test, of course they probably would have determined through DNA that they were highly unlikely to be the same men and so a large portion of the show's premise would go out the window. The ratings had been slipping and they seemed to be grabbing for stories. Probably fitting NBC decided not to renew it for next year.

    1. Is there any chance that the evidence picked up by Jim and John have influenced the decision by NBC to cancel HDYTYA and for the Market to reflect this decision by Ancestry share taking quite a price drop.
      I refer to British tv announcement yesterday.
      Jill in the UK

    2. @Jilly. No, the shows ratings for the entire season were poor and so it was canceled. I doubt NBC would care about research mistakes as long as it was getting ratings, which it wasn't.

    3. The announcement to cancel the show on NBC was made before that episode. Ancestry announced that they plan to look for another way to distribute it. I am sure it has been a boon for their business.

    4. Ill bet the entire season was taped in advance of the first episode airing, since we have mini previews all along. This episode just want fully researched, period.

  10. Dean:

    It certainly would have helped to do an autosomal test. I'm wondering if any descendants from the Bridgeport line continue to this day.


    1. Jim,

      The Bridgeport family had two daughter, one of whom died young. The other daughter Julia did marry and had a family. There is a tree with that family on rootsweb, I believe.

      Considering the resources (and resourcefulness) they have show in past episodes, I would have though they would have found death certificates or newspaper death notices. They do not show up in on-line indicies, but both Illinois and Connecticut were collecting them in the 1930s and 1940s. When the 1940 census index comes out for CT and IL, we should look to see what they say.


    2. 1n 1930 Stanley and Emma Sudeikis were residing at 1920 W. 47th St., Apt. 3 in Chicago. I used Steve Morse's utility to identify the 1940 enumeration district containing that address -- it's 103-835. The residents at 1920 W. 47th St. appear on page 14 of 38; there were no Sudeikises at that address in 1940. I guess we'll have to wait for the index to find them unless someone's prepared to do a lot of browsing.

  11. John:

    It is possible that the daughters in both census records may be different children or they may be one and the same. The ages are close and it may be a case where a middle name may be used for one census and the legal first name for the other. I have several family members where that is the case.

    I tried searching the various for pay newspaper archives for both locations, but found nothing on either the Chicago or Bridgeport families.

    I agree - being in Bridgeport, the records would be in that city. Having researched in Connecticut in the past, the primary registration archive for BMD records is not the state or county (although they have copies), it is the city/town where the event occurred. These records should have been readily available.

    I agree, the 1940 will give additional insight into these two families.


  12. I'm coming to this story late but your article is a fascinating bit of corrective detective work!

  13. Thanks Alex. I appreciate your comments.


  14. Anybody that took WDYTYA for anything other than entertainment has wasted their time. Each segment had flaws and they made big assumptions and jumps, it was nearly laughable BUT it once again made it look like a snap to throw together a family tree via and the subscriptions soar. Finding Your Roots with Henry Gates is even worse than this.

  15. I am sorry to hear you to be so angry and cynical. Of course, Ancestry gets plugged each episode as they are a principal sponsor of the show. And I am sure, and hope, they do sell lots of subscriptions.

    Yet the show hardly makes putting a tree together seem easy. The celebrities have to fly all over the globe and meet with all sorts of experts who have done, likely for a price, all sorts of research on their behalf.

    And, yes, they make it entertaining. What's wrong with that. Most of us who are addicted to family history do not need a lot to be entertained, but, if a part of the goal is to get other people interested in learning about their family history, making the show entertaining does not hurt.

    I believe I made a point in a previous post that my issues with show were unique. I am always following the episodes with my PC, trying to look at the records, and follow the research because I might learn something in the process. I do not know of any other episode where anyone in the genealogy community questioned the results they televised.

    Can you mention specifically any episode that you found flawed?


  16. I agree with John on this. I've liked both "Who Do You Think You Are" as well as "Finding your Roots." Both compress the time of research into one hour and that is to be expected. To show each avenue of the research would not make for a good show.

    One thing I like about both shows is that they indicate that traditional research is still relevant today and travel is necessary to do this.

    They both also from time to time promote genetic testing and this brings this genealogical tool down from the scientific aspect to the personal level. Finding people to test is sometimes difficult, but with each program of this nature, it provides a vehicle of interest.


    1. I appreciate your response here, Jim. I, too, have watched both shows with great enjoyment, and have also seen some "wild jumps", but dang it, it's been exciting to see history coming to life in each show. If it encouraged even 10 people to start researching their families, I'd say it was worth it. I will miss the shows greatly!

  17. This episode of WDYTYA is different from the other episodes that I have seen in one critically important respect – it plucks a dead person from obscurity and then engages in character assassination. It not only accuses Stanley Sudeikis Sr. of abandonment, bigamy, and perjury, it convicts him of those crimes as effectively as if he had been found guilty of them in a court of law during his lifetime.

    And it does this with evidence that is flimsy at best, a point that many of the comments on this and other blogs have made.

    Would this evidence have been sufficient to convict Stanley Sudeikis of abandonment, perjury and bigamy in a court of law if he had actually been tried for those crimes while he was alive? Of course not. No prosecutor would even think of bringing it to trial with this evidence alone.

    If Stanley Sudeikis were still alive, he would be able to defend himself and his reputation. He could speak with reporters or hold a press conference. He could write a letter to the editor. He could offer a defense if the case came to trial. He could bring, and probably win, a case for slander or libel if the charges were untrue.

    But Stanley Sudeikis is dead and he can't do any of these things.

    I don't know if Stanley Sudeikis actually committed the crimes he's accused of in the WDYTYA episode. I doubt if we'll ever know that with absolute certainty, given the difficulty of finding evidence so long after the fact. What I DO know is that he and his descendants are entitled to a thorough airing of all available evidence, incriminating and exculpatory, and a balanced review and analysis of that evidence. We can't offer him a formal trial by judge or jury, but we can give him a fair shake. That didn't happen in this case.

  18. Peter,

    I happen to agree with you that WDYTYA should have been a lot more careful when accusing someone of bigamy. And the outrage you express is probably behind the reason that Jim initially wrote his blog post.

    I do not agree with you that this cannot be sorted out. It can be and should be sorted out.

    I have actually been in contact with someone who knows Dr. Bob Rafford with the hope that Bob will join the fray to better sort out the Connecticut side of this or provide additional evidence to support the show's result.

    Based on the comments that I have seen on FaceBook page and elsewhere, the public does not seem to be as ill disposed to what happened with either Stanley as the show presented the story. It is only after looking deeper that any feeling of an injustice comes out.

    We need more data now.


  19. I didn't mean to suggest that we give up the search for additional documents and information. (Like others, I have been spending most of my free time since Friday evening doing precisely that). My point was that it's much harder to establish the truth so long after the fact. There are no witnesses to interview, for example.

    I wonder if anyone has been in touch with ProGenealogists, who coordinated the genealogical research for the show. It would be interesting to know if they provided a written genealogical report to and/or the producers of the show, similar to what would have been prepared if a Sudeikis descendant or other private individual had been their client. If such a report was prepared, I think we should request that it be made available for review by the genealogical community.

  20. A check of the Connecticut records would yield some additional information, but further research is also necessary for Chicago.

    Most genealogists will do an exhaustive search (within the bounds of their agreement with the client) prior to preparing an official report.

    I am sure the truth will surface as more people become involved in this story.


    1. Jim,
      I would add Schuykill County PA to the list of needed research venues. If someone could find the death record of Mary Sudeikis, wife of Joseph, or the marriage records of their children, those records might give Mary's maiden name. If it sounds or looks anything like Gecaite, I'd be much more inclined to accept WDYTYA's hypothesis that Stanislaw Sudeikis who immigrated to the US in 1900, and was probably the son of Joseph and Mary Sudeikis living in Schuykill County PA, was the same person as Stanley Sudeikis who later lived in Chicago and married Michalina Bielska.

      Unfortunately PA's vital records are not online so it would have to be done the old-fashioned way. Perhaps ProGenealogists already did this but it wasn't discussed on the show.

    2. Peter:

      You are correct. While some PA localities and counties had vital records, they may not have been mandatory. I know Allegheny County's records were not.

      Mandatory state registration of birth and death records didn't occur until 1906. Marriage records in PA are not state records, but county records.

      In my preliminary research, I found two Joseph Sudeikis families in the area. One with a wife named Mary; however, there are some anomalies with this family. As far as I can tell, he was the coal miner in the story as the other is operating a hotel.

      Mary is listed as being the mother of 9 children - eight are listed in the 1900 census as part of the household.

      Two Sudeikis children (can't say they were absolutely from this family or not) came to the area in 1899. A 20 year old Anna and 10 year old Josef. A 10 year old Joseph is in the 1900 census. Anna is not, but she could have been married at the time of the census.

      There are also discrepancies in when the family members arrived. For the children to be Joseph's, he would have had to return to Lithuania or his wife would have had to visit him on a pretty regular basis.

      Someone has identified a family in 1910 as being this family, but the children are identified with the surname Breemster. The head of the household is Stiney Colish. The ages do not correspond to the 1900 and Mary is listed as having 8 children - all living. I am not sure the reason for the identification with the Sudeikis family - the same names may just be coincidental.

      I agree that Stanislaw and his sister Marianna listing their father as Joseph and Mahanoy City as their destination is pretty strong evidence that this is the same Stanley Sudeikis and Mariona Pukelis in Chicago.

      More information is certainly needed to make a definitive statement on these identities.

      Even a check of Mary Pukelis' death record from 1972 would shed some light on the family.


  21. Jim,

    I just saw your latest comment. I was concurrently researching that 1910 census showing the Breemster children. Here's the comment I had drafted before I saw your comment:

    Tom Kryssbek of the ProGenealogists research firm is one of five genealogists listed in the credits as having provided “research support by” for the Jason Sudeikis episode of WDYTYA. So far as I know, neither he nor any of the other researchers has responded to the questions and criticisms that are being aired in this and other blogs. Despite that, it's possible to piece together a partial picture of the records he consulted and the conclusions he reached about the Sudeikis family. That can be done because, like many other helpful reseachers, he adds “alternate information” to census records on, particularly when names are incorrectly recorded by a census enumerator or indexer. His notes remind me of the bread crumbs left by Hansel and Gretel in that they allow us to trace his Sudeikis research path through the databases.

    Yesterday I found one of Tom Kryssbek's notes that blew my mind. I was searching for the surname Sudeikis in Schuykill County PA census records and got a hit for the Stiney Colish household in the 1910 census of Mahanoy Township. When I looked at the record, I saw that on 12 January 2012 Tom added the alternate name of “Stanley Coolidge” to the Stiney Colish record. That didn't mean anything to me, so I looked at the records of the other people in his household. His wife was Mary, age 50, and they had been married 10 years; it was his first marriage, her second. They had six children living with them, two with the surname Colish and four with the surname Breemster. The two Colish children were Anna age 9 and Walter age 6, obviously from Mary's second marriage. The four Breemster children ranged in age from 11 to 19 and were presumably from Mary's first marriage. I still didn't see how any of this related to the Sudeikis family – until I looked at the alternate information Tom Kryssbek added to the records of all four Breemster children on 12 January 2012:

    “These all are the children of Joseph Sudeikis and Mary Gechas and stepchildren of Stanley Coolidge; however, for some unknown reason, they are recorded here as Breemster.”

    Wow! So the WDYTYA researchers had come to the conclusion by January that Joseph Sudeikis' widow remarried very soon after Joseph's tragic death, and that Stiney Colish aka Stanley Coolidge provided a home for her children by her first marriage. This makes me think that the researchers found a record of the marriage in Schuykill County PA; otherwise, I doubt a researcher with Tom Kryssbek's experience would make such a definitive statement on

    There are some interesting questions raised by the census record and Tom Kryssbek's note, in addition to the mystery of the surname Breemster:

    --Why didn't the show mention that Mary had remarried? Was it because it might have diluted the emotional impact of Joseph's horrific death if viewers knew that the widow and children were well cared for afterwards?

    --Where was Stanley, son of Joseph and Mary, in 1910? He wasn't one of the four Breemster children enumerated in the Stiney Colish household. I tend to think that he was living with his older sister Maryanne aka Mariona, with whom he had immigrated to the US in 1900, in the Chicago household of Mariona's husband Anton Puckelis. He probably moved to Chicago to get a job; he was said to be a sausage maker in the census record.

    --How did Tom Kryssbek know that Mary's maiden name was Gechas? Again, I suspect the researchers found a record of her second marriage, or some other record, that mentioned her maiden name.

    There's lots to think about here. I'd be interested to hear what the rest of you make of this.

  22. Here's a followup to the discussion of whether Mary Sudeikis married Stanley Coolidge soon after her first husband Joseph died in the mine accident.

    Thanks to other helpful notes by Tom Kryssbek on, I found that Stanley Coolidge was enumerated in 1920 and 1930 in – of all places – Fairfield County, Connecticut! In 1920 he and Mary were in the Town of Fairfield with three children bearing the surname Kollitsch, though two of the three were probably from Mary's first marriage. Mary evidently died before 1930 because Stanley Coolidge was listed as a widower in the census of that year, living in Bridgeport CT in the household of his married son Walter Coolidge.

    If Tom Kryssbek's assertion about this marriage is correct, we should be looking for Mary Sudeikis' death record, and records about some of her children, in Fairfield County CT.

  23. Peter,

    Great sleuthing. As I said, I think the Stanley Sudeikis in the 1910 Chicago census was the Stanley from the Joseph and Mary family. Now, this gives him a motivation to have moved to Connecticut, to join his mother and Step-father.

    Researching the Coolidge family gives us a whole new research area. It also makes it much less likely that Jason's great-grandfather Stanley was the same person.


    1. Peter & John:

      Yes, great sleuthing. That does change matters somewhat if the family moved to Bridgeport. If they had explained this in the episode, it would have made sense with their conclusion.

      The burying of the 1930s Chicago census still bothers me though - as it still throws some doubt on the identity.


  24. In light of Peter's search for the truth and recent discovery of information that was not presented in the show, I have placed an addendum regarding my original premise and my current reasonable doubt concerning my opinions of the conclusions presented in this episode. This appears at the top of this post.

  25. Jim,

    I think you may be interpreting Peter's discovery the wrong way. I think it STRENGTHENS the case for two Stanleys rather than weakening it.

    I have no doubt that Chicago was a Sudeikis magnet in the early 20th century. I suspect that some of Joseph and Mary's children went to Chicago, and others stayed with their mother. Stanley seems to have been one of the youngest, and he may have gone immediately after the accident to Chicago with his sister. That is why he shows up in 1910 census isn Chicago.

    But, between 1910 and 1918, he joined his mother and step-father in Connecticut. He might have served in the Army during WWI.

    I do not see any family evidence that the other Sudeikis families in Chicago area had any connection with Jason's Stanley Sr. It is like he might have been a distant cousin who arrived later (1913 if you believe the 1930 census).

    The only evidence of a "support system" for him in Chicago is his wife's family.

    As I suggested before, without wandering into off-line records, the Coolidge family needs to be tracked. (Probably is related to the President somehow..) and also all of the Chicago Sudeikis families, just to see how the personnel inventory is moving around.

    In a few months when we have the 1940 census indexed, we will have another snapshot of the family that might be even more enlightening.

    I do not see any evidence that is a smoking gun for a single Stanley. The rationale, which I did not see before for a separate CT Stanley, is now clear.


    1. John:

      I am not convinced that they are one and the same person. That still needs to be proven. My point is that since there is a connection to Bridgeport - I have a reasonable doubt of my original premise. Therefore, I do not feel as strongly about my original conclusion.

      If you look at the 1920 census, the Coolidge name is probably an Anglicized (because the president) name. The 1920 lists the spelling as Kolitch.

      Since he was from Lithuania, I doubt if there is a connection to the president. Calvin Coolidge's ancestry is typical New England colonial.


    2. John,

      One thing my wife pointed out to me when she looked at the documents is that Stanley Sr.'s residence address when he married Michalina in 1914 was 4515 S. Wood St. -- the same place he was living in 1910 with his sister and brother-in-law. If he ever moved to Bridgeport, it must have been much later.

    3. Peter:

      Congratulate your wife for having an eagle eye on that piece of info.


    4. Peter,

      Yes, congratulate your wife. I missed that. Great piece of evidence that MIGHT be really meaningful. If I have done up a family file and mapped locations, I likely would have spotted it.

      But to me the 1930 census is still a stumbling block for me along with the additional daughter in 1921.

      As I have insisted that Stanley Sr was likely part of an extended Sudeikis family, it is not unreasonable for Stanley Sr to have arrived in Chicago (in 1913 per 1930 census) and have been living with some of his extended family when he first arrived.

      All that said, this does shift the discussion.

      Has anyone checked on this location in other census or in directories? Was it a tenement or a house?


  26. John and Jim,

    Like you, I'm still far from convinced that the Chicago and Bridgeport Stanleys were the same person. I've been thinking about the practical difficulties of maintaining two households and families in a bigamous relationship. In addition to the things Jim mentioned in his original post -- such as the time and expense involved in traveling back and forth -- there's now the likelihood that Stanley had immediate family members in both cities. He couldn't possibly have had wives and children in both cities and kept it a secret, either from his mother and siblings or from his wives. It just doesn't make sense.

    My wife appreciates the compliments. She's also been doing genealogy a long time. Here's something she looked into. She had wondered about Ann Pukel, the informant on Stanley Jr.'s death certificate. She made a list of the residences listed on available Chicago records and has made a persuasive case that Ann Pukel was the same person as Anna Pukelis, daughter of Anton and Mary Pukelis. That would make her the niece of Stanley Sr. and the first cousin of Stanley Jr.

    Here are the residences of Ann(a) Pukel(is):
    --1910, living with parents and Stanley Sr. at 4515 S. Wood St.
    --1918, presumably living at 4530 S. Wood St. when her father registered for WWI draft
    --1920, living with parents at 4530 Wood St.
    --1930, living with parents at 6523 Rockwell St.
    --1942, presumably living at 6523 S. Rockwell St. when her father registered for WWII draft
    --1948, as Ann Pukel, living at 6523 S. Rockwell St. when Stanley Jr. died.

    It appears that she never married and that she maintained contact with Stanley Sr. and Jr. from her childhood up until Stanley Jr.'s death.

    1. Great job Peter. Thank your wife for us. I added a map of the Sudeikis locations at the end of the original post. I tried finding the family in the 1940 census, but was unable to find them.

    2. Fantastic map, Jim. I hadn't realized all the locations were so close together. Holy Cross church also shows on the map; that's where Stanley Sr. and Michalina were married. Some Holy Cross records are now online at, part of the Catholic Diocese of Chicago collection. The marriage record is there, and the record of Stanley Jr.'s baptism on 2 June 1915. His middle name was Philip, witnesses were Casimir Filipavice (spelling uncertain) and Thecla Bielska; otherwise, no useful new information. Unfortunately the online records stop short of 1921 so I didn't find Michalina's baptism record, which I really wanted to see.

      And kudos for browsing through 21 EDs. A few days ago I looked through 2 EDs so I know how long it must have taken.

    3. Thanks Peter. I had been on the site, but missed these records.

      I didn't get through all of the 12th ward where these locations fell in 1940 census. They had previously been in the 13th ward in 1930 and before that the 29th ward.


  27. Welcome to Geneabloggers. I wonder if the shows research team investigated the city directories of both Chicago and Bridgeport. Perhaps the Chicago city directories might say "rem to Connecticut" or something like that as I've seen with a number of my ancestors. At the very least you might be able to see when he doesn't appear in Chicago and when he first appears in Bridgeport. If they overlap by a number of years, then I think you might be able to rule out them being the same person.

    Regards, Jim
    Genealogy Blog at Hidden Genealogy Nuggets

    1. Thanks Jim. I couldn't find the family in the limited number of Chicago city directories online.

      I did find the Bridgeport family and that Stanley had died prior to the issuance of the 1935 city directory. There is a gap in directories from 1932-1934. He was alive in the 1931 directory.


  28. Thanks for this blog, Jim. I was pretty much where you were with this episode. The only thing I have to add is that if there were two Stanleys there should be two bodies. Find the bodies and the answer will be evident.

    1. Tavner:

      You are correct. That would settle it once and for all. Thanks for your comments.


  29. Several documents mention the town of origin of the Sudeikis family in Lithuania. 1) The 1896 Hamburg passenger list for Joseph the miner gave his last residence as Swinge. 2) The 1900 New York and Hamburg passenger lists for his children Maryanna and Stanislaw (Stanley) gave their last residence as Wisbarry. 3) The record of Stanley's marriage to Michalina said he was from Zvingei. 4) The 1899 passenger list for Anna and Joseph, assumed to be children of Joseph, said their last residence was Corej. No passenger lists have been found to date for Joseph's wife Mary and their other children, but it's reasonable to assume they all came to the US between 1896 and 1900. (According to the 1900 census, the two youngest children of Joseph and Mary were born in Pennsylvania, so Mary must have arrived by 1898 at the latest).

    I have been working with Jim Paprocki, a friend who does a lot of Eastern European research, to identify these towns and their locations in Lithuania. We are relatively certain that “Wisbarry” is Visbarai, and that “Swinge” and “Zvingei” are Zvingiai. These towns are in Taurage county/region and are about two miles from each other as the crow flies, though they are on opposite sides of the Jura River. We have not yet found a town in Lithuania that looks or sounds like Corej; it's possible that we have misinterpreted the handwriting in the ship passenger list, which is difficult to read.

    Unfortunately there are few Lithuanian vital records available to American researchers online or on microfilm. It doesn't appear that the WDYTYA researchers hired anyone in Lithuania to check the church and vital records in Visbarai and Zvingiai. That's a pity, because the exact birthdate of Stanley could be very important in resolving the “two Stanleys versus one Stanley” issue if there are American records – such as a draft registration form, death certificate, or burial record – that mention his date of birth.

    P.S. Stanley's wife, Michalina Bielska, was from the town of Kraziai, which is not particularly close to Zvingiai and Visbarai. See her church marriage record and her 1912 passenger list.

    1. Good work Peter.

      I have found four Joseph Sudeikis listings for that area of Pennsylvania. Two in the 1900 census, one in the 1910, and one in the 1920.

      Living Mahanoy City, Schuylkill, PA
      Joseph born August 1850; Immigrated 1884
      Wife: Mary married 20 years

      Living in Mahanoy City, Schuylkill, PA
      Joseph born Nov. 1862; Immigrated 1888
      Wife: Francis [sic] married 8 years.
      Child: Carrie

      Living in Mahanoy City, Schuylkill, PA
      Joseph born 1865; Immigrated 1888
      Wife: Maggie - married 12 years.

      Living in Sugar Notch, Luzerne
      Joseph born circa 1865; Immigrated 1895


  30. I admit I haven't read every word that appears above, so I might have missed some things. I noticed that on the 1930 census, the CT Stanley Sr arrived in the US in 1908 and is an alien. The Chicago Stanley Sr says he arrived in 1913 and is naturalized. I'm used to arrival dates being different on different censuses but not with a 5 yr gap. Also, why would the Chicago Stanley be a citizen and the CT one not be if they were the same person? Did anyone look for naturalization records? The only thing I found online for Chicago is a database of Declaration of Intentions. Stanley wasn't in it (so far as I could find) but he could well have declared his intention elsewhere. I also looked for a passenger record for 1913. I found one for 24 Jul 1913 on the ship Pennsylvania, a Stanislaw Sadauckas aged 19 of the Lithuanian race or people going to see his uncle in Philadelphia. Some of ths record is easy to read and some not so. I have no background in Lithuanian and couldn't read the uncle's name.

    The IL deaths and stillbirths index 1916-1947 on Ancestry lists Emma Sudeikis as being born in Raseinui, Lithuania. Her parents are also listed as being born there. They are named as John Belskis and Anna Genduain. Interestingly, I could not find the daughter Michalina in this index.

    I have a bigamist in my family so I'm way past the emotional response which would hinder my thinking. My problems with the Stanley situation are that I don't understand how this bigamy worked. He does not seem to have left the one family and gone to establish the other (as mine did). Nor did he live in two places close enough together to allow him to go back and forth easily. How did he keep his two jobs, gardener and Press Punch (was that a printing/publishing company or was he the operator of a punch press which stamps shapes out of sheet metal)? Why did he claim such divergent arrival dates? Why be naturalized in Chicago and not in CT? USCIS should have his naturalization and if he did truly arrive in 1913, 1918 would be the first year he could get naturalized. Actually, since he was only 19 (or less) when he arrived, he might have had to wait until 5 yrs after he turned 21 (I'm not sure about the rules).

    What I am sure about is that when doing a surname search for Sudeikis, one finds far more of them than I would have expected. Stanislaw/Stanley seems a fairly common Eastern European name and Joseph is pretty common everywhere. Additionally, names run in families so that once there is one Stanislaw or Joseph, there are likely to be others. So, I think the burden of proof needs to be on evidence that "proves" that these two Stanleys are the same man. I certainly do not think that WDYTYA did prove this. -------Jo

    1. Jo:

      While you brought out some excellent additional points, you captured the spirit of my frustration with this particular episode. The genealogical/historical proof appears to have been compromised for a good story.


    2. Jo,

      I couldn't agree with you more about the surreal aspects of the alleged bigamy by Stanley Sr. Add to the things you mentioned the likelihood, discussed in other comments, that after 1920 Stanley had close family members in both cities (sister Maryanna and brother-in-law Anton Pukelis in Chicago; mother Mary, stepfather Stanley Kollitsch/Coolidge, and siblings Charles and Statia/Stella in Bridgeport). I don't see how Stanley could have kept his wives and children a secret.

      On another point: Stanley's wife Michalina/Emma was probably born in Kraziai, not Raseiniai. Both her 1912 passenger list and her 1914 church marriage record said she came from Kraziai and would have been based on information she herself supplied. Information on the 1947 death certificate that she was born in Raseiniai would have been provided by a relative or friend and is probably less reliable.

  31. As genealogists, most of us are aware that the census records we read may be copies, not images of the originals, since enumerators were required to make multiple copies of each return to be filed in various places. (

    With this consideration, it is possible that the images available at are copies that were mis-transcribed.

    I found a census page for 1920 Chicago for a Sudeikis living as a lodger with a family on Wood Street. His name begins with an M and looks like Mihoney, however, the name listed before his is also this same first name, and the name listed after his is Stanley. He is listed as married and having arrived in 1913. The age is off, however. I propose that this might be our Stanley Sudeikis, Sr. as I have not found a Mihoney Sudeikis in subsequent returns, nor have I found a Stanley Ambriatis (the name below the Sedeikis listing).

    Why he is not with his wife is still unknown. Perhaps she was tending to her brother for some reason, it being natural for her to have her son with her while her husband worked. Maybe they were down on their luck living where they could. Who knows?

    On his 1930 Chicago census it states that Stanley was naturalized. This would be another avenue of exploration.

    I agree that this season's episodes were far sloppier than last season. I can't speak to the accuracy of the first season, as I missed out on it.

    Leaves of Heritage Genealogy
    "Let's shake some history from your family tree!" sm

    1. Angela:

      I looked at several lists of Lithuanian first names and I am not sure what it is - but as you determined it is the same name as the line before it. Your explanation of a copying error is certainly plausible.


    2. I checked again and he is listed as 49. This is a bit old for Stanley as he would have been about 28 in 1920.


    3. Angela,

      Good find. I'm sure "Mihoney" was related, if he wasn't our missing Stanley. He was living at 4453 S. Wood St.; Stanley's sister Maryanna (Sudeikis) Pukelis was living at 4530 S. Wood St. in 1920. Too close to be a coincidence.

    4. Just a little I've gleaned about how the censuses were taken from various sites including the US Census Bureau. Starting fairly early in the 1800's, printed forms were given to the enumerators who went from household to household. There was one form per household. These were delivered to the county court house where an enumerator or clerk copied the info onto the forms we see. There were 3 copies made, each from the original enumerators' forms. One copy went to DC ro the census bureau, one copy went to the state capitol, and the third copy stayed in the county. Sometimes you can find these "other" copies in court houses or state or county archives. They are also sometimes different from the one that went to DC as each was made from the enumerators' original forms and possibly made by s different person who read the handwriting differently. The digitized census pages we see at Ancestry and other places are from microfilms at NARA which were made from the copies sent to the census bureau in DC. So, ALL census pages we can access are in effect copies of the enumerators' original forms. Unlike books in court houses, nobody recopied these pages. They are original in the sense that they are digitized microfilmed versions of the census pages sent to the census bureau at the time they were made. The copuing from the enumerators' forms did, however, introduce another avenue for mistakes.

    5. Thanks for the additional info Jo. We are putting together a working group on this project. If you would be interested in participating, please email me at

    6. This 1920 census listing might be Nikodemas, or an abridged version of the name. There is a WWII draft registration form for Nikodemas Sudeikis, living at 3544 Parnell Ave. in Chicago. The form said he was born in 1887 in Skirzemin, Lithuania.

  32. Jim,
    That is why I mentioned it. It is important to consider all of the information. But another thing to consider about the age is that someone in the house may have guessed. Though 49 is quite older than 28/29, it may have been another transcription error, or it may not be our guy.

    Since the CT Stanley seems to have died between 1933 and 1935 (according to 1935 directory listing for Millie, widow of Stanley), a death is the obvious next step to see who he is. Unfortunately, because I don't know the date of his death, I cannot use VitalCheck to order the certificate.

    Is there anyone local who could do this more quickly?

    Angela Kraft-
    Leaves of Heritage Genealogy
    "Let's shake some history from your family tree!"sm

    1. Angela:

      Especially in a boarding house situation, this becomes more an more of a possibility. I have found numerous examples in my research where the age was wrong.

      I would believe someone in the general Bridgeport area could trot over to the town hall and find this very quickly. Unfortunately, I am almost 600 miles away or I would do it myself.


    2. Angela and Jim,

      If no-one comes forward, we could ask for a lookup on the Ancestry message board/Rootsweb mailing list for Fairfield County CT and offer to pay the registrar's fee. That death record would sure be interesting to see.

  33. I have someone who might be able to make it there next week. I will keep you all posted =0)


    1. Thanks Angela. We are putting together a working group on this project. If you would be interested in participating, please email me at

    2. Angela,

      I hope it works out. Would he/she also be willing to look in Bridgeport for the death record of Mary, Stanley's mother? It looks like Mary remarried soon after the death of her first husband Joseph. Mary and her second husband, Stanley Kollitsch/Coolidge, were living in Bridgeport in 1920. In 1930 Stanley was listed as a widower. So Mary presumably died in Bridgeport between 1920 and 1930. (See my earlier comment for more details).

      Mary's death record could give us a lot of useful information. For example, what if Stanley Sudeikis was the informant?


  34. Their signatures look very similar - the dot above the 'y' is uncommon, and the two signatures share it. There are some Lithuanians that Anglicize their names (because Americans can't pronounce them), and Mary Gash could be Marijana Gecaite. Michalina Bielska is definitely not a Lithuanian name - it's 100% Polish, which could suggest that either Jason has some Polish blood or the name has been Polonized. Since former Lithuanian nobles then had Polish names, she could've come from a noble Lithuanian family.

    1. The Ys are of different construction and the tail on the Y from the Bridgeport Stanley heads down and the upper dot is really a line skip from the fountain pen. It really should be a continuation of the Y. The loops in the S, L, and D are different. The T has a different construction. The final S is different as well. The Chicago signature is not as neat as the Bridgeport one.

  35. I found these discussions very interesting. You folks can be on my team anytime! I, too, had many questions after this episode. Another point that wasn’t discussed was what became of the child with the reported '2nd' wife.

    (I should add that someone on this posting stated she married and had been found on a family tree - I would be very interested in knowing what family tree that was. And more importantly, to check the resources. Having said that, I have serious doubts this ‘2nd’ family really was a ‘2nd’ family, but no stone should be left unturned.)

    I found the ‘2nd’ family in New York in 1940:

    1930 Fairfield, Fairfield, Connecticut Census
    -Congress Street
    Stanley Serdickis 37 Lithuania
    Amelia Serdickis 35 Lithuania
    Julia Serdickis 9

    1930 & 1931 Bridgeport, CT, City Directory:
    Stanley & Millie A Sudeikis
    Street Address: Congress n Hillside rd Fairfield, Bridgeport, Connecticut

    And by 1940, Amelia is remarried with her daughter in New York.

    1940 New York, New York, New York Census
    Street: 31st Street
    Alfred Dondietsch 38/1902 NY; Food Handler-Hosp
    Amelia Dondietsch 43 Lithuania; new worker?
    Judie Sudeikis 19 CT stepdaughter

    I cannot locate the surname DONDIETSCH…
    The closest I came was an: Alfred Dantowitz Birth: abt 1906 Death: 6 Oct 1960

  36. Kay:

    Thanks for the comments. We actually found the family in the 1940 census as well. The name is Von Dietsch. Check out our continuation of this project at