Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Ignatius Gula Marries his Sister's Widow - History Repeats Itself

In a previous post, Two Gula Brothers Marry the Same Woman - Mary SmeyI recorded the situation where Steve Gula was married his brother's widow, Mary Smey (Smij). 

 Living in Scottdale, PA, Steve and Mary had five kids: 

  • John Gula (1906-1969)
  • Peter Gula (1913-1997)
  • Joseph Gula (1915-1997)
  • Michael Gula (1921- )
  • Stephen Gula (1921 - 1997)

Steve died on December 6, 1921 (42 years old). Mary was only 37 at the time of Steve's death. I don't know the circumstances….did they fall in love, or was it a cultural tradition….but on November 24, 1923, Mary married Steve Gula's brother, Nat Gula.  

I had already uncovered and posted about this story. 

Recently, my distant cousin (Thanks, Ian!!) provided me new information about the family and a separate circumstance where a Gula brother married his brother's widow had happened at least once before. 

Back in the homeland in the Carpathian Mountains in the small village of Wolowiec, Peter Gula (1808-1847) married Anna Smij (1808-1885). 

Peter and Anna had the following children:

  • Theodore 'Fedor' Gula (1836-1895)( My 2nd great-grandfather)

From what I can tell, village life was hard, and the population was impoverished. It is unclear if there was any school or public education. However, it does appear that many of the villagers hadn't learned to read or write. 

Peter died in 1847. I do not know the cause. Shortly after Peter's death, Anna married Peter's brother, Ignatius (Nat) Gula (1815-1888).  

Nat and Anna had the following children:

  • Peter Gula (1853-?)

Considering that the marrying of brothers and their widows happened twice in one family, we can conclude that this wasn't taboo or rare in the Carpathian Rusyn culture.

I was joking with my two daughters for when they decide to get married, they look to see if their husband's brothers are marriage material because you just never know what may happen in the future. 

Saturday, April 16, 2022

William White - Witnessed Land Sale - 1730

I am sure some families keep boxes full of mementos but going back beyond my parents and grandparents; I have nearly nothing to tell me very much about them. Nothing they held or possessed. 

I believe that finding an old document or souvenir can be an extraordinary find for those of us who love family history. A few months ago, I found a land sale document witnessed by my 5th great grandfather, William White, on eBay. It is dated Jan 30, 1730. Not often do you find a 300-year-old family signature. Lucky for me, I was able to purchase it for a reasonable amount.

The document is a land sale by Joshua Woodbury to John Borey and is witnessed by Thomas Woodbury and William White.

The White family was one of the early inhabitants of Falmouth (what is now Portland, Maine). However, they abandoned coastal Maine when the relationships with the local population became unsafe. The sons of Gloucester Reverend John White were the first to return to Maine and establish their families in what is now Cape Elizabeth. William White (b. Nov 4, 1709, d. 1758) and his brother, John (b. June 15, 1704, d. Oct 17, 1738), settled in the area of Simonton Cove. William married Christian Simonton on Jan 19, 1736. John married Jerusha Woodbury on May 22, 1730.  

The White, Simonton, and Woodbury properties were all close together in Cape Elizabeth. Part of the three family properties were sold and used to erect Fort Preble.  

William and Christian Simonton had the following children:

  • Ruth White (1744-1784)
  • Ann White (1745-1837)
  • Matthew White 
  • Christian White
  • William White
  • Mary White
  • Abigail White

Here is a picture of the bottom of the land document containing the signatures of William White, Joshua Woodbury, Thomas Woodbury, and Henry Wheeler.