Access Star archives on newspapers.com

Note: Before the Family History Expo in November, the Star asked readers to submit family names to see what could be found on newspapers.com. There were many submissions, so we spent 30 minutes on some of them to see what we could find and will present several in the coming months.

Geraldine Walotsky Cass supplied her mother’s maiden name, Margaret “Rita” Lord and her paternal grandparents’ names, Harry Cephus Lord and Katherine O’Hara. She also gave her father’s name, Simon Walotsky, and his parents’ names, Martha Zavalauskas and Simon Azinaucolaus. Simon Walotsky had changed his name.

This is what we found on newspapers.com in 30 minutes:

Most of the family appears to have lived in New York. Cass’ wedding announcement indicates that she was from The Bronx at the time she married.

Searching her maternal grandparents proved difficult because names with apostrophes (O’Hara) don’t always work well in search engines, and searching the surname “Lord” brings up a host of articles about church services, sermons and religious organizations. We found her mother’s obituary by searching her married name.

Walotsky is a little easier to search, and we learned that Cass’ father, Simon Walotsky, passed away in 1968. His siblings are named, and we see that his brother Peter did not change his last name; however, it was misspelled.

Newspapers.com suggests trying common misspellings of search terms, most likely names, if the proper spelling doesn’t yield results.

It’s difficult to guess the common misspellings of Zavalauskas. One was Zabalauskas, but with the appropriate spelling we were able to find the obituary of Cass’ paternal grandmother, who died in 1962. Her obituary names her brother, Dominick Dickovech, as a survivor. Assuming that may be Martha Zavalauskas’ maiden name, we attempted to find more but were not successful, even with alternate spellings. We found nothing on Simon Walotsky’s father.

We don’t know when the family came to the United States, but if Martha or the elder Simon were immigrants, that would explain the lack of results. Newspapers.com is expanding to other countries, but that is a slow process.

Contact Johanna Eubank at jeubank@tucson.com