I had a day off and got terribly distracted and didn’t get anything done.

I’ve played around with some genealogy off and on.  On my dad’s side I get stuck at his grandparents.  They came from Poland maybe in 1903.  That’s listed on one census.  They don’t show up often.  I swear they were living like they were in witness protection.  (When they do fill out a form they don’t stick to established facts.  The 1930 census says my grandma was a boy.)  It may just be that records from the city they lived in just aren’t online yet.

So I was doing a newspaper search for the family name.  I came up with some articles about a 22 year old guy named Alex who was shot when he was supposedly trying to steal a car.  This happened in 1937.  They have a pretty unusual Polish last name.  I’ve never heard of an Alex in the family so I thought maybe he was a nephew or something and if I traced him back then I might find a link.

Turns out that Alex might be my grandmother’s older brother.  He is in their house in the 1930 census and gone in the 1940.  Those are the only documents I have on the family.  I’ve never heard of him.  I Facebook messaged my family and no one has heard of him.  My grandmother would have been 11 when he was killed.  How does that never, ever come up in conversation?

Supposedly Alex and a friend were getting a ride home from somewhere because Alex was sick.  According to the driver, Alex pulled a gun on him and tried to steal the car.  The driver shot him through the heart and critically wounded the friend.  The friend survived and in newspaper interviews swears up and down that they didn’t try to steal the car.  After the friend got out of the hospital, he was declared insane and sent to the state mental institution.  No gun was found on Alex.

In Feb. 1938 the grand jury refused to indict the driver for murder.

There are articles all over about this case in small town newspapers for hundreds of miles around the location.  The newspaper for the city it happened in?  Not online.  I may have to make a road trip.

In favor of it being him:

  • Same name
  • Same age as the Alex on the 1930 census
  • Same city
  • He’s buried in the same cemetery as my grandmother’s parents.

Way to cover things up, Grandma.