Sunday, August 30, 2020

Yeshaya/Josiah/Joshua/John/J. Supkoff's Permit Appeal Results!

A few weeks ago, I talked about how my great-great grandfather applied for a permit to build an extension to his home in Pittsburgh--but how the various papers gave him a different given name when mentioning his permit application.  There was a hearing to discuss if the permit would be granted, and it was denied.  And then one newspaper mentioned that he was appealing the denial.

But he didn't seem to appear again.  I wondered what happened--and some readers asked on Facebook and Twitter if I knew what happened.  Initially I was thinking that I'd need to wait for local Pittsburgh repositories to re-open post-COVID.  But I also realized that the OCR technology used to allow old newspapers to be searchable isn't perfect, so perhaps there was another mention of this case where Supkoff wasn't captured?  So I searched by the address of the home, narrowing search results to 1925 newspapers in Pennsylvania.  And there it was.

Joseph Supkoff Building Permit Appeal Decision; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; June 12, 1925

Here "Joseph" Supkoff was granted his permitted to extend his home and convert it into a two-family dwelling.  But why would he do that?

Yeshaya died a few months before the 1930 census.  But we can see who was living in 2042 Webster Avenue. 

Supkoff Family, 1930 US Census, Pittsburgh

In 1930, there was three small families living in the home.  Yeshaya's daughter Frances was living with her husband Ben (she married a cousin so didn't need to change her last name!) and their oldest son Jerome.  Yeshaya's wife (here Elizabeth--she used a different English name on every document in which she appears once in America) was living with their daughter Rose.  And Yeshaya's son Saul was living in the home with his wife Hannah.

So the addition didn't convert this building to a two-family house, but rather to a three-family home!

Unfortunately, the building has since been torn down and how houses what look like newly-built apartments.

Lesson here: Don't just search by name.  Search by other identifying elements--like address--to find your relatives!

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  1. I found many other mentions of my family when I searched only by the street address. You are sharing a great tip.

    1. If only it would give a complete dozen-generation family tree....

    2. A complete, multi-generational tree would be lovely; I have that same dream, Lara!