Koshko family lineage home page
Koshko family lineage home page

Koshko lineage home page

The odyssey begins
Andrew Koszkowski & Julia Radiak

Name index
  • Anna
  • Koshko
  • Andrew
  • Anna
  • Elizabeth
  • George
  • John
  • Joseph
  • Julia
  • Mary
  • Michael
  • Paul
  • Steve
  • Kossik
  • Anna
  • Koszkowski
  • Andrew
  • Michael
  • Suzanne
  • Matash
  • Andrew
  • Petrak
  • George
  • Poltis
  • Mary
  • Radiak
  • Julia
  • Michael
  • Rusnak
  • Anna
  • Sapula
  • Katherine
  • Soltis
  • Mary
  • Staley
  • Evelyn
  • Surovey
  • Michael
  • Sutika
  • Margaret

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    George Petrak George Petrak was born May 14, 1899 in Austria-Hungary. According to the "Koshko family tree" being circulated on paper, he was born in a town or village called Skalite. He married Anna Koshko on July 29, 1919 in Clarence, PA. They lived in Curwensville, Pennsylvania where George worked for a time as a coal miner before becoming a tanner for a shoe factory. George died on July 31, 1974 at age 75 at Wilson Memorial Hospital in Johnson City, New York.

    George's daughter, Carolina Edwards of Avis, Pennsylvania, tells his story:

    George and Anna Petrak lived in Curwensville, Pennsylvania where he worked in a coal mine until he broke his leg. While recuperating, he heard a rumor that the Endicott Johnson Shoe Factory was hiring men. As soon as he could get around, he went to Endicott to see if he could get a job. He had a room on Squires Avenue in Endicott after getting a job in the tannery. He roomed there for several weeks getting some money together to move his family to Endicott. When the family arrived they rented a half duplex at 28 Odell Avenue (a block away from his work). This house wasn't really large enough for all of us as Joseph and I were born there. For the 7 of us, we needed more room. Down the street (closer to the factory) there was a house for sale at 17 Odell Avenue. This house was use by Batan Chickens which no on owned. It was for sale for $1800. So Daddy and Momma bought it and he and Jay (John), Georgie and Joey (Joseph) converted these premises to a 10 room house where I eventually grew up. (And all those chickens made really good eating.)

    George and
 Anna (Petrak) Koshko's wedding in 1919 Daddy's first job at the E.J. factory was in the tanning section. This part of the factory removed the hair from the cow hides and dyed them different colors. A few years later he worked on a splitting machine. This removed the top and bottom of the hides from each other--the top to be used for the finished leather and the bottom was for the heels, fillers, and soles.

    With his large family to support and feed, he also worked part time nights and on Saturdays as a carpenter. He was very methodical and did beautiful work.

    While working in the tannery he learned to resole shoes for his family and believe me--we went through many soles. We used to joke that the uppers of the shoes wore through before his soles wore out.

    Although he could play the banjo, he taught himself the accordion (the button kind). He could really play the polkas on it. And he could polka with the best of them. I loved to dance with him.

    His relaxation was getting together with 5 of his friends (usually on Saturday evenings) to play pinochle. They took turns at each other's house and when they played at my house, I'd sit quietly and watch. No money exchanged hands--they just played for the fun of it. I learned the game that way and still love to play.

    He could bend a bottle cap with just two fingers. (Sounds real easy but it's quite hard to do.)

    He taught me to paint, hammer nails, lay tile, mix concrete and to use a screwdriver. He made carpentry so fascinating that I eventually took machine shop, modern design, and blueprint reading and became a draftsman (or draftswoman) after graduation. It didn't matter that I was a girl. He felt I should know how to do these things myself. (He was ahead of his time.)

 and Anna (Petrak) Koshko's 50th anniversary in 1969 Every so often we'd pack boxes of items and send them to his brothers in Okres Chasta, Skalita, Czechoslovakia after World War II. We really didn't have that much but they had even less than us so we shared.

    Although not very tall-- 5'7" -- he was a very strong man, both physically and mentally. He had his own opinions about everything--religion, politics, etc. and a person could not sway him.

    For Christmas, he would give us each a bright, shiny 50-cent piece. That was a lot of money in the late 30s and early 40s. It was a fortune to us!

    I guess times were hard--but everyone in the neighborhood was in the same boat so no one really thought about it.

    ---- written by Carolina Edwards of Avis, Pennsylvania

    Carolina's daughter, Jessica Edwards-Englestead, has supplied a list of names of people in the Petrak and Koshko families. Next to each name is the kind of information she's looking for to help document the family history. Click here to download the .txt file which you should be able to read on any computer. It's easy to collect information about family members. However, the information is often incorrect or incomplete. If you see any errors you can correct, please do. Please note that the information you provide will NOT be included on this web site when it pertains to people who are still living. We don't want our relatives falling easy prey to identity thieves.

    Ivan Brezina, a Czech citizen emailed Rick Wiegmann Koshko in October 2003, with information about his own family tree search and possible relationship to George Petrak. Brezina believes "George" would most likely have been "Jiri" in the Old Country because the Czech name Jiri matches to George in English. Brezina also advises that several Czech villages are known by the name Skalice--and one may be the Skalite where George Petrak was born. Ivan Brezina can communicate in English and would like to hear from anyone who can help him piece together the puzzle on his side. This could be an opportunity for a George Petrak descendant to meet a distant cousin. Please contact Rick Wiegmann Koshko through the email screener and ask for Brezina's contact info if you're interested.

    George and Anna had eight children: Anna, Mary, John, Helen, George, Julia, Joseph, Carolina. The first six were born at home in Pennsylvania. The last two were born in a hospital in New York state. The first child died just a year and a half after she was born.

    Special thanks to George Petrak's daughter, Carolina Edwards of Avis, Pennsylvania, for telling his story, providing pictures and documents, and correcting information on this page. Here are more images that tell George Petrak's story:

  • George Petrak's baptism certificate in Latin and Slovak(?) 1264x916, 64 kB download
  • Naturalization certificate 1234x1018, 134 kB, think of how much work went into earning this
  • Education certificate 629x478, 33 kB, evidently a necessity for voting
  • Marriage certificate 619x1029, 91 kB
  • Another marriage certificate 699x462, 23 kB, the souvenir copy as some call it

    • Do you know more about George Petrak? Maybe you worked with him and can submit a picture of the kind of shoes he made or of the shoe factory. Don't be shy about sharing.

    Record created: September 22, 2002
    Updated: August 20, 2006