Recently I've been spending a good amount of time researching Anna Hyrcuniak Koval, my maternal great grandmother. And let me tell you, the last name Hyrcuniak is a tough one to research. It's hard to say, spell, originates from a different language, and she came from a place that was Austria and has since been Poland, Ukraine, and now it's back to Poland. So you can imagine the MANY different ways I've found it spelled and the roadblocks I've faced.
Anna married Fedor "Frank" Koval in Wilkes-Barre, PA and had 11 children. I stalked the Ellis Island website, searching and searching for anyone with a name close to Hyrcuniak who came to the general area of Wilkes-Barre, PA in the early 1900's. I found a pair of brothers, Wasil and Michael Hyrcuniak, who came to and from Austria to the mining regions of eastern PA in the early 1900's. And then it happened. I found a single Anna "Hryciniak" coming from Lutowiska going to Scranton, PA to meet her brother Michael! So I not only found my great grandmother's passage to the US, but connected her to 2 brothers! An it just so happened that she arrived in the US June 1904, 3 months before she was married in Wilkes-Barre, PA.
Obviously this is not 100% without a doubt, but it's a VERY good lead. And sometimes when researching your genealogy, you just have to have that feeling. You've done so much due diligence and you just know that these pieces fit together.
Not long after finding this record I received some very interesting news. A possible distant relative contacted me. Her great grandmother was a Hyrcuniak and this person had been in frequent contact with my maternal great aunt before her death. This person had traveled to Poland, TWICE. Guess where? LUTOWISKA! This past weekend we had a great, almost 2 hour long phone call discussing all of our information and sources. Growing up, her uncle and my great aunt had said that our great grandmother's were sisters. Enter the 3rd party. There is another researcher involved! His grandmother is another supposed Hyrcuniak sister. I'm not convinced we're all connected to the same exact family, but it seems we are all very avid researchers dedicated to finding our family. Either way these connections are valuable and worthwhile.
I'm feeling very encouraged and excited!