Descendants of Juozapas Norkus as of May, 2008

Through the help of Cousin Russell Blaski who researched years ago, these are the facts that I have obtained for your knowledge:

The first descendant on the list is Juozapas(which means Joseph) Norkus who never came to America. I'm taking a guess that he may have been born somewhere between the years 1840 to 1850 in Lithuania. At this time we do not know his wife's name. She may have died very young. A son was also named Juozapas which meant he was the oldest son, and we do not have any knowledge at this time if Juozapas had any siblings.

Joseph Nicodemus SmithTo understand the differences in Lithuanian surnames, it is clear that Lithuanian history affected the spelling of surnames beginning with the period 1385 to 1795 when Lithuania united with Poland. The country was occupied by Germany during both World Wars. Lithuania was proclaimed a republic in 1918, was annexed by the USSR in 1940 and was under Russian rule for the next fifty years. Lithuania declared its independence in 1990. We find that all these foreign influences have an affect on Lithuanian surnames and their spelling.* Norkus is a popular Lithuanian surname - 474 lived in Lithuania circa 1989. It derived from the Lithuanian verb noreti which means 'to want, to desire'.*

Son Juozapas was a teacher in Erzvilkas, in the region of Jubarkas (formerly part of the province of Kaunas), Lithuania. He came to America possibly between 1897 to 1899 before his wife Rozalio and Jozef. They were the intrepid pioneers of families around world that escaped poverty, religious persecution, oppresive governments, racism and more to start a new life in America.

Departing from Antwerp, Belgium on the SS Friesland on 30 June 1900, Roze Norkete (also spelled other ways as well, such as Rozalia Novyoknie on the passenger manifest), age 26, her two children (ages 6 and 3) and Roze's sister-in-law Ivona (Eve) Nanioksze, age 35, arrived in New York, USA on 11 July 1900. (They arrived with a group of other Poles listed as Russians because of citizenship). Transcribed incorrectly on the manifest, Roze's hometown was listed as Garswili but should have been Erzvilkas. Their last place of residence was recorded as Sarswile. The manifest records stated that Rozalia could not read or write. The final destination for Eve was Cambridgeport, MA with brother-in-law Joseph Szmitta where the words husband and father was the destination for Rozalia and her children.

That brings us to how Juozapas became Joseph Smith. I was told by a couple of relatives with whom I had conversations that Juozapas was unable to obtain work possibly because the "recruiter" could not say his name. On a whim, Juozapas decided to change his name to Joseph Smith and, lo and behold, he was able to obtain work immediately. He became a carriage painter. He lived with his family at 8 Moore Road, Cambridge, MA at a 6 story brick apartment (hotel) which was basically an apartment building. According to the Cambridge Historical Commission, the apartment (hotel) was planned to be changed for a Hall in the Centre, signed by S. Phipps, an architect. This part of Moore Street does not exist anymore.

The newly claimed 'Joseph Smith' who had been a teacher in his native land taught immigrants here in Massachusetts and helped them to get their paperwork together. (He may have been involved in obtaining worker's rights. There may have been physical fights over labor disputes with the union. (Again, this is one of my theories). Certain people were not pleased with his actions. Photo of Rose At about this time in history, so much was happening with regard to the unions. This could be the reason why individuals entered his apartment hotel and threw him down the open well of the staircase from the third landing. His skull was fractured. Unbelievable! The death register in Cambridge on 16 May 1901 listed Joseph Smith's death at age 29, as an accidental fall and he would be buried in Malden, MA. The Cambridge Chronicle on Saturday 25 May 1901, listed in the obituary section which was entitled Died that Mr. Smith who died on 16 May 1901, was born in Russia (Lithuania, actually) in 1872. On 18 May 1901, Mrs. Rose Noyark purchased a cemetary plot at the Holy Cross Cemetery in Malden, MA, and Joseph was buried the next day 19 May 1901. The simple white cross reads Josupas Noyark, 1874 - 1901. Also buried in this plot were two of Roze's brother's chidren, Rose A. Danelus, 20 days old, 10 November 1902 and William J. Danelus, 4 months old, 20 August 1907. I believe at that time in history that up to seven people could be buried in this one plot. The location of the plot is 21 S Street Anthony 41E.

Research still needs to be done to learn from where did Juouzapas leave his native land or thereabouts and did he arrive at Ellis Island? Did he have siblings? Did his mother die at an early age?

Now Roze Marija Danelute (Americanized name was Rose Mary Daniels) who just arrived in the US in July 1900 is alone with daughter Roza Marija Norkete ( Americanized name Rose Mary Smith) and son Joseph (Americanized name Joseph Nicholas or Nicodemus, which means Nicholas, and pregnant with their third child who was due in three months time. Stephen Simon Smith was born in Cambridge, MA on 25 August 1901. I do not know how Roze was able to make a living here in Cambridge. Another child, Anna Mary was born in Cambridge, MA on 8 June 1903. Rose's brother William and family also lived nearby so he may have been of great help in many ways. At some point Rose and children moved to the mill house on Chestnut Street in Newton Upper Falls. Evidently Rose became "self-employed" as she took in boarders. She never had a formal "boarding house" but she "rented" empty rooms upstairs as a source of income and worked at the old silk mill in Newton Upper Falls to hold body and soul together", according to Francis Lussier.

Rose had her fifth child, Helen Elizabeth Smith, in Newton, MA on 5 Febuary 1911. First child Rose Mary, met Walter Peter Zikorus who is also from Lithuania. They had six children. The first four were born in Newton and the latter two in Needham. Frederick ( 9-6-1918 ~ 9-14-1992), Edward (10-19-1919 ~ 9-30-1991), Albert (4-9-1921 ~ 6-11-1992), Helen, who passed away in 2012 in Charleston, SC, Francis, who passed away several years ago had lived in Waltham, MA with her husband Al Lussier, and Walter George Zikorus (11-1-1928 ~ 3-16-1993). Fred. Eddie. Albert and Walter were supposedly names after kings.

Second child Joseph, born 28 Feb 1894 - I beleive it may have been 1896, was drafted into the US Army during WWI and registered out of New Jersey. When Joseph was discharged from the Army in 1919, he returned home with his bride, Catherine Anna Stankevich. They had a dog (possibly a Collie from a picture that we all have) and lived in the third house in from the steet on the Newton side of the Charles River. The address was 1051 Chestnut Steet, Newton Upper Falls, MA. Joseph applied for citizenship in Febuary, 1916 and became a citizen on 5 Nov 1923. (On the Declaration of Intention it includes these words: height, 5'11" tall, weight 148 pounds, brown hair and hazel eyes, age 21 years old, unmarried and his occupation as clerk). It is possible that Joseph did not know how old he was when he came to America. The passenger manifest had recorded that Joseph was three in 1900 and yet Joseph lists his birth on the Declaration of Intention as 1894.

Joseph and Catherine had three daughters, Catherine (1921), Beatrice (1924), Theresa (1926) and one son, Bernard (Buddy) born in 1927. Catherine was born in Mahanoy City in Schuylkill County, PA. This lies in the anthracite coal mining region of the state which has a large Slavic ethnic population. They divorced in either the late 1920's or early 1930's.

Toward the time before his death, Joseph lived for a while in the attic of his mother's home with his sister, Anna, taking care of him. On his death certificate he had Inanition/Peritonitis with fistulae/perforated ulcer. He could speak English and called his nephew Larry, Butcher Boy. I did research to learn that comedic movies were made with Arbuckle from Spanky and Buster Keaton. This could possibly be a reason for calling Larry that. Larry's older brother Buddie, was called Junie. He doesn't know how he earned that nickname.

In 1933, Catherine married John Melnick and had two more children (Robert in 1939 and William in 1942). Both Joseph and Catherine died too early in life. I wonder if Joseph ever took a job in the coal mining region. Joseph was only two days shy of his 46th birthday and Rose was only 44. Because of divorce and death, their children in their early ages did not have the opportunity to know nor love their father's relatives. The third child, Stephen had a son named after him. Stephen and wife, Sally Harber, live in Newton, MA. Stephen is a retired policeman. The forth child, Anna and husband Lawrence had four children. Lorraine and husband Edwin are deceased. William (Buddie) and wife Betty live in Framington and Lawrence Jr. and his wife Carol live in Newton. The last of Rose's clan is Helen who married Charles Duddy. The reception was at 64 Oak Street in Newton Upper Falls according to Larry Smith. They had four sons: Charles Jr., Philip, Roy and Paul. All of the children spoke the Lithuanian language fluently and they learned English. They all spoke very good English. Mother Rose spoke very broken English yet it seemed she always understood everything said to her. She was a very devout Catholic and seemed to give every dime that anyone ever gave her to the church.

Roze Marija Danelute who came to America from Lithuania as a married adult had Americanized her name to Rose Mary Daniels. The Lithuanian surname Danielis comes from Daniel. Daniel is an English, French, Portugese, German, Polish and Jewish name from the Hebrew given name Daniel meaning: 'God is my judge'.* Rose couldn't speak Endlish fluently nor could she read and bent some rules, but she survived for 80 years. Rose is buried in St. Mary's Cemetery in Needham, MA. Three of her children, Rose, Joseph and Anna, are there as well. Also in the same place are Rose's husband Walter Zikorus, Anna's husband Lawrence Douglass Smith as well as their daughter Lorraine Smith and her husband Edwin Blaski. Stephen is at St. Joseph's cemetery in West Roxbury, MA and Helen Smith Duddy is buried at Newton Cemetery.

by Linda Lovett Hickey. Footnotes * by Charles J. Zemaitis of Decatur, IL.


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