Friday, July 13, 2012

Lucille V. Kosinske, 1901-1991

Aunt Lucy and Andrea Off to Visit Hearst Castle, 1963
Great Aunt Lucy was one of my family's favorites and her visits to us were greatly anticipated.The youngest daughter of Polish immigrants, she did not follow in the footsteps of her older, married sisters, including my grandma, Stella. Instead, Aunt Lucy was a successful, independent career woman.  She was tall, dynamic, curious, and always interested in visiting new places--often with her camera in hand. As far as I was concerned, there was no one in the world like Aunt Lucy.

Every few years she would take the train from Chicago to Union Station in Los Angeles. My mother, brothers and sisters and I would meet her at the station in our old station wagon, then drive her to the Biltmore Hotel. From there, she would visit friends, host dinners, and explore Southern California.

When I was 13, she invited me--only me--along on a photography trip to the central California coast. She worked for the Chicago Tribune and arranged an extensive, private tour for us of Hearst Castle.  It was an amazing trip and I enjoyed every day. Aunt Lucy was determined I learn to share her interest in photography and rented a 35mm camera for me to use. I did my best, but despite her patiently repeated instructions, aperture and shutter speed remained mysteries. I did, however, come away with a lifelong love of central California and an appreciation for what Aunt Lucy could do with a camera.

Aunt Lucy's Timeline:
Aunt Lucy's Medal, 1960
  • Birth, 29 October 1901 in Wenona, Marshall Co., Illinois to Joseph and Alexandria (Nowsuc) Kosinski. Visit the Kosinski Family Tree
  • 1930 Census. Lucille is 27 years old and renting a house in Chicago. Living with her are her mother, Alice, who emigrated from Poland in 1895, and a lodger, Gladys M. Scott, unemployed stenographer.
  • Social Security Number Application on Nov. 27, 1936, the only document I've found to date giving her middle name as Vera.
  • 1938. Aunt Lucy takes up photography, from 1963 news article.
  • 1940 Census. Still searching.
  • 1951. In October, Lucille Kosinske, 49, and born in Wenona, Illinois, sails on the SS Lurline from San Francisco to Honolulu.
  • August 1960. Aunt Lucy wins a sterling silver charm for "Slide of the Month" from the Chicago Stereo Camera Club. I purchase it on eBay in March 2011.
  • 1961. Aunt Lucy wins Slide of the Year for "Barefoot Pals," a stereograph photo shot in Florida.
  • 1963. Aunt Lucy's and Andrea's car trip to central California and tour of Hearst Castle.
  • September 1972. I drive my VW bug (and 9-year-old sister, Deidre) to Chicago from California to visit Aunt Lucy at her home on N. Sheridan Drive.
  • 1986. Aunt Lucy deeds selected photographs and viewer to Chicago Historical Society. Lucille V. Kosinske Photograph Collection, catalog entry 
  • Death, 27 February 1991 in Chicago, Cook Co., Illinois and announced in the Chicago Tribune.
Selected Sources:

  • "Camera Bug Limits Field," article, Chicago Tribune (1963-Current File), 17 October 1963, p. n21; Proquest ( : accessed 30 April 2012), Proquest Historical Newspapers: Chicago Tribune (1849-1988).
  • "Kosinske," Death Notice, Chicago Tribune, 2 March 1991, sec. 1, p. 13. Microfilm. Los Angeles Public Library.
  • Lucille Vera Kosinske, SSN 337-10-4116, 27 November 1936, Application for Social Security Account Number, Social Security Administration, Baltimore, Maryland.
  • Social Security Administration, "U.S. Social Security Death Index," database, ( : accessed 29 November 2010), Lucille V. Kosinske, 337-10-4116, before 1951.
  • "Wins Stereo 'Slide of the Year'," Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963), Oct. 4, 1962, part 3, p. B9; Proquest Historical Newspapers ( : accessed 30 April 2012), ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Chicago Tribune (1849-1988).

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Past Remembrances presents biographical sketches of the lives of individual ancestors and other family members based on over 20 years of research. Each post includes sources and links to other information. Occasionally, I'll also include favorite memories of people and photographs I either snapped or inherited.

This blog is one way to share family information with all those contemporary relatives whose eyes glaze over at Thanksgiving when I mention genealogy. Reading about one relative at a time is more palatable than making sense of a six-generation pedigree chart. This is also another way to connect with as-yet-unknown distant relatives whose genealogical research overlaps with mine. I hope you share an interest in discovering family history. With any luck at all, we may even share some ancestors.