Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Three Sons Born in One Year...Really?

I have written before about my husband's grandparents. They were all immigrants from eastern Europe. His paternal grandparents considered themselves Lithuanian and his maternal grandparents considered themselves German. However, when great grandfather, Leopold Fishthaler, left to come to the U.S., he lived in the portion of the Austro-Hungarian empire that is now Hungary. When his wife left eight years later, she lived in what is now Novi Sad, Serbia.

I would find a tidbit about each family group about once every five or ten years; learn a little more and that would be it.  Currently, I have eleven possibilities for the spelling of the maiden name of my husband's paternal grandmother, Cecelia. I have settled on Klimasansluski, because her original Social Security application is the only document I have in her own handwriting. Cecelia had as many as thirteen children, including more than one set of twins, according to my oldest sister-in-law. I have been able to find nine to date.

According to the documents I've found, all three of the oldest of Cecelia's sons -- John Joseph, Francis Adam, and Joseph Dagutis -- were born in 1904!

John Joseph's Social Security Applications and Claims Index record, indicated he was born on 27 July 1904 and spelled his surname as Degutis, which is the more common spelling.

Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 for John
Joseph Degutis; courtesy

Francis "Frank" Adam Dagutis was born on 1 August 1904.

Frank Dagutis' original application for a Social Security account; personal

And Joseph Dagutis was born on 3 October 1904.

The application for a headstone completed by Ceceilia Dagutis for her
son, Joseph; courtesy of

It is clear none or some of these records are correct. My thinking at this time is that Frank must have known his own birthday and his birth date is most likely correct. My assumption is Cecelia misremembered Joseph's birth date forty-three years later or got confused during a time of grief. I am also discounting John's birth date as family lore says he ran into a bit of legal trouble when working in a drug store and disappeared for several years. If that is true, changing one's date of birth would be within the realm of possibility. Recently, I discovered an article in the 1925 Daily News that would indicate family lore about an illegal abortion was true.

Mount Carmel Daily News, 21 Feb 1925; courtesy of

According to the 1920 census, 18-year-old John Dagutis worked as a clerk in a drug store. He married Mary Bernadetta (or Bridget) O'Donnell on 21 June 1925. I believe the Peter O'Donnell mentioned in the article is her brother.

After this article, I have not been able to find another record for John Joseph Degutis until his death in 1998.

What do you think about all these 1904 births?

The Onion Layers that Were Cecelia Dagutis


  1. Interesting. I would think that Frank is possibly the oldest because of his middle name. Adam is usually given to a first born son. Good luck in solving this mystery.

    1. I would have thought so, too. But the 1910 and 1920 census always list the birth order as John, Francis "Frank," Joseph. Of course, that doesn't mean it's correct!

  2. Schalene I think we are related I am the grandson if Eleanore DeGatis, who is the grand daughter of Lewis Dagutis.

    1. Nathan, good to hear from you. I recently found out the John Joseph Dagutis mentioned in this blog post married and moved to Philadelphia and spelled his name DeGatis. I was able to trace several of his descendants but don't have anyone in my tree with the names you named. Can you give me more information such as birth and death dates and places and spouses names? I suspect some of Adam Dagutis's (1875-1925) immigrated as well, but can't prove it yet.