Masewicz family

Early History

     The Masewicz family name was originally spelled Majsiewicz.  They were a Polish farming family who lived an area occupied over the years by Russia, Germany, Poland and what is now current day Lithuania.  

     Beginning around 1900 records show a father Josef and at least 3 sons were living in this area of present day Lithuania.  One by one the sons began immigrating to the United States.  Some making the journey more than once.  The sons were all coming to the U.S. to settle in and around Pittsburgh, PA, very close to one another and work in the steel industry as laborers.

     The earliest found record of the Masewicz family entering the United States begins with the 1903 immigration record for Kasimier Masewicz traveling aboard the SS Statendam from Rotterdam in the Netherlands on May 8, 1903 arriving 11 days later in the U.S on May 19, 1903.  

SS Statendam

SS Statendam

     Kasimier is a 25-year-old single laborer and is traveling to meet his brother Jan already in the United States who has an address on 18th Street in Pittsburgh, PA.

Pittsburgh Fowler 1902

Pittsburgh, PA - 1902

     Kasimier is listed as Polish in good health and his last residence is listed as Lentrova.  Lentrova is presumably the town of Lentvaris located in present day Lithuania.

Lentvaris, Lithuania

     Next in 1905 there is an immigration record for the Wife of Jan; Teresa Majsiewicz (25), daughter Jadwiga (3), son Jan (1) and Teresa’s brother Vincenty Tanoszeski (22) sailing aboard the SS Breslau from Bremen, Germany on June 15, 1905 and arriving in Baltimore, Maryland 14 days later on June 29, 1905.  They are all traveling to Monessen, PA to meet Teresa’s Husband Jan.  The immigration record indicates that travel is care of the Monessen Savings and Trust Company.

SS Breslau

     Monessen is 29 miles south of Pittsburgh.  Pittsburgh Steel Co. founded in 1901 operated in Monessen and in Allenport, PA, that could be a possible reason why Jan is located there.

Monessen, PA in relationship to Pittsburgh

ca. 1905 – Advertisement for the Monessen Savings and Trust Company

     Teresa Majsiewicz who is married to Jan lists her last residence as Masowazrna and her brother Vincenty lists his last residence as Kimelisxki in the 1905 immigration record.

     Masowazrna although spelled differently on the record would be Miciewszczyzna and is a very small village on what is now the eastern edge of the Trakai Historic National Park near Lake Baltis and the town of Lentvarus in present day Lithuania.  Previously it was part of Russia and later Poland as borders changed.

The village of Miciewszczyzna in Lithuania


Miciewszczyzna (Red Marker) and the town of Lentvaris (Blue Marker)


Miciewszczyzna near Lake Baltis.


     The town Kimelisxki now goes by the name Kemelishki and is located in present day Belarus.  Kemelishki is about 37 miles north east of Miciewszczyzna.

Kemelishki, Belarus (blue marker) and Miciewszczyzna, Lithuania (red marker)

     On the April 1910 U.S. Census record Jan is now listed as John Maskevitch (38) and is living at 25 18th Street in Pittsburgh with his wife Teresa (30), son John (10), daughter Hardwic (7), son Casimier (3), son Stanislawa (1 yr. 8 mos.) and brother Casimier (31).  All are listed as Polish and born in Russia except the two youngest children who are born in Pennslyvania.  John is a laborer in a mill (most likely steel) as is his brother Casimier who lives with them.  The census record indicates that he and his wife Teresa originally immigrated to the U.S. in 1901.  John and Teresa both speak Polish.  The oldest child John can speak English and he and his sister Hardwic attend school.  Teresa has had 6 children but only 4 are still living by 1910.

     At the end of 1910 an immigration record lists Josef (37) and Maria (22) Maisewicz traveling aboard the SS President Lincoln from Hamburg, Germany on Dec. 16, 1910 and arriving in New York, NY 12 days later on Dec. 28, 1910.  They are both listed as Polish coming from Miszewzisna, Russia traveling to Pittsburgh, PA., their nearest living relative is his father Josef still living in Miszewzisna.  They are in good health.  Joseph is 5’ 9” tall and Maria is 5’ 7” tall both with fair complexion, brown hair and gray eyes.  Other records would list eye color for Josef as blue. 

SS President Lincoln


     They are traveling to meet Josef’s brother Jan who’s address is listed as S.S. 18th St. Pittsburgh, PA.

     Through records we now have 3 brothers, Josef, Jan and Kasimier living in Pittsburgh with their families.

     In many cases the spelling of the name Masewicz was left to the individual entering the information into record.  Compounded by the fact that some family members could not speak english or perhaps read or write, the last name Masewicz was spelled many different ways on records.  Even members of the family changed their own name spelling over time.  Later some family members changed the name altogether to the last name Mason.

Masewicz1903 Kasimier Masewicz Manifest, 1918 Kasimier Masewicz WWI Draft Registration, 1930 Joseph Masewicz Census, 1940 Victor Masewicz Census
Majsiewicz1905 Teresa Majsiewicz Manifest, 1916 Jos Majsiewicz City Directory, 1931 Majsiewicz Pittsburgh City Directory
Maskevitch1910 John Maskevitch Census
Maisewicz1910 Joseph Maisewicz Manifest
Misavitch1918 Joe Misavitch WWI Draft Registration
Mashovirtch1920 Joseph Mashovirtch Census
Mojsiewicz1924 Kasimierz Mojsiewics Immigration
Majsilwizz1930 Casmer Majsilwizz Census
Mojaicwicz1940 Casmer Mojaicwicz Census

     By 1916 the Pittsburgh City Directory lists Jos. Majsiewicz living at 1817 Merriman.

Masewicz addresses in Pittsburgh

     In 1917 the U.S. government enacted the Selective Service Act to raise an army for entry into World War I through conscription.  There were 3 phases to the draft.  The first, on June 5, 1917, was for all men between the ages of 21 and 31.  The second, on June 5, 1918, registered those who attained age 21 after June 5, 1917.  The third registration was held on September 12, 1918, for men age 18 through 45.  Due to their age Joseph and Kasimier participated in this third registration.  A record for Jan registering for the draft has not been found.

     Listed as Joe Misavitch (43) on his 1918 draft registration card his date of birth is noted as 1875 from Russia / Poland and he is employed as a Pit Helper at No. 30 Open Hearth for the Jones and Laughlin Steel Co. (S.S.) located at 27th and Carson in Pittsburgh.  He is a non-citizen with blue eyes and light brown hair.  The form indicates that he is physically disqualified due to a “hole in top of head from operation”.  His address is shown as the corner of 18th and Merrimac in Pittsburgh and his nearest relative is his wife Mary.  The form is signed with an “X” indicating that he could not write.

     Interestingly at this same time there is a Charles Masewith (40) who also registers for the draft at the same time as Joe and Kasimier.  Born 12/31/1878, 2 months after Kasimier he may be a cousin.   He is living with Joseph at the time and working as a driver helper for the American Reduction Co.

     The 1918 draft registration for Kasimier Masewicz (40) lists his date of birth as October 12, 1878 from Russia.  Kasimier is employed as a laborer by the Jones and Laughlin Co. at the same location as Joe.  His address is 1814 Merriman St. in Pittsburgh and his nearest relative is Mary at the same address (presumably his wife).  Kasimier is listed as short, slender with blue eyes and brown hair. 

Jones and Laughlin - Open Hearth (year unknown)

     By 1920 Joseph, listed as Joseph Mashovirtch (40) on the U.S. Census is living at 1817 Merriman St. in Pittsburgh with his wife Mary (30), son Victor (10), son Frank (7) and daughter Helen (4 ½).  Both Joseph and Mary are noted as born in Poland and speaking Polish as are their own parents.  The listed year of immigration is 1909.  All except young Helen are able to read and write according to the record and all of the children are listed as born in Pennsylvania.  Joseph is a Laborer at a Reduction Co.  Reduction is a process for turning iron ore into steel involving blast furnaces.

     Sometime around 1922 Kasimier and his family return to Miciewszczyzna.

View an immigration timeline


Masewicz family immigration timeline

     On December 3rd, 1924 Kazimierz Mojsiewicz (46), his wife Marja (33), daughter Marja (9) and son Edward (6) immigrate again to the U.S. aboard the SS Lituania leaving Danzig (now Gdansk in Poland) and arriving 15 days later in New York, NY on December 18, 1924.  

SS Lituania

     They are again heading to Pittsburgh to join brother Jozef located at 1816 Clifton St.  Children Marja and Edward are listed as U.S. citizens.  The families nearest relative in Miciewszczyzna where they are coming from is Kazimierz’s father Jozef who is located in Troki, Poland according to the immigration record.  Kazimierz listed profession is laborer / farmer.  He is 5’ 3” tall and his wife Marja is 5’ 5” tall.

ca. 1924 – Children Edward and Marja

     Mary Masewicz died on Feb. 16, 1929 from Chronic Myocarditis according to her death certificate, which is caused by a bacterial infection to the heart which can lead to heart failure.

     On April 5, 1930 Joseph (48) is now going by the last name Masewicz on the U.S. Census record of that year.  His wife Maria is deceased having passed away February 16, 1929.  Joseph lives with his son Victor (19), son Frank (16), daughter Helen (13), son Walter (10) and son Joseph (8) in a duplex at 1813 Wharton St. in Pittsburgh.  Father Joseph is still employed in the Reduction industry.  Son Victor is a helper in the truck industry.  Son Frank is a helper in an Ice Cream business.

1813 Wharton Street, Pittsburgh, PA (Present day)

     Joseph’s daughter Helen, her husband Vincent Jakubowski, their daughter and son continued to live at the Wharton Street address following Joseph’s death on December 28, 1934.  A family story related by a son of Walter says that when Joseph died Walter was 14, Helen 17, and the younger Joseph was 12.  The children were fearful that they would be sent to an orphanage.  A neighbor, who worked for the county helped Helen cover up the fact that she was a minor raising the two boys.

     Joseph died Dec. 28, 1934 after falling down a flight of steps at home.

     When Maria died in 1929 and Joseph died in 1934 they were buried without markers.  When Walter became an adult and had the money, he paid for the headstones.

     Joseph his wife Marie, Kazimierz his wife Marja and their son and daughter are all buried at Saint Adalbert’s Cemetery in Pennsylvania. 

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