Saturday, March 26, 2011

Surname Saturday - Puskar, Gunner, or is it both?

Finally one of my most frustrating surnames is starting to become less of a mystery! With the help of a fellow genealogist from Ancestry we are piecing together the story of the Puskar Gunner family line.

What we knew from the 1910 census records was that Ann Eva, my grand aunt's husband was Henry Puskar. The couple was residing with my great grandparents, along with their daughter Annie. After this record they seemed to have vanished completely.

Last week I was once again trying to find these ancestors when discovering a member tree with possible matches. On first glance it looked like this family was not linked to our line. After further research I realized we had similar names and dates.

Here is where it gets very interesting! Listed was a death certificate for Andrew Henry Puskar (Gunner). Could this be our relative? With this information I searched our local libraries newspaper database. There was indeed an obituary for Henry Puskar with date matching the certificate. Also listed was my grand aunt as Henry's late wife.

Attached to this family tree was the following WWI Registration for one Andrew Gunner. On this record the address matches the death certificate.

With this new information I was able to locate Andrew Puskar residing at 910 S. Kenwood Avenue on the 1920 census. On this record he is listed as widower with five children, including a daughter named Annie.

Thanks to Kim, my new genealogy friend, we were able to piece together that my grand aunt passed away between the 1910 and 1920 census. Also, the fact the couple had other children besides Annie, my 1st cousin 1x removed.

What is the most perplexing part of this whole discovery is why these ancestors used several different surnames. During my research this past week I have encountered them using Puskar, Gunner, or a combination of both names. Is this unusual, or a common practice for the area of birth for these relatives?

At any rate I wish to thank Kim for helping to solve part of this puzzle!


  1. This is certainly an intriguing mystery. Perhaps other descendants may have the family story about this name change. Or..maybe...he was hiding from the law? :)

  2. I am happy to be of some help Deb and excited to have another researcher on the case! I hope we will be able to figure out these Puskar/Gunner's.

  3. Deb, I have passed on to you the One Lovely Blog Award. You can get your award at:

    Enjoy, and congrats!

  4. wow you people are dumb. If you translate Puskar it means gunner or gunsmith. Its a Serbian surname. They probably used the English surname in order to appear less foreign.