The Sypniewski Family of Glassport, Pennsylvania
Written and researched by Margaret Odrowaz-Sypniewska

(With special assistence from Gail Stillings-Murphy, who helped with census records)

Glassport, Allegheny County, PA.:

Glassport has an approximate population of 5,582 people. Glassport was named after the Pittsburgh Glass Company. It is located near the Monongahela River on Seventh Street. They specialized in "pressed glass," tableware, and other glass products made from molds. The Glassport factory took $68,497.00 to build in the mid-1890's. Passenger trains brought workers to town. It was one of the largest handcraft glass manufacturing facilities in America before pressed glass became inexpensive. They produced 15,000 different items of ordinary staple glassware.

(My father worked in a glass factory in his youth)

Glassport, PA. seceded from Port Vue in 1902. On August 3, 1963, the glass plant was damaged by a tornado, and their 80-foot water tower collapsed through the building's roof. When the high winds did this, all the furnaces shut down and the liquid glass cooled and hardened. Afterwards there was left a 250 ton block of solid glass. After the tornado, there were plans to re-open, after repairs, but this day never came because of the high price of re-building. During the Depression, Glassport's plant was the only one still running, while many other plants were closed due to hard times.

The Good Luck Coal Mine was owned by the United States Glass Company and was located in Glassport from circa 1919.

(all the men in the Sypniewski family worked here from time to time).

The August 3, 1963, the tornado also damaged the Petrosky Hotel, and two people died there. Glassport lost a lot of money in the aftermath of this storm, and there was much re-construction to be done.

This information is from the writings of Mr. Richard A. Uher.

Glassport's Churches:

An earlier event that changed Glassport was a fire involving the Holy Cross Polish Catholic Church located on Seventh and Delaware Avenue. The damage was estimated at between $25-30,000.00. A frame building owned by Joseph Moslosky was also burned on that morning (1:15 a.m.) Father Albert Jastrzyinski, their pastor, was in North Carolina at the time of the fire. (McKeesport Daily News - January 22, 1907).

The temporary church was located in the Dietrick building next door to the Foreign Exchange Bank on Monongahela Avenue. Rev. Father A. Garstka, formerly of Glassport, raised funds to built the Holy Cross Church. It was thought that the fire was the result of a defective flue. However, others felt there was foul play.

This information is from the writings of Mr. Richard A. Uher.

St. Cecilia was the Sypniewski family's church of choice after Holy Cross burned. Father Walter A. O'Hara was the third pastor of St. Cecilia. He was born September 26, 1884 in Ebensburg, Pennsylvania. He was the son of John A. O'Hara and Anna R. Rosensteel. He was the second born of four children. Walter was ordained at Mount St. Mary College and Seminary in Emmitburg, Maryland. He had a Masters of Arts Degree from St. Mary's Bachelor of Canon Law degree and a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from Catholic University Assistant. He was pastor of St. Cecilia, in Glassport from 1926-1971. He would have celebrated his 68th anniversary as a priest on June 1976.

This information is from the writings of Mr. Richard A. Uher.

Another Glassport Polish Church is the present Queen of the Rosary Parish on 530 Michigan Avenue in Glassport, Pennsylvania, that houses the records of the earlier churches of Glassport.

McKeesport Hospital:

Old McKeesport Hospital - where most Glassport residents were born. The hospital opened in 1891.

R.L. Polk's Directories for Glassport:

The first Sypniewski to be listed in R.L. Polk's 1920 Glassport Directory is Kazmierz Sypniewski ("Kasmer Sypinaski" was a misspelling) as a miner. He most likely worked at the Good Luck Mine which opened circa 1919. Kasimierz lived at 642 Delaware Street, in 1920. In the 1930's directory there is a "Chas. Sipnefski" (should be Kazimierz Sypniewski). Kazimierz was a millright and lived at 549 Pacific Avenue, in 1930.

This information is from the writings of Mr. Richard A. Uher.

***These facts are confirmed on his marriage license and death certificate. Kazimierz would live at 549 Pacific Avenue for most of his married life. They lived in an old commercial building and owned property nearby, which they later gave to their children.

The Family of Kazimierz Sypniewski, my grandfather:

1910 Census: Pittsburgh,taken May 3, 1910, Allegheny County, PA.: On Pennsylvania Avenue

  • Frank Modjeski - head - age 29 - born in Germany - 1884 - speaks English - Car Inspector for the Railroad
  • Eugenia Modjeska - wife - age 26 - born in Russia/Lithuanian - 1887 - speaks English
  • Gertrude Modjeska - daughter - age 6 - born in Pennsylvania - speaks English
  • Albert Modjeski - son - age 3 - born in Pennsylvania - speaks English
  • Florence Modjeska - daughter - age 7 months - born in Pennsylvania
  • Casimir W. Sypniewski - boarder - age 35 - born in Russia/Poland - 1875 - Parents born in Russia/Poland - Speaks English - Attorney-at-law
  • Felicia Armalona - mother-in-law - age 50 - 1887

Casimir W. Sypniewski is also listed in the Ellis Island Records.

I also found a graphic portrait of C.W. Sypniewski - lawyer at:

Historic Pittsburgh Click on p. 183 for the portrait.

I do not think this is my grandfather, but possibly is a relative of his? My father said that one relative came to the U.S.A. and returned to Poland when he could not find work in his area of expertise. If this Casimir had remained, he would have been age 45 in the next (1920) census.

What is interesting is that they both Kasimierz/Casimir were connected to a family called Modjeska/Modzelewska of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. One roomed with them and one married Veronica (Weronika in Polish) Modzielewska. Family stories revolved around the fact that the actress Modjeska was related to this family. If you explore this you see that a Sypniewski was a friend of the famous Polish Actress.

Famous Sypniewskis

See Casimir W. Sypniewski for more information.

1920 Census: Glassport Borough, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania: Living on 642 Delaware Avenue.

  • Kasmer Sypniewski - head - age 32 - immigrated in 1901 - born in Posen/Poznan, Germany/Poland Speaks Polish - occupation = miner -
  • "Roni" Sypniewski - wife - age 29 - immigrated in 1910 - born in Posen/Poznan, Germany/Poland - Speaks Polish
  • Bojemond Sypniewski - son- age 5 - born in PA
  • Stanislawa Sypniewski - daughter - age 4 years, 10 months (twin) - born in PA.
  • Sarah Sypniewski - daughter - age 4 years, 10 months(twin) - born in PA.
  • Stanley Sypniewski - son - age 1 year, 6 months - born in PA.

The 1930 Census: Glassport Borough, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania was recorded on April 2/3, 1930. Sypniewskis are shown living at 549 Pacific Avenue.

  • Casmer Sipniewski - head - age 45 - married at age 26 - Born in Poland -parents were born in Poland - Speaks Polish - immigrated in 1900 - naturalized - occupation = coal miner.
  • Veronica Sipniewski - wife - age 39 - married at age 22 - born in Poland - parents born in Poland - speaks Polish - immigrated in 1910 - naturalized
  • Sigmund Sipniewski - son - age 16 - born in Pennsylvania
  • Stella Sipniewski - daughter - age 14 - born in Pennsylvania
  • Sophie Sipniewski - daughter - age 13 - born in Pennsylvania
  • Blanche Sipniewski - daughter - age 10 - born in Pennsylvania
  • Jean Sipniewski - daughter - age 3 years, 2 months (twin) - born in Pennsylvania
  • Gertrude Sipniewski - daughter - age 3 years, 2 months (twin) - born in Pennsylvania
  • Chester Sipniewski - son - 7/8 months - born in Pennsylvania

***The name is spelled "Sypniewski" on ALL other civil records


Kazimierz Sypniewski was born, in Poland, on March 8, 1884, but fled during an uprising, to escape the Russians. He worked for a time on the Brandenburg (registered in Bremen, Germany). When he got enough money saved he jumped ship, and eventually settled in Glassport, Pennsylvania.

Weronika [Polish form of Veronica]Modzelewska was born in Lomza Province, Poland; on January 5, 1889. She was the daughter of John Modzewlewski and Ewa Gasiewska of Pittsburgh, PA. The Modzewlewski family lived at 104 Pike Street in Pittsburgh, PA. in 1913. They were from the Commonwealth of Poland, diocese Lomeynska. Modzielewski is the original spelling of this name. Weronica married Kazimierz Sypniewski on July 2, 1913, in Glassport, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. They settled in Glassport for all their lives, and Kazmierz first worked as a mill worker and later coal mining again. This job choice cost him an early grave as he acquired black lung disease. Kazimierz died March 10, 1947, of pulmonary tuberculosis (death certificate) at 549 Pacific Avenue. Veronica died May 28, 1968 at McKeesport Hospital. Both Kazimierz and Veronica are buried in St. Mary's Polish Cemetary.

Children of Kazimierz and Veronica Sypniewski

Child 1:

.....Zygmunt Sypniewski [name on his birth certificate] [Zygmunt is not listed on the 1920 census...perhaps he was at a relatives or friend's home at the time?](My father), who was born April 3, 1914 in Glassport, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania (at 549 Pacific Avenue). Sigmund was baptized on April 12, 1914. His sponsors were Frances Akiej and Hedwig Fantuleska. The pastor at his baptism was R. H. Gorski (recorded March 30, 1914 in church records).

Zygmunt received his first Holy Communion in St. Cecilia's Church of Glassport, PA. on May 1, 1927 (age 13). The ceremony was conducted by Rev. W.A. O'Hara. Zygmunt/Sigmund died March 24, 2007, in Dade City, Pascal County, Florida. His memorial service is to be held in the Hodges Funeral Home, Dade City, Florida.

Zygmunt [now calling himself Sigmund] was married on September 14, 1939 to Irene(a) Pearl Stempnakowski at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church of Pittsburgh, PA. who was born September 29, 1918 in Pittsburgh, PA. Irene was the daughter of Leo(n) Stempnakowski and Frances Mentkowski of 3417 Ridgeway Street, Pittsburg, PA. Irene was baptized on October 6, 1918. Her sponsors were Joseph and Mary Mentkowski (her maternal grandparents). The priest was Rev. L. Alachmiewicz. Irene (Stempnakowski) Sypniewski died October 9, 2003, in Dade City, Pasco County, Florida. Her funeral was in Oakley Funeral Homes, Dade City & Zephyrhills, Florida.

    Children of Zygmunt Sypniewski

  1. Raymond Sypniewski was born August 14, 1941 in McKeesport Hospital, and baptized on August 31, 1941 at St. Cecilia Church at 803 Michigan Avenue, Glassport, PA. He married Margaret Jean Knight on June 15, 1968 in Plymouth, MI. in St. Kenneth's Catholic Church.

    Matthew Rhys Sypniewski was born in February 19, 1973, in Garden City, MI.

  2. Eileen Christine Sypniewski was born in Detroit, MI. at Mount Carmel Mercy Hospital on February 21, 1948 (hospital records). Eileen married Phillip Randall on August 3, 1968, in Plymouth, MI. Phillip died in October 2002.

    Heather Randall was born on January 19, 1973 in Millersville, Maryland. Heather Randall married Christopher Cargile and has a son named Caden Phillip Cargile, and another named Jace Christopher.

    Businesses in 1919:

  • Monongahela Avenue was the Main Street in Glassport, PA.
  • Many young children worked in the Glass House. The Fifth Avenue Hotel was owned by J. P. Morrissey and was residence to many Glass House and foundry workers.
  • The Sweet Shoppe was run by E. J. McGovern and was located at 5th Avenue and Monongahela Avenue..
  • The Glassport Poultry Factory was located at 527 Monongalela Avenue.
  • The Garrick Theatre was located at 6th and Monongahela Avenue.
  • I. Mayhugh's Dairy was located at 727 Vermont Avenue
  • The Eagle Bakery was at 6th and Indiana.
  • Arthur W. Day Druggist was located at 631 Monongahela Avenue.

    This information is from the writings of Mr. Richard A. Uher.

Child 2:

.....Bojemond Sypniewski was age 5 in 1920 census (b. 1915). He would have been 15 in the 1930 census, but he is not listed, so he may have died young?

Child 3:

..... Stanislawa ["Stella"] Sypniewska is shown on 1920 census as age 4 years, 10 months (twin) was born in 1915 (?), in Pennsylvania. Stella married William Schmotzer. William was born on May 13, 1913 and died June 1984 in Glassport, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania (SS Records). William is buried in St. Mary's Polish Cemetary in McKeesport, PA., plot #1302. William was S2 U.S. Navy in World War II.

The Schmotzer Family:

The Schmotzer Family was one of the earliest citizens of Glassport, PA. In R. L. Polk's & Company's 1897-1898 directory (when it was still part of Port Vue), a Frank F. Schmotzer is listed as a grocer, and railroad employee. In the 1910 Polk's, there is a John Schmotzer listed as a laborer living at 601 Indiana Ave. in Glassport.

    There are more Schmotzers listed in 1920 Polks:

  • John Schmotzer was a mill worker, living at 601 Indiana Avenue.
  • Mary Schmotzer also lived at 601 Indiana Avenue.
  • Joseph Schmotzer lived at 601 Delaware
  • Joseph L. Schmotzer lived on 7th Street

    In the 1927 Directory we find:

  • Albert Schmotzer, laborer, living at 439 Pacific Avenue
  • John Schmotzer, laborer, living at 439 Pacific Avenue
  • Joseph J. Schmotzer, laborer, living at 439 Pacific

    Last listing in 1930 Glassport shows:

  • Jonathan Schmotzer living at 439 Pacific Avenue.
    av. 2-8159 was his Bell Telephone Number.

    This information is from the writings of Mr. Richard A. Uher.

William and Stella lived most of their life at 618 Juniata Avenue, Glassport, PA. They had a son William Alvin Schmotzer.

One branch of the Schmotzer family came to Pittsburgh, PA. first. I am not sure if they are related to the Glassport Schmotzers. However the Schmotzer and Sypniewski family were neighbors.

Sarah Sypniewski - twin of Stella. Died young.

Child 4

.....Sarah Sypniewska is in the 1920 census as age 4 years, 10 months (twin) Sarah was born in 1915. Sarah is not listed in the 1930 census. Did she also die young{?} Census is usually taken in April or May. So that would make Sarah and her twin Stanislawa/Stella born in either July or August 1915.

Child 5:

.....Sophie Sypniewska was born in November 12, 1916 and married ? Orosi. Sophie died October 30, 1990 in McKeesport Hospital. She had three children: Katherine (born in Alaska), Irene, and Dennis Orosi.

Child 6:

.....Stanley Sypniewski was age 1 year, 6 months in 1920 census. Making his birthday abt. October/November 1918. He is not listed in the 1930 census so he also must have died young?

Child 7:

.....Blanka "Blanche" Sypniewska was born in 1920 and died in 1939, at age 19, as a result of an accident at a school dance. She died of a brain hemmorage. Blanche was listed in the 1930 census as age 10 and born in Pennsylvania.

Child 8:

.....Gertruda/Gertrude Sypniewska(twin of Jane) was born in September 1927 [listed as 3 years, 2 mos old in 1930 census), she married Joseph Maizur (originally Majzer). Joseph was born on January 23, 1926. They had a son named Joseph, Jr. and a daughter named Ginelle.

Child 9:

.....Janina "Jane" M. Sypniewska (twin of Gertrude) was born in September 1927 [listed as 3 years, 2 mos old in the 1930 census], and died on September 4, 2004. Her funeral was at Wojciechowski Funeral Home in Glassport, PA. on September 9, 2004.

Jennie married Stanley Zielinski. Stanley was born on June 29, 1922, and died October 21, 2001 in Jefferson Hospital. Stanley was the son of Stanley W. Zielinski and Catherine Sydeski. Stanley and Jennie (his wife) are emtombed at New St. Joseph Cemetary, North Versailles Township. Stanley's siblings were: Leonard Zielinski of Port Vue, Ernie Zielinski, and Dolores (nee Zielinski) Kyrie of MA. Stanley's parents Stanley (1882-1952) and Catherine J. (1893-1979) Zielinski are buried in St. Mary's Polish Cemetary in McKeesport, PA. in plots 1859 and 1860. They have a daughter named Ester "Cookie" and a son Mark Zielinski.

Child 10:

..... Chester Sypniewski was unmarried

Child 11: .....Joseph W. Sypniewski was born on November 16, 1931, and died on January 7, 1995, at 549 Pacific Avenue in Glassport, PA. (SS Records). Joseph is buried next to his parents in St. Mary's Catholic Cemetary, McKeesport, PA., in plot 1308. Joseph was unmarried. He was a Corporal in the U.S. Army in Korea.

SOURCES:

Glassport, PA ... Glassport Until 1919 ... 1920-1940 Glassport

A special thanks to Mr. Richard A. Uher for his Glassport websites.. They helped me to learn more about my own origins and those of my family.

LINKS:

Diocese of Pittsburgh, PA. ... Allegheny County, PA. Genealogy ... US GenWeb Allegheny County, PA. Archives

St. Mary's Cemetary

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