Monday, April 28, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Frank Popp (1889-1966)

Frank Popp was another of my grandfather's cousins who emigrated to the United States. He was a storied cousin to my father and his siblings, living a glamorous life in Los Angeles and sending photographs to them of beaches and Rose Bowl parades.

Several years ago I was fortunate to be able to talk to Frank's daughter and get some information about his life beyond the pictures. After our conversation she sent me this photo of her parents and brother taken sometime after his birth in 1913.


His daughter knew very little about his life or family in Europe. He was born Ferencj Pap, in a Carpathian mountain village, either Drahova or Berezovo (now in Ukraine). She thought he was about 20 years old when he came to America. She thought he came through Ellis Island and then went to the mines in Pennsylvania. He may have gone to stay with another cousin, Joe Popp. Her mother, Mary Burjosky, came with her family as a child. They settled in Wyoming. 

Frank left the mines as soon as he could and went to Chicago where his cousin and my great-aunt, Mary Popp Hricak was living. He learned to barber there, then left to work near, but not in the mines. He went to Wyoming where he met and married his wife, and then to Washington State where his son was born in 1913. By 1917 they had moved to Miami, Arizona (another mining community) where their two daughters were born. By 1920 they had moved to Hollywood, where Frank bought a barber shop on Hollywood Boulevard and even cut a few movie stars' hair. 

Frank lived the rest of his life in California. He died there in 1966. I don't believe he ever came to New York, but he did visit the Hricaks in Chicago. My aunt and uncle met him as adults when they were in California. 

I don't actually know how Frank and my grandfather are related. They were clearly close, but whether they were first cousins is open for discussion and further research. The documentation I have found supports the information his daughter shared (with the exception of the 1930 census which lists his son's birthplace as the District of Columbia, rather than Washington State). I have yet to find immigration documents that I can absolutely assign to Frank. He was not the only Ferencj Pap leaving those mountains at the turn of the century. 

Written for Amy Johnson Crow's blogger challenge 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.


Photo Source
Frank Popp family portrait, c. 1914; digital image, privately held by Susan Popp Clark, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] St. Louis, MO. 2006. 

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