The Bulak Family from Newark, New Jersey - Mystery Monday

Lillian (Uskoski) Bulak
(Digital Image.  Photo Used With Permission from Cheryl [LAST NAME WITHHELD]; Text Copyright (c) 2014 Cynthia Shenette)

I was recently contacted by a reader named Cheryl who wanted to know if my aunt Helen Bulak was related to a woman that she was looking for whose name also happened to be Helen Bulak.  We exchanged a few e-mails and quickly discovered that my Aunt Helen was not the Helen Bulak Cheryl was looking for. Nor was my Bulak family the Bulak family that she was looking for.  The Bulak family that she is looking for once lived in Newark, New Jersey not Worcester, Massachusetts.  Cheryl is not a genealogist, but has done some genealogy research in an effort to reconnect with family.  With her permission I offered to share her story here in the hope that someone reading this might be able to help to solve a 60 year old mystery.

Cheryl's aunt, Lillian Uskoski, was born on September 10, 1921 in Hazelridge, Manitoba, Canada.  Lillian married a Felix (sometimes known as Philip or Phil) Bulak in Toronto, Ontario on November 20, 1949 when she was 28 years old.  In February of 1950 Lillian and Felix left Toronto and moved to 117 Pulaski St., in Newark, New Jersey to live with Felix's family.  Eight months after Lillian immigrated to the United States she gave birth to a daughter, Mary Ann, in October 1950.  Sadly, Lillian died a few months later on January 2, 1951 at the age of 30.  Felix was not able to care for baby Mary Ann.  Cheryl's family remembers there was talk of Felix giving the baby to his sister Helen to care for or to adopt.  Cheryl's family does not know what happened to Mary Ann.  They have not seen her in over 60 years.

What do we know about Felix's family?  Felix's parents were Paul Bulak (1890 - aft 1951) and his wife Mary (abt 1892 - ?).  Paul and Mary had three children: Casimir M., (abt 1917 - ?); Felix (20 April 1921 - 29 January 1984); and Helen J. ( abt 1928 - ?).  They lived in a multifamily dwelling at 117 Pulaski St. in Newark, New Jersey from 1929 until at least 1951 and possibly until 1954 or 1955.  Some of the Newark city directories on Ancestry for the 1950s are missing or missing information, but by 1955 the family was no longer listed as living at 117 Pulaski St., and one apartment was listed as vacant.  Other residents that lived at the address for a long time or were there around the time Mary Ann was born were:

Adam Adamoski, 1947-1955
Anthony Addotta 1940-1955
John T. Brzezinski, 1955
Edwin Byk, 1930, 1955
Charles Caruso, 1947-1955
Mrs. Rose Charzewski, 1955
Mrs. Julia Jacek, 1940-1955
Joseph M. Sak, 1940-1955
Andrew Trela, 1947-1955
Joseph W. Wortolec 1947-1955

Given that some of the people who lived at 117 Pulaski St. lived there for quite a while, someone might remember the Bulak family and might still remember what happened to Mary Ann.  Does anyone who lived at 117 Pulaski St. in the 1950s remember a story of a tiny baby girl being left without a mother? According to a Newark city directory a Helen J. Bulak married a Michael Bilby in 1951.  It is possible that Mary Ann's name might have been changed from Mary Ann Bulak's to Mary Ann Bilby.  Felix Bulak died on January 29, 1984.  He is not buried with Lillian, and a friend, Faustino Taverner, is listed as the next of kin on the funeral record.  Felix appears to have died without family.  Faustino has also died.

Lillian was sometimes called Lily.  Lily could be spelled Lily or Lilly.  Her maiden name was Uskoski, but was also spelled Uszkowski.  She was described as being 5'8" tall, with a fair complexion, and hazel eyes. Her daughter may have a similar appearance.  According to her immigration document Lillian's last known address in Canada was Drurie (sic), though probably Durie, St., in Toronto, Ontario.  She immigrated to the United States from Canada via the Niagara Falls, New York border crossing on February 4, 1950.

Cheryl and her mother, Mary Ann's aunt, would very much like to hear from her or her family.  If you are Mary Ann Bulak, know Mary Ann, or remember the Bulak family from 117 Pulaski St. in Newark, NJ, please contact me at cshenette at gmail dot com.  I will forward your contact information to Cheryl.  All information you share with me will be kept confidential.

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