Cornwall and Steelton, Pennsylvania

      Michael Starasinic left Krasinec, Slovenia on March 1,1888 from Bremen, Germany. He departed on the Ship Werra and arrived at Castle Garden, New York on March 13, 1888.  (Ellis Island did not exist at that time but the Statue of Liberty had been standing in the New York Harbor since 1886.)     (Original filed at the National Archives, Washington, DC  - listed with Significant Immigrations)

     Johanna Potocnik departed Kloster and arrived in America in 1889.  Johanna and her brother, Ignatius, lived in Cornwall, Pa with their many friends and family - all from Bela Krajina!  The men arrived in 1888 and the women arrived a year later, in 1889. (Census of 1900, Lebanon Co. Historical Society, Sacred Heart Catholic Church of  Cornwall, Pa.)

Ignatius Potocnik and Margaret Kambic

     Ignatius Potocnik, Johanna's brother, married Margaret Kambic in the Sacred Heart Catholic Church of Cornwall and had a large family of nine children. Ignatius worked in the Iron Industry in Cornwall - Burd Coleman,  and the entire family returned to Gradac (Kloster), Slovenia before 1907.

     One more child, Ferdo, was born in Gradac and became a Musician. (Accordion)  He is buried with his parents, Ignatius and Margaret Potocnik, in the pretty Kloster Church Cemetery pictured above.

     Some of the nine Potocnik children, who were born in Cornwall, Pa., returned to America when they were older.  Annie Potocnik left Gradac, Slovenia in 1907 to be with her Aunt Maria Kambic in Chicago, Illinois.  She married a man by the name of Svab.  (His first name is not known.)  The ten Potocnik children would be the first cousins of Michael Joseph, William F., Mary and Catherine Starsinic.

(The Ignatius Potocnik and Margaret Kambic children have been a joy to research. They seem to carry a message of excitement and adventure as I read the records about them crossing back and forth across the Atlantic." ) -Judy

      Michael Starasinic lived in Cornwall, Pa. when he first arrived in America in 1888. He married Johanna Potocnik in the Sacred Heart Catholic Church of Cornwall, Lebanon Co., Pa. on May 4, 1890.  (Michael  called her "Jennie" - Marriage Certificate at the Lebanon County Historical Society)

    Many friends and family members from Slovenia were listed in the records. They witnessed each other's weddings and the baptisms of their children. They all came from the Bela Krajina area of Slovenia and all were young, daring and responsible with a great work ethic. I could not help but admire them.

     Fr. Andrew Marinak, of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church of Cornwall, was kind enough to send the  documents he found in the church registers and Kathy Signor of the Harrisburg Catholic Diocese searched the registers of  St. Mary's, St. James, and St. Peter's  to find the vital records we needed!

     Charles Kindt, whom I have never met, drove to the Lebanon County Historical Society to find the Starasinic/Potocnik family information for us!  (The family joins me in thanking you for this outstanding support and kindness!)


Permission of Dickinson College - The Harold Kerns Collection

Front St. in Steelton

     Michael Starasinic and Johanna Potocnik's first son, Michael Joseph Starasinic, was born in Cornwall, Pa. on January 3, 1891. The family move to Steelton, Pa. before 1893 and three more children were born -Mary, William Francis and Catherine.

     Michael Starasinic opened a Grocery and Butcher shop in Steelton and invested in Real Estate by purchasing some of the buildings along Front St.  (I assume this would be circa 1902 when he applied for his American Citizenship. The Naturalization Papers are dated 1914)  The family attended the St. James Catholic Church.

     Against many odds and because he wanted it badly enough, Michael Starasinic made a success of himself and his family, as well. Johanna and Michael emphasized religion, education and music in their home, inspiring a great American family.

Photo: St. James Catholic Church -Attended by the Michael Starsinic and Johanna Potocnik Family

The Michael and Johanna Potocnik Starsinic Family
Click on photo to englarge

Seated from left to right - William Francis, Michael, Catheerine
Standing - Mary and Johanna Potocnik
(Michael Joseph Starsinic is not pictured in this photo. He might have been the photographer!)

Michael Joseph, "Pooch" and William Francis Starsinic
Circa 1902 -Steelton, Pa.
(This is the only photo we know to exist of Michael Joseph Starasinic.)

Click on the photo for a great view of these three cute faces!"

     Michael Joseph Starasinic graduated from Steelton High School and was awarded an athletic scholarship to college. Sadly, he was not able to attend as he died of Typhoid on September 11, 1907. (St. Mary's Church Records)  He is buried in Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Harrisburg, Pa. next to his mother, Johanna Potocnik Starasinic.   (The Zerance family and the Catholic  Diocese of Harrisburg)
Johanna Potocnik Starasinic died of Tuberculosis circa 1905 and is buried at
Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Harrisburg, Pa.

(2006 -the card file for Johanna Potocnik Starasinic has a death date of 1907 - the same year Michael Joseph Starasinic died)   Both names were spelled Starasinic and Johanna E. Starasinic is written on her file card for the Mt. Calvary Cemetery.


Jane Zerance, Bill Starsinic, Frank Starsinic

Easter Sunday in Steelton, Pa. - April 9, 1944

Mary Catherine Bosnjak

     After the death of Johanna Potocnik, Michael Starasinic married Mary C. Bosnjak, on May 20, 1907 in St. Mary's Catholic Church of Steelton, Pa. John and Anna Belicic nee Potocnik were their witnesses. (The Belicics were from Gradac, Slovenia and related to our Potocnik family.) The Starasinic family started attending St. Mary's Catholic Church (Croatian)
at this time.  Michael and Mary had four children, Barbara, George, Ann and Elizabeth.  Mary C. Bosnjak was from Croatia (stated on the Naturalization Papers for Michael Starasinic)and Bill Starsinic remembers his aunts discussing Vivodina, Croatia. Because of this, Vivodina, Croatia would be the first place I would research for the Bosnjak family.
Jane Zerance made a special trip to Steelton and forwarded the following photos for our web site.  Thanks, Jane!

1. St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church - When it was first built in 1898 - This church was built by the Croatians of Steelton

2. Sign for the Prince of Peace Catholic Church

3. Prince of Peace Parish Center

4. Interior of the Prince of Peace Catholic Church

5. Prince of Peace Roman Catholic Church

6. Representing the five Churches of  Steelton that were combined to become the Prince of Peace Roman Catholic Church that is present today.  2002'

St. James, Saint John, Blessed Virgin, Saint Ann and Saint Peter

Left to Right: George Starsinic, Michael Starsinic, Mary Bosnjak Starsinic, George & Betty Starsinic Sadowski, George and Catheine Starsinic Zerance, John & Barbara Starsinic Crevar, John & Mary Starsinic Gersevic.
Jane Zerance in front!  Catherine Zerance Howard is probably the photographer!

(Missing from the photo are Michael Joseph Starsinic (dec) and William Francis Starsinic.)

     Mary Bosnjak raised this large Starasinic family with unbiased love and devotion.  It was evidenced by the love and affection they all had for her.