I found this article (published May 5, 1943 by the Columbus Herald in Columbus, Indiana) while doing a general search of Mihalovich family members. I’m still not sure if this is MY Michael “Mike” Mihalovich (my grandma Ruth’s older brother), but there are enough similarities where, if true, it’s sure interesting!
So, first I would like to determine if it’s TRUE that this is our Mike Mihalovich. Second, if it is, I want to determine if what he says in the article is TRUE or fabrication.
TRUE = Mike Mihalovich’s father was named Marko and was dead by 1943. Marko did work for the railroad, though he was a laborer, not an engineer to my knowledge (this could be an embellishment on Mike’s part or perhaps he just didn’t know what Marko actually did). Mike’s mother Mildred was living in 1943. They did arrive in America in 1901, around “the turn of the century.”
TRUE = Mike was in the US Air Force at this time. He enlisted in 1941 and he was a parachute packer. Its this second part that has me most convinced that this is our Mike, as parachute packing is both specific and is something that I have evidence that he did.
TRUE = My Mihalovich family does have Yugoslavian heritage and mentions being from Serbia (which I am still researching, but it certainly matches up with family lore).
MAYBE? = Mike’s age is slightly off. He would have been 35 years old at the time this article came out, though it mentions he was born “32 years ago.” That would make his birth year 1911 instead of what it was: 1908.
MAYBE? = I haven’t found any other evidence of him living in Indiana, but he did move around a lot so it’s possible…
MAYBE? = Mike was born in Pennsylvania, but in Wilmerding, which is not that “near Johnston,” about an hour and a half away. I often tell people I live near a well known city, though it is actually a 50 min drive away. It’s easier to explain it this way than try to describe where I actually live. It’s possible that this was what Mike was doing in this interview.
MAYBE? = The only job I could find listed for Mike prior to enlisting was as a store room attendant and shipper at the railroad, nothing specifically about upholstery.
PROBABLY FALSE = I don’t believe our Mike ever visited Yugoslavia as is stated. I don’t think any of them ever went back and I’ve never found any ship documents to support travel beyond their immigration.
PROBABLY FALSE= The part about the general looks like complete BS and was almost certainly embellishment (or maybe Marko did tell him this!). I looked the man up and could not find any evidence of him having a brother named Marko.
Most of the evidence leads me to believe that this is our Mike. I could not find another Mike Mihalovich living at that time that matches up better to this age, occupation, and family information than our Mike does. Still, if this is him, it leads to some interesting questions…
- Was Mihalovich originally spelled Mikhailovitch?
- Was the family in the army when they lived in Serbia?
- Did the family own a large farm in Serbia? (the part about the mountain was most likely bragging…)