Biographical information for John H (or N?) Konvalinka (1847-1916)
This John Konvalinka is something of a mystery. What we know about him is mainly from his obituary, which appeared in the New York Times on May 31, 1916 [pg 13:2]:
John H. Konvalinka, who died at his home, 437 First Avenue, Brooklyn, on Monday (5/29), was formerly a member of the firm of Konvalinka & Konvalinka, furriers, in Maiden Lane. He was a native of Crass , Bohemia, and left a widow.
[We think the "H" middle initial is incorrect -- shows as "N" in the census [as in "Nepomuk], which would be more likely]
We also determined that he is buried in Holy Cross Cemetery [Brooklyn, NY], not in "main" Konvalinka plot, but in a plot in which only he and his wife Jane are buried. Finally, per the 1910 Federal census, he appears to have emigrated in 1874. There is no evidence in that census (or elsewhere) that he and Jane had any children.
I did not know until reading his obituary that there was another Konvalinka in the family fur business. (It was definitely not the founder [Jan Nepomuk Josef Konvalinka]'s only son [John] who became a lawyer and died in 1901.)
From the date of this other John's immigration, which was many years after the founder's immigration (in 1848), we can only surmise that he was the son of the founder's brother Joseph, who we understand may have to this country, although we have not found census or other records of him. [There IS a Joseph Konvalinka who shows up in the Federal census of 1900, but we believe this to be another JK -- the one who wrote the various scientific pamphlets.]
It may be that John H./N. Konvalinka came to this country on his own.
In any case, his obituary provided a very valuable clue, which we did not recogize at the time. His birthplace turned out to be also the birthplace of JNJK, my immigrant ancestor and the founder of the fur business.
The fokelore in the family had always been that the old man [JNJK]came from Prague, but Archivex, the Czech archives organization turned up no records, even after extensive searching. However, on seeing the above obituary, they concluded that the place to search was Chrast. Unfortunately there are about 20 Bohemian towns by that name, but through perseverence and luck, they turned up extensive birth records for JNJK's family in the Chrast near Chudrim, about 100 miles east of Prague.
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