Family History

Family History

Click for Shogan | Click for Figulski


The Sogan family is Slovak although I am investigating the possibility that it was originally Rusnak. Records from ~1800 spell the name as Sugan, Soganitz or Sogan with an ' over the a. The S is pronounced "sh" which is why there are two spellings in the US. Family members first immigrated to the US in the 1890's. Shogans /Sogans mostly settled in PA, NY , CT and OH.

Most Shogans came from Lekarovce, Slovokia, although some, like my grandfather may have come though Budapest where he went to school. The small village of Lekarovce, also known as Lekart or Lekord is about 1/2 mile from the eastern border and three miles from Uzgorod, Ukrania. The Sogans are generally listed as "gazda" or farmers who owned their own land. By the late 19th century most of the landed Slovaks had split their farms/estates to were they were getting too small. Some of the sons had to leave to take up trades. Also the Austro-Hungarians used the Slovaks often as ill equipped soldiers in their many wars.

Because of these things and the opportunity of America there was a great migration starting at the end of the 19th century. I was a good move since most of those who remained were killed by the Russians or Nazis during the world wars. The family was originally Greek Catholic although many of the girls they married were Roman Catholic. Many are now Roman Catholic. There is also two familiesof Jewish Shogans in the US. One of these, Andrew Shogan of White Neck NY told Andrew W. Shogan (~1995) that his family got their name from a dead Russian soldier during WWII. They used it to escape from the Nazis. The soldier could have been a relative. However, there are also Jewish Shogans from Detroit who had the name in the US since the turn of the century. They also have moved into Murrysville PA, Denver CO, Washington DC and San Diego CA. I have also found some English/Irish SOGANs in the early 1900s census records for eastern PA.


Grandma Marcianna LEWANDOWSKI FIGULSKI was orphaned in Inowroclaw, Poland at an early age. Her father remarried but her stepsiblings kidded her that her stepmother might poison her someday so apparently they didn't get along. Her grandparents (maybe her parents) had a neighboring family take her with them when they immigrated to the US. She was about 6 years old. She lived with cousins near Mt. Pleasant in Western PA. The family was doing OK and bought her new shoes but wouldn't let her wear them so that they wouldn't wear out.

At about age 8 another cousin from the SMOLSKI family took her to the parish priest (Transfiguration, Mt. Pleasant) one Sunday to show him that she had no shoes. The priest took her in as a helper to his housekeeper. The housekeeper worked her hard. Joseph FIGULSKI was very involved in parish activities. He took pity on Marcianna and married her when she was 16. Joseph was from the Warsaw area of Poland and was a coal miner. He would die young from lung disease. The couple lived in Rainie PA (near Mt. Pleasant) and began raising their large family.

Around 1913 a traveling salseman friend told them that they could get out of the mines and make a good wage at the Westinghouse plant in East Pittsburgh. Joseph and his son Joe, then later the whole family moved to Chalfant and three years later to their Cedar St. home in Turtle Creek, PA. The house was built next to that of their son Charles.