our story

Smiths37This is the story of my family, at least as far as I know it. I’m not a historian, but my grandparents saved what seems like every document that came into their lives – from the bank’s letter saying grandpa Walter paid off his car, to the papers my great grandfather carried with him across the Atlantic, to the journals my grandmother kept on her travels to Israel.

As I build this site, I’ll add photographs, documents, and writings, and I hope to organize them in a way that makes them easy to access. I appreciate people’s comments, stories, memories, recipes, or anything else that would be useful here.

I’ve put some time into gathering this information, but our cousin on the Smith side, Justin L. Smith, has generously shared his research into his family tree, and has contributed enormously to the knowledge and clarity of our lineage. If you are a direct descendant of Pearl (Smith) Pycior, Justin may be willing to give you access to his research on ancestry.com – it really helps put things in perspective!

A basic starting point for our family history, with help from Justin’s ancestry research:

Walter Michael Pycior was born on August 26, 1915, in Kansas City, Kansas. His father, Jacob Pycior, age 32 and his mother, Victoria Nietzgoda, age 22, had emigrated from Poland around 1910. He had 3 brothers: Victor, Edwin, and Stanley, a sister Genevieve, and a half-sister, Sophia (whose mother Tekla, his father’s first wife, died soon after arriving in the U.S.)

Walter’s paternal grandparents: Stanislaw Pycior, born in Poland, 1860 (Son of Antoni Pycior and Katarzyna Kilianska) and Ewa Gil (daughter of Joseph Gil and Marianna Jaskot)

When Pearl Ann Smith was born on May 15, 1923, in Kansas City, Missouri, her father, William Smith, was 27, and her mother, Hazel Carey, was 25. Pearl had 4 brothers, Paul, Max, William, and Leroy, a sister Mabel, and half-siblings Perry (Raymond) and Daisy (after William’s death, Hazel remarried Ray Derkum.)

Pearl’s paternal grandparents: Pressley Smith and Flora Ann Ward of Arkansas. Pearl’s maternal grandparents: Alexander Babcock Carey and Daisy Payne Clark.

Walter married Pearl Ann Smith on September 30, 1939. They had five children in 10 years: Michael, Danny, Wayne, Vicki, and Gary.

Walter died on January 9, 2009, in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, at the age of 93, and was buried in Kansas City, Missouri. Pearl died on December 1, 2007, in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, when she was 84 years old, and was buried in Kansas City, Missouri.

Thank you everyone, for your continued help.

Erin (Pycior) Dodson


One thought on “our story

  1. Erin, what can I say? This is wonderful. I haven’t had a chance to look at everything yet, but I will and I will contribute in any way I can.


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