Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – Best Relative Visit

Randy Seaver’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge is here once again. This week’s challenge is to share our best visit with relatives to learn about an ancestor or two.

Back in 1985, shortly before my Nana passed away, we were cleaning out her closets and I came upon a box of old photos that I suspected were of my grandfather’s family. My paternal grandfather died long before I was born, in 1936, of tuberculosis. Nana had little contact with her in-laws after that time. She identified various people as her father- and mother-in-law and husband George’s siblings. Nana was in her 90’s and I didn’t doubt that she was correct in naming the people in the photos, but I really wanted a second confirmation.

Nana also had many photos of her own family that I had mounted into an album for her years before she passed away. Those photos were labeled and the pictures in this second box didn’t appear to be of anyone in her family, but they were old, dating to the early 1900’s.

I had traced enough of the family tree to know that my grandfather had a younger brother, Steve, who also dropped his native surname of “Kucharik” and instead went by “Sabo.” I also knew that Steve’s wife’s name was Mary.

During a summer 1985 visit to my mother’s after Nana died, I decided to try to locate Steve or Mary Sabo. Remember, this is long before the internet and the main local finding resource was the telephone directory. A second deterrent to being able to find them was the fact that “Sabo” means “Tailor” in Hungarian and my local Passaic area phone book had almost two columns of “Sabo” households. That was assuming (1) they stayed in the Passaic-Clifton-Garfield area (2) they hadn’t retired and moved to Florida like many in the Northeast and (3) one or both of them was still living.

A search for Steven, Stephen or Steve Sabo didn’t look promising. However, there was a Mary Sabo, living at 4 Golden Age Court in Garfield. (That address no longer exists.) I tried the phone number and a lady answered. I explained that I was trying to locate the family of Stephen Sabo who had a brother, George, who died in 1936 of tuberculosis and asked if she was the widow of Steve. She said she was and was not only happy to tell me about the family, she invited me over to visit with her.

It took me but a few minutes to gather up the photos, hop in the car and drive over to visit with Mary. Mary not only confirmed the people in the photo, matching what Nana told me 100%, but she also allowed me to visit with her own son and daughter, Eddie and Dorothy, who shared a few family photos.

Steve & Mary Sabo, 50th Wedding Anniversary

Son Eddie and his wife, Ethel are behind Mary, while Dorothy and her husband are behind Steve, who died in 1976. If I ever knew Dorothy’s married name, I didn’t write it down and don’t know the first name of her husband. Eddie passed away in 1995, but I have been able to find no trace of Ethel.

Unfortunately, neither Eddie nor Dorothy had any children, so this branch of the Kucharik-Sabo family ends with them.

I wish back then I had taken the time to write down their names on the backs of the photos I had copied. I did write “Eddie and Ethel’s wedding” on that one, but didn’t ask for a maiden name.

Mary passed away three years after I met her on 18 April 1988 in Garfield.

I did visit Cedar Lawn Cemetery in New Jersey after I met my extended family and took a photo of Steve’s family gravestone:


However, I can’t find a more recent image of this stone online. Cedar Lawn Cemetery, where the family is buried, has over 30,000 interments and only about 70% have been photographed. I’ll need to either be patient or take a trip to New Jersey!



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