NOTE: RootsTech 2016 opens tomorrow. Empty Branches posts will cover all the news, but posts will not appear until much later in the day.
Which is your most interesting family photo? On my Sabo branch of the family tree, I’d say it would have to be this one.
My grandfather is not in this picture. He died of tuberculosis in 1936 so I think these photos are from either the late 1930’s or the 1940’s.
My grandmother is sitting in the second row, second from the left. There is an X above her head. Nana’s brother, Peter Scerbak is in the back row, the last man on the right.
I think the lady seated to the right of her might be one of her best friends, Anna Kostecky. However, I don’t recognize any of the other people in the picture.
St. Michael’s Church, now the Cathedral of St. Michael the Archangel, in Passaic, New Jersey consisted of Carpatho-Rusyn immigrants, their families and descendants from the time the church was established in the late 1800’s into the mid-20th century. There were many social activities, as life centered around the church on First Street in the section of Passaic formerly known as Dundee. One popular activity through the years was the parish play and I believe the photos above were such a play. Based on the costumes, I’d say the play evoked village life back in Slovakia. Many of the early parishioners at St. Michael’s were from Udol and Hajtovka, which are in the foothills of the Tatras Mountains, south of KraKow, Poland.
I wish I knew who more of these people were. I am sure I would recognize many of the names from the years I spent addressing my grandmother’s Christmas cards. I also wish I knew more about their village customs and daily life, although I know life at the turn of the century was very hard in Europe. That is why so many young men and women came to Passaic to work in the mills. It gave them hope for a better life for themselves and their descendants.