John Zdankowski, 1886-1975, Garfield, NJ

John Zdankowski was someone that Julia Sabo knew well enough to attend his funeral in October 1975. I don’t recognize this name at all and I addressed all her Christmas cards for many years, but it seems from the records I’ve found that Nana may have known the family for many years.

John was born on 30 August 1886 and died in October 1975 with his last place of residence being Garfield, Bergen County, New Jersey.

 JohnZdankowskiPrayerCardFront1975   JohnZdankowskiPrayerCardBack1975
Prayer Card for John Zdankowski

Kamienski Funeral Homes was in charge of funeral arrangements.

Mr. Zdankowski was obviously of Polish background with the first prayer written in Polish.

I have a 1961 Passaic phone book, which includes Garfield. There is a John A. Zdankowski living at 180 Maple Avenue in Wallington listed. There is also a Mrs. A.J. Zdankowski living at a different address, also in Wallington.

The 1930 census shows John “Stankowski” with Veleza, his wife, and five children living on Maple Avenue in Wallington. This is probably the John who died in 1975. He arrived in the U.S. in 1906. His wife later went by Violet; she arrived here in 1909.  Their children were Sophie, born 1912, Rose, born 1914, Jenny, born 1917, Mary, born 1920 and son John, born 1928. All the children were born in New Jersey.

The “Zdamkowski” family was still on Maple Avenue in Wallington in 1940. John and Violet were at home with Rose, age 26, Mary, age 21 and John, age 12. Son John is likely the John Andrew Zdankowski born 4 December 1927 and died 5 July 1998 in Oradell, Bergen County, New Jersey. John Jr.’s Social Security application in June 1944 named his parents as John S. Zdankowski and Valarie Cierwiec.

There may be grandchildren or great grandchildren who would like to have this prayer card. If you are related or know the Zdankowski family, please leave a comment.

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Pizsont/Pezont/Pisont Family of Rudlov, Slovakia

One of my paternal grand aunts was Anna Kucharik, sister of my grandfather George Kucharik, aka Sabo. Anna married a man by the name of Nicholas Pezont sometime before 1930.

Nicholas and Anna had no children, but I was curious as to whether there were any other Pezont descendants who might be interested in a photo or funeral prayer card.

Nick and Anna Pezont with Julia and George Sabo

The Pezont name is very rare in the United States and it’s not even a particularly common name in Slovakia. However, Nick left a small paper trail, including his World War II draft registration card, which listed his birth date as 27 November 1882 and “Rudlow,” Slovakia as his place of birth. Rudlow is actually Rudlov, but close enough to easily find it. Rudlov is only about 24 miles from Vysna Sebastova, which was the Anna’s birthplace. However, there were mountains in between the two villages so access was a bit round about.

Next, I checked FamilySearch, hoping that Nick was correct about his birth date. I found “Miklos Pizsont” baptized on 2 December 1882. Miklos is the Slovak form of Nicholas. Parents were Michael Pizsont and Maria Dobranszky.

Nick was correct – he was born on 27 November 1882. Next, I checked for siblings, but I found only one other record for a child born to the same parents. They had a son, Mihaly (Michael), who was three years older than Nicholas, born 3 September 1878 and baptized when he was five days old.

Immigrants to the United States rarely came by themselves. Even when workers first headed here to work in the mills, if they weren’t traveling with another family member, you can be sure that they were with neighbors and friends so I started looking for evidence of Michael Pezont also leaving Slovakia for a new life. I found it!

It looks like Michael, along with the other two men from the village, were headed for Sharon, Pennsylvania. It also looks like “brother Jan Pizont” in the comments to the right. Sharon is in Mercer County and not far from Youngstown, Ohio.

Michael didn’t stay there long because in 1917, he was in New Jersey, living at 46 Grand Street in Garfield.

By 1920, Michael was gone, but Nicholas and Anna Pezont were living at 39 Grand Street!

Michael next appears in Braddock, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, but not in the census. It appears that he might have married in Pennsylvania, although it is certainly possible he married in New Jersey. Pennsylvania death certificates record the deaths of Michael’s two children. Josef was born 19 January 1923 and died at the age of three on 11 November 1926, although his name on the death certificate is given as “John.”  He is buried in All Saints Braddock Catholic Cemetery.

The second certificate recorded the stillborn son of Michael “Pizont” on 23 October 1927 at 4 in the morning. The mother of each child was Mary Mihok or Mihol. I don’t think they spoke much English.

Nicholas Pezont first shows up in the 1911 city directory in Passaic County, although he stated on the census that he arrived in 1900 and was naturalized. but couldn’t give a year. I have found no evidence that he was here in 1900 and his naturalization paper is not found among the holdings of Passaic County, where he lived.

I did find “Nick Pizon” in 1910 living in Heidelberg, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania working in the coal mines. He was married to Katie and had a son, Frank, 8 years old. That Nick arrived in 1904.

The family is from “Russia,” but they were actually Carpatho-Ruysn, or just “Rusyn,” ethnically. The census taker may have thought Rusyn was Russian, a common error. Since the surname is so rare, this might be my Nicholas Pezont. If this is my Nicholas, I wonder what happened to Katie and Frank? No other records have been found for them.

I also find no other trace of Michael and Mary Pezont anywhere. They aren’t buried in the same cemetery as their two sons, or if they are, they have no gravestone and aren’t listed on Find A Grave.

It doesn’t look like there are any Pezont descendants with whom I can share family information.

Family photo is in my personal collection.