Where are we after all the hunting and sorting? It appears that we have one George Kucharik who married more than once and had several children:
George = Anna Pelahat, married before church records time frame
i. Anna, baptized 20 Jan 1815; probably the same who married John Kravjar on 12 Nov 1833
George = Anna Batsa
ii. John, baptized 8 Nov 1816; no further record
George = Anna Miklus, also married before church records era
ii. John, baptized 28 Nov 1820
iii. Maria, married Michael Koszsel, 21 Sept 1841
George = Anna Lukats
iv. George, baptized 1 Apr 1830
Why do I believe these are all the same man? Because John Kravjar was a godparent at each of these baptisms, Anna Vavrek at two with Andreas Vavrek at a third. Plus, they all lived on the (one) Szengeto road.
Is it unusual that one man might have married four women all named Anna? Not really. Marriage and family to care for each other were necessary for survival. If one wife died, a man remarried. At this time in the Catholic church, children had to be named for saints. In my Slovak family branch, if an ancestor’s name is unknown and I guess at John or Michael for males and Mary and Anna for females, I’d be right about 98% of the time. By adding in Stephen, George and Andrew along with Helena and Susanna for females, I’d be close to 100% correct. Lastly, these were very small villages. The same given names were used over and over in these families.
By the way, in this time period, newborn babies were baptized right after birth or perhaps one or two days later. The infant mortality rate was extremely high so no time was wasted between birth and baptism.
Back to the story. How does “Tomko” fit into this picture? Cousin Judy and I had census records. Hungary took a census of all household members in 1869. At that time, this area was controlled by Hungary and was part of the old Saros county. Szengeto, where the Kuchariks lived at least from the early 1800’s to the late 1800’s, is in the Saros county enumeration. However, there is not a Kucharik to be found! Where did they go? I did find John Tomko and Maria Repka, John Kucharik’s wife:
John Tomko Family, 1869 Census, Szengeto
Who is enumerated in this family?
Tomko, Janos (John), born 1819
Repka, Maria, born 1825
Tomko, Anna, born 1854
Tomko, Istvan (Stephen), born 1856
Tomko, Mihaly (Michael), born 1860
Tomko, Maria, born 1864
Tomko, Janos (John), born 1866
The ages of Maria Repka and Stephen are slightly off, but of all the records I have for Stephen, no two give him the same year of birth. He was baptized on 17 February 1855 and was likely born between the 15th and 17th.
There are more children here than I knew about, so it was time to go searching the church registers once again. With gaps in birth years, it also looks like Maria might have lost some children. It would be more surprising if all the children to whom she had given birth were living.
Here is the missing piece of the puzzle:
Burial of Joannes (John) Kucharik
On 20 October 1858, the child Joannes (John) Kucharik alias Tomko was buried. He lived at Szengeto n. D. 2 (number of domicile 2). I mentioned the priests didn’t seem to keep the most complete records and the child’s father’s name is not recorded. However, a search turned up the 6 January 1858 birth of John to George TOMKO and his wife, Barbara Merchely.
The alias Tomko is exceedingly important here because it proves that George Kucharik and George Tomko were one and the same person.
Going back to look for even earlier Tomko records, I found the burial of George Tomko, peasant farmer of Szengeto, aged 67, on 2 December 1850.
I believe this is George Kucharik, married to the four Annas. If his age is close to accurate, he was born about 1783 and easily could have married and had a child born in 1815. This means that Judy’s George and my Stephen were half brothers. I wish the records were a bit more complete and extended back a little further to provide documentary evidence proving my theory. However, of the records that do exist, none contradict my theory either.
Back to the 1869 census – who was enumerated on the very next page? George and Barbara Tomko, but this Barbara was Barbara Kravjar. Yet another search turned up an 1866 burial record for Barbara Merchely.
In this family, we have:
Tomko, George, born 1830
Kravjar, Borbala (Barbara), born 1843
Tomko, Janos (John), born 1860
Tomko, Anna, born 1864
Tomko, Mihaly (Michael), born 1865
I have no explanation for why, by 1850 at the latest, the family started using the surname “Tomko” as no records have been found linking the two families together. There are other Tomkos in the area, but not in Szengeto. Records in the 1850’s and 1860’s indicate they went back and forth between Kucharik and Tomko. George who married Barbara Merchely apparently lived past 1896, which is the ending date for the records available on FamilySearch. John Kucharik was buried on 9 February 1893 and Maria Kucharik on 12 January 1896. Both were buried under the Kucharik surname.
I thought I could wrap this up in three parts, but it will take one more post to bring everyone up to date as Judy and I search for more cousins. I guess it is fitting, though, that this post went online today – 9 February. Exactly 123 years ago today, John Kucharik was buried, but 33 years later, on 9 February 1926, his great grandson, my dad, George (Kucharik) Sabo was born.
I like to believe the ancestors are up there showing us the way to finding them!