52 Documents in 52 Weeks #2 – Julia Sabo Death Certificate

Last week, I shared George Rogers Tarbox’s death certificate recorded in 1895. the name of the informant is unknown.

Today, we are going to fast forward 90 years to 1985.


New Jersey Death Certificate for Julia Sabo, 1985

Julia Sabo is my grandmother and always “Nana.” Nana was 91 when she died, but mentally, she was still sharp as a tack. I had been actively asking questions about her life and her family for the previous six years.

My brother, who is five years younger than me, didn’t take much interest in the family history. Another important fact here is that my brother lived in New Jersey while I was already living in California.

When Nana died, my brother was the one who answered the questions for the death certificate. The red is redacted information, but he was the informant.

Now look at the three green arrows. Above Julia’s name, it says (aka Helena Anna). Above SABO, it says “Kuharik” and above “Mucko” is added (Murcko).

My name appears nowhere on this certificate, but when I arrived back east and went by the funeral home to pick up the death certificates, I told them that some of the information was incorrect. Although Nana always went by “Julia,” (that is a story I’ve shared before), her given name was Helena Anna. Although we had always been known by the surname Sabo, my great grandfather had never legally changed his name AND my grandparents were married using the surname Kuharik. Lastly, while “Murcko” is pronounced in a way that sounds like “MUCH-KO,” it is spelled “Murcko.”

My brother didn’t know any of this. This is a prime example of the information on a death certificate being only as reliable as the knowledge of the informant. If a future descendant looks into the family history, he/she will never get past George and Julia Sabo without knowing the family name is actually Kuharik.

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