Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: A Fearless Female Post

March is Women’s History Month and Randy Seaver on Genea-Musings chose the Fearless Female topic for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun this week.

1) Check out Lisa Alzo’s “Fearless Females 2023” blog post prompts and write about one of them.

My Fearless Female choice has to be my paternal grandmother, Julia (Scerbak) Sabo for several reasons.

Nana, standing second from right

First, although Nana was born in Passaic, her family moved back to Ujak when she was about 4 years old. In 1910, just after her 17th birthday, Nana and her second cousin, Susanna Szurgent, made the trip together from Ujak back to Passaic. The trip wasn’t easy and, even though Nana had friends and cousins already living in Passaic, she arrived with $15 and not much else. While Nana held U.S. citizenship by birthright, she didn’t speak English. That takes some courage!

Second, like most of her relatives and friends, Nana went to work in the mills along the Passaic River, as seen in the photograph. Hours were long, pay was low and the mills were breeding grounds for tuberculosis. Nana had good genes, though, and never got ill.

Third, my grandfather, George, died of TB in the midst of the Depression, leaving Nana and my 10 year old father, George Jr. Nana worked in their meat market business while raising my dad and managing to hold on to the house which was purchased c1925. Although Nana said she received more than one proposal to re-marry, she chose not to.

Fourth, as part of a Rusyn generation that experienced an extremely high mortality rate – if birth, childhood illness, an epidemic or the 1918 flu pandemic didn’t get you ,TB would – Nana lived a long healthy life, passing away in her sleep, aged 91 years, just a couple of months shy of her 92nd birthday.

Nana faced adversity, but met it head on and not only survived, but thrived.

Thank you, Randy, for the reminder about Women’s History Month and Lisa Alzo’s writing prompts!



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