I am still in the process of cleaning up my RootsMagic database and realized that I’ve never shared the earliest generations of the Scerbak family of Udol, Slovakia.
My paternal grandmother, Nana, was Helena Scerbak (1893-1985), the eldest daughter of Michael Scerbak and Anna Murczko.
The earliest ancestor in the Scerbak line is Michael Scerbak who married Helena Murczko. I’ve estimated that they were born about 1795 and 1798, respectively, given that their oldes known child, Michael was born about 1820.
Right off the bat, I need to address the baptismal name of this man. Every other online source I’ve viewed names him as “Mikulas, ” but that is a mistake, based on the priest’s entry, in scribbly cursive, that names him “Mich” in the marriage record of his son.
I wrote a post last year sharing images of the priest’s handwriting, other samples of “Mich” and “Michael” and the clearly different cursive K that the priest wrote.
There is not a single doubt in my mind that this man was named Michael!
No burial records have been found for either Michael or his wife, Helena. Both Michael and Helena were alive on 6 June 1843, when their youngest child was baptized. The priest would have noted if either were deceased.
Neither Michael nor Helena are found in the 1869 census, so they probably died before that time.
Michael Scerbak (c1795-1842+) married Helena Murczko (c1798-1843+), c1818, probably in Udol, Slovakia.
Extant church records indicate that the Scerbaks lived in Udol and the Murczkos lived about one mile away in Hajtovka. Both villages attended the Greek Catholic church in Udol. Therefore, it is likely that Michael was born in Udol, while Helena was born in Hajtovka.
Michael and Helena were the parents of at least four children and possibly several more. With church records beginning in 1827 and the gap in birth years between Michael and Helena, there is enough time for Helena to have given birth to as many as five other children.
No further clues have been found as to possible children, but the mortality rate was extremely high for infants as well as everyone else, so it’s possible that none of these unknown possible children survived childhood.
Based on my abstractions of Udol church records, I also believe that the priest or his scribe omitted a number of burials, in particular, through the years. Errors were also found in baptismal names and given names of brides.
Unless noted otherwise, all life events took place in Udol, Slovakia.
Children of Michael Scerbak and Helena Murczko:
- Michael (Misko), born c1820; died 27 August 1878; married Maria Fecsisin, 7 January 1842.
- Maria, born c1827; died 15 April 1877; married Michael Hrinya, 24 October 1848.
- Anna, baptized 11 July 1833; no further record
- John, baptized 19 November 1836; died 22 February 1916; married Maria Patorai, 11 February 1861
- Helena, baptized 6 June 1843; no further record
Therefore, of these five children, only Michael, Maria and John have known descendants.
1. MICHAEL Scerbak was born c1820, and died 27 August 1878. He married Maria Feccisin, daughter of Peter Fecsisin and Maria Hnat, on 7 January 1842. She was born c1822, and died 7 April 1890.
They were the parents of three children, but only Maria and Anna appear to have survived to adulthood. It is possible that John also survived, but married and then lived in another village:
1. John, baptized 27 February 1843; no further record. He is not in the 1869 census of Udol.
2. Maria, baptized 12 June 1845; died 5 February 1892; married Michael Vancso, 22 November 1868. He was born c1845; died 8 December 1881.
3. Anna, baptized 20 December 1852; died 22 April 1914; married Michael Hnat, 22 November 1868. He was born c1839 in Maly Lipnik; died 11 July 1915. [Five couples were married on 22 November 1868, including sisters Maria and Anna Scerbak.
2. MARIA Scerbak, born c1829; died 15 April 1877, aged 48 years; married Michael Hrinya, 24 October 1848. He was born c1825 and died 18 November 1887. Michael, 50, widower, married Helen Kundrat, widow, born Hnat, of Ujak 72, 4 March 1880. Helen, widow of Michael, born Hnat, died 7 November, buried 9 November 1897, aged 70 years.
They were the parents of nine children:
- Maria, baptized 1 September 1850; married Michael Fengya, baptized 30 September 1851, son of John Fengya/Ilyasa & Maria Fecsisin, 26 January 1874
- Michael, born c1852; buried 10 May 1854, aged 2 years
- Anna, baptized 29 January 1854; no further record.
- Susanna, baptized 17 August 1856; married Nicholas Hrinya, baptized 25 October 1857, son of Elias Hrinya & Anna Fedorko, 9 February 1880
- John Michael, baptized 29 December 1858; died 7 March, buried 9 March 1859, aged 4 months
- John, baptized 14 July 1861; married Maria Hrinya, baptized 11 November 1866, daughter of Peter Hrinya alias Bacso & Helen Miklus, 15 February 1886
- Peter, baptized 9 March 1864; no further record
- Helena, born c1869; married Stephen Szklepko, baptized23 March 1873, son of Peter Szklepko & Maria Havran, 30 January 1888
- Stephen, born 9 March 1873; died 17 December, buried 19 December 1878, aged 5 years
4. JOHN Scerbak, baptized 19 November 1836; died 22 February 1916; married Maria Patorai , daughter of John Patorai and Anna Szurgent, 11 February 1861. She was born 5 March 1839; died 27 January 1912.
They were the parents of eight children, but only John, Michael and Anna survived to adulthood:
1. John, born 18 July 1862; died 28 February 1938, Garfield, Bergen, New Jersey; married Catherine Dzuriczki, c1886, possibly in Pennsylvania. She was born 9 March 1865, Spissky Hrhov, Slovakia; died 1949 in New Jersey. They were the parents of six children.
2. Maria, born 17 April 1865; died 01 April 1872.
3. Michael, born 17 February 1868; died 16 March 1932; married Anna Murczko, 22 October 1892, Passaic, Passaic, New Jersey. She was born 23 May 1872; died 28 June 1967. This family lived in Passaic in the 1890s, but returned permanently to Udol before 1898.
4. Anna, born 11 June 1870; died 22 December 1955; married Michael Zavaczki, 16 July 1894. He was born c1855; died 1 January 1933.
5. Stephen, born 03 January 1875; died 2 November 1876
6. Susanna, born 28 June 1878; died 11 January 1879.
7. Maria, born 19 September 1881; died 28 December 1882.
8. Stephen, born 10 December 1883; died 1 April 1884.
Michael Scerbak and Helena Murczko had nine grandchildren who lived to adulthood and gave them more descendants. However, they didn’t live to see the day when some of those grandchildren and many of their great grandchildren left the village for a new life in America.
The next post will take a look at those great grandchildren.