Category Archives: Kucharik

Calling All: Blyanda, Boszak, Koszsel, Kravjar, Mihalov, Varga, Pelahat, Batsa, Miklus, Jakub, Szurgent, Repka, Foltin, Magnus, Merchely, Kacsenyak

The Kucharik family of the 1800s  Felso Sebes, or today’s Vysna Sebastova, Slovakia, not far from Presov, was and is rather small. There must be someone out there researching some of these allied families and perhaps they have records or family stories that have been passed down about life in Felso Sebes to share.

Do you recognize any of the following couples or family names?


Blyanda, John to Koszsel to  Anna (Kucharik), 14 June 1842
Boszak, John to Kucharik, Maria, by 1884
Koszsel, Michael to Kucharik, Maria, 21 September 1841
Koszselnik, John to Kucharik, Anna, 15 February 1835
Kravjar, John to Kucharik, Anna, 12 November 1833
Kravjar, Stephen to Kucharik, Anna, 25 October 1871
Kucharik, George to Pelahat, Anna, before 1815
Kucharik, George to Batsa, Anna, by 1816
Kucharik, George to Miklus, Anna, by 1820
Kucharik, John to Jakub, Anna, by 1872
Kucharik, John to Szurgent, Maria, 26 January 1830
Kucharik, John to Repka, Maria, 11 August 1849
Kucharik, John to Foltin, Maria, 26 April 1835
Kucharik, Michael to Magnus, Susanna, 25 September 1882
Kucharik, George to Merchely, Barbara, 9 February 1857
Kucharik, Michael to Jakub, Anna, by 1869
Kucharik, Stephen to Kacsenyak, Maria, 28 August 1877
Mihalov, John to Kucharik, Maria (Szurgent), 13 February 1832
Varga, Michael to Kucharik, Anna, 12 November 1878

If you have any of these family names in your tree and you think they might have come from the area to the east of Presov, Slovakia, please leave a comment!

52 Documents in 52 Weeks #6 – Same Forms, Same Year, Different Details

Sometimes, the depth of details differs even when the same forms are filled in for two different people. Today’s documents are baptismal certificates used by the Greek Catholic churches in 1893. They are for my grandparents, Helena Anna (Julia) Scerbak and George Kucharik (Sabo).  Julia was born on 17 August 1893 in Passaic, Passaic County, New Jersey and George was born on 24 May 1893 in Delano, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. Both families were Greek Catholic. Julia’s baptism took place at St. Michael’s Church, today known as the Cathedral of St. Michael the Archangel. George was baptized at St. Mary’s Church in Mahanoy City, which borders Delano.

Helena Scerbak’s Baptismal Record

This information is quite easy to figure out, as it is arranged in columns. Nana was child #51 to be baptized, her dates of birth and baptism are given (although I admit I am not sure what the baptismal date is with the way it is written), place of birth is recorded, her parents’ names are given, the names of godparents are listed and the priest’s name is given.

I am lucky enough to be the keeper of this original certificate as well as the caretaker of my grandfather’s baptismal certificate. Before I share the image of his certificate, I need to state that Nana told me about her family’s ancestral home in Slovakia. Her family lived in the adjacent small villages of Ujak (today called Udol) and Hajtovka.

I never knew my paternal grandfather because he died of tuberculosis when my father was ten. If my grandmother ever knew the village from where the Kuchariks emigrated, she had long forgotten it. I am not sure she ever knew, though, because George was born in Pennsylvania and she wasn’t overly fond of her other in-laws. She did say they spoke the same dialect of Slovak that she spoke, but that is all she knew.

I had searched U.S. records for clues to the Kucharik ancestral village for years, but they didn’t leave many records. The eldest son, John, died between 1900-1910 and I have not found any death or burial record for him. The other children were born in Pennsylvania. Stefan and wife Maria never became naturalized citizens, they owned no property and their death certificate say nothing about where in Slovakia they were born.

I didn’t realize it until about seven years ago, but I had the answer in my hands all the time. Now, take a look at George’s baptismal certificate:

George Kucharik’s Baptismal Record

Note that the form is the same and the information is the same, EXCEPT and this is a HUGE except, there are extra words between the names of George’s parents.

The purple arrows are pointing to those words, which are difficult to read. The form itself is in Latin, but these words are not Latin. It looked like it said “Sebes loku: Jaros, Hungaria.” It seems to be citing a place, but I couldn’t find any place called Jaros or Sebes.

When I photocopied this certificate and took it to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, I headed to the Eastern European help desk. I was lucky enough to talk with a lady who was from Slovakia. She looked at the certificate, looked up information in two or three books, asked me what religion they were (Greek Catholic) and then printed out several pages of microfilm numbers.

She said that “Jaros” was actually the old Hungarian county “Saros” and Sebes referred to either Also Sebes or Felso Sebes, two villages not far from Presov, Slovakia. Next, she highlighted the films with the Greek Catholic records on them and sent me off to the microfilm readers. These villages aren’t more than about forty miles from Udol and Hajtovka.

A few minutes later, I had the marriage record of Stephen Kucharik and Maria Kacsenyak! The brick wall had been busted open and I was able to trace the family back to the earliest church registers.

Moral of this story: Take additional looks at documents you already have and find a way to learn what information is recorded on them.

Unusual Record to Document a Death: Tracking John Sabo, 1900-1910, Passaic, NJ

On Thursday, I reviewed George G. Morgan’s excellent book, How to Do Everything: Genealogy, Fourth Edition and mentioned that I would be talking about a death record resource of which I had never heard.

Thinking about it now, I realize this record makes perfect sense, but it isn’t one the general public would normally see or need. Today, a funeral home would take care of this.

What is this mysterious record? It’s a transit permit for transportation of a dead human body.

Michigan Burial-Transit Permit

It sounds rather grim, but these permits have been issued by city and county clerks for a long time – at least since the beginning of the 20th century. I did just a cursory search for information and found one reference to such a permit in 1893.

I also have no idea how many of these permits from long ago are still in existence. They apparently can be housed at a funeral home, a cemetery office or, in some cases, at the city or county office where they were issued.

Why did I get so excited about these permits? My grandfather’s oldest brother was John Kucharik, born 25 August 1877 in Okruzna, Slovakia. The family left Slovakia in the mid 1880s and, by 1900, were settled in Passaic, New Jersey. John was still at home living with his parents and siblings in the 1900 census.

“Kuharik” Family, 70 First Street, Passaic in 1900

If he married, I have found no record and no other mention of him has been found after that census. His mother, Mary, reported in 1900 that she had given birth to eight children, five of whom were still living. By 1910, she reported that she had only four living children. Those surviving were Mary, Anna, George and Stephen Jr. John had obviously died.

However, I have found no death record for John, who most likely died in Passaic, where the family was living. His parents, Stephen and Mary, are buried at St. Peter’s Greek Catholic Cemetery in Garfield, Bergen County, New Jersey, but that cemetery wasn’t established until 1910. Their son, George, was buried at St. Michael’s Cemetery in South Hackensack, Bergen County, but that cemetery wasn’t established until the 1920s.

I believe he was probably buried in a Roman Catholic cemetery because there was no Greek Catholic cemetery in the area until 1910.

Again – Why did I get so excited about these permits? I alsmot jumped out of my chair when I read page 199 of Mr. Morgan’s book. There are two images of transit permits. The first, from New York, was included because details on it are sparse. The second has lots of wonderful details and it is from PASSAIC, dated July 1903!!!

What are the odds of that? It has definitely motivated me to try to hunt down the cemetery where John Kucharik is buried and to contact the city and county clerks to see if they might have any early permits stowed away somewhere in a box or drawer.