My grandmother, Julia Scerbak Sabo, didn’t ever talk about her in-laws until I started asking questions about my grandfather’s family. I never knew, George Kucharik, aka George Sabo, my paternal grandfather, as he died of tuberculosis 16 years before I was born.
However, Nana had an excellent memory and told me about her father-in-law and mother-in-law, Stephen Kucharik and Mary Kacsenyak and about her two sisters-in-law, Mary and Anna and about her brother-in-law, Stephen. She never mentioned anything about a brother-in-law, John Kucharik or John Sabo.
Yet, when I found the family in the 1900 census in Passaic, New Jersey, there was son John, the eldest child in the Kucharik family. They were living at 70 First Street, a few doors away from St. Michael’s Church.
According to the census information, Stephen and Mary had been married for 21 years and John was 21 years old, born in July 1878. He was a laborer.
When I finally traced the family back to Okruzna, Slovakia, the church books showed that John was born on 25 August 1877 and baptized the next day, on 26 August.
Stephen and Mary had a very busy week that week as they welcomed the birth of their son, who was baptized in the Greek Catholic church and then got married on 28 August 1877 in the Roman Catholic church! (Just an aside -it was common in the culture there that a couple married in the bride’s church, but children were baptized in the husband’s church. Roman Catholic-Greek Catholic weddings were extremely common.)
I have a handful of very old Kucharik photos and I believe that John is possibly in three of them.
George, my grandfather, on right
This is the earliest of the three photos, based on my grandfather’s age. He was born in May 1893 and I’d say he was a very young teen here, maybe 13 or 14, so this picture would have been taken maybe around 1906 or 1907. I think that John (if it is him) has his hand on George’s shoulder. However, John would have been about 27 or 28 here and I don’t think he looks that old.
This next photo was taken after George grew a bit taller:
George on left
George has grown a bit if these the other male in both photos is John. He looks to be at least sixteen here, so the photo would be maybe about 1909.
George, brother Stephen and John?
These last two photos were taken at the same time, based on the clothing and their appearances. The youngest male is George’s baby brother, Stephen, who was born in February 1897. Based on his birth year and apparent age, I think 1909 is a reasonable estimate of when these two photos were taken.
Here is Stephen at his 50th wedding anniversary celebration:
I also think that George and Stephen took more after their mother in in their looks than their dad, as their faces were wider:
I think John looked more like his father, Stephen, with a longer, more oval or angular shaped face:
Just for comparison, here are their two sisters:
Mary and Anna Kucharik/Sabo
So, I have a birth/baptismal record for John Kucharik, aka John Sabo, and a 1900 census record for him, living at home with his parents, unmarried, and working as a laborer. His birth is reported as being in July 1878, but this family was literate, I don’t think Stephen and Mary spoke much English and none of their U.S. census birth dates/years match the Slovak church records, so I don’t put much credence in this record in terms of their ages.
John Kucharik or John Sabo is nowhere to be found in 1910. According to his mother’s information about number of children to whom she had given birth compared to number living, Mary lost a child between 1900 and 1910. That would be John, but I have no death record for him and can’t find any burial information.
Stephen and Mary are buried in St. Peter’s Greek Catholic Cemetery in Garfield, New Jersey; St. Michael’s Cemetery wasn’t opened until the 1920s, so St. Peter’s would be the place Greek Catholics would bury their deceased family members.
My grandmother returned permanently to the United States in November 1910, but I have no idea when she met my grandfather. However, they married in September 1915. I think she never mentioned John because she never knew him and perhaps never even knew OF him.
Between the family photos that look to be from about 1908-1909 and the 1910 census, I believe John died in that time frame. He apparently never married and has no descendants. I wonder if he is buried at St. Peter’s, but the family didn’t have enough money to purchase a gravestone. I would love some closure here, but don’t know if it will ever come.