Tag Archives: Kucharik

Stephen Kucharik aka Tomko aka Sabo: Timeline of U.S. Addresses

Sometimes, knowing a town in which an ancestor lived is deceiving if the street address is not known.

Such is the case with my great grandfather, Stephen Kucharik aka Tomko (in Slovakia) aka Sabo (in America.)

Stephen Kucharik, wife Maria, and children John and Maria, emigrated to the United States in the mid-1880s. They first settled in Delano, Schuylkill, Pennsylvania where three more children were born to them – Anna, George and Stephen Jr.

About 1899, the family moved to Passaic, where they lived out their lives. Stephen died in 1933, wife Maria in 1926 and son John, between 1900-1910. The other children married and lived in the Passaic County area.

Knowing that Stephen and Maria lived in Passaic for decades would seem to imply some stability in their lives. However, census records, city directories and newspaper articles (Stephen was an alcoholic who garnered  multiple mentions in the newspapers because of his drinking issues) indicate that the family moved from one rental apartment to another through all those years.

Almost every place they lived was in the neighborhood around St. Michael’s Church on First Street, as they were Greek Catholics and the mills where the Rusyn immigrants worked were close by.

Remember that data was gathered for city directories in the summer and fall preceding the year.

1891 City Directory – Delano, Pennsylvania, no address listed
1899 City Directory – 82 Third Street
1900 City Directory – 157 Third Street
1900 Census – 70 First Street
1901 City Directory – 204 Second Street/177 Third Street
1902 City Directory – 204 Second Street
1903 City Directory – 110 Second Street
1907 City Directory – 232 Fourth Street
1908 City Directory – 172/180 Second Street/197 Third Street
1908 School Certificate (son George) – 111 Third Street
1909 City Directory – 180 Third Street
1910 Census – 2 Third Street
1911 City Directory – 2 Second Street
1914 City Directory – 228 Fourth Street
1916 Newspaper Article – “of Mercer Street”
1920 Census – 77 Hope Avenue
1924 Newspaper Article – 77 Hope Avenue

There are several years when a Stephen Sabo was living at 290 Hope Avenue. That is a man born c1880 who died in 1918 in Passaic, unrelated to my family.

Stephen Sr. hasn’t been found in the 1930. My grandmother said he was more than a handful to deal with and the kids moved him from one house to another. Stephen Sr. died on 4 June 1933 in Wallington, probably while living with Stephen Jr. and his family.

As seen from all these addresses for Stephen Sabo, living in one city for years didn’t necessarily indicate a stable living situation. Stephen was a millhand and laundry worker who struggled to make enough to support the family.

Some of the above addresses no longer exist because the buildings have been knocked down, but all were small multi-family apartment buildings.

I Found My Family in the 1890 Census Substitute!

Sometimes, it seems that so many items are being digitized and posted online that it is hard to keep up with them all.

I recently found a new resource. Most researchers are aware the the 1890 U.S. census burned and literally only a handful of fragmented images survived out of the entire country.

City directories have been suggested as an alternative to documenting families in that time period.

The problem with city directories is that often only the head of household is listed, or at best, the wife’s name is included.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a city directory that listed everyone in each family. That is – until now!

I never knew my paternal grandfather as he died of tuberculosis when my father was ten. When I started asking questions about our family history, I asked my dad if he knew where his father was born. He said Delano, Pennsylvania near Mahanoy City.

Those towns are in Schuylkill County; Mahanoy City is 140 miles due west of Passaic, New Jersey, where my grandparents met, married and lived their lives.

From census records in 1900-1930, I learned much about my paternal line.

Stephen Kucharik was born in 1855 in Slovakia. He married Maria Kacsenyak three days after (yes, after) the birth of their first child, John, born 25 August 1877 in Okruzna, just east of Presov, Slovakia.

When the family emigrated to America around 1888, Stephen and Mary had two living children – John, born 1877 and Mary, born 1881. After settling in Pennsylvania, one more child had been born to them before the 1890 census – Anna, in 1889.

My grandfather, George, didn’t come along until 1893 and the youngest child, Stephen, was born in 1897, not long before the family moved to New Jersey.

I was also aware that, for whatever reason, Stephen Kucharik began to use the surname of Sabo/Szabo/Sabol socially. In 1900 and 1910, the family appears as Kucharik in the census. However, by 1920, everyone, including the adult children, used Sabo, which is the spelling of my maiden name.

With that background information, I happened to browse Internet Archive to see what was available for Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania.

A book called Directory of the Eleventh Census of Schuylkill County, with a publication date of 1891 by E.E. Shartel appeared.

The 11th U.S. census was, in fact, the 1890 census. In the notes section, I found:

This project is made possible by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services as administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education through the Office of Commonwealth Libraries [and the Pottsville Public Library.]

Schuylkill County had published a directory that included all the towns in the county at the time. . . . and it is an EVERY NAME directory!

Of course, I had to go down this rabbit hole. The towns were in alphabetical order, so Delano was quick to find.

Now, it is a good thing I know as much as I do about the Kucharik/Sabo family because. . . there were no Kuchariks in Delano.

Instead, there was a listing for the JOHN Sabol family, not the Stephen Sabo family.

Interestingly, addresses are not included in this directory.

However, if we substitute Stephen for John, we have a perfect fit for the Kucharik/Sabo family – Stephen, Mary and children John, Mary and Anna.

Stephen and Mary spoke very little English ever. Stephen was a laborer. In Pennsylvania, he eventually worked as a ticket taker on the railroad. I’ve inherited his watch.

Later, he became an alcoholic, which sadly was a common illness among Rusyns, even in the old country. After the family moved to Passaic, Stephen was a laundry worker in a bleachery.

In the above directory entry, son John would have been about 12, Mary 10 and Anna a little over one year old.

I have to wonder who gave the information to the men collecting the information. Stephen would have been working and Mary home with the children. They’d only been in America for a couple of years, but Mary and John would have learned enough English in that time to at least get by.

The information gatherers maybe confused the ages and listed John as 10 years old, but no ages for Mary and Anna.

In spite of the errors, this is clearly my family. Delano was a small place.

Stephen and Mary left little in the way of a paper trail, just a few appearances in city directories and the census records.

The Schuylkill County 1891 city directories are a fun discovery.


DNA Matches & the Kucharik Family

Recently, I made contact with a Kucharik descendant. We share 28 cM on just a single segment. This person has a family tree online, but I didn’t recognize her Kucharik ancestor:

Anna Kucharik was born in 1843 and married Michael Vargo. She is shown to be the daughter of Joseph Kucharik and Maria Matisz.

I included the family tree branch below Michael and Anna because of the Karahuta surname.

Although I couldn’t readily figure out who these people were, I am certain that they belong in the collateral branches of my family tree because the towns identified in the tree were Felso Sebes, Korosfo and, today’s version of these towns – Vysna Sebastova, Slovakia. These are exactly the same tiny neighborhoods where my Kuchariks originated.

My new cousin is in the 4th-6th cousin range, which unfortunately places our common ancestor born before the earliest surviving church register began.

There were not many Kuchariks living in the area of Vysna Sebastova in the 19th century. Here is my working theory of their relationships:

The earliest Mr. Kucharik was likely born in the 1760s and died before 1810, when the parish register begins. The Kucharik family was Greek Catholic, although they often married Roman Catholic spouses.

Mr. Kucharik, married to one or more unknown wives, was probably the father of four sons who lived to adulthood:

  1. John, born c1786; married Anna Pelahat, c1808
  2. George, born c1793; married (1) Anna Miklus (2) Anna Pelahat (3) Anna Batsa (4) Anna Lucats
  3. Michael, born c1800; married Anna Mihaly
  4. ? Joseph, born c1802 or c1810; married Maria Foltin

Let’s look at each of these children.

First, John Kucharik and Anna Pelahat were the parents of one known son: John, baptized 15 May 1814, in Okruzna, Slovakia.

Second, we have George and Anna Pelahat were the parents of one child: Anna, baptized 20 January 1815, George and Anna Batsa were the parents of one child: John, baptized 8 November 1816. George and Anna Miklus were the parents of two children: John, baptized 28 November 1820 (and who married Maria Repka) and Maria, baptized in 1882 and George and Anna Lucats were the parents of one child: George, baptized 1 April 1830.

My ancestral line is through George and Anna Miklus and their son, John, born 1820, who married Maria Repka.

Third, we have Michael and Anna Mihaly were the parents of five children: Anna, baptized 31 January 1830 and buried 24 March 1831, Michael, baptized 28 August 1832, Anna, baptized 14 January 1836, Maria, baptized 29 November 1836 and Basil, baptized 30 December 1842.

Fourth, we have Joseph, but there is some conflicting information about him. When Joseph married Maria Foltin on 26 April 1834, his age was given as 24 years, so born c1810, and Maria was 20 years old, born c1814. However, when Joseph, husband of Maria Foltin, was buried on 20 May 1847, the priest’s notes said he was “found dead” and 45 years old, so born c1802.

This family was found in the Roman Catholic church register of Also Sebes (now Nizna Sebastova), not in the Greek Catholic church register in Okruzna/Felso Sebes/Szengeto parish.

I think the priest might not have been overly diligent when he made entries in his books. He identified Joseph Kucharik as a Roman Catholic when he married Maria. Not true! He was Greek Catholic. He failed to include Joseph’s Kucharik surname in the burial record, only identifying him as the husband of Maria Foltin.

There is a baptismal record for Anna Kucharik, daughter of Joseph Kucharik and Maria Matisz dated 13 October 1843. That led me to believe Maria Foltin had died and Joseph remarried. I found NO burial record for Maria Foltin Kucharik and NO second marriage to Maria Matisz (and I think the surname would actually be Matyas, but with a more phonetic spelling here.) I think the priest erred when listing Anna’s mother’s name.

Anna Kucharik was identified as Roman Catholic, but her marriage record identified her as Greek Catholic.

What difference does any of this make? Well, the most important discrepancy is in the birth year of Joseph Kucharik. If he was born in 1802, I believe he was the son of Mr. Kucharik the progenitor of the family.

If Joseph was born in 1810, he could still be the son of Mr. Kucharik, by a first or later wife, but he also might be the son of John Kucharik and Anna Pelahat. However, I tend to believe that he was a younger son of Mr. Kucharik.

I think the priest may have estimated ages in his records. The priest also appears to have forgotten to enter some baptismal records, as Joseph buried a son, Joseph (10 years old), and daughter, Maria (3 years old), in 1847 and there were no baptismal records found for either of them.

By the way, the fact that John and George both married an Anna Pelahat is of no consequence. These families used the same given names over and over, several times in a generation of cousins. I have found four Maria Repkas of marriageable age who were contemporaries of my Maria Repka, who married John Kucharik, detailed above.

Joseph Kucharik and Maria Foltin were the parents of: Michael, baptized 29 September 1835 and buried 16 January 1836, Joseph, born c1837 and buried 28 April 1847, John, baptized 27 January 1841 and buried 8 April 1847, Anna, baptized 13 October 1843 (but given Maria Matisz as her mother), and Maria, born c1844 and buried 8 April 1847.

I have to wonder what happened to Joseph, who was “”found dead” and buried on 20 May 1847, just weeks after burying children John and Maria on 8 April 1847 and son Joseph on 28 April 1847.

Anna was the only surviving child of Joseph Kucharik.

If my theory is correct about the early progenitor, Mr. Kucharik, and his children, then my Kucharik cousin is my 4C1R:

As a reminder, I mentioned earlier that we share 28 cM on just a single segment. According to Blaine Bettinger’s March 2020 shared cM relationship chart, 4C1R share an average of . . . . . . . . 28 cM!

I think our relationship chart is quite accurate. Absent the discovery of an earlier church register, this theory will stand.