Showing posts with label Pereksta. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pereksta. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wordless Wednesday ~ Summertime, c. 1919

Anna Pereksta, seated in center with a bite missing from her watermelon.

We are deep into a record setting winter in the United States. Time for a taste of summer.

My grandmother, Anna Pereksta, spent several months in Saranac Lake (NY) recovering from influenza. Her care there was paid for by Endicott Johnson, her employer. Most of the patients were being treated for tuberculosis, but she always said she had had the flu. 

Whatever the disease, those months recovering were a cherished time in a life that was far more work than play. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Anonymous No More - Michael Pereksta - Tombstone Tuesday

Cast iron cross marking grave of Michael Pereksta

Last month I wrote about all the newspaper reports of unnamed "Hungarians" killed in slate mining accidents in the late 19th and early 20th century. I came across the articles while looking for information on Michael Pereksta, who was reported to be my grandmother's cousin.

Today I am, thanks to the kind assistance of the Slate Valley Museum and their volunteer extraordinaire John Jones, able to pinpoint the date and cause of his death, and to share photographs of his grave marker.

He did die in a mining accident as we'd been told. John found two small news articles in local papers reporting the accident, though again omitting his name.

I shall write more about his life, death and the help I received from John and the Slate Valley Museum, but today I focus on his burial at the Saint Peter and Paul Byzantine Catholic Cemetery in Granville, NY. 

Plaque attached to cross.

Michael Pereksta
Died 12 June 1905,
Age 30 Years

John sent pictures illustrating the placement of the marker, its condition, as well as the above translation. He pointed out that it was near several other iron crosses, all sharing the same laurel wreath emblem near the base and speculated they had been provided by a burial society. I suspect he is correct. 

St. Peter and Paul Byzantine Catholic Cemetery, Granville, NY

Michael's cross is in the back, tilting strongly to the right, in the above picture.  If you look carefully you can see other crosses nearby.

Image Credits

The photographs were taken by John A. Jones and are published here with his permission. 

Saturday, May 26, 2012

My Carpatho-Rusyn FAN Club ~ Hamzik, Rudik and Havtur

This is another of the FAN Club photographs belonging to my grandparents Stephen Popp (Stefan Papp) and Anna Pereksta of Binghamton, NY. 

On the back of the photograph is written Anna Hamzik, Mrs. Rudik, Mrs. Havtur.

Two Anna Hamziks appear in the Binghamton, NY City Directories available on Anna Macko (1890-1961) was married to Michael Hamzik. They did not move to Binghamton until sometime before the 1930 census. In 1920 they were living in Montana. Anna Macko Hamzik is reported to have to come to the United States as a child. Anna Bancansky (1894-1966) was married to Joseph Hamzik. They moved to Binghamton sometime after 1930. According to the 1930 census she was born in Czechoslovakia and emigrated to the United States in 1911. 

In addition to the two Anna Hamziks, there is also an Anna Hemzik living nearby in Johnson City in the 1930 census. She was born about 1899 in Pennsylvania to Czechoslovakian born parents and was married to Andrew Hemzik. 

Mary Vaszko Rudik (1895-1964) is the only Mrs. Rudik found in Binghamton, NY census or city directory records. She was born in Ruské, a village near my grandmother's village in today's Slovakia and emigrated to the United States in 1911. She married Frank Rudik in 1915 at St. Michael's Church in Binghamton.

There are two potential Mrs. Havturs, sisters-in-law who were each named Helen. Helen Wasko Havtur Selanich (1894-1972) was also born in Ruské. (She and Mary Vaszko Rudik may have been related, but they were not siblings. Each named different parents on their marriage records.) Helen Wasko married Frank Havtur. Helen Bundga married Frank's brother John in 1916. She was born in Starina, the village where my grandmother's mother was born. Based on the descriptions in their immigration records the picture above is most likely Helen Bundga Havtur.

This is a challenging photograph to date or place. I have a similar photograph of my grandmother that I have assumed was taken shortly after she arrived in the United States in 1913. But if either of the Anna Hamziks are the woman pictured they do not appear to have been in Binghamton until after 1920. There are newspaper reports in the Binghamton (NY) Press referring to folk dancers led by Mrs. Helen Havtur and it may be the woman all participated with her.

I would be delighted to share high resolution scans of these images and source information with anyone researching these families. Please leave a comment or email me (there is a link in the righthand column).

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mary Pereksta Kontir - Wordless Wednesday

My first cousin once removed, Mary Pereksta Kontir, daughter of John and Mary Pereksta of Clifton, NJ. 1928.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Square Deal - A Different Perspective on May Day

Today is International Workers' Day. Growing up during the Cold War in a staunchly anti-Soviet home, my only awareness of it was press coverage of the military might marching through Moscow's Red Square. Those displays did not reflect the original intent of the day, but colored my perspective on labor movements, factory work and workers for many years.

The families I research were primarily agrarian with an occasional merchant or doctor. Rarely have I found ancestors living in a city and only once have I found a relative working in a factory prior to 1910 when my Carpatho-Rusyn family began arriving. Almina Whitaker died 3 Oct. 1844 in Chicopee Falls, MA. She was listed as a factory girl and died of an acute infection at age 17. She was my husband's 4th great-aunt. There are surely others.

Arch at the entrance to Johnson City.
It reads "Home of the Square Deal."
My paternal grandparents were both factory workers after they emigrated to the United States, but their experiences were different from those who worked in most of the factories and mills across the country. They worked for the Endicott-Johnson Corporation, a shoe manufacturer located in the Southern Tier of New York. Endicott-Johnson (or E-J as they were referred to at home) was known worldwide for their Square Deal, a paternalistic but generous program of medical care, recreational facilities, profit sharing and low cost housing that kept unions at bay. Another company in the area modeled their benefits programs on E-J's Square Deal. That company became IBM, where my father spent most of his working life.

My father, born in an E-J medical clinic not far from his parents' home, spoke glowingly of the medical care his family received. My grandmother spent months at a sanitarium at Saranac Lake recovering from influenza. Her job was waiting for her when she returned. My father recovered from rheumatic fever at a farm where E-J contracted to have its employees and their dependents cared for. The clinics, care and doctors were well-thought of and all were provided free of charge to E-J employees and their families. I never heard a single comment from my father or any other family member about Endicott-Johnson that was anything but laudatory.

When I was growing up IBM was equally revered. There were IBM Christmas parties, IBM country clubs, superb benefits packages. An IBM scholarship paid for some of my college education and IBM summer jobs helped pay my living expenses. It was mentioned more than once that there was no need for unions or labor organization at IBM. We knew whose fathers (and it was only the fathers) worked for IBM. No secret handshake, but we considered ourselves fortunate.

That world of welfare capitalism, with its lifetime employment and security, is long gone. Its legacy includes the binding together of healthcare and employment. We who grew up in its embrace face a changed world.

Happy International Workers' Day!

You can read more about E-J and its Square Deal in this episode of NPR's Radio Diaries and in this book by Gerald Zahavi.

Clifford Lyle Stott, The Vital Records of Springfield Massachusetts to 1850 (Boston: NEHGS, 2003), II:1225 citing Book 4, Births, Marriages, Deaths, 1843-1849.

Endicott-Johnson Employee Badges belonging to Stephen and Anna Popp; digital images; privately held by Susan Popp Clark, St. Louis, MO. 2008

Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, HABS NY, 4-ENDI,1--1.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Friday, April 20, 2012

I Love a Procession!

Attribution Some rights reserved by Tobyotter
Almost all my knowledge of the relationships between my father's immigrant relatives is based on interviews with my father and his sister. They grew up knowing who their cousins in the United States were and knowing who among their parents' friends were countrymen, coming from the same villages in Europe their own parents came from.

These relationships are based on births and marriages in 19th century Europe that I have not been able to document. In several cases I do not know what degree of relationship existed, though I am certain the families considered themselves closely related. A few published death notices have provided some support, but generally I have relied on documents and photographs handed down to me. Letters addressed to Aunt Anna [my grandmother], or photographs of visits between families provide support. Photo albums filled with pictures of the children of these other families are another source of supporting documentation. 

Recently I received a document used in the funeral planning for my grandfather, Stephen Popp, that clearly illustrates the hierarchy of relationships and friendships my family recognized in America. It is a printed booklet Funeral Automobile List distributed by Chopyak's Funeral Home containing handwritten directions for the procession to the cemetery. It lists the pall bearers, and who would be riding in each car of the procession.

The pall bearers listed were
  • John Tegza, from Endicott, NY. Tegza emigrated from Berezova with my grandfather. Though his surname is the same as my grandfather's mother he was not considered a relative, but a countryman and friend.
  • John Popp, from Bridgeport, CT. He was always referred to as a first cousin. We believe John's mother (also a Popp) and my grandfather's father were siblings.
  • Mike Kontir, from Clifton, NJ. He was married to my grandmother's niece. 
  • Steve Popovich, Vasil Latta and Mike Vastal, from Binghamton, NY. All were friends of my grandfather.
The cars, in order were
  • a Buick carrying my grandmother, their children and son-in-law.
  • a Plymouth carrying Mrs. Louis Popp & family. She was the widow of my grandfather's only brother in the United States.
  • a Buick carrying Mrs. Pete Kornafel & Mrs. Nick Bobich from Chicago. They were the daughters of my grandfather's only sister in the United States.
  • a Buick carrying Mr. & Mrs. John Popp [the pall bearer], Mr. George Popp and Mrs. Helen Bashar from Bridgeport, CT. George and Helen were the son and niece of my grandfather's cousin John.
  • a Buick carrying John Pereksta, Mrs. Andrew Senkowitz, Mr. & Mrs. Mike Kontir, and Mr. & Mrs. Wm Kuzma from NJ. They were the family of my grandmother's only brother in the United States.
  • a Plymouth carrying the John Bolas family. Mrs. Bolas, Susan, was my grandmother's sister.
  • a Buick carrying Mrs. Mary Zelenyak and family. She was my grandmother's sister.
  • a Buick carrying Mr. & Mrs. Clayton Hunt, Mr. & Mrs. Andre Muska, Mr. & Mrs. Francis Kowarek. They were daughters of Susan Bolas and my grandmother's nieces.
  • a Nash carrying Mr. & Mrs. Wm Sedor & Family and Mr. & Mrs. Geo. Sedor. The Sedors were brothers and my grandmother's first cousins.
  • a Dodge carrying Mr. Mike Macko and the Andrew Plakos family. Macko was godfather to my grandparent's children. Plakos was a friend.
The remaining cars all carried people always described to me as friends of the family. 

The handwriting looks like it was written primarily by my aunt, so it is no surprise it reflects what she's told me dozens of times. Still, I was bubbling with excitement when I showed it to my husband the other night. He leafed through the pages. His eyes lit up when he noticed the Nash in the procession. Sweet man.  No love for General Motors or Chrysler.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Olena Pereksta Demjan - (Almost) Wordless Wednesday

This is the first photograph I have found of my great-aunt Olena Pereksta Demjan. She is pictured here with her daughter Elizabeta Demjan. The photograph is undated, but was probably taken in the late 1930s/early 1940s. It was taken in Kolbasov, Czechoslovakia (now Slovakia). We visited Elizabeta and her family in 1992.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Lives Entwined - A Friend of the Family

This picture of my grandmother Anna Pereksta Popp and her dear friend Ann Tanch, arms wrapped around one another, was taken in my aunt and uncle's back yard in Binghamton, NY. They had known one another for forty years and would remain friends until Baba died more than twenty years later.

Ann Tanch was far more than a friend with an infectious smile. She was also godmother to all three of Baba's children. As such she held an important place in the family and a name to match - Krstná (kres-na) or Godmother. She was at every holiday gathering, joining the family for every celebration and many, many other days.

The photo was taken when I was a young girl and is exactly how I remember Krstná - warm, outgoing and delighted to see us. And see her we did - every visit, every time. She was a vibrant and essential element of our time in Binghamton.

And yet, as I began to write about her, I realized how little I knew about Krstná. Her name. That she was a lifelong friend. That she never married. And I remembered that even though she was godmother to all the children, she did not attend Baba's church. She was Roman Catholic. 

I sent the photo to my father, aunt and uncle and started digging into online resources.  Krstná  was born Anna Tancak on 22 May 1901 and died as Anna Tanch on 31 Mar 1989. She appears in the 1910 census in Binghamton as a nine year old girl, Anna Tancak, born in New York. She lived with her parents George and Anna Tancak on Hanchett Avenue, just around the corner from Baba's Sedor cousins. The family was listed as Hun-Ruthenian with both parents born in Hungary. They had been married 25 years and buried 6 children. George worked in a stone yard. Krstná had a 20 year old brother John, born in Pennsylvania, and siblings Mary (16), George (12), Michael (5) and Helen (10 mos.), all born in New York. Two cousins, George and Andrew Macko (14 and 11) lived with the family. 

In October, 1915 her father died. He was buried on 29 October in St. Michael's Cemetery. Krstná's mother moved the family out of the city to a farm but by 1920, Krstná was living on Spring Forest Avenue in Binghamton and working at a shoe factory.

When my father called after speaking with his sister about Krstná, he told me she was born in the United States and was 5 or 6 years younger than Baba. He said she had a sister and four brothers and lived with her sister for many years. Her family had originally been part of their church, but when the church split in the 1940s her family left St. Michael's and joined Holy Spirit Byzantine Catholic Church. Daddy said there was never any tension between Baba and Krstná over the separate churches. He couldn't remember her ever not being part of the family. She worked at Dunn-McCarthy making women's shoes for her entire working life.

I asked him how Baba and Krstná had met, wondering if it had been when Baba first arrived in 1913 or if her parents had been from the same village in Europe. The age difference would have been significant then, Krstná being 12 to Baba's 18. Daddy said no to both. My aunt told him they met later, around 1920 when Baba was living with her sister and brother-in-law near Spring Forest Street where Krstná lived.

One day, when Baba was visiting a Mrs. Koast, a woman she'd known in Prislop, she was struck by some especially lovely needlework and asked Mrs. Koast if she would teach Baba how to make the pattern. Mrs. Koast answered that she hadn't done it; her cousin Anna Tanch had. Baba asked for an introduction and Mrs. Koast waved her arm and said, "Just walk over. She lives one block behind you." So she did. Baba knocked on Ann Tanch's door, introduced herself and asked her to please teach her how to make the needlework Baba had so admired.

Forty years later they posed for the photograph.

Written for Jasia's 116th Carnival of Genealogy and Women's History Month.


Social Security Administration, "Social Security Death Index, Master File," database, ( : accessed 9 Mar 2012), entry for Anna Tanch, 1989, SS no. 070-03-7051.

1910 U.S. census, population schedule, Binghamton, Ward 1, enumeration district (ED) 0005, p. 97, dwelling 15, family 152, George Tancak; digital images, ( : accessed 8 Mar 2012); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T624, roll 925.

"Obituary George C. Tanch," Binghamton Press, 29 October 1915, Evening edition, p. 1?, col. 2; digital images, Old Fulton New York Post Cards ( : accessed 6 Mar 2012).

1920 U.S. census, population schedule, Colesville, Broome, NY, enumeration district (ED) 69, p. 2A, family 29, Anna Tanch (indexed as Lauch); digital images, ( : accessed 9 Mar 2012); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T625, roll 1086.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Anastazia Perekstová and Vasil Čokina - Tombstone Tuesday

These are the gravestones of my great-aunt Anastazia Perekstová, known as Nacia, and her husband Vasil Čokina. Nacia's stone gives dates of 1901-1974. Vasil's stone gives dates of 1891-1966.

The picture was taken when we visited Slovakia after the fall of the Berlin Wall. For the life of me I cannot remember which village they are buried in, nor was I smart enough to write it down. It is either Príslop or Uličské Krivé.

View 06767 Uličské Krivé in a larger map

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Soldier Cousin - Wordless Wednesday

This photograph is labeled Juraj Pereksta and was mailed to my family in the United States from Czechoslovakia in 1959. My grandmother had two nephews named Juraj Pereksta. I believe this is the son of her brother, Pytor, rather than the son of her brother Vasil.

The photo is undated.  Should anyone have any input regarding the military uniform that might date this I'd be most grateful!

Juraj Pereksta Photograph; digital image, privately held by Susan Clark. 2006

Saturday, February 4, 2012

A Meditation on Grandmothers

Even before my new grandson joined us - from the moment I learned of his existence - I pondered who I would be to this newest member of our family. Grandmother or Baba, as I called my grandmothers? Granny, as my children called my mother? Nannan, as they called my mother-in-law?

Grandmother, wishing once again that we'd fly right.
Grandmother was a force to be reckoned with. She was an elegant, articulate, Southern with a capital S woman. Adored by her children and adoring them, but with very strict notions of religion, propriety and society. Notions as silly as chiding her young granddaughters for waving at the soldiers in a convoy lumbering down East First North Street in Morristown, TN. Or as chilling as refusing to share a taxi home from the market with a black woman in the late 1960s. Or as saddening as her deep sigh upon learning I was engaged to marry a Roman Catholic.

Yet so much that I am comes directly from her - my love of books and reading, my penchant for men who are awful, awful punsters, my loves of history, genealogy, and opera. She was a devoted mother, as was her daughter, my mother. Visiting down home was a thrill when I was young, perhaps because Mother was so full of joy, or perhaps because of the wide open arms and smiles that greeted us when we pulled into her driveway after the long drive from Connecticut. She had wonderful things awaiting us - old sunbonnets and clothes to play dress ups, the complete Five Little Peppers series of books, perfumes and bath beads, and two drawers full of treats (toys in the dining room and candy in the kitchen). Even in college, when my friends and I pulled in for dinner on our way to New Orleans for spring break, she came flying out the back door with arms spread wide and plied us with food, coffee and sandwiches for the road. And yes, there was a gelatin salad.

Baba and two of her
I always thought I'd be a Baba. I've identified with my Carpatho-Rusyn heritage my entire life, saw much more of Baba growing up than Grandmother, and had a much less complicated relationship with her. She exemplified the unconditional love I associate with grandmothering. I cherish the memories of dinner at her house, of shelling peas from her garden or teasing her about ironing the aluminum foil to reuse, of kneeling in the church yard with the Easter baskets to be blessed, of watching her brush her waist-length hair and feeling her brush mine.

I share her quick temper, her fierce devotion to her family. It is my constant prayer to share her faith and work ethic.

When Mother chose Granny as her moniker I was startled. I don't remember her using the word when talking about her own grandmothers, but she told us then it was what she called her paternal grandmother.

Granny and the rest of us on tour. Children's clothes by Granny.
Granny, like my own grandparents, was a long-distance grandmother. We laughed at and loved the clothes that rained down on the grandchildren. (I am already imitating this trait.) She adored being with the babies, rocked them for hours and loved to hear of each new accomplishment as they grew. We travelled together, toured and sat for hours on various beaches as sand castles were built and washed away. She made sure the grandchildren had their New York City adventures, times with their cousins and had a special room set aside for them at home in Connecticut.

She was a character, as well, slipping off when we visited to her very unfinished basement for a cigarette and glass of wine. Should one of the grandchildren go missing odds are he or she would be found perched on a lawn chair in the basement, next to the cobweb ladened bomb shelter their grandfather built at the height of the Cold War, working with Granny on a New York Times crossword puzzle, ringed in smoke and nibbling on the tic-tacs she'd share. It drove me mad.

She thought of each grandchild often, and in her last days spent time sharing her hopes for them with her husband and daughters. One of her final conversations with my young son involved her funeral, my funeral and a hawaiian shirt. Apparently there will be a pig roast when I die. She was irreverent, witty and lived life on her own terms. My children adored and adore her.

Nannan with her lap full.
Their Nannan almost defines grandmother. She rocked, listened, laughed, hugged or scolded as needed. Fussed over their meals, played countless card games (graduating from Go Fish to Bull___), toured aquariums and battlefields, saved bread for them to feed the ducks, proudly introduced them after mass, remembered every story about their childhoods (not to mention their father's and her own) and is still at it. She's now a very proud long-distance great-grandmother.

So which will I be? Probably a little of all of the above (the best parts, I pray). But I'm going by Granny these days. I'm still not sure why, except it felt the most comfortable.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

New Pereksta Information - Surname Saturday

A brief Pereksta review (or an abundance of Georges)...

Most Perekstas in the United States descend from two men:
  • Ivan or Janos Pereksta (1857-1933) who was from Prislop in what's now far northeastern Slovakia. Four of his children (Mary, John, Sue and Anna) settled in the US.
  • George Pereksta (1878-1938) who was from either Prislop or nearby Starina. George and his wife Nellie ended up in the Cleveland, OH area.
While I assume there is a relationship, I have no idea what it might be other than George is not Ivan's son. (Ivan did have a brother George, however.) There are also other Perekstas from the same villages who settled here.

A George, another Anna and a William from Starina show up Danbury, CT in early 20th century census and immigration records. While the records suggested they were siblings, I did not know if CT George was the same man as OH George. For there are other Georges...

There is a George Pereksta enumerated in Pennsylvania in the 1910, 1920 and 1930 censuses. A George Pereksta traveled from Prislop to the U.S. with Ivan's daughter Mary Pereksta in 1901. There are at least three other immigration records for men named George Pereksta.

New information sheds some light...

Happily, a recently discovered obituary clarifies the Georges (some) and the family relationships. Anna Pereksta Pastorok (the Anna of the Danbury, CT records) died in Binghamton, NY on 27 May 1950. Her obituary names two surviving brothers - William Pereksta of Passaic, NJ and George Pereksta of Koppel, PA.

So there is another Pereksta family in the United States:
  • Anna Pereksta Pastorok (1870-1950) ended up in Binghamton, NY where Ivan's daughters lived. They called her tall Anna (which doesn't mean she was all that tall).
  • George Perekesta (1877-?) lived in PA. His last known address was in Koppel, PA. 
  • William Pereksta (1880-?) lived in Passaic, NJ near to Ivan's son John.
These three are not children of the above Ivan, nor are they siblings of OH George. They all named Starina as their home in immigration records. For the moment I am calling them the Danbury/Starina Perekstas. 

For the record, I am deliberately not including sources. Ornery I know. But I really, really, really want to communicate with descendants of any of these families. I promise I'll share. You just have to press the email link in the right column.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ivan Pereksa - (Almost) Wordless Wednesday

This photograph of my great-grandfather Ivan Pereksta stands out because of his ill-fitted suit. While it was not uncommon for immigrants to be photographed in borrowed clothes, the stories I heard growing up emphasized how dapper Ivan was. His jobs in the United States were unskilled manual labor, but he wore pressed suits, polished shoes and always had manicured nails. The photo below, taken with my grandmother around 1918, accurately reflects the stories. I suspect the first photo was taken some years later, when he was a bit older and perhaps a bit worn down. The clothes, his posture, gaze and even his mustache are less crisp, a bit gentler.

Ivan Pereksta and Anna Pereksta with Ivan Pereksta,  Photographs, undated. Digital Images.  Privately held by Susan Clark [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], 1986.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Pereksta Cousins from the Old World

I have an envelope addressed to my grandfather from his wife's family in Czechoslovakia that was sent in the 1950s. The postmark is hard to read but I think it was sent in 1958. My grandfather died in 1948, but the family in Europe may not have known about his death. The envelope is full of photographs, some dated, some labeled, some with no information at all. The most poignant, which I will not publish for privacy reasons, is at the burial of one of my grandmother's great-nieces.  There are photos of soldiers, of family groups, of children. The dates on the photographs range from 1948 to 1954.

These are my favorites.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

First Flight - Wordless Wednesday

My grandmother, Anna Pereksta Popp just before taking her first airplane ride, c. 1961. She was flying from upstate New York to the West Coast to see her son and his family.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

From the Old World - Wordless Wednesday

Pytor Pereksta

This picture was mailed to my grandmother from her niece in Czechoslovakia in the late 1950s. The photo is labeled Pytor Pereksta and is believed to be my grandmother's brother. 

Pytor Pereksta Photograph; digital image, privately held by Susan Clark. 2006.  

Monday, June 6, 2011

A Family Record, Part 2 - Amanuensis Monday

Thanks to John at Transylvanian Dutch who originated the Amanuensis Monday meme, providing a framework (and nudge) for transcribing family records, news clippings and other treasures.

My grandfather Stefan Popp wrote a family record of his, his wife's and their own family in a pocket calendar that I have. It's written in what I have been told is a Rusyn/Ukrainian dialect. My translations are not exact, but I believe they communicate the basic information.  I wrote about his own parents here. This second part is a record of his wife Anna Pereksta's family.

Family Record for Ivan Pereksta and Olena Sidor

Wife's parents

Ivan Pereksta was born in Prislop january 25 in the year 1857
He died february 19 in the year 1933 at the age of 76 years 9 months and 3 days.


Olena Sidor (Hocko) was born in Starini September 27 in the year 1860
She died january 3 in the year 1936 at the age of 75 years 4 months and 24 days.

Ivan and Olena Pereksta were married may 3 in the year 1879

They had children
Maru, Ivana, Petra, Olenu, Zuzku, Anna, Vasila and Nascu|Zelenak 
Mara was born in the year 1880

Notes -
Olena Sidor's name includes an alias (Hocko). This is not uncommon and is used to differentiate families that have the same surname. Sidor is a very common name in the area this family lived. At this point we don't know if Hocko indicates maternal surname earlier in the family, a personal characteristic or trait or references a geographic location. 

Starini or Starina, the village where she was born, no longer exists. It was one of several villages flooded  when the Starina Reservoir was constructed in 1980. 

The names of the children as we use them today are Maria, Ivan (John), Pytor (Peter), Olena, Susanna, Anna, Vasil and Nascia. Maria, John, Susanna and Anna settled in the United States. Peter, Olena, Vasil and Nascia stayed in Europe. 

The surname Zelenak was added later with lines indicating it belonged to Mara, the eldest child. 

"Popp-Pereksta Family Record." (MS. Binghamton, NY, 1930-1982), p. 2-3; Digital Images.  Privately held by Susan Popp Clark, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,]. 2008.  

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sunday evening wrap up

A hodge podge day with hodge podge results.

I spent hours looking at admixture results for our DNA testing. For someone who literally dreams about maps, vectors and migration patterns (not normal I know, but I really don't have much control over my dreams) it's been fascinating. I've always seen traces of central Asia in my grandmother's face, a slight oriental cast to her eyes. While my father's family has been firmly planted in the shadows of the Carpathian Mountains as far back as we can trace them, that's no more than 200 years. It's clear from the DNA tests that somewhere in the previous 10,000 years or so his ancestors (MY ancestors) were tromping across Asia. While 75% of his DNA reads as European in the latest admixture test, 25% is a mix of Middle Eastern, Asian and North African. Forget finding Charlemagne. I'm hunting Ghengis Khan! And one note to my descendants - all that DNA you think might be Indian comes from your European Grandfather, NOT your Colonial American Grandmother.

Switching gears, I searched for Meredith information and found some information about a John & Thomas Meredith who were merchants in Easton, MD in the early 19th c. I would very much like rule these guys in or out as my John & Thomas Meredith but it's not clear yet.

Finally, I'm assembling some information on my grandmother Anna Pereksta's family for a new-found cousin and am, of course, obsessing over what I don't know or haven't well documented. He's more interested in what I do know and that's what I need to focus on. HOWEVER, during my one (ok, there were four of five) last check on FamilySearch I found a fascinating record.

I mentioned in an earlier post about the Perekstas that my aunt knew a family in Binghamton, NY where the first husband had been George Pereksta. He was a cousin of some sort, was working as a miner in Vermont when he was killed in a mining accident. I did not mention that his wife was named Susie and that they had a daughter Katherine before he died.

Today someone new, Katie Perkesta born 1905 in New York, showed up on my screen. Since I thought I'd found every possible Pereksta in the US after 1900 I was startled. Katie was enumerated in the 1905 New York State Census which can now be viewed. I viewed.


Katie was listed as the 5 month old daughter of Mike and Susie Pereksta both born in Austria (the Empire, not today's nation). Just as I was beginning to remember a Susie with daughter Katherine I saw Mike's occupation. Slate quarryman. The bells went off! That's awfully close to a miner. Then I looked up Granville on a map. It's awfully close to Vermont! I went back to my notes from my aunt and saw George, not Mike, staring up from the page.

From Google Maps
So it's not a perfect fit. But this Katie and Susie are the same ages as the women in the 1920 Binghamton census. And I know too well that first names are fluid in this population and memories are not perfect. I was asking specifically about Georges when my aunt told me this story - trying to figure out just who the George Pereksta was who travelled with my aunt Mary when she came to America.

I don't have an immigration record that fits for this Mike or Susie. It's not clear whether they were married in the United States or if Mike went back to Europe to marry. I don't know where Mike died. There were plenty of slate quarries in Vermont and NY and apparently many accidents and deaths. He likely died shortly after the 1905 census, since Susie's next daughter, who was reportedly not his child, was born about 1907/1908. Immigration, marriage, birth, death records - lots to do!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Women's History - Anna's Story

Peasants from Wikimedia Commons
My entry for Jasia's 103rd Carnival of Genealogy is a composite of recent posts about my grandmother, Anna Pereksta (1895-1982). Her story is not uncommon. She was part of the wave of peasants who left Europe for the factories and mines of the United States. The photo is actually from Finland, but accurately depicts the life she left.

She lived all but eighteen years of her life in Binghamton, NY, but it is impossible to think of her as entirely American. She grew up a 19th century peasant on easternmost edge of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. She died late in the 20th century, having seen men walk on the moon from her living room couch.

You can read her story on these pages.