Tuesday, February 27, 2018

George Sarna 1866-1945

George Sarna
George SARNA, my maternal great-grandfather, was born on 21 Feb 1866 in Kurima, Slovakia. I found his birth/baptism record during a past trip to Salt Lake City in 2009 with the help of an Eastern European genealogist who sent me in the right direction in where and how to look at baptism, marriage and burial church records in a foreign language. Months later, the microfilm I copied below is now found online at the FamilySearch website.

"Slovakia Church and Synagogue Books, 1592-1935," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V1QW-DX7 : 23 July 2017), Georgius Starna, 22 Feb 1866; citing p. , 9, Baptism, Kurima, Giraltovce, Slovakia, Odbor Archivnictva (The Archives of the Republic), Slovakia; FHL microfilm 1,792,392. Image 356 of 673. Accessed 27 Feb 2018.

Transcription of the entry -  

21 [Feb 1866 for birth], 22 [Feb 1866 for baptism], Georgius [m]ale, leg[itimate], parents are Joan: Szarna RC and Anna Kolibab RC, No. 52, God-parents are And: Hudak and Anna Jambra RC, baptized by [Idem. for name listed above] Parochus ??

The best record source for the mid-nineteenth century in eastern Europe is the 1869 Census taken by the Hungarians. These records can also be found on the FamilySearch.org website.

Slovakia, Sáros, Kurima, “1869 Census.” House No. 54, Szarna, Josef, [1867]. Database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-899K-ZLBC?cc=1986782&wc=QZ7W-33L%3A323642201%2C323846601 : 3 November 2015), Sáros > Kurima (Kurima) > image 59 of 264; Bytča, Banská Bystrica, and Nitra Regional Archives. Accessed: 27 Feb 2018.

I find the Szarna family in the 1869 Hungarian Census. This census was taken on 31 Dec 1869.The parents are listed as John Szarna and Anna Kolibab. Five sons are listed including :
-Janos born 1854
-Josef born 1861
-Adam born 1864
-Josef listed again born 1867. (This has to be  George, which year 1867 [1866] stated here).
-Andras Sarna born    1869

I know this is the right family with the maiden name of the mother listed as Kolibab. I also later searched for and found the other four sons' baptism records.

John on 6 Mar 1853 
Andrew on 17 Jun 1857 (Did this one die before census?)
Joseph 24 Sep 1860  
Adam 6 Jan 1863 
George 21 Feb 1866 (see above)
I also find another younger Andrew, born 23 Sep 1869 and sadly died five months later.

When George immigrated to the United States is questionable. I have several sources with different dates from 1869-1882. George settled in the small coal-mining town of Eckley, Luzerne, Pennsylvania. On 20 Aug 1883, miner George married Mary Koscelnik. I have a copy of their marriage certificate. On the bottom of the paper, it states that “the above is a true copy of the marriage register. Duplicate. Signed by Rev. Andrew Junca & dated 17 Dec 1911.”

Immaculate Conception Church (Eckley, Pennsylvania). Certificate of Marriage. 1883-1911. (Copy privately held by Mary Cooper, San Diego, CA). 2005. 

This church is well known for its external usage in the film "The Molly McGuires" which was filmed in the museum town of Eckley, Pennsylvania in 1970.

This photo was taken by the author.
They had seven children, with only five surviving to adulthood. These include:

Anna Sarna 1884-1970
George Sarna 1890-1912
John M. Sarna 1891-1984
Josephine Sarna 1892-1893
Mary Irene Sarna 1894-1991
Susan Sarna 1896-1896
Andrew E. Sarna 1899-1977

George and Mary were blessed with their first daughter, Anna Sarna born on 20 Aug 1884.

By 1888, George received his U.S. Citizenship from the Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne County in Wilkes-Barre on the 3rd of October.

Two more sons came along. George Sarna, Jr. was born in Feb 1890. John Sarna arrived on 12 May 1891 in Sandy Run, Luzerne, Pennsylvania. Their second daughter,
Josephine arrived in 1892. She died months later. I have no documentation of Josephine.

Family lore states that George and Mary needed to return to the “old country” to sell family property. On 25 April 1893, George applied for a passport to go back to his homeland with family. 

"United States Passport Applications, 1795-1925," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:Q24F-65FS : 4 October 2016), George Sarna, 1893; citing Passport Application, Pennsylvania, United States, source certificate #1029, Passport Applications, 1795-1905., 405, NARA microfilm publications M1490 and M1372 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.). Accessed 8 May 2010.
On his passport application, George states his birthdate as 15 March 1866. On his actual birth/baptism registration, the date is 21/22 Feb 1866. His birth location is stated Kurima, Hungaria (Slovakia). He states that he sailed (ship unknown) from Hamburg on 20 Nov 1882. He states that he was Naturalized on 3 Oct. 1888 in Common Pleas Court of Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne, Pensylvania. Michael Zemany, his witness, is his brother-in-law married to his wife's sister.

I am yet to find other documentation on his immigration and naturalization.

The family returns to the U.S. after Mary and baby son, John, become ill. Mary becomes “homesick” for her home in the United States. On the 6 Jul 1883, three months later, the family boards the S. S. Ethiopia from Glasgow, Scotland, to New York.

“UK Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960,” digital image, ancestry.com (http://ancestry.com : accessed 16 Mar 2014), Image 13 of 77, Line 1358, Georg Sarna entry: citing Outwards Passenger Lists. BT27. The National Archives, London, England. Ship Ethiopia out of Glasgow, 6 Jul 1893, G. C. Boothby, master, arrived New York 32 days later.
Interesting to see his occupation as a shoemaker. Is this what he did in the "old country" before he worked in the coal mines in Pennsylvania. 

The following spring, Mary arrives on 26 April 1894 in the township of Foster, Luzerne, Pennsylvania. Mary Irene Sarna is my grandmother. Two years later, Susan is born on 9 April 1896, in Upper Lehigh. Two months later, Susan dies of cholera infantum, which is a noncontagious diarrhea occurring in infants; formerly common in the summer months. This is the baby, my grandmother remembers with “holes” or blisters in her chest. Mary was 2 years old when her sister, Susan, died. Susan was buried at Woodside Cemetery (St. Anne’s Parish Cemetery) on 17 June 1896, according to death register.1  Was her sister Josephine buried there also?

Mary gave birth to her youngest son, Andrew on 27 April 1899.

I find the Sarna family in the 1900 census, with all five children, stating that Mary had a total of seven children. This verifies the loss of Josephine and Susan. Both George and Mary were born in 1863 and immigrated around 1880. 
George worked as a miner as seen in the US Census records from 1900 to 1930. 

Photo taken around 1904. Front row from left to right include Mary Sarna, Mary Kostelnic Sarna, Andrew Sarna and George Sarna Sr. Standing in back from left to right include George Sarna Jr., Anna Sarna and John Sarna.
Their son, George worked as a railroad brakeman in a local coal mine. An accident occured where a railroad car ran over him giving him a back fracture. He died days later in November 1912, in a local  hospital leaving behind a widow and young son. 

George Sarna, Sr. died on 7 Oct 1945. His eldest child/daughter Anna SARNA Remak provided the information. She listed her grandparents as John SARNA and Anna KOLIBABA. She states 3 Sep 1865 as his birthdate. He is buried at St. John’s Roman Catholic Cemetery.  

Pennsylvania, Luzerne County. “Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1964,” Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission. 1945. George Sarna File No. 86612. Image 2613 of 3644. ancestry.com : accessed 11 Dec 2016.
I have 3 different sources for George’s birth date. They include:  21 Feb 1866 - birth/baptism record, 15 Mar 1866 - US Passport, 3 Sep 1865 - Death certificate
I will go with his birth/baptism record.

George Sarna obituary, The Plain Speaker (Hazleton, Pennsylvania), Monday, 8 October 1945, p. 4, col 2.  newspapers.com on ancestry.com : Accessed 11 Feb 2016. 

George and Mary Sarna 1940s. Photo in possession by cousin Edward Merrick.

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