Thursday, November 7, 2013

We Never Got To Know You

Now that we have the first Farkas ancestor here in United States, I am going to start bouncing around and tell you some of the stories that I have uncovered.

When I first began my genealogy journey, the only Farkas family that I knew was the immediate family. By that, I mean my Mother and her Sisters, my Grandparents and Piroska, my Great Grandmother. Mathew Farkas, Piroska's husband, the man that I have talked about here in prior posts had passed when I was a little girl. I do not remember him. That was the extent of my understanding of the Farkas Family. However, the other family members remember some conversations about a few other Farkas's that they had never met.

There had been talk of my Great-Grandfather, (Matyas, Mathew,) having another son that had died as an infant. No one knew anything other than his name might have been Joe. There was also some talk of his death being the result of  negligence from his mother while involved with another man. The child had been outside riding his bike unsupervised and was hit by a car. Whoa!  Now I was intrigued. And, if you know me, I couldn't let that go. There were many questions that would have to be answered if I were to uncover the real story of this little Farkas.

I didn't even know where to begin my research. Should I be looking for a Joszef in Mezokovesd, Hungary; a Joe in Akron, Ohio; a Joseph in Pittsburgh, PA; or a child with a different name located somewhere else? Was he born in one city and died in another? Or was both of the events in the same location? What year should I start looking for this child? Was this family story fact or fiction, or a little of both? I literally did not have one factual element to point me in the right direction. Right now, you are thinking that I was dead center, in the middle of  a conundrum. And you would be right. The only way out was to create a hypothesis and follow it where it took me.

So here is how I began. I knew that Mary Popp (Papp) Farkas came over from Hungary in June of 1914  and she did not have a baby with her. She was alone. Her ship manifest says that she was going to see her husband in Akron, Ohio. Mathew's documents state that he was married until 1918. At that time he declares his intent to become a naturalized citizen and that he is divorced. I went with the assumption that the child would have born before they were divorced and after she came to the states. That left me with a possible time frame to start my research. 1914-1918.

To make a long story short, after years of looking for this little Farkas, I finally found him. This is the story of Joe Farkas, as I see it to date.

Maria Farkas came over to the United States looking for her husband. She left her young son, Maytas, who was only 3 years old home in Mezokovesd. Why did she leave the child behind? One can only speculate. That's for another blog post. But I believe that this fact began the demise of their marriage.  Her end ticket was for Akron, Ohio. Mathew was living in that city at that time, even though he lived in Kenmore for awhile.

Within months, she became pregnant and then later gave birth to a little boy on 11 May,1915 in Akron, Ohio. He was delivered by a Hungarian mid-wife named Mrs. Joseph Kremlp. She lived in Barberton and obviously did not know English. The American birth certificate was filled out in the Hungarian language. Why did she come all the way from Barberton? Was she the only Hungarian speaking mid-wife in that general area? One might have to think that that was the case. I don't believe that she was a personal friend. That name has never been brought up nor have I seen it in any documents. (I had never seen this type of document written in a foreign language. This is very interesting to me.) It says that the child's name is Jozsef Farkas. His parents were Matyas Farkas, a factory worker and Maria Pap, a housewife, who were from the land of Hungary. They lived at 120 Broad Street in Kenmore, Summit County, Ohio.  Matyas and Maria now had 2 children. One young son who lived in Hungary without his parents and now, a newborn son. It also states that the child was legitimate. That means that they were not divorced yet.

Now, at some point before 1918, Maria and Mathew get a divorce. I do not now if she went directly to Pittsburgh or just ended up there, but she is later to be found living in Pittsburgh with her young child. Her oldest son is still in Hungary. Mary is running a boarding house or at the very least working in one, about this time in downtown Pittsburgh, a thriving metropolis. This part of town had many foreigners, primarily Hungarians. They were there to work in the factories. Although not provable, it is plausible, that she could have been with another man at this point. She was divorced and a single mother. She could have been living a life of necessity. Or she could have been involved in a serious relationship with a gentleman. Either scenario fits the bill. Now what actually transpired, we will never know. Was Mary a witness to an act that she had no control over or was she being negligent and did not know that Joe had left the house by himself and was out in the busy city street riding his bicycle. But in January of 1921, a little boy was struck by a car and mortally wounded. The child made it to the hospital, but to no avail, Joe Farkas died on the 7th of January, 1921. Joe never had a chance to meet his older brother, who was my Grandpa, and probably never saw his father that he was able to remember.

Here's what the death certificate says in a nutshell. He was struck  by an automobile and had a fracture at the base of his skull. He was 5 years, 7 months, and 23 days old. It also states that he was born on the 15th of May in 1915. We know that his birthday was actually on the 11th. His parents were Mathew Farkas and Mary Papp. She lived at 542  4th Avenue in Pittsburgh, PA.  A coroner viewed the body the next day and released it for burial.

I have looked in the papers and there were not any reports of a little Hungarian boy who had died tragically that day. How sad that is. Hungarians were not always thought of as persons worthy of recognition. Maybe the Hungarian paper has an account of it. I hope to find it one day. There does not even appear to be a coroner's inquest to the "accident."

The next day, Joe was buried at Calvary Cemetery, many miles away from his home. It is a beautiful and extremely large Catholic cemetery.  It overlooks the river down below and is a peaceful resting place. Years later, his mother will join him in that very same spot.  Nyugodjék békében (Rest in Peace)

Yes, you caught that. The birthdate on the tombstone is incorrect.

One day, I hope to have a picture of this young child so I can see how he resembled the other family members. I imagine he looked just like his brother, my Grandpa. That would complete the story of little Joe Farkas,  as I know it today, the child that no one knew existed.