Sunday, December 30, 2012


We had a family reunion in June of 2012.  My husband and I drove from Washington State to Uniontown, PA.  Long, long trip but worth it to rekindle old memories and see my cousins again.

One of the highlights of the reunion was a tractor-pulled hayride to my grandparents old farm in German Township, Fayette, PA.  Thanks to cousin Andrea Janson for arranging it.  All of the cousins had fond memories of this old place - carefree summers picking berries, playing in the fort formed by a huge lilac bush, greeting all the animals.  And we all remembered Christmas Eve suppers on January 6 in the big farmhouse kitchen.

The picture above is of my cousin Andrea running to let the owners know we were there.

And here we all are:

Monday, October 10, 2011

Military Monday - John Mickey (1916-1975)

Here is a photograph of my uncle, John Mickey, in his Army uniform.  I found this in my mother's photograph collection.

I never really knew my Uncle John.  He was the 6th child of George and Theresa Mickey.  According to my mother, he seldom came home to Pennsylvania after his military service, although his wife, Alice, did stay in touch with my mother.  John Mickey was born 27 April 1916 in Monessen, PA.  He married Alice Martz on 05 January 1938 in Severn, MD.  The had one child, John Elic Mickey, born 11 Jun 1943.  Uncle John died on 27 August 1975 in Maryland.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - George and Theresa Mickey

Grandview Cemetery
Monessen, Westmoreland, Pennsylvania
Photo credit: Kathi Swan (Find-A-Grave volunteer)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Mappy Monday - Parihuzovce, Slovakia

Parihuzovce is a village in the Carpathian Mountains in the northeast part of Slovakia.  It is very near Slovakia's border with Poland and Ukraine.  It is in the Preslov region, Snina district.  There are currently only about 25 residents in the village. It is the smallest village in the Snina region.
The first historical mention of the village was in 1548.  It is now a small ski destination.  It's population is primarily elderly now.
George, Frank  and John Mika were from this village, as was, I believe, Theresa Dacko.
My first thought when I found the  picture below was how much it looked like the countryside around my grandparents' farm in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

More images of Parihuzovce.

Photo credit: Janko Bajus

Photo credit: Janko Bajus

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Family Group Sheet - George and Theresa (Dacko) Mickey

My maternal grandparents and their offspring.

Family Group Sheet: George (Gyorgy) Mika and Teresa Dacko
Husband:            GEORGE MIKA/MICKEY
                                Birth:             30 Mar 1883 in Parihuzovce, Austria-Hungary
                                Death:          11 Jan 1972 in Cleveland, Cuyahoga, Ohio, USA
                                Burial:           Jan 1972 in Monessen, Westmoreland, Pennsylvania, USA
                                Marriage:    15 Jul 1905 in Monessen, Westmoreland, Pennsylvania, USA
                                Father:         Vasil Mika
                                Mother:       Anna Petyiv
Wife:                    TERESA/THERESA DACKO
                                Birth:             20 Feb 1885 in Parihuzovce, Austria-Hungary
                                Death:          05 Dec 1967 in Uniontown, Fayette, Pennsylvania, USA
                                Burial:           Dec 1967 in Monessen, Westmoreland, Pennsylvania, USA
                                Father:         Jan Daczko
                                Mother:       Helena Jaczos
                1 (M)      Name:          GEORGE MIKA/MICKEY
                                Birth:             20 Jul 1906 in Monessen, Westmoreland, Pennsylvania
                                Death:          30 May 1977 in Fayette, Pennsylvania
                                Burial:          03 Jun 1977 in Fayette, Pennsylvania, USA, Sylvan Heights Cemetery
                                Marriage:    Mary Mular (1908-1977) m. Sep 1936 in Connellsville, Fayette, 

                2 (M)      Name:          ANDY MIKA/MICKEY
                                Birth:             17 Mar 1908 in Monessen, Westmoreland, Pennsylvania
                                Death:          04 Nov 2000 in McClellandtown, Fayette, Pennsylvania
                                Burial:           Nov 2000
                               Marriage:    Mildred Rantovich (1910-2005) m. 17 Sep 1932 in Cumberland,   

                3 (F)        Name:          MARY MIKA/MICKEY
                                Birth:             25 Feb 1910 in Monessen, Westmoreland, Pennsylvania
                                Death:          19 Dec 1997 in Niagara Falls, Niagara, New York
                                Marriage:  (1) John J. Bush (1905-1939) 07 Oct  1933 in Cumberland, Maryland
                                                    (2) Louis Cardamone (1901-1958) 14 Jun 1941 in Niagara Falls, New York

                4 (F)        Name:          ANNA MIKA/MICKEY
                                Birth:             14 Dec 1911 in Monessen, Westmoreland, Pennsylvania
                                Death:          20 Feb 2001 in Ransomville, Niagara, New York
                               Marriage:    (1) Vasil (Charles) Scrip (1890-1957) m. 17 Nov 1928 in New Salem
                                                      Fayette, Pennsylvania
                       (2) Pasquale Spina (1915-1996) m. Feb 1941 in Niagara Falls, Niagara, New York

                5 (M)      Name:          MIKE MIKA/MICKEY
                                Birth:             21 Nov 1913 in Monessen, Westmoreland, Pennsylvania
                                Death:          24 Apr 2001 in Fort White, Columbia, Florida
                                Marriage:    Helen Lefler (1921-1999) m. 15 Jul 1944 in Tampa, Florida

                6 (M)      Name:          JOHN MIKA/MICKEY
                                Birth:             27 Apr 1916 in Monessen, Westmoreland, Pennsylvania
                                Death:          27 Aug 1975 in Maryland
                                Marriage:    Alice Martz (1916-2005) m. 05 Jan 1938 in Severn, Maryland

                7 (F)        Name:          HELEN MIKA/MICKEY
                                Birth:             04 Nov 1918 in German Township, Fayette, Pennsylvania
                                Death:          26 Nov 1993 in High Springs, Alachua, Florida
                               Marriage:    Martin Novak (1913-2000) m. 07 Jun 1941 in New Salem, Fayette,

                8 (F)        Name:          SUE MIKA/MICKEY
                                Birth:             16 Dec 1920 in German Township, Fayette, Pennsylvania
                                Death:          30 Oct 2007 in Long Beach, Los Angeles, California
                                Marriage:    Myron Dewey Mason (1921-_) m. 30 Jan 1948 in Los Angeles,

                9 (M)      Name:          CHARLES MIKA/MICKEY
                                Birth:             28 Feb 1923 in German Township, Fayette, Pennsylvania
                                Death:          14 Jul 1998 in Uniontown, Fayette, Pennsylvania
                               Marriage:    Ann Migyanko (1928-2002) m. 15 May 1948 in New Salem, Fayette,

                10 (F)      Name:          MARGARET MIKA/MICKEY
                                Birth:             29 Sep 1925 in German Township, Fayette, Pennsylvania
                                Death:          08 Aug 2009 in Spokane, Spokane, Washington
Marriage:    Glenn R. Sampey (1913-1989) m. 18 Dec 1944 in New Salem, Fayette, Pennsylvania

Friday, September 30, 2011

Family Recipe Friday - Christmas Eve and Baba's Pogaca

My fondest childhood memories revolve around Christmas Eve at my grandparents' farm.  Christmas was celebrated on January 7, according to the Julian calendar, per Orthodox tradition.  So on the evening of January 6, the large extended family gathered at Baba and Zedo's for the traditional Christmas Eve meal.  Since it was winter, there was usually snow on the ground outside, but inside Baba's kitchen it was warm and welcoming.  Straw was spread on the floor. 

Several tables were set up in the large farmhouse kitchen. Upon each table was a small sheaf of wheat. Smaller children were seated at one of the tables; adults at the others.  My grandmother, and probably some of my aunts, had been cooking all day.  The meal was "lenten" - that is, no meat or animal fats.  But it remains to this day the best food I have ever tasted.  Traditionally there were 12 dishes served, to symbolize the 12 apostles. 
The ceremonies began at sundown.  Before dinner,  Zedo would take a pogaca, drizzled with honey,  out to the barn where it would be fed to the animals.  This was to honor the animals who were the first to see the baby Jesus.  Only boys were allowed to accompany him, and my cousin Andy told me that Zedo instructed him to feed a piece of bread to each of the animals.  Andy said that what he remembers most was how quiet and calm the animals were.  Even the most fractious of the horses accepted the bread quietly.  All during this, Zedo was reciting prayers.  Afterwards he and Andy stopped at the watering trough (brrrr...cold!) and washed their hands and faces before returning to the house.  He remains moved by this ceremony to this day.  After dinner, Zedo would toss coins  and candy in the straw on the floor and all the children would go scrambling for them.
My mother and I revived a modified version of the tradition some years ago, and invited friends to partake of what my mother called "peasant food" but was enjoyed by all.
Many of the dishes involved the use of zaprakash, or onions sauteed in vegetable oil, with flour added to thicken, or no flour at all, just the onions and oil.  It is surprising how this simple combination tastes so good.
Please excuse my phonetic spelling for the Rusyn words in this post.  Corrections are welcome.
For more about Rusyn Christmas traditions, please see
The bread recipe below was called pogaca(?) and was baked as a round loaf.  After baking, it was drizzled with honey and placed on the table so everyone could tear off pieces to soak up the zaprakash from the other dishes.  Thanks to my cousin Sonia Mickey Janson for the recipe
Pogaca or Pitpolak
2 pkgs       dry yeast
1/2 cup     warm water
1 tsp         sugar
1/2 cup     oil
2 cups       warm water
1 tsp         salt
1/4 cup     sugar
6-7 cups   flour
1. Dissolve 2 pkgs. dry yeast in 1/2 cup warm water.  Add 1 tsp. sugar.  Set aside.
2. Mix together 1/2 cup oil, 2 cups warm water, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/4 cup sugar.  Add yeast mixture.  Add 6 to 7 cups flour and knead well.  You may need more flour to form a bulk dough.
3. Let rise in oiled bowl until doubled in bulk.  Punch down and let rise again.
4. Form into 2 rounds and place each on oiled round pizza pan.  Let rise well.
5. Bake in 350 oven for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011