The Blossoming of Our
Family Tree in America
by Frances Kardos Mosconi
Barbara Belensky was born in Margecany, Spis, and George Kardos was born
farther east in Slovakia, perhaps in Michalovce. Each family emigrated
to the United States. George's father, Paul, was said to have been a police
officer at some point, and later worked in the coal mines.
Barbara's father, Imrich, ran a humble hotel and butcher shop in Taylor,
Pennsylvania, the town in which George and Barbara grew to adulthood,
as did many young people whose families had come from Margecany.
The Belenskys raised their children to read and speak both Slovak and
George Kardos, now a young foreman at the coal breaker, and Barbara got
acquainted at community dances and functions at St. John the Baptist Roman
Catholic Church in Taylor. (As late as the 1970s, the parish maintained
strong ties to the parishioners' Slovak heritage, offering some worship
activities and hymns in Slovak, and including the old customs for
celebrations of major holydays.)
The Kardos and Belensky families lived near one another in a neighborhood
about a mile from St. John's, including a walk down a steep hill to reach
the church. In those days, it is said that wedding celebrations were planned
so as not to disrupt the other parish functions of the weekend, so on
Monday, August 21, 1916, George and Barbara were married.
George Kardos - Barbara Belensky
The sixteen couples in the bridal party walked from home to the church --
no limousines, of course! -- and although everyone ate and danced late into
the night after the wedding, there was no honeymoon as we know it
-- "George went to work the next day," Barbara reported in later years.
A few years later, George designed and built a plain but spacious home
across the street from the church, complete with a coal-burning furnace.
Barbara grew a substantial garden and raised chickens. She prepared tasty
meals just like her mother and grandmother had made back in Margecany.
Over the ensuing years, countless pots of halupki and pans of chicken fried
with bay leaf gave off their welcome aromas in the Kardos kitchen,
stretching the family budget through the Depression, nourishing active
young bodies. The couple had six children who lived to adulthood.
George and Barbara took a trip to eastern Europe to celebrate their 50th
wedding anniversary, although they could not visit all the childhood
haunts they wished because political trouble was intensifying in Slovakia
at the time.
George passed away in 1973, Barbara in 1987, but five of their children,
fifteen grandchildren, and over twenty great-grandchildren live to carry
on the legacy of that August day, all over the United States. They include a
priest, alive and well at age 80; a religious Sister, also active at age
76; a retired physician age 73; a Lieutenant Colonel (West Point
Graduate / Battalion Commander) and a Captain in the Army; and several other
persons in health professions.
Frances (ne Kardos) Mosconi is an avid researcher of her Slovak family
heritage. Her father's parents each came to Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania
as young children with their parents, brothers and sisters in the last years
of the 19th century. You can reach her at the email link below.
Additional information on this page was provided by family and Nellie
Czech Bohemian and Moravian Genealogical Research
Index Page Genealogical Research in Slovakia
Index Page Slovak Genealogical Research Channel
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since 23 January 1996
Last updated on 23 May 1998
Graphics by Lori's Heavenly Creations
Pennsylvania Polka courtesy of Tom Brusky / Polkasound Productions