Baba & Jigi  
  Smigelsky Home ::
The photo above was taken at Jigi's funeral in 1952. In the back row are his 6 daughters, Anne, Mary, Helen, Margaret, Kay and Irene. In the front row are his 4 sons, Andrew, Mike, Paul Raymond and John with Baba in the center.   Mary Pavúk Smigelsky
(February 12, 1891 - June 9, 1971)

married July 12, 1912

John Smigelsky
(July 7, 1889 - October 5, 1952)
Baba and Jigi’s Wedding Picture
Baba and Jigi’s Wedding Picture
This is by far the most difficult page. Even though we have lots of memories, there are very few verifiable facts. When John (Jigi) died, over half a century ago in 1952, only 7 of his 36 grandchildren had been born. And since then, his 5 oldest children are gone, leaving us sketchy information at best. But we are endeavoring to piece together and preserve what we can.

Baba, Jigi and their five oldest children
Baba and Jigi with their five oldest children circa 1922
Andy, Jigi, Helen, Ann, Baba, John and Mary

Click here for a Chronology of key dates for John and Mary and their family.
This page is a listing of births, deaths, marriages and other important Smigelsky Family events.

Click here for a Family Tree for John and Mary and their family.
Baba   Baba

What we think we know. Or do we?

Because we have no living sources for much of this information we must rely on whatever written records we can find. This presents us many problems. There are variations of spellings of names. Over time, there have been changes in the names of places. There are discrepancies in dates. Transcription errors occur as document information is input into computer databases. Etc., etc., etc.

We will try to be as accurate as possible and in cases where there are discrepancies, we will make note of them.

According to the online records for St. Mary's Cemetery in Summerhill Township, both Baba and Jigi were born in 1889. However, according to both the 1910 and 1930 Federal Census, Baba was born is 1891.

Baba's maiden name was Pavúk. Her sibling’s last names are alternately spelled Pavuk or Pavick in various records.

Click here for some information we’ve gathered about the Pavuk Family.

We know that they were both single when they immigrated to the United States from Slovakia. They were introduced to each other by Baba's older brother John.

We know Jigi was born in Spišské Vlachy, Slovakia; at the time part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and known as Szepesolaszi in Hungarian or Wallendorf in German.

Jigi’s Ellis Island immigration record lists him as Ian Smigiclski who arrived on May 20, 1909 aboard the President Grant, sailing from Hamburg, Germany. The manifest states that he was sponsored in the United States by his brother Mike and his destination was Dunlo, PA.
There is a discrepancy in his age given on the manifest. It says he was 16, but he was actually 19 or 20.

Baba was born in Kurov, Slovakia (Kuró in Hungarian). We think Baba’s mother’s name was Eva. This information is from an Ellis Island record we believe to belong to Baba’s younger brother Andy Pavuk. According to her Ellis Island record, her father’s name was Josef.

Baba’s Ellis Island immigration record lists her as Maria Pawúk who arrived on December 7, 1909 aboard the S.S. Bulgaria, sailing from Hamburg, Germany. The manifest states that she was sponsored in the United States by her brother Nick and her destination was South Fork, PA.

The 1930 Federal Census states that Jigi immigrated to the U.S. in 1906 but based on the Ellis Island information, this is incorrect. The 1910 Federal Census states the Baba immigrated to the U.S. in 1909. The 1930 Census states she immigrated in 1912, but based on the Ellis Island information and the 1910 Census, this is incorrect.

According to the 1910 Federal Census, a single female, Mary Pavuk was boarding with the Casmar family in South Fork (her brother Nick Pavuk, born in 1884 who immigrated to the U.S. in 1906, was also boarding there).
She could read and write but only spoke Slovak

According to the 1930 Federal Census, Baba was 21 and Jigi was 22 when they got married. This would put their wedding in 1912. Aunt Marge comfirms this; her records have
July 12, 1912 as the date Baba and Jigi got married.

We know they had 10 children that lived into adulthood, a son Joseph who died in infancy and possibly one other child who died in infancy.

Other information in the 1930 Federal Census (Microfilm No. T626, Roll 2013, ED 11-114) is as follows:

  1. Both Baba and Jigi were Resident Aliens and had not applied for citizenship.
  2. Baba could read and write; Jigi could not.
  3. Jigi spoke English; Baba did not.
  4. Their eldest daughter Anna was no longer living with them at the time of the Census (April, 9, 1930).

Links to Historical Documents
Jigi’s 1909 Ellis Island Immigration Record
Baba’s 1909 Ellis Island Immigration Record
Mary Pavuk 1910 Federal Census (line 91)
John Smigelsky Family 1930 Federal Census
page 1 line 45 page 2 line 51
Jigi’s 1942 WWII draft registration card.

Smigelsky Children
John, Helen, Annie, Kay, Marge
Irene, Raymond, Mike
circa 1940

Smigelsky Family 1944
Jigi, Baba, Mary, Irene, Kay, Raymond and Mike
July 23, 1944

We do know that prior to moving to Beaverdale, the family lived in Llanfair near Dunlo. Irene was their last child born in Llanfair in 1928.

We do know that Baba last lived at 410-412 Cameron Avenue in Beaverdale, Pennsylvania. She had been living there since sometime between 1928 and 1930. Mike was the first child born in Beaverdale in 1930. The house was owned by the Logan Coal Company. Baba and Jigi rented their half of the duplex from the coal company with rent deducted from Jigi’s paycheck.

In 1942, Jigi registered for the WWII draft. The registration card list his year of birth as 1890. Being unable to write, the card is signed with an “X” and witnessed.

In about 1946, they bought the house from the coal company and rented out half of it (#412). After the tennants moved out, Mary and Paul Martyak lived in 412. In the spring of 1953, they moved to Beaver Falls and Mike and Rosella moved into 412 when they came back from California.

Jigi worked in the coal mines for the Johnstown Coal & Coke Company. He had retired shortly before he died in 1952.

In 1960 Mike and Rosella moved to New York, leaving 412 Cameron Avenue empty for the first time. But Baba was not alone. Rosella’s sister Sandy, who had lived with Mike and Rosella, stayed with Baba until May of 1961 when she graduated from High School and also moved to New York.

In the fall of 1961, Baba fell and broke her shoulder. Helen, who was in California for This Is Your Life and visiting Ann, cut her trip short and returned to Pennsylvania. Helen moved in with Baba and took care of her until Baba’s death in 1971.

Helen would continue to occupy the house until her death in 2004.

In 2005, the family sold the house.

  Daughters & Daughter-in-Laws
From left to right: Anna, Mary, Sue, Helen, Irene, Kay Margaret and Rosella

Sons & Son-in-Laws
From left to right: Paul Martyak, Frank Cyburt, John Flynn, John Beatrice, Mike Colosimo, Mike, Ray, Andy and James Moyer
Baba making pagach
Baba making pagach (“slovak pizza”)
Click here for some family recipes
  Baba making pierogi
Baba making pierogi
Baba and her garden
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