88 Years Ago Today

On April 5, 1925, eighty-eight years ago today, Esther “Esta” (Szabó) Balla (1857-1925), my 3rd great grandmother, died in Monterey Co., California. Following her death, Esther was buried in the I.O.O.F. Cemetery in Hollister, San Benito Co., California.

Esther (Szabó) Balla's Death Record (California Death Index). The record shows her name as "Asta S. Balla" instead of "Esta S. Balla."

Esther (Szabó) Balla’s Death Record (California Death Index). The record shows her name as “Asta S. Balla” instead of “Esta S. Balla.”

Esther was born in 1857 in Eszény, Szabolcs County, Kingdom of Hungary, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now Eseny, Ukraine) the daughter of Ferenc Szabó (?-?) and Eszter UNKNOWN (?-?). In about 1875, she married István “Stephen” Balla (ca. 1858-1930) in Eszény, with whom she had seven children. In about 1892, István left his family for America, settling first in Pennsylvania and then Cuyahoga Co., Ohio. He did so either to send for his family later or with the intent on abandoning them. The later seemed to be the case, as he remarried and had children soon after arriving. In 1907, Esther arrived in the United States with one of her daughters, joining two sons and another daughter. She did so under the name “Esther Istvanne Balla,” which means “Esther, Mrs. Istvan Balla,” possibly indicating she was somewhat unaware that her husband had moved on. According to oral tradition, she arrived with the intention of finding him. When one of her sons did, István abandoned his second family and went with his first one. My great grandmother, Irene Vera (Balla) Sebok (1913-2006) remembers meeting both Esther and István before they moved to California. She once told me that she remembered the wonderful food her grandmother made, particularly the homemade bread. According to oral history, Esther and István moved to California together, though records are unclear if the two remained married or even in the same household.

About these ads

2 thoughts on “88 Years Ago Today

  1. Very interesting story. Although it is great that they were united, I also feel sad for the second family that was abandoned. Have you been able to trace them?

    • Yes it is very sad. Some of my great grandmother’s siblings got in contact with them, but they did not want to have any contact. I do know from my own research that Istvan’s second wife remarried. I imagine it was really hard for them, as it was for his first wife and children. I remember my great grandmother saying that her mom didn’t like Istvan very much. It seems many people had good cause to not like him.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s