Fearless Females Challenge: March 5 – How They Met

The following post continues the month long Fearless Females Challenge by Lisa Alzo, author of The Accidental Genealogist blog, which is focused on “celebrating and honoring ‘fearless females’ in our family trees” to mark National Women’s History Month, which is the month of March, with a post responding to unique prompts for each day of the month.

Prompt for March 5 — How did they meet? You’ve documented marriages, now, go back a bit. Do you know the story of how your parents met? Your grandparents?

Although I do known how my parents met, this blog is focused on the ancestries of my grandparents. I will instead talk about how my grandparents met.

My paternal grandparents, William Kernan (LIVING) and Margaret Ann Lapham (1936-2004), were married in 1952. According to my grandfather, they met almost two years prior to their marriage, when Margaret was babysitting with one of her cousins, Carol Morgan. Knowing that a friend of her boyfriend was single, Carol got her boyfriend to bring his friend, William, over to the home they were babysitting at, and he introduced William to Margaret. It was a blind date set up. Soon after, they began dating each other and eventually realized that they were meant to spend their lives together—it was, as my grandfather recalls, “love at first sight.”

My maternal grandparents, Harry “Lee” Hamilton (LIVING) and Alberta Sebok (LIVING), were married in 1954. According to my grandmother, they meet when one of her friends cancelled a movie date with Lee, which he found out about after arriving at her house. Alberta was there visiting her friend, and she, not wanting to face Lee, told her to go instead. Lee agreed. Following this, the two dated some, but Lee was serving in the U.S. Navy and the Korean War had already begun. Before shipping out, Lee asked her, while at a dance, to marry him when he got back. When he got back, the two got married.

Photo of Lee and Alberta Hamilton, taken in 1954 in front of Lee's ship
Photo of Lee and Alberta Hamilton, taken in 1954 in front of Lee’s ship

Although I do not know how each of my great grandparents met, I do know how one set of maternal great grandparents did. The parents of my maternal grandmother, Albert Sebok (1903-1968) and Irene Vera Balla (1913-2006), were both living in different states prior to when they first met–Albert in California and Irene in Texas. Irene’s father, Alexander Balla (1886-1950), wanted his children (particularly his daughters) to marry Hungarians. He even went to the extreme of advertising that he had eligible daughters, placing ads in local newspapers and advertising it on a billboard. When Irene was ready to start looking for a husband, her father was contacted by one of his sisters, Zsophia, who was living in California with her family. Her husband, Peter Sabo, worked for the railroad, and he worked with a single Hungarian man, Albert, who was looking for a wife. Zsophia asked her brother to send a photo of Irene so Albert could see what she looked like. They sent the photograph below. Albert liked what he saw and wanted to meet her. So, Irene went to California to stay with her aunt and uncle, at whose home she met Albert. The two began dating, and where married soon after (on June 17, 1935 in Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz Co., California). The photo that caught Albert’s attention always made my great grandmother smile, so much so she kept it for the rest of her life.

Irene Balla, 1930s
Irene Balla, 1930s

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