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According to his passport, my Dad, Michal Oravec, was born on August 20, 1896 in a small town called Uderiná, which is in Slovakia near the city of Lucenec.  However, according to my parents’ wedding records, he was baptized on August 17, 1896 “ Zvolevsha (No Hradzka)”.

Michal was one of five children from the marriage of Paval Oravec and Katarina Micuda.  We believe this was Paval's second marriage, but we don't have confirmation of the fact.  Michal's older sister, Katarina, came to America in 1920 and lived to the age of 103.  A second sister, Elena Yalovecky, remained in Lucenec.  There was another sister, Zuzanna, and a brother, Andrew.

While we don't know much about his life in Slovakia, we do know that he served in the Austrian army before coming to America.

Michal’s passport lists his occupation as a “robotnik” which translates into many English words including journeyman, laborer, mill-hand, tumbler, or workman. The reason he was coming to America was to search for work "Ucĕl cesty: prácu hlădať".

 

 

He left Rotterdam, Netherlands on the Nieuw Amsterdam and arrived at Ellis Island on August 4, 1923. He was 27. The ship manifest lists him at 5' 6", he had $25 and indicated that he was joining his brother-in-law, Martin Skok (who paid for his passage) in New Kensington, PA. 

New Kensington was where my dad met and married my mom, Julia, and where my brother Ed was born. They eventually moved to Lakewood, Ohio, where I was born. My dad was a gardener in Rocky River and managed the Slovak club in Lakewood. Eventually he built his own tavern, Michael's Cafe in 1948. It's still there on Madison Avenue and is now the home of Codner's Pub (see the pictures on our Nostalgia page).

 

My dad died in 1952 when I was only four years old.

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My grandmother Katarina Micuda was from Uderiná, Slovakia

My aunt Elena Jalovecky (Jaloveska?) lived in Lucenec, Slovakia

My dad and one of his friends from New Kensington, PA

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