A Tale Of Two Weddings


John Briskar and
Anna Mika

Wedding Date November 9, 1910

Nickola Mergen/Mrdenovic and
Theresa Kohan Chwastka

Wedding Date November 8, 1910

Take a look at these two photos and notice the similarities.  Note the background, the floor design, the flowers the men were wearing.

I was contacted by Steve Mergen, whose great grandparents are shown in the photo on the right.  Steve is working on his family history and happened upon this website.  He saw the photo of John and Anna and noticed the similarities between that photo and that of his great grandparents.  Steve was curious as to how much I knew about my grandparents and had some questions that I could not answer.  After exchanging a few emails, there were still some unanswered questions.

Both couples were married at St. Mary's. Could they have been married by the same priest? Could the photographs have been taken at the church?  Could the photographs have been taken in a studio?

All I knew is what I have been told: John and Anna were married at St. Mary's Nativity on Mt. Vernon Avenue in Uniontown on November 9, 1910 by Rev. Sabik. Did I have proof? No.  Did I have a copy of the marriage license? No.  All I know is what has been passed down from my father's family.

Steve took his investigation one step further.  He and his dad, Mike Mergen Jr. recently went back to Lemont and then to the county court house where they were able to obtain a record of Nickola and Theresa's wedding.  Thus, they verified that the wedding took place at St. Mary's Byzantine Catholic Church in New Salem by Rev. N. Sticovich.  (photo at right) >

Other questions: Could John and Anna have been Byzantine Catholic and eventually started going to the Roman Catholic Church?  After all, John was a member of the Carpatho Club, a "Greek Catholic" organization, as it was called.  Many Carpatho-Rusyns came to Pennsylvania in the early 1900's.  One Ancestral Researcher from Slovakia did some research on our family and told me that we were "probably" Rusyn, and not Slovak as we assumed. Who knows? Great Grandfather George Felegi used to call John "Rusnak".

One more unusual thing: Notice the wedding dates in the photos above. November 8, 1910 was a Tuesday.  November 9, 1910 was a Wednesday.  I would think that their weddings would have been performed on a weekend.

The mystery continues and I am looking for answers.

Follow Up: After a discussion with Aunt Veronica and Cousin Chris Valentovich, Chris was able to obtain documentation from the Fayette County courthouse regarding the marriage of John Briskar and Anna Mika.  The Marriage License copy indicates the wedding date as November 9, 1910, and the officiant was Rev. F.G. Sebik.  The wedding took place at St. Mary's in Uniontown.

Conclusion:  Unless proven otherwise, it appears that the photographs were taken by the same photographer, in a studio.