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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Genealogue Challenge #143

Actor Karl Malden has died.

By whom were his parents married?

Extra credit: What were the names of Karl's maternal grandparents?

Sabrina

His parents Petar Sekulovich and Minnie Sieberg were married 10 September 1911 in Chicago by Rev. S. Voyvodich. (Read this off of their marriage license so spelling may be an issue.)

Drew Smith

Karl Malden was born as Mladen George Sekulovich, son of Minnie Sebera and Petar Sekulovich.

A FamilySearch record search turns up a marriage record for Petar Sekulovich and Minnie Sieberg, performed by Reverend S. Voyvodich, Rector of S.O.C. of Chicago. According to the 1910 census, his first name was "Sava".

GregWA

His parents were married by Rev. Sava Vojvodich at the Serbian Orthodox Church of Chicago on 10 Sep 1911.

I saw three different names for his mother's maiden name but didn't find her parents' names.

Chris

It was indeed Father Sava Vojvodich (Voyvodich), who served at the church from 1908 to 1918. Karl wrote that his mother gave up her Catholicism when they married, and even her native language (Czech).

Minnie's maiden name was Sebera, but much of the family in America used "Seberg" (rendered in Minnie's marriage record as "Sieberg"). A clue for the extra credit question: "Minnie" was not her name at birth.

Chris

Another hint, from Karl himself.

GregWA

Minnie's first name is Zofia. The Ellis Island manifest for her arrival (Apr 16, 1907) shows she is traveling with her mother Genofeva (and siblings Marya & Adolf) . It indicates they are joining her father Halevly (? penmanship is hard to make out) in Chicago.

Chris

That's them. Karl wrote that "The Sebera family immigrated to this country in three waves: first, my mother's father with his eldest daughter; then her mother with three more children (including my own mother); and then the grandmother with the rest of the nine children." Here's a naturalization record for "Genevene" Sebera. She also went by "Jenny."

The family does appear in the 1910 census, but the spelling of the surname might make them hard to find.

Can anyone confirm her father's name, and perhaps even find her mother's maiden name?

DustyR

Dang! I was just working on getting the father's name from the manifest. The writing is tough.

You beat me to it. Good job.

Chris

I maybe shouldn't have written "confirmed," as Greg's guess is close, but not correct.

The first letter of his name is a 'W'. (Another hint: In the 1910 census, it was anglicized to the name of a certain holiday.)

kac

Was the father's name Valentine Sebera, died 19 Dec 1915?

kac

Actually, 2 Chicago Tribune articles exist re: Valentine Sebera: 18 Aug 1910 concerning his family's immigration to the US, including his mother Marie, and Dec 1915 article concerning his death to a fall on the ice.

Chris

Yes! His name was Walenty, anglicized to Valentine. The family can be found in the 1910 census in Chicago under the name "Sewera."

Minnie's sister Elsie married John Sorich, 18 Jan. 1920 in Chicago, and died in California in 1989. Her death record reveals the maiden name of her mother—Agel. So, Karl's maternal grandparents were Walenty and Genovefa (Agel) Sebera.

DustyR

wow. nice work. I can't believe I spent so much time obsessing over this tonight. But it was fun.

GregWA

Good work on the Valentine references, kac!

HowardL

> So, Karl [Malden's] maternal grandparents were Walenty and Genovefa (Agel) Sebera.

I just found this Web page and I'm so excited I can hardly write! I have been researching my family genealogy. My maternal grandfather was Emanuel Agel (1881? - 1968), and relatives often said we were somehow related to Karl Malden. Emanuel came through Ellis Island on March 18, 1908, using the alias "Franz Podszewka". (He also later went under the alias "Emil Hager, Sr.") On the ship passenger record, he listed his USA contact as his "cousin, Valentin [Walenty] Sebera". Because of Emanuel Agel's use of several aliases, concrete information about him has been extremely hard to come by. Thank you for supplying several *crucial* pieces of the genealogical puzzle!

Chris

That's wonderful, Howard! Glad we could help!

HowardL

As a follow-up, I have just learned the names of Genovefa (Agel) Sebera's parents: Ignac Agel and Magdalena Zmijov√° (Zmija). So they would be great-grandparents of Karl Malden and uncle/aunt of my grandfather Emanuel Agel. I learned this because I also just discovered a Sebera family genealogical website in the Czech Republic!

http://www.sebera.estranky.cz/clanky/Rodopis/zajimavosti

I did a Google translation of the Czech, and on one of the pages, the author Ivo wondered whatever became of Walenty and Genovefa Sebera and their descendants after they emigrated to the USA! Boy, did I have some info to tell him! And the above info was what he emailed me in response. Thanks again!

Chris

Wow, that is great! Thanks for the follow-up!

HowardL

I hope you don't mind one final follow-up regarding Karl Malden's ancestry and researching my relationship to him. Ivo Sebera in the Czech Republic has found genealogical documents indicating that my maternal grandfather, Emanuel Agel, and Genovefa (Agel) Sebera were in fact full brother and sister, children of Ignac Agel and Magdalena Zmijov√° (Zmija). That would make my mother and Minnie (Sebera) Sekulovich first cousins, and Karl Malden and me second cousins. Thanks again for your crucial help in solving a family mystery!

Chris

Glad we could help!

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