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Josef Pavlak/Joseph Pavlack
30 January 2009 | Allegheny County, Pennsylvania
JOSEF PAVLAK (JOSEPH PAVLACK)
Josef Pavlak (aka Joseph Pavlack) was born 13 December 1883 (possibly 1882) in the village of Krizpolje, Croatia (The municipality of Brinje is the post office). A farm laborer, age 24, 5’ 6” tall, single, with $25 in his pocket, emigrated to the United States with passage in steerage aboard the S. S. Chemnitz from Bremen, Germany on 2 August 1906 arriving at the port of Baltimore, Maryland on 15 August 1906. He was accompanied by his brother Petar Pavlak and traveled via the B. & O. Railroad to the Greensburg, Pennsylvania area to 3 Farmington Street, Forbes Road, (Route 30, near Greensburg) Pennsylvania. Thus far no record has been found regarding any return trips to Croatia by Josef prior to WWII.
On 13 July 1908, Josef Pavlak (aka Joseph Pavlack) married Tonka Boric (aka Antonia) who was born 2 February 1885 in Kamenica, Croatia to parents Marko and Kata Boric. Her residence in Croatia was Kamenica 50 Gospic, Croatia. Tonka Boric sailed with passage in steerage aboard the S.S. Noordam from Rotterdam on 22 February 1908, arriving in New York on 3 March 1908. She was detained in the hospital for one day, and on 4 March 1908 was admitted to the United States of America. Tonka traveled to join Josef Pavlak and his brother Petar Pavlak who at this time were residing at Lock #3, House #27, Elizabeth, Forward Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Joseph and Tonka applied for a marriage license on 11 March, 1908 (License #8483 issued by the Clerk of the Orphans' Court, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania numbered 8483, Series G.) and were married on 13 July 1908 at The Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on 13 July 1908. Tonka and Josef had a daughter Anna, born 21 January, 1909, and four sons, Peter, Joseph, Stephen, William
Josef (now known as Joseph Pavlack) listed his occupation as farmer, then miner, and years later as a proprietor of a clothing store, then founded Pavlack Distributing Company in North Clairton, Pennsylvania. Pavlack’s was well known in the area for their tasty “Pavlack’s Soda Pop.”
Josef filed a Declaration of Intention for citizenship on 3 June 1912. Occupation was listed as “miner”, D.O.B. is 13 December 1882 (possibly 1883), white, 5’6”, 165 pounds, black hair, brown eyes. Petition for Naturalization certificate 1210099 filed 13 November 1914 lists his address as Lock #3, farmer, wife’s name Tonka Pavlack. Four children were born to this couple by this time. Dates listed on the Naturalization papers: Anna* born 2 February 1908 (should be 1909); Peter born 1 May 1910; Joseph born 29 December 1911; Steven born 7 May 1913. (A fifth child William would be born on 18 April 1916). According to family records, the couple would have two babies who would not survive infancy.
Joseph’s WWI Registration card lists his residence as State Street, Blair Station (North Clairton, Pennsylvania), D.O.B. is 13 December 1882 (possibly 1883) age 35, occupation is merchant who owns his own business.
The 1920 Census lists his residence as 108 Broadway, N. Clairton, Pennsylvania, 36 year of age, and a proprietor of a clothing store. Wife’s name is Tonka and children are Anna 11, Peter 9, Joseph 8, Steve 7, and William 4.
The 1930 Census lists his residence as 311 State Street, Clairton, Pennsylvania, age 47, merchant, wife’s name Antonia (aka Tonka) age 40; children Anna 21, Peter 20, Joseph 18, Steve 17, and William 14.
After WWII (circa 1950/1951) Joseph and his wife made a return trip to their homeland. Mr. Pavlack purchased a jeep which also made the trip by ship to Croatia. The jeep was left with relatives in Croatia and Mrs. Pavlack left all of her belongings except the clothes she was wearing. Tonka was very depressed at how poor her people were and how the war had ravaged their homeland.
Josef Pavlak/Joseph Pavlack became a very successful business owner. He died in 1966 at the approximate age of 83. Tonka died at home in 1952
*Anna Pavlack daughter of Joseph and Tonka Boric Pavlack was born 21 January 1909 at home in Lock No 3, near Elizabeth, Forward Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Anna was baptized on 2 February 1909 at Holy Cross Church, Glassport, Pennsylvania. (According to a certificate of baptism issued 1 October 1936 by Rev. M.A. Kowal, based on an oath sworn by Anna Vranges, who was Anna's godmother). Anna Pavlack would grow to adulthood and marry Nick Ulakovich, who would quit their marriage when Anna became ill with tuberculosis. Anna died in 1948.