|Birth: ||Feb. 2, 1889, Slovakia|
|Death: ||Sep. 28, 1967|
Frances Bortnik Benya immigrated from Lenarto Slovakia in 1906. Imagine coming to the new world from the old with everything you had in a small suit case and barely any money in your pocket. Leaving everything and place and person possibly that you knew back home for good most likely. The fear, the excitment, the worry, the ship voyage and all with a bunch of strangers from various countries who couldn't talk the same language. Yet they all had the same goal and purpose and desire! Turns out most of them were pennyless too, so maybe this wasn't such a bad idea after all?! They could see it in each others eyes! When they met others from their old country they became companions and close nit for life a lot of the time. They formed organizations together that could and would grow.
Her name was changed from Bortnyik to "Bortnik" apon arrival in the US as was the custom there, to sound more American. It was their changeling into the new-world and most accepted it, yet others would not and that was allowed! Already they could see freedom in action and it was captivating and energizing to all. You could feel it in the air!
The youthful picture of her to the right shows her as she looked when she came to the land of opertunity. Personally I think she very much resembles her g-granddaughter Frazier Benya.
She met her prospective husband John Benya on the streets of New York of all places! They had both migrated there seperatly from the same country and ajoining towns! They may have crossed paths in the old country, but did not know each other! It was fate that brought their paths together in the New World, and they knew it! They were instantly attracted and drawn to one another for keeps. There was a tight-nit devoted little community of Slovaks there. They would attend church and meetings together on a regular basis and celebrate their heritage and beliefs and religion and spech and song! They felt completly part of America, yet still part of the old country too. Signs of immigrants from all regions of the world were there in New York and they functioned together and florished. If times got difficult they could move anywhere in the country without question or goverment papers and ridicule and hassle. The freedom here was unbelievable! Just like people talked about in the old country. It was all true. Except that they didn't see any trees that grew money on them! They were all very proud and happy to be in the United States were they could live and worship as they pleased. They would and many had and did give their lives for this wonderful country in a second! It was an amazing time of change and events for all. They could feel the excitment all around them. It took some know-how and hard work, but they knew how to do that from back in the old world where they never looked back. They could still speak their lauguage at times but had to learn "American" and were egar to do so. This didn't mean they couldn't hold on to their beliefs and culture and celebrate them in meetings and church and holidays. It was actually openly allowed! They didn't have to have secret meetings! This kind of thing was not permisable or even thinkable back home! It would never a attempted!
A few of the traditions, food, and words have passed down to the next generations where we thankfully celebrate what they gave and meant to us. We all appreciate what kind of hard working and fun loving good devoted people they were, Frances and her husband John.
John ran the dairy farm in Conneticut were it flurished and supported them and their four children; Helen Gereg, Steve, Frankie, and Ruth Hampton.
If there are relatives out there in the old country or new, look me up and we'll talk. Others related here are waiting to talk about the family. It would make John and Frances very happy!
John Benya (1890 - 1980)
Helen Benya Gereg (1911 - 2009)*
Stephen Benya (1912 - 1996)*
Frances Benya (1915 - 2000)*
New Saint Peter Cemetery
Created by: Scott Braddy
Record added: Mar 17, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 25338519