There are several types of Latin. There is classical Latin [read Ovid or Cicero]; there is medieval Latin used in the church or business documents; there is neo-classical Latin used by European scholars such as Erasmus in letters and articles; and there is post-classical Latin. That is, Latin used by churchmen and others that bears no resemblance to actual Latin, with the exception of word meaning. Syntax and grammar are lost.
Here is such a case. Clearly, the record says: [Entry #] 183 d. 7 [August 1799] [Some abbreviated title] Georgius Michalecz in circiter 43 anos natus ab equo per tempora tactus cidit. I can manage Latin well and know the meaning of the words. And they don't make sense in that sentence. I live with a classical Latin scholar and he can't make sense of it. We passed it to two other Latin teachers and they couldn't do it either. Literally it says: George Michaelecz about 43 years old died falling off a horse touched by time. The last word is a prefix followed by cidit which comes from either caedo (to chop or strike; strike down or cut down, by extension to kill or murder) or cado (to fall, sink, drop, be slain, die, or be sacrificed). I can't tell what the prefix actually is. [There's no umlauts in Latin] Certainly, died from falling off a horse should be only: ab equo cidit. The per tempora tactus. Is a complete mystery.
This man is probably the great-great-grandfather of my great-grandmother. The death record doesn't give his wife's or father's name. It does match his age well-- he was baptized on 15 July 1754. However, there are several George Michalecz's lurking around at this time. This record is from the Lutheran church in Myjava.
This plaque in the Ellis Island museum caught my attention:
Alright ladies, let's be honest. Historically men have always divided women between saints and prostitutes. Certainly, this is the subtext of the above proscription. Well, my great-grandmother was such a woman. (No, not a prostitute). She was 15 when she arrived in 1899 and on her passenger arrival form, she said she was going to her father Paul in Lansford, Pennsylvania. And so she was.
In the days leading up to the computer fiasco, Michael and I were in New York City on a mini-vacation. [I say mini because it was three days in Manhattan--not the Randy Seaver one month in Australia and Fiji which is a maxi vacation]. The trip was for fun, and indeed, we had fun. But any trip can coincide with genealogy. First and foremost, we stayed in a hotel in Chelsea on West 14th and 8th, not too far from where I was born on West 29th and 6th at French Hospital (which no longer exists).
One of our trips was to see Ellis Island. Michael had never been there and I was there as a school kid, long before the 1990-1992 renovations were completed. I saw the rundown buildings where one had to imagine what it looked like. No more. The renovations are beautiful.
The museum is wonderful and interactive. The main registry hall is fully re-created. It is definitely worth the trip if you are in New York. Three of my four Slovak great-grandparents came through Ellis Island. So this time I got get a picture of the one name that came through that means so much to me.
I'm trying to get the death dates of my three remaining great-great-grandparents, all in Slovakia. Two of them outlived the parish records of Myjava (as microfilmed) so I will have to go through the Slovak Archives again. It's not surprising. Their daughter, my great-grandmother, lived to be 84 years old, so they, born in 1850 and 1852, lived past 1924. I've collected many certificates from that area I call Slovakia, the present day Slovak Republic, a legal entity born when I was almost thirty. The issuing governmental agency is what is on the certificate, not the civil government of the time. Here's some examples:
The death record of my great-great-grandmother Susana (Balaz) Kristofik from 1931. However, it was issued to me in 1992, so it says "Slovenska Republika" although the country at the time was Czechoslovakia, the democracy created in 1918 that existed until 1938 when Hitler started to slice it up. Her original death certificate eventually came into my possession:
Again, issued in 1995 from the Slovak Archives, this death certificate of my great-great-grandfather happened in the Austro-Hungarian Empire which died in 1918, three year after him. So, the only actual Czechoslovak record I have is:
This is the birth certificate of my great-great-aunt Susana (whom we all called Susette). The issuance date is 1952, so this is the communist Czechoslovakia issuing a birth certificate for something that, again, happened during the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It's strange to think that this area where my ancestors lived for hundreds, if not thousands, of years, has changed political identities five times in less that 100 years. Up to 1918, the Austrian Empire; 1918-1939, 1945-1948, Czechoslovakia (republic), 1939-1945 Slovakia (a fascist puppet state propped up by the Nazis), 1948-1990 the communist Czechoslovakia, and from 1992 onward, the Slovak Republic. During the same period all the U.S. did was add two states: Hawaii and Alaska.
In my records from the church records of Tura Luka, I already had the marriage information for Paul Holic and Elizabeth Welowjak. They were married there on 17 November 1788 "Paulus Holic honestus juvenis hujas sub 331 copulatus est honesta virgine Elizabetha Welowjak Maniensi die 17 Nov. Testibus Praesentibus, Georgio Dudik, et Joanne Brusska."
In going through the Myjava church records I found the companion marriage record since Elizabeth was from there. "Honestus juvenis Turoluca Paulus Holics Joanis filius sub No. 331 cum honesta virgine Elisabetha Joanis Vdovjak filia." [Myjava Evang. Church Records, Marriages 1783-1805, FHL Film #2408361] Note that most of the information is the same. However, the Myjava records definitively give the fathers of the bride and groom. In the case of the bride, this is new information. In the case of the groom, it contradicts what I already had. I had Paul as the son of another Paul, baptized on 24 August 1767. Perhaps this is incorrect. Or the Myjava record got his father's name wrong.
Luckily I have the death records of both Paul and Elizabeth. I posted images of them here. In Paul's death record his wife's name is given as Elizabeth Worodjak and his age as 62. I accepted the four year discrepancy in his age, but now with the added information his father was Jan, I know I need a different Paul Holic than the one I had. Likewise, I can look at the wide variety of Elizabeths baptized under the name Welowjak, Worodjak, and Vdovjak, which must be variant spellings of the same name. From her death record I know her approximate birth year of 1770 and now her father's name. I'm so glad my eye keyed in on this name, which I was not looking for at all. Of course, I so rarely see Paul Holic in genealogical records I immediately went right to it. It's my father's name as well.
One of my triple-greats which was a dead-end and which I wrote about last fall was Katherina Polak, the wife of Jan Malek of Myjava. I've been pulling the Myjava Evangelium (Lutheran) church records back on microfilm and have made significant headway on Katherina. When I engaged a professional genealogist in the late 1990s to do my principal Slovak research, he did the ancestry of all four of my great-grandparents. He was efficient and, quite frankly, a bit too methodological in his approach. No doubt this was to keep his time down. He noted baptisms and must have had a formula of when an average marriage would happen before that, etc. Sometimes ages of people are given, such as the ages of grooms and brides in marriage records.
In the case of Katherina and Jan Malek, he never found their marriage record. He extrapolated when Jan would have been born and found a likely candidate. He never found the same for Katherina. In 2003 or so, I found their entry in the 1869 Hungarian census which showed they were much older than the researcher had surmised. My great-great-grandmother Susanna Malek was born in 1852, but was the second youngest child. Using the dates of the census I easily found Katherina's baptism on 25 November 1813, the daughter of Stephen Polak and Katherine Szowiss. I also found Jan's real baptism on 8 September 1801, the son of Jan and Catherine (Marek) Malek. These dates precisely agree with the census. Jan and Katherina were much older than my researcher had surmised and Jan was a full decade older than his wife. Slightly outside the norm, but not absurdly outside the norm.
So, now I have that 3rd great solved (two more to go, but they are in Vrbovce, which was just released). I also have father's names for three of the four new parents of Jan and Katherina. Jan Malek married Catherine Marek on 20 June 1797 and he is noted as the son of Thomas Malek. Catherine's parents are not given. Stephen Polak married on 16 May 1810 to Catherine Szowiss, and both had father's named Jan. I should note that this is my second Szowiss line, but I haven't connected them yet. It would mean that my great-great-grandparents were cousins, not uncommon for any small village in Europe.