Again from the Slovak Lutheran Cemetery in Nesquehoning, PA. "Kniha Zivota" translates as "Book of Life" which is the given iconography of this gravestone. Here's this couple ca. 1905.
I remember being surprised when I began doing some of my Slovak ancestry reading, after the 1990 U.S. Census, the fact that Slovak was the second highest ethnicity for Slavic people in the U.S. Although the numbers are hard to pin down, about a half million Slovaks immigrated to the U.S. during the 1880-1920 time period. However, with the end of the Soviet Union, Slovaks are now falling behind other more recent Slavic ethnicities, like Ukrainians.
The other interesting fact I found surprising was that as a percentage of those that left "the old county" the Slovak immigration to the U.S. is second only to the Irish exodus of the 19th century. That's partly due to the fact there were only about 4-5 million Slovaks to begin with.
While doing these death records I noticed that women appeared either with their birth names then married names or vice versa. It was not consistent. Birth names were sometimes included, sometimes not. This example has the name as: "Judith Babyar lately Paul Simek's wife." I had a hard time translating this because it was in Hungarian and I was trying Slovak and/or Latin, the two languages the rest of the Tura Luka records seem to be in. My thanks to Mark Sabol for riding to the rescue with a good translation. Next time I'll note the next column which has age and says 76 years (esztendo is Hungarian and easy to read in this example). She died of old age.
I've plowed through all these death records and have some observations. I'm sure I missed an ancestor or two. Some things in genealogy are universal. Ages are seldom exact when given on death records or censuses. If you have a common name (or common for that area) you need corroborating information to make the identification. So, for instance, there were two possible Jan Holics I saw: One died on 1 May 1851, aged 69 and the other on 1 August 1853 aged 72. Both men were born circa 1781-2. The Jan I was seeking was baptized on 4 January 1786. So, that's far enough off that I needed more information and sadly there was none. No father's name or wife's name was given. Since my search only begins in 1822 and this Jan may have died prior to that, I can't reach any conclusions.
On the other hand in my secondary Holic line (yes, I have two), the following record shows how that corroborating information nails the identification:
In the middle of the page you can see Paulus Holics, husband of Elizabeths Worodjak. This matches well with the marriage of 17 November 1788 of Paul Holic and Elizabeth Welowjak. Her name of Welowjak appears both on her marriage records and the baptism of her daughter Christine in 1800. His age of 62 is not far off from his baptism in 24 August 1767. All in all, I'd say that's a match.
Obviously the namesake of Matej Holic, this is his maternal grandfather. His name popped out at me pretty easily. However, this is part of the trickiness of doing Slovak research. Whereas the 1863 death record was in Slovak, this death record from 1822 is in Latin.
Date of death is 15 January 1822, informed by Andreas Koslawsky (it says Idem, which means "the same" as above), name which is also given in Latin: Mathias, marital status: widower (viduur) age: 71, cause of death is Senectute or "old age." Then place. So, there is always a mixture of languages that these records have depending upon the keeper of the records and the time period.
Born 4 May, baptized 7 May (1860), Pavel, son of Matej Holič and Kristyna Krchnak. The maiden name of his mother is an error. She was Kristyna Fusek [as proven by her marriage record]. And so genealogy goes . . . .
The first reel of the Tura Luka Lutheran church records is in my greedy hands. I got to look up the death record of my great-great-grandfather (finally). This is quite exciting and the first time I'm doing my own Slovak research.
See entry #9. Date of death; name: Matej Holič then čele?? otec (which means of head of family or literally father of family), ev. kovač (which is the occupation of blacksmith); then his street address; his age 46 years; cause of death was suchotiny which translates to white scourge or what we would call tuberculosis; when he was buried and where.
It is such a hoot to look at this records and see these names on page after page of the church records. I have a few older generations in this line, so my great-great- grandfather was this man, whose son was the immigrant: Pavel Holič 1860-1911. Pavel lost his father at age 3 and would die himself when his son, my grandfather was also three: Paul Hollick 1908-1983.
I have two possible candidates for the death record of his father Jan Holič, but neither are exact matches for age and the records don't give much identifying information. I'll keep grinding away. This reel has the deaths from 1822 to 1863. I'll need the later reels to find Matej's widow.
The second good question is about non-English royal lines. I used to subscribe to the notion that finding gateway ancestors was purely a British anomaly. The conventional wisdom was (is?) that due to the practice of primogeniture in England, whereby the eldest son inherited everything and other sons, nothing, you had a sort of downward mobility which allowed for such connections. Younger sons of kings became nobles; younger sons of nobles became the landed gentry; younger sons of the gentry became professionals, and these professionals or their sons came to New England where they could own property. The question is: is this a canard? Something we were taught, but when one actually examines it, is it true? I don't know.
I do know this discussion is happening at soc.genealogy.medieval and has been for over a year. I know that Gary Boyd Roberts will finally include French Canadian royal lines for the first time in the 2010 edition of Royal Descendants of 600 Immigrants to North America (North America heretofore meaning the 13 original colonies). No word on Hispanic lines. I know there are some Scandinavian lines now. However, as a rule, are continental royal lines provable? Again, I don't know. The continental lines seem to be solely found via (at least one) illegitimate birth. Overcoming that proof problem can be difficult. Then there is language. And are the continental nobility registers as good and complete as, say, Burke's Peerage?
My royal lines are from just three of my eight great-grandparents. I always assumed that my Scottish-born great-grandmother would also have at least one, if I did the work. This may be true, but since the records for the lowest classes of Scotland cease in the early 18th century, I can't make the leap to 16th or 17th centuries to find such a noble family. Likewise, my Slovak ancestors were, more or less, peasant farmers. They were Lutheran in almost all lines so far as I can tell, and therefore, the records are spotty for them pre 1770. Maria Theresa allows freedom of religion in 1772 (enlightened despot she), but before that only Catholic registers remain. My ancestors simply don't appear in them. Could one of them descend from an illegitimate birth? Possibly, even probably, but how to prove it and when?
So, perhaps others will get interested in medieval genealogy and the fact that noble and royal genealogy is the only reliable way to do that [even in England, the average person of non-noble birth can't be traced before 1450 as a best case scenario]. That will lead to more gateway ancestors and more discussions of what sources there are out there.
A friend of mine sent me a link to a new web site on Czech gravestones. This person's first web site was devoted to Newfoundland, Canada gravestones, so I'm guessing if I'm the Slovak Yankee, he's the Czech Canadian.
This did get me to thinking about Slovak gravestones. I would like to do that someday--walk around the cemeteries of the four villages from which my Slovak ancestors came and snap some photos. Until then, you should know that although very U.S.-centric, FindaGrave is international, and has 57 Slovak gravestones, including one for Alexander Dubcek.