TATRA AREA RESEARCH GROUP
© TARG All rights reserved.
Newsletter for August 2004
End-of-Summer greetings to all TARG members! Our family survived a wedding and two receptions in two states for our oldest son, and have the other kids ready for school now -- so I can finally get back to TARG business. Thanks for your patience while I was away! There's loads of mail to share again, as well as other useful helps and announcements this issue. Enjoy!
-- Paul K. Bingham
1. TARG's website is: http://mytarg.net (or also www.mytarg.net).
2. Slovak Heraldy Website (in English): www.genealogy-heraldry.sk/eng/eng.htm
4. LDS genealogy website: www.familysearch.org
5. CSGSA website at: www.rootsweb.com/~azcsgsa/index.htm.
6. Catholic Church's website in Slovakia (all in Slovak) is: www.rcc.sk
7. Maros Kajnak e-mail: krajnak-AT-village-DOT-sk His website: www.village.sk
8. Polish Genealogical Society of America website: www.pgsa.org
***Dear Peter, On your wonderful Slovak Heraldy website I noticed that under "Contacts" you have with the "Sites" the following listing: "Zamagurze Area Research Project". This is an error. Please change this to: Tatra Area Research Group: (with URL as www.mytarg.net and e-mail address as "editor-AT-mytarg-DOT-net.) Thank you!
---Hello Paul, It's changed now. Thank you very much for your information. Best regards, Peter Kolesar
---Hi Paul, Good luck with all your preparations for family events! Have safe journeys. - Dan Zelonka
***Thank you, Dan. Everything turned out grand! We've returned home now and I'm back in the TARG Newsletter Editor's saddle. It feels good. - Paul
---Hi Paul, Thank you for your response and the contact about the name Florek. I do have some other questions. As we are leaving Monday for Slovakia & Poland, I was just wondering what day of the week might be best for finding the old church records you recommended. Should we try to catch someone on Sunday or find regular hours on weekdays, or just find the church keeper when or wherever in the village they may be? Also, I would certainly volunteer to bring back some Slovak stamps. Is it at all possible to get money orders in Slovak crowns? Somehow I think something like that would be easiest for them. In the Czech Republic, nobody's so keen on American checks. Thank you, Maggie Skodon
***Hi Maggie, and thanks for your note. Do have a safe and wonderful trip! My suggestion on the church records is to try a weekday. Saturday the priest
is busy attending to everyone who is off work for the weekend and also with preparing his Sunday sermon. Sunday is also busy, except perhaps in the
evening, but then he will likely be very tired. Since most priests teach in the local school, Sept-May is tough trying to catch them on weekdays. August
would be fine, but remember that many priests take vacations, too -- most in the final weeks of August before school starts I've found out! If the priest is out of town, you can often find someone in town to let you in the church if it's locked, but not into where the records are kept. Unfortunately if you have not
contacted the priest ahead of time, you are taking a chance on this happening. I hope everything does work out for you. (Sometimes a priest from a neighboring
village will let you in to look at the records, but only if the priest who's gone has arranged for it.) As for stamps, I'm already covered now. Thanks! Now to checks: Czechs may not like American checks, but Slovaks and Poles don't seem to mind. It does take a while to cash them, though -- up to two months! Money orders in SK Korunas and PL Zlotys are available at banks and post offices over there, but not in this country that I know of. -- Paul
---Hello Paul, I have had an idea that I have been wanting to bounce off you. It is amazing to me how many people have roots in Lipnica Wielka, Poland and the number of people I have seen on ship manifests from there. Many people are interested in information from Lipnica W. and as you know the records are not filmed by LDS. I have been wanting to propose that someone take on a project of having local residents of Lipnica W. make an index of names buried at the cemetery there. Perhaps with the very high unemployment there, some of the townspeople or church members would relish the opportunity to do this. It is my belief that it would not cost a great deal to hire local folks to complete this project. I am sure there are enough of us who would donate money to fund this project. It would take someone to coordinate this project and I cannot think of anyone better suited than you. With the integrity and image TARG has people would have trust and confidence needed to solicit contributions. What do you think? -- Bob Tvorik
---Hi Paul. I would be interested in knowing about the Lipnica Wielka project where someone in town would be hired to record all of the headstone data in the local cemetery. I am interested in it because I will be going there in Sept. while on a short vacation. The reason I think collecting the headstone data is a good idea is that it would provide the data to anyone in need of it, including organizations that could use that genealogy info. I'm sure it might help someone in search of names and dates but the info won't cover ancestors from long ago. I asked recently about why church records in some Polish towns like Lipnica Wielka were never filmed by the LDS. I was told the following: "Negotiators are making constant effort to contact each diocese or civil archive in Poland regarding microfilming of records and our organization is continually conducting delicate negotiations. The process is slow." Because of this situation, people have to either visit the Catholic parish in person or write a letter to the church in Polish. Another option is to hire a genealogist. From my past experience, everyone wants money to find anything. I have been to the Lipnica W. church before and have seen some books so I know they exist. I know where the cemetery is located. I have no plans to try and get any church records filmed while on vacation there. That would be the best thing to do, but may be far more expensive and possibly not be allowed. Since I don't speak Polish, I can't personally communicate with the church personnel. I would like to "try and get help" while in Lipnica in Sept. to see how large a task it would be to collect the headstone info and hopefully accomplish something. At this point, what info do you have so far on the project and how to proceed from here? Thanks for your help. -- Zelda
***Hi Bob & Zelda, Nice to hear from you. And Bob, thank you in your overwhelming confidence in me. I would rather someone with ancestry from Lipnica Wielka handle the donations, though. I think you would do fine. As to inventories, my Polish cousin and I have done many surname inventories in TARG cemeteries. By that I mean we've written down the surnames we see on all the headstones in a cemetery and count how many occurrences there are of each name. We've done this because it is useful to see what surnames are in a particular village. One can also turn to the phonebook to find names, but this does not always give a full picture in a land where on average only one in four residents has a phone in their home. For instance the village of Dursztyn has only one phone listed. An inventory of the little cemetery there revealed that there are many more than one surname in the village. That's because Dursztyn has nearly 300 inhabitants!
Cemetery headstones give more information, it's true, but unfortunately the older grave stones get knocked down and new graves get put over the older ones. Because of that, the headstone info is relatively incomplete in each cemetery, especially when you go back more than 100 years. In all of the cemeteries I've visited (and I've been to dozens there), I can only remember seeing a handful of stones in any one of them that were over a century old. However, every death is recorded in detail in the church's records whether a headstone remains today or not. I'm thinking about your idea and like the humanity and generosity side of it, but in practicality I don't know if it would be that useful in the end. So how best to use the villagers in your research efforts? I'll think some more on it and maybe ask the TARG group for their thoughts. What I wish we could do is hire locals to photograph the records or perhaps do record transcriptions. But I don't know how we'd successfully pull that off. Local parish-goers usually have much more access to the records than an outsider. As far as archives, Lipnica Wielka's older records will never be in Poland because they are in Slovakia in the Spisska Kapitula archive. This is because prior to 1920 it was a Slovak village. Writing to that archive for research has proven negative in all cases. - Paul
---Hello Paul, I get your TARG Newsletter at home in Indiana, but I am taking care of my mother-in-law in Arizona, so when I get a chance to go home -- I
just copy the newsletters which have piled up and read them while I'm here. I have been researching my husband's family and either I don't look in the
right places or they have just disappeared. What I do know: John Mondrosch was born in Austria-Hungary and was Roman Catholic. His parents were John
Mondrosch and Marie Hamilla. His wife was Maria Magdalena Scholtz (Scholz). She lived at Hniezdne 235, Szepes,Czechslovakia. Her parents were Andrej Scholz b.1840 and Karolina Vaniczka b.1841. How do I find out something about John Mondrosch? He is not in Austria, Hungary, Czech, etc. records that I can find. Hope you can give me a clue. Thanks for the newsletters. I enjoy them. - Lila Mondrush
***Hi Lila, So glad you are enjoying the TARG e-newsletters. Your question is a good one. Before we get to the various lost ancestors you are looking for,
let's settle the question of WHERE they came from. The village of your ancestors has not disappeared, it has just had name and national government
changes that make it difficult to follow. Hniezdne (once spelled "Gnazda" is a TARG village just east and a little south of the larger town of Stara Lubovna, Slovakia. Though many of the villages in the vicinity are Greek Catholic, Hniezdne is Roman Catholic. This region was once part of the Austrian-Hungarian empire -- in fact until 1918 this particular area was specifically considered to be within Hungary. The Slovak county name was Spis and this was known as "Szepes" under Hungarian rule. Later it and the other eight counties of what had been Slovakia became part of larger "Czechoslovakia" under the communists. But little Hniezdne remained -- much as it always had been. The surnames are all familiar from the area, although the spellings have changed some. Vaniczka may be a Hungarian spelling, for instance, and Mondrosch and Scholtz are most certainly German. Spis county had a large German population -- the largest in Slovakia. Most of the names today have taken Slovak spelling, but the parish records will show them more in their Germanic form as you go back in time. The fact that you and your mother-in-law are in Arizona does not exclude you from solving your ancestral mystery. The third largest LDS genealogical library in the world is found in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa. Since the LDS have filmed the parish records of Spis county, Slovakia, you can go in and order each of the microfilms you need for around $4 per roll. In a few weeks the films should come in, the staff will call you, and then you can go study them and hopefully find answers to all of your questions. You will also likely discover lots of other lines you don't now know about.
By going to the www.familysearch.org website, and looking in their catalog under "places" I found this as being available:" Roman Catholic parish registers of baptisms, marriages and deaths for Gnazda (also spelled Hniezdne), Slovensko, Czechoslovakia, formerly known as Gnézda, Szepes, Hungary. Includes affiliated towns of Forbasy and Kamienka. Text in Latin, Hungarian and Slovak" The films you need to order are rolls #1739195, 1739196 and 1739197. It looks like you will be able to find lots of information stretching from 1624 to 1952 -- a huge time frame indeed. There is also a Czech-Slovak genealogy society in Phoenix to help you. I know because I helped found it and am still their quarterly journal editor! You can learn more by visiting the CSGSA website at: www.rootsweb.com/~azcsgsa/ index.htm. There are also TARG members in Arizona. Good luck and happy hunting! -- Paul
---Hi Paul, I have viewed the microfilm from the Roman Catholic Church in Relov. On the site http://www.rcc.sk/, I have found the name of the Mgr. there, and the address, but no name of the Church. Do you or anyone else know that parish name? -- George Stefaniak
***Hello George. The name of the parish church in Rel'ov, Slovakia is "The Church of the Ascension of the Holy Cross" built in 1788. -- Paul
---Hi Paul, I just found your wonderful website. I am now in Krakow and plan to hike in the low Tatras for a few days. I leave for Slovakia the night of
the 30th (soon). I can't decide where to stay: Spisska Nova Ves, Levoca, or Poprad. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Rawley Vaughan
***Hi Rawley, Well, our TARG members with ancestry from Poprad and Spisska Nova Ves will certainly disagree, but given a choice between the three places you mention, I would probably stay in Levoca if it was my first time. There is more history to see there. Right in the downtown are several good museums, the State archives, and the famous church with Master Pavel's hand-carved wooden alter (largest in the world). There are also many more shops, banks and eateries available to handle the tourist volumes Levoca gets. But there are many more fun out-of-the way bed-and-breakfast type places a few miles outside any of these three cities that would be fun, too. It all depends on what you are looking for, what you want to pay and how good your Slovak is! Please have a good safe trip and let us know how things go and what you discovered!- Paul
***Hi Marc, I received an e-mail from a Maros Krajnak in Slovakia and he mentioned you as a referral. I receive a lot of e-mail (including offers of
products and services) from overseas and always like to check them out before I pass them on to our TARG members. In Maros case he is offering to take
village photos for people. Can you tell us a little more about your experience with him? Thanks. -- Paul
---Hi Paul, the photos were beautiful and very professional looking. He will photograph whatever you request. In my case I asked him to take photos of the countryside around Lipnica Wielka (Poland), the town itself (typical houses, the Church) and if possible some Headstones from the local cemetery with my
family surnames on them. From the looks of that cemetery, he must have traipsed around there for hours because he sent me at least a dozen. He also
includes a "key" that explains what each photo is. He charged $161 for about 50 photos. To me it was absolutely worth it. Regards, Marc Karnafel
1ST LDS GENEALOGY LIBRARY OPEN IN POLAND_________
The LDS church has now opened its first Family History Center Library in Poland. The location is not yet posted on the LDS website. The location is 38
Nowy Swiat, Warszawa and the hours are: Mon 10 AM-6 PM; Tue-Sat 10A M-8 PM; Sun 3 PM-8 PM. They do not have a phone as yet. Please note that the address is not a mailing address, only a location address. (As in the States, the center is staffed by volunteers who are there to help those who visit but are
not researchers and will not do research for patrons or those who attempt to write in for information.)
POLISH GENEALOGY CONFERENCE IN SEPTEMBER_________
For those of you in the Chicago area -- and even those of you who aren't -- The Polish Genealogical Society of America (PGSA) will present its 26th
Annual Conference September 10, 11 & 12, 2004 at the Schaumburg Marriott Hotel, 50 N. Martingale Road, Schaumburg Illinois. Among the 15 topics covered will be "Research in the German, Austrian and Russian Partitions", "Accessing Archives on the Internet", "Translating Latin Church Records", "Finding Your Village", "Brick Wall Solutions" and "Digital Photo Restoration". Speakers will be prominent genealogy experts from here and from Poland. Conference hours are Fri, Sept 10, 4-10 PM; Sat, Sept 11, 8 AM-6 PM; and Sun, Sept 12, 9 AM-Noon. Registration for members is $68. (PGSA Memberships cost $25.) For further information please visit their website at: www.pgsa.org or contact Linda Ulanski at LUlanski-AT-aol-DOT-com.
(Editor's note -- I very much want to attend, but costs for flights, rental car and lodging from San Diego total over $600. After the wedding I'm tapped out, so will have try for next year. If any TARG members attend, I would love to hear a report that we can share in our next issue!)
PODHALE BOOK TRANSLATION - PART 4______________
"The Tatra Highlands or "Podhale" is defined by the Tatra Mountains on one side and the Beskidy mountains on the other. The Tatra Highlands therefore
have extensive and diverse mountain panoramas depending on where you are. There are three distinct areas. These are the "Skalne Podhale", or Rocky
Highlands situated at the foot of Tatra Mountains, the "Podhale Nowotarskie" or "Nowotarszczyzna" indicating the Nowotarskie Highlands with Spisz and
Orawa, and then the villages located near Babia Gora mountain and Gorcow.
The Rocky Highlands area is arguably the most beautiful and most characteristic of the Tatra Highlands. Its wild panoramas go well with its rigid and furious climate. The winters are long and strong highland winds (powerful winds typically from the south) often cause great damage. With snow covering the summits of our tallest peaks, the Tatra mountains are visible from a great distance. Here are also the most beautiful forests, verdant meadows, and mighty rapids. The Rocky Highlands are beautiful all year round. In the summer time local villages are hidden from view between quaint stacks of hay and in the shadows of the "Jesion" (Tatra Mountain Ash). The sun breaks though when the "zbyrcenie" or Goral sheep bell ringing mingles with the wind. In winter the Tatras are wrapped in white, long icicles hang from every roof, and spruces are covered with a pillow of snow. And how charming is spring when from under the snow a stand of violet crocus begins to bloom, when fruit trees are in blossom, but on the horizon the
Tatra Mountains are still covered in snow. In the fall, a powerful Highland wind between dark Spruces and gold and copper Beech trees completes the fierce glamour of nature. It's no wonder that the beauty of mountain panoramas and clean, healthy climate made the Tatra Highlands a Mecca for tourists.
In particular we must mention Zakopane located at a foot of Tatra Mountains, in a broad hollow on the north enclosed by Gubalowka. Once upon a time it was a small highland village, but already by the end of 14th century it became know as a reputable summer resort. Many hotels, and health spas were built and outfitted with the newest and most innovative equipment to serve thousands of tourists from the entire country. Near Zakopane are many beautiful Highland villages. Bukowina is a well known summer resort located on a lower mountain ridge east of Zakopane, with fabulous views to the east and to the tallest part of Tatras. Poronin, south of Zakopane by Bialy Dunajec, is closer to Zakopane. Forced by the Russian government to flee the country, Lenin stayed in Poronin in 1914. Constantly tracked by police, he was hiding for a time in Galicia. Lenin eventually moved to Poronin and from there he managed the Bolshevist party in the dawn of the First World War. In the outskirts of Poronin and on the way to Zakopane, in an area called Harenda is a house where the great Polish poet Kasprowicz lived. He died in 1926 and was buried in an ornate tomb by his house. Kasprowicz was a son of a peasant and was born in Kujawy. He moved to Harenda and got attached to the Tatra Highlands, fell in love with the people. Their simple and hard way of life became a theme in many of his poetry books.
(Part 5 of 12 in our next issue.)
To contact the TARG Editor, the new e-mail address is: editor-AT-mytarg-DOT-net. Our "snail" mailing address is still TARG, P.O. Box 3533, Escondido, CA 92033. use it for sending in orders or photos and anything else you want to share with the group. (If for some reason you are unable to contact us at the new editor-AT-mytarg-DOT-net e-mail address, go ahead and use the old address. It is still: targ_net-AT-hotmail-DOT-com.
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