TATRA AREA RESEARCH GROUP
© TARG All rights reserved.
Newsletter for August 2005
Greetings to all TARG members. Our hearts and prayers go out to all of
those in the Gulf Coast States effected by Katrina's devastation.
The TARG website was updated earlier in the month -- before my leaving
town -- with pictures and a link to new information on Incan String writing.
While this sounds unrelated to the Tatras, it in fact relates to a long-time
mystery at Niedzica Castle. A past noble there married an Incan princess and
the only clue left as to the supposed whereabouts of hidden gold is written
in the strange Incan code of knots in strings called "Quipu". For more on
this, visit our TARG website's homepage at: www.mytarg.net.
-- Paul K. Bingham
1. TARG's website is: http://mytarg.net (or also www.mytarg.net).
2. Quipu article by the publication "New Scientist" is found at:
3. Dan Kisha: email@example.com
Slovak Import Company: http://www.slovakic.com, Ebay WWW Address:
US Phone: 410-273-1149
4. Contact information for the Catholic Archives in Spisska Kapitula,
Slovakia: firstname.lastname@example.org. E-Mail to Mr. Tomasov or Mr. Olenjik.
---Hello Paul, Thanks for the information about the Inca strings. This
weekend I spent with my wife when she came here to Germany. There is a
holiday in Poland and she had Monday off. (There was also a holiday in
southern Germany which is Catholic but not here in northern Germany.) We
spent a very nice weekend but the weather was rainy and cold. It looked
like it has all summer this year. My sisters Basia and Ania went to
Cologne, Germany for World Youth Day. I will have some new Spisz
pictures for you probably around the end of September. - Lucjan
***Hi Lucjan, thanks for the weather report. I hope our TARG people touring
are having a sunnier time. The strings article seems like a breakthrough and
is so interesting because it applies to the Niedzica Castle legend.
---Hi Paul, Remember me? I still get your newsletters but do not have
much time between work for genealogy. I am related to the Tandlich
family (some are in Australia) and have information about other Tandlich
families from Arva (Orava, Slovakai). Could you either give my email
address to TARG member "Allen", or give me his who wrote in the January
2005 newsletter about Tvrdossin, Slovakia and his family names
Lichtenberg and Tandlich. Thanks - Gary
***Hi Gary, of course I remember you! We don't have many Aussies as TARG
members! I will send your contact info to Allen as you've requested. - Paul
---Hi Paul, It is the 4th Anniversary of the Slovak Import Company and I
thought I would share with you a brief history of how the Company was
started, plus some thoughts on Slovakia. In 1975, I was living near
Greenwich, CT. One day I was looking for an address near Mt. Kisko, New
York and noticed this very large warehouse called the Polish Import
Company. Inside the warehouse I saw it was chock full of products. At
the time, I wondered why I had never heard of anything like this for the
then Czechoslovakia. Had visited Czechoslovakia several times by then
and knew the difficulties of entering and traveling in Slovakia, but it
never dawned on me on how this restricted commerce with Czechoslovakia.
In 2001 I was visiting family in Krpelany, Slovakia (near Martin) and
asked if they new someone who sold Slovak products. They directed me to
a family who sold things via displays at expositions world-wide. This
family gave me a tour of their home which contained exquisitely
beautiful Slovak artwork. With camera in hand, I visited companies making
crystal glass, Modra ceramics and other products. Shortly after that I
started what is now the Slovak Import Company. Dan Kisha
***Hi Daniel, I have referred TARG members to your website over the years.
Thank you for the wonderful service you offer. I will put your latest
contact info in this issue.
---Hi Paul: Somehow my name was dropped from the newsletter list. I
would love to receive them again. I'm researching Liesek and Helpa for
Dzumela, Drevenak, Rusnak, Polacek, and Hrncarik ancestry. Thank you very
much. Diana Hepner
***Hello Diana, glad to have you back. I will put your address back in
the database. I believe we still have a book for sale about Helpa. I found
it at a used book shop in Zilina and brought it back because it was about
one of our TARG villages. Go to the TARG website at www.mytarg.net and click
on "New: Special Books, Maps, etc. for Sale " - Paul
---Hello Paul, Your Nov 2000 Newsletter states "...Lapsze Nizne church
records photographed last Summer...." I saw the 2 family names that I am
interested in from that village: CZEMPA (became Sempa) and SOLTISZ. Grandma Soltis married a Sempa in the 1890's and had a child (Aunt Julia) prior to immigration in 1896 to Pittston, PA. (Also a family friend NOVAK shows up.
Who has these records?, how can I get a peek? Thank you in advance. - Tom
Salmon, grandson of Maria Soltisz Sempa
***Hi Tom, I am getting ready to leave for a week, returning on August
29th. If you would be interested in me getting these records on to CD, this
is a project I could probably entertain starting in September.
---Dear Paul, Pursuing some old postings on your site I saw you looking for
info. on Soltys family in Czarna Gora or Jurgov. I imagine you have already
found them, but we recently got some info about my husbands family from
Czarna Gora (Koval, we think Kovaly there) and found some relatives
(perhaps) living there with the with the name Soltys. I can share those with
you if you still need. We are struggling with how to get there from Prague
which we are visiting next week! Had no idea we would be going to Poland.
Your website is very interesting. I wish we had started this research
sooner! - Margaret Power Koval
***Hi Margaret, Yes, I would like to see any photos or information you may
have on Soltys from Czarna Gora. Thank you for the kind offer! We'll discuss
that when you return. Now for your trip: At this late date, I would plan to
take the train from Prague to Krakow, Poland. This may be a ten hour ride or
longer, depending on the route and express status of the train. Once in Krakow, you can then take a bus to Nowy Targ. On any given day there are many big buses waiting on the curb outside the train station in Krakow from dawn to late
evening going south to the resort town of Zakopane. These all go through
Nowy Targ to get there. The price will be about three US dollars and the 1 1/2
hour ride to Nowy Targ is glorious! Once in Nowy Targ grab a taxi (with a
driver that speaks English if you need one) outside the bus station and head
for Czarna Gora. The price may be $50, but it will be worth it -- and you
will have a free translator, too. You can do this in reverse to get back to
Prague. Round trip you will need at least 3 days to do this, unless you
can do the long train rides at night in a sleeping car (cost extra) and try
to sleep. I don't recommend it. If you can't find relatives to put you up
for a night once you are in Czarna Gora, know that there aren't any hotels
there -- but there are lots of "bed & breakfasts" in the area. The taxi
driver can help you find one, but any place with a sign "Noclegi" or "Pokoj" or "Zimmer" (German) means they have a place to stay. They are usually cheap, comfy, and lots of fun, too. Enjoy! - Paul
---Hi Paul, Have been meaning to contact you. I really enjoyed your talk
about the Tatra area at the February CGSI Symposium. I am the program chair
for the Polish Genealogy Society of California, and wonder if you would be
part of my Polish Border program which highlights the different
countries/areas that border Poland (some pieces of which were part of
Poland at one time or another!). The next meeting date I am looking for a
speaker is Sept 24. We meet at the FHC/library in Santa Monica. Please let
me know if you would be interested in speaking to this group. Our general
meeting is at 2:30 and you would be the only speaker. - Annette
***Hi Annette, I would be delighted. - Paul
---Hi Paul, I wanted to thank you for the records you had on Bialka, Poland.
It was a treasure trove of information about my family. I finally learned
the names of my great grandparents and also that my grandfather did have a
sister. I hope to visit Bialka in the future now that I have the information
that I needed. Once again Thank you. - Shirley
***Shirley, you are very welcome. - Paul
---Dear Paul: I am writing to you seeking urgent assistance on how to go
about getting information about a man named Joseph Hornik who was born in
Durstin, Slovakia about Dec. 28, 1878. He immigrated to America about 1903. We know that his father's name was Jacob and his mother's maiden name was
Mary Timek, both also of Durstin, Slovakia. As I have learned Durstin was
taken over by Poland in a treaty in 1920. Poland now spells it as Dursztyn.
The question in my mind several months ago was how to find birth records of
Slovaks who were born when Durstin was part of Slovakia. I made contact
with Archives in Krakow who gave me the address Parrafia Sw. Marcina,
Krempachy, Nowa Biala, Poland. I made a few phone calls there asking for
Joseph Hornik's birth or Christening Records. A very fine Pastor sent me a
listing of Joseph Hornik's single line lineage naming his forefathers &
mothers & godparents to 1746. Now, at this time I had a further request but
because I don't speak or write Polish, I have reached a point where I
really need more help. I hope you can assist me. What can I do to find out
IF JOSEPH had any BROTHERS & SISTERS & their names and birth dates. We need the information before August 25th so we can prove with certainty that he is or is not a relative. I would be very grateful for any leads or information you can give me. I am assisting an 83 1/2 year elderly man from my parish church in getting the information for him. Thank You very much !!!! Sincerely Yours, Agnes Gecik, Cleveland, Ohio
***Dear Agnes, Dursztyn is one of the "Spisz" villages that was Slovak until
1920, then became Polish. Therefore the Krakow archives do not have any
records for you. As far as I see it, you only have three options:
(1) Write back to the Krempachy priest and have him do more investigation in
the old parish records (originals) he has of the parish. (Dursztyn has its
own parish church now, but the older records from long ago are likely all
still in Krempachy.)
(2) Write to the archives in Spisska Kapitula, Slovakia where copies of the
Durstin records are kept.
(3) Try and find evidence on THIS side of the Atlantic linking your friend
If you need this information before August 25th you may well be out of luck.
Certainly replies from Krempachy may take longer than that. Option 2 is not
viable -- most TARG members get no replies from the Spisska Kapitula,
Slovakian archives by writing -- they find visiting is the only way. Option
3 is worth a try. Did the relative that came to the US ever obtain Social
Security? Did they become US citizens? Did they marry in the US? Then the
Freedom of Information Act will allow you to obtain copies of the forms they
filled out for Soc. Security and Naturalization. A church here in the States
might also have records naming the mother and father and perhaps other
information. Have you
checked US census records or ships passenger records? Much of this is online
now and may shed some light on the family and the connection. I hope this
helps you. Good luck! - Paul
---Dear Paul, I would like to sign up to post and participate. Family is
from Podhradi Trencim, Czarna Woda and Biala Woda. Surnames I have in
documents are: BUZIK BUCHA BUHA BUSIK NAGRANT NAGRAND KARPIAK SZAPRALA ZAPRALA OBERTAN STANCHAK KASPRIAK KULKA DANOWSKI KOSMONSKI DOLKANOZYK SOCHODOLSKI SCHOLDOLOSKI MORYLAK PRONCHAK BURC ISTVANIK SZERLICKA GREENJACK KONOWAL HARWAN SUCHODOLSKI WOLF PATRICK - Ginger Bruntrager, Skippack, PA
***Dear Ginger, Thank you for sharing your village and family names you are
researching. Nice to have you aboard! I will include your name in our
e-Newsletter list. You are free to go to our TARG website at
www.mytarg.net and post your information for the rest of the group. Just
click on the "Guestbook" link. - Paul
---Hello Paul, I am searching for members of PERSOV/PERSOFF family. - Thia
Persoff, Cambria, CA
***Hi Thia, Would like to help - do you know where they came from?
Nationality? Religion? - Paul
TATRA MOUNTAINS BOOK - PART 3__________
The Tatra Mountains are high enough to have full-size, regulation
glaciers, and quite a few of its peaks rise above the line of eternal snow.
But the precipitous faces and the narrow arêtes present too little
opportunity for the snow to accumulate in large masses. So, only hardened,
white tongues survive throughout the summer in the northern gullies of the
High Tatras, particularly on the northern sides; and in places patches of
ice linger near the summits. There are, however, at least two real glaciers,
smallish things it is true, but quite unmistakable. The best known is that
of Miedziane Lawke (Copper Benches) in the northern face of Lomnica Peak.
Although less than a thousand yards long, it is made of solid moving ice,
with crevasses and ice grottoes. The other lies in the Snow Kettle in the
rocks of Lodowy (2,630 m), one of the highest peaks. Lodowy in Polish, or
Lodovy in Slovak, means "icy" -- an appropriate name. But this baby-glacier
is difficult to access, and has, therefore, escaped the wider publicity of
the first; it contains considerably fewer tins and plum stones.
The limestone portions of the mountains abound in caves and grottoes, only
partly explored, and every year brings new discoveries in the subterranean
world. The most spectacular grottoes, over a mile in length, are the
Belanske Kupele in the Belan Tatra on the Slovak side.
The lower reaches of the Tatra valleys and the foothills are covered with
spruce, silver fir, pine, larch and beech trees, some of them magnificent
specimens with trunks many feet in girth. Not so very long ago the forest
spread wide in all directions around the Tatras. It linked up in the north
with the woods of the Gorce Mountains, and in the south the Nether Tatras, a
parallel, lower mountain range on the other side of the Liptov Valley, stood
out dark and forbidding among a sea of spruce and pine. Wild beasts and
fierce robbers roamed those woods. The population was scant and nondescript.
In the ninth century the Magyar hordes overran the Slovak lands in the
south. They went pillaging and murdering throughout the rich Pannonian
palins and the horror-striken Slavs fled for refuge to the northern
mountains. When in later years the Magyars settled down and founded the
Kingdom of Hungary, the south slopes of the Tatras fell under its sway,
while the north remained under the somewhat shadowy rule of the Polish kings
who sat on the Cracow throne.
But slowly nearer and nearer to the mountains. Already in the sixteenth
century most of the now existing settlements of the Rocky Highlands received
mention in legal documents and the towns of the fertile Liptov Valley had
even achieved considerable prosperity long before that time. in 1412 the
Hungarian King Sigismund of Luxemburg pawned to Poland "the thirteen Spish
townships", south of the Tatras, in return for the loan of "threescore forty
thousand Prague grosses". The sum was never repaid and the thirteen
townships were administered for 360 years by Polish "starostas" (sheriffs),
until in 1772 Austro-Hungarian troops of Empress Maria-Theresa marched in
and occupied the district, without any opposition from the Poles. It was the
first move in the First Partition of Poland. Soon after, the same year most
of South Poland was likewise seized by the Austrians, and thus the Tatras
fell under Hapsburg domination. Spish (or Zips) was incorporated in the
Kingdom of Hungary, and the northern area became an Austrian domain as part
of the new province of Galicia and Lodomeria.
But the people of the Tatras still lived much in the same old way, and the
arm of the law and the human greed, which so often went with it, was too
weak to impose serfdom on the Tatra freeholders. The wild forests were
beyond the reach of the Austrian and Hungarian gendarmes, and the Tatramore
later, were their real rulers.
The interest in the mountains for the mountains' sake did not come yet,
and though the district was visited from time to time by bold travelers,
they seldom ventured far into the Tatras, so that it remained all but
unknown. One of the remarkable exceptions was an Englishman, Robert Townson, who in 1793 made the first fully authentical ascent of Lomnica, then reputed to be the highest peak of the group.
For all this the Tatras for a thousand years had not known war. The
occupation of 1772 was completed without fighting. And when the Hapsburg
Empire fell in 1918 and independent Poland and Slovakia took their places on
the Tatras' slopes, the change ended in a few local disturbances, but was
otherwise peaceful. It was Hitler's Germany that first brought the torch of
war to the Tatra Mountains, when in September, 1939 the Alpine divisions of
General List clashed into Poland across their passes.
Such fighting as there had been before was limited to skirmishes between
the Tatra freebooters and manor guards or gendarmes, and private
"misunderstanding" between noble families; the feudal castles and fortified
residences scattered on the edges of the old forest land bearing witness to
the strifes of the past.
(We will continue with Chapter 2 "The Robbers" in next month's issue.)
^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v^v CONTACTING TARG_____________________
To contact the TARG Editor, the new e-mail address is: TatraAreaResearchGroup-AT-gmail-DOT-com. 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 address above, go ahead and use the old address. It is still: targ_net-AT-hotmail-DOT-com.
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