© The Zamagurze Area Research Project -- all rights reserved
Bi-monthly Newsletter #1, November-December 1998
Hello, and welcome to our first official regular newsletter. You are
receiving this issue and future editions by email if you are online, and by
regular U.S. mail if you are not.
By way of introduction, I edit "Vcera a dnes" (Yesterday and Today),
the official journal of the Czech & Slovak Genealogical Society of Arizona.
Your name and particular villages you are researching have been
gathered from various internet sources and from the Slovak Pride and
SLRP databases. There are currently over 1400 entries in our ZARP
surname list from people researching their ancestry in this beautifully
rugged mountain region of southern Poland and northern Slovakia.
In addition many of you have sent photos, maps, charts, histories,
books, and even video to share your knowlege of the area with others
who are also researching here. Our heart-felt thanks to all who have
contributed in big and small ways to open our understanding of the
land our immigrant ancestors once knew as home!

THE STUDY AREA AND ITS HISTORY_____________________________
Our small study area in the Tatra mountains (east of the popular
European ski resort town of Zakopane, Poland) is a circle with a
radius of 15 km -- or a little less than 9 miles. Its center is just north
of the village of Osturna, Slovakia. It encompasses, therefore, the
Dunajec, Bialka and Rieka river valleys of Poland and Slovakia. The
area is known locally as "Zamagurze" (Polish) and "Zamagurie"
(Slovak). This comes from "za + Magura" meaning "beyond the Magura"
(a Slovakian mountain range south of the study area).
The borders -- indeed the governments -- impacting this area's villages
and peoples have changed many times since our ancestors started
leaving for America in the mid 1800s.
Poland presently governs the northwest two-fifths of our study area
circle and Slovakia the rest. Prior to 1920 Slovakia governed nearly all
of the study area, with Poland controlling only a portion around the
northwest edge. The rest of the study area was governed by Slovakia.
Two years before that the nation of Poland did not exist and hadn't
for over a century prior. It had been "partitioned" and sections were
controlled by other European powers. The little edge portion in our study
area was part of Galicia -- a crownland of the Austrian Empire. The rest
(now Slovakia) was then part of the Hungarian Empire. These two
nations were formed into a "dual monarchy" with the Hapsburgs of
Vienna as emperors of both empires.
But irregardless of the governmental changes, the Goralka (Highlander)
peoples of this region maintained their unique culture and life -- a mix of
both Polish and Slovak. These were mostly poor farmers, working hard to
grow crops in thin soils and short growing seasons.
To this day the people work the land with animals pulling the plows and
carts and walk to their simple churches for services, even in snowy
weather. Our research area is known to have included ancestors whose
religious affiliation was of the Roman Catholic, Greek Catholic (Rusyn),
Evangelical (Lutheran) and Jewish faiths.
The area is still much as it has been for centuries. The valleys and
streams coming from the rocky snow-strewn peaks are dotted with small
villages of clustered timber houses. The forest and wildlife are always
close and scenery spectacular.

PROJECT TEAM LEADERS______________________________________
In order to handle the load of incoming information, the study area has
been broken up into segments of multiple nearby villages. Each segment has
a Team Member (or will soon have one) who has experience with research in
the area, has ancestors from the segment's villages and is motivated and
helpful to assist you with your questions. So far nine Team Members have
been authorized. They are listed here with the villages they oversee and
how to get ahold of them by email.
__Team Member:__Oversees:_____________________________________
1) Soraya Bambha: Dursztyn, Lapszanka and Lapsze Wyzne
2) Michael Churilla: Cerveny Klastor, Havka, Lechnica, Lysa nad Dunajcom
(Kalemberg), Matiasovce, Majere, Niedzica, Spisska Stara Ves and Zalesie
3) Peggy Cingle: Jurgow, Podspady, Rzepiska and Tatranska Javorina
4) K. Melis: Falsztyn, Frydman, Kacwin and Lapsze Nizne
5) Bill Rushin: Bialka, Brzegi, Bukowina Tatrzanska, Gliczarow, Gron,
Kurucowski Wierch, Lesnica and Male Ciche
6) Carole Saloomey: Zdiar
7) William Serchak: Czarna Gora, Nowa Biala and Trybsz
8) Megan Smolenyak: Osturna, Mala Frankova and Velka Frankova
9) Mary Taylor Jurgow, Podspady, Rzepiska and Tatranska Javorina
___Special Project Consultant:_______________________________
Richard F. Iglar
___Team Leader:__Oversees:_______________________________
Paul K. Bingham All other villages (until assigned a Team Member)
including: Czorsztyn, Debno, Grywald, Hagy, Haligovce, Haluszowa,
Harklova, Huba, Jezersko, Kluszkowce, Knurow, Krempachy, Kroscienko,
Krosnica, Lopuszna, Maniowy, Mizerna, Relov, Spisska Hanusovce,
Sromowce Nizne, Sromowce Wyzne, Szlembark, Tylka and Velka Lesna

| If you have any information to share regarding these villages, would
| like to comment on the project or wish to contact other submitters
| please contact me and I can put you in contact with the Team Member
| in charge of your ancestral village as listed above. Thank you! -- Paul

PROJECT WEBPAGE________________________
The ZARP now has a webpage you can visit for the LATEST information.
It includes a listing of all of the more common surnames from our surname
list. It is on the Delphi Forums at:
(NOTE: If you have never visited Delphi before, it is a free commercial
forum but you will need to go through a brief registration before getting
on the first time.)

PROJECT NOTES___________________________
Some of our more industrious contributors are pouring through the old parish
record microfilms and actually compiling surnames by village for us! One
such submitter is Anthony Kromko who's family is from the Slovakian village
of Velka Frankova. This is the first list of surnames he has sent -- these
being from the death records. He apologizes for any errors in spelling, but
due to the quality of some records this list is phenominal! See if any of
your ancestor's names (or a variation) is listed here:
Blasczak, Blasesak, Czarnogorsky, Czopjak, Dufka, Frankovsky, Ganesarfsik,
Gemza, Giblyak, Granyda, Ilesak, Jurgovsky, Jzulitka, Kalafuth, Kilion,
Kovalesk, Krifsanda, Krempasky, Kromka, Lach, Leava, Lefsinisky,
Lefsniorky, Lejava, Lietman, Lyach, Mashefka, Mravesak, Penza, Petrafs,
Pisarcik, Pistek, Romanyak, Ruszniak, Sleboda, Stefanyk, Svacsak, Szilon,
Szolyava, Szsroyny, Tallarcsik, Trassek, Tropp, Tropyak, Trudnyak, Tsolendek,
Tufska, Venva, Vervon, Viesz, Vozesek, Zadziora, Zimnicka, Znacek
Thank you so much Anthony! What a great deal of tedious and eye-straining
work he has shared with everyone!
Helene B. Cincebeaux, who is an author, ethnographer, lovable guide and
the editor of "Slovakia", a wonderful quarterly publication and the "Slovak
Pride" book (which includes a database of 9000+ surnames and villages)
has done much to promote our ZARP and give encouragement. I just
heard from her and she is planning a special tour many of you may be
interested in next summer. It will be from August 13 - 24 and is a special
Tatra tour including time in Zdiar and the nearby villages in Poland
(including many of those in our ZARP area)! The cost -- which covers
everything -- is only $2199 per person. For more details you can email
her at: or website:
She needs to have at least 20 people sign up to make it a reality.
We are looking for submissions by you all to help the other contributors
better understand this Zamagurze area with anything you would like to
share. We invite you to email us at our webpage or to: or write us via U.S. mail at this address:
ZARP c/o P. Bingham
P.O. Box 31264
Mesa, AZ 85275-1264

Back to E-Newsletter list, back to Main Page.