TATRA AREA RESEARCH GROUP
(c) TARG (Formerly ZARP & PARG) All rights reserved.
Newsletter for March 2001
Vi'tanje & Powitanie! (Welcome!)
Greetings to all of you TARG members, and a special welcome to another
large number of researchers who this month join us for the very first time.
Our thanks to many who have visited the TARG website at:
http://targ.1avenue.com and used the simple guestbook feature to list their
villages and surnames. All entries are available for viewing and searching.
With over fifty sign-ins already, there's a huge list that gets bigger every
day! If you haven't been by to look or post your information, then please do.
An Editor's Special Note: Helene needs to reserve our flights for this
August's Góral Homecoming Trip ASAP. A simple $300 deposit now gets you on
the list. At the Catholic Bishop's invitation we'll visit the Spisska
Kapitula Archives, which kept records for all of Orawa, Liptov and Spis.
This trip is longer than the previous trip, yet it is nearly the same price
with more opportunities to do your village visits. We will also see many
more Polish and Orava places and spend a day in Bratislava! YOU REALLY
CANNOT AFFORD TO MISS THIS TRIP!
It's a dream come true! (More info below!)
* Paul K. Bingham
WEBSITES TO CHECK OUT_________
1) Cousin Lucjan has been busy adding Spisz content to his Jurgow
webpage at: http://republika.pl/lsoltys/
2) Osturna has its own extensive website at: http://www.myfamily.com
3) There is a new Slovak e-mail address database at:
http://www.people.sk/hladaj.asp?id Put a few letters of a name with an
asterisk and get a listing of all names. Unlike the online telephone
directory, you need not fill in name and town.
LEARNING ABOUT THE JEWS OF ORAWA_______________
(Part two of a conversation between Gary Luke, a Jewish TARG member from
Australia and Paul Bingham. Compiled by Paul Bingham, Rearranged into topics
by Gary Luke)
Gary: There are a few researchers on JewishGen with ancestors from villages
of Orawa & Spisz, the areas of Slovakia turned over to Poland in 1920.
Paul: There are specific Jewish microfilmed records available through your
local LDS (Mormon) Family History Library. The info I sent you is an excerpt
from our free monthly e-mail newsletter. Namestovo had the Jewish records
for the Orawa area, but nothing from Poland itself. Gary: Yes, I have the
LDS CD Catalogue, so checked your list. Most are Catholic, very few Jewish
or Evangelic Church. I already have transcripts of a couple of them, from
Trstena (#2062256) and Namestovo (#2004578), from the 1850s on. From these
two a more general theme is that Namestovo had Jewish records from the
Slovakian towns of Orawa, Trstena has the Polish towns. That's an
approximation. I don't know which towns are in the Dolny Kubin records as I
haven't viewed them yet. My father might remember your family. What was
their family name?
Paul: My family names are: Hruska (Gruszka, Polish spelling), Vojtanek
(Wojtanek Polish spelling), Styrczula, Michniak, Stosel, Tylka, Toczek,
Plucensky, Sarapata, Kuruc, Madeja, Soltis (Soltys Polish spelling), Trzop
(also Tzopp, Trzob, Tropp), Rzepiscak and Tropiak (Tropianka). Some of these
appear in the Slovakian letters my grandmother had, others from parish
record research I completed over there.
Gary: Some of the names are familiar to my 85-year-old father, but he
couldn't remember any individuals. He remembered this when I asked about
Michniak. Rzepiscak is derived from the word meaning potato. Vojtanek and
Soltis are words meaning small town mayor or leader. Would it be possible to
get a copy of your grandmother's old letters? I'm building a bit of a
memorial archives of the Jews of the area.
Paul: Of course you are very welcome have a copy of the letter I referred
to. Which village(s) under Orava lake did your ancestors come from? There
were five including Slanica.
Gary: Thanks for the offer of you family letter, and the TARG newsletter,
too. Not all of the family names I listed before were direct ancestors -
ancestral names, probably brothers or cousins. Which were the five villages?
Paul: The five villages lost under the lake were Hamre, Lavkovo, Osada,
Ustie and Slanica.
Gary: Shiffer and Tandlich were in Ustie, Wichs in Slanica. There were a few
Krausz families in Hamre, Osada & Ustie, Jews, but not my ancestral names.
These are all from the 1850 Jewish records. Your list of LDS films didn't
mention #622958-61, Census of the taxable population of Hungary 1828, Árva
Megye. I haven't viewed it yet.
Paul: Thank you for reminding me of the 1828 Hungarian census. I am familiar
with the rolls from Szepes (Spis, Slovakia) from where I also have ancestry.
Yes, this would be a good source for you also. Arva is the Hungarian name
for Orava county. Did you know there are also 1717 and 1770 census available
from the LDS on microfilm as well? I've seen these, too. Bill Serchak
extracted the Spisz village surnames from these which we ran in a past issue
of the newsletter.
Gary: Do you know the film numbers? I can't find them on the catalogue.
There's a set of censuses of Jews in Hungary from 1725 to 1775, LDS films
#1529693-699, but it's before Jews were required to take on fixed surnames.
Most have patronymic names like "Isaac son of Elias". They could give me a
bit of a demographic view of the period, but I doubt that I could connect
any to my family until I know more.
Paul: There was also a census in 1869, I believe. It was much more detailed
and included spouses and children, too. Almost as good as parish records for
the depth of information they contain. Those have not been microfilmed in
Slovakia except for Zemplin county. The rest you would have to go to the
local archives to research.
Gary: From the number of families with particular surnames in 1850 it seems
they might have been there for two to four generations. As I go backwards I
half expect to find a small wave of Jews arriving from somewhere in the
second half of the 1700s, maybe from deeper in Hungary, with a smaller
number already present. That's only a guess.
Paul: You will be surprised as you go back generations how the circle of
villages widens that include your ancestors. Many of the common surnames you
did find in those other villages will undoubtedly be found to have
connections somewhere in your own family lines. Gary: Among Jews there
were a few social stratas - some family groups intermarry a bit, but
separate to other groups. Most don't show this pattern clearly, but I can
see traces of it back in the 1850s as I look at my family names. The "higher
class" have relatives in Budapest, while the "lower" have relatives around
Spisske and Orawa. My father's parents were a "mixed marriage" across social
stratas. His maternal grandmother was always a bit disgusted that her
daughter married below her strata. Do you know of a good history book of the
Paul: The best single book available for area history is a new one out just
last year covering the Tatras. I brought one back from my trip there in Fall
of 1999. You can get it sent to you from at least one book seller in Zvolen,
Slovakia at: http://www.akademik.sk/~look who ships to the U.S. and Canada
for US$31. The book about the Tatra is excellent, and the best single source
Gary: With that recommendation I'll let my family know what they're giving
me for my birthday in a couple of weeks.
Paul: There is another book (which I have not read yet) specifically about
Tatra Jews during the war for $21 from Amazon.com. It's entitled "Nor the
Moon by Night : Across the Treacherous Tatra Mountains, the Bobov Chassidim
Seek a Haven from the War" by Devora Gliksman. There is also another
collection of 16 books (15,000 pages) now out of print from Poland dating
from 1880 to 1902 which gives detailed history information about every
village from most all of the Slavic countries. Although it is entirely in
Polish, a five page key in English can let you decipher it. The books are
available from the LDS on Fiche. It is called the Slownik Geograficzny and
is available as fiche sets covering sections of the alphabet. The fiche
numbers are: 6068506 thru 6068521. I ordered the entire stack (about 175
fiches) and it cost me close to $30. An extremely rich resource. Gary:
Thanks for these references - I found the Slownik Geograficzny on the LDS
catalogue. In Australia, LDS films are $6 for 6 weeks plus a few $extra to
keep foreign language films here for a few months. About AU$150 for the
whole set of films. I don't know the fiche rate.
Paul: In the U.S. its only about 17 to 20 cents per Fiche. Much cheaper than
microfilm and much easier to read when it comes to pages in reference books
like these are.
Gary: I intend to put a few things on a web site sometime, but I don't know
when I'll get around to it. This might prompt me to. Thank you for your
help. I also just received a very detailed reply from someone on the Jewish
Hungarian SIG about what the various Census columns contain as well as
microfilm roll numbers for the earlier Census records. ***NOTE: Our thanks
to Gary Luke and his father for their wonderful insights.
Gary would love to hear from anyone who would like to discuss further
information about the region, and especially its Jewish heritage. Contact
him at: firstname.lastname@example.org (We'll have part two in an upcoming issue.)
ARE YOUR ANCESTORS IN POLAND & SLOVAKIA CALLING?_____
"Our Góral Homecoming trip is this summer Aug. 8 - 20. This is a rare
opportunity to immerse in-depth in the Spis and Orava regions of Slovakia
and Poland. We specialize in re-uniting long-lost families and have a 96%
success rate - it's so heartwarming. This is only the second time in 13
years we have visited exclusively all of these wonderful Góral sites. If you
would like more information on the trip, please write or call toll-free:
When you get to Slovakia and Poland, you will fall in love with these
beautiful countries and their warm and welcoming people and incredibly rich
cultural and folk heritage."
All best wishes,
TAC Treasures Tours
151 Colebrook Dr.
Rochester NY 14617
toll free phone number 1 888/529-7150
TARG MAKES FRONT PAGE______________
TARG member Megan Smolenak, author of "In Search of Our Ancestors" (the
companion book to PBS "Ancestors" series) also edits the "Smolenak Family
Newsletter". It's devoted to descendants from Osturna, a TARG Rusyn Spis
village on the Slovak/Polish border. The latest issue has TARG on the cover
with coverage of the connections between the village of Lapsze Nizne and
Osturna as found in the Lapsze Nizne parish records being researched by TARG
member Joanne Klco Lorincz. The interconnections are numerous! Thanks to
both of you for your fine work!
See something we left out? Found something to share with the group? To
contact TARG, the e-mail address is: TARG_NET@hotmail.com Our new website is at: http://targ.1avenue.com (Come give it a visit!...also
www.1avenue.com/targ will get you there.) TARG's mailing address is: P.O.
Box 3533, Escondido, CA 92033.
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