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Newsletter for June 2008

   Ahojte (welcome) TARG members! Here is your TARG e-newsletter for June, 2008.
   Every year I get at least one letter from someone leaving shortly for the 'old country', wanting to discover their roots and steadfastly believing that if "they can just get over there" they will discover all of their ancestry back to Adam and every facet of their family's mysterious history. While there is a wealth of information available in Slovakia and Poland regarding our ancestors and our family's unique histories, just going over there unprepared for a week or two will most assuredly not lead to the outcome they were hoping for.
   For those who do their homework before they go, the outcomes are very often more rewarding, though also certainly not guaranteed. There is also a wealth of information here in North America that when tapped, can lead to many clues needed for success across the ocean. I urge you who are thinking of going to avail yourselves of the Slovak records microfilmed by the LDS church. There are also so many clubs, organizations, and libraries who can help in your search on this side of the ocean. Let us help, if we can and try to write possible relatives over there first before you go. Chances are work on your part here first will pay off big over there.
 - Paul Bingham, TARG Founder
  1. TARG's official website: www.e-TARG.org!
  2. TARG's message posting pages: www.e-targ.org/Resources/GB_archive/index.html
  3. Daniel Kisha's Slovak Import Company website: www.SlovakIC.com.)
  4. Michal Razus website: www.slovak-ancestry.com.
  5. List of all Tarnow Parishes: http://adt.sl.pl/index.php?option=com_zasob&task=parafie_all

YOUR LETTERS___________
---Hi Paul, We have a whole group going to Velka Lesna, SK soon and many have Hutnik/Hutnak Roots. One tour-goer Carol says she’s found a baptismal certificate for a child that was born to her great grandparents Joannes Hutnik & Sophia Csupka. They were living in Richvald (Velka Lesna) and that was the birthplace of Sophia. It says Joannes birthplace was “Sromecz.” I think it begins with an “S”, but it could be an “F”. She wonders if that could be a Polish town because Polish spelling uses lot of “CZ”s. It’s not too long now before we travel. I looked in the book of Slovak surnames and nothing was remotely close. Can you help? Paul, thanks so much. I will mention your site to all our travelers! - Helene
***Hi Helene, A good rule of thumb is to always look close by. Our ancestors a century or more ago rarely traveled any farther than their feet or a horse-drawn cart could carry them in a day, unless a shipping agent sold them a ticket to America. In this case I think "Sromecz" is referring to Sromowce, a village named for Sromowka swamp along the Dunajec and just across the river from Cerveny Klastor. You can see part of it from the river rafts, and with a backdrop of Pieniny Park it is lovely! There are two villages now: Sromowce Wyzne and Sromowce Nizne. Flooding in 1334 divided the village into the two halves seen today. Like nearby Velka Lesna, this was a Goral village, too. But the old records will likely be in the Polish churches there with copies in the central Roman Catholic archives in Krakow. - Paul
---Dear Paul, Thank you for the information about the town of Rzepiska. I have just recently begun researching my family from the 'Tatras' region of what is now Poland. My father's mother and his father's side of the family were from there. They married in Chicago IL. I will attach a short ancestor chart with the information that I have so far. I have also been in contact with Karen Melis, who is the Group Administrator for the Zamagurie Region Dual Geographic DNA Project. She is also looking into some things for me. I have never visited there, but I would love to go sometime. It looks very beautiful. I still have relatives from my grandmother's side of the family (originally Trop; now Buntova) who now live in Trnava, Slovakia. Based on ship passenger records, I believe this family once lived in Czerna Gorna (sp?) in early 1900's and before. I still have much to figure out!! One problem, as you pointed out, is the many possible spellings of the towns and family names. My family name, Vojensky, seems to be spelled in many different ways. Any further information that you can provide would be very helpful. Thank you, - Denise G.
***Hi Denise, Here's my family chart showing some of the spelling changes. This is because the nationality in the same villages went from Slovak to Hungarian, to Austrian, to Polish, etc. The individual villages changed names, too. I have a book I got in Slovakia (Nazvi Obci) that lists villages and the changes to each over the last 3 or 4 centuries. Some changed spelling or the whole name outright half a dozen times! As you go back in your lines, don't be surprised to extend the number of villages to research in. People often liked to marry those from neighboring villages, and so the circle gets bigger over the generations. Look at my chart - it is a good example. Thanks, - Paul
--- Paul, Thank you very much for the information and links. I was very successful in finding my relatives history in Lacko. Your info was excellent. Thanks again, Stefan
***Hi Stefan, Here's a little more information on the Tarnow Archives website. I would contact them - they may have records digitally you can view.
   List of all Tarnow Parishes:
   List of the copies of Lacko parish records in the Tarnow archives (I don't know if these are available digitally or not.):
http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=pl&u=http://adt.sl.pl/&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=1&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3Ddiecezja%2Btarnow%2Barchiwum%26hl%3Den%26rlz%3D1T4SUNA_enUS257US258 (Please note: You will have to cut-and-paste this Google translation link into a new browser window for it to work.)
- Paul
(Even more of your mail next time!)

   While at long last the decades-old stalemate with regard to the LDS being allowed to film records in the Czech Republic’s government archives seems to finally be over, a May 2008 article in the American Chronicle seems to throw cold water on Roman Catholic records in places like Slovakia. The Vatican Congregation for Clergy just issued a letter directing all Catholic bishops to keep the LDS from microfilming and digitizing information in Catholic registers.
   In response Msgr. J. Terrence Fitzgerald, vicar general of the Diocese of Salt Lake City said the order was unnecessary because current policy already accomplishes their goals. "We have a policy not to give out baptismal records to anyone unless they are entitled to have them," said Msgr. Fitzgerald. "That isn't just for the Church of the Latter-day Saints. That is for all groups." The LDS (Mormons) are not the only people who use the Catholic records. People of all faiths, from all nations are interested in pursuing family history research.
  The article ended by saying: “Hopefully Mormons, Catholics, and genealogists of all faiths can unite in prayer that those who are responsible for this decision will reconsider, particularly as the consequences of this policy become manifest."

Chapter 7 "The White Room and the Black Room" continues:
   Such houses are still to be found here and there, especially in the villages remote from the main lines of communication and the novelties they bring. But they are becoming scarce.
   In the western part of the Highlands, called Orava, houses are bigger and have two stories, the rooms of the first floor being accessible by means of a staircase and a gallery running all along the front wall. The generous portions of the 'black room' are indicated by the old prescription that it should be possible to turn round a cart with two hourses inside it. Only rich gazdas, however, could afford to carry out this prescription to the letter. The floor of the Orava 'black room' is made of beaten clay. Orava cottages have no halls, and their 'black' and 'white' rooms are contiguous.
   In the second half of the last century (1800s) a Polish architect Stanislaw Witkiewicz developed the so-called Zakopane style, based on traditional Goral building art, but somewhat more sophisticated. Most of the older and many of the new wooden and even brick buildings in Zakopane follow this style, though lately a whole mass of horrible outcrop of so-called 'modernity' has done much to spoil the character of the place.
   Local wooden churches, some of them two and more centuries old, are of considerable interest. In ecclesiastic architecture, village builders strove to imitate in wood the stone and brick Gothic churches they had seen in towns. They had, however, to rely on their own experience and often introduced various features of the local style, such as steep roofs covered with shingles and protruding beyond the walls, or carved beams to support the rafters of the nave. No genuine local style of the church architecture has been evolved, but the effect of the blend is extremely characteristic and generally pleasing to the eye. The mixture of Goral wood motives, decorated with bright colours, with the austere granite Gothic of the main Zakopane church is less happy. But a similar combination of wood and stone without colours, as represented by the tourist hotel in Hala Gasiennicowa, may be quite pleasant.
   (Chapter 8 "Sudden Cross and Sorrowing Christ" of Firsoff's 1946 book will begin in our next issue.).

CONTACTING TARG_____________________
   To contact the TARG Editor, the new e-mail address is: TatraAreaResearchGroupgmail. 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 targ_nethotmail.)
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