How Many John & Elizabeth Haluskas Were There?

Not long ago, I wrote about my great grandmother, Mary Kacsenyak who married Stephen Kucharik. Mary, or Maria as she was baptized, was the daughter of Michael Kacsenyak and Anna Haluska.

Today, I’d like to focus on Anna Haluska’s family. Haluska isn’t one of those names like Smith or Jones, but there were a fair number of them in the area around Ruska Nova Ves. In addition to that, while the church records begin in 1769, there are some gaps in the births, marriages and burials, leading to more than a few questions.

Where do I start? I’ll start with what I know:

Andreas Haluska married Maria Hovance sometime before 1829. No marriage record has been found, but it is possible that Maria was Roman Catholic, not Greek Catholic like Andreas, and they married in a neighboring parish. Marriage records have not been indexed yet in the Slovakia church register collection.

Andreas and Maria had three known children:

Maria, baptized 30 January 1831; no further record yet proved, but she is likely the Maria Haluska who married Michael Majernik. They had children born in 1871 and 1873 and lived a couple of miles away from Ruska Nova Ves in Solivar.
Anna, baptized 14 December 1832; married Michael Kacsenyak
Andreas, baptized 5 October 1834; buried 15 April 1894, according to a notation in his baptismal record

There was child of Andreas Haluska who was buried 12 December 1829, but a baptismal record indicated that he was the son of Andreas and Anna Hovance. I don’t know if that was a mistake on the part of the priest who recorded the baptism or if Andreas had a first wife, Anna Hovance. It is certainly possible because the only Andreas found in baptismal records who could be this man was baptized on 30 December 1787.

That leads to the many records found for John Haluska. Andreas was the son of John Haluska and Elizabeth. Her maiden name is not given in her children’s baptismal records and it is almost certain that there were at least two wives named Elizabeth.

Here is the mystery. John and Elizabeth Haluska were recorded as the parents of quite a few children. The villages are where the family was recorded as living at the time.

Gislena, baptized March 1764, village of Zsegnye
Andreas, baptized 24 May 1772, village of Zsegnye
Andreas, baptized 2 August 1775, village of Zsegnye
Barbara, baptized 27 April 1778, village of Zsegnye
Andreas, baptized 30 December 1787, village of Gulyvez
Anna, baptized 18 December 1789, village of Gulyvez
John, baptized 28 August 1791, village of Gulyvez
Stephen, baptized 3 August 1794, village of Gulyvez
Elizabeth, baptized 11 April 1801, village of Gulyvez
Michael, baptized November 1803, village of Gulyvez

The gap I mentioned in these church records is from 1787 until 1806. I have combed through the burial records and found two records for John Haluskas but none for possible wives named Elizabeth.

The first man was buried on 12 January 1822.

He lived in Gulyvez and was aged 70 years old, fixing his date of birth around 1752. The second man was buried on 3 December 1836, aged 66 years old, so born about 1770.

Where did he live? Yep, you guessed it – in Gulyvez. By the way, my experience has been that ages at death don’t match birth/baptismal records in this area and that they may be off by as much as five years, either young or older, if the person lived well into adulthood as these men did.

Next, it is certain John born in 1752 wasn’t the father of Gislena, but she could well be his sister. It also possible that one Elizabeth was the mother of all the children from Andreas born in 1772 up to Stephen born in 1794 or of the children from Andreas born in 1787 through Michael born in 1803, but not of all these children. A lack of burial records for any Elizabeth Haluska is a definite handicap here.

Is it significant that the first four children were born in Zsegnye and the rest in Gulyvez? Maybe, but maybe not. The men in these villages were all peasant tenant farmers. They owned the clothes on their backs and not much more.

It is 4.9 miles from Zsegnye (today, Zehna) to Gulyvez (today Dulova Ves). Gulyvez is quite a bit closer to Solivar and Presov, which is important when you have to walk places to get there. (Side note: You can see Vysna Sebastova and Severna, home of the Kucharik clan about whom I’ve also written, in the top right corner of the map.)

It is definitely possible that John of Zsegnye moved to Gulyvez, which was closer to the action, so to speak with children born in both villages.

However, there is another possibility, which I think is the most likely scenario. With the two Johns born roughly 18 years apart, I need to consider a father and son, both named John and both married to a woman named Elizabeth. The church records are mighty slim for those first years from 1769 to 1787. It’s also very possible that the second John was born, say in 1769 or even 1768, before these records begin. It is also possible that the elder John’s wife, Elizabeth, died between 1787 and 1806.

My working hypothesis right now, which may never change because of lack of records, is that there was a third John born no later than 1742 who married Elizabeth (MNU) and they were the parents of Gislena and probably other children whose births are lost to time. Among those children was John the second who also married an Elizabeth (MNU) and raised their family (children born 1772-1778) in Zsegnye. It is possible that this second Elizabeth died in the 1787-1806 time period. As John #2 reached his senior years, he moved to Gulyvez to live with his son’s family. This would be John #3 married to Elizabeth (MNU) #3. John #2 would be the man who died in 1822.

John #3 and Elizabeth #3 were the parents of the children born 1787 through 1803.

For those who would question the gap in births from 1794 to 1801, believe me, if you read the burial records for these villages, you wouldn’t wonder. Some women had ten children and only two survived to adulthood.

For those who wonder about the odds of three Johns all being married to women named Elizabeth, the five most popular given names for girls were Maria, Anna, Elizabeth, Barbara and Susanna. There weren’t many options after that chosen by families in this area.

If you’ve been able to follow this Haluska trail, do you agree with my hypothesis?


One thought on “How Many John & Elizabeth Haluskas Were There?”

  1. From what I can gather, I do agree. It’s so frustrating when the records are so sparse, but it sounds like you have a good grasp on what’s available and what was typical for the area. Who would have ever though the name Haluska would be so common as to create confusion!

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