My Slovak branches on the family tree seem to run into brick walls at every turn.
On the positive side, many of my surnames are relatively rare so you would think that would be a big help. Nope.
That’s because there are a couple of biggies on the negative side. First, many of the church records only go back to the early 1800s. Having a grandmother born in 1893 means the branches aren’t going to stretch back more than perhaps three generations. The other negative is that, even when church registers have survived, the very limited selection of given names makes it difficult to sort out which child belongs to what parents.
Let’s face it. When a baby had to be named after a saint in the Catholic church and a family chose to repeat some of that handful of names over and over, quite a tangled web can be created.
I was thrilled to discover that the church registers of Ruska Nova Ves, Slovakaia extend further back than most of the other village records I’ve used. Instead of beginning around the 1810-1820 time period, they actually start in 1762! In terms of my family research, that is way far back in time.
Ruska Nova Ves, slightly southeast of Presov
My 2X great grandmother, Anna Haluska, was baptized in Ruska Nova Ves on 14 December 1832. I have no death date for her because she apparently died after 1899, when the digitized images end. Her parents were Andreas Haluska and Maria Hovanec (spelling every way from Hovan to Hovanecz and Chovanezc).
Andreas Haluska is probably the one baptized on 30 November 1787 in Ruska Nova Ves because there are three babies by that name born there in the 1700s. First, is Andreas baptized in 1772, second is Andreas baptized in 1775 and the third is likely mine. Who were the parents of these three boys, all named Andreas Haluska? They were John and Elizabeth (no maiden name) Haluska.
The infant/child mortality rate in this area was sky high, as seen in the burial records. If we assume, for the moment, that John and Elizabeth are the parents of all three children and extrapolate back in time, then the parents could have been born about 1750 if the first Andreas was a first or second child.
This project seemed simple enough. I went through the indexed FamilySearch records to compile a list of all the children born to a John and Elizabeth Haluska in the 1772-1830 time frame.
Here are my results:
- Gislena, baptized 1764
- Andreas, baptized 1772
- Andreas, baptized 1775
- Barbara, baptized 1778
- John, baptized & buried 1784, in Solivar, 4 km away
- Andreas, baptized 1787
- Anna, baptized 1788
- John, baptized 1791
- Stephen, baptized 1794
- Maria, baptized 1797, in Petroviany (11 km away)
- Elizabeth, baptized 1801
While it is possible that the father of these children is just one man, it isn’t possible that Elizabeth is only one person. Even if she had her first child at 16, she would have been 53 when the last one was born. In this community, it was uncommon for the females to marry before 20 or 21.
A search of the death records from 1769 turned up Anna Haluska, aged 24, who was buried on 6 January 1784 and Helena Haluska, aged 62, who was buried on 30 August 1785. The burial records are missing from 1787 until 1806.
There was also an Elizabeth Haluska, who was buried there in 1782. She was noted as the child of Andreas Haluska, but no other records have been found for an Andreas Haluska who would have been an adult in the 1780s.
However, two children were baptized in nearby villages, so I checked the burial records for Solivar and Petroviany. Solivar has the burial of infant John recorded. No burials are found for Haluska in Petroviany. Interestingly, though, the priest in Solivar noted that John was “affinis” or “of somewhere nearby” and the priest in Petroviany noted that he lived in Gulyvez, which is near Ruska Nova Ves and I think today part of Vysna Sebastova.
What would you make of all this? I can’t find marriage or burial records for this family. How many John and Elizabeths do you think there were?
If I am missing a clue here, please tell me!