It’s been quite a while since I’ve written about my father’s side of the family so I decided it was time. My 2X great grandmother was Maria Patorai and she married John Scerbak in Udol, Slovakia. The family is small even today, but it was even smaller in the early 1800s.
In fact, there is only one Patorai to be found in those earliest Udol church registers – Andrej/Andreas Patorai who married Maria Janoskova. They had one known child, John, born c1810. There are no known surviving church registers for Udol before 1828, so there is a bit of a gap to cover here.
However, Patorai in whichever spelling is quite a rare surname, so I took a look at FamilySearch to see if the name appears in other Slovak villages. It did, but not very often, so I examined the registers much more closely for two other towns, Lipovce and Nizny Slavkov, which are the only ones that have Patorai in the baptismal records on FamilySearch.
Udol, Nizny Slavkov and Lipovce
Source: Google Maps
The distance from Udol to Nizny Slavkov is about 20 miles. From Udol to Lipovce is about 38 miles. The distance from Nizny Slavkov to Lipovce is 25 miles. None were exactly day trips back in the 18th and 19th centuries, but it is also within the realm of possibilities that the Patorai clan migrated from one village to another seeking better opportunities.
The following baptismal records were found:
1. John, son of George and Susanna, baptized 14 June 1770
2. John, son of Jacob and Elisabeth, baptized 20 January 1771
Then there is a gap in Patoraj births in Lipovce:
3. Anna, daughter of Andreas Patoraj and Elisabeth Tarbaj, baptized 10 July 1783
4. Andreas, son of Andreas and Elisabeth Tarbai, baptized 9 October 1787
Although marriage records also survive for Lipovce, the only marriages found were for:
1. Alexander Ujusky(?) and Anna Patoraj, 22 January 1753
2. George Patoraj and Maria Lasinszki(?), 27 June 1760
3. Andreas Patoraj and Elisabeth Tarbaj, 8 February 1778
George who married in 1760 could be the same George married to Susanna when their son John was born in 1770, but George didn’t marry Susanna in Lipovce.
The burial records yielded more Patorajs, but most were infants and none of those buried gave family relationships except for two:
Maria, buried 18 February 1761, aged 1
Elisabeth, buried 27 April 1761, infant
George, buried 30 August 1767, infant
Maria, buried 23 April 1769, aged 6
George, buried 14 April 1771, infant
John, buried 20 April 1774, infant
John, son of Jacob, buried 15 January 1776, infant
Anna, buried 17 June 1778, aged 65
John, son of George, buried 15 April 1782, infant
Jacob, buried 25 May 1784, aged 68
I continued to read burial records through 1815, but no other Patorajs were buried in that time period. With the high mortality rate, I believe they likely moved to another village/parish.
Given the uniqueness of the Patoraj surname, it is probably somewhat safe to say that Jacob and Anna were spouses, but that doesn’t really answer any questions about any of the other children and to whom they belonged.
Nizny Slavkov records provided even fewer clues. There is one Patoraj family who had children baptized there:
- Michael, son of Jacob Patoraj and Elisabeth, baptized 23 August 1785
- Martin, son of Jacob Patoraj and Elisabeth, baptized 13 August 1787
- Jacob and John, twins, sons of Jacob Patoraj and Elisabeth, baptized 15 June 1790
There were only two burial records through 1805:
1. Anna Patoraj, buried 14 January 1785, aged 70
2. Paul, son of Jacob Patoraj, buried 30 April 1785, aged 3, but there was no baptismal record found for Paul back to 1780
In reviewing this data, I think it is possible that Andreas Patoraj who married Elisabeth Tarbaj in 1778 could be the parents of my Andrej/Andreas Patoraj who was the father of John Patorai in Udol, born c1810. Andreas born in 1787 would have been about 23 when John Patorai was born.
I find it very interesting, too, that although Andreas married Elisabeth Tarbaj in 1778 in Lipovce, the only two children who appear in the records weren’t born until 1783 and 1785. There are no infant burials for their possible children either, which again leaves open the question about transitory residence.
If I had to fit these Patorajs together into a family unit, I would surmise that Jacob and Anna, born c1716 and c1713, might be the parents of Anna, George, Jacob and Andreas, but there is no way to prove any of this as the only records that survive in this time period are church registers.
These people were all peasants, either farming or possibly having a trade by which to make their living. I wouldn’t even think of trying to connect these people unless their surname was as rare as Patoraj.
The only other avenue open for research is to begin browsing the church registers for other parishes along the loop from Udol to Lipovce to Nizny Slavkov and back to Udol. That will take some time, but it is doable.