Szova Family of Hajtovka, Slovakia, Part 1

A couple of days ago, I described one of my ancestral villages in Slovakia – the tiny town of Hajtovka. In 1853, there were fewer than 40 homes and at the time of the 1869 census, there were about 300 souls living there.

Today, I’d like to share bits and pieces about the Szova family, which lived in Hajtovka by 1828 and possibly for hundreds of years before.

My earliest known ancestor is Andrew (aka Andrej and Andreas) Szova, born c1810 (per the 1869 Hungarian census of Saros County), but likely a couple of years earlier.

Andrew married Maria Fengya, born in Ujak, the neighboring village, about 1811.

The reason I think Andrew was born a few years earlier is that the parish church records, which include Hajtovka and Ujak, begin in 1828.

There is a burial record for Michael Szova, son of Andrew Szova (mother’s name not recorded), dated 12 April 1831. The child’s age was one year old, so born at least early in 1830 and possibly in 1829 if little Michael was close to his second birthday when he died.

With a nine month pregnancy, it is easy to see we are very close to the 1828 date in which the church records begin.

If Andrew and Maria married, say in early 1827, the bride would have been 16 years old – very possible for that time and place – but Andrew would be only 17 – not common or even realistic for that era.

I don’t believe I’ve seen any grooms’ ages under 19, and even then, only one or two young men are noted as teenagers in St. Dimitry’s Church records.

Also, given that the villagers were illiterate, it is more than possible that Andrew himself, and certainly his family, might not have been certain of his age in 1869.

Similarly, Maria was buried on 18 March 1879, with her age recorded as 61 years. That would put her birth year as about 1818, which is not realistic for a young lady who married around 1827 or 1828,

Usually the only literate persons in the villages were the priest and an assistant, if he had one. It could be that the person who recorded the burial didn’t even ask anyone in the family for Maria’s age – he just guessed.

Andrew Szova was the father of at least six children and it appears that Maria Fengya was the mother of all of them.

Therefore, we have the following:

Andrew Szova was born no later than 1810, In Hajtovka, Slovakia. He was buried on 22 June 1869, so probably died about two days earlier.

He married Maria Fengya, probably c1827. She was born c1811 in Ujak (today Udol), Slovakia. She was buried on 18 March 1879, so probably died about 16 March 1879. Cause of death of tuberculosis.


1. Michael, born c1830; buried 12 April 1831, Hajtovka, Slovakia
2. Michael, baptized 12 October 1833, Udol, Slovakia; married Maria Tengi, 19 November 1868, Udol, Slovakia. Both died after 1869 and neither have been found in burial records, which end in 1900.
4. John, baptized 13 June 1841, Udol, Slovakia
5. Anna, baptized 23 October 1842, Udol, Slovakia
6. Maria, born 23 March 1845, Hajtovka, Slovakia; died 6 January 1925, Hajtovka, Slovakia; married John Murcko, c1868.
7. Ilona, born 19 August 1849, Hajtovka, Slovakia; died after 1869 census.

The 1869 census shows the family next to that of Andrew Szova is John Szova, born c1816, who married Maria Mucha, born 1819.

They were the parents of four children:

1. John, born 1844; died after 1869 census; unmarried at that time
2. Maria, born 1848; died after 1869 census; unmarried at that time
3. Anna, born 1850; died after 1869 census
4. Ilona, born 1854; died after 1869 census

It would be tempting to surmise that Andrew and John were brothers, living next door to each other.

While that may or may not be the case, there is no documentation to prove it and early church records clearly indicate a number of Szovas who could not possibly all be children of just one couple.

Let’s begin with the burials. There is one in particular that is very intriguing:

Michael Szova, aged 66 years, buried 14 February 1829

Given that Andrew named his first child Michael, he may have named him in honor of his recently deceased father. However, since I’ve found multiple instances of ages being off by several years, even when parents are named on marriage records and there is a corresponding baptismal record, there is just about enough time between the births of this Michael, c1763, and Andrew, born c1810, to be grandparent and grandson. All in all, though, I think it is more likely that they might be father and son.

A cholera epidemic struck both in 1831 and 1836 and there were a number of Szovas living in Hajtovka who perished:

Anna, daughter of John, 1 year old, buried 10 March 1831
Michael, son of Andrew, 1 year old, buried 12 April 1831
Maria, daughter of Michael, 4 years old, buried 27 September 1831
Joseph, 20 years old, no parent named, buried 18 September 1831
Maria, 19 years old, no parent named, buried 18 January 1834
Joseph, son of Joseph, 5 years old, buried 16 September 1834
John, son of John, 1 year old, buried 15 November 1836
Anna, daughter of Michael, 5 years old, buried 29 October 1836

Next, there are several pertinent marriage records:

Michael Vorosztko & Maria Szova, daughter John Szova & Maria Stephancsik, 28 February 1831

John Fabian & Anastasia Szova, daughter John Szova & Eva Hnat, 24 May 1835

John Szova, son John Szova & Eva Hnat, & Anna Fedorko, 19 November 1839

Basilius Szova, son of John Szova & Eva Hnat, & Catherine Sedlak, 15 February 1828

Michael Szova, son Stephen Szova & Catherine Sedlyar, & Elena (Petrus?), 15 December 1831

Andrew Hrinya & Anna Szova, daughter of John Szova & Eva Hnat, March 1831

The parents of each of these grooms and brides, who were contemporaries of Andrew Szova,  would have been born in the 1700s.

Next, there are a few early Szova baptisms:

John, son of John Szova & Elena Liscinsky, baptized 25 February 1828

Michael, son of Michael Szova & Susanna Mucha, baptized 23 June 1835

Andrew, son of Andrew Szova & Anna Soroka, baptized 29 May 1830

Lastly, there are several elder Szovas enumerated in the 1869 Hungarian census of Hajtovka:

Michael Szova, born c1830 with wife Anna Arendacs and children Michael, born 1861, John born 1863 & Maria, born 1865.

John Knapik, born 1820 & Anna Szova, born 1829, with twins Joseph & Anna, born 1856, Michael, born 1859 and Catherine, born 1867.

Maria Szova, widow, born 1810 with John, born 1839, Ilona, born 1850, Catherine Liscinski born 1850 and Maria Szova, born 1868.

George Murcko, born 1800, wife Maria Fengya, born 1805, John, born 1835, Michael, born 1846, Andrew, born 1849 and Maria, born 1869 plus Maria Szova, born 1844.

Ilona Szova, widow, born 1804, with Andrew, born 1827, & John, born 1828 plus Susanna Szedlyar (wife of Andrew) and children Maria, born 1861 and John, born 1863, plus Ilona Arendacs, born 1844. [NOTE: I believe this is the same Elena Liscinsky who married John Szova and had son John, above, baptized in 1828.]

John Szova, born 1842 with wife Anna Gcincs, born 1844 in Lyubatin, son John, born 1869 and widow Maria Szova, born 1812.

As you can see, there are many Szova puzzle pieces here, but there are even more missing pieces that most likely no longer exist.

On Monday, we will look at the descendants of Andrew Szova, born c1810 and his possible brother John, or cousin for sure, born c1816.





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