Maternal Branches in the Family Tree: Anna Haluska (1832-1899+)

Today, we continue the life sketches of the ladies in my family tree. My 2X great grandmother, Anna Haluska, led a similar life to Maria Repka, although Anna’s family life was not nearly as tragic as that of Maria.

To begin, Anna was born a year after the devastating 1831 cholera epidemic that swept through what is today’s eastern Slovakia in the summer of 1831.

Anna Haluska was baptized on 27 December 1832 in the town of Ruska Nova Ves, in the same small geographical area where my Repka family lived. She was the daughter of Greek Catholic Andreas Haluska and Maria Hovance, his Roman Catholic wife.

My Repkas lived in today’s Podhradik, which is the outlined area on the bottom right. The Haluskas’ home in Ruska Nova Ves is a small village slightly southwest of Podhradik.

I had thought for a while that perhaps Andreas Haluska born in 1787 might be my Andreas. However, that man died of a tumor in 1817.

Quite annoyingly, images are not available on FamilySearch for Ruska Nova Ves, although they were in the past because I have images of Haluska baptisms, which I save several years ago.

Haluska was not a common surname in the area during the first half of the 1800s. There were perhaps three or four families living there before 1850, but the surname doesn’t appear in the village in the 1869 census, so the lines either died out or the families moved to another town.

With lack of access to records and online images listing only three children, my Haluska family was very small.

If Andreas had no previous marriages, he was likely born c1806 and Maria born perhaps about 1810.

There are only three known children:

1. Maria, baptized 30 January 1831
2. Anna, baptized 27 December 1832
3. Andreas, baptized 5 October 1834

Anna’s marriage record to Michael Kacsenyak in Ruska Nova Ves gives another hint about the family:

Roman Catholic Michael Kacsenyak lived in nearby Felso Sebes, while Anna Haluska, working as a servant, lived at Gulyves #4.

A priest’s note not seen in the crop indicates “orphanus” and assuming that is the male form of the Latin word, Michael’s father, and possibly his mother, had already died. That seems to say that Anna’s parents, or at least her father, was living.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t help with finding Anna’s parents after the births of their children because the Greek Catholic parish for Gulyves (today’s Dulova Ves) is Ruska Nova Ves.

There are only two Haluskas in Gulyves in 1869 – Martin, born 1835 in Gulyves with a wife and one child and John Haluska, born 1813 with his wife and two children. Both are Greek Catholic.

It’s possible that John Haluska might be a brother of my Andreas, but Martin is a son of John.

Even when the records were accessible online, I was unable to find burial records for Anna’s mother and father and I know nothing about either of Anna’s known siblings.

From this roundabout introduction to the family, it is apparent that Anna’s family history is quite limited in scope.

What is certain, though, is that Anna was 25 years old when she married, which is a bit later than what was typical for village girls. She most definitely would have been expected to contribute to the family’s economic well being or, if she was orphaned, to make her own way in the world.

Since I don’t know what became of the rest of her family, Gulyves #4 could have been her family home or the house where she worked as a servant.

Although there was strife between Austria and Hungary in the 1840s, with the Russian army passing through the area, there were no battles fought near the village.

Most of the villagers were probably not even aware of the empire political struggle. All but the priest were illiterate and the priest would have been the only person aware of government changes, as church registers changed several times from Latin to Hungarian to Cyrillic and back to Latin in the 1840s and 1850s.

How Michael Kacsenyak and Anna Haluska met is unknown. Gulyves is just south of Ruska Nova Ves on the map above. Felso Sebes is today’s Nizna Sebastova, which is shown by the purple arrow near Lubotice on the map.

The villages are only a few miles – less than five – apart from each other and it is probable that they met through family or friends at a social gathering such as a baptism or wedding.

Anna’s life changed dramatically after marriage. Michael Kacsenyak, baptized 21 September 1834, Roman Catholic and the son of John Kacsenyak and Anna Fucsik, was a couple of years younger than Anna. That was not a common occurrence for young people entering into a first marriage. Michael’s father was Roman Catholic, but his mother Anna was Greek Catholic.

Anna’s first child arrived 11 months after her marriage and her tenth child was born in 1881 when Anna was 48 years old!

All children were baptized in Nizna Sebastova, Slovakia. Some church records provide both the birth and baptismal dates, while others only the date of baptism, which definitely would have happened when the child was newborn.

Children of Michael Kacsenyak and Anna Haluska:

1. Maria, born 14 August 1859; died 5 March 1926, Passaic, Passaic, New Jersey
2. Anna, baptized 9 February 1862; buried 17 September 1863
3. Barbara, baptized 25 February 1864
4. Anna, baptized 12 June 1866; died before 1870 when another Anna was born
5. John, born 28 August 1868; buried 29 October 1868
6. Anna, born 29 July 1870
7. Stephen, born 11 February 1873
8. Elizabeth, born 16 January 1875; died 16 January 1875
9. Maria, born 3 February 1879
10. John, born 23 July 1881

Notice that there are two Marias born to Michael and Anna. The first Maria is my great grandmother and she definitely didn’t died young.

I’ve wondered why they named a second daughter Maria when my Maria was still living and I’ve also wondered if my Maria was disowned by her family for her behavior and choice of husband.

Maria became pregnant when she was only 17 years old. She married Stephen Kucharik, who by all accounts, was a difficult man. Could the naming of the second Maria, born 19 months after my Maria married, been a reaction to my Maria being turned out by her family for dishonoring them? It would have been a huge social scandal for a 17 year old girl to be pregnant out of wedlock.

It’s just a supposition on my part, but having two children with the same given name born to the same parents just didn’t happen. The other possibility is that the second Maria wasn’t named Maria at all and the priest erred when entering the baptism in the books.

From my own record abstractions of Udol church records, this happened far more often than one might suspect.

Anna buried at least four of her children when they were very young and, given that I don’t know what became of the others, she might have buried even more in childhood. My Maria and Barbara were the only two children at home in 1869, which matches with findings in the burial records.

Remember, these villages had no electricity until half way through the 20th century. Medical care was non-existent with epidemics of diseases like typhoid, cholera and even chicken pox for children wiping out 50 or more villagers with each occurrence. There weren’t even any village schools until the 20th century.

In spite of the hardships, Anna and her husband lived relatively long lives. The accessible church records online end in 1899. No burial record has been found for either so they apparently lived to see the 20th century.







2 thoughts on “Maternal Branches in the Family Tree: Anna Haluska (1832-1899+)”

  1. Re the two Marias… Might they have used another variation of the name for the second child and the priest just wrote Maria? I know in my family I’ve seen Elizabeth and then Eliza a couple of times, with both children still living.

    Of course, your first thought, that she’d been disowned, is also, sadly, entirely possible. I can quite see strictly devout parents then naming another child with the same name…it does make me wonder, however, if deep in their hearts they ever got over cutting a child off, if that’s really what happened.

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