Tag Archives: Genealogy Blog Party

Navigating Slovak Church Records and the 1869 Census

Today, I’d like to share some tips for navigating Slovak church registers and the 1869 Hungarian census.

My paternal family tree is 100% from an area that is today’s eastern Slovakia in the Presov region.

I’ve written multiple posts about my Rusyn ancestors who live din this area. Nana’s family was easier to document because her parents lived in neighboring villages (Hajtovka and Ujak, now called Udol) which shared one Greek Catholic church.

My paternal grandfather’s family was a bit more complicated to trace . The tips I sort of stumbled onto are tips that will save you some time by not having to struggle as I did.

FamilySearch has digital records for both church registers and the 1869 Hungarian census, which includes today’s eastern Slovakia.

Before starting your family research, you need to know (1) the main religion of your family and I say “main” religion because Greek Catholics often married Roman Catholics and one village usually didn’t usually have two different churches.

Second, you need to know the various names by which the village was known. Town names changed as different governments took power.

The easiest way to explain this navigation path is to demonstrate, so here goes.

My grandfather’s Greek Catholic Pennsylvania baptismal certificate says his parents were from “Sebes” (pronounced “Shebesh”) which was part of Saros (pronounced “Sharish”) County in the Austrian Hungarian empire.

Nana said my grandfather’s family was also Rusyn and from the same area (she didn’t know the town), but her villages were near the city of Presov and an old map confirmed that area used to be Saros County.

With some help from the reference desk in Salt Lake, I learned that my first set of church records would be for Okruzna, Slovakia.

Now, let’s look at the FamilySearch catalog for the Slovak church records:

Yes, I want to browse!

My first choice is to sort by religion and I’ll choose Greek Catholic.

Records are now sorted by Greek Catholic with the above counties as choices.

My family was in the Presov region, so I’ll choose Presov County. There are only 11 locations in Presov County that have Greek Catholic parishes. Nana’s village of Udol is listed and so is Okruzna, where my grandfather’s family lived.

The only reason the above steps are included in this post is to give you an idea of how to even get to your family’s town or village.

We’re now getting to the meat of today’s post to learn how to find your family both in church registers and in the 1869 census.

Here is a portion of one page from the Greek Catholic church register for 1820 in Okruzna. From experience, I can say that the Roman Catholic registers are very similarwith facts entered into columns.

The language for both churches is usually Latin (as you can see by the column headings, but when the governments change, the church records immediately change to the official language, which is sometimes Hungarian and sometimes written in the Cyrillic alphabet.

For now, it is enough just to be aware that you might run into that issue.

Let’s look at this sample page. Notice the purple arrow pointing to LOCUS. In this column are several of the smaller villages, or neighborhoods, which are served by this Greek Catholic church.

Some of the towns are Korosfo, Kokeny,  Kellemes and “Waralljae.” My family lived in Waralljae, which in actuality is spelled Varallya in most of the records, but Varalja in modern language.

Now, I really want to look for a family member in the 1869 census that Hungary took. It’s also on FamilySearch and the records are divided by the old county names.

I’ll choose to browse the images so I can navigate right to Saros County. The county page brings up a long list of municipalities with their old names and modern names.

Notice my Nana’s village listed as Hajtuvka (Hajtovka)

This is a really, really important page if you don’t know the old or modern village name.

Now, where will I search in the 1869 census to find my family? The church is located in Okruzna. Well, I read every page of that village and they weren’t there. Why not? No, they didn’t move.

Go back again and look at the LOCUS column in the sample church page. Remember all those little places within the parish? And I said my family lived in Varallya?

Here are the “V” locations in the census list:

There is no Varallya! It’s had a name change and because it was so small, it might even have been swallowed up into another village.

An old online Hungarian gazetteer showed multiple Varalja in the empire. The one in Saros County said something about “A. Shebesh,” and the rest I couldn’t read.

Next stop was using our favorite search engine to see where Varalja, Slovkia might be. It came up in several searches, but one also included the town of Podhradik, which was unfamiliar to me. That led me to a map search.

I found it! I already knew I had family living in Vysna Sebastova, Okruzna, Ruska Nova Ves and near Lubotice in Nizna Sebastova (purple arrow where it is, although the name isn’t appearing on this map.) The village that is outlined is Podhradik and Castle Sebes (remember, it’s “Shebesh.” is located in it.

I returned to the FamilySearch page with the municipality list for the Saros County 1869 census.  Look what I found:

There it is! Remember, too, that Kellemes was another neighborhood served by the Greek Catholic church in Okruzna. right above “Sebes-Varalja (Podhradik)” is “Sebes-Kellemesretek (Sarisske Luky), which tells me where I’ll find the census list for anyone I might have living in Kellemes, which today has the completely different name of Sarisske Luky!

The same municipality list tells me that my Kuchariks who lived in Szengeto, also part of the Okruzna Greek Catholic parish, would find themselves in the renamed town of Severna today.

This hasn’t been a simple, straight forward lesson, but the extra steps of doing an online place name search and map search might be necessary for you to find your church family in the 1869 census.

Yes, I followed through with my Varallya family and they are indeed enumerated in Podhradik.

My family lived only in Saros County, but the same methods should work for you searching any of the other Slovak villages that were enumerated in the 1869 census.

The 1869 county municipality list is way too long to clip an image. It’s very possible that you’ll find your village name is already to be found and you won’t need to do extra online searches.

If you get stuck, I’d be happy to try to help. Just leave a comment in this post.








December 2022 Blog Party: Celebrate!

It’s time for the final Genealogy Blog Party challenge of 2022 with Elizabeth O’Neal so it’s time to CELEBRATE!

Surnames in the Stufflebean Family Tree

I’ve accomplished quite a few things in 2022, both in genealogy research and in completing my goals (more on that at the end of this month).

However, what I am most proud of is the fact that, after ignoring, procrastinating or just plan putting off an important genealogy goal for several years, I’ve stuck with it.

I am well into my long time goal of cleaning up my genealogy software, which involves quite a bit of work. It’s not so much to do with mistakes, but relates to citing my sources more completely and, the real time killer, adding collateral ancestors into my tree that involves my mother’s Adams line, my Swedish Molin collateral lines and my Astle family.

I’ve compiled much of that information into Word docs to be able to easily share with distant cousins, but only added my own line, with a handful of collateral relatives, into my software program.

As for citing my sources, I’ve worked back to my 3X great grandparents.

This certainly isn’t as exciting as researching family lines or uncovering new photos or records, but it is vital for those with whom I share my work.

I haven’t finished this project – and I actually expect it will require a good part of 2023 to complete – but I’m proud that I finally tackled this important task.

In which 2022 genealogical accomplishments do you take pride?


November 2022 Genealogy Blog Party: All Things November

The monthly theme for Elizabeth O’Neal’s Genealogy Blog Party is All Things November, which covers a broad spectrum, from family holidays to military to remembering those who have passed on, honored on Día de Los Muertos.

My topic choice for today is a combination of the suggestions – my grandfather’s first cousin, Charles Adams Chadwick. I’ve written about Charles in the past. I knew Charles and he was the single most important family member who encouraged my early interest in family history. Charles was also the keeper of many of the Adams family stories on the maternal side of my family tree.

Although Charles was my grandfather’s first cousin, he was a contemporary of my mother and my aunts, having been born in between the births of my Aunt Barbara and my mother on 20 January 1923.

Charles was the only child of Perce Chadwick and Vera Pearl Adams and I’m sure he was given Adams as his middle name to honor Aunt Pearl’s father, Calvin Adams.

Charles’s father died when Charles was only ten years old and Aunt Pearl never remarried. I understand she was never too keen for Charles to marry and leave her either, so Charles apparently broke off an engagement to a young lady from Calais, Washington, Maine.

However, being born in 1923, Charles was a prime candidate for service in World War II and that’s the piece of his life story I’d like to share today.

Rather than being drafted, Charles enlisted in the United States Navy and was sent to the U.S. Naval Training Center in Sampson, New York, where he was part of Company 54I.

From there, Charles was deployed to the Pacific Theater to the island of Guam, a U.S. Territory taken by Japan immediately following the Pearl Harbor attack, where he spent the last two years of the war.

Guam was actually under Japanese control until August 1944, so Charles might have been among the first Americans to arrive after liberation.

Charles saw no combat on Guam, but the island was strategically important as a Pacific supply center.

Ever the family historian, Charles saved war mementos and several items eventually came to my hands. Aside from the letter, I’ve actually donated the booklet and program to the World War II Museum in New Orleans.

First, there was a historical booklet created to document the war years on Guam and the work that the men did.

Next, the soldiers celebrated V-J Day on 2 September 1945, the official end to World War II after Japan surrendered.

I can’t find any estimate of the number of naval personnel assigned to the Supply Depot, but it was likely well into the hundreds, perhaps even a thousand, so their V-J Day celebration would have taken place outdoors. That certainly wouldn’t have dampened the mood of anyone, knowing that the war was finally over and that they’d be going home soon.

I’ve no idea how the U.S. Navy decided which men were to be assigned to the supply depot, rather than sent into combat. If any consideration was given to the men’s status, perhaps Charles was deployed there because he was an only child. May it was just coincidence.

However, on the program page on the far right, Captain Buernschmidt felt it necessary to comment on the non-combat status of his men:

His words were definitely spot on – how would the naval ships cope with combat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with no supply center within reach?

I am sure that Charles wrote many letters home to his mother, but only one has survived, V-Mail Valentine’s message to Aunt Pearl:

Dear Mother,

I haven’t had a chance to write lately, so thought I had better drop you a line to let you know that two more boxes have arrived, one with the can of fudge in it and one with my “birthday cake.” The cake is in perfect shape, but the fudge is a total loss, it having all melted into a rather sticky mass. Thanks for the reading material, but my locker is bulging with all the rest of the books, etc., that you sent which I haven’t had a chance to look at yet. All this must be pretty discouraging to you after going to all that trouble, but I do appreciate everything you have done and please keep on sending things, but no more soap, please!

I have a lot more responsibility than on the other job and while it is a step up, it is time-consuming so for tonight,

Love, Charles

Notice that Charles’ address was the San Francisco APO and, due to security, no mention was made of where he was stationed or what his jobs actually entailed.

I can only imagine how much soap Aunt Pearl must have been mailing off for Charles to say “no more soap, please!”

I never asked Charles, but I assume other than realizing that her son was somewhere in the Pacific, Aunt Pearl had no knowledge of his actual whereabouts until Charles was honorably discharged on 9 February 1946 and returned home to Calais, Maine.

It was his naval training that gave Charles direction in his future career. Notice that he was an Engineering Specialist Draftsman.

Charles later attended the University of Maine on the GI Bill and became a civil engineer.

I find it sad that Charles never married and had a family of his own. Aunt Pearl lived a long life, passing away in 1973, a few days after her 86th birthday, and Charles remained a dutiful son, caring for her in her old age.

However, Charles was a wonderful, thoughtful and generous person, encouraging me in my newfound genealogy obsession and choosing me to be the caretaker of all the old family photos and stories.

More importantly, on 11 November 2022, I’ll remember him as a member of The Greatest Generation.