Tag Archives: Hrinya

Methodology & Original Records: Michael Hrinya, Who Was Your Wife?

I’ve been working on the descendants of Michael Scerbak, born c1795, probably in Udol, Slovakia when I came across two families that made me pause and wonder if I had erred in assigning the wife of Michael Hrinya.

This is the family sketch I had originally compiled:

Hrinya, Michael (c1825-1880+) & Maria Scserbak (c1829-15 April 1877), married 24 October 1848

Maria, wife of Michael, born Scserbak, died 15 April, buried 17 April 1877, aged 48 years. Michael, 50, widower, married Helen Kundrat, widow, born Hnat, of Ujak 72, 4 March 1880. Helen, widow of Michael, born Hnat, died 7 November, buried 9 November 1897, aged 70 years.


  1. Maria, born c1852
  2. Susanna, born c1857
  3. Michael, born c1859
  4. John, born c1862
  5. Peter, born c1865
  6. Helen, born c1867
  7. Miklus, born c1869
  8. Stephen, born c1873; died 17 December, buried 19 December 1878, aged 5 years

It is important to note several entries in the church register:

  1. Michael, born c1830, married Maria Scerbak, 24 October 1848.
  2. Maria, wife of Michael Hrinya, born Scserbak,  died 15 April 1877, buried 17 April 1877.
  3. It is really odd that no baptismal records are found for any of these children, as church registers for those years are extant and digitally available on FamilySearch. It’s REALLY odd. Yes, they might have removed to another nearby village and then came back to Udol, but that isn’t the answer.

Next, the 1869 census includes the family of Michael Hrinya and ANNA Scerbak with the exact same children at home, with the exception of Stephen, who wasn’t yet born. There is no household with Michael Hrinya and Maria Patorai.

So, did he marry Maria Scerbak or Anna Scerbak or ???? because there is yet another monkey wrench thrown in the mix.

BUT I also found this family in the church records. However, there is NO MARRIAGE record found for this couple.

Hrinya, Michael & Maria Patorai


  1. Maria, bp 1 September 1850
  2. Michael, born c1852; buried 10 May 1854, aged 2 years
  3. Anna, born 27 December 1853, bp 29 January 1854
  4. Susanna, born 14 August, bp 17 August 1856; married Nicholas Hrinya, born 19 October, bp 25 October 1857, son of Elias Hrinya & Anna Fedorko of Ujak 68, 9 February 1880
  5. John Michael, born 29 December, bp 29 December 1858; died 7 March, buried 9 March 1859, aged 4 months
  6. John, born 9 July, bp 14 July 1861; married Maria Hrinya, born 10 November, bp 11 November 1866, daughter of Peter Hrinya alias Bacso & Helen Miklus of Ujak 33, 15 February 1886. John’s father called Michael Hrinya in marriage record
  7. Peter, born 7 March, bp 9 March 1864
  8. Helen, born c1869; married Stephen Szklepko, born 9 March, bp 23 March 1873, son of Peter Szklepko & Maria Havran of Ujak 13, 30 January 1888
  9. Stephen, born 9 March 1873; died 17 December, buried 19 December 1878, aged 5 years

Notice that this list of children is EXACTLY the same as the list for Michael Hrinya and Maria Scerbak. However, every single one of the baptismal entries for these 8 children name the mother as Maria PATORAI!!!

It is important to note here that the same priest, or his assistant, entered the baptismal records for the first seven children.

I thought that was the answer to this mystery – that the same priest or scribe mistakenly believed that Michael Hrinya married a Patorai and not a Scerbak. The priest was Anthony Bernatyak.

However, he died and there were several interim visiting priests in 1868. In 1869 the Rev. George Andrejkovits was permanently assigned to the parish.

Michael Hrinya’s eighth child, Stephen, also has Maria Patorai noted as the name of his mother.

Was the same scribe, not Rev. Andrejkovits, still entering the records in the church register?

Or was the marriage record wrong and the 1848 bride was Maria Patorai? Unfortunately, although earlier and later marriage records name parents of both the bride and groom, from 1847-1868 parents’ names were omitted from the entries.

If she was Maria Patorai, why does the 1869 census name her as ANNA SCERBAK? I’ve found more than one female vital record entry in those church registers where the names Anna and Maria were wrongly substituted, but why SCERBAK and not PATORAI? Unless she really was a SCERBAK.

Can baptismal records help? I had hoped so, but they don’t. I think the earliest records are somewhat incomplete, as I’ve not found others who should be recorded in the 1830s.

There is not a single Patorai baptism recorded in the early records (1828-1840) and there is only one Scerbak entry, for Anna Scserbak, baptized 11 July 1833. She would have only been 15 years old when she married and that just didn’t happen in the village. Girls were at least 18 and more often in their 20s when they married.

Plus, Maria Scerbak Hrinya, who died in 1877, had her age at death recorded as 48 years.That would place her birth about 1829 and so 19 years old when she married.

Do the marriage records of Michael’s children help? Again, not really. The marriage record of Maria, the eldest child, names her mother as Maria Scerbak. Marriage records for Susanna, John and Helen all name their mother as Maria Patorai.

No, there is no marriage record to be found in any year for any Michael Hrinya and Maria Patorai.

What have I concluded from all this mess?

Because there is a marriage record calling Michael Hrinya’s bride MARIA SCERBAK in 1848 and there is a burial record naming Maria Hrinya, wife of Michael, born SCERBAK in 1877, I believe the priest or scribe was under the mistaken impression that Michael’s wife was a Patorai.

Udol is a small place with many of the young ladies named Maria or Anna and, yes, the Scerbaks and Patorais did intermarry. My own 2X great grandparents were John Scerbak and Maria Patorai.

I also tend to believe that Rev. Andrejkovits had the same scribe as Rev. Bernatyak, who mistakenly believed that Maria was a Patorai when she was really a Scerbak.

Lastly, we have the 1869 census identifying Michael’s wife as ANNA SCERBAK. In this case, the census enumerator (who was often the parish priest because he might be the only literate person in the neighborhood) erred in calling the wife Anna instead of Maria. Rev, Andrejkovits would have been newly assigned to the parish and likely didn’t know everyone yet.

Given the marriage and burial records both calling her MARIA SCERBAK, this is the only solution that seems to fit the circumstances.

Michael Hrinya married Maria Scerbak!

I’d love reader comments. Do you agree or do you have any other ideas? The church registers are the one and only set of records for this village.