I'm hoping someone can help me determine a likely original surname and town/village/general area of origin of a Slovak-speaking family who emigrated to the Bronx in the late 1880's. The 1900 census shows "James" (which could possibly be read as "Janos") Bliss who was born in about 1874 in "Austria." In later censuses and other records, his first name appears as "John." I obtained the 1896 baptismal records for his daughter from St. John's Roman Catholic Church on Knightsbridge Rd in the Bronx - here his name appears as "James Blachig," his wife is "Mary Youtrich," and the daughter being baptized is "Mary Blachig." A 1914 marriage record for this same daughter identifies her as "Mary Bless."
An 1898 baptism at the same church shows "Andrew Bless" as the son of "John Bless" and "Mary Yunteck." Some other children in the family subsequently went by "Bless" also, but others were "Bliss."
I'd like help figuring out the most likely candidates for the orignal last name. I've done some soundex searches of different databases that have given me some clues, but I don't feel confident that I can tell which are most likely. (Some names I've found on these serches include Blazek, Blazosek, Balazik, Belejcak, Ballas, and so on). If I could get a list of most likely last names that would have morphed into Blachig then Bless or Bliss, I was thinking I'd have a better chance of searching for that name in Slovakia, and ultimately identifying the town of origin in Slovakia. None of the records I've obtained (death records, WWI registrations, church baptismal/marriage records, gravestone inscriptions) have identified their town of origin.
Working on the theory of chain migration, I had been trying to determine where they might have come from based on where their Slovak-speaking neighbors and their boarders (2 men by the names of Petro and "Bugden?") came from, but with no success there either. I mostly searched WWI registrations. But the writing on those was hard to decode and when I googled what I thought was written on them for the name of a town of origin, Google couldn't find anything. These town names included what looked like Eisssen, Uj Verbanz, Colomer/Golornev, Zapabez/Zapabcz, and Nuy Garitz/Truy Garity. The neighbor's names included Czmer, Sussnok, Karch, Andohot, and others. And this is all going on the theory that these people MIGHT have come from somewhere near where the Blachig/Bless/Bliss family came from -- and I don't even know that to be true for certain.
I've learned a lot already from reading the posts on this list, but I'm kind of stuck. Has anybody run into Blachig before or might have some ideas for next steps?
Thank you in advance for your help.