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1719Re: [SLOVAK-ROOTS] Introduction

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  • Richard D. Custer
    Jun 6, 2000
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      Hi Anita,

      Cigel'ka and Kurov are in northeast Slovakia northwest of the town of
      Bardejov. Kurov is just north of the Topl'a River, and Cigel'ka lies way
      north adjacent to the Slovakia/Poland border. They are both inhabited
      almost entirely by Rusyns [not Slovaks!], one of the main ethno-national
      minorities in Slovakia. The religion of these people is either
      Byzantine/Greek Catholic or Eastern Orthodox.

      >I do have Eva MESARC's parents names. They are Timothy MESARC and Sophia
      >VANIK. It is believed that Timothy MESARC's parents had the last names of
      >MESARC and ZACATANSKY. That is all the information I have on them.

      Timothy's surname would more accurately be Mesarc~ -- that is, the last
      letter is pronounced like "ch" in "church". His mother's surname would more
      accurately be Zakutjanskyj -- in old Hungarian-language documents, the name
      would probably appear as Zakutyanszky. In Slovakia today the name would
      probably be written Zakut'ansky.

      >My mother, who is still living, can speak and read/write some Slovak, so
      >translated what documents we do have.

      If she learned the language from her parents, she does not read or write
      Slovak, but Rusyn. If she learned it in her Greek Catholic church in the
      USA, she would not have learned Slovak; the "Greek School" or "Russian
      School" as they were called basically taught Russian or a Russian-influenced
      Rusyn. The use and teaching of Slovak in these churches was completely
      unheard of.

      Here is some statistical data which may help you see the ethnic/religious
      context of these villages.

      Incidentally (well, that depends...), the people of "Cigel'ka" call the
      village Cigolka in their own language.

      (from 1930 Census of Czechoslovakia)

      village: Cigolka, okres Bardejov

      Total Population: 525


      Czechoslovak: 36 citizens
      Rusyn: 434 citizens
      Germans: 0 citizens
      Hungarians: 2 citizens
      Jews: 8 citizens
      Others: 33 citizens
      Foreigners: 12 citizens


      Roman Catholic: 41 citizens
      Greek Catholic: 472 citizens
      Protestant: 0 citizens
      Orthodox: 0 citizens
      Hebrew: 12 citizens
      Other: 0 citizens

      The people of "Kurov" call the village Kuriv in their own language. Today
      they have a well-known folk ensemble in the village, called "Kurivc~an"
      which performs every year at the Rusyn/Ukrainian folk festivals in Svidnik,
      Kamienka, and others.

      (from 1930 Census of Czechoslovakia)

      village: Kuriv, okres Bardejov

      Total Population: 603


      Czechoslovak: 37 citizens
      Rusyn: 552 citizens
      Germans: 0 citizens
      Hungarians: 0 citizens
      Jews: 4 citizens
      Others: 8 citizens
      Foreigners: 2 citizens


      Roman Catholic: 56 citizens
      Greek Catholic: 528 citizens
      Protestant: 3 citizens
      Orthodox: 0 citizens
      Hebrew: 11 citizens
      Other: 5 citizens

      This map segment shows the area around Cigolka/Cigel'ka and Kuriv/Kurov -
      just a few km away:

      Records from Cigel'ka and Kurov are available from the LDS Family History
      centers; the film numbers and information is here:

      More information on Rusyns is at http://www.carpatho-rusyn.org ,
      http://www.carpatho-rusyn.org/crs (the Carpatho-Rusyn Society, which would
      probably open up a whole new world for you on its own), etc. Also, a great
      map & excellent books at http://www.carpatho-rusyn.org/crrc include the
      indispensible & essential reference, _Our People: Carpatho-Rusyns and Their
      Descendants in North America_ by Paul R. Magocsi.

      Good luck!

      Rich Custer
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