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36720Name changes

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  • Yahoo
    Sep 6, 2013
      Hello to All,

      My name is Jen and I'm new to the forum. I am trying to find the origins of our family name. The name is Meshna and my father told me when I was about 11, that it might be Slavic, either Czech or Yugoslavian. I don't if he really knew or guessed because my grandfather was from Baltimore. I realize the two countries are not that near each other and my research says that Slavic people are generally from Eastern Europe so I started looking at Czech possibilities first.

      My grandfather said he was born in Baltimore and he was in fact living in a boys' home there by the age of 15. He was Catholic and his first name was the same as his father's, either Valentin John or John Valentin. Depending what record I am looking at he is Valentin or John V. My Uncle was given Valentine as a middle name too. I am wondering if the surname name originally could be Michna with an accent over the 'c' giving it a soft sound hence the Americanization to Meshna.

      No one else but known family members have our name Meshna. (If you look on Ancestry.com it looks like there are a few more than there are really. Ancestry has made a mistake on the transcription of a Greek family in NY.) What has lead me to believe the name might be Michna is that Ancestry has it in parentheses under the last name with one of the records for my grandfather. Fuzzy searches bring up people with that name. I found a man on a passenger manifest arriving in Baltimore from Bremen, a weaver from Bohemia by the name of Valentin Michna who would be the right age to be my great grandfather, arrived about ten tears before my grandfather was born and it appears he passed away (young) about the time my grandfather was placed in the boys' home.

      The discrepancy is on the spelling of the name but if it sounds the same as Meshna I would not be surprised that the spelling changed. Another discrepancy is that on the 1920 census it says both my grandfather's parents were born in Baltimore. The censuses have other clear record keeping errors so that could be a record keeping error as well. It may be just his mother was born in Baltimore (Tina Michaels) and the person I found on the passenger manifest is the right guy to be his father.

      Could Meshna really be Michna and Czech? I want to order a birth certificate for my grandfather from Maryland archives but I don't know what name to have them search. If I ask them to look for Meshna and he was born Michna then I am out the $35.00 and will still have no birth record.

      Any help you could provide will be appreciated.

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