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36725RE: Name changes

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  • ultraln2001
    Sep 7, 2013

      Hi Julie, I have collected all of the documents that I could find relative to my grandfather and related family members from Ancestry.com and double checked with MyHeritage, Family Search, Archives.com and Fold 3. I have a cousin who says he has documents of his placement at the boys's home. I have asked for them twice and he has not responded. He told me once the parents were listed as Tina Michaels and John Meshna or Valentin Meshna - I can't remember the father's name exactly but he says the name was spelled Meshna. I did a Google search for boys' homes in Baltimore and came up with the history of the juvenile detention system but not orphanages. It appears that children who were orphaned ended up vagrant and were then picked up and put in group homes run by the city or a church. My grandfather was married twice. The first marriage record says his parents' names are Valentin Meshna and Nettie, no maiden name provided. The second marriage has his parents listed as just John and Tina. I went to the passenger lists because I because I had reached a dead end. I think the name was changed from it's original spelling an my father had said we might be Czech through his father. 

      It is hard to get records from Baltimore. They appear to be a closed record state. I have called Maryland Archives and tried to navigate their website. Their phone system runs you in circles and the records come up with undecipherable numbers from which you have to decided which is the correct one and order records with by the index numbers. They want $35.00 if you are requesting a birth certificate by mail. If I request a search on my grandfather his name is not really spelled Meshna then I'm out the $35.00 and will receive nothing.

      If anyone on this forum is from Baltimore and can offer me advise please do. I'm stuck.


      --- In slovak-roots@yahoogroups.com, <jmm@...> wrote:

      Jen, I'm looking at one of the trees on Ancestry. Are you talking about John V Meshna 1887-1969, died in Malden MA?

      If so, it seems to me that your best bet is to work backwards. If he died in 1969 he might well have had a Social Security number; you could send for his SS-5 (account application) which he would have filled out himself. It should name his parents. (But note that SS is getting picky about privacy; read their application info carefully, lest they blank out his parents names!!) This should also give you his date and place of birth. Now, how accurately it is filled out is another issue. ;-) If he had a Social Security number, it might be on his death certificate. If you don't have a copy of his death cert, email me privately; I live not far from Malden, and Massachusetts is an open-records state.

      He'd also be of the age to have filled out the WW II "old men's" draft card.

      I also suggest you obtain his marriage records, both civil and church. His children's baptismal records and birth records might also state his (the father's) place of birth.

      Have you tried obtaining records from the boys' home?

      If you're talking about his father, you don't have the option of the SS-5, but you could still go for marriage records and children's records.

      I'd milk the American records before grasping at straws in the immigration records; see how much solid information you can get before trying to "jump the pond."

      ~ Julie Michutka

      On Sep 6, 2013, at 10:40 AM, Yahoo wrote:

      > 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.
      > Jen
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