Slovak "ova"endings have officially been introduced after the WW1, because they were dictated by the Czechs. You can find them in church records before that time only sporadically.
Since I am Slovene, I would bet, Kumer is slovenian. I mean "that"Kumer. The surname is in any case.
----- Original Message -----
From: Paul Guzowski
Sent: Monday, January 15, 2007 3:02 PM
Subject: [S-R] Re: Surnames
Fran et al,
I'm new to this group, am no expert, and have only just started researching
my own heritage on my dad's side which is Polish. I have encountered some of
the same problems you have in trying to trace my roots. I am living and
working in Central/Eastern Europe for over five years now and have been in
Bratislava, Slovakia, since November 2005 so offer a couple of observations
that may be of assistance.
First, if you knew when your grandfather immigrated to the US it would be a
big help. The borders in this part of Europe changed drastically after WWI
with the June 1920 Treaty of Trianon, the treaty that dissolved the Kingdom
of Hungary of which present-day Slovakia was a part. You can find more
detail here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Trianon . The Czechs
declared their independence on 28 October 1918 and the Slovaks joined them
two days later forming the first Republic of Czechoslovakia. My reading of
Slovak history doesn't indicate much migration away from the family's
original seat during those days. However, it is entirely possible that
either or both of them originally came from what is the northern part of
modern-day Hungary or the eastern part of the modern Czech Republic (e.g.
Secondly, both family and given names can present a problem. My grandfather
changed his name from Franciszek to Frank to ease pronunciation for Americans
and to avoid highlighting himself. I found a table comparing English,
German, and Polish given names that helped me a lot here:
http://www.sggee.org/AlternateChristianNames.pdf. Maybe something similar
exists for Slovak given names. In any case, I'd be willing to wager a mug of
Zlaty Bazant beer that his given name was František, which is very common
Family names can be problematic, too. Most Slavic languages differentiate
between male and female with an ending on the family name. For example, my
grandmother was Stanislawa Jasinska in Poland but in the US it became
Jasinski, just as it did for her mother. In Slovak, all female family names
(at least all that I have encountered) end in 'ova' hence your grandmother's
family name would have been Petyakova as would her mother's.
There are two other nuances to be aware of concerning names. First, while
Czech family names present no problem for Slovaks except for a few minor
differences in pronunciation due to slightly different alphabets, Hungarian
names are another story. For one thing, in Hungarian the family name is
given first followed by the given name. Also, there are some family names
(mostly stemming from trades like smith, tailor, etc) which exist in both
languages and are even pronounced the same but are spelled differently due to
the different alphabets. To add to the confusion, towns and cities in public
records could have different names or spellings depending on which country
they were a part of at the time. For example, Bratislava was Pressburg to
the Austrians and Pozsony to the Hungarians.
That said Petyak does sound Slavic to me, lots of Petyaks show up in PA when
doing a Google search, and lots of Slovaks emigrated to PA. Kumer sounds
German. Germans established the mining industry in central Slovakia so your
grandfather's heritage could have been German but I have also found reference
to it as a Slovene name in some genealogy resources.
In sum, knowing the precise date of your grandparents' arrival in the US and
their names in Slovak would probably help immensely in unraveling the
mystery. As a postscript, I'm reading a book now called "Polish Roots" by
Maryanne Chorzempa that has lots of great information about genealogy
research in this part of Europe, including some Slovak references. You may
want to see if your library has a copy. As I said, I'm no expert but hope
these few insights might help.
__________ Informacia od NOD32 1978 (20070114) __________
Tato sprava bola preverena antivirusovym systemom NOD32.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]