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Re: [S-R] SURNAMES-Wachtenheim-Szolyva/Svaliava

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  • Michael Mojher
    Janet, Thanks for the correction. I found a pre-WW II map. There is a tongue of territory that extended further to the southeast. That area was given to the
    Message 1 of 21 , Apr 1, 2010
      Janet,
      Thanks for the correction. I found a pre-WW II map. There is a "tongue" of territory that extended further to the southeast. That area was given to the Ukraine after WW II.


      From: Janet Kozlay
      Sent: Thursday, April 01, 2010 4:55 PM
      To: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: RE: [S-R] SURNAMES-Wachtenheim-Szolyva/Svaliava



      Michael, that region of old Bereg county became a part of Czechoslovakia
      between WWI and WWII, after which time it became part of Ukrainian SSR and
      now Ukraine.

      Daniel, are you in contact with Frank Jacobowitz through JewishGen? His
      family, also from Szolyva, was related to the Wachtenheim family, and he
      apparently has information to share.

      Janet

      From: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com] On
      Behalf Of Michael Mojher
      Sent: Thursday, April 01, 2010 11:28 AM
      To: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [S-R] SURNAMES-Wachtenheim-Szolyva/Svaliava

      Daniel,
      Of Svaliava. It is in the Ukraine, but some distance from the Slovak border.
      The same border existed for Czechoslovakia. So Svaliava was never in
      Czechoslovakia. It is in the Carpathian Mountains of the Ukraine.
      Does your father relate to being Slovak or Ukrainian?

      I concur with Helena about genealogy in Slovakia. I made my first trip to
      Slovakia in 2001. Making six trips all together. On meeting my paternal
      relatives I was very surprised how little they knew of their ancestors.
      Eventually I came of with a "Rule of Thumb", that being, "If they did not
      meet them, they do not know them." It was only during the last two trips
      they the Slovak relatives began to understand my interest in genealogy. They
      too, would react to others in the village with the same surname as not
      family members. Eventually, I learned that there were recognized branches of
      the family, three of them. Only those that were of the same branch were
      looked upon as being "family". Interestingly, they recognized other branches
      of the family as being cousins and so forth. But they were not "family". One
      of the results of my visits is they are now understanding there is a much
      larger "family tree" they all belong to.
      With such lack of genealogical knowledge do not be surprised that your
      relatives too do not know who they are related to.
      Michael Mojher

      From: jump4toys@... <mailto:jump4toys%40aol.com>
      Sent: Wednesday, March 31, 2010 10:31 PM
      To: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SLOVAK-ROOTS%40yahoogroups.com>
      Subject: Re: [S-R] SURNAMES-Wachtenheim-Szolyva/Svaliava

      Hi folks..
      I have a question. My father is from an area of the Carpathian Mountains
      which was Czechoslvakia then and now is the Ukraine in a town called
      Szolyva/Svalyava/Svaliava.

      while he had the surname of Wachtenheim, there was another WAchtenheim in
      the town who he said was not a relative.
      So I was wondering, at what point would the people of that area received
      their surnames? I heard that years before they would be called David son of
      Isaac...and later would take on surnames which reflected their profession
      or family ties or location????
      Can you someone give me a bit of a lead on the taking on of surnames?
      My thought is if people took on the same surnames, such as different
      families taking on Wachtenheim, then that would be true they wouldn't be
      related. But with such an unusual name, I'm curious.

      Also...there was a story in our family that our family name before
      Wachtenheim (which I believe means Watcher of the House), was TishenShankel,
      which
      we were told means Table and Chair, or Table and Bench (furniture makers?).

      Would appreciate any info.
      Also, are there any records on surnames being given to different towns or
      areas?

      Daniel WAchtenheim

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Janet Kozlay
      Michael, that region of old Bereg county became a part of Czechoslovakia between WWI and WWII, after which time it became part of Ukrainian SSR and now
      Message 2 of 21 , Apr 1, 2010
        Michael, that region of old Bereg county became a part of Czechoslovakia
        between WWI and WWII, after which time it became part of Ukrainian SSR and
        now Ukraine.



        Daniel, are you in contact with Frank Jacobowitz through JewishGen? His
        family, also from Szolyva, was related to the Wachtenheim family, and he
        apparently has information to share.



        Janet





        From: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com] On
        Behalf Of Michael Mojher
        Sent: Thursday, April 01, 2010 11:28 AM
        To: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: Re: [S-R] SURNAMES-Wachtenheim-Szolyva/Svaliava





        Daniel,
        Of Svaliava. It is in the Ukraine, but some distance from the Slovak border.
        The same border existed for Czechoslovakia. So Svaliava was never in
        Czechoslovakia. It is in the Carpathian Mountains of the Ukraine.
        Does your father relate to being Slovak or Ukrainian?

        I concur with Helena about genealogy in Slovakia. I made my first trip to
        Slovakia in 2001. Making six trips all together. On meeting my paternal
        relatives I was very surprised how little they knew of their ancestors.
        Eventually I came of with a "Rule of Thumb", that being, "If they did not
        meet them, they do not know them." It was only during the last two trips
        they the Slovak relatives began to understand my interest in genealogy. They
        too, would react to others in the village with the same surname as not
        family members. Eventually, I learned that there were recognized branches of
        the family, three of them. Only those that were of the same branch were
        looked upon as being "family". Interestingly, they recognized other branches
        of the family as being cousins and so forth. But they were not "family". One
        of the results of my visits is they are now understanding there is a much
        larger "family tree" they all belong to.
        With such lack of genealogical knowledge do not be surprised that your
        relatives too do not know who they are related to.
        Michael Mojher

        From: jump4toys@... <mailto:jump4toys%40aol.com>
        Sent: Wednesday, March 31, 2010 10:31 PM
        To: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SLOVAK-ROOTS%40yahoogroups.com>
        Subject: Re: [S-R] SURNAMES-Wachtenheim-Szolyva/Svaliava

        Hi folks..
        I have a question. My father is from an area of the Carpathian Mountains
        which was Czechoslvakia then and now is the Ukraine in a town called
        Szolyva/Svalyava/Svaliava.

        while he had the surname of Wachtenheim, there was another WAchtenheim in
        the town who he said was not a relative.
        So I was wondering, at what point would the people of that area received
        their surnames? I heard that years before they would be called David son of
        Isaac...and later would take on surnames which reflected their profession
        or family ties or location????
        Can you someone give me a bit of a lead on the taking on of surnames?
        My thought is if people took on the same surnames, such as different
        families taking on Wachtenheim, then that would be true they wouldn't be
        related. But with such an unusual name, I'm curious.

        Also...there was a story in our family that our family name before
        Wachtenheim (which I believe means Watcher of the House), was TishenShankel,
        which
        we were told means Table and Chair, or Table and Bench (furniture makers?).

        Would appreciate any info.
        Also, are there any records on surnames being given to different towns or
        areas?

        Daniel WAchtenheim

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • jump4toys@aol.com
        Hi Helene, Very interesting comments. I too wonder about relations of people with the same surname in the same area, and the people saying they weren t
        Message 3 of 21 , Apr 3, 2010
          Hi Helene,
          Very interesting comments. I too wonder about relations of people with
          the same surname in the same area, and the people saying they weren't
          related.
          My thought is that the "rich" relatives, didn't need to know the poorer
          ones or they would have to help them, so if a distant cousin was poor, they
          then weren't related like immediate family was.
          My other thought was, as I mentioned, if the giving out of surnames then
          had unrelated families taking on the same surname and thus not being related,
          yet living in the same town with the same surname?

          DAniel Wachtenheim


          Hi Daniel,

          I found a curious thing in Slovakia. My experience over the years was that
          people weren't that much interested in their ancestors, and didn't go back
          further than their grandparents. Beyond that they didn't seem to consider
          that someone with a similar surname might be related. "We're not related
          they would tell me," even when it was a very unusual name.

          In the villages people couldn't understand my interest in genealogy, I
          loved this comment, "Why do want to know about them, they are all dead!"

          This is changing, in no small part due to the Americans and Canadians who
          want to know more about their heritage and personal history. I love the
          requests I get from Slovaks who have seen the Slovak Pride data base and want
          help finding family in America.

          Have gotten e mails from Germany, Brazil, Israel, Argentina, Australia and
          other countries.

          Another sidelight - Megan Smolenyak has done DNA testings of many people
          with roots in Osturna. She found many of the Smolenyaks had similar DNA but
          a few were totally unrelated and that makes you wonder if they were adopted
          when many died of cholera or what.

          Find this a most fascinating subject with no easy answers. A great topic
          for discussion.

          helene

          ________________________________
          From: "_jump4toys@..._ (mailto:jump4toys@...) "
          <_jump4toys@..._ (mailto:jump4toys@...) >
          To: _SLOVAK-ROOTS@SLOVAK-ROOTSSLO_ (mailto:SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com)
          Sent: Thu, April 1, 2010 1:31:03 AM
          Subject: Re: [S-R] SURNAMES-WachtenheiSubject: RSubject:

          Hi folks..
          I have a question. My father is from an area of the Carpathian Mountains
          which was Czechoslvakia then and now is the Ukraine in a town called
          Szolyva/Svalyava/ Svaliava.

          while he had the surname of Wachtenheim, there was another WAchtenheim in
          the town who he said was not a relative.
          So I was wondering, at what point would the people of that area received
          their surnames? I heard that years before they would be called David son
          of
          Isaac...and later would take on surnames which reflected their profession
          or family ties or location????
          Can you someone give me a bit of a lead on the taking on of surnames?
          My thought is if people took on the same surnames, such as different
          families taking on Wachtenheim, then that would be true they wouldn't be
          related. But with such an unusual name, I'm curious.

          Also...there was a story in our family that our family name before
          Wachtenheim (which I believe means Watcher of the House), was
          TishenShankel, which
          we were told means Table and Chair, or Table and Bench (furniture makers?).

          Would appreciate any info.
          Also, are there any records on surnames being given to different towns or
          areas?

          Daniel WAchtenheim

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]




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          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • jump4toys@aol.com
          Hi Michael, Just to correct you, Svaliava is now located in the Ukraine. But before 1918 I believe, it was Hungary, and then when my father was born in 1920,
          Message 4 of 21 , Apr 3, 2010
            Hi Michael,
            Just to correct you, Svaliava is now located in the Ukraine. But before
            1918 I believe, it was Hungary, and then when my father was born in 1920, it
            was Czechoslovakia. During WW2, then it was Hungary again, and then after
            the war became Ukraine.
            I know because my father was a Czech citizen, but his older siblings were
            all Hungarian citizens.
            In my geneology research it made me insane to find family members with the
            name WAchtenheim from different cities, only to have someone on this board
            point out there were Czech names and Hungarian names, and Ukranian names
            for cities.
            Best
            Daniel

            Of Svaliava. It is in the Ukraine, but some distance from the Slovak
            border. The same border existed for Czechoslovakia. So Svaliava was never in
            Czechoslovakia. It is in the Carpathian Mountains of the Ukraine.
            Does your father relate to being Slovak or Ukrainian?

            I concur with Helena about genealogy in Slovakia. I made my first trip to
            Slovakia in 2001. Making six trips all together. On meeting my paternal
            relatives I was very surprised how little they knew of their ancestors.
            Eventually I came of with a "Rule of Thumb", that being, "If they did not meet
            them, they do not know them." It was only during the last two trips they the
            Slovak relatives began to understand my interest in genealogy. They too,
            would react to others in the village with the same surname as not family
            members. Eventually, I learned that there were recognized branches of the
            family, three of them. Only those that were of the same branch were looked upon
            as being "family". Interestingly, they recognized other branches of the
            family as being cousins and so forth. But they were not "family". One of the
            results of my visits is they are now understanding there is a much larger
            "family tree" they all belong to.
            With such lack of genealogical knowledge do not be surprised that your
            relatives too do not know who they are related to.
            Michael Mojher

            From: _jump4toys@..._ (mailto:jump4toys@...)
            Sent: Wednesday, March 31, 2010 10:31 PM
            To: _SLOVAK-ROOTS@SLOVAK-ROOTSSLO_ (mailto:SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com)
            Subject: Re: [S-R] SURNAMES-WachtenheiSubject: RSubject:





            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • jump4toys@aol.com
            Janet, I am not in touch with Frank Jacobowitz, but if he is related to the WAchtenheims then I want to know him. I think he s related to that other
            Message 5 of 21 , Apr 3, 2010
              Janet,
              I am not in touch with Frank Jacobowitz, but if he is related to the
              WAchtenheims then I want to know him. I think he's related to that "other"
              Wachtenheim family! Who I think must be related, but still.....I can't find
              the common link yet, but they're all from Szolyva!
              Do you have any contact information for Frank Jacobowitz?
              DAniel WAchtenheim

              Michael, that region of old Bereg county became a part of Czechoslovakia
              between WWI and WWII, after which time it became part of Ukrainian SSR and
              now Ukraine.

              Daniel, are you in contact with Frank Jacobowitz through JewishGen? His
              family, also from Szolyva, was related to the Wachtenheim family, and he
              apparently has information to share.

              Janet

              From: _SLOVAK-ROOTS@SLOVAK-ROOTSSLO_ (mailto:SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com)
              [mailto:_SLOVAK-ROOTS@SLOVAK-ROOTSSLO_
              (mailto:SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com) ] On
              Behalf Of Michael Mojher
              Sent: Thursday, April 01, 2010 11:28 AM
              To: _SLOVAK-ROOTS@SLOVAK-ROOTSSLO_ (mailto:SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com)
              Subject: Re: [S-R] SURNAMES-WachtenheiSubject: Subject:

              Daniel,
              Of Svaliava. It is in the Ukraine, but some distance from the Slovak
              border.
              The same border existed for Czechoslovakia. So Svaliava was never in
              Czechoslovakia. It is in the Carpathian Mountains of the Ukraine.
              Does your father relate to being Slovak or Ukrainian?

              I concur with Helena about genealogy in Slovakia. I made my first trip to
              Slovakia in 2001. Making six trips all together. On meeting my paternal
              relatives I was very surprised how little they knew of their ancestors.
              Eventually I came of with a "Rule of Thumb", that being, "If they did not
              meet them, they do not know them." It was only during the last two trips
              they the Slovak relatives began to understand my interest in genealogy.
              They
              too, would react to others in the village with the same surname as not
              family members. Eventually, I learned that there were recognized branches
              of
              the family, three of them. Only those that were of the same branch were
              looked upon as being "family". Interestingly, they recognized other
              branches
              of the family as being cousins and so forth. But they were not "family".
              One
              of the results of my visits is they are now understanding there is a much
              larger "family tree" they all belong to.
              With such lack of genealogical knowledge do not be surprised that your
              relatives too do not know who they are related to.
              Michael Mojher

              From: _jump4toys@..._ (mailto:jump4toys@...)
              <mailto:jump4toys%mailto:ju>
              Sent: Wednesday, March 31, 2010 10:31 PM
              To: _SLOVAK-ROOTS@SLOVAK-ROOTSSLO_ (mailto:SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com)
              <mailto:SLOVAK-mailto:SLOVAK-<Wmailto:>
              Subject: Re: [S-R] SURNAMES-WachtenheiSubject: RSubject:

              Hi folks..
              I have a question. My father is from an area of the Carpathian Mountains
              which was Czechoslvakia then and now is the Ukraine in a town called
              Szolyva/Svalyava/Szolyva/S

              while he had the surname of Wachtenheim, there was another WAchtenheim in
              the town who he said was not a relative.
              So I was wondering, at what point would the people of that area received
              their surnames? I heard that years before they would be called David son
              of
              Isaac...and later would take on surnames which reflected their profession
              or family ties or location????
              Can you someone give me a bit of a lead on the taking on of surnames?
              My thought is if people took on the same surnames, such as different
              families taking on Wachtenheim, then that would be true they wouldn't be
              related. But with such an unusual name, I'm curious.

              Also...there was a story in our family that our family name before
              Wachtenheim (which I believe means Watcher of the House), was
              TishenShankel,
              which
              we were told means Table and Chair, or Table and Bench (furniture makers?).

              Would appreciate any info.
              Also, are there any records on surnames being given to different towns or
              areas?

              Daniel WAchtenheim





              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • deeellessbee
              I found your comments very interesting, Helene, as I did Michael s experiences along the same lines. While never having been to Slovakia to experience this
              Message 6 of 21 , Apr 4, 2010
                I found your comments very interesting, Helene, as I did Michael's experiences along the same lines. While never having been to Slovakia to experience this myself - this feeling of why do you want to know, as well as "no, we are not related" - I can relate to it here stateside with my Irish line.

                My grandmother has a fairly common Irish name, and there are many people of the same name in the area, including a family of the same name that runs a big business. I have always, for my whole life, been told that we are not related.

                Sure enough, a cousin of mine who has done extensive research into this line, had found that we are indeed related - and not really all that distantly, relatively speaking. This family who runs the big business is descended from the same great-great-grandfather who came over in the 1880's.

                I think it's just that not only do many people not care where they came from, and only know and care to know about their grandparents, but add into that the fact that so many people had so many kids and such big families, that it really can be difficult to keep track of the dozens and dozens and dozens of cousins and their families, and so on. So after a generation or two, no one knows where they came from and to whom they are related.

                Rather sad, that so few are interested, but hopefully it will change.

                My prediction is that genealogy may be the "next big thing". Between the Faces of America show, and the other show on NBC, and even more, the fact that Oprah had a show about these shows - well, when Oprah speaks, many listen. Perhaps she will be responsible for lighting a fire under a few more folks to get researching! Not a huge Oprah fan myself, but this might be a good thing!

                Debbie

                --- In SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com, helene cincebeaux <helenezx@...> wrote:
                >
                > Hi Daniel,
                >
                > I found a curious thing in Slovakia. My experience over the years was that people weren't that much interested in their ancestors, and didn't go back further than their grandparents. Beyond that they didn't seem to consider that someone with a similar surname might be related. "We're not related they would tell me," even when it was a very unusual name.
                >
                > In the villages people couldn't understand my interest in genealogy, I loved this comment, "Why do want to know about them, they are all dead!"
                >
                > This is changing, in no small part due to the Americans and Canadians who want to know more about their heritage and personal history. I love the requests I get from Slovaks who have seen the Slovak Pride data base and want help finding family in America.
                >
                > Have gotten e mails from Germany, Brazil, Israel, Argentina, Australia and other countries.
                >
                > Another sidelight - Megan Smolenyak has done DNA testings of many people with roots in Osturna. She found many of the Smolenyaks had similar DNA but a few were totally unrelated and that makes you wonder if they were adopted when many died of cholera or what.
                >
                > Find this a most fascinating subject with no easy answers. A great topic for discussion.
                >
                > helene
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > ________________________________
                > From: "jump4toys@..." <jump4toys@...>
                > To: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
                > Sent: Thu, April 1, 2010 1:31:03 AM
                > Subject: Re: [S-R] SURNAMES-Wachtenheim-Szolyva/Svaliava
                >
                >
                > Hi folks..
                > I have a question. My father is from an area of the Carpathian Mountains
                > which was Czechoslvakia then and now is the Ukraine in a town called
                > Szolyva/Svalyava/ Svaliava.
                >
                > while he had the surname of Wachtenheim, there was another WAchtenheim in
                > the town who he said was not a relative.
                > So I was wondering, at what point would the people of that area received
                > their surnames? I heard that years before they would be called David son of
                > Isaac...and later would take on surnames which reflected their profession
                > or family ties or location????
                > Can you someone give me a bit of a lead on the taking on of surnames?
                > My thought is if people took on the same surnames, such as different
                > families taking on Wachtenheim, then that would be true they wouldn't be
                > related. But with such an unusual name, I'm curious.
                >
                > Also...there was a story in our family that our family name before
                > Wachtenheim (which I believe means Watcher of the House), was TishenShankel, which
                > we were told means Table and Chair, or Table and Bench (furniture makers?).
                >
                > Would appreciate any info.
                > Also, are there any records on surnames being given to different towns or
                > areas?
                >
                > Daniel WAchtenheim
                >
                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                >
              • gklodzen@aol.com
                There must be many stories like this and I agree with your analysis, Debbie. Years ago my late cousin was told by another with the same unusual surname as hers
                Message 7 of 21 , Apr 5, 2010
                  There must be many stories like this and I agree with your analysis,
                  Debbie. Years ago my late cousin was told by another with the same unusual
                  surname as hers that they were not related. It was my good fortune to discover
                  via a search of church records that indeed they/we are descended, from the
                  same most recent Slovak ancestor. It has been a joy since that day to meet
                  many "new" cousins.

                  Eugene Klodzen


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • billski
                  I ve reformulated this discussion because the title quite a bit off the original topic Re: [S-R] SURNAMES-Wachtenheim-Szolyva/Svaliava and I d like to draw
                  Message 8 of 21 , Apr 5, 2010
                    I've reformulated this discussion because the title quite a bit off the original topic
                    Re: [S-R] SURNAMES-Wachtenheim-Szolyva/Svaliava
                    and I'd like to draw attention to the hundreds of readers who may have elected to ignore the thread.

                    What Helene says rings true, I'll add one more story. I stayed in my villages of Zboj and Nova Sedlica for two weeks, spending the days and nights meeting and speaking with dozens and dozens of family and "relatives" of one sort or another.

                    What struck me at first, was that I seemed to know A LOT more about the family than anyone I met.

                    After about a week, I politely asked one of the elders why they never wrote these things down or knew much about their family history. The answer was quite telling. "Because we are surrounded by our family and our history. There is no need."

                    I left behind a small stack of paper including photographs which included family trees, history, and copies of church books. Never since that time did I receive any inquiry or comment on this material.

                    Only the photographs were of interest. "Yes, I can see we are related - look at that face."

                    Coming back to the US, that kind of bothered me, but I assumed they were too busy working to engage in such idle-time frivolity. Since that time, I've slightly adjusted my perspective. It seems, that regardless what country we live in, history of most sorts is disregarded. The essential question seems to be, "How can this information help me live my life today?" And, for the most part, it does not.

                    On both sides of the ocean, I slam into privacy concerns all the time. It seems to fall into two camps. The first is that it's going to get into sinister hands that will use the lineage information against them. The second is that "He must want something. Why is this guy fishing around about me? Does he want to take the family farm?"

                    Then comes the inevitable family gathering and some chit chat about family history. It's polite, it's cursory, old stories are told, and it ends.

                    I wish I could be as optimistic as Debbie. I don't think anything is changing. While access to records has become light speed, human interest in family history remains in the dark ages.

                    YOU are the family historian, like it or not. There is always one person in a generation of a family group who becomes the family historian. People come to me occasionally for information, but usually only to obtain a "sound byte" or a piece of trivia. Nobody asks, "what was life like?" "why did they come?" "How did they work?"

                    I take my unofficial role as family historian quite seriously. My work may be flawed, but it's all my family has. I've bundled up all sorts of material and sent it to relatives I believe most likely to hang onto it. My hope and wish is that my little "bundle" will inspire someone someday to pick up the torch and carry it. No need for them to start from scratch - take it to the next level. As each generation departs, we lose so much richness.

                    Bill
                  • CasperVeth@aol.com
                    Wow - well said, Bill! You nailed it for the rest of us historians. Ray Veth - Middletown, NJ In a message dated 4/5/2010 9:02:57 A.M. Eastern Daylight
                    Message 9 of 21 , Apr 5, 2010
                      Wow - well said, Bill! You nailed it for the rest of us "historians."

                      Ray Veth - Middletown, NJ


                      In a message dated 4/5/2010 9:02:57 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
                      bill.tarkulich@... writes:




                      I've reformulated this discussion because the title quite a bit off the
                      original topic
                      Re: [S-R] SURNAMES-WachtenheiRe: [S-R] Re: [S-R] SUR
                      and I'd like to draw attention to the hundreds of readers who may have
                      elected to ignore the thread.

                      What Helene says rings true, I'll add one more story. I stayed in my
                      villages of Zboj and Nova Sedlica for two weeks, spending the days and nights
                      meeting and speaking with dozens and dozens of family and "relatives" of one
                      sort or another.

                      What struck me at first, was that I seemed to know A LOT more about the
                      family than anyone I met.

                      After about a week, I politely asked one of the elders why they never
                      wrote these things down or knew much about their family history. The answer was
                      quite telling. "Because we are surrounded by our family and our history.
                      There is no need."

                      I left behind a small stack of paper including photographs which included
                      family trees, history, and copies of church books. Never since that time
                      did I receive any inquiry or comment on this material.

                      Only the photographs were of interest. "Yes, I can see we are related -
                      look at that face."

                      Coming back to the US, that kind of bothered me, but I assumed they were
                      too busy working to engage in such idle-time frivolity. Since that time,
                      I've slightly adjusted my perspective. It seems, that regardless what country
                      we live in, history of most sorts is disregarded. The essential question
                      seems to be, "How can this information help me live my life today?" And, for
                      the most part, it does not.

                      On both sides of the ocean, I slam into privacy concerns all the time. It
                      seems to fall into two camps. The first is that it's going to get into
                      sinister hands that will use the lineage information against them. The second
                      is that "He must want something. Why is this guy fishing around about me?
                      Does he want to take the family farm?"

                      Then comes the inevitable family gathering and some chit chat about family
                      history. It's polite, it's cursory, old stories are told, and it ends.

                      I wish I could be as optimistic as Debbie. I don't think anything is
                      changing. While access to records has become light speed, human interest in
                      family history remains in the dark ages.

                      YOU are the family historian, like it or not. There is always one person
                      in a generation of a family group who becomes the family historian. People
                      come to me occasionally for information, but usually only to obtain a "sound
                      byte" or a piece of trivia. Nobody asks, "what was life like?" "why did
                      they come?" "How did they work?"

                      I take my unofficial role as family historian quite seriously. My work may
                      be flawed, but it's all my family has. I've bundled up all sorts of
                      material and sent it to relatives I believe most likely to hang onto it. My hope
                      and wish is that my little "bundle" will inspire someone someday to pick up
                      the torch and carry it. No need for them to start from scratch - take it
                      to the next level. As each generation departs, we lose so much richness.

                      Bill





                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • MaryLou V. Crouch
                      Bill, I haven t been on the forum much lately--focused on another family line at the moment--but what you wrote really reflects my own experiences. Family
                      Message 10 of 21 , Apr 5, 2010
                        Bill,
                        I haven't been on the forum much lately--focused on another family line
                        at the moment--but what you wrote really reflects my own experiences.

                        Family members are glad that I'm doing this work but when I ask for
                        contributions--any old documents, photos, stories, anything-- I get
                        nothing from them until someone dies and the household is being cleaned
                        out--then my requests are sometimes remembered and I am allowed to take
                        stuff that would be thrown out. I have found historical treasures this
                        way--beautifully decorated Baptismal documents that had been rolled up
                        and stored in an attic for ages, for example.

                        It is disheartening but I continue to work on the family history so
                        future generations will have something to build on. We are products of
                        that history not only physically but also emotionally, spiritually, and
                        intellectually.

                        I happened to see part of a PBS show with Dr. Dwyer (sp?) yesterday--he
                        was discussing "memes" which translated to cultural habits of mind, to
                        beliefs carried from one generation to the next, and to mannerisms or
                        habits within a family. One example he used: how the depression of the
                        1930s shaped his mother's life and perspective and her habits of saving,
                        reusing, being thrifty carried over to him as a part of who he is.

                        Part of our family history shows us what "memes" we carry within us--why
                        we think and act the ways we do. In many ways, I am glad the show "Who
                        Do You Think You Are?" is having great success. While very light on the
                        hardscrabble work of genealogy, the show does emphasize the impact of
                        family history on the individual and invites the audience members to
                        begin their own treasure hunt into the past.

                        Marylou


                        On 4/5/2010 9:00 AM, billski wrote:
                        > I've reformulated this discussion because the title quite a bit off the original topic
                        > Re: [S-R] SURNAMES-Wachtenheim-Szolyva/Svaliava
                        > and I'd like to draw attention to the hundreds of readers who may have elected to ignore the thread.
                        >
                        > What Helene says rings true, I'll add one more story. I stayed in my villages of Zboj and Nova Sedlica for two weeks, spending the days and nights meeting and speaking with dozens and dozens of family and "relatives" of one sort or another.
                        >
                        > What struck me at first, was that I seemed to know A LOT more about the family than anyone I met.
                        >
                        > After about a week, I politely asked one of the elders why they never wrote these things down or knew much about their family history. The answer was quite telling. "Because we are surrounded by our family and our history. There is no need."
                        >
                        > I left behind a small stack of paper including photographs which included family trees, history, and copies of church books. Never since that time did I receive any inquiry or comment on this material.
                        >
                        > Only the photographs were of interest. "Yes, I can see we are related - look at that face."
                        >
                        > Coming back to the US, that kind of bothered me, but I assumed they were too busy working to engage in such idle-time frivolity. Since that time, I've slightly adjusted my perspective. It seems, that regardless what country we live in, history of most sorts is disregarded. The essential question seems to be, "How can this information help me live my life today?" And, for the most part, it does not.
                        >
                        > On both sides of the ocean, I slam into privacy concerns all the time. It seems to fall into two camps. The first is that it's going to get into sinister hands that will use the lineage information against them. The second is that "He must want something. Why is this guy fishing around about me? Does he want to take the family farm?"
                        >
                        > Then comes the inevitable family gathering and some chit chat about family history. It's polite, it's cursory, old stories are told, and it ends.
                        >
                        > I wish I could be as optimistic as Debbie. I don't think anything is changing. While access to records has become light speed, human interest in family history remains in the dark ages.
                        >
                        > YOU are the family historian, like it or not. There is always one person in a generation of a family group who becomes the family historian. People come to me occasionally for information, but usually only to obtain a "sound byte" or a piece of trivia. Nobody asks, "what was life like?" "why did they come?" "How did they work?"
                        >
                        > I take my unofficial role as family historian quite seriously. My work may be flawed, but it's all my family has. I've bundled up all sorts of material and sent it to relatives I believe most likely to hang onto it. My hope and wish is that my little "bundle" will inspire someone someday to pick up the torch and carry it. No need for them to start from scratch - take it to the next level. As each generation departs, we lose so much richness.
                        >
                        > Bill
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > ------------------------------------
                        >
                        > To visit your group on the web, go to:
                        > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SLOVAK-ROOTS/
                        >
                        > To unsubscribe from this group, go to http://www.yahoogroups.com/group/SLOVAK-ROOTS -or- send blank email to SLOVAK-ROOTS-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.comYahoo! Groups Links
                        >
                        >
                        >
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                      • Ron
                        ... The families puts up with my eccentric interest in family and culture and take it as a matter of fact now. The Europeans are interested in seeing and
                        Message 11 of 21 , Apr 5, 2010
                          --- In SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com, "billski" <bill.tarkulich@...> wrote:
                          The families puts up with my eccentric interest in family and culture and take it as a matter of fact now. The Europeans are interested in seeing and hearing how the American family is doing, and their eyes spark with interest when their current name is mentioned. Kids seem most interested in the distant cousins their own age.

                          But it seems everyone is wrapped up in everyday life, putting bread on the table and raising a family. So my work is for myself and my goal is to leave what I gather in a form that will be useful to someone in the next generation who may pick up an interest in it all when they get to that stage in life.

                          What I like best of all is your quotation:

                          "Because we are surrounded by our family and our history. There is no need."

                          Ron
                        • Jeanne Versweyveld
                          Bill, You have expressed my feelings so to the point. For instance at a family birthday party for my 80 year old uncle a number of years ago, I distributed a
                          Message 12 of 21 , Apr 6, 2010
                            Bill,
                            You have expressed my feelings so to the point. For instance at a family birthday party for my 80 year old uncle a number of years ago, I distributed a simple form for birth, marriage, death dates for each twig on the tree-my cousins, my generation. Everyone knows what I am doing, they love looking at the 3" thick binder with family trees, photos, documents etc. But that is where it ends. Out of the dozen or so sheets I handed out not one was ever returned.
                            When I asked my mother's 98 year old cousin questions about the old country and why did my grandparents and her parents come here...she simply says it was never discussed. No discussion about their parents or their grandparents. It was just left behind. Traditions were brought over and sustained but no stories about the past. And quite frankly, I was too young to even know what to ask and now they are gone.
                            You are so right. We are the historians. We put ourselves in that role and regardless of whether or not others appreciate it, and I am sure they do, we should be proud of our accomplishments. For every piece of the puzzle I fit together, I am victorious! There will, hopefully, be someone in the next generation that will fill my shoes and continue. I can only pray for that.

                            Jeanne Ferris Versweyveld

                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          • takukuk@aol.com
                            It seems like that is a story or condition that everyone of us can sympathize with. Kukuk In a message dated 4/6/2010 2:15:16 P.M. Central Daylight Time,
                            Message 13 of 21 , Apr 6, 2010
                              It seems like that is a story or condition that everyone of us can
                              sympathize with. Kukuk


                              In a message dated 4/6/2010 2:15:16 P.M. Central Daylight Time,
                              fversweyveld@... writes:




                              Bill,
                              You have expressed my feelings so to the point. For instance at a family
                              birthday party for my 80 year old uncle a number of years ago, I distributed
                              a simple form for birth, marriage, death dates for each twig on the
                              tree-my cousins, my generation. Everyone knows what I am doing, they love looking
                              at the 3" thick binder with family trees, photos, documents etc. But that
                              is where it ends. Out of the dozen or so sheets I handed out not one was
                              ever returned.
                              When I asked my mother's 98 year old cousin questions about the old
                              country and why did my grandparents and her parents come here...she simply says
                              it was never discussed. No discussion about their parents or their
                              grandparents. It was just left behind. Traditions were brought over and sustained
                              but no stories about the past. And quite frankly, I was too young to even
                              know what to ask and now they are gone.
                              You are so right. We are the historians. We put ourselves in that role and
                              regardless of whether or not others appreciate it, and I am sure they do,
                              we should be proud of our accomplishments. For every piece of the puzzle I
                              fit together, I am victorious! There will, hopefully, be someone in the
                              next generation that will fill my shoes and continue. I can only pray for that.

                              Jeanne Ferris Versweyveld

                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            • Nancy Hayes
                              The same thing has happened to me when I’ve sent family history forms for relatives to complete; I’ve gotten dirty looks about why I want to dig around in
                              Message 14 of 21 , Apr 6, 2010
                                The same thing has happened to me when I’ve sent family history forms for
                                relatives to complete; I’ve gotten dirty looks about why I want to dig
                                around in the past; the past is the past and leave it there (makes me wonder
                                what they’re hiding!) lol Which only makes me want to find out even more!
                                I talked to my mom about her family history when I started this hobby pretty
                                seriously in the 1980s; she said that when she was a child, the rule in her
                                parent’s house was, ‘children should only speak when they’re spoken to’. No
                                wonder no one knows or cares about their past family history if all they
                                ever got was negativity about asking.



                                When I discovered all of my relatives & ancestors in Italy in 1991, I also
                                discovered that only one cousin was the family historian for the Italian
                                side; I’m the historian for the USA family side. My Italian cousin died a
                                few years ago, and as far as I know, no one in her family or beyond has
                                taken her place in this hobby. And no one even cares to write from over
                                there, so I believe the hobby is dead for them. What a pity!



                                Finding this group has revived my family history interest on my dad’s side
                                of the family/my maiden name and a few others.



                                Nancy



                                From: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com] On
                                Behalf Of Jeanne Versweyveld
                                Sent: Tuesday, April 06, 2010 2:08 PM
                                To: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
                                Subject: [S-R] Re:Lack of Interest in family history - YOU are now the
                                historian!





                                Bill,
                                You have expressed my feelings so to the point. For instance at a family
                                birthday party for my 80 year old uncle a number of years ago, I distributed
                                a simple form for birth, marriage, death dates for each twig on the tree-my
                                cousins, my generation. Everyone knows what I am doing, they love looking at
                                the 3" thick binder with family trees, photos, documents etc. But that is
                                where it ends. Out of the dozen or so sheets I handed out not one was ever
                                returned.
                                When I asked my mother's 98 year old cousin questions about the old country
                                and why did my grandparents and her parents come here...she simply says it
                                was never discussed. No discussion about their parents or their
                                grandparents. It was just left behind. Traditions were brought over and
                                sustained but no stories about the past. And quite frankly, I was too young
                                to even know what to ask and now they are gone.
                                You are so right. We are the historians. We put ourselves in that role and
                                regardless of whether or not others appreciate it, and I am sure they do, we
                                should be proud of our accomplishments. For every piece of the puzzle I fit
                                together, I am victorious! There will, hopefully, be someone in the next
                                generation that will fill my shoes and continue. I can only pray for that.

                                Jeanne Ferris Versweyveld

                                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





                                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              • Bill Tarkulich
                                I have given very serious thought to who is going to inherit my genealogy work when I die. For starters, all the copy-able material, including trees, photos,
                                Message 15 of 21 , Apr 6, 2010
                                  I have given very serious thought to who is going to inherit my genealogy
                                  work when I die.

                                  For starters, all the copy-able material, including trees, photos, contact
                                  lists and letters will be distributed to multiple family lines. Maybe one
                                  will stick.

                                  Second, I am going to specify who is going to get my books, and other
                                  supporting documents. Some of it might go to one of the cultural or
                                  research groups. Some of the books I have are so difficult to obtain,
                                  that I'd hate to see them locked up. I'll be darned if I'm going to see
                                  people look at my books and say "hey, no interest, chuck it."

                                  Bill
                                • deeellessbee
                                  Bill, I m glad to see I m not the only one, lol! I actually have it in my will as to who will get my genealogy stuff! My kids are both history buffs like
                                  Message 16 of 21 , Apr 6, 2010
                                    Bill, I'm glad to see I'm not the only one, lol! I actually have it in my will as to who will get my genealogy stuff!

                                    My kids are both history buffs like myself (both are history majors in college) and hopefully that interest in history will spread to their own family history.

                                    As far as others in the family, NO ONE is interested - they don't even particularly like looking at pictures or talking about it at family gatherings. Some will listen for a bit, but then walk away to join other conversations. Some even roll their eyes when/if the discussion rolls round to genealogy.

                                    I have one third-cousin on my mom's side who is very avidly researching - he has gotten very far back in his own lines (hundreds of years!), and he even told me more about my Slovak and Russian side (my dad's side) than I knew! He's so into it that he researched all the little "twigs" as someone else called them, never mind his own main branches. So he knew more about my lines than I did. I've now caught up to him pretty well, in terms of research done, and investigating skills, etc., and we love to talk genealogy with each other, but we are the only two in a very large family who care about this. Very sad.

                                    On the bright side, I have recently found a cousin who IS into genealogy and who realizes the importance of it, and we now have a nice e-mail relationship (thanks to someone on this board, actually!)

                                    Like many of you, I will do this because it is important to me and I find it to be fun, and I will leave whatever I have and hopefully someone will appreciate it at some point in time!

                                    :)
                                    Debbie

                                    --- In SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com, "Bill Tarkulich" <bill.tarkulich@...> wrote:
                                    >
                                    > I have given very serious thought to who is going to inherit my genealogy
                                    > work when I die.
                                    >
                                    > For starters, all the copy-able material, including trees, photos, contact
                                    > lists and letters will be distributed to multiple family lines. Maybe one
                                    > will stick.
                                    >
                                    > Second, I am going to specify who is going to get my books, and other
                                    > supporting documents. Some of it might go to one of the cultural or
                                    > research groups. Some of the books I have are so difficult to obtain,
                                    > that I'd hate to see them locked up. I'll be darned if I'm going to see
                                    > people look at my books and say "hey, no interest, chuck it."
                                    >
                                    > Bill
                                    >
                                  • haluska
                                    I just hope you are not going anywhere soon Bill! Well said.... Dennis ... the ... nights ... of one ... the ... answer was ... history. ... included ... time
                                    Message 17 of 21 , Apr 7, 2010
                                      I just hope you are not going anywhere soon Bill!

                                      Well said....

                                      Dennis
                                      --- In SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com, CasperVeth@... wrote:
                                      >
                                      > Wow - well said, Bill! You nailed it for the rest of us "historians."
                                      >
                                      > Ray Veth - Middletown, NJ
                                      >
                                      >
                                      > In a message dated 4/5/2010 9:02:57 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
                                      > bill.tarkulich@... writes:
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      > I've reformulated this discussion because the title quite a bit off
                                      the
                                      > original topic
                                      > Re: [S-R] SURNAMES-WachtenheiRe: [S-R] Re: [S-R] SUR
                                      > and I'd like to draw attention to the hundreds of readers who may have
                                      > elected to ignore the thread.
                                      >
                                      > What Helene says rings true, I'll add one more story. I stayed in my
                                      > villages of Zboj and Nova Sedlica for two weeks, spending the days and
                                      nights
                                      > meeting and speaking with dozens and dozens of family and "relatives"
                                      of one
                                      > sort or another.
                                      >
                                      > What struck me at first, was that I seemed to know A LOT more about
                                      the
                                      > family than anyone I met.
                                      >
                                      > After about a week, I politely asked one of the elders why they never
                                      > wrote these things down or knew much about their family history. The
                                      answer was
                                      > quite telling. "Because we are surrounded by our family and our
                                      history.
                                      > There is no need."
                                      >
                                      > I left behind a small stack of paper including photographs which
                                      included
                                      > family trees, history, and copies of church books. Never since that
                                      time
                                      > did I receive any inquiry or comment on this material.
                                      >
                                      > Only the photographs were of interest. "Yes, I can see we are related
                                      -
                                      > look at that face."
                                      >
                                      > Coming back to the US, that kind of bothered me, but I assumed they
                                      were
                                      > too busy working to engage in such idle-time frivolity. Since that
                                      time,
                                      > I've slightly adjusted my perspective. It seems, that regardless what
                                      country
                                      > we live in, history of most sorts is disregarded. The essential
                                      question
                                      > seems to be, "How can this information help me live my life today?"
                                      And, for
                                      > the most part, it does not.
                                      >
                                      > On both sides of the ocean, I slam into privacy concerns all the time.
                                      It
                                      > seems to fall into two camps. The first is that it's going to get into
                                      > sinister hands that will use the lineage information against them. The
                                      second
                                      > is that "He must want something. Why is this guy fishing around about
                                      me?
                                      > Does he want to take the family farm?"
                                      >
                                      > Then comes the inevitable family gathering and some chit chat about
                                      family
                                      > history. It's polite, it's cursory, old stories are told, and it ends.
                                      >
                                      > I wish I could be as optimistic as Debbie. I don't think anything is
                                      > changing. While access to records has become light speed, human
                                      interest in
                                      > family history remains in the dark ages.
                                      >
                                      > YOU are the family historian, like it or not. There is always one
                                      person
                                      > in a generation of a family group who becomes the family historian.
                                      People
                                      > come to me occasionally for information, but usually only to obtain a
                                      "sound
                                      > byte" or a piece of trivia. Nobody asks, "what was life like?" "why
                                      did
                                      > they come?" "How did they work?"
                                      >
                                      > I take my unofficial role as family historian quite seriously. My work
                                      may
                                      > be flawed, but it's all my family has. I've bundled up all sorts of
                                      > material and sent it to relatives I believe most likely to hang onto
                                      it. My hope
                                      > and wish is that my little "bundle" will inspire someone someday to
                                      pick up
                                      > the torch and carry it. No need for them to start from scratch - take
                                      it
                                      > to the next level. As each generation departs, we lose so much
                                      richness.
                                      >
                                      > Bill
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                      >
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