WOW! I've been wanting to have this discussion since I joined.
My very first question to this group asked "Who am I?" ethnically speaking.
The more research I did, the muddier it became. I looked at cultural
differences between Slovak, Czech, Morva and Magyar.
I remembered what my own family culture was growing up, which was tainted
by fear and sadness due to reprisals of Soviet controlled governments
against my families in Hungary (my mother's family) and Csehszlov�kia (my
father's family), - and the gratefullness of freedom they experienced here
in Australia. This was particularly strong as my father had a price on his
head and my mother's family suffered in other ways.
So in my time here, I've experienced the 'pig butchering' by a group of
Central Europeans that all spoke Magyar. This was like going back in time.
The men shot the pig and drained the blood, gutted it, and used every
organ, burnt the carcass hair on a straw fire, delivered to the kitchen
where at least 6 women were boiling and mincing. It didn't matter if
individuals were Serbo-Croats (Horvat) or Czech (Toth) or Madars <grin> or
Romanian (Erdei). They spoke in a common language, drank the palinka and
made Hurka (White and Black), Kolbasz (Csabai) and divided the meat.
Culturally they were one in this practice. All knew what to do and I had
the 'greater family' experience. There were no political divisions here
except for some vague memories of the old Empire!.
Once I got beyond the common cultural experiences like this by actually
looking at my ancestor's lives in Slovakia, I started seeing differences
between East and West and North and South, (not forgetting our Ukrainian
folk) in religion, music and ethnic embroidery.
My father was typically not Magyar as far as his Slav features and Slovak
gentleness of spirit showed as noted by others. He attended both Slovak and
Magyar schools. His ancestors intermarried with other ethnics as their
family names suggest and I presume that some specific ethnic cultural
characteristics were adopted and transmitted through the generations.
I think this is very different to the East Slovakian experience where (for
example), the Rusyns kept to themselves for the most part. The most
significant is the Eastern Religion that held them together.
So the 'Who am I' question for me is something I'm going to ask my Slovak
relatives sometime next year when I'm face to face with them. Although I
don't think it matters to them any more unless the political crisis there
On 3 February 2012 03:48, Michael Mojher <mgmojher@...> wrote:
> The question of identity in the records and by the person can be two
> things. There is the political identity, what country was the individual
> living in when they were alive. For the history of the land that is
> Slovakia those were: Hungary, Austro-Hungary often shortened to Austria,
> Czechoslovakia and now Slovakia. The other side of identity is cultural or
> social. Often the clue to the cultural identity is the language one spoke.
> A better identifier would be the customs they followed. For genealogy this
> is not as easy to known unless you knew the person well. You can even be
> �bi-cultural�. In Slovakia there are German villages who follow German and
> Slovak customs, but they speak Slovak. This has been going on for hundreds
> of years. The Rusyns are another example of a cultural group without a
> singular country to call their own. The Jews and Roma (Gypsies) are in this
> group that transcends political borders.
> You can safely use the political identity. It is best in keeping genealogy
> records to use the name of the country at the time someone was living there
> as an identifier because that is what the records were kept under. That is
> the biggest mistake in record keeping. If you know the cultural identity
> then use it where appropriate.
> From: Caye Caswick
> Sent: Thursday, February 02, 2012 7:23 AM
> To: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
> Subject: Re: [S-R] Slovak or Hungarian
> Same here -- the current family claims to be Slovak -- but since Hungary
> was controlling back then, they forced the children to learn/speak
> Hungarian. Sue, what are your surnames -- it's pretty obvious (normally)
> which nationality, if we know your surnames.
> From: Nick Kerpchar <mailto:ccknk%40yahoo.com>
> To: "mailto:SLOVAK-ROOTS%40yahoogroups.com" <mailto:
> Sent: Thursday, February 2, 2012 8:39 AM
> Subject: Re: [S-R] Slovak or Hungarian
> Hi Sue,
> That's a great question. Allow me to share what I found when tracing my
> maternal and paternal
> grandparents who may respectively be termed, Lemko and Carpatho-Rusyn. My
> maternal grandfather
> was from Galacia (present day Poland) and on his immigration documents and
> U.S. Census he said he
> was "Austrian." My paternal grandparents came from Saros County, Hungary
> (during the time of the
> Austro-Hungarian Empire) and both stated they were Hungarian on their
> documents. I do not know
> if they had any kind of passports back then or even "traveling papers."
> And to make things more interesting, all of them claimed that their native
> language was Russian although
> I suspect that in the case of my paternal grandparents they may have said,
> "Rusyn" but was interpreted
> as "Russian."
> What an interesting question you have raised. I will definitely follow
> your thread to see what others have
> to say on the topic. Thanks for raising the question.
> From: Sue Martin <mailto:martin%40skmassociates.net>
> To: mailto:SLOVAK-ROOTS%40yahoogroups.com
> Sent: Thursday, February 2, 2012 5:52 AM
> Subject: [S-R] Slovak or Hungarian
> This is an interesting conversation.
> Until last year, I thought my family was entirely Hungarian. Then I
> started exploring the genealogy, and learned that on both sides, my family
> is actually from the part of Hungary that is now Slovakia (mostly Trencin
> county). And we're Jewish.
> Both my father's and my mother's families spoke only Hungarian (and
> German, of course). One of my great-grandmothers spoke Slovak as her mother
> tongue, but she's the only one I'm aware of. My living relatives are
> scattered all over the world, with only a few in Hungary, Slovakia and the
> Czech Republic.
> When I was a teenager, a celebratory dinner with the family was fun - four
> languages going at the same time (Hungarian, German, French and English).
> So, am I Hungarian or Slovak? or neither?
> -----Original Message-----
> From: "htcstech" <mailto:htcstech%40gmail.com>
> Sent: Thursday, February 2, 2012 12:49am
> To: mailto:SLOVAK-ROOTS%40yahoogroups.com
> Subject: Re: [S-R] Re: JANKANICS - Death Record
> Hello William,
> This link:
> The last 'observation' column on item 22
> Currently, I have sent this to my mother as well as my attempt at a
> transcription of the lettering.
> I have had no Hungarian schooling. I was 18 months old when my parents
> escaped during the Hungarian revolution in 1956. Since then I have had very
> little contact with other Hungarians. My father was Moravian, born near
> Galanta and spoke Slovak and Magyar. I speak Hungarian with my mother as
> well as English. My Hungarian is good enough to get by. I can read it well
> enough for basic information, but it gives me a headache.
> I fully understand exactly what you are saying and the difficulties that
> Slovakian peoples had, and the present experiences of ethnic Magyars in
> Southern Slovakia. It is a bad situation.
> Personally I am overjoyed finding this group and my heritage. I am very
> grateful to eveyone and it has opened my eyes to a new world.
> On 2 February 2012 16:31, William C. Wormuth <mailto:senzus%40ymail.com>
> > **
> > I am Lost! What exactly are you translating. Why is there information
> > concerning Barn and stables, in Church records?? I assumed you were
> > thinking the writer was giving the cause of death which is very unusual.
> > am not a professional but have helped many people in their searches. My
> > Slovak is a western, Zahorak dialect and I learned the Hungarian alphabet
> > pronunciation from my Grandfather.
> > During Hungarian rule, children had little or no schooling and school
> > language was Hungarian. The reading and writing of Slovak was done at
> > and in many villages, teachers came to homes where groups of young people
> > gathered for learning. If caught they were beaten and jailed. Priests
> > were an important part of their lives, as they were the only formally
> > educated people in villages and were the Slovak, "doctor, lawyer and
> > chief."
> > Illegible writing could be due to the priest being very old and shaky.
> > The majority of records I have researched have been very legible and
> > written in Latin although names were in Hungarian, (Istvan, Erzsa, Janos,
> > Mihaly,....etc. Some of the writing was as beautiful as a painting.
> > Can you imagine how it would be if you were forced to speak only Urdu and
> > Finish, while secretly preserving your mother tongue, which if spoken on
> > the street could end in your imprisonment. they were allowed, by law, to
> > speak Hungarian or German. I have always been amazed, (and proud), that
> > our people, maintained our language and culture for over 1,000 years.
> > My Grandfather, spoke read and wrote: Two types of German, ("High and
> > Low"), Hungarian, Slovak, Czech and English. To the "pure Americans",
> > here, he was referred to as a "Dumb Round-head", (term used here for
> > immigrants.
> > Z Bohom,
> > Vilo
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