Copyright © 1996, 1997, Slovenian Genealogy Society International, all rights reseved
These Rev. J. M. Trunk texts were published originally in 1912. Part 8, History of Slovene Communities, contains significant genealogical information about Slovenian immigrants, the places they lived, the organizations they formed, and the churches they attended.
Translators for the Slovenian Genealogy Society have been working to translate many texts published early in the 1900s that contain significant genealogical information. Our translators are not professional linguists, and they do not complete a translation with rigorous academic oversight. The goal of our translation projects is to make information available to the American descendants of Slovenian immigrants.
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The Slovenian Genealogy Society collects church histories. Readers with information on Slovenes in the communities listed, the churches mentioned, or other information on Slovenes, can contact:
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Akron: Mr. V. Zurc reports: "The first Slovenes came here 3 years ago; namely, V. Zurc, F. Slatnar, F. Pucl, and J. Zgajnar, from the parishes of St. Rupert, Skocijan, and Zuzemberk. Currently, there are about six families and about 30 young men here. They all work in a pipe mill. They go to the German church of St. Bernard. They are starting an SNPJ society with 22 members.
Barberton The town has 9,410 inhabitants and a majority Slovene settlement, with its own church, where the Rev. B. Hribar is the pastor. I could not find out how many of our fellow countrymen are here and what are the current conditions.
The KSKJ has a society of St. Joseph #110, and the JSKJ has a society of St. Martin with 36 members. There is also a choral society "Sva" in the settlement.
Bellaire Slovenes came here to work in the coal mine 10 years ago. They are natives of Bela Krajina. Currently, there are seven families and 30 single men. Two, P. Filip and A. Pecar, have houses. They go to a Slovak church and the children go to an English school. The church life is good. The only society belongs to the KSKJ (reported by A. Pavlincic).
Bridgeport This city is the center of many coal mines. Slovenes have settled two miles west in the counties of Boydsville, Wheelingcreek and Lansing. Mr. V. Hocevar tells me that Josef Mirtic was the first Slovene, who came here in 1888 from Jama pri Dvoru. He met with an accident in 1907. He was followed in 1889 by Fr. Kocevar from Zabja Vas, who was the first to build his own home. More and more came after him from Litija, Novo Mesto, Trebnje, Visna Gora, Kamnik and Celje. Currently, there are 66 families and over 60 single men here, which is about 220 persons. Thirty-six Slovenes have their own houses and some land. J. Rutar, F. and J. Matkovic, F. Kajn and A. Gorenc are businessmen. Fellow countrymen A. Sustersic from Vircna Vas has a beautiful farm. The majority, however, are employed in the coal mines.
The religious conditions are favorable. They belong to a German-English church of St. Anthony. The children go to a parochial school, and some Slovene priest comes at times to hear the confessions of our fellow countrymen. Recently, our fellow countrymen have been making efforts to provide Slovene lessons to their children.
The Slovenes have the following benefit societies: St. Barbara #23 of the KSKJ, established in 1895 with 43 members; St. Barbara #19 in Forest City, PA, established in 1904 with 45 members; "Edinost" #13 of the SNPJ established in 1905 with over 100 members; St. Anne #123 of the KSKJ from 11908 with 55 members; "Dobrii bratje (Good Brothers) #39 of the SDPZ organized in 1909 with 40 members. The first two societies have established their own "Drustveni Dom" (Club House) built in 19006 in Boydsville, where there are the most Slovenes, and where all societies meet. In the settlement, there is also the drama society "Orel" and St. Cyril and Methodius Lodge Branch No. 3.
Cleveland The largest Slovene community on America soil is in this city. The first Slovenes came here about 1888, mainly from Zuzemberk, Zalno, Sinj, Sveti Kriz, and Dolenjska, and the Primorje. In 1908, there were 500 families and over 4,000 persons in the parish of St. Vid. However, it is quite difficult to figure out how many Slovenes there are in Cleveland now. Thee 2 June 1912 issue of "Clvelandska Amerika" states that there are up to 25,000 persons in the city and suburbs. In the city proper, there are 3,000 American citizens among the Slovenes, and another 6,000 who could readily acquire citizenship. The majority of the families have their own homes; many Slovenes have nice businesses and there could be as many of 200 Slovene taverns. There is a goodly number of Slovenes who have become independent. The majority, however, are employed in the various factories.
The parish of St. Vid was founded with the assistance of the Rev. F. Bajc on 30 July 1893. The religious service was conducted in the chapel of St. Peter on Superior Street. The first pastor was the Rev. V. Hribar, and the first church advisers were J. Novak, F. Pucelj, A. Zakrajsek and M. Skebe. On 29 June 1894, they purchased a lot on the corner of Norwood and Glass Streets for $6,000 and in that same year they built a small church and rectory. The parish encompassed all Slovenes, including those in Newburg and Collinwood.
With the growth of the parish, they had to enlarge the church by 50% in 1902. At the same time, they also built a four-grade school with a hall. In 1900, the Rev. F. Kerze came as an assistant, and a little while later, he left for the parish in Newburg. In 1903, a new residence was constructed for the school Sisters, and in 1904, they celebrate the tenth anniversary of the founding of the parish. However, disputes broke out among the parishioners, which lasted for a long time.
The Rev. A. Smrekar came as an assistant. Part of the parishioners called for the Franciscan Rev. K. Zakrajsek from Kamnik, who arrived in Cleveland on 21 November 1906, and with the permission of Bishop Horstman, he established a new parish--Z. M. Bozje (Our Lady of Sorrows?) on the corner of Wilson and Claire. When the troubles did not die down, the Rev. Hribar left for Barberton and the Rev. Zakrajsek left for Lorain. On 29 July 1906, the Rev. B. Ponikvar was appointed pastor for St. Vid, and the Rev. F. Stefancic was appointed pastor of Z. M. Bozje, but he did not arrive at the parish, because currently all Slovenes again belong to St. Vid parish. The Rev. John Ooman, a Slovene-American was now posted as assistant.
On 20 October 1912, the cornerstone was laid for a new parish school, which was to cost about $100,000. On this occasion, the Rev. . Bajec of St. Paul, Minnesota, made the dedication speech.
All Slovene associations have several societies here. In total, perhaps more than 20. There are also some independent societies. There are several educational, choral, and physical culture societies, for the Slovenes are moving with strong energy in the area of education . The newspaper "Clevlandska Ameria" is now published twice a week.
Most recently, our fellow countrymen are also moving with great energy in the political area, which will raise their reputation among Americans very much.
Collinwood: This region is five miles away from Cleveland. The "Lake Shore" Steel Mill has its shops here. The Slovenes began to settle here from Cleveland about 1899. Among the first were: J. Volk, J. Zupancic, J. Vrecar, P. Ppucl, A. Jakos, and others. There are over 500 of them here, among them, 300 families. The majority of the Slovenes are employed in factories, as reported by Mr. M. Slapnik. Some of them have gotten ahead and have good businesses, for example, M. Skebe, A. Jakos, F. Ivancic, V. Bernot, F. Gregorcic, M. Janezic, A. Grbec, and J. Vidmar. Smole, Gregorcic and Janezic are butchers. Gornik, J. Logar, J. Debelak, J. Kaserman and M. Intihar have clothing stores.
In 1905, the Slovenes built their own church for $11,000, which was at first served by Rev. M. Pakiz, and now, by Rev. A. Smrekar. There is no school. The church conditions are good. The reports writes about the religious life: "At first, religious life was quite good. Then a dispute came about on where to build the church. For one-half, which is the one on the north side of the Lake Shore Steel Mill, lost out during the voting on the site, and there was an intense colling down of eagerness on that side."
There are 6 benefit and educational societies. The Society of St. John, #71 of the KSKJ, was founded on 16 August 1903, by J. Kolenc, J. Rosel, and J. Mrvar, and it was 74 members. Additionally there are the societies of St. Barbara #26, "V voj" (To Battle), "Tolstoy", "Mir" (Peace), and one women's society, St. Mary of the Assumption, #103 of the KSKJ. All societies have about 400 members. There is also the choral society "Vrh planin" (Mountain Top) in the settlement.
Conneaut: G. J. Turk, who came here six years ago and has a store, reports that there are two families and 14 single men here. They are employed in the brickyards and the shops of the Nickel Plat Railroad. They emigrated from Kras. They go to an Irish church and have no Slovene services. There are no societies.
Glencoe Mr. John Rebolj, a trader in gold, well known to many Slovene Americans, writes that there are 73 Slovenes in this settlement, 11 families and 18 single men. They came here in March 1904. The majority are from Dolensko, although some are from the Primorje. Among the former were A. Kravanja, J. Zlemberger, J. Orel, J. Zibert, J. Stegel and J. Rebolj, who, in addition to F. Bostjancic, A. Hribar, F. Pirc, and L. Jakses, have their own properties.
Besides the Miners' Union, they have two benefit societies: "Jutranja Zarja" (Dawn) #54 of the SNPJ, established on 11 November 1906 with 33 members and the "Social Club" #2, connected with the SSPZ, established on 25 November 1905 with 25 members. J. Zlmeberger was the first to organize the working people professionally and politically.
Religious conditions in this settlement must be pitiful. The reporter does not respond to any question concerning this. I can hardly believe that our countrymen could be living in this way for even a day?
Newburg: This is a suburb of Cleveland. At first the Slovenes belong to the Parish of St. Vid. They are employed in the steel mill of the American Steel and Wire Company. In 1903 there were up to 200 families here. The church building, which has a school on its ground floor, was built in 1902 of brick, and it cost the parishioners $23,000. The first pastor was the Rev. F. L. Kerze. Currently, the Rev. J. Lavric is the pastor. The KSKJ has its St. Laurence Society #63 here.
Newark: Mrs. Mary Mafko reports: "F. Koren and some other came here in 1910. Now there are five families and six single men here. All are working in the miles on the furnaces. They go to an English church and the children go to public school. There is no society."
North Randal The Slovenes began to settle here beginning in 1900. Among the first was Janez Jub. The majority are employed on the docks loading ore. As Mr. M. Mirth reports to me, there are about 70 Slovenes, here, among them, 22 families. Ten families have property. The children go to English school. The church is in Newburg. The Slovenes do not have religious services. The church conditions are therefore "poor", but church life is "good". In 1909, J. Danicek and J. Hene established the society "Zarja svpbode" (Dawn of Freedom) #93 of the SNPJ, which has 14 members.
South Lorain: Slovenes began to settle in this beautiful town from Dolenjska and Notranjska in 1894. Among the first were A. Zemnik, J. Kuhar, A. Virant, J. Sprajc, A. Lencek and M. Simonic. Mr. F. Pavlic reports that now there are about 112 families and 350 single men here, thus about 700 Slovenes. Of these 44 have their own properties. Virant and Zemnik also have taverns. They work mainly in the various factories.
The benefit societies are: Marija Pomagaj #6 of the KSKJ, founded on 18 October 1898 by M. Kramar, Fr. Brivec, F. Kristof, and J. Sprajc. The St. Alloysius Society #19 of the KSKJ was founded on 9 June 1901, by A. Virant, who was also President of the society for six years, and in 1908, was appointed supervisor of the entire Association.
The society has 83 male and 40 female members. The St. Cyril and Methodius Society #101 of the KSKJ, was formed by J. Piskur, and A. Krelim on 28 October 1897. The Women's Benefit Society "Cisto Spocetje" (Immaculate Conception) #85 of the KSKJ was established on 11 June 1905 by M. Lencek, J. Virant, A. Bombac, J. Vrbanek, J. Petric, M. Moedolj, M. Lenceck, A. Svet, A. Cerar, T. Svet, N. Pogorevc, A. Silc, A. Justin, A. Kosten, U. Domcis, M. Voglic and T. Rohatin.
The Croatians, who belong to the parish, have their own societies. In 1909, they founded the church society of St. Anne. Lorain also has a strongly active cultural society "Planinski rej" (Mountain Paradise), which was founded on 29 January 1909 by Messrs. F. Justin, M. and A. Bombac, A. Vidrih, F. and J. Ulc, J. Urbas, J. Ivancic, M. Kodelja, I. Primozic, A. Debevec, J. Palcic, J. Petkovsek, and F. Grasek. Currently the society has 15 members. On 5 February 1908, V. Narvinsek, A. Bombac, A. Lencek, A. Svet, I. Strozak, M. Tomazin, F. Janezic, I. Bucar and other started up a Slovene band, which has 16 members and the slogan:
The band plays
All the heroes keep in step!
The Slovene National Choral Society "Presern" which was founded on 26 January 1909, under the leadership of Mr. J. *Boljka, was changed into a benefit society of the SSPZ.
On the history of the parish, I am taking the following from the Cleveland Almanac (Clevelandskeba koledarja) for 1908. "When there were not enough Slovenes in Lorain to have their own parish, they asked Rev. A. Smrekar, who was in Cleveland at that time, to assume their spiritual care. Later on, he remained there permanently. The first church committee was elected on 26 March 1905, and Messrs. J. Sprajc, A. Svet, F. Kirstof, F. Tomazin and I. Klemenc were on it. Other men were selected to collect contributions; the Treasurer was F. Ambrozic.
They placed the parish under the protection of the Apostles of the Slavs, Sts. Cyril and Methodius. At first, they were renters in the Irish parish of St. John. Immediately they began to think about their own church and purchased 4 lots on 14th Street. Since the Irish church was not doing well, the Slovenes bought the entire property from the Irish, with the church, the school and the rectory included. But not all were satisfied with this, since the future of the Slovenes was better on 14th and 15th Streets.
Finally, in spite of all, they finally gave in. Rev. A. Smrekar was transferred at that time (1906) to St. Vid in Cleveland, and Rev. I. Ponikvar arrived in his place. The purchase was concluded sometime in December, and the Irish had only the *:00 Mass. In 1907, the Rev. I. Ponikvar, with the assistance of the Slovenes, refurbished the church and rectory, but on 1 August, he had to leave for the parish of St. Vid in Cleveland. The Rev. K. Zakrajsek came to Lorain, but he did not stay there long. Currently, the Rev. John Stefanic is pastor of the Slovenes:
The reporter adds: "With respect to religious life, the conditions are good and favorable in every way. With respect to the church's money situation, it is all right for the current times."
The community has its own school and the children have Slovene lessons."
Youngstown Here, and in the nearby areas of New Castle and Girard, there have been over 20 Slovenes since 1899, who are employed in the iron smelters and go to the Slovak church. The KSKJ has a Society of Knights of St. Michael #64. In Girard, there is the "Ljubljana Society" #49 of the SNPJ.
There are more Slovenes in the area of Euclid, East Palestine, where there are the societies of St. Joseph #41 of the JSKJ and #49 St. Barbara, and Lowellville, Maynerd and Nottingham.