© copyright 1987-1998 Slovenian Genealogical Society, all rights
In January, I wondered if there would be enough new information available to fill another newsletter. The worry was needless. I now have so much to share, I'm wondering if the expanded 4 pages this month will be sufficient. I have allowed the newsletter to expand to 4 pages because of the 2 fine articles forwarded to me by Joe Balazic and Frank van Krevel. We will fall back to our normal 2 page reports next quarter. If you have some news to share with us, please do so. There is no article waiting for the July 1st issue.
Speaking of newsletters. I have had quite a bit of feedback about our recent newsletter, most positive. However, some were critical about spelling errors and typos. I must admit our editing process leaves much to be desired. I prepare the newsletter at the last minute, and I have time for just one cursory preprint review. Besides that, I never could spell very well.
On the bright side, I just purchased a Brother Word Processor. I hope it improves the process, but I doubt if any machine will keep me from making some silly error. If you see something that really bothers you, please let us know. We wouldn't be able to issue a recall, but we will be able to correct the master copy on the Brother disc in case we ever put the newsletters together into a larger issue. If you have access to a Brother Word Processor, you will be able to prepare articles for our newsletter and submit it on disc. If we can get a few individuals to volunteer in this endeavor, it would surely improve the quality of the newsletter.
In the last newsletter, I mentioned the 1982 telephone book from Slovenia sent to us by Joe Balazic. I said that it would be of little use as a mailing aid. I was wrong. The directory lists individual names under a city heading. There are also some street numbers. Joe said that he has been able to correspond with individuals by sending mail to the address as published. It amounts to sending a letter to an address without the zip code.
We have had several interesting requests in the past month. One prospective member wants to know if we had any information on Slovenian workers who went to Alexandria, Egypt, to work on the Suez Canal, circa 1889. Any information would be welcome. We had other individuals wondering how to correspond with Austrian authorities. We would like to hear from anyone who has been able to obtain birth, marriage, or death certificates for Slovenian ancestors from areas now controlled by the Austrians. Were you able to write in English? Did you write to civil or Church authorities? If you have been able to obtain information from Italy, or Hungary, we would also like to hear from you.
I received the 1987 cards from our Forest City News obituary index from Barbara Puchnik. The index is now complete from December 1886 through December 1987. This was a massive project with Barbara doing most of the compilation herself. We also received a copy of "The Jakels from Kanjska Gora". a family genealogy by Marilyn O'Korn-Owen. Marilyn has also completed an every name index for the booklet, so if you have a Minnesota connection, we'll be happy to search the index to this publication for you. Please remember to include a large self- addressed, stamped envelope with any request.
BEGINNING FAMILY RESEARCH IN SLOVENIA
by Joseph and Connie Balazic
Our journey in Yugoslavia began in Zagreb on September 22, 1987. As we were waiting for our baggage, we realized, maybe we weren't so far from home, after all, for there was a young man standing next to us with a University of Washington emblem on his coat. It turned out that he and his wife were from Tacoma, Washington, about 50 miles from where we live. They were visiting their Slovenian relatives. We learned that there were many Slovenian families in Tacoma, and nearby Gig Harbor.
We rented a car, Zastava, and headed North to where my family originated close to the border where Yugoslavia, Austria, and Hungary meet. We stayed in an area bounded by Murska Sobota on the east and Lendava on the west. Driving was a special experience. They do drive on the right side of the road, but we didn't expect such a variety of traffic on the highways, which had no shoulders. There were pedestrians, bicyclists, wagons drawn by oxen, horse, and tractors, along with commercial vehicles, farm tractors, and passenger cars. Luckily everyone was courteous.
Tanker trucks would wait patiently until the way was clear to pass a bicyclist. It took a little studying to use the road maps. There are no large signs with highway numbers. You look at the map for towns along the route and then observe the highway signs of the towns as you pass through. With a little practice, we did fine. Whenever we did get in trouble, our Slovenian dictionary came in handy. We would point to a word to get our message across. We gave up speaking from the dictionary because our accent and pronunciation were so bad no could understand us.
When we arrived at my father's village of Crensovci, we had difficulty getting directions to my cousins home. It turned out that what we thought was a street number in Crensovci was a house number in an outlying village. Once we understood that, we found the house without difficulty. It turns out that Crensovci serves 5 surrounding villages, Gornja Bistrica, Dolnja Bistrica, Srednja Bistrica, Trnje, and Zizki. The mailing address would be Gornja Bistrica 113, P. 69232, Crensovic, Slovenia. My father came from Gornja Bistrica which was Felso Bistrice when Slovenia was part of Hungary prior to World War I.
The country side between Murska Sobota and Lendava is flat and primarily farmland. Corn, wheat, potatoes, pumpkins, and hay are the primary crops. The pumpkins are just grown for the seeds from which the oil is extracted and used for salad oil.
My father's church in Crensovci is Holy Cross Catholic Church. It was built 127 years ago. I was able to get information on my father's family back to 1808. There was no shortage of Balazic's in the record book. On some pages, the name was spelled the Hungarian way, Balazsicz. I found as many as 42 of them on one page in the birth register. I learned my father had a sister he hadn't known. She died at an early age. When I requested information by mail, she was overlooked. This points out the benefit of personally reviewing records.
The village of my mother is Kosarvosci, about 10 miles north of Murska Sobota. It is a small village of only 19 houses accessible by a narrow gravel road. It's a very beautiful setting of gently rolling hills, lush green grass, and an occasional wooded area. Kosarvosci was called Kosarhaza when Hungary ruled. We were not as successful getting information on my mother's family, Fras. We did find an aunt by marriage, living with her daughter's son and family, four generations in one home. We were fortunate to visit her. She was 87 years old, and she died about 2 weeks after our visit. We did find out that 2 other aunts had emigrated to the United States. Since the church records were sketchy and the family had no records in their Bible, we are hoping to get some information from the aunts back here in the United States. We believe we may have to search Church records in Hungary.
We were not able to get any information from cemeteries. Most grave markers were wooden. Information was minimal or had rotted away. Most of the people were too poor to afford headstones. Also, grave sites were reused every 20 years, or so, and many grave locations are lost.
The Catholic churches were very helpful and open in giving information. While we had no difficulty in getting information from Civil Registrars, we had to limit requests to direct line relatives. To help in reading church records, it is a real benefit to make an alphabetical letter index of the way each recorder made his letters. We had to compare unknown letters back to known name letters to come up with correct spelling. Even first names can be a problem. My paternal grandmother's name was Barbara. It's spelled Borbalja in the records. We are still going over the records we brought compiling a list of first names which will be helpful when transcribing other names.
We felt our trip was more than a success. Everywhere we went, the people were helpful. Everywhere we went we were fed well and the food was delicious. I enjoyed dishes I hadn't tasted since I was a child. Still, the flavor was the same. We're looking forward to another trip in a few years.