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Slovenian Genealogy Society Newsletter Vol. 3 No. 4 1989

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A friend from overseas sent me a floppy disk for an Atari 1040 ST, 520ST+. It contains a Slovene-English dictionary. I mention this in the unlikely event one of our readers has a machine to access this disk. It seems the European version of this machine is sufficiently different from the American version to make access difficult if not impossible. If you think you can access the disk, write to me and I'll mail the disk to you. We would like a hard copy of the dictionary.

Several members are seriously seeking a researcher in Slovenia. If you know of someone who will do research for a fee, please furnish the names to us. I know several of our members have relatives near Ljubljana. Maybe research could become a paying sideline for one of them.

We are enclosing a list of books available from Studia Slovenica with this issue. If you order anything, let them know you heard about them through us. Also, let us know about the service you receive, and prepare a report on the works you purchase for our newsletter.

by Nancy L. Moore

The Slovenian records compiled by the LDS are for Semitsch, Krain, Austria, which is now the parish of Semic, Slovenia, in Yugoslavia. Parish registers for baptisms, marriages, and deaths have been microfilmed. The text is in German, Slovenian, and Latin. The records include: baptisms from 1671 to 1941, marriages from 1784 to 1941, and deaths from 1721 to 1941. However, there are many blank spaces in the record. The films can be rented through branch libraries of the LDS. Indefinite fees are about $6.00 to $7.00. The indefinite loan fee is tax deductible.

by Joanne Plut Fix

My grandfather, Joseph Plut, emigrated to the U.S. from the old empire of Austria-Hungary in 1883. He first went to Joliet, Illinois, where he worked on the railroad for a short time. He then went to Minnesota where he became a peddler, traveling from farm to farm in the Stearns County area where a group of Slovenes had settled. At the farm of George Weis, he met the girl who was to become my grandmother, but before that happened, he moved to Wahpeton, Dakota Territory, where he clerked in a store until he was able to save enough money to open a store of his own near Fort Sisseton in present day South Dakota. When the nearby Sisseton-Wahpeton Indian Reservation was opened for settlement, he started another store in the new town of Sisseton after going back to Minnesota to marry Katherina Weis. They made their home in Sisseton for the next 50 years.

Plut was an unusual name in a community of Scandinavians, Germans, and Yankees. We were a close knit family who maintained ties with my grandmother Weis's family in Minnesota. When I inquired if my grandmother had any relatives in the U.S., the answer was only a niece named Mary Zimmerman Grahek, who lived in Calumet, Michigan.

I knew that my grandfather had a brother named Stephan who spent a year in the United States with my grandfather, but he had returned to Europe because of ill health. He lived in Kranj, Yugoslavia. After World War II, we sent "CARE" packages to him. By then, my grandparents had died. Soon, Uncle Steve and his wife were also gone. Correspondence dwindled and then stopped altogether. I had a few of the letters from Uncle Steve's family, usually written by his grandson, a young medical student who knew English. These were our last links to Yugoslavia because my grandfather's niece had also died.

I have always been interested in family history, but typically, I didn't begin searching seriously until after many of the individuals who could have helped me were no longer living. I was able to contact the children of my grandfather's niece, but they too had lost touch with the family in Yugoslavia. They shared what information they had. It then seemed impossible to obtain any more information from Yugoslavia. Because Plut was an unusual last name, I wrote to various individuals with that name, but none led to my grandfather's family.

A few more years went by. Then, I received a letter from a cousin who was making a trip to Yugoslavia. He wanted some family information. I sent him the names I had gleamed from the early correspondence. Upon my cousin's arrival in Yugoslavia, he drove to Crnomelj, my grandfather's birthplace. The priest there gave him the name and address of an individual he should contact. However, neither my cousin nor I, at a later date, could read the priest's handwriting. However during an unscheduled brief stop in Ljubljana, my cousin was able to obtain addresses for the names I had given him.

My first response was to write the former medical student, now a doctor, who had written to us in English. Another cousin, who lives in San Francisco area, was acquainted with Slovenian people who helped him compose letters in Slovenian to send to our cousins in Slovenia.

We received immediate replies from the Yugoslav Pluts. They were delighted to hear from their American cousins. We exchanged family information through which I learned that my grandfather had another niece living in the United States, and not far from me. Her name was Theresa Plut Gerzin. She lived in Chisholm, Minnesota.

When I contacted her I learned that the Plut family actually lived at Rucetna Vas near Crnomelj. She told me many of the family stories and a brief history of the Plut's of Rucetna Vas, as it had been told to her. The Plut's were supposed to have come to Rucetna Vas from Semic.

After two years of correspondence with the Yugoslav Pluts, my cousin and I decided to go to Yugoslavia. I wrote to the Yugoslav cousins, carefully explaining when we were arriving and where we would be staying, leaving room for the possibility that we might not find each other congenial.

When our plane landed in Ljubljana, our Yugoslav cousins were waiting for us, literally with open arms. They announced that our first weekend in their country was to be Family Plut weekend. They took us to Rucetna Vas to see our grandfather's birthplace and to meet the cousins who still lived in the village. They showed us the beauty of Slovenia as well as it's historical sites. In the evenings, we lingered over late dinners, talking, exchanging ideas, comparing countries, and sharing laughter.

During the week when our cousins were working, we Americans explored the city of Ljubljana. We discovered that the address given by the priest at Crnomelj was that of the church archives. Although he had been warned that one needed an appointment, we stumbled upon it and were made welcome. Using the church records, especially the status animarium, I was able to trace the Plut family for seven generations.

I regretted not having more time for research but since the weekend in Yugoslavia begins on Thursday and the Archives are only open from 8:00 am to 12:30 pm, I was lucky to get what I did. I had no time at all to search for the Weis family, who I am sure also came from another town in the same area, Bela Krajina.

The time went by so swiftly. Our vacation was over. As we waited for our return flight to the United States, the tears began to flow. "You will come again?", they asked. My answer then was no, but now I know I have to return again someday. The next trip won't be the exciting adventure of the first. It will be different. Perhaps it can best be described as having that special feeling that one gets when going home again.

Albert Peterlin

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